June 30, 2012

Summer times picnics, my favorite night of the week.

We have been having a fun summer, until this recent heat wave struck.  We used to go to the park a couple times a week.  Once a week we would pick up Will from work and have a picnic.  Picnic night is quickly becoming my favorite night of the week.  I pack most of the lunch during nap time.  So all I have to do when it's time to eat is toss it all in my picnic tote, get the babies in the car, and go get Will.  The babies will eat just about anything, so it's easy.  This week they had cheese sandwiches, blueberries, and one of those grabber things.  It is just relaxing to eat dinner on our little picnic blanket.  Then afterwards we can swing or walk around for a little bit.... or swing.  Penny LOVES to swing.  Ben likes it, but Penny is swing crazy!

Picnics work out well for us with Will's crazy schedule and their being so many parks in the area, but I hope it is a tradition we continue.  It is really good family time, and you gotta make the most out of those moments when they come.


Penny enjoying our picnic

Ben and daddy relaxing with each other.

June 28, 2012

Finding the balance

Being a stay at home mother I often feel like my life is out of balance.  I feel like I am never alone, yet I feel lonely.  I feel like I am doing a good job, then a baby decides to get cranky and I am overwhelmed by life.  I feel like super mom taking twins out in public managing them and doing good, then after a bad outing I say that I'm not leaving the house by myself with them ever again.  I feel like I need to find a balance, but that balance is hard to find sometimes.

Getting through my first year with twins has been difficult, in fact I barely remember the first few months.  Now they are almost a year and I am ready to find myself again.  I am ready for some hobbies and some me time.  Just saying that makes me feel selfish, but that's the culture of today.  Mom's are expected to do everything and be in love with it every minute.  While I do love being a stay at home mom more than I ever though I would be, but I need more.  This blog has been an asset to me.  I really enjoy the writing process, it not only gets me thoughts out, but it chronicles our lives.  I love looking back at older posts and seeing what I have written and seeing old pictures of the babies.  Plus it has introduced me to a community of supportive of women going through exactly the same thing I am.

Another thing I have started doing to help find the balance.  The mommy meet up group I'm in has a mommy's night out.  One night a month we get out and get drinks and dinner.  It is so nice to have some adult conversation (even if all we talk about it the kids).

Also I take nap time as me time.  When they go to bed I have dishes, laundry, picking up, cleaning and all those other mommy chores.  So I take nap time and I do whatever I feel like, whether I'm writing on my blog and checking facebook or just relaxing and watching tv.  It is time for me!

So while I still feel guilty for getting me time (if any mom doesn't have guilt, please tell me how!!) I am finding ways to climb out from under the rock that is trying to figure out life with babies.  While I feel like me life won't truly be balanced for awhile, I'm trying to find semblance of a life I live not one where I just get by.

How do you find a balance? 

June 26, 2012

Home made finger paint... a sensory experience!

So today I made finger paints for the babies to play with.  I always see these post on blogs or on pinterest of babies having fun with sensory things.  So today I made some finger paints.  I got the recipe from a friend, it was really simple!
2 tbls sugar mixed with 1/3 cup flour.  Put it in a sauce pan and mix with 2 cups water until smooth.  Turn on heat and continue to stir until it thickens.  Then put in container and add desired food coloring.  Easy Peasy!

So here is how the babies first sensory experience went.

I decided I would do it in the bath tub at bath time.  Blank white canvas and easy clean up!
Whenever I see babies the same age as my babies doing sensory, I think yeah right.  All my babies would do it is eat it!

Totally right!!  That's really all Ben was interested in, perhaps this recipe is a little too tasty.

They got the hang of it after awhile though.

Penny had a lot of fun with it!

All in all it was totally worth it.  The mess was contained, the babies had fun, and Will and I had fun watching it.  Ben may have eaten all his and Penny just wanted to slide around the slippery tub, but they had a new experience with texture and sight and taste.

June 25, 2012

Yum Yum!

One thing I have been blessed with with Ben and Penny is that they are such good eaters.  It was a rough start for Ben.  Being born 5 and 1/2 weeks early Ben's sucking reflex wasn't as good as it could have been. He was dropping weight and when you only weigh 5.5 pounds that's scary!  He got under 5 pounds for a minute there and we had to so closely monitor his intake and how long he would eat and keep him awake.  It was no fun, but now I have two babes who will try anything you put in front of them.  And really, for the most part they will eat just about anything.

I tried baby food for about a month, but they never really liked it.   So from a very young age they have been eating regular food.  I would say since about 8 months there has been no baby food.  People are often surprised by this, but it has just worked for us.  We would struggle to get them to eat baby food, but when we would put small bites of banana on their tray they would gobble it down.  So we just decided to cut out baby food.  It had many many messes, but babies clean up easy! :)

Some of their favorite foods now are blueberries, green beans, bananas, cheese, peaches, yogurt, pasta, meatballs, and they both love sloppy joes.  It's nice that for the most part we are able to eat as a family and eat the same meal.  Sometimes I have to switch protiens for the babies if they can't eat what we are, or I might have to steam our vegetables more that I would for just Will and I, but it's worth it.

