Twin Life Lately- 8 Months

The twins turned 8 months on the 22nd…as you can see I’m having a hard time keeping up with these posts but I’m doing my best! It’s been an interesting and busy month, lots to recap! We had a great time on our first beach trip with the girls, and as soon as we got back, resettled, and back to our normal (what’s that??) routine, I get diagnosed with shingles. Seriously, shingles. I was in disbelief when the doctor told me, I thought only older people get shingles and I’m 32! I also thought only teenagers get mono and I got that this past March. Maybe, just maaaaaybe I’m a little stressed this year. I can’t just get a 24 hour bug, I have to get viruses that completely knock me out for a month+, and I’ve always been a healthy person and take care of myself even with the twins. My doctor said lack of sleep and stress has just knocked my immune system down so I’m more susceptible to getting sick. I keep reminding myself that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I’m still recovering, still in a lot of pain, but life must go on, and the girls still need their momma. We may not have as many fun outings and activities as usual, but we’re hanging in there. This too shall pass…and I’m trying to enjoy every little stage these girls are experiencing even through all I’m experiencing physically. They’re only little once!

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Health

Despite my health issues the girls have been healthy over the past month. We’ve experienced some stuffy noses, but other than that, they’ve been great. Of course my first concern with shingles was the girls because they’re not vaccinated for chicken pox yet (12 months). As long as they don’t actually touch it, we’re good. I did everything I could to keep it covered and their little fingers out of my hair (where most of the rash was) so I really hope we’re in the clear. I’m not contagious anymore, thankfully, but I’m on the look out for any chicken pox symptoms and praying they don’t get it!!

Still no teeth yet and really no signs of them other than random days where they seem super frustrated. A friend of mine was saying the same thing about her little babe and joked that we will wake up one morning and they’ll greet us with a mouthful of teeth.

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Play

These girls are so much fun to watch these days. For a long time I thought they really couldn’t care less about each other. They’d look at each other every now and then but really, they were happy by themselves. Of course I was disappointed wanting them to have this amazing twin bond that I’ve heard so much about! Could my girls be the only identical twins who just co exist and have zero closeness?? And then started the eye poking, the ear pulling, knocking each other over, pinching, scratching, hair pulling, roll on top of each other, sucking each others toes/fingers. And the toy stealing and drama…O M G. I think, and hope, this violent chaos is the start of this twin bond I’ve been craving. For now, I just keep their nails trimmed and keep repeating “gentle, don’t hurt sissy” and “no, sissy is playing with that toy right now, when she’s done with it you can play with it.” I feel like a broken record.

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The girls are sitting up pretty well and moving and grooving all over the place. Faith army crawls pretty quickly and gets on her hands and knees a lot. We just witnessed her first actual crawl this morning, she also just started standing, assisted of course. June crawls backwards and squeals because she just can’t figure out why her toy keeps getting further and further away from her and she’s now stuck under the couch. Our house is pretty entertaining these days.

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Sleep

What’s that? Seriously, sleep has been a very sore topic in our house lately. Between traveling, teething and colds this summer, we’ve gotten lazy on enforcing their sleep training they worked so hard on back in May, and haven’t had the time to get back to it until now. Not only has lack of sleep obviously affected my health, I’m noticing a huge difference between Faith (my good sleeper) and June (my non sleeper) and their moods every day. Poor June just spends every hour awake fussy, rubbing her eyes, and wanting to cuddle, not play and learn new things. I feel like a terrible mom because this is my fault, I have to teach her how to sleep on her own.

She started eating several times during the night again because that was the only thing that would put her back to sleep. I couldn’t just let her cry it out when she wakes up at night now that she’s relying on those calories through the night. I picked up this book last Friday and speed read it so we could get started Saturday with a new routine. It’s a different approach to crying it out and it gives step by step instructions on how to wean night feedings.

