Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Back to Delight

Well, that interminable night of the last post seemed to have been a last gasp of something (not to mention, Eleanor's first tooth showed up very shortly thereafter - related? I think so). Sleeping has been SO much better across the board, resulting in very happy babies and parents.

Exhibit A:

I'm enjoying these days so much. Eleanor is on the verge of crawling, and generally pretty mobile, and Steven is pretty good at getting to what he wants, so they spend most of their time playing together, or grinning at each other while they play and "read" books, or holding hands while they eat breakfast.

I'd say our kitchen isn't always such a disaster, but that would be a lie.
I CAN say that the floor looks much nicer now.
They're so delightful. When they're happy, they grin so hard it seems like it should hurt - Steven's such a happy boy, it's a little tricky to get him to bed... if he's almost asleep, and we have to go in for her, we can't catch his eye or he'll wake himself up to smile and laugh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Welcome to ESPNBABY!

We're now entering hour 3 of tonight's Baby Relay!

For those just joining us, the rules are as follows:

Baby 1 startles awake screaming. What's wrong? That's for her to know, and for you to find out. Or maybe not, it's all the same to her. Could be hunger, a wet diaper, cold feet, random bear attack, who knows. The clock starts now for your first leg.

Nothing seems to be working. She's pitching an impressively acrobatic hissy fit. She's been fed, burped, changed, sleep-sack-ed, Tylenol-ed, bounced, rocked, walked, played music, offered a pacifier... finally seems seems to give in and settle a bit.

Not so you can sleep... because your head hitting the pillow is the cue for the baton handoff to start leg 2. Baby 2 starts gearing up, in his own distinctive style - no hissy fits for him: he aims for maximum disorientation by alternating heartbreaking crying with occasional momentary bursts of laughter. He gets the same run-through: fed, burped, changed, sleep-sack-ed, Tylenol-ed, bounced, rocked, walked, played music...

You'll repeat these same steps for legs 3, 4, and maybe even 5.

Finally, at long last, all is quiet. They're asleep! You've won! Right? Right?

Right. Good luck getting yourself to sleep now...

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I'd make some snarky comment on how a Thanksgiving blog post is pretty much required these days, except that I have so much to be thankful for this year, I can't muster up any snark.

  • My husband, who is an absolutely fantastic daddy to our kids - I love watching how he enjoys them and they him.
  • That my kids are growing and thriving and as absolutely perfect as they can be, after all the difficulty getting them here. It was a long, hard road, in every way, and 100% worth it.
  • Our amazing families, who love us and our kids so much, and who are always there to change a diaper or hold a baby or risk a sweet-potato shower feeding them.

  • Our cozy house, even if it is a little chaotic right now - I think it's going to be the perfect place to raise our kids. I can't wait to get all the furniture put back in time to put up the babies' first Christmas tree.
  • Our dogs, who seem to both be healthy again, and who are learning to appreciate and protect each other.
  • Our babysitter, who has turned out to be such a blessing - the kids love her, and she's so great with them.
  • Our church family, who shower Steven and Eleanor with so much love from the time we walk in the door to the time we leave, there can be no doubt that they're going to grow up knowing that a HUGE number of people are praying for them.
  • My job, which lets me be at home so I can be here for all the milestones and little upsets and happy visits to my study.
I hope, this season, that you have as much to be thankful for as I do. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pure joy

I'm going to be really honest here. The reason I haven't blogged a ton lately is, well... things are too great. I feel like a blog post consisting entirely of "wow, these kids are awesome and totally, completely perfect" isn't very interesting and just comes across as bragging. On the other hand, the real intended audience of this blog is... them. And you know what? I want them to know, when they're old enough to read, how amazing I think they are and always have been.

Yep. Pretty great.

One of the things I hear a lot is, "Oh, my kids/grandkids/nephews/friend's kids are twins - it does get better!" And I don't want to be smug or rude, but my truthful answer to that would be, "If it gets even better than this, I think the world might explode from too much wonderful."

We've gotten past the stage of random inconsolable crying - I sure wished, during that time, that babies could talk! It does seem like they've gotten better at communicating - mostly by diving for whatever it is they want. When they're tired, they've made up their own proto-sign language, and they put their hands behind their heads. Occasionally that works for "all done" too - Eleanor does it sometimes when she's eating and doesn't want any more.