Now if I can just teach Penny to stop throwing her food on the ground when she's done...

Penny feeding herself for the first time. Sweet Potatoes

Ben eating breakfast. Eggs, black beans, cheese and tortilla

Yum Spaghetti!!

Baby size take on Easter dinner.

One of our current favorite lunches, chicken and cheese quesadilla, steamed carrots and grapes cut in half.

June 22, 2012

Is this the harder part you told me about?

So when you are the parent of twins babies, other twin parents look at you with empathy and say "It gets better."  Most time is this followed by, then it will get harder again.  It's the cycle of raising kids I guess.  As you as you get settled and know what you doing, they change the game!  Let's just say Penny and Ben threw us a game changer.

They are both so mobile!  And really both of them are now walking.  Penny has been walking for a about a week now.  Not walking all the time, but a few steps here and there.  Now she is starting to stand up by herself and walk half way across the living room.  And yesterday we were having a play date with a very good friend, and Ben, out of the blue, just walked half way across the living room.  So both of them are still mostly crawling, but walking is right around the corner.  This is exciting and a bit terrifying.  I am really excited to be able to get them out to the car easier and all of the things that come easier with walker.  Then there is the vision of them running in two different directions at the park, or running away in a parking lot, or even just at home with many more things they can get into in two different places at home.  I'm just not sure I'm ready for all of that.  Well, ready or not here they come!  They are up on two feet and ready to see what this world is all about.  Now if I can find the courage and energy to help them.

 So of course I have no pictures of them walking because once the camera is out they are done, so here's some pictures of them playing in the kitchen while I cook dinner.

Their favorite thing in the kitchen.  They love the noise it makes!

June 19, 2012

Black Forest Cupcakes

With the twins birthday coming up, I am in planning mode.  People around me enjoy one part of this, trying different cupcake recipes.  The first one I tried was a Black Forest Cupcake.  If you like chocolate and cherries, this is the cupcake for you!

It's super easy, you follow the directions on a box of devil's food cake mix, but substitute black cherry soda for water.
the ingredients needed
Combine mix, eggs, oil, and soda

Put in papers and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes

For the frosting the recipe called for cherry extract mixed with a container of vanilla frosting, I couldn't find any at my grocery store so I used Marachino cherry syrup instead.  It worked, but the cherry flavor was a bit understated.  If this makes the birthday party cut, I will use cherry extract.

To finish, top with a Cherry and enjoy!

I thought these cupcakes were delicious!  Like I said, I will find the cherry extract for a little more of the cherry flavor next time.  Definitely might make an appearance at the twins first birthday!

June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!

Today is a day to celebrate the special men in our lives and I have a lot to celebrate! The father/daughter bond is one of the most important. It sets the stage for so much in life. My dad is great! He was always there for us and provided for his family. I am so grateful for that.

Today Will celebrates his first father's day. I am so unbelievable blessed to have him as the father of my children. He has a very demanding schedule as a phd student but he always finds time to play with the babies. He is here almost every night for bath and bed, and he never makes plans for Sunday which is our designated family day. I know he will show Ben how to be a good man and show Penny what a good man is.

So here's to the those men in our life who showed us how things should be. Whether it was your biological father or not.

Happy Father's Day!

June 13, 2012

Baby proofing woes

When we first moved into this apartment (baby free) one of the first things would comment on was the great open lay out. "I know, I love it!" I would reply. Well then next person who says that to me will get a completely different answer!

We used to use a pack and play and a strategically placed chair to keep the babies in the living room. They learned how to escape. So we then used the pack and play and chair and a tub under the kitchen table to just keep them out of the kitchen. They learned to get through anyway. There is no good way to keep these babies in one area! And with so much space they can each get into trouble with quite a distance between them. I never thought baby proofing we be so involved. I thought I would put the things in the plugs and on the dangerous cabinets and hide the computer and be done with it. HA! And seriously why does the oven not have a lock to keep it shut if babies are in the kitchen while you are making dinner? Nothing happened and I don't let them near the stove of course, but it does make me nervous. I can't be the only person who thinks that should be necessary! So I'm up for any pointers and tips on baby proofing because I am at a loss. And after the marathon that was today, I need to figure something out!

June 8, 2012

10 things I've learned from a year with twins.

Penny and Ben are quickly approaching their 1st birthday and I am in disbelief.  There is just no way it can be that long!  It has been a crazy ride getting through this first year with them.  The year has been full of tears, joyful, frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, any kind of tears, they are they have been cried in this household this year!  Now I am not nor will I ever claim to be an expert on raising twins, but I have compiled this list of things I have learn with a year of them.  I am not perfect and sometimes forget these lessons and have to keep relearning them.  Some of them I have to remind myself of daily, but I'm trying.

