Monday, April 29, 2013

Pregnant?

I'll spare you the suspense and let you know that NO, I am not pregnant.  But here's a conversation I had with John Paul yesterday:

JP:  Mom is 26...  No, 27!!!
Me:  Yup.  I turned 27.
JP:  And...  You're pregnant!
Me:  Uh...  No I'm not.
JP:  Yes you are!
Me:  No, I'm pretty sure I'm not... (although I suppose I should take one of my many pregnancy tests before they expire, just to be sure?)
JP:  Yes!  You are!  You're lying!!!
Me:  No, I'm not lying!
JP:  Your tummy is getting bigger!  There's a baby in it!

So much for losing that baby weight...

But he kept insisting that I'm pregnant, so I told him I'd take a pregnancy test. 

First test:  Inconclusive (then I realized that it was one that I'm pretty sure came in a 2-pack back when we found out we were pregnant with Cecilia 3 years ago...)

Second test:  Negative!

And despite my earlier feelings that I wanted to hopefully wait as long as possible before we have the next baby, Andrew and I are somehow feeling more and more open to closer spacing than we had hoped for.  Maybe because the babies are easier than John Paul and Cecilia were, maybe because they're not mobile yet so we don't realize how crazy everything's going to get, and definitely because God is opening our hearts to a larger family sooner than we had planned.

After all, we've had 1-under-1 (duh), 2-under-2 (twice so far), 3-under-2 (for the first 2.5 months of the twins' lives), 3-under-3 (currently), and 4-under-4 (currently).  I don't think we'll *try* for 5-under-5 (we'd have to get pregnant by the end of October this year), but I think we'd both get a kick out of keeping the trend alive!

So while I still *hope* that we don't get pregnant any time soon, I think I'm at the point where if we found out that somehow we were, it wouldn't feel like the end of the world.

As long as we don't find out we're having twins again...  Not that I don't love them, but 2 sets in a row?  I'd really rather not :P

 
Yes, it gets crazy around here...  And somehow we're willing to add more crazy to the mix!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

WIWS - help!

 
This is the kind of Sunday morning we've had,,,


 
Shirt:  Old Navy
Skirt:  H&M
Shoes:  DSW
Scarf:  Zulily
Haggard expression:  Cecilia
 
 
Elizabeth wore Cecilia's old dress this morning, and because I promised a side-by-side-by-side comparison, here you go! 
 
Cecilia on the left, Mary Claire (2 weeks ago) top right, Elizabeth bottom right (couldn't find the headband)

This was one of those weeks where I was thankful that the babies have enough head control for one of us to hold both at once, because Cecilia had to be taken out at least three times and it's impossible to yell at her while holding a baby because then the baby just cries and Cecilia thinks it's funny.  But she thinks EVERYTHING is funny.  I just don't know what to do about her...  There is absolutely no punishment that makes her change her behavior, she just thinks everything is hilarious.  What would you do?  I'm at the end of my rope!

I'm beginning to think that the only thing we can do is tag-team Mass for a few weeks and see how it goes.  I can take John Paul and a baby and Andrew always goes to an EF Mass later in the day anyway...  Maybe if Cecilia sees that her behavior has been bad enough that she doesn't even get to go to Mass (and therefore doesn't get to wear a pretty dress or pretty shoes or her pink hat) she'll change her ways?  So far she's treated other punishments as a reward...

Linking up my exasperated self to Fine Linen and Purple, where nobody else has a sociopath for a child (I hope).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bible Verse Link-up

Linking up with Ute for this month's Bible Verse Photography Challenge:

"My beloved speaks and says to me: 'Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.'" Song of Solomon 2:10-12

First, a choral arrangement based on that verse (there's not a video, just click play and listen while you read):



Not the best choir (oh, the sadly lacking tenors...), but I don't feel like digging out my old recording from my professional days (I say professional solely because I got paid to sing, but I'll be honest - it was just a church gig :P).  But such a beautiful arrangement!

Here's my photographic take on the verse:


I took this a couple of weeks ago when it looked like, once and for all, the winter was past!  We moved into our new house in February, having no idea whether anything had ever been planted in the little garden plots out back.  When the bulbs started blooming and we found out we had inherited a lovely garden full of daffodils, tulips, bluebells, and who knows what else, it was such a wonderful gift and surprise! 