Not the "sleepy" sign.

Steven, on the other hand, would never use it for that purpose, because he's never done eating. That boy loves his food - his only problem with solid food is that it doesn't come as fast and as seamlessly as his milk does. For the most part, Eleanor can take or leave purees - she'll try a bite or two, then lose interest.

Little boys and "see food." Starts early.

Eleanor is more interested in Doing It Herself. She wants real food, and she wants to do it all by herself. She really wanted a corn dog at the State Fair a few weeks ago, and today during lunch, she nearly got a mouthful of eggs and salsa when she attacked my dad's taco. She did get a piece of tortilla, which she gnawed at enthusiastically. I found some little rice cracker things that she likes, because they're easy to gum and dissolve in her mouth, but she can hold them herself - she needs some practice to be able to pick up smaller bits of food.

They're just entirely too much fun, really. Steven is the happiest baby, and wants to let you know it - he goes from zero to SHRIEK WITH JOY in about 2 seconds. He finds lots of things funny - he's ticklish, and loves the anticipation of a tickle attack coming; he thinks the "so big" game and mouth noises like clicks and raspberries are entirely hilarious; and he thinks being startled is the best thing ever.

Pure joy.
Eleanor is our acrobat - she loves to roll and scoot around, and is always using whatever's around her to move where she wants to go. We have a hard time keeping her in one place - diaper changes have become more like eel-wrestling matches, as we try to get her out of and into a diaper while she tries to roll off the table, or eat her toes, or (inevitably, every time) kick her feet right into the mess she just made. I have a feeling it's going to be a lifelong workout keeping up with her!

"This is how I ride, okay?"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Halloween! Steven and Eleanor got to visit Grandpa this morning, for the big (HUGE) Halloween party at his work. In fact, it's too big to be rightly called a "party" - more like a festival. They had a lot of fun - we encountered a very hyper, yelling Mad Hatter in one of the shows, and Steven got so excited that - hey! People are yelling in this one! - that he started yelling back. It was great fun (well, until the Hatter got even more excited and scared him - but it was fun till then!).

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Steven went as Waldo, and Eleanor went as Carmen Sandiego. Her little trenchcoat is so cute!

I got some video of a very happy Waldo:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Morning play

Life has been pretty uneventful around here - lots of playing, trying new foods, meeting new friends, and developing new skills. Eleanor is getting the hang of sleeping in her crib (vs. her rock-n-play), so we're getting ready to start Steven sleeping in his crib too. This morning, Eleanor woke up cheerful and ready to play, while Steven... well, he sort of woke up, I guess...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I took the babies to a pumpkin patch this afternoon for some 6-month photos. Can you believe they're 6 months old already? They're both growing so fast.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Eleanor is now 24 inches long, and weighs 14 pounds exactly. She's still very thoughtful, but is starting to make more sweet little noises, and she loves to play. She figured out last week how to roll from her back to her stomach, and now she's rolling all over the place. She's our little monkey - she'll grab on to anything around her to help her get to where she wants to be. She's sleeping in a crib now, instead of her rock-n-play, because she started climbing so much, we were afraid she'd climb right out.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Steven is still a little ham - he loves to talk and laugh and smile at anyone who looks at him. He's 25 inches long, and weighs 14 pounds, 11 ounces - they're both officially "on the charts" for their age now! They're catching up fast. He's really testing out his voice these days - his favorite thing to do is to hold his hands over his head and try out all different pitches of yells and screeches and squawks. 

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

They're both getting so good at sitting up - not quite on their own yet, but definitely close! They love to stand up, holding someone's hands, and they both love to laugh and chatter with each other. 

They're more fun every day - I love seeing their little personalities develop, and it's so great to see them enjoying each other.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

She showed me!


I guess all I had to do was post about how she doesn't do video, and she decided to show me just how impressive she can be. I was taking a video of her talking to herself while she played, and she rolled over!

