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.