Sunday, August 8, 2010

Beautiful Day for a Stroll

The girls are following a pretty good schedule these days. They take an am nap and a pm nap - both about 1.5 - 2 hours long, usually at the same time, if not within 30 minutes from each other. So there is a 2-3 hour window between their naps where I like to do something fun with them. Today I decided it was a nice day to stroll to the playground.

The playground we like to go to is about 1.5 miles from our house, but it is nice because it has two baby swings (about the only thing the girls can do at the playground these days) and it is located right on the intracoastal waterway, covered by big oaks draped in Spanish moss - beautiful.

The girls like to walk. They are usually very quiet and observant on their walks. Mommy likes the walks too. It's a good time to clear my head and enjoy the outdoors. This walk is especially nice because we go through a beautiful neighborhood and I daydream about living in one of the gorgeous house with wrap-around porches and marsh-views. There are usually other people strolling about - riding their bikes, walking their dogs or babies and are usually all very friendly. About two blocks from the park Abby starts fussing and I know from experience that this is not a short-lived fussing. She's getting tired and likes to be held at this point. Knowing we have only two blocks to go, I leave her in the stroller and pick up the pace. I know it will totally be worth it to her once she's swinging in the breeze.

50 feet from the park she's screaming at the top of her lungs, so I give into her demands and pull her out of the stroller. Not because she has me wrapped around her little finger, but because I don't want to disturb the folks who are enjoying their afternoon in the park (I try to convince myself).

We get to the swings and I put them both in and push - Whee!!! Issy loves it and squeals with delight. Abby is quiet, but clearly annoyed that I thought she may enjoy something so juvenile as swinging. We swing for a few minutes and I look around the park and notice it is usually quiet. I wonder where everyone is this beautiful afternoon. Then I look up at a dark sky - uh oh...

Back in the stroller the girls go and to my relief Abby stays quiet. I estimate that if I walk fast, I can make it home in 15 minutes. Two blocks away from the park, Abby (in true Abby-fashion)starts wailing again and then I feel the drops. I start jogging - the BOB performs perfectly - but my wet flip flops do not. I squeeze my big toes against my second toes as I jog so that the flops stay on. This is very uncomfortable and I'm sure it looks awkward. But I'm running in the rain with a crying baby, so I'm sure it fits the scene.

Meanwhile, Issy is just enjoying the ride. Thank God for Issy.

About half-way home, I reason that the rain isn't that bad (it was a medium-sprinkle) and take Abby from the stroller. She is instantly quiet and seems to enjoy the rain drops. Nice. Issy content in the stroller, Abby content on my hip, Mama content with the silence. Plus, the wet little baby hugging my arm feels nice.

I wave to some homeowners and joke about the "princess" who would rather get wet then sit in the stroller. They laugh, I laugh, good times. I notice an unusually large flying insect on the back of Abby's head and try to wave it away. It seems "stuck" so I get a little nervous and try to flick it off. It flies away but immediately comes right back - buzzing and mad. I start waving my hand around my girl and the little sh*t keeps trying to land on her. It finally happens upon my shoulder and OUCH! It bit me!

Well, now I get scared that it is going to bite Abby, so I start to walk faster. I hear the insect buzzing from ear to ear and I try to shoo it away. Well, I have one hand holding Abby and the other is flailing uncontrollably around me and my baby. I realize that I have let go off the stroller that is holding Issy and that it is now rolling away and heading straight for a ditch. (All of this is in plain view of the homeowners).

I run towards the stroller, grab it just in time, and keep running as fast as I can with a baby bouncing on my hip. The damn bug follows us. I am not a violent person by nature, but at that moment, if I would have had a mini shotgun, I would have shoved it down his tiny gullet and gleefully pulled the trigger.

I keep running with Abby in one hand while the other hand goes from pushing the stroller to waving around our heads like a mad woman, back to pushing the stroller. I bet looking at it from the outside, it was quite comical.

As I approach our home, the rain stops (ha ha). I walk in the house with two bites on my shoulder, one bite on my neck, one sleeping baby and one very wet baby. Luckily both babies escaped any bug bites.

It was quite an adventure (man, I need to get a life), but totally worth it, right?

Issy - "Totally worth it."