Go check out more takes on the verse, and link-up your take!

Friday, April 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Kiddo-style

--1--

John Paul's gems from this week:

As soon as I opened his door in the morning:  Goldilocks is coming to my birthday party!!!

...

John Paul: I'm inca-rigg-able!

Apparently he saw the word "Incorrigible" and accurately gleaned the proper meaning.

...

Playing with some trash he found in a shoe box: These are my tools. Mary Claire, I wanna FIX you!


...

John Paul: It's a SEX alien!!!
Me: ... A six alien?
John Paul: A sex alien (because it had seven toothpicks sticking out of it)



...

John Paul: Hi! I'm Jacob! I'm 7 years old.
Me: Who is Jacob?
JP: When I was a baby, I went to Jacob's birthday party.
Me: Okay, but what book is that from?
JP: Oh, the Jesus Storybook Bible. And Cecilia is Rebecca!

Because, you know, that's what normal kids pretend...

...

JP, discussing contents of the bathroom cabinet:  Open up the cabinet and you'll find... a pregnancy test!!!"

Yup, signs you life in an NFP household...

...

John Paul, about a thousand times a day: The ant is my tiny friend!

Happy spring, ants everywhere!

--2--

Cecilia's gems from this week:

Seeing Mary Claire had freed her arms from her swaddler:  *gasping* AAAARMS!!!  She has aaaaaaaaaarms!  I hold her hands!  She wuvs me!  I take her for a walk!

...

Cecilia, to the babysitter:  It's a howiday today!
Babysitter:  What holiday is it?
Cecilia:  NO CWOTHES DAY!!!

And then she spent the morning in her underwear...  Yup, I would have allowed it, too :P




Looking discerningly at Mary Claire:  She CAN'T dance.  She not old enough to STAND even!

...

Cecilia, about a thousand times a day: I need somethin to wipe my tears!!!


--3--

After our visit with the Martins:

Cecilia:  I want to wear pwaid shorts wike MAGGIE!
JP:  And I'm Eamon Philip!  And when I'm 10 years old, I'll be BIG John-Paul!!!
Cecilia:  And who I be?
Me:  You can be Maggie.
Cecilia:  NO!
Me:  Do you want to be Xander?
Cecilia:  No.  He's a boy.  I'M GOLDILOCKS!!!

--4--

Mary Claire's new talent:



--5--

Elizabeth's creepy noise:


Seriously, why does she "coo" while breathing in???

--6--


And now, the best conversation you will ever read:

Cecilia:  What's dat in da potty?
Me: ...That's your diarrhea.
C:  John Paul has wed diawea and I have purple diawea!  It's so beautiful!
Me:
C:  I WUV pink diawea!  It's my favowite!
Me: 
C:  What got on my booty?
Me:  Still your diarrhea...
C:  It's so beautiful!!!

For the full effect, you need to imagine this with full knowledge of her squeaky voice (you can stop after the first 30 seconds or so):


--7--

And now for my last take...  A tribute to my mom!!!


Because I had the nerve to be born 1 hour and 43 minutes before her 30th birthday, so we will forever have birthdays one day apart.  Happy Birthday to the woman who carried me under her heart for 9. loooooong. months.  And gave birth to me in proloooonged and excruuuuciating agony!

Check out more Quick Takes at Jen's!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Theme Thursday: Sky

Happy Theme Thursday!  I'm looking forward to seeing all the pictures of the sky :)
 
This week I explored some of the editing features in Picasa.  I don't edit pictures much, since it ends up looking kind of weird to see my kids in super-saturation...  But with this subject matter, it was pretty fun!
 
 
I give you...  The moon at 8 o'clock behind our dogwood tree!  It was framed so perfectly between the branches and the light clouds gave it such an ethereal glow.  Somehow the kids were all asleep/quiet enough for me to get out of the house for 3 minutes at this time of night!


With shadows added

 
"Lomo-ish" - Do I know what any of these effects mean?  Not a clue! 


"Orton-ish"


"Posterize" - look how artsy!

Okay, I think all of these are kind of beautiful BUT I think that may primarily be because I love the color blue SO much and clearly that takes up the majority of the pictures!

