Sunday, December 28, 2014

Life with Twins at 9 Months

Practicing ALL THE SKILLS - Standing, cruising, climbing...

The boys have grown 9 inches in the last month and a half! Not really. But it sure does seem like it! They look like tiny little adults and even though they aren't quite toddlers yet, they just don't seem like "infants" anymore. Our schedule is becoming significantly more flexible now that the boys are able to stay awake for longer periods of time and can eat a larger variety of foods. We're down to 2 naps a day (sometimes I can only squeak one out of them!) and sleeping through the night on a regular basis. New moms of twins: YOU WILL GET THERE. The first few months seemed rough, but now it's a breeze and (dare I say it?) just as easy as having a singleton.

Our Schedule:
7 a.m. - Wake up
8 a.m. - First bottle
9 a.m. - Breakfast of purees
9:30 a.m. - Nap
11 a.m. - Bottle #2
1:30 p.m. - Lunch of finger foods or purees
2 p.m. - Bottle #3 and Nap #2
5 p.m. - Daaaa gets home from work and bottle #4
6:30 p.m. - Dinner of purees
6:45 p.m. - Bath time
7:15 p.m. - Bedtime bottle and sleep!

Looks simple enough, right? Successfully executing this schedule is about akin to pulling off a bank robbery. So.many.things can go wrong. So many.

Usually, we're pretty close to schedule though and life is good. Only a handful of times have I wanted to run out the door to the closest Starbucks when Andy got home from work.

Nutritious lunch of broccoli, cheese, carrots and Cheerio's
Where we are now:
  • We have 2 bottom teeth, each!
  • We can pull up to standing
  • We cruise along furniture and toys
  • We crawl at lightning speed
  • We can stand without holding on to anything for small periods of time
  • We are starting to communicate our wants/needs
  • We can copy some noises that you make

We saw snow for the first time!
What we're working on: 
  • Making syllable sounds - Emmett just started with the "da-da-da's" but nothing for Oliver yet
  • Playing peekaboo, pat-a-cake and clapping
  • Walking - we're so close!
  • Feeding ourselves table food
  • Using sippy cups
  • Climbing stairs/people/toys
And we graduated to "big boy" pajamas... with feets! 
 Before I know it, I'll have to start planning their FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY already! [insert me hyperventilating here!]

Thanks for stopping by and checking out what the boys are up to this month... see ya next time!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Candy Christmas Trees

"I have SO MUCH FREE TIME!" - said no twin mom ever. Well, I don't have much "free" time (where I'm not on call at a moment's notice) but I do have a fair amount of down time throughout the day... think nap time, when the boys are feeding themselves or playing quietly. So what's a person to do with a whole day at home? Well, I sing a lot. I have semi-one-way conversations with the boys. I crawl around on the floor until my knees are bruised and my back hurts like the Dickens. In between all of that, I do like to do something for me. Whether it's making a nice lunch, sitting on the couch in peace and quiet for 20 minutes, or making something crafty - I need something to keep me sane.

I stumbled upon this idea on, you guessed it, Pinterest. And it looked so easy that I didn't even open the link to the blog. I just went off of what I saw in the picture. I didn't have any of the ingredients or utensils at home already, so we had to make a trip to Target. After my last few escapades to Target, Andy has official banned me from going there alone. I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF. It's freaking Turrrget!

What do you need?
  • Wax paper
  • Pretzel rods
  • Green candy melts
  • Plastic Ziploc bag or pastry bag (is that what they're called?)
  • Mini M&M's
  • Festive sprinkles (optional) 
  • Plastic goodie bags (optional)
What do you do?

1. Cover your counter top in wax paper and lay out your pretzel rods, spacing them several inches from each other. 

2. Melt candy melts over a double boiler and then transfer to plastic bag. Cut a very small corner of the plastic bag.

3. Beginning at the top of the pretzel rod, slowly squeeze the candy out of the bag, gradually making a tree shape as you go. Top with M&Ms or sprinkles and let cool completely.

4. I filled (3 per bag is comfortable) little plastic goodie bags with these treats to give to people along with their Christmas presents. We also handed some out at the pediatrician's office and I will be taking a tray to work with me.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Name this baby food!

I am in love with my Crock-pot since the boys made their appearance. I use it at least once a week, maybe more when I'm feeling lazy OR when I want to make a huge batch of delicious, nutritious, homemade baby food. That happens to be what I was using my Crock-pot for today and I would like to note, created this recipe all on my own! Using a Crock-pot isn't exactly neuroscience so I guess it's not that big of an achievement. But I'm still pretty proud of myself.

Chicken, sweet potato, red pepper, apple, brown rice puree.

That's quite a mouthful. Someone come up with a creative name for this deluxe combo! Leave a comment with your suggestion... k thanks!

  • 1 lb thawed chicken breast in chunks
  • 3 lb sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large, sweet apple, in chunks/slices
  • 2 red peppers in chunks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice (do not add to Crock-pot)
  • Optional seasonings - small amount of salt, black pepper, cumin, garlic, Caribbean Jerk seasoning, go crazy! ... don't really go crazy, though. This is still baby food. 

Throw all ingredients, minus the brown rice, into the Crock-pot and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Once everything is cooked thoroughly, puree in batches, adding some of the brown rice. Store in airtight containers for 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze.

Optional: Once you have made smaller batches of this food, try combining new spices that your baby may not have tried yet. We will be adding cumin, black pepper and Caribbean Jerk seasoning in small amounts to see if the boys like spice!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins

Don't forget to follow Oh.em.gee it's Nikkie on Facebook!

I am a huge fan of sleep. I would choose to sleep over pretty much anything else, given the choice. I am also a huge fan of my babies sleeping because that means downtime (and sleep!) for me! One thing I definitely wanted to make sure we had down by the time the boys were a few months old was healthy sleep habits. I am a member of an online message board community so that I can keep up to date on current baby topics and see what milestones the boys should be hitting along with other babies who are the same age - and I am always beyond shocked to see the number of parents who do not know what healthy sleep habits for theirs babies are.