So far, June has been doing great! She gets to sleep on her own (even with out her paci!!) and stays asleep most nights except for when I wake her to feed her as part of the night weaning. Faith has been sleeping through but June started waking her up at 5 and they both decided they’re hungry (sleep training twins is pretty difficult for this reason). So now I’m waking both of them at 4 to feed them quickly and I’m weaning them from that feeding so hopefully they’ll both sleep through. It feels like a huge step backwards waking twice a night (and setting alarms) to feed them at 8 months old but it’s not forever, and they (June) need to learn that crying at night does not automatically get them fed, especially since they will one day wean from breastfeeding, and nursing in the middle of the night wont be an option!

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So as of now, they go to bed at 7pm, which I love much better than 6pm because Charlie can be home for their dinner and bath, and they wake around 6:30am…much better than the 5/5:30am wake up calls we were getting last month. I am waking up at 1 to feed June and 4 to feed both, but this is only temporary (I hope!).  They don’t usually wake up other than that which is a huge improvement from the every 1-2 hours June was waking up. They take 2 naps a day now, one at 8:45/9 and one at 12:45/1, which means this is also when I nap. I seriously feel like we have newborns again in this department. Please pray that this new schedule works! We all need the sleep BAD!

EAT

I breastfeed the girls 6 times a day (plus the two feedings at night I talked about above) and they eat solids 3 times a day now. I finally have an actual schedule for their feedings which has made life much easier. I tandem feed them most feedings except for the last one before bed, I feed one at a time so me and Charlie both get one on one time with them before bed.

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The pediatrician said they do nurse more than most babies at this age but it’s not an issue if it works for us. Once I start adding snacks to their diet and they take in more solids, they’ll nurse less often.

I’m still making purees for the girls solid meals, making them a little thicker now so they can learn to eat bigger pieces and eventually finger foods. We’re only feeding them fruits and veggies, no protein yet. I know they can have meat at this age but I’m holding off on introducing new foods for a bit until we get their sleeping in order. I’m also still holding off on dairy for me and them since they’ve had an issue with milk protein. The doctor said we’ll discuss adding it at their 9 month appointment.

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Typing all of this out seems so surreal to me. I can’t believe we have 8 month olds. I remember months ago thinking that 8 months seems so far away and now my teeny 5 lb babies are taking up the majority of my lap. I remember being pregnant and the thought of having two babies just boggled my mind and here they are. I look at the girls several times a day and can’t believe how big they are and I have two! I still pinch myself! I mean look at these little faces, how did I get so lucky?

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Beach Vacation + Lessons Learned

We survived our first beach vacation with the twins…and now I need another one to recover from it. No. Joke. We went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina with both of our families, two weeks, two different houses with a hotel stay in between. We didn’t initially plan that long of a vacation but last minute time off popped up for my brother, so we booked a beach house with my family the week before our vacation week with Charlie’s family, only they didn’t overlap so we ended up in limbo in between. One thing we’ve learned over the past 7 months is how resilient these girls are. They did amazing in all the transition (except for some sleeping issues, of course). I’m pretty proud of our girls!

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We heard from many people that driving at night, leaving at their bedtime, works great, so we tried it and it went perfect. They passed out immediately and we didn’t hear a peep, not even when we transferred them to their pack n plays when we got to the beach house. We started in Buxton, NC which is a fishing town near Hatteras. The house was right on the sound with beautiful views, and beach was a few minutes drive. We were able to pull right up to the beach to unload, which was really nice. The preparation (suits, sunscreen, packing, loading), set up (chairs, blankets, tents, umbrellas, pool, toys), and recovery (try nursing two upset, sandy, sweaty, hot, sticky, wet babies while you’re also all of the above) takes much longer than our actual time on the beach but it was fun. We only made it down there twice in Buxton, once for a short 20-30 minutes and another for about 1.5 hours. We allllllmost got them asleep on the beach until a huge gust of wind took out the beach tent they were laying in and covered them with sand. Beach time over.

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After a few nights in Buxton, we checked out of the house in the morning and had basically an entire day to kill before we could check into our hotel for the night. We made the most of it and visited some tourist sites, took the girls to our favorite restaurant (talk about a spectacle), and did a lot of driving around for nap times. It was interesting staying in a hotel with them. We put them to “bed” and had to actually walk out of the hotel room at 6pm. We had dinner on the patio of our room and called it an early night.