Check out more pictures at Clan Donaldson!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

So Young

We were on a rare family outing to Costco the other day when I was reminded of just how different the world is when we're outside of our church bubble. 

Normally the only place we take all 4 kids is Mass, where we're greeted with a chorus of "You have your hands full!"  or "You're so blessed!" or "You have a beautiful family!" or (my favorite) "Aw, it gets easier!" with a knowing smile.

John Paul and Cecilia were both sitting in the cart, happily munching away on cupcake liners full of hemp seed (worst. sample. ever) when we spotted another sample cart!  Andrew, wearing Mary Claire on his back in the Ergo, was in another aisle.  I had Elizabeth in a wrap on my chest and was pushing the (very full) cart with John Paul and Cecilia when I heard it:

"Are they ALL yours? You look so YOUNG!"  In that incredulous and slightly disapproving tone.
"Yup. And my husband's in the next aisle with the other baby!"  We grabbed our sample and kept moving, not needing to start that conversation.

I get that I look 17 (or maybe older by now???  One can only hope!).  And John Paul looks older than 3.5, so maybe it does look like I started having children when I was 12 and am shamelessly flaunting them around the prepared foods aisle at Costco.  But really, is it any of her business, this lady serving carnitas in paper cups, how old I am or whether ALL those children are actually mine? 

I was so tempted to answer, "No, we borrowed a couple of babies just to look impressive!"

But is this really the mentality of the outside world?  The strangers who don't already KNOW that I'm Catholic, 26 years old, with 4 children under the age of 4 and no end in sight - am I going to keep getting this judgment from them for the rest of my life?

I had another conversation with an older man, a father of adult twins with another high-school-aged child.  He found out I had twins, as well as a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old and of course, I got the inevitable question:

"So, are you done now?"

Done?  Um...  No.  I explained to him that our family still didn't really feel complete, that I was only 26 and couldn't see stopping already, and then I pulled the Catholic card. 

That usually helps people understand - all I have to say is, "Well, we're Catholic."  And I get the knowing head nod, the inevitable reference to the Duggars (yes, I'm on pace to have 20 children by the time I'm 42.  I have a feeling we will have slowed down a little by then...), and the conversation moves on:

"So what does your husband do?"

Because I'm a part-time public school teacher.  I'm not raking in the dough, but I love what I do and, right now, it's the perfect work/home balance for me.  So now they're thinking, "Well let's hope her husband makes a lot of money so at least they can AFFORD all these kids, right?"

"He's a lawyer."
"Ohhhh, okay!"

In that knowing tone of voice, as though "lawyer" is the magic word, the fantastical solution to raising all these children.  It's okay for me to have more than 2.5 children as long as my husband makes a good living, right?  I don't tell them he doesn't make the "typical" lawyer salary they probably envision, that right now I have to work or we wouldn't be able to pay off student loans and still have health insurance, and that our children are the least of our expenses!

But still, why does the perception that we're "well off" give us permission to have a large family?  What about those families with 3 or more children where the dad is in graduate school, or he's a teacher, or (heaven forbid!) BOTH parents work?  Is it unacceptable, irresponsible even, for those families to have more children than society arbitrarily deems as acceptable?

This is where I think secular society fails to understand the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception, on sexuality, on the value of family.  We're not all out here trying to repopulate the planet.  Yes, some of us may be well on our way...  But it's not like I'm trying desperately to procreate because I think that's what God wants!  And my financial status, or anyone else's, should not give you license to judge whether or not I can have another child (or several more). 

I should not have to justify my choice to have more children.  Just as I don't look at your perfect 2.5 children and ask you WHY you're not having any more (it's absolutely none of my business - how am I to know whether you're infertile, or suffered from several miscarriages, or simply do not have the mental stability to raise more children than you have).

We, Catholic couples who follow church teaching, are simply allowing God to do His thing.  If He sees fit to bless us with children, we accept them lovingly and with complete trust.  We're not out to put barriers between our love life and our fertility.  I had a pro-life Christian friend in college who was about to get married but wasn't ready to have children, so she was going on the mini-pill because, she told me, "That way if God REALLY wants us to have children, the hormones aren't so plentiful so we could still get pregnant anyway, right?"  I wish I had had my wits about me and could have explained to her that yes, breakthrough ovulation is more likely on the mini-pill, as is fertilization, but the pill won't let implantation occur in most cases, effectively aborting her baby (because the MOMENT that egg and sperm meet, that's when you became YOU). 