Beyond shocked might be a bit of an understatement --- I frequently call Andy over to show him a post that goes something like this... "My 8 month old won't sleep for more than an hour at a time and we are still getting up 6-8 times a night to nurse! Help! Also, he doesn't go to sleep until 10 p.m. and he sleeps in a co-sleeper and my husband snores really loudly and everyone is a light sleeper!" These people usually also note that every time baby wakes up, they nurse him back to sleep and put him in a food coma, rock/shush/pat for 30 minutes and then by the time that whole process is done, baby is ready to wake up again! I just.can't.imagine.

Here are a few things I implemented early to make sure that we were on the right track as far as healthy sleep habits go. Bonus: If you instill these habits early enough, you may not have to resort to any sort of extreme sleep training, such as the cry-it-out or Ferber method which can be harsh on both baby and parents alike. SWEET!

1. Babies need an early bed time. WAY earlier than I initially thought. We start our bedtime routine at 7 p.m. and everyone (well, the babies...) is asleep by 7:30 p.m. This is even a bit later than recommended by most sleep coaches and experts but it's what works for our family. Keeping the boys up any later than that and we risk them becoming over-tired (read: not going to sleep easily and/or waking up throughout the night.)

2. Each baby goes in his crib. Every night. Every time. Forever. I cannot stress this one enough, although I know it is a very controversial topic - especially for those practicing attachment parenting. Yes, putting a 5 pound baby in a large, empty, cold crib by himself is sad and scary... but, for our babies at least, it was the best for them. They learned to sleep in their cribs alone from night one and they do not get to come to bed with us if they wake up in the middle of the night. This is where comfort objects come into play - Wubbanubs, swaddling, small stuffed animals or loveys. Anything baby can grab in the middle of the night for comfort that is size and age appropriate.

3. The crib goes in the nursery. Not in your room. Not in the living room while you sleep on the couch for the first year of your life. Not in the nursery BUT you have an air mattress in there and sleep right next to the crib at night. That's not healthy or comfortable for you (or your relationship with your husband, I'll go ahead and assume!) Babies tend to be light sleepers and mothers who have babies in the same room tend to be even more of a light sleeper. Happy, healthy, well-rested mom = happy, healthy baby.

4. Teach baby to fall asleep on his own. Nursing/feeding to sleep is tempting. Rocking a baby to sleep multiple times a night is just something new moms do. But after a few months, baby needs to learn to fall asleep on his own. Most infants cannot soothe themselves to sleep until after 4 months old, so you'll need to tough it out until then. Make sure you have a solid bedtime routine established. Bath, dry nighttime diaper (super important!), swaddling or sleep sack, white noise - all of those are sleep cues that let your baby know it is nighttime, not nap time!

One of the best tips I have heard is to always put your baby down drowsy, but awake. They will learn to fall asleep on their own. If they fall asleep eating, they will need to eat every time they wake up in order to go back to sleep. Same goes for pacifiers. A well rested baby wakes up super happy in the morning... the proof is in the smiles!

Do you have any questions about gentle sleep training methods for twins or trying to establish healthy sleep habits? I'm not an expert, but I do have 8 months of experience behind me now and would love to help you work through any questions you may have!

Disclaimer: I am not an expert or medical professional of any kind. AAP recommendations suggest that having baby's crib in the same room as mom/dad may help lower the risk of SIDS. My photos and experiences do not reflect practicing perfect AAP recommendations, but it is what works for our family. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - Slow Cooker Corn and Jalapeño Dip

This recipe was a hit at a pot-luck party we went to a few months back... I made a few changes, of course, but feel free to follow the original recipe found here on Damn Delicious - along with some more beautiful photos! Oh, how I long to be able to photograph food. Or anything, really!

Slow Cooker Corn and Jalapeño Dip 

  • 4 slices bacon, diced (double this! And don't use turkey bacon like I originally did!)
  • 3 (15.25-ounces) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese 
    • Apparently they don't sell pre-shredded Pepper Jack cheese so you will either need to grate it yourself or substitute... think Monterrey/Colby Jack blend...
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed (I would only use 6 ounces next time!)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives (I left these out because I forgot to buy them. Feel free to add them to yours!)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.

2.Place corn (drain it really well, and maybe even dry it if you can so your dip is not as loose(?) is that how it should be described?) jalapeños, sour cream, Pepper Jack cheese and Parmesan into a slow cooker; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until well combined. Top with cream cheese.

3.Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours.

4.Uncover and stir until cream cheese is well combined. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and chives, if desired.

I served mine with tortilla chips, but I believe some people just ate it plain, as a side dish. Whatever floats your boat!

Monday, December 1, 2014

S'mores Cookies.

It took me 7 hours to bake one single, solitary, lousy (okay, seriously delicious... not lousy) batch of cookies today. And they were S'mores cookies, too, which means that I was DYING to have one. For 7 hours. How in the world did it take me 7 hours to bake one batch of cookies you ask? I live with short, loud, crazy people. Two of them to be precise. It's two of them to one of me. That's how this horrible story goes...

8 a.m. - The boys are up and happy. Playing downstairs. I decide it will be a FANTASTIC IDEA to make a batch of cookies. I find the recipe I have been drooling over on Pinterest for weeks. I read said recipe... most of the way through. Oh, you have to have softened butter? No biggie. I'll set the butter on the counter to soften while I play with the boys.

9 a.m. - Well, the boys need to take a nap now. Cookies will have to wait a few minutes. I put the boys down in their cribs and get in the shower. Exit shower 10 minutes later. WHY IS SOMEONE STILL AWAKE??? Turns out, not one, but two someones are still awake. I transport babies to their swings to try to squeeze a nap out of them. Desperation begins to set in...

10 a.m. - Everyone is finally sleeping (except me.) Let's make some cookies! I get out all of the ingredients and start measuring them into bowls. Apparently I have to mix the dough with an electric mixer. Can't do that while the boys are asleep! ...I can wait a few minutes until they get up, I guess.