Penny and Ben's newborn picture
1. It's ok to not be happy when you learn you are having twins.  The second you announce you are having twins, all you will here is how doubly blessed you are.  And while this is true, sometimes it is not what you want to hear.  This is something that is so hard to voice.  All of us have friends or family who are trying to desperately to get pregnant.  You may even have been in the same boat, but it is still ok to not be thrilled.  It does make everything harder.  Your pregnancy will be hard.  You will never get that one new born baby one mommy bonding.  You will not sleep for atleast 2 months.  Things are just a lot different.  Some people are over the moon when they find out, and for them I say fanastic!  But if you are anything like me and go back and forth from being happy to being terrified it's ok.  Don't feel guilty!

2. Schedule Schedule Schedule!  For your own sanity get the babies on a schedule.  I know that we should never wake a sleeping baby, but it you have twins I say if one is up, wake that second one.  Feed them together, sleep them together, play with them together.  And when they are old enough, a nap and feeding schedule will be your best friend.  Trust me, it makes your life easier, and in my opinion, your babies happier.

3.  Be Flexible.  Yes I did just tell you to make a schedule and stick to it, and now I am going to tell you to be flexible.  It's a conundrum I know, but it's important.  Getting them on a schedule will help you, but you can't be a slave to that schedule.  Never forget they are two little people and sometimes need a little wiggle room.

4. Reprioritize. Your house may have been spotless, you may have made gourmet meals, you may have been crafty, but I'm sorry to tell you that your just going to have to let it go for awhile.  Freezer pizza is now your friend.  If someone ask to help LET THEM!  It is ok to have a messy house and know your Chinese delivery mans name.  It happens.

5. Trust your mommy gut.  This is the most important part of parenting any baby I believe.  No one knows your baby and your situation like you do.  Only you can make decisions that work for your family.  Don't let others sway you from what you feel is right for your own family.

6. Stop comparing yourself to other mommies. (even other mommies of multiples.)  I found it easy not to compare myself to moms with one baby.  I would just think, sure you have one, easy for you to say.  But there will be twin moms who seem to have it all together.  They are the ones that got to me.  I would think "wow their house is clean!"  I would read facebook posts about the dinners they were cooking all while I was covered in baby puke, sitting on a mound of laundry, feeding a baby and shoving pizza in my face.  Just remember people have a good face they show the world.  And odds are they are doing the same thing when you post on facebook about the cute thing your little ones are doing now.

7. Crying is OK.  This is a hard one.  It is hard to listen to one baby cry while you are feeding the other one, but as a mother of twins you just have to do it.  It is a sad fact that you are out number.  Just know you are not harming them.  You are not scarring them for life.  You are not ignoring your babies needs, and for heaven's sake quit reading those books and article that say you are.  Cut yourself some slack.  You are doing a great job and your babies love you more than anything else in the world.  Literally

8. It's only for a little while.  Repeating this got me through sleepless night and collicky twins.  I just kept saying this is only gonna last a month, and I can do anything for a month.  Soon they will sleep, soon they will stop crying, and ya know what?  They did!  I know I am lucky but I now have two babies who go down with out a fuss for 12 hours at night.  This also goes for the good stuff to, so that is also important to keep in mind.  Those newborn coos only last for a little while.  Those first smile, chuckles, steps only last for a little while.  So you get will get through it, but try to cherish it too.  I know!  Another conundrum!  I'm sorry.

9. You can do It!  There are going to be days where this is going to be your mantra, and it is important to keep telling yourself this.  You will be pushed harder than you have ever been pushed in your life.  Getting through the first year with twins is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  Just know God gave you these twins and you can do it!  No one else but you can be a mommy to those babies.  And you are perfect for the job!  Just remind yourself of that from time to time.

10. It gets easier. But then it will get harder, but then it is will get easier again.  It is a cycle of twins, with each new phase comes challenges.  Newborn twins is a unique experience, I feel like mothers of twins have almost a war bond.  I know that may sound extreme, but it's true!  No one knows what you have been/are going through like they do.  And after surviving my first year I will say, it has gotten so much easier.  I dare to say sometime I make dinner and sometimes I have a clean house... sometimes!!

10 and 1/2 months old

 So like I said, I am no expert nor will I ever claim to be one, but this is what I have learned.  My musings and lessons through the first year.  I love it!  The days are long but the years are short.  Looking back time has flown by.  I can already do so much more with them.  I just can't believe their 1st birthday is in less than a month.  So here's to the future lessons they will teach me!


June 4, 2012

We're going to the zoo zoo zoo!

Last week when we went to Peoria for a couple a days we went to the zoo.  I was fun.  Penny and Ben didn't quite know what to make of some of the animals.  I think mainly the just enjoyed being outside for the day.  We took my mom's daycare kids and my grandma came along so we had quite a little group.  I love that I am getting to do fun things like this with them.  A few months ago I couldn't even fathom going to the grocery story be myself with them.  Now we do the weekly!  Plus picnics in the park and all kinds of other fun things.  They are getting to an age where these things are more possible and we all love a break from the monotony of being home alone all the time.

They loved the monkeys the most!

Ben taking a break to ride on grandma's shoulders.

Sophie looking at the gazelles

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