Monday, May 25, 2015

Life with Twins at 14 Months

Life with twins is finally, dare I say it, easy. Yup, you heard it. It's easy having two babies the same age. The boys are up and moving around on their own and they can communicate their wants and needs (to a certain extent) to me. The days, more often than not, go by quickly - filled with new adventures and fun - and you can practically see the boys learning something new every day. This is a fun age and I love it!

The stresses, questions and concerns about being a first time mom with newborns seem to be so long gone, although it was really only months ago. Now I have to start considering homeschooling programs, extracurricular activities and socialization for these practically already adult kids. (How young is too young for a kid to appreciate a guinea pig???) I might be getting a little ahead of myself, but the last 14 months have gone by so quickly that it may only feel like a couple of days before the boys are 14 years old.

Our Schedule:
7 a.m. - Wake up
7:30 a.m. - Milk sippy cups, fruit loops and watching Jungle Junction on the Disney channel... that show is so cute!
9 a.m. - Breakfast
11 a.m. - Nap #1
1:30 p.m. - Lunch
3:15 p.m. - Nap #2 - this is a cat nap because we are turning into toddlers!
5 p.m. - Dinner
7 p.m. - Bath, pajamas, milk sippy cup and bedtime snack (1/2 a banana)
7:30 - BED!

There's so much flexibility in their schedule now that we're not tied to an every 3 hour rotation. But this is generally how it goes down still. I think toddlers thrive on consistency. And I know I thrive on consistency --- errr, well, I technically thrive on productivity. But it's hard being productive at home with toddlers. So consistency it is. Yes, I thrive on consistency. So it works for all 3 of us.

Where we are now: 
  • We are masters at finding something Mom needs to baby-proof on a daily basis. Our most recent adventures include trying to turn door knobs and locks.
  • We respond to commands such as "Bring me your shoes." Sometimes they match, sometimes they don't. 
  • They are excellent little eaters, most days! Favorite foods currently include: sweet potatoes, blueberries and strawberries.
  • I lost count of the number of teeth... but Oliver has at least one molar in there now!
  • We have most of our consonants figured out, we just haven't put together any words yet. 
Here's what we've been up to: 

We started taking daily nature walks

As well as trips to the park weekly

Oliver looks like he has made a horrible mistake

Emmett will pick ALL THE DANDELIONS

We got our first hair cuts!

So we look just like Mr. Dad

We went to the Baltimore Zoo and saw the giraffes!

First zoo trip and we were perfect angels

We sleep just like Mom!

Mom and Dad took us to Chick-fil-a for the first time...

...we loved it!
We learned to stack things - and we love to play with anything. Bonus points if it's not a baby toy!

We made our first pieces of art work... Mom had to keep us from eating the crayons though.

And we got in the swimmie pool for the first time!
Do they ever stop growing up so fast? They're in 18 month sized clothing and size 6 shoes already. I'm not going to be able to clothe them anymore if they continue to grow at this rate!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Homemade Pouches: Hidden Veggies

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If you don't have one of these Infantino Squeeze Stations to make your own fruit and veggie filled pouches at home, then you should stop reading this now. Go to Amazon. Buy a station and don't forget a 50ct pack of the pouches (you'll want them!) Wait for it to be delivered. Then hit up the grocery store!

These pouches are good for babies who are just starting out on solids because you can make them yourself and know exactly what fruit or veggie you are serving them. Plus, Infantino has these cute little spoon attachments so you can feed baby from a spoon, even on the go.

The boys are 14 months now and we have been experimenting with homemade pouch flavors since I received this as a Christmas present (Thanks T's!) I ALWAYS always always always throw a vegetable into these flavorful combinations... because, why not?

I make a huge batch about once a month or so. And it doesn't take much time. You don't have to cook these fruits or veggies before you puree them. It's no different than making a ton of "green smoothies" ... but they don't all have to be green. I end up using whatever leftover fresh fruits and veggies I have "in stock", along with frozen fruits and veggies, and add milk, yogurt, almond milk, applesauce, oatmeal... Whatever!

 Here's what my pouch making station consists of:
  • all fresh fruits and veggies I want to use up
  • half used bags of frozen fruits and veggies I want to get rid of
  • pouch making station and pouches
  • food processor, puree-er, blender
  • yogurt, milk, applesauce, juice
  • towels to cover surfaces because I'm a mess in the kitchen

In about 20 minutes or so I made a full freezer shelf-full (very accurate measurement, I know) of pouches in about 5 different flavor combinations. Here are a couple of the recipes I made today:
(Each "recipe" makes about 5 pouches worth of puree, so multiply as needed!)
  • Green pouch (think green smoothie)
    •  Frozen spinach, 1 whole banana, almond milk, spoonful of Greek yogurt and a handful of frozen mango, 1/2 cup frozen sliced zucchini
  • Purple pouch (very berry smoothie)
    • 1 cup mixed frozen berries (cherries, raspberries and blueberries), almond milk, 1 whole banana, spoonful of Greek yogurt, 1 cup of frozen sliced zucchini
  • Yellow/orange-y pouch (Pumpkin pie smoothie)
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 whole banana, 1 cup applesauce, almond milk, 1 spoon of Greek yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 cup chickpeas
Have you ever tried making your own pouch foods? Do you know how much money you could save versus buying the pre-made pouches?