11 a.m. - Ingredients are still sitting in bowls. I am playing with the boys, feeding them, changing their poopy diapers. I honestly forgot about it for a while. Oh! A moment to sneak away and mix the cookie batter!? SURE! Apparently the sound of the hand mixer is terrifying. Cue meltdown from both children. Attempt to comfort them. Fail. Oh well, they can't get any louder now - might as well just finish my mixing. Lovely -- the batter needs to sit in the fridge to "rest" for an hour. I wish I got to rest for an hour. Bitch cookie batter. Just rubbing it all up in my face.

2 p.m. - Yep, I forgot about the batter in the fridge. In the last few hours, I have changed more poopy diapers than a normal person does in a week. I have saved Oliver from having his eyes clawed out by Emmett. They saw snow for the first time through the glass sliding doors! I took 1,000 pictures of them being cute! I got distracted on Facebook with said pictures. Emmett refused nap time. Oliver refused nap time. I made up new words to "All About That Bass" and every Taylor Swift song that has come on Pandora.
S'mores cookies. From The Girl Who Ate Everything

2:30 p.m.  - Why do these kids need fed AGAIN?! Didn't we How is it that you have eaten 4 times since I last ate anything? On the plus side, while you eat, I can make cookies! Hold your own bottles, kids! Work for it and earn your keep!

3 p.m.  - Cookies are FINALLY in the oven. I licked the spatula. I ate 2 heaping tablespoons of raw cookie batter. I freaking deserve it. I still haven't had a cookie and it's been 7 hours.

So when Andy gets home today and asks me what I did all day (in the most loving of ways) I will tell him that I made a batch of cookies. And I will be damn proud of my batch of cookies. And I will eat them while staring at a sink full of dishes and a mess of toys all over the floor.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing.

Get the full recipe (and more beautiful photos!) here!
It's been a while since I posted about food! I still love food (more than most things in life) but I've realized I just generally suck at photographing food. If I posted the photos of recipes I've made over the last few months, chances are no one would want to try to recreate that. Sometimes my food looks like a hot mess (along with my kitchen) but the food is always good!

When I came across this recipe on Pinterest (insert your best *gasp* and shocked expression here) I may or may not have literally started salivating. This recipe appeared to be super easy and super dooper right up my alley.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because food. Yup, because FOOD. Christmas is all fine and dandy, spending time with family and celebrating the holidays and whatnot. But Christmas comes with strings attached - buying presents, wrapping, remembering to bring presents, etc. My birthday is great because it's all about me (and usually includes food from a restaurant of my choice.) BUT THANKSGIVING. It's all about that food, bout that food, food, food.

Now that I realize how easy it is to make this Crockpot knock-off Thanksgiving dinner, I can have my favorite food year round. It's a combination of perfectly cooked, shredded chicken (you could use turkey if you're into authentic turkey-day meals!) perfectly moist and seasoned stuffing and green bean casserole. Make up a batch of instant mashed potatoes or some sweet potatoes and you literally have Turkey Day food in less than 15 minutes.

Swing on over to this site for the full recipe and thank Jennifer from iSave A to Z for this perfect recipe!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dollar Store Christmas Crafts

 I've been PINSPIRED.
Follow me on Pinterest for more holiday ideas!

I'm probably one of the least crafty people I know. And one of the most thrifty. Today I'm going to show you the extent of my thrifty-craftiness with two copy-cat Pinterest crafts that I did for the upcoming holidays.

First up is a "wreath" type thing made out of cookie cutters. This is great because a) I need a wreath or SOMETHING to hang on our front door. It's the only outdoor decorating we do. And b) it was inexpensive. $3 to be exact.

Secondly, we have a Christmas cardholder so that my bulletin board and fridge don't get all cluttered (you know how I hate clutter) with cards. This year our first Christmas card came around November 7th. Over-achievers. So from whenever the first Christmas card arrives until after New Years, this cardholder will be hanging in my kitchen to prevent clutter.

What you need: $6.00 and about 10 minutes. And a dollar store near your house.
  • A hanging Christmas-y decoration, something more wide than tall and narrow to give you optimal ribbon hanging room
  • 2 rolls of coordinating ribbon
  • 2 packs of plastic cookie cutters (or about 10 cookie cutters)
  • 1 pack of clothespins
Things you should have at home already:
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Command Strips or something to hang your masterpieces with

Cookie Cutter "Wreath"

Assemble cookie cutters on a counter top into the shape you want (ideally a Christmas tree) but could be any shape you... star, candy cane, etc. Use your hot glue gun to glue cookie cutters together. Let cool for a minute. Tie ribbon around cookie cutters at the places where you glued or randomly as you see fit, whichever you prefer. Tie a large bow at the top. Hang on your front door using a wreath hanger or extra ribbon.

Pinterest version                                              Mine!
Christmas Card Holder

Cut several strips of ribbon that will be evenly spaced along the bottom of the hanging Christmas decoration you have picked out. Use hot glue gun to attach ribbon to the decoration. Let cool for a minute. Hang and use clothespins to attach card to holder. Bonus points if you have/make decorated clothespins.

Get this on Etsy for $35.00.... or DIY at home for $3.00!

What kinds of Christmas crafts and activities have you done? Are you super thrifty when it comes to house decor?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. Bet you didn't know that, right? Unless you were a NICU preemie parent --- I barely fit into that category. As a mom of babies who were, so thankfully, only in the NICU for a few hours for monitoring, I had no idea until just a few days ago.

I follow the Huffington Post for parents on Facebook and they have been doing a month-long series on Prematurity Awareness. Some of the articles are heartbreaking. Some are inspirational. All of them make me stop and think about how blessed I am that my babies made it SO CLOSE to full term and were healthy.

Here are some of the best articles I have been reading. Put your big girl panties on and grab a few tissues --- fair warning!

--- Meet 51 Babies Who Were Born Too Soon --- These are short stories with pictures of 51 preemies and where they are now. A good number of them were twins. Many of them were premature due to the mother developing preeclampsia (the reason I was induced) and a small number of them actually weighed more than my boys did at birth (amazing!)

--- I Am a Preemie Parent --- One woman's story about what it's like to be told your child is going to die. Every day. For months.

