Friday, October 31, 2008

Our world class student!

This week Lily was chosen as the "world class student" of her class! Her teacher informed us yesterday so this morning Michael, I and the boys went to school for morning assembly to watch her get recognized. This award is given to students who are modeling the key behaviors of the schools motto, they are: prompt, prepared, productive,polite and proud. Lily was so excited to get up on stage and get recognized with all the other chosen students. Being the "world class student" for the week also means you get to be the line leader and in charge of some other fun things in class. We are very proud of her!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The boys are 9 months old today!

What happened!? They used to be so calm and easygoing, just staying in one spot happily playing. Lately they've become quite a handful. When they were newborn people would sympathetically say that things get easier when they hit 6 months old or so. But other than the sleep deprivation in the first few weeks and the early issues with breast-feeding we never found it to be that hard. Things have definitely changed lately. They are crawling everywhere, pulling up on everything, trying to escape from the baby safe zone in the family room and falling a lot. I'm constantly chasing them and saving them from falls or from each other. They steal toys from each other, both equally at this point. And they have become quite sensitive little guys. If one cries the other one will often start crying for no reason.
I knew this day would come and although it's exhausting to be chasing them to make sure they don't hurt themselves on things it's also very exciting and fun to see them discover new things. They are so much fun to watch. They get excited over every little new discovery and they are really developing their own personalities. Things will get easier as they get more skilled in standing and cruising, this crazy time will hopefully only last a few weeks. Well, I know we'll always be chasing them but as long as they are moving around safely that's ok.

Lucas favorite thing right now is to stand by the window looking out. He also loves music and singing. One of our toys plays some songs and there's one he (and me too for that matter) especially likes, the rainbow song, as soon as we turn it on he starts dancing. He dances by rocking back and forth either standing on all fours or sitting, it's the cutest thing. I have to try to catch it on video one day.

Jacob is our little explorer. He's constantly on the move looking for new things to check out and taste. We let him play more in the exercauser and jumperoo now since he's gotten stronger in his back and he loves it! He absolutely loves to bounce and if we hold him he likes to stand up and bounce in our lap.

They are also interacting more with each other, smiling and babbling. They like to steal each others toys and most of the time the toy will go back and forth until one of them loose interest and moves along to another toy.
I so love this stage but they are definitely wearing me out in a week. I'm glad Michael came home today because I need a break ;)! Here are some pictures.

Playing

Going in for a kiss ( or bite )

Jakie

The pillows act only as a speed bump

Jakie figured out how the door works 

Wrong side of the pillows again

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Update on Jacob

Today we had our weekly therapy session and Jacob is doing very well. He has improved so much in the past couple of weeks and is now using his right and left side almost equally. He still has a slight preference for his left side (his stronger side) but his back is much more even. The two goals we set for him when we first started the therapy were: 1) For his right side to become stronger and his back to even out and 2) For him to be sitting unsupported. Well, he's been sitting unsupported for a few weeks now and his back is very close to even so after next week we'll be going to monthly therapy sessions. Michael and I will continue to work with the exercises we've been given and if everything continues to improve we won't need their services any longer after next month. I'm so excited!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sleep dilemma

Lately we've been trying to figure out a good nap schedule for the boys. With Michael gone every other week and the girls in school I'm facing some challenges. The boys need to wake up by 7:15am at the latest ( usually not a problem - they are up way before that ) and they can not be sleeping between 2:30pm and 3:15pm. Usually they are ready for their morning nap about 2 hours after waking up which puts it around 8:30-9am. At this time they go down without any fuss, sleep for 1-2.5 hours and wake up happy and ready to play. Perfect! Here's where the problem starts.

Scenario 1, if they wake up before 10:30 they are usually ready for another nap at around 1pm which is fine but then I have to wake them at 2:30pm and that makes for a long afternoon. They usually get very tired and fussy by late afternoon and could use another nap but if I put them down they have a hard time going to sleep and will fight it. Or I keep them up and they are close to a meltdown by 6pm at which point I end up putting them to bed early.

Scenario 2, they take a long nap in the morning ( like today ) and wake up around 11:30. They're ready for a nap by 2-2:30pm but that doesn't work so I have to keep them awake until we come home from picking up the girls. But at this point they get over tired and fight going to sleep. Today Lucas fell asleep quickly but Jacob was talking and whining which turned to crying, that woke Lucas up and he would not go back to sleep. Finally I ended up getting Lucas up and leaving Jacob who finally fell asleep an hour after I put him down and believe me...he was exhausted so it wasn't an issue of not being tired.

It also seems like they are always in a bad mood after the afternoon nap. I really think they would do better with some consistency but I don't know how to work that out. I've tried pretty much every option and I think I just have to accept that we need to take it day to day.