And just for fun, Steven cracking up:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My non-video-documented child

I've noticed that I tend to post more videos of Steven than of Eleanor. I'll show you why:

You've just watched pretty much every video I've taken of Eleanor. She's savvy to the camera. Right before this, she was talking and laughing and absolutely cracking me up. You can probably tell I was holding the camera down, trying to keep her from noticing, but no dice - as soon as it went on, I got 20 seconds of complete deadpan. As soon as it went off? Right back to full chatterbox mode. She doesn't seem to mind still photos at all - I don't know how she knows the difference.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Steven didn't feel like napping when Eleanor did today, so instead he told her a story. I caught a minute in the middle of it:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Food, Glorious Food!

This one's for the grandparents, mostly - first, an older video that we just got around to uploading, of Steven's first attempt at cereal (he likes it a LOT now... not so much then):

And then a video from last night, of both babies' first taste of real food - green beans and sweet potatoes. Eleanor was actually in a really bad mood, so we weren't going to try it with her - that's usually a recipe for a giant mess and nothing ingested. But she got fascinated watching Steven eating, so I gave her a taste when he was done, and she loved it. At this point, he's a big fan of cereal but still skeptical about veggies, and she has little to no interest in cereal, but loves the more colorful stuff.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sweet Naptime Conversation

After lunch today, Steven and Eleanor decided they weren't quite ready to sleep yet, and wanted to tell me all about it...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun!

It's funny - I have a book about babies that includes chapters about every age and what it's like. The four-month chapter started out talking about how four months is the "magic age" where babies are smiling and interacting but still staying where you put them. And it was true - that fourth month was great!

But then the fifth-month chapter starts out by saying, basically, you ain't seen nothing yet. You thought last month was fun? Well, now you're in for a treat.

And boy, we're they right. Because now? Now we have laughing. And not just occasional random maybe-about-to-cry laughing, but real sense-of-humor laughing. And these little personalities are just coming out all over the place.

Steven, our little Mr. Drama from day 1, is all extremes. You get him happy, and he'll sit there and laugh with you till your sides hurt.

In fact, right now he's sitting on my lap helping me type this at 10pm, because he decided, an hour after we put him to bed, that he'd rather play. So he screamed and yelled till we got him, and then was immediately all smiles and giggles.

Eleanor is more reserved - it takes more to make her smile, but when she does, it absolutely lights up the room. She bestows a laugh like a gift, and it's really something to treasure. You'll do anything in the world to keep it going.

People always tell me, "It gets better." And it's usually in a pitying/sympathetic tone of voice, and usually accompanies, "You really have your hands full." But one dad at a neighboring table at a restaurant said it best: "Every day is even better than the last." So far, he's right. And I hope my kids reply as his daughter, about 7, did: "Da-a-ad, you always say that."

Friday, September 7, 2012


Because my mom suggested it, I thought I'd make a post as a repository of the silly comments we get when we're out shopping or at the library or wherever.

The most common, of course, is, "Oh, are they twins?" No, I just gestated the other one REALLY fast.

Today's comment, inspiring the blog post: "Aw, twins! Is the girl smarter?"

Here's what Steven has to say about that:

Added 10/14:

My new favorite silliness: when someone's been talking to me, and Steven's been chattering a mile a minute the whole time we've been talking, while Eleanor's been sitting silently, watching. Invariably, Eleanor will make one small noise, and they'll turn to me and say, "Oh, she's sure going to talk your ear off, isn't she? Girls always do."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We're entering a really fun stage, where both babies are getting more and more interested in the world around them, and reacting in really entertaining ways.

I posted this video to Facebook yesterday - I've been setting them on the play mat regularly for a while, and usually they'll kick and flail just because it's what they do, but they've started actually grabbing for toys intentionally, and it seems like they're actually having fun doing it.

They've also started discovering their hands - Steven's pretty much given up the pacifier, because he seems to be pretty sure there's something awesome he can do with his thumb, but he can't quite figure out yet how to get it out of his fist. He spends a LOT of time trying, though.

My favorite thing right now is the combination of those two things. Steven really enjoys sitting in his jumper/exerciser, because it's tall enough to help him sit upright, and he can see what's going on in the back yard. Yesterday he started eyeing the toys surrounding the seat, and today, after I'd put him in it, I heard a sort of rattling thud.

I looked over, and he'd apparently toppled over forward, bumping a rattle with his head. I started to get up to help him, but he wiggled himself back upright and... did it again.

His arms were sort of tucked down beside him, so I thought maybe he couldn't get them out - I pulled them out, and he waved his hands at me, looked around at the toys around him, tucked his arms back down, and did another nosedive for the rattle.