--- The Surprising Thing I Learned from Having a Micro-Preemie --- This baby spent 156 days in the NICU. Mom couldn't hold her baby for the first 30 days, but she has such a wonderful outlook on life!

--- 10 Things Not to Say to a NICU Mom ---  a little bit of a comedic reprieve. But seriously, don't say these things. You might not want to even say them to a mom of a full-term baby.

--- 20 Things Not to Say to a Mom of a Preemie --- in case the last list didn't get through to you, read this one. If you're going to say something, stop. Rethink. Then speak. These moms have enough to deal with as it is.

 --- 10 Incredible Gifts for NICU Families --- Do you know someone with a preemie or a NICU family? Wondering how you can reach out to them? Here are 10 great ideas to show and share some love with the family.

Just minutes old and already had an IV and monitors in place!

Just chillin' in the NICU with "Daaaa"

Were you a NICU family, or do you know a NICU family? I'd love to hear any stories you have as well as any tips for NICU parents!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Product Review - Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Puppy and Friends Learning Table

Follow Oh.em.gee it's Nikkie on Facebook for more product reviews!

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Puppy and Friends Learning Table

We received this toy as a gift right after the babies were born. To be quite honest, it's one of only a handful of toys that we have that requires batteries. Aside from the Exersaucers and one other toy, we have a household full of wooden or non-electronic toys. YAY US! Wooden toys have their place, and I love them as much as the boys do. But they really love this toy. It sings, beeps, lights up, makes all sorts of loud, obnoxious noises and just generally gets these 20 second-long children's songs stuck in your head.

When we first received it, I considered exchanging it for something that was not electronic. Ain't nobody got time for that though, so I begrudgingly gave in and opened it. It's pretty awesome.

For the first 8 or so weeks, it sat in the closet. But as soon as the boys started to develop their neck muscles and could hold their heads up a bit for tummy time, I collapsed it down on 2 legs so that they were able to see and occasionally touch a few buttons.
A few months old and learning Spanish already!
 Around 5-6 months they were able to use it sitting up...


Now, at 8 months, they are just starting to stand and cruise around it to the different areas. Or just stand up and scream at each other because they are so proud of themselves.

Standing is really hard, adult baby work!

  1. ABC's, colors, shapes
  2. Spanish mode
  3. Musical mode - all of these songs are now engraved into my memory
  4. Playtime (computer sounds, piano, just general noises)
A few CONS: 
  1. It's loud. Babies are loud. This toy is louder.
  2. It comes with a little blue phone (not pictured in my photos, but it is in the photo at the top of this post) but it is not attached to the toy so it's ALWAYS MISSING. 
  3. The legs are really hard to take on and off... but you shouldn't have to do that too often. 

This toy would make a great Christmas gift for baby - not necessarily a baby shower gift though as it is not essential and they can't use it for a while. Bonus points if you can find one for cheap at a yard sale on online yard sale!

Need additional Christmas present ideas? Check
out these posts and product reviews!
--- Top 10 Baby Items from a Mom of Twins
--- Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders
---3 Awesome Baby Shower Gift Ideas (or Christmas presents for a new baby!)

Follow Oh.em.gee it's Nikkie on Facebook for more product reviews!

Monday, November 10, 2014

3 Things I Wish I Would Have Done While Pregnant...

First photo together!
 This time last year I was pregnant, knowingly expecting twins, but not yet knowing that they were both boys! Looking back at the past year there are a few things I wish I would have done and/or done better. IF I were to re-do this whole preggy thing again, these will be on the top of my to-do list so I don't miss out on the memories... again!

3 things I wish I would have done while pregnant...

1. Kept a log/scrapbook/journal - anything! Something I could have kept ultrasound photos in with dates and estimated weights of the babies. Something to log dates of when I first felt them move, our anatomy scan or even when and how we announced our pregnancy to our family and friends. Sure, Facebook has done an okay job keeping track of some of that but I actually kept most of my pregnancy off of social media - photos of my baby bump are carefully stashed away, for the most part!

Andy kept a mental log of my complaints and pregnancy symptoms - just to use against me in the future, I'm sure, but a year later I can barely remember some things. I will never forget the acid reflux though. I actually thought I was dying the first time I got it - Christmas Eve to be exact. That will forever be burned into my memory! I would definitely recommend keeping a journal - if only as a reminder of how miserable you were!

Almost 2 weeks old and swimming in newborn clothing!
2. Purchased a handful of preemie outfits. Yeah, this one never even crossed my mind with the twins. I knew the chances were pretty high that they would be at least a little premature but I was convinced that I was going to carry them to term (still convinced that I COULD have if I wouldn't have had to be induced!) and that they would go straight into newborn sized clothing. Well, they were a little early and a little small and looked more than a little ridiculous in newborn sized clothing.

Even if I would have had just an outfit or two for each of them so they could be in well-fitting clothing for photos, that would have been a step up. I had months to prepare and I forgot to get them clothing! First time mommy problems.

6 months pregnant...

3. Taken one final belly picture. I have very few pictures of my pregnant self, by choice. I have maybe 2 or 3 made public to the world, a few from my baby shower and a small stash of other ones hidden away on my husband's computer where no one can find them. Not because I am self-conscious. Not because I hated being pregnant. Just because I'm a fairly private person and I did not want my pregnant self posted all over the internet for everyone to see and judge.

I do wish I would have remembered to take one last picture on the day I was induced, when I was at my largest. Not for Facebook. Just for me.

Do you have anything you really wish you would have done? Anything you're definitely doing for next time (ha... next time!)???

Monday, November 3, 2014

Daily Schedule for Twins at 7 1/2 Months

Follow Oh.em.gee it's Nikkie on Facebook to see what the twins are up to!

These babies are MOBILE! They roll, scoot, crawl, climb and they can ALMOST stand on their own. I have been busy, busy, busy these past few weeks supervising them nearly constantly and teaching them all sorts of new tricks and skills. I have learned over the last few weeks that baby-proofing is not a once-and-done thing. It is constantly evolving and I baby-proof on an almost hourly basis depending on where the boys are and what they can now get into!