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The next day was the same thing…check out in the morning, kill time until checking in at the next house. I have to say, the girls did amazing with all of the time in the car. The only time they really fussed was the last 20 minutes on the way to the house when we were stuck in traffic, and that’s because it was feeding time.

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We spent 5 nights in Duck, NC with Charlie’s family and the view from the place was amazing. The house was on a hill so you could see both the sound and the ocean from one big room on the top level. The house also had a brand new pool with a cabana- perfect for us. We spent a lot more time at the pool than the beach, really only bringing the babies to the beach for sunrise (hey, gotta make the most of early rising babies). It was a pretty hot week and with the pool being right outside, it was just so much easier setting up there than bringing everything down to the beach. The girls love the water, and even just hanging out under the cabana. Anything outside these girls are game for and I love it.

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We made the trip home at night like on the way down, and the girls did great once again. I was ready to be back at home, on normal sleeping schedules (or getting there at least). Also, after 10 days of living in big houses with lots of stairs…it makes me even happier to live in a small house with everything and everyone close by. I’d say our first beach trip as a family was successful, but I learned a few things along the way.

Lessons Learned

  1. We probably won’t be taking the girls out to dinner until they’re 10, even if it is a loud, casual, quick lunch. Not worth the headache.
  2. Hotels are great when they were 7 weeks old, a little trickier when they’re 7 months old.
  3. Driving at bedtime is the way to go.
  4. Pack strategically- I had a bag for almost everything which made things easier for us. I had a nighttime bag, a bag for diapers etc, clothing bag, swimsuit/beach bag, toy bag, pumping/nursing bag, bath bag, solid foods bag…etc. Keeping everything sorted and organized helped tremendously when moving from place to place as well as finding things among everything you bring on vacation for babies!
  5. Don’t expect to get any sleep on vacation. The girls were thrown off from day one being in a new environment and didn’t sleep well at all during the night, so I spent just about every nap time catching zzzzs myself.
  6. Beaches and babies are not the best combination, but worth doing in small doses.
  7. Get a house with a pool, if not for the kids when the beach is too much to take on, for you during naps so you don’t feel home bound while everyone is at the beach.
  8. Bring big blankets to block light from windows in your bedroom. We brought black trash bags which helped for nap and bed time when it’s really bright out, but a big blanket worked better. Also- swaddle blankets over the sides of their pack n plays worked great for blocking them from seeing us in the room as well as each other. Great tip from my friend Jennifer!
  9. Set low expectations for what you can do. I think we did this right, we were looking to get away with family and just enjoy time together. If we had gone into our vacation expecting an actual vacation…like relaxing, dinners out, cocktails, and sleeping in…we would have been very disappointed.
  10. Set expectations with family or guests you’re staying with. Being the only ones in both of our families with kids, I can imagine it was a tough adjustment for everyone else who are not used to living with babies 24/7. They cry, sometimes for no reason, and they sleep only when they want to, so it was kind of rough trying to cater to the babies but also try to not ruin everyone else’s time/sleep.

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All in all, a great time! Any other tips you’d add for vacationing with little ones?

 

Twin Life Lately- 7 Months

S E V E N months! This month flew by, I feel like I just wrote one of these posts! Every week…actually every day is something new with these two, it’s hard to keep up. They’re hitting a lot of milestones lately, I always have my phone nearby to take a video of something new they’re doing. This past month has been a busy one with travel and their first colds (more on that below), but I’m trying hard to soak in every minute with these two littles because time goes so fast!

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Health

We don’t have another well visit check up until 9 months, but we did have a couple of visits to the pediatrician this past month…actually over 4th of July. June stopped sleeping, I mean just flat out STOPPED. Like would doze off for maybe 10-15 minutes at a time…day and night. This was a super fun time in our lives (insert sarcasm). I knew something was going on with her; sure enough she was coming down with something, but thankfully nothing serious. Of course she then gave it to her sister, and they gave it to Charlie and then I thought back and realized I was the one who started it all. :-( I guess that’s how it goes when you all live together! We’ve kicked the bug out of the house it seems and getting back to sleeping somewhat regularly and no more sick babes…for now!