We don't put up as many barriers as possible and tell ourselves that, "Hey, God is all-powerful, so if He REALLY wants me to get pregnant, I'll get pregnant!"  No, we allow our natural love lives to occur, abstaining when not trying to conceive, allowing the ultimate decision to be God's. 

So yes, I may be 26 years old with 4 children already.  And yes, I very likely will have more children.  And yes, my next car will be a cargo van.  But please, trust that God has given us these children knowing full well that we can handle them.  Some couples may have one, or ten, or none at all.  But we're all ready to accept the next gift of life that God gives us.  And the answer to your question, for at least the next 20-some years, is going to be:

"We're probably not done yet.  We're Catholic."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Five Favorites - Recipe edition

Linking up with Hallie for another week of 5 favorites! 

ONE

Silicone baking mats

I've been using the same two from Crate & Barrel since we got married - they are awesome!  Non-stick, easy to clean, reusable, everything!  I feel like a jerk every time I toss the aluminum foil I line my pans with, and these eliminate the need.

They don't seem to sell ours anymore, but these look almost identical:

TWO

Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs

An extra-crispy coating on everything, awesome topping for my bacon mac & cheese, and makes my meatballs so light and fluffy!  Giant brand sells them cheapest, but I've found tons of different brands on sale.

THREE


She drives me nuts with that scary chain smoker voice, but these meatballs are YUMMO! 

Oh wait, that stupid "Yummo" thing drives me nuts, too.  Sorry, haters gotta hate.


I double the recipe and it makes about 3 dinners' worth for 2 adults & two toddlers.  We had ours with baked penne and broccoli on Sunday.  Delicious!  And not spinachy at all, despite the entire bag of spinach I used.

FOUR

Oven baked chicken nuggets

Sometimes (most of the time) I REALLY want some Chick-fil-A but I can't leave the house to get any because, you know, all these children.  But these totally satisfy my craving!



Adapted from this recipe:

1 lb chicken tenders (sub breast if you prefer - I buy them frozen from TJ's and the tenders defrost faster)
1 cup italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 stick butter, melted (1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 400.  Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. 

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl (or a big ziploc bag - one less dish to wash...).  Melt butter in large bowl.

Now stick all that chicken into the butter and make sure it's well-coated.  Lift with slotted spoon (or your hands) into breadcrumb mixture.  Coat well and transfer to baking sheet lined with nonstick mat (or sprayed/greased).  Pour remaining butter over nuggets.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, broil for 5 minutes until crispy and browned.

Yeah, we all LOVE these!

FIVE

And what's a blog post without a cute picture of the kids?


Taken last summer on top of a mountain.
Go find more inspiration at Moxie Wife!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Nursing Twins: How we do it

Because I know you're curious?

Well, really because I know I was super-curious and anxious and terrified when I found out I was expecting twins.  I knew that it should be no problem nursing twins, since our bodies create whatever supply our babies need.  But I still had no idea about the logistics of all of it, and I couldn't find a lot of resources on the internet to help me out.

So here's how we did it in the beginning, and here's how we do it now!

First days:

The babies were little at birth - 5lbs8oz and 6lbs2oz, respectively.  In comparison to John Paul, who was over 8 pounds, and Cecilia, who was almost 8 pounds, it was a totally new experience getting them latched.  Their mouths were tiny!  We tried getting them latched in the recovery room, but they were just not up for it - couldn't get their mouths open wide enough, and they were tired (understandably so - when you're that small, the trials of labor probably wear you out!). 

2 weeks old - Mary Claire (L), and Elizabeth (R), almost back up to their birth weights
We got Mary Claire nursing pretty well once we moved to a private room, but Elizabeth wouldn't latch.  And wouldn't latch.  And wouldn't latch.  I told them pretty much immediately that I was going to want to see a lactation consultant, because I knew we'd have issues.  After about 8 hours of no nursing, we started getting worried...  But the nurses assured us that it didn't become an issue that required supplementation until 24 hours post-partum.  They immediately brought me a pump to help stimulate production, but I had Mary Claire nursing pretty well already, and I figured that was better than a pump (one upside to having twins!). 