Love me some happy morning babies!
Daily schedule for twins at 7 1/2 months:

7 a.m. - Wake up! Play time in their nursery and read a book.

8 a.m. - Breakfast bottle and then head downstairs for playtime. They can go between their Exersaucers and playpen (a.k.a. environmental enrichment area) and I do keep the TV on for background noise. We watch "educational" shows such as The Crocodile Hunter and Doc McStuffins --- that show is adorable!!!

9:30 a.m. - First nap of the day. We are currently transitioning to a 2-nap schedule instead of the 3-nap schedule since they are almost 8 months old.

11 a.m. - Lunch! This consists of 3-4 ounces of fruits, veggies, oatmeal - whatever homemade and delicious baby food I have created. Today's menu is a a gourmet pea puree (Steamed peas, oatmeal, dried thyme, Parmesan cheese, small amount of salt and butter) and they love it! Oliver actually growled at me while he was eating because I wasn't feeding him fast enough.

Can you guess what educational/historical movie is playing?
11:30 a.m.  - Bottle #2 and playtime

1 p.m.  - Nap #2. Our goal is to make this the longest nap of the day... so far it's hit or miss. On the good days this will be the final nap but on the bad days we will need to squeeze in a 3rd nap.

2:30 p.m. - Bottle #3. Then we practice sitting in the high chairs and using sippy cups and eating Cheerios. We've been working on this for about a month now and they can finally get the Cheerios into their mouths ...sometimes! Junior and Bubsy camp out under the highchairs for scraps.

4 p.m. - Nap #3 - no longer than 45 minutes at best. They need to be up by 5 p.m. for when Daaaa gets home from work and so we can eat dinner together.

5 p.m. - Bottle #4 and frozen berries/bananas in the mesh feeders. The boys sit in their high chairs with us and we have a family dinner. Every night that we're all home together. Good habits start early!

6:30 p.m. -  Solids meal #2 followed by "dessert." I'm a big fan of dessert as you know. They get a few spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt with pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon/fruit puree.

6:45 p.m. - Start bedtime routine. Play upstairs in their room, bath time, clean diapers and clothes, sleeping bags and bottle #5. Everyone is in their cribs and asleep by 7:30! 

Christmas shopping with these adult babies!
Some skills we are working on:
-Waving hello and goodbye
-GO CRAZY (thanks to Grandma Teenie)
-Standing/walking/couch surfing
-Pulling up on everything
-Sippy cups, Cheerios and other finger foods
-Exploring the house
-Opening and closing drawers
-Banging on things, clapping, generally learning to make noise and manipulate their little bodies and toys
-Going out in public in their big boy stroller (not the infant car seats anymore!)
-New adult baby car seats!
-Petting the "kihkitties" nicely!

Things we haven't quite gotten to yet:
-Teeth. Not a single tooth
-No mamamama or dadadada... yet!
-Giving kisses/blowing kisses

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3 New Parent Myths - Debunked.

You've heard these 3 new parent myths everywhere. You've seen them on TV. Your relatives have said "Good luck functioning on ___ hours of sleep!" You've mentally prepared for this mythical "midnight diaper run" ever since you found out you were pregnant. But I'm here to tell you these are legitimately just myths. I find it strange that nearly everyone told me these 3 things while I was pregnant and shortly after having the boys. But yet not a single one has ever rung true in this household. I could just be lucky. But 3/3 makes it seem more as though been-there-done-that parents are just trying to scare the newbies. But why??? Is this similar to fraternity initiation hype? I'm just straight up confused.

Midnight diaper runs. 

Mythical scenario: You have 2 diaper changing "stations" and a diaper bag in your house, minimum. SOMEHOW in the CRAZINESS of being a new parent, you run out of diapers. In every spot in the house. And it's the middle of the night. Supposedly this is when Dad runs to the store in his pajamas to pick up the only pack of diapers left on the shelf - and it's the wrong size. Insert disaster of some sort here. 

One of our "Diapy Stations" throughout our house
More likely scenario: You realize you are down to your last BOX of diapers. You add it to your shopping list. You text your husband to get some on the way home from work. It's Sunday and you feel like going to Target anyway, even though that box of diapers will last you through the week. Who doesn't feel like getting out of the house to go to Target? [Hi, I'm Nikkie and I have an addiction to shopping at Target. I've been clean for... 3 days? If we don't count window shopping online. Then we're at about... 27 minutes.]

Most likely scenario: You have a stash or closet full of boxes of diapers (guilty) and when your babies are close to outgrowing one size, you still have 2 more boxes of that size to scramble to get through. It'll be a tight fit for a week or 2 until you can break open that new box of size 3's, but you'll do it! What the fudgenuggets is a midnight diaper run???

You will never have time to shower. Ever. EVER. 

Mythical scenario: It's the one you've seen on TV over and over again. New mom, hair a mess, spit up on clothing, maybe some poop, too? Mom breaks down crying when family member drops by because they are SO disgusting and haven't showered for a week. You know how that one goes.

More likely scenario: The longest you may go without showering is 2-3 days and that is while you are in labor/shortly after labor when you don't (or can't physically) get up due to pain. I skipped one shower while in the hospital because I couldn't stand up without support. That's it. I have successfully showered every day since and I am very proud of it. Your baby naps, right? Your baby can play by himself and/or entertain himself in a Pack N Play or Exersaucer for 5 minutes, right? You have no excuse!
"Baby jail" is a baby-proofed, secure place for these hooligans

Most likely scenario: You'll take a shower every morning - but it'll be a quickie-5-minutes-or-less shower during the week and a "luxurious" 10 minute shower complete with shaving your legs on the weekends when hubby is home to keep track of the boys. You may still forget to brush your teeth though. And make-up most likely won't happen.

Say good-bye to sleep.

Mythical scenario: You are a zombie. You have not slept since baby was born 9 months ago. The second baby closes his eyes and you tip-toe out of the nursery and crash on your bed, baby is awake again. I repeat:

More likely scenario: The first few months will be rough. You'll sleep in small increments. 1 1/2 - 3 hour spurts. But you get to go to bed when baby goes to bed (ideal bed time is 7 p.m.!) If you do stay up past that time, use it to do some research on sleep coaching/training/learning and put it to use once your baby is old enough, about 4 months old.