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Teething has also entered into our lives with full force, but still no teeth. Faith has been having trouble with it more than June but add that on top of colds and growth spurts, we have been having some fussiness in our house (understatement). I just keep repeating “this too shall pass” and take each day as it comes.

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Playing

I love all these new stages, it’s like every day they have a new trick! Both girls are sitting up on their own (with my hand close by to catch a quick loss of balance) rolling around like crazy, and scooting backwards. Faith just figured out how to go forward and will also rock on her knees and elbows like she wants to crawl. I’ve pretty much had to clear everything out of the living room and just surrender the room to them. I already can’t leave the room for more than a few seconds. They aren’t too quick but all it takes is a couple of rolls and they’re dangerously close to wacking their heads or getting something in their mouths that they shouldn’t. My parents got them a big play pen…Charlie calls it a yard cage…that fits pretty well in our living room and is great for outside when we’re doing something and they need to be contained. They still L O V E being outside more than anything. It instantly calms them!

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They’ve also started the toy fighting/stealing. It’s mild for now, but I’ve witnessed many times when one (Faith) will snatch a toy when one (June) isn’t looking. The drama I tell you!

Sleeping

As I mentioned above, colds and teething has really interrupted our sleep lately. Faith is sleeping through the night again, 6pm-6:30ish am. June is still getting up once or twice a night, mainly just for her paci. She’s still getting up at 5 am and won’t go back down. She’s not even hungry when she wakes, she just wants attention. Most of the time we can get her to go back to sleep in bed with us. (Things I said I’d never do as a parent…) The pediatrician said this is a common age for them to go through separation anxiety and I can see that especially at night with June. It’s during the day with Faith…she MUST be held by ME, with no one else around, most of the day. Sorry baby girl, you’re a twin.

They stopped taking their 3rd nap right around the time their sleeping went kinda crazy from them not feeling well. And then just last week they decided to take a 3rd nap again, and the past couple of days they’ve been fine with 2. Just when I think I have their schedule figured out…it changes. Story of my life!

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Thankfully they both typically nap and go to bed at the same time. I had a week or so when that wasn’t the case, for pretty much the first time in their life, and it was rough. It was a pure survival week and if I could just get anyone to sleep (including myself) it was a victory, no matter what time it was or where (crib, bed, swing, car seat). They’re pretty synced up now though.

Eating

The girls are still breastfeeding 5-6 times a day. I’ve had issues with them being so incredibly distracted when I nurse so I’ve started stretching out their feedings so they’d actually EAT because they’re hungry. So far so good. I also got so frustrated with tandem feeding these big babies that I went to feeding them one at a time…impossible when I’m by myself. I can’t handle the screaming from the one not eating or the one I’m feeding is distracted by sister and won’t eat. So that didn’t last long and I reached out to a great twin community for advice. Many recommended a new nursing pillow to tandem feed them on so I found one on craigslist and that’s been a world of a difference! They’re still a bit distracted but I’ve heard from others that this is just a stage, hopefully so!

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They’re eating solid foods twice a day, after their first nap and about an hour before bed. They like pretty much everything we give them for the most part. Faith will give us a face/gag/head shake the first time she tries something new but after that she’s game. She’s so funny, after every bite, her two middle fingers go back into her mouth. We sometimes actually have to yank them out for her to actually eat. June is hysterical…she eats with her arms straight out to her sides, eyes wide open staring at the spoon while kicking her legs like “gimme gimme gimme”. Sometimes she cries between bites if I’m feeding them myself. Impatient little one! I’ve been making their food which is a lot easier (and less expensive) than I thought. I’ve gotten in a groove and just make a little here and there to keep up a supply in the freezer.

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LIFE

I’ve been filling our calendar every week with outings as it helps me and the girls. They have really started to like being around people and different surroundings, which is a far cry from months ago when I literally couldn’t take them anywhere, especially on my own.

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We are looking forward to our first beach trip with the girls this month! I’ve heard from other moms it’s not a vacation at all when you have babies, but we’re looking forward to it. The girls LOVE a change of scenery, as do I, so it will be nice to get out of town and spend time with family.

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