I had a lactation consultant in twice during our 36-hour stay, and they helped a LOT with getting Elizabeth latched and making sure Mary Claire was latching well.  Cecilia had a shallow latch all through the time I nursed her (until she was almost 18 months) and I wanted to avoid that!  They showed me how to use a football hold to nurse the babies (something I had never done!) and got me a pump to take home with me (which our insurance reimbursed 100% - Obamacare is good for something, at least!).  Once I was comfortable getting Elizabeth latched on my own, we were ready to go home.

Best hospital tip?  See a lactation consultant, even if you don't think you need one.  Nursing a singleton is a piece of cake compared to tiny twins, and you need all the help and advice you can get!

First weeks at home:

We were still having trouble getting the babies latched sometimes - they preferred to sleep, and it was really tough getting them awake enough to nurse for long periods of time.  They had lost a significant amount of weight in the hospital, and if I hadn't been confident in my ability to provide nourishment for my babies, I very likely would have supplemented.  But we had weight gain issues with John Paul, my milk hadn't come in yet, and I knew things would pick up.

But they didn't pick up soon enough.


Sleepy babies under blankets, thanks to their big brother.
Elizabeth (L), Mary Claire (R)

At a weight check at the doctor's office, neither baby was gaining weight quickly enough.  We had been instructed not to let them sleep longer than 3 hours without nursing.  Now the limit was 2 hours - it was time to get those babies eating NOW!  Our awesome pediatrician was understanding of our unwillingness to use formula, and I knew my supply was more than adequate, they just weren't nursing often enough.  Elizabeth especially would latch and then fall asleep and refuse to nurse, so I started pumping and supplementing her with a bottle if she refused to nurse.  This approach worked pretty well, but she was spitting up a lot more than what I felt was normal.


Right before their baptism - way too small for their gowns!
Mary Claire (L), Elizabeth (R)
At our next weight check, Mary Claire's weight gain was fine but Elizabeth was still just under what the pediatrician wanted to see (I don't remember exact numbers anymore...  those first weeks are such a haze!).  She wanted to avoid having to do any extensive tests that would require urine collection or blood draws, so she asked me to spend a day pumping and only feeding Elizabeth by bottle so that we knew *exactly* how much she was taking in.  She also recommended getting a baby scale of our own so that we didn't have to come into the office for every weigh-in (can you tell how much I love her?  She would call me on her lunch break with different strategies because she knew we wanted to make this work).  Elizabeth had plenty of wet and dirty diapers and was hitting her milestones just fine, so I thought she might just be a slow gainer...

So I started doing weighted feeds with Elizabeth, we spend a Saturday pumping and bottlefeeding, adding breast compressions every time she nursed, and after six or so weeks her weight gain was finally where it needed to be when she was exclusively nursing!

Logistics of the early weeks:

Newborns nurse a lot.  For looooooong periods of time.  Thankfully, I had just joined our local Mothers of Multiples group, and they have a lending library of nursing pillows that they lend out to breastfeeding moms.  No need to shell out $50 on a specialty pillow that was good for no other purpose (boppies at least are awesome for tummy time and assisted sitting, even if you don't use them to nurse)! 


Right after they had both puked down my shirt...  Elizabeth (L), Mary Claire (R)

I would camp out on the couch with my kindle, the laptop, a giant water bottle, and my sister or husband at my beck and call :)  For those first few weeks, I almost never even got up from the couch during the day.  I tandem-nursed the babies almost exclusively using football hold, sometimes with one in cradle and one football, but that didn't allow me any freedom with my hands. 

The one time they ever slept together - Elizabeth on top, Mary Claire on bottom

Once a baby finally stopped nursing, I'd call for someone to come burp her and put her in the glider for some napping (or just hold her for some napping - you know how newborns are...).  Switch.  Repeat.  The big kids watched a lot of TV during these first several weeks, because it was just too much for me to try to entertain them in my half-asleep haze.


Sometimes they would just stay asleep on the pillow because I didn't want to try moving them...  Holding hands in their sleep is maybe one of the cutest things about twins!
Elizabeth (L), Mary Claire (R)
At night, I wasn't willing to get out of bed to nurse both babies at once, so I started pumping after the babies finished nursing for the evening and then putting the bottle on a bedside table.  I'd finish nursing the babies, Andrew would put Elizabeth in the glider on the main floor, I'd take Mary Claire to the swing in our room, and Andrew slept on the couch until Elizabeth woke up to nurse.  Sometimes they would switch off needing to nurse all night, and I just lay there in bed, sleeping nursing, switching, handing them to Andrew to burp and diaper.  There were frequently times when I couldn't remember which baby I had, when I referred to them as John Paul or Cecilia, and when I woke up with an extremely wet shirt because Elizabeth had re-gifted me all of the milk she had just consumed.  But I was getting at least *some* sleep, so it worked.


Exhausted after a long night of nursing, all swaddled up.
Mary Claire (L), Elizabeth (R)
If the twins wanted to nurse at the same time, Andrew would give one of them a bottle while I nursed the other.  Since breastmilk is magical, that bottle I pumped at 10 would be good until 6, and it was *usually* all finished by then.  If not, I sadly dumped it down the drain, trying not to cry over spilled milk...

We also had a not-insignificant number of nights in which Elizabeth refused to sleep and would only be calm with Andrew wearing her in a wrap while rocking in the glider.  Fun times!


And then...  The babies were 2 months old.  My help was gone.  Andrew was back at work.  My sister was back on the road living her hobo life.  WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO???

Well, what WAS she going to do???

Part II here - beyond the newborn days

Score!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Life Update - 5 months in with twins

1st picture:  Mary Claire (L) and Elizabeth (R) at 2 weeks, approximately 6.5 & 5.5 lbs
2nd picture:  Elizabeth (L) and Mary Claire (R) at 6 weeks, approximately 7 & 9.5 lbs
3rd picture:  Elizabeth (L) and Mary Claire (R) at 5 months, approximately 12 & 14 lbs

We're a little over 5 months into this twin experience, so how about a little update on the twins these days? 

Edit:  Linking up with Bean in Love for an excuse to show off two of my cute kids - looks like I need a John Paul & Cecilia update, too!

Comparing the pictures of them is kind of awesome - they were terrifyingly skinny at first, being born 3 weeks early and having trouble gaining weight at first.  Mary Claire started chunking up but Elizabeth had trouble for a while.  She's still on the skinny side, but about as long as Mary Claire now.  And all that growth is thanks to me!

Milestones:

Both girls have been rolling front-to-back for a while now, and in the past couple of weeks they (much to my chagrin) started rolling from back to front.  They're definitely behind where John Paul and Cecilia were at this point (Cecilia was almost crawling at this age), but that's to be expected with twins.  Elizabeth has recently started rolling herself over at night, while swaddled, in her glider and in the swing.  Clearly she's capable, she just doesn't feel like doing it a lot while awake.

Both girls have also recently discovered blowing raspberries, which is pretty funny - I've tried to get a video but they won't oblige me yet!

No sign of teeth, thankfully!  And sitting up isn't going to happen anytime soon, either.


Smile at the same time?

Never!

 
Goals:

Elizabeth's current goal?  Crawling/rolling her way off the carpet so she can pee on the floor (she's close!).



Mary Claire's current goal?  Getting her toes in her mouth (she's close!).

Likes/dislikes:

Both babies LOVE watching their older brother & sister run and jump around.  They are all smiles when being sung to and are big fans of their crinkly peacock and dragonfly toys.  They also like spending time in their Jumparoo, which they inherited from John Paul and Cecilia.

A sign of future issues with possessiveness?

Sleep:

They're starting to settle into a naptime schedule - Mary Claire takes two longer naps, Elizabeth takes three shorter naps.  When they nap too close to bedtime, it's REALLY hard to get them to sleep.  When they're down for the night, Mary Claire sleeps in the crib for 6-9 hours before waking up happy and ready to nurse back to sleep.  Elizabeth has been more variable - she's definitely a tougher sleeper, since some nights she's up every 2 hours to nurse, and some she sleeps through for 5-7 hours before needing to nurse.  Once they're up, they're usually in bed with us until the morning.



Naptime happens in the swing or in the glider, and sometimes while being worn on our backs.  Mary Claire especially has a tendency to fall asleep easily while being worn.

Food:

The twins are still exclusively breastfeeding - not a drop of formula or anything other than mom's milk!  Thankfully my body responds very well to my pump and I've got a great supply as long as I eat enough (and for some reason eating enough dairy is REALLY important for my supply in particular).  It's tough sometimes to consume the extra calories I need to maintain my supply, but much easier than it was to eat all that extra food when I was pregnant and had no room for it!

We started John Paul and Cecilia on solids when they were 6 months old, taking a baby-led approach (whole foods only, no purees or cereals).  The plan is to do the same with Elizabeth and Mary Claire, but it's likely that we'll start later than 6 months to take into account their age.  Since it supposedly takes 4-6 months for a baby's gut to be closed enough for solids to be safe, we figure we'll err on the side of caution.  Plus, their fine motor skills are nowhere near what John Paul and Cecilia's were at this age, so I don't think they'll be developmentally ready for solids for a while anyway.  No need to rush something that's really a lot more work than reward!

When they get started, I'm excited to try them on lots of fresh fruits and veggies from the farmer's market!

See how much Cecilia "loved" her first taste of peaches?  Yeah, no need to rush :P

Boring post, I know, but this is basically like my digital baby book because, let's be honest, I never bothered filling out the ones we got for John Paul and Cecilia...

WIWS - April 21

Before you read, if you happen to live anywhere West of the Mississippi and your church is looking for an awesome AWESOME speaker (for adults, teens, middle schoolers, whomever), give my sister's blog a read!
 
Yes, I'm biased, but everyone who has EVER seen her speak will tell you that she's amazing and will be an incredible speaker for whatever you'd like!  She's currently road tripping around the American West and looking for churches/youth groups/wherever to speak.  She has NO speaker charge - you pay what you can, put her up on your couch, give her a gift card, just feed her an awesome dinner, she's all yours!
 
And now, for some fashion, or "fashion..."
 
 
Babies in their Easter dresses (Mary Claire's is Cecilia's from 2011, Elizabeth's is borrowed from a friend).  Good thing we took pictures before Mass, because Mary Claire decided to end her poop strike during Mass, in one of the few diapers we have that don't hold it in.  Epic.  Andrew wins best husband of the day for taking care of that!
 
And of course, as I write this Elizabeth is pooping while nursing, in an attempt to one-up her sister. 
 
Mom life.  Totally as glam as it sounds.

 
How to keep the kids from grabbing the camera from Dad?  Tell them they get to be in a picture!
 
Shirt:  Forever 21 (you've seen it before)
Skirt:  Banana Republic circa 2006?  Maybe not skinny enough to wear it yet, as evidenced by the fact that it's riding up to expose my knees...
Hair:  Wet, hopeless, and a reminder why I stopped pulling my wet hair into a bun just to save time...

 
Shoes:  DSW
 
Cecilia tells me that my shoes make me look "Just wike Minnie Mouse!" which is the highest form of flattery I can expect from her.  She was VERY excited to be wearing her new white flower shoes - so excited that she fell in the parking lot and scuffed them.  Sigh.  This is why I only bought her Pedipeds as dress shoes before - those things are almost impossible to scuff!  I've learned my lesson.
 
Linking up with FL&P - have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pizza Night

I was inspired by Cari's 5 Favorites post and tried a new toppings combination on my pizza for our weekly pizza night.  My usual?  Red peppers, onions, black olives, fresh mozzarella.  YUM!

So this week I tried caramelized onions, goat cheese, & fresh mozzarella (I had time to make caramelized onions, I did NOT have enough balsamic vinegar on had to make a reduction...).  SO delicious!  But I didn't get a picture...

I did, however, get a picture of the children's pizza creations.

I would like to preface this with a bit of parenting advice:

Never leave your 3-year-old unattended with a bottle of oregano with a pouring side to the lid.

Can you guess what happened?

I got the kids set up with their cute little mini pitas (because they don't eat the crust half the time so no way am I wasting my delicious homemade crust on them!), added sauce, and let them add toppings:  Mozzarella, roasted peppers & onions, shredded chicken, and some oregano and basil for sprinkling.

SPRINKLING.

Sigh.

I had to go to the kitchen to make pizzas for grown-ups and when I went back to check on them, this is what I found:


Cecilia's pizza is on the right.  John Paul's is on the left.  And yes, she is wearing a rash guard from her swimsuit.  And plaid shorts because she wants to be "Just wike Maggie!"  Fashion plate, that kid.

Need a close-up?


Yup, John Paul dumped almost an entire bottle of dried oregano on his pizza.  And then spent quite a while eating the dried oregano (because he begs me to sprinkle some on his empty plate every time I cook from it.  Flour, salt, oregano, garlic powder...  Whatever, I let him have it because 1/32 of a teaspoon of dried whatever is totally worth getting him away from the hot stove!

After they added the veggies, I cooked it for them.  And boy, the smell of toasting dried oregano? 

AWFUL.

Never again.

He picked the cheese & chicken off his pizza and tried to eat it, but kept making an awful face so I gave him some of my precious gourmet pizza.

THAT he ate happily.

I'm glad I raise kids with good palates, but I don't always like that it means I have to share!

Friday, April 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Twin Edition

It  is currently past 10 o'clock on Thursday night and I've been trying to nurse one or both babies to sleep for over 3 hours (Mary Claire learned how to blow raspberries today, so she woke Elizabeth up to demonstrate her talent and she JUST went down...), so I decided my Quick Takes theme this week will be 7 awesome things about twins.
 
Edit:  Almost 11 o'clock.  Still nursing Elizabeth.  I'll finish this tomorrow.
 
 
--1--
 
When people stare at your enormous pregnant belly and say, "Are you sure it's not twins?" you can very smugly reply, "Oh yes, it is!"
 
33 weeks and getting a whole lot of, "Any day now!" remarks from strangers.  No, I hope NOT any day now, I'd rather avoid the NICU!

 
 
I always got a kick out of that one and the looks on their faces.  What I REALLY wanted was to be having a boy or a girl so that when people asked, "is it a boy or a girl?" I could say, "Yes!"
 
--2--
 
Girl twins?  Girl clothes!
 
When we had Cecilia, I was SO excited to be able to browse the racks of girly clothing - all you moms with boys know how it is to see three lonely racks of boy clothing in an entire store filled with things for girls.
 
But the thing is, it's HARD to choose clothing when you have so many options!  How can you choose just one Easter dress when there are 7 others that are SO CUTE???
 
Well, when you have twins you have a little more license to buy extra cute clothing because it's going to get used!  And those little sets with coordinating outfits that don't match exactly?  Perfect for twins!
 
See?  Coordinating strawberries but not identical outfits!
 
--3--
 
And speaking of clothes, you'll end up with so many, your toddler might start sharing with the babies:
 
 
Maybe the classiest picture ever taken of Cecilia...  Those are 3-6 month pants, which fit her teeny little booty perfectly as bermuda shorts.  As do a LOT of the babies' pants.
 
--4--
 
More babies to snuggle!
 
 
One baby for each big kid - the perfect ratio!
 
John Paul and Cecilia never have to fight over who gets to hold/play with the baby because there are TWO of them!  And we almost never have the issue of them wanting to wake up a baby to play because one of them is almost always awake!
 
 
--5--
 
No trouble filling up that laundry basket for a full load!
 
Two toddlers generate a fair amount of dirty laundry.  Add two spit-up-prone babies and their 4-10 outfits per day (in the early days), and you've got a full load of kids' laundry every day!  Your 2-year-old never has to wait for than a day for the beloved ballerina dress to be clean and ready to wear again!
 
Wouldn't YOU wear it every day?
--6--
 
Two babies.  One hospital stay.
 
If I ever have twins again and we've got a homebirth under our belt, maybe I'll try at home since this delivery was blessedly uncomplicated.  But you know what was awesome about this delivery?
 
Two babies.  One copay.
 
Of course, we still have double copays at the pediatrician.  But the babies were so small in comparison to my singletons that it was a breeze pushing them out, and I got two for the price of one!
 
It also felt pretty cool to be pushing two bassinets around the hospital halls
 
--7--
 
Twin pictures.
 
Because what's cuter than one baby?
 
Two babies.
 
 
Just a few days old
 
Check out more Quick Takes at Grace's this week!
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