All babies sleep eventually!
Most likely scenario: It'll be hit or miss after the first few months. Baby may sleep through the night occasionally. Sometimes. Maybe never - but once or twice a night feedings don't last forever. I cannot stress healthy sleep habits for babies enough! It has helped me keep my sanity (and sleep) and can do the same for yours. You don't need to pat baby's butt for 35 minutes to get him to sleep each time (and he gets up 5-10 times a night, of course) he wakes up. That's just not healthy for anyone.

What have your family members and friends scared you with while you were pregnant? Have you actually been one of those people who did make a midnight diaper run? Or do you prefer to be the person who hasn't showered in a week?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Top 5 (classic) Books for Baby

You know what all of those dreamy-looking nursery photos that you see on Pinterest all have in common? Books. A bookshelf full of beautiful, classic, board books for baby. Who wouldn't want to have a full bookshelf in their nursery so baby can grow up and be super smart??? Books are timeless and fun, full of memories for us and memories-to-be for baby. They say that the more books you have in your house, the smarter your baby will be. It could have something to do with socioeconomic status, but sure, let's say it's the books anyway!

Like this post? Pin it! (& follow Oh.em.gee it's Nikkie on Facebook!)

Want to see how we made these bookshelves? Read this!

What are some books that you remember from your childhood? I came up with 5 books that I put on the boys' baby registry/Christmas lists so that they can have them for their own mini library. Books make great baby shower gifts (along with something simple, like diapers!) since you can write a "card" on the inside cover and call it a day! Several people did that for our shower and whenever I open up a book, I tell the boys who it was from.

Rainbow Fish: We got the box set of 3 board books as a gift. They matched our nursery decor (sharks, gray/white/blues) perfectly on our bookshelves but more importantly I remembered the Rainbow Fish story for my childhood. I'm pretty sure Andy never had any of these books growing up because he claims he has never heard of them and he has no emotional attachment to them. He was more of an electronics guy, though. The 3-set of Rainbow Fish books are great for more than just entertainment and their sentimental value - the 3 pack lets me read one out loud while the boys each put one in their mouths! How convenient!
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Another blast from the past. I can still remember the tune? rhyme? iambic pentameter? whatever style it was written in playing in my head, but without the words. Andy refuses to read this book because he thinks it's stupid but I think it is fun and the boys LOVE looking at all the bright colors, shapes, letters...

Corduroy: I have this one the boys' Christmas lists. It's a classic book, in my opinion and I can't wait to read it to them some day. I'll probably also take them to Build-A-Bear one day and let them make their own "Corduroys." What a fun trip that will be!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (and friends!): We received this set of 3 board books as another gift. These stories are fun and classic. They also have a caterpillar toy to go with the story and I plan on having a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" themed first birthday (or maybe second birthday... the 1 year mark is already creeping up super fast!) party for them.

Oh.em.gee! They're already more than 7 months old! Insertmeltdownhere!

Oh, The Places You'll Go!: I don't specifically remember this book from my childhood. I should have my mother verify if I did or did not have it I suppose, but it's a classic and it's Dr. Seuss. You can't have a nursery bookshelf without some good ol' Dr. Seuss. If I ever get the honor of hosting a baby shower in the future, I'm going to purchase this book and use it as the guest book, having each guest write a note to baby throughout it. That's not my idea, of course, you can thank Pinterest.

What books did you grow up with and now have on baby's book shelf?

Monday, October 20, 2014

The First Time We Ran Errands

The boys were almost 7 months old before I took them with me to run errands for the first time. I don't know why it took me so long to be comfortable taking them out in public. Initially, I was concerned about people touching them. Then I grew a spine and decided I would be okay with telling someone off if they touched my kids. Then I was concerned about getting them to the store and not being able to get the stroller/car seat combo hooked up. I practiced at home. It's not too difficult. Finally, I was afraid of them screaming and crying, drawing much unwanted attention to me while in a store. This one still scares me, but we survived our first trip without so much as a peep from the peanut gallery.

I was sitting at home one day, feeling dreadfully unproductive. I hate being unproductive. I made a list of things I needed to do the following weekend and then I realized I don't HAVE to wait until the weekend. Just pack the kids up, and go! Easier said than done, of course. It took me a full 25 minutes to do diaper changes, dressing in warmer clothing, buckling into car seats, getting everyone and the stroller into the car. That was exhausting.

Luckily I had decided to only go 2 quick places, just as a trial run. I only (insert sarcasm here) had 7 people ask if they were twins, 3 people ask if they were both boys and 1 little old lady say "bless your heart, dear." Not too bad. We'll call this trip a success. I also managed to get everything I needed to and get home just in time for nap time.

So the moral of the story here? If you're feeling cooped up and want to get out... do it! Don't be scared of public places with a baby. You may even get special treatment - like people opening doors for you. Lucky you, lucky you.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Family Traditions 101: Brother's Weekend

I love traditions. I love traditional traditions and I love that I get to start new traditions with my little gentlemen! Like Shark Week. Shark Week is a big-freaking-celebrated deal in this household. And the 4-gift Christmas. That one we haven't technically started yet, since they haven't been around for a Christmas, but it's in the works and that's what counts. But here's one I bet you haven't heard of...

Yep, they dressed him stupidly.
It started as "Cousins Weekend." BUT, yes, but. There aren't any cousins in the family yet... just my boys. So currently this tradition exists as "Brother's Weekend." What is Brother's Weekend? I'm glad you asked. It's one Saturday a month where my parents have offered to take our children off of our hands for the whole day. Morning to evening

I love the idea of Brother's Weekend. Firstly, because it gives my Dad and sisters a chance to see the boys and spend some quality time with them. Secondly, Andy and I get to relax. And by relax, I actually mean DO ALL THE THINGS. Seriously though, I always make a to-do list that is entirely too long for 2 people to accomplish in a day.  We always remember to work in a dinner out together or possibly some Mario Kart, you know, for old times' sake.