As much as it's a nice break for me when they nap I'm looking forward to the day when they only need one nap a day, that will be so much easier to fit into our daily schedule.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pictures of the kids in our backyard

I love taking pictures, especially pictures of our beautiful children ;). I don't know much about photography now but one day I would love to take a class and learn. Maybe I'll become a professional photographer one day, that would be fun! On second thought...I probably won't, I think I have something else in mind for what I want to do later in life but that's a whole other topic. I wanted to share some pictures I took this afternoon. It was such a beautiful day so I decided to make the kids dress up for some shots in the backyard. I am absolutely thrilled about how they turned out. The lighting could be better I guess, we had to be in the shade because it was so bright outside, And I wish the grass would have been greener but other than that I think they turned out great! Jacob was not cooperating the whole time, he wanted to explore in the grass and I had to put him in the stroller for a while, so there's a few more shots of the girls with Lucas than with Jacob. This is just a few of the pictures I got.















Jacob


Jacob


Jacob


Lucas


Lily and Lucas


Lucas and Lily


Maddie and Lucas


Lily and Jacob


Lucas


Maddie and Lucas



After our little photoshoot we played on the swings and of course I had to take some pictures of that as well :).



Lucas, Maddie, Jacob, Lily




Lucas

Jacob



Friday, October 24, 2008

The boys favorite toy!

This is the boys favorite toy right now. Maybe because it's the perfect height to pull up on and play standing on their knees. They love it and it's big enough to share ;).

video

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crawling

Jacob has been crawling for about a week now. Lucas is very close to crawling also but so far he's mainly doing the army crawl/scooting. Here's a video from this morning. Lucas found a loose string on the blanket that he's playing with in the background.


video

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Michael got home from work Friday afternoon and we've
enjoyed a nice, fairly relaxing weekend. Saturday we went
to a local pumpkin patch. There were a lot of activities 
going on, we went on a hayride, Maddie and Lily got their 
faces painted and played in a hay maze. Of course we also 
bought a couple of pumpkins to carve out for Halloween! 
It was a beautiful day, maybe a little hot in the sun but 
otherwise comfortable. We tried to get som cute pictures 
of the boys with the pumpkins but weren't very successful. 
Here are some of the pictures we took:



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lily's field trip

( I just had to post about this before going to bed )

Lily went on a field trip to the pumpkin patch today. She had so much fun! All six Kindergarten classes went and they got to ride the school bus for the first time. Before going home they all got to pick out a pumpkin. Once home she named it and decorated it with permanent markers. It's name is Abbey Stage F-C. When it was time for bed she dressed the pumpkin in one of her nightgowns and put it right next to her on the pillow. I don't know where she got the idea to do this but I thought it was very sweet. Here are some pictures. The ones of just the pumpkin she took herself.


I wonder if she named the pumpkin Abbey because that's her teachers 7 year old daughters name :).

A typical day

I find myself making excuses to people almost daily for not calling them, answering an email or getting together because I'm so busy. It's not an excuse, I really am very busy nowadays ;). I thought it would be fun to make a post to tell you about our daily routines so you can see for yourself.

6:30, the alarm clock goes off
I get up and get dressed. I wake up Maddie and Lily. Then I make them breakfast and pack their lunches. Make sure they have everything for school, ie folders, books, homework etc. I help them pick out clothes (well Maddie does it herself, I only approve or don't approve), brush their hair and teeth. Somewhere in the middle of this, usually earlier rather than later the boys wake up and I put them in their play area, change and dress them and sometimes nurse depending on when they last nursed (yes they still eat at night !).

7:40, We go out the door. We walk to school, Maddie and Lily rides their scooters most of the time. School starts at 8am and gets out at 3pm every day.

8:05, The boys and I are home. We play a little.

8:30-9, The boys go down for a nap. And this is when I eat breakfast and clean up from the morning. Unless I also take a nap that is ;)

10-11, The boys wake up and they eat lunch, typically some kind of veggies and fruit.

If I need to run any errands or want to get out of the house now is a good time to do it. Otherwise we just stay home and play.

1pm, Time for another nap. I eat lunch and do chores, ie laundry, cleaning etc. Today I'm at the computer blogging even though I should be cleaning the kitchen and be folding laundry, that just means more work tonight .

2:40pm, I wake up the boys (unless they're already awake) so we can go pick up the girls a school.

3pm, Maddie and Lily gets out of school. We often stay at the park to play for awhile.

3:30pm, We're home. I prepare a snack for the girls. We do homework, Maddie has homework every day except Friday - reading 20 minutes, practicing for the weekly spelling test on Friday and one other homework daily. Lily has a monthly homework sheet and only need to do three small things a week.
We hang out in the living room to keep an eye on the boys or to play with them.

5pm, This is when the real craziness begins. The boys usually start getting tired and could use a nap but it's getting too close to bedtime so I try to keep them up. I cook dinner for Maddie and Lily. I feed the boys cereal. I give baths and get everyone ready for bed.

7pm, I put the boys to bed, after nursing.

After that i finish getting the girls ready and start cleaning up from dinner.

8-8:30pm, Maddie and Lily go to bed. They're allowed to read for awhile if they want.
I continue to clean up from the day and now I also have time to eat my dinner. I finish any other chores