Abby - "Totally not worth it."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bare Necessities (0-3 Months)

I had the hardest time registering for baby items. How was I supposed to know what I/we needed!? And of course, all of the retail stores are right there to help you through the process - with a list of 200+ items that you will "definitely need". And having twins was even more difficult because you don't necessarily need two of everything and - being the budget-conscious mama that I am - I really didn't want to buy anything that I didn't need or wasn't going to use... imagine that...

So, I have compiled a list of items that were completely necessary for us during the first three months. Hope it helps.

- footed pajamas - lots of them (weather appropriate)
- t-shirts (that snap)
- socks
- swaddles
- hats
- blankets

I am not a fashionista. Although I love to see my girls all dressed up and looking cute, it was not worth the hassle the first few months (it might have been different if I only had one). Save the cute outfits for when they are older and for when you are out and about more often. Besides, babies are the cutest when wearing nothing at all.

Since it was winter when the girls were born, for the first few months, they lived in footie pajamas. I liked the snap ones because you could unsnap from the waist down when changing a diaper - this way their little chest/belly stayed warm. But the zip pajamas are the quickest and easiest! We ended up dressing the girls in a t-shirt and socks and then putting the zip pjs overtop.

Things to think about: it is no fun trying to pull a baby's head through a top - for you or the baby. Look for clothes that you can put on around the baby instead of pull over.

Swaddles were an absolute must for us. The girls would not fall asleep without being wrapped up as tight as a burrito. We tried a few different kinds of blankets and swaddles, but ended up really liking Kiddapotamus (which is now Summer) organic swaddleme. It was super easy to wrap and the girls couldn't Houdini themselves out of it. If you end up using blankets, the thermal (waffle) blankets seemed to work best for us - good mix of stretchy and soft.

- swaddles
- co-sleeper/ pack-n-play
- vibrating chair/ swing
- infant carrier
- white noise
- a king size bed (queen works too, but king is best...)

I remember during my pregnancy, I would tell people "the girls will sleep in a pack-n-play next to our bed for the first few months, and then they will graduate to the crib..." Ha ha ha... So easy, right?

The first night home from the hospital was quite an eye opener for us. We played musical beds all night long, in and out of a dream state. They went from the pack-n- play to the swing to the vibrating chair to our bed back to the pack-n-play and around again. For the first few weeks, night time sleep worked best in their infant carriers in the living room while Daddy snoozed in the bedroom. Then we moved the infant carriers into the pack-n-play in the bedroom, but the girls pretty much ended up in our bed most of the night and Daddy spent many nights in the guest bedroom.

While the girls (and their parents) were figuring out the best place to snooze, there were some constants that were a must. They seemed to like the environment that was most womb-like... tight quarters (swaddled and nestled in their bed), white noise like a fan or the noises from the vibrating chair (apparently the womb is as loud as a vacuum - who knew!?), some movement or vibration (swing/vibrating chair) and in close proximity to the milk.

The girls seemed to prefer the vibrating chairs over the swing and we liked the Boppy chair the best. We also had a Fisher Price vibrating chair, but it didn't bounce in addition to vibrating (which ended up being helpful) and we would always trip over the base of it. Stubbing your toe is no good when you are trying to deal with one (or two) crying infants... on less than 4 hours of sleep.

- a boob (or two)
- boppy pillow (or two)
- nursing cream
- breast pump ?
- bottles
- spit up cloths

Breastfeeding twins has its challenges, but can be done! You'll have to figure out if feeding them one at a time or together works for you, but a Boppy pillow helps either way. I was lucky and didn't have many issues bfeeding, but I did need some nursing cream the first few weeks while my nipples adjusted. My friend got me a jar of Earth Mama * Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter and it worked wonders. It is completely organic and was completely effective for me.

I wanted to make sure that my girls continued to have as much breastmilk as possible when I returned to work so we splurged on a pump. We got the Mac-Daddy Medela FreeStyle which is worth the price – I justify the cost because without it, we would have spent more on formula in the last 7 months. So – it depends on how long you plan on breastfeeding, but it is so convenient! Hands free so you can sit at your desk and answer emails while you are pumping away! In fact, I am pumping as I type this!!!