I thrive on productivity (just ask my co-workers!) so sitting around, relaxing, napping, etc all day while my boys are gone is just not appealing to me. That's why we do a full, long grocery shopping trip, clean the whole house, organize, make baby food, run errands... you name it, we get it done on this day.

Just making some pasta salad with Grandma Teenie

This tradition wasn't my idea - and I definitely don't expect this of my parents! But month after month they continue to offer (they claim that my children are "angels" for them!) so it has become a tradition. I can't wait until my sisters have kids and it can be a true Cousin's Weekend. The boys will have they probably won't even want to come home! Me and all my helicopter-y mom-ness will require them to come home. I don't know how to function when I'm home alone anymore.

What traditions have you already started with your baby? Does your family do something similar to this but you have a different name for it?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Evenflo Triple Fun Jungle Exersaucer

Evenflo Triple Fun Jungle Exersaucer. My babies love this toy and it's one of the few toys we have actually purchased new. It was about $100 on Amazon but it's completely worth it. I don't say that a lot about $100 toys. In fact, I don't think I've ever said that before. It's a good quality product and (my favorite reason to love it) GROWS with your child. The boys started using it before they were old enough for an Exersaucer by using the play mat with toys. Then they graduated to the Exersaucer. And a few months (weeks?) from now when they are standing and cruising, it converts to an activity table.

As a first time mom, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to get one of these. I had read this article by an occupational therapist about the "dangers" (and benefits, but mostly dangers...) of letting your children use an Exersaucer. I didn't want my children to have poor posture, trouble standing, walking or balancing and I definitely didn't want them to not be interactive with their environment. That's some scary stuff when talking about baby development!

Real busy, mom!
However, as with many things, I have had to adapt my view of how I would raise my children. Mostly because of the fact that there are 2 of them, not 1. But also because of my mommy instincts. Mommy instincts told me to go with the Exersaucer and I'm so glad that I did. The boys LOVE standing and I obviously can't hold up 2 babies all the time, all day long. This allows them to stand and play. The saucers are close together so they can see and interact with each other without ending up in a baby-pile of legs and arms and screams because someone just got hit in the eye. And now that they are mobile, I can walk away for a minute without fear of losing (literally losing... as in, can't find my baby because he got under the couch!) a baby.

I didn't throw all caution to the wind, though. I did take to heart a few of the key points from the article about best Exersaucer-use practices. The boys don't have a time limit for use throughout the day, but I make sure that it is never the first and only place I allow them to play. They still get lots of floor time, which is important to helping them learn to roll, crawl and explore their environment. The toys are detachable, so I take them off for the babies to play with them on the floor. I also rotate the toys between saucers so they do not get bored. It's really hard to bore a baby, by the way, so you don't need to change the toys daily.

Sitting and playing with the Exersaucer attachments!
For those of you on the fence about getting an Exersaucer --- I would give it a try. If it's not your thing, fine. But it has been a life-saver when I need to put the babies down and get something done. They find it entertaining and stimulating and they have had no developmental troubles (not that I expected any due to Exersaucer use!)

Thrifty tip: Yard sales! Consignment stores! E-bay! It seems almost every baby has had one of these things and once they get past a certain age, people are jumping at the chance to get these things out of their homes... meaning you can get some great deals on them!

Friday, October 10, 2014

"No relationship is better than another..."

This article about love and relationships comes to us from guest writer Kelli. She recently married the love of her life and is practically a superhuman person - she does it all! Enjoy her 6 tips to living in a happy, healthy relationship with your best friend!

So nearly 6 months ago I walked down the aisle and said “I Do”. My husband and I had always talked about getting married and starting a family since we’ve been together. We’ve always been committed to one another and take our relationship very seriously. Marriage was the next step for us, to announce to our family and friends that we’re going to do life together and to make that promise in front of them and God. So even though we’re newly married and have so many things to learn there are so many things I want to share about our relationship and things I’ve learned along the way.

1. No relationship is better than another. Sure you see the wife that gets flowers from her husband at work, or the couple that has everything in common, but guess what? That doesn’t make their relationship any better than yours. Would I love to have my husband to pick out a chick flick for us to watch, sing show tunes with me, and then sit at the table and do crafts? Well, of course but we ‘re not that couple. We have our own incredibly beautiful way of connecting and spending time together. Focus on what you have not what someone else does.

2. Compromise—it’s not a dirty word. I remember when my life revolved around me and then suddenly, I had to ask my husband what he thought about paint, the couch, the floor, and essentially everything. I don’t know about you, but I love getting my own way...maybe it’s because I was the only child until I was 10 or maybe I’m just a brat. Regardless, my relationship has taught me to compromise because you HAVE to. Otherwise one person will always be bitter or resent the other for making all the decisions in their relationship. And sure, we both still get our way every now and then and if it’s an important issue, we sit down and really talk it out—why it makes us uncomfortable, why we’re having a hard time agreeing, and really figure out the root of the problem.

3. Stop nagging—this is something that I need to work on more. I have this lovely habit of nagging all the time—you know what I’m talking about: “these dishes aren’t going to wash themselves”, “did you seriously put your dirty tissue there?” or “Why would you move the chair and not put it back?” I hate that I nag because it is so counterproductive. If my husband came home after a long day and started going on about my hair on the sink or my jewelry spread out everywhere you better believe that I would stay right where I was and give him dirty looks. It’s not productive and it makes people feel bad.

4. Ask for help—so you’re part of a couple but that doesn’t mean you can read each other’s minds. Sometimes the floors need vacuumed, the laundry is backed up, the sink is full and you just really need some help, so ask for it. Now remember asking is NOT nagging, they’re different and usually get a different response. Asking isn’t “I really wish you’d clean up after yourself!” That’s nagging and it’s not productive. Instead just saying, “Hey babe, can you take out the trash and help me with some housework today?” The response is much better because he feels like you NEED him and hey, you’re part of a team!