His determination is cracking me up - he hasn't quite figured out what arms and hands are for yet, but he sees the toys and desperately wants to play with them, so he puts the arms where they can't get in the way, and wills himself to play with the toy in front of him.

I love my Jedi baby.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I've had a post started for something like 2 weeks now, and finally decided to let it sit and move on to something else.

I can't really think of much else to say, though - things are going well, we're hitting our stride in terms of routine (which includes a Baby Witching Hour mid-morning, where everybody gets a little crazy, but I can usually head that off with a car trip somewhere), they're both getting more and more smiley and social (to a point - Steven can be shy in crowds), and we're learning who prefers which toys. Eleanor likes the play mat, where she's getting better and better at grabbing the toys over her head, and Steven loves the exerciser/jumper thing. He's way too small to actually jump - his feet are a good 6 inches off the ground even at the lowest setting and he can't reach the toys yet - but it's deep enough that he gets enough support to be able to sit up and look around. He loves it when I set it up facing the window, so he can watch what's going on in the back yard, and I got my first almost-laugh out of him the first time I made it bounce.

A little roundup of my favorite pictures lately:

Love that lone sock!

Friday, June 22, 2012


If you're under the impression, from this blog and Twitter/Facebook, that my children are practically perfect in every way...

That impression is entirely correct.

I had a LOT of people, before we ever had kids and after we found out we were having twins, want to give me the "inside scoop" on parenthood and fill me in on their view of the reality of it.

"They keep you up all night," they said. "You won't get a decent night's sleep till they go to college."

"You'll never have a minute to yourself," they said. "They always want something."

"I wouldn't want to do baby boot camp again - those first few weeks were the most miserable of my life."

Honestly, though, because of all the warnings I got before, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Surely there will come some point of exhaustion or frustration where I'll say, "Ah, I understand what those people were talking about."

But the truth is, while there have been moments of frustration (if you won't sleep without the pacifier, will you stop spitting it out?) and some tears*, the last 11 weeks have been SO. MUCH. FUN.

I do know that we've been extremely fortunate to have very easygoing, flexible babies - we haven't had any big sleep problems or colic. I know a lot of the doom-and-gloom-sayers who gave me the awful predictions did have a lot of difficulty.

But I think it's worth putting out there - it's not all boot camp and sleepless nights. It's delight in the emergence of brand new personalities:

It's not being able to take your eyes off them as they sleep

and sleep

and sleep:

And then those fun days when they start to be awake more and more:

It's the precious details that you want to remember forever:

It's goofy hair and graceful hands:

It's too-big pajamas:

And great big eyes:

There's so much to be ridiculously grateful for and to enjoy, and I hope that I never, ever lose sight of that.

*Y'all, breastfeeding may be natural, but it's MOST DEFINITELY not easy. This one was the opposite of the message I heard beforehand - it's not painless, and it really sucks for a while, until it doesn't any more. But if you stick it out, eventually you'll get to the not-sucking-any-more stage. Except for the literal kind of sucking. Because that's kind of what it's all about.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekend Photo Fun

My mom and I took the babies last weekend to take some pictures - it was a lot of fun! It was pretty warm out, so we looked for shady spots, and we took along a blanket as a background and some big pillows to lay the babies on (mom got some funny looks carrying those back and forth through the shopping area from the car...). Some of my favorites:


She slept the whole time

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baby things I like

I haven't really been in this game long enough to know much, or to have used many different types of any given product, so this may be an ever-evolving list. But for now, I thought I'd make a list of things we're finding we can't live without, or particular versions/brands of common products that we prefer. For future reference, or in case anyone reading is having a baby and wants to compare lists. (The main one that I've been referencing is Amalah's Ultimate Master List.)

Can't live without:
  • SwaddleMe blankets - people kept telling us how awesome swaddling is, and we didn't really get it for the first few weeks, but now we're learning... the babies sleep SO much better when they're swaddled. I'd also love to try the HALO SleepSack Swaddle - we have a sleeveless one that Eleanor likes a lot, and I think the swaddle version would work well also.

  • Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper - these things are awesome. We'll be moving them to their crib(s) (one or separate, not sure yet, depending on how they sleep together/separate) once they're sleeping through the night, but for now, they sleep in these, and they love them. The incline helps with not spitting up, and they're very cozy and portable. We can move them around the room, closer/further from the bed, downstairs if we need to move them while they're napping - it's great.

  • Medela Freestyle Breast Pump - I really don't think I'd be able to have twins exclusively on breastmilk without a really good pump, and this is a really good pump. It comes with everything you need (it doesn't have a car adaptor, but I've found that charging it during the longest between-feedings time at night is more than sufficient for the whole next day), all in a generously sized and discreet black tote bag. The main criticism I read when I was researching which pump to get was that the motor wasn't powerful enough, but I've found it to be completely fine, and I don't even use any settings more powerful than the default. (No photo of us using this one, because... yeah.)
  • Hands Free Pumping Bra - I would go crazy pumping if I didn't have this. The Freestyle comes with a hands-free setup, but it's a tad more complicated (but also more portable), so I just leave it in the bag to use when I'm out and about. This one is great for home.
  • Diaper Caddy - I love this particular one, because it's attractive and plenty large enough to hold enough diaper stuff for twins. I typically restock diapers in the morning and at night, and keep a big box of wipes in the middle; disposable changing pads in one pocket (swiped from the hospital - fantastic for not having to wash the changing pad covers so often... just replace the disposables when they get dirty); and diaper cream, a thermometer, and a nasal aspirator in another pocket. Pretty much everything we need for anything non-feeding-related.
  • Watering can. Totally not kidding on this one. Sure, you could buy a fancy battery-powered shower system that breaks down the second time you use it. Or you could startle the relaxed-from-the-warm-water baby with a cup poured over his or her head, which has to be refilled while the baby sits there freezing. Or? You could use an inexpensive watering can to hold plenty of warm water and provide a gentle, controllable shower to rinse them off in seconds. We love our watering can. It makes bath time SO MUCH EASIER.
(I figured a cute bathtime picture would be much more appreciated than a picture of a watering can. You know what a watering can looks like.)

  • Contour Memory Foam Pillow - This was a chance discovery. I already had one that I use as a huggy pillow, and one night right after we brought them home from the hospital, one of us was looking for someplace safe to set a baby down on the bed, and used the pillow - just laid the baby in the "valley." It's actually perfect - it keeps them raised a bit off the bed, they can't roll off (at least not yet) because of the raised sides, it's nice and firm - no worries about the suffocation risk of putting them on soft pillows/blankets, and makes a nice spot for them to hang out on the bed with us. Love it.
  • Maya Wrap Baby Sling - I actually made one of these (the key is to order the right size rings - I used SlingRings.com) using the sewing instructions from their website - it was very easy. I plan on making several in different fabrics - the babies love it, and I end up wearing them around the house, shopping, at church, wherever. (Bad picture to follow...) I also have a Moby Wrap - it's a little more complicated to put on, but really comfortable and we like it a lot.

Things we like/prefer:

  • Burt's Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment - This diaper cream works really well, and smells REALLY good (like nice lavender, not fakey baby powder), but be sure to wash your hands really well after putting it on, and maybe use a diaper cover/bloomers, because we've had a couple of issues with nasty tasting pacifiers (them)/food (me) just from holding a baby after I put it on.
  • Pampers Swaddlers - we do plan on using cloth diapers, but we didn't want to invest in newborn sizes since they won't be used as long, so we're using disposables until they both fit into the cloth diapers we have (because trying to do one in disposables and one in cloth would be a nightmare), and these fit really well. And, knock wood, we haven't had a big blowout yet.
  • Dr. Brown's Bottles - This is sort of on the list by default, because we haven't tried anything else, and I think we're actually not using them entirely as intended (turns out, a piece I thought was just packaging and threw away when I opened them is supposed to be used), but they work fine and we haven't had any problems, and I like that they're BPA-free. They are kind of ridiculously complicated for bottles, though.
  • Little Noses Stuffy Nose Kit - Almost forgot this one - the aspirator in this kit (I haven't found it on its own, but I'd like to have another one or two to keep around the house if I do) is so much better than the blue bulb ones. Seriously. I cannot even tell you. Just trust me.
I'm sure this list will expand as they get older, but for now, these are the things we've found really useful and necessary in these first couple of months.