Friday, May 1, 2015

I'm an introvert. And a mom. And it's hard.

Being an introvert is hard on you. Being a parent is hard on you. Being an introverted parent is exceptionally difficult and exhausting. I've always been an introvert and I've always known it. It's never really been a "problem" for me until I became a mom. If there is one thing I wish people could understand about me, as an introvert, it would be that I am NOT anti-social (although I may tell you otherwise if I am trying to get out of a social/community/volunteer type event). I just despise small talk (or women chatter) and social events make me uncomfortable. All of these introvert tendencies are exacerbated when you have small children and I was not prepared for it.

1. You are touched way more often than you want. I don't know any mom who could possibly say that they cuddle their children too much. But by the end of the day, I feel as though I legitimately have cuddled my children too much. Looking back through my day, there are very few moments where a small person is not sleeping on me, clinging to my leg and whining for Cheerios, or sitting on my lap reading "That's Not My Dinosaur" for the nineteenth time. By the time the boys are in bed, the last thing I want is anyone or anything (I'm looking at you, cats.) trying to get more cuddles out of me. I have been touched-out and need time to recharge. Away. From. Everyone. 

2. You will never ever ever ever be alone again. You're with your kids all day. Or you're at work and come home to your kids. Or you're with your kids and husband on the weekends. The only time I am truly alone anymore is on my drive to and from work. I have been known to volunteer to go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. On a Saturday morning. Just to be somewhere I can blend into the crowd and not have to talk to anyone for an hour.

3. You will cherish the day your babies are not "new" anymore. When you have a baby, people come out of the woodwork and start appearing on your doorstep requesting to see baby. When you have 2 babies, the number of people who want to visit is overwhelming. Some of these people will bring food or help around the house and then leave after a short visit. A good number of these people will set up camp in your house and require constant entertainment for THE.WHOLE.DAMN.DAY. While hogging your babies. Don't think you can steal away with your babies and take a nap, either. They will still be there when you get up (probably helped themselves to some of your food stash and left dirty dishes in the sink as well) and then it will be round two of small talk and entertaining in your own home, which is supposed to be your haven and safe place! Babies do expire - it seems around the 12-week mark - and become old news (yay!).

4. Your phone rings way too much. Introverts and phone calls go together like peanut butter and green beans. Once I became a parent, I realized my phone was ringing a ton more than it used to. I used to be able to go weeks (not exaggerating) without a phone call and now I get several a week. It doesn't sound like a lot, but when the sound of your phone ringing causes a moment of panic and a rise in blood pressure as you decide whether or not to risk answering it... it's just exhausting. Please, for the love of God, just text me or e-mail me. And even then, don't expect a response from me right away. Or even same day. It's not happening unless you're really special.

I'm an introvert. And a mom. And it's hard. 

What do you think?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Toddler Meals: Part 2

The twins are eating us out of house and home already - and they're only 1 year old! It seems like I feed them 20 times a day now that they are eating solids (minus one bottle at bedtime) because they snack... all. the. time. We're trying to get out of that habit, though. 

Currently they wake up at 7 a.m. and have a 10 ounce sippy cup of whole milk and a handful of Cheerios. At 9 a.m. we eat a real breakfast - this is their biggest meal of the day... I swear I can't feed them enough in the morning! They eat a snack (Goldfish, Cheerios, share a pouch) at noon and real lunch at 1:30. Sometimes they need a snack while I'm cooking dinner... heck, even I like to snack while I'm cooking dinner. Dinner is at 5 p.m. and their bedtime snack is at 7:30 p.m.

Like I said, it seems like feeding them is an all day long event. I make as much of their food and pouches as I have time to, and keep very few processed foods in the house - mostly snacks like Goldfish and chicken nuggets (because, Andy.) Everything that I make for them or that I make for dinner is doubled and we eat every last bit of the leftovers! Making everything in bulk saves me a lot of time... less cooking, fewer dishes to clean.

Here's a sample of what they've been eating recently!

Leftover penne with meat sauce, sweet potato fried, peaches and pears

Leftover chicken alfredo, sweet potato fries, applesauce with pumpkin pie spice

Fish sticks with ketchup, black beans and peaches

Mac & cheese (boxed) with steamed veggies, hotdog (processed), tater tots (processed) and mixed fruits. Not my best meal!

Leftover penne with meat sauce, string cheese, green beans and peaches

Spinach stuffed grilled cheese sandwich, spinach and cheddar omelette slices and roasted sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are a huge hit in this house! Whether it is pureed in a pouch, mixed with yogurt and pumpkin pie spice, in fry form or baked... they'll eat it! And they'll eat it first!

Ways I like to sneak extra fruits and veggies into food:
  • Pancakes - add pureed banana, carrot, avocado, blueberries, pumpkin, etc
  • Omelettes - add anything! A little bit of cheese with almost any vegetable
  • Sandwiches - grilled cheese with spinach, butternut squash, etc. 
  • Pasta sauce - puree carrot, celery, onion, green or red peppers and add it to your sauce along with all of the tomato-y goodness
  • Oatmeal - toss in any fruit
  • Pouches - I make all of my pouch foods except for the emergency stash I keep in the diaper bag (doesn't have to be refrigerated) and blend yogurt, applesauce, and/or oatmeal with ANY fruit or vegetable. My kids love any of their various colored "smoothies!"