5. Complaining to others—so you might not nag to your partner but something happened that really made you mad, so what do you do? You pick up the phone or go to work and tell anyone and everyone that has ears who will listen about it. STOP IT! You aren’t doing yourself any favors. So now your mom, sister, aunt, co-worker, and whoever else are mad at him now too. And guess what? They won’t forget it. So even though you might forgive your partner and patch things up, they are keeping a running tally of your partner and all the things that he should be doing better. Now when you hit a real rough spot in your relationship, they’re going to be the first person to help you air out all this dirty laundry rather than help you through your problems. So instead, find one or two people that your really trust- people that are not only invested in you but people who are invested in your relationship and want to HELP. So at my wedding, along with many others, there comes a time in the ceremony where the officiant asks everyone in the crowd if they will do everything that they can to support your marriage and keep it together. Which they respond “we will”. I have 2 dear friends that love me and my husband so when I’m angry or need to talk through a problem they are there to help me through it, to support my relationship, and to help me find a way to resolve it.

6. Be proud! Alright, the secret it out. I love my husband. And although I spent my entire life thinking I would marry a very different type of man (like the romantic comedy type), I got the perfect man for me. As much as I think how blessed I am to have found my soulmate on a daily basis, I don’t say it enough. I think our society has really gotten into the practice of telling people when they do something bad, but your relationship should focus on all the GOOD things. So build your man up and tell him how wonderful he is and point out those great attributes that you made you fall in love with him.

Monday, October 6, 2014

5 Non-toy Toys Baby Wants to Play With

The boys recently started grabbing for things, some would even call it lunging. They grab whatever we're holding or eating and feel entitled to taking whatever the other baby is holding or playing with. It's going to be a long few toddler-hood years ahead of us if this behavior continues. I have already had to break up several "fights" in which Emmett is voraciously swinging a toy and smacks Oliver in the head... or to get him back, Oliver lunges at Emmett's toy, takes it and stuffs it in his mouth. Cue breakdown from Emmett. You get the picture. They're barely mobile and I'm already spending a good portion of my day playing referee to these babies. 

No matter how many toys, stuffed animals, or brightly colored objects you place in front of your 6 month old, I guarantee you that they are wanting something just slightly out of their reach. And something that just slightly belongs to you. I've listed 5 of the boys' favorite non-toy toys that they LOVE to play with.

1. Cell phones. These things are fascinating. They light up. They make noise. They can be grasped easily by two little hands. Andy even downloaded a kid's app on his phone that the boys can use - think lots of bright colors - that securely blocks them from calling China, setting a new password on his phone, or purchasing things from Amazon. If we're not willing to part with our phones, we either have to make sure the boys (Oliver, specifically) do not see them... or we have to give them the case on the phone - which is just as good sometimes!

2. Hair. The boys are entranced by my long, wavy hair. They're equally fascinated by Andy's facial hair, so I'm not sure it's much of a compliment. Wear your hair up around a 6 month old or be prepared to feel pain. You have been fairly warned, so do not yell at me when my baby pulls a chunk of your long locks right out of your head.

3. Glasses. I'm at the point of considering getting contacts and it pains me, because I love wearing glasses. I clean my glasses 235,750 times a day, thanks to these babies. Approximately. I'm always living in constant fear that they will hit me in the face, shatter the lenses and rupture my eyeballs. No big deal...just some freaky Final Destination-esque accident and I'll be blind. Occasionally my glasses get swiped right off of my face and stuffed in a mouth. These kids are quick and efficient!

4. Anything you're eating. If they see you eating it, they want it. They will stare you down while you're eating in the most awkward way. They will reach, grab, smack, scream and cry until you give them something off of your plate. We're going to look into a nice plastic set of dishes to use until these kids are well into their teenage years because we've had a few incidents. And by incidents, I mean baby lunging at a taco salad. Or baby feeling entitled to spaghetti.

5. Cats. Our cats used to feel safe and secure in our household. Then we brought home two strangely smelling, loud, attention-hogging "cats" and they were confused. Only the balls-iest of the ballsy will go near the boys. Junior and Bubsy are good playmates for them and they tolerate the boys "petting" them, screaming at them and just generally being babies. Bailey stays far, far away. At all times. She also, coincidentally, has all of her fur intact.

Is there anything that's not technically a toy that your kids use at toys at this age? I feel like they only play with about half of their actual toys and then spend the rest of their time trying to get their hands on whatever I'm using!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders. Need 'em? Want 'em?  
Spoiler alert: You should get them!

The jury was not out on this one. I knew I was going to get the boys these awesome-looking mesh feeders, I just didn't know when they would be appropriate for them. Well, they're 6 months old, and it's now. (I do think that the boys will be able to use them for a long time, too, because I've heard you can make freezie pops with them when they are older babies.) The boys put EVERYTHING in their mouths and they LOVE adult food. Perfect timing for a mesh feeder!

So far we have put bananas, peaches, apples and pears in the feeders. Bananas (frozen) are BY FAR the most popular. They will sit in their high chairs for 20 minutes nom-ing on a bit of banana! It's the perfect activity for them for when I have a few quick chores to get done... think dishes, litter boxes, laundry, etc. that need to be done on a daily basis.

As you know from previous posts, I am doing a mixture of the French-style baby feeding (purees)  and the English-style baby feeding (baby led weaning) that has recently become popular among American moms. Oliver does great with a spoon and purees. Most of the time he doesn't even need his bib changed. Emmett, on the other hand, is a disaster. Absolute disaster. He loves to grab at the spoon, stick his hands in his mouth, fling puree everywhere... you get the idea. He really needs a bath after each feeding (but doesn't get one... ain't nobody got time for that!) For their dinner-time feeding, he gets striped to a diap-y and then goes straight to the tub. He does much better with a BLW style feeding - loves it in fact! - because he is in control of what goes in his mouth.

From this (nerve wracking) experience with "adult" food.... this (not as sticky) apple-eating experience!

The only downside I have seen to this product is that they are gross to clean. Like mushy, browned, drool-covered banana slime gross. But once you get any chunks of banana out, you're good. Throw it in the dishwasher or let them soak for a bit.

What types of food have you put in a mesh feeder (or given to your baby whole as part of BLW?) I'm thinking baked sweet potato slices and cooked carrots could be fun!

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