- diapers
- wipes
- diaper cream
- changing table

I had lofty goals of using cloth diapers for my girls, but we haven’t gotten there yet. When registering for baby items, make sure you include plenty of size 1 and 2 diapers as you will go through them quickly! We have always used Pampers diapers and wipes (we started out with Pampers Sensitive for both) and the girls haven’t has any major issues. They did need diaper cream a few times when a few rash bumps would appear, but a little slather of Boudreaux’s Natural Butt Paste would do the trick!

- pacifier
- infant wrap/ sling
- your arms

Babies cry... a lot... if they are tired; use the tips in the sleeping section. If they are hungry, use the tips in the eating section. If they are both well-rested and well-fed and they have a clean diaper, then they just need love. We used pacifiers for the first couple weeks, and then the girls didn’t want them anymore. They liked to be held. All the time. You’ll learn how to do a lot of things while holding a baby. I am quite handy with only one hand! A sling is nice because it can leave your hands free to get stuff done around the house, while baby is nestled comfortably next to you. I really like the Moby wrap – but it lies… I never did figure out how to carry both babies in it…

- bath tub
- soap/shampoo
- wash cloths
- baby towels

Until the baby’s belly button falls off, you won’t be washing him/her underwater, so you don’t need much but water and soap. We just gave our girls sponge-baths on a towel. But once the tip falls off (gross question of the day – keep or throw away their belly button stub?) then I recommend bath time! My girls loved it and it would calm them down and wear them out! We didn’t/ don’t use any lotions (their skin is soft enough!) but the cleanser we used was a soap/shampoo combo – California Baby Calming Shampoo and Bodywash. It smells so good – like clean sweet baby.

- infant carrier
- car bases
- infant carrier stroller

It is quite difficult to bounce around town with two infants. While all of my other mama friends were going out to lunch or running errands with their newborn, I was either stuck at home with the girls (wailing - me and the girls) or driving around with the girls (sobbing - again, me and the girls). (Okay, okay it wasn't that bad, but there were those days...)

The times that I did feel some sort of relief is when I would take the girls for a walk or drive. It seemed to calm them and give me a moment to clear my head and get out of the house. It wasn't often the first few weeks since it was winter and I was a new mom scared of my newborn girls catching a cold, but once we realized that the fresh air knocked them out, the walks (or drives) became a daily occurrence.

I scored a Baby Trend Double Snap-n-Go for cheap at a consignment sale and we got the Baby Trend Infant Carriers and bases to go along with them. It was a little bit of a hassle snapping the girls in, but I would suggest not spending a lot of money on this system. The girls have almost grown out of it.

Good luck to all of the new and soon-to-be parents out there! It’s an exciting, trying, exhausting and thrilling time… and it is completely worth it!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mama Blessed

What's better than being a mama? Being appreciated for being a mama!!! We celebrated my first mother's day yesterday and I received the best presents!
1. Abby slept through the night for the first time!!!
2. Damon gave me some beautiful flowers and a gift certificate for a spa day! Heavenly bliss - here I come!
3. My sister wrote me a note which hugged my heart. She said it was okay to share, so here it goes:
"So many changes in the last 365 days! This year I have watched you transform from a Free Bird to a Sick Pup, a Social Butterfly, a Busy Busy Bee, a Hungry Hungry Hippo, a Leaky Cow... and now, best of all, into a Mother Goose and when necessary, a Mama Lion. Throughout all the morphing, you never complained, regretted, rejected responsibility or requested something different. You embraced it all and lived in every moment 100%. You took all of the classes, questioned all the classes; read all the books, questioned all the books. You even stuck to your guns about surviving the labor drug-free and 100% focused. You are truly an amazing mother just like I knew you'd be. That is why God gave you two. "

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Feeding Machine

I pumped in a utility closet the other day. Sitting in there on a cold chair, stuffing my face with my lunch, my breasts exposed and my pump grunting away, I thought, "is this really my life?" Seriously? This is not what I envisioned when I used to dream about becoming a mother.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010: Blogging out, Facebook In (for now)

I can't believe it has been 6 weeks since my little ones were born. I have meant to blog about them - I have so many stories already! But it seems like everytime I sit down to type, there is a baby to feed or a diaper to change. This parenting stuff is kinda tough - mad props to all the moms out there - and the dads...

Eventually, I will have more time to share stories about the girls, but in the meantime, I am only able to share quick updates/pictures on facebook. If you are interested, feel free to add me as a friend to keep up to date with the goings on of our lil ones and motherhood.