Twin Life Lately- 6 Months

How in the world did I give birth to these two cutie pies 1/2 a year ago? I really relate to the saying that the days are long but the years are short. I’m trying to soak in every day with these little ones because it’s going by way too fast.

I realize that I never wrote a 5 month post…things have gotten hectic or should I say LIVELY in the Lively household. These girls are changing daily, and work has picked up for me, so again, I apologize for the lack of posting over the past several weeks. I’ll try to summarize the past 2 months in this post, though so much has happened so it will be tough!

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Health

June: 13lb 6 oz (5%), 24 in (10%)

Faith: 13lb 9.5oz (10%), 25 in (25%)

Their 6 month visit went much better than their 4 month visit, and our doctor is very pleased with how they’re doing. They dropped a little on the percentile curve for weight, but she’s not concerned. It may just be that they’re a little more active now.

We have been noticing a reaction in both girls over the past few months that the doctor thinks is a milk protein allergy. Apparently it’s pretty common and most outgrow it in their first year, however it means no dairy for me, and it may delay introducing dairy to them as well.

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The doctor recommended not giving them another dose of the oral vaccine for rotavirus since they had a reaction last time. I was happy to go along with that because after last time, I’d be in their room all night afterward making sure they’re ok.

Playing

Everyone has said that it gets easier the older they get and while I beg to differ, I will say that it gets more FUN. Watching the girls play and explore new things is so entertaining. They both “talk” all the time, roll around, give kisses, grab and play with their feet (including some toe sucking….I’m looking at you Miss Faith), stare and pull at their thumbs (Junebug), scoot on their tummy, throw toys, put E V E R Y T H I N G in their mouths….the list just goes on. Their laughing is uncontrollable, as is ours, they smile constantly, and  L O V E to be outside more than anything. They also love music and when we sing to them, and they’ve really learned to love books. When we even pick one up they light up with smiles on their faces, especially Good Night Moon which has been a nightly reading tradition by Daddy.

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They’ve started to take to certain toys and preferences, which is neat to watch, however when they have different preferences it becomes difficult when it’s just me at home with them. For instance, one wants to be held and bounced around and one wants certain toy out of reach. I say it will be easier when they can actually move and get what they want but they’ll also be able to move and get what they want! Baby proofing must happen soon!

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We recently got home from a weekend away and plopped the girls down on the ground to play, both immediately rolled over, one bumping their head on our coffee table reaching for a toy, the other sandwiched their body underneath our glider. Charlie and I looked at each other with wide eyes and said “it’s happening!” That same day, they both sat up with no support. Too fast, baby girls, too fast.

Sleeping

Sleeping is always up and down in this house, I mean we have two babies. Since Faith started sleeping on her tummy a few weeks ago, she’s a rockstar sleeper. You lay her down, she puts her 2 middle fingers in her mouth (adorable, I know) flips to her tummy and she’s out. Getting to that point was challenging, we transitioned them out of swaddles at about 4.5 months and she could roll to her tummy but it kinda freaked her out so there was a lot of me going back in to flip her. Now she flips and contently stays there until sister girl wakes her up.

June decides when naptime is over and when to get up in the morning. She just recently started rolling onto her tummy in the crib so if she follows her big sister (by a minute), she’ll be sleeping contently on her tummy in no time (I pray). It freaked me out to no end when they started flipping in their cribs but it’s ok at this age….and if they’re more comfortable that way, it means more sleep for me!

The girls have been taking 2-3 naps about an hour to 1.5 hrs each but lately the 3rd nap has been non existent. They sleep ok during the night; we put them down at 6pm and they are OUT, and they wake up at 6-6:30 am pretty regularly. They were sleeping straight through until about 4.5 months and June started waking around 3am to eat so I’d then wake Faith and feed her too. I then started realizing that Faith would sleep through if I didn’t wake her so now I just feed June. If June doesn’t wake around 3-4, she WILL wake at 5 AM and not go back down, even after eating, which has been a recent struggle that we’re dealing with. We’ve tried adjusting their naps, their bedtime, feeding and putting her back down, E V E R Y T H I N G and she still wants to get up before 6. I’m thinking about setting an alarm for 4 am to feed her, kind of a reverse dreamfeed, not ideal but better than starting the day at 5 with a couple of cranky twins (and momma).

Eating

I’m still breastfeeding them which I didn’t know if I’d be able to say at 6 months! Most of the time I feed them at the same time. They’re almost too big to fit on my nursing pillow so not sure how much longer tandem feeding will last. Sometimes if I get the opportunity or if we are out and about I’ll feed one at a time, but if it’s just me and them, it’s easier to feed them together. We were giving them bottles for their last feeding before bed to give me a break and to let Charlie be able to feed the girls as well, but that had me pumping 3 times a day in addition to nursing them 7-8 times a day. So I went back to nursing them before bed and now only pumping once before I go to bed.

We started feeding them rice cereal and oatmeal a few weeks ago, and also just tried bananas and avocados. They’re big fans of banana oatmeal and bananas and avocados mixed together (sounds strange but they love it). I’m excited to try more foods, next up is sweet potatoes. I just started making big batches and freezing it which is actually more fun than I thought it would be…and much cheaper than store bought!  They’ve been eating solids twice a day, once after their morning nap and again about an hour before bed. Between that and breastfeeding all day…I feel like all I do is feed them!

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They’re forever keeping us on our toes, once we think we have something figured out, they change. This includes their personalities. For the longest time, June was our little firecracker and Faith was the snuggly quiet one. Then one day they completely switched…for a few weeks and then they switched again. We just can’t predict anything, that’s for sure!

They both have a little dose of stranger danger and have started crying when they hear their sister cry, so that’s been a recent challenge, but pretty normal at this age.

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It’s gotten easier for me to get out of the house with them since my last update. While they’re getting heavier and harder for me to carry at the same time, they’ve grown out of their stroller hating stage so that helps. I think they’re also getting used to being out around people and don’t get as overwhelmed as they used to. Timing is everything, they have to be fed (feeding them on the go is very tough with two) and have a little bit of play time to let out their wiggles before we go anywhere. I try to time it so they’re getting sleepy when they’re in the car on our way back so I can just bring them in, nurse them and put them down.

They’ve also been going to the church nursery for about a month. The first two times they screamed when we left them which was heart breaking, we left bottles for them which helps calm them down and they’re good. Since then, they’ve been fine, even smiling and recognizing some of the workers when we drop them off. The last time I picked them up, the nursery workers were singing “Jesus Loves Me” to them and it absolutely melted my heart to see others invest in bringing up our babies in faith, even at such a young age.

I hope two months doesn’t go by before their next update, I will try to be on top of it! I have to say, it’s so much fun looking back at the different months, even posts during my pregnancy, to see what was going on, what we were dealing with, how I was feeling, etc. So that’s a huge motivation for these updates.

Tips for Living in a Small Home with Babies

I’ve talked about our home several times lately, and our decision to stay in it for the time being, even though we’re lacking space. One of the first questions our friends and family asked when we announced we were expecting twins was, “are you going to move into a bigger house?” Of course the thought crossed our minds, and still does, but our main concern (other than the well being of our babies) was the fact that I was not going to be able to work outside of the home like we had originally planned. That meant not only were we going to be having double the amount of kids than we had expected, as well as higher medical bills for twins, we were also going to be living on less income. So a larger house with a bigger mortgage and higher utility bills would not be a smart move.

So we stayed, and here we are, the girls are almost 6 months (really???) and we’re happily living in our <800 sq ft home. I’ve learned how to make it work for us so far and I thought I’d share some tips in case you’re in the same boat!

1. Get rid of stuff.

I know this sounds obvious but it’s probably the hardest part. Before the girls came, we spent countless weekends getting rid of stuff or boxing things up and putting them in the attic for later use. When you live in a small house, you can’t get attached to things unless you want to pay for a storage unit (or you have very nice parents with extra room in their home  …thanks mom and dad)! Small kitchen appliances that we use twice a year and china passed down from my grandma are currently in boxes in the attic, along with many other items we’re not using at the moment. One day they’ll reappear, but for now we need the space for other items that we use more regularly.  All of those cool decorative items and collectibles end up taking up space and aren’t exactly kid friendly, so box them up too or sell/donate them.

2. Look for storage in new ways.

For the items you keep around, find new ways to store them. We’ve become best friends with vacuum bags for linens and off season clothes. Also, get a bed skirt if you don’t have one, and utilize under the bed + cribs for storage. Rethink your closet space and install shelving or closet systems to maximize your closet storage. Use hooks on empty walls or on the back of doors. Shoe organizers are also great, you can store many things, in addition to shoes, in these organizers. Think of how you can use your wall space for storage or shelving. We also have baskets all over our house. It’s no secret that they’re a great way to store items in a pretty way.

photo (45)Also- we keep our strollers and carriers in my SUV. Why have them take up valuable space in the house? When my car was in the shop and we had all of this stuff in our living room, we joked that we really missed our mobile storage unit. :-)

3. Everything has its place.

A way of thinking you have to adapt to in a small home is that everything HAS to have a home. When an item is not being used, it has to live somewhere and that somewhere can’t be on top of a table or piece of furniture (unless it’s meant to go there of course). If it doesn’t have it’s place in our home, we don’t have room for it so we get rid of it or don’t buy it in the first place. It might sound a little over the top but its been key to my sanity.

4. Pick up as you go.

Along with the last point, put everything away in its home as you go. I have to do this throughout the day otherwise there will be no where to walk or stand or sit by the end of the day. When the girls go down for a nap, I put their toys away (or at least collect them in one area), if I don’t I’ll be tripping and stepping on toys. When I finish eating lunch, I do the dishes, and put everything away. I don’t have room to do anything else if dishes are on the table or counter. When I’m done wearing my shoes, I put them in their home so I don’t trip over them. (ahem! Husband…)

5. Get outside.

I’m so thankful that we have a big yard and I know once the girls are more mobile we’ll be utilizing the space outside much more often. The girls LOOOOOVE being outside and getting out of the house helps not only for sanity reasons but also for exercise. We try to get out and walk around our neighborhood or at a park every day that it’s nice outside. It really helps!

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6. Cut down on decor clutter.

This goes with #1 but it really is a huge point. When your home is cluttered, it feels smaller. Also, with more things laying around, that’s just more things that your kids can get their hands on. I’m already pulling things out of my babies’ hands and they’re not even 6 months yet. I’m working on the clutter (and baby proofing) in our home as we speak!

7. Get neutral baby gear.

I know babies like bright colors, and most of the twins toys are super colorful; but when it comes to the equipment that stays out 24/7, I had to resist the cute pink and bright colored items. This just adds to the visual clutter in the room when you have lots of bright equipment, which makes a room feel smaller. Our main items (pack n play, swings, highchairs) are all a neutral color that somewhat blends with the rest of the room. Don’t get me wrong, when you walk into our house, it’s no secret that we have a couple of babies, but the neutral colors help at least a little.

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8. Multipurpose furniture + baby gear.

If you’re in the market for new furniture, look for items that serve several purposes. Our coffee table is a chest that opens for storage; storage ottomans are great too. Our kitchen table has shelving underneath where we store our pots and pans. It’s counter height as well which gives us more prep space. I’ve seen beds with drawers underneath for storage. Look for tables with drawers to keep things handy but out of sight. This goes for baby equipment as well. We don’t have room for 2 baby swings, infant seats, and bouncy seats so we have 3 in 1 swings to save space. The girls’ dresser is also a changing table instead of having two separate pieces of furniture.

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9. Rotate items often.

I feel like I’m always going through the girls’ closet and drawers, pulling out clothes that no longer fit and storing them away. As sad of a task that it is, it’s essential to do often because we just don’t have the space to keep everything out. The same goes for equipment or toys that they don’t use anymore. We have two swings but rarely use them anymore. While I’m not ready to get rid of both yet, I can say goodbye to one to free up more space for an exersaucer as well as high chairs. I have a jumper at my parents house and when they’re big enough for that, we’ll probably trade that for one of the swings. As the babies’ needs and interests change, so does the equipment and toys. Rotating these things out (either giving them away/selling or putting in storage) frees up more space for new things…like the girls’ pack n play that is currently in our entryway. Hey, it works!

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10. Perspective.

I’m constantly working on this but it’s a big one. If you’re always focusing on the lack of space, your home is going to feel even smaller and you’ll just get frustrated. Changing your perspective is huge. I know this is just a season of our lives, one that I’m trying to not allow to fly by while I’m worrying about how my house looks. I honestly can say I’m truly thankful to be living in a small house with the girls being this age. I can’t imagine how much more worn out I’d be if I was running all over a big house or going up and down stairs every day. Our home is perfect for this stage in our lives.

Any other tips for small house living (with or without kids)?

Modern Accent Chairs

I’m currently working on a client’s home that has a traditional feel but we want to bring in modern and rustic touches. I love mixing styles, and adding an accent chair with clean modern lines is a really fun way to mix up traditional and rustic pieces. A colorful accent chair can also give a splash of color without going too overboard. Here are a few that I love; most come in many fabric options:

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Everett Armchair

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Class Lounge Chair

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Modern Chair

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Murphy Chair

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Remark Arm Chair

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James Nickel & Leather Chair

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Parlour Chair

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Caribbean Blue Quincy Chair

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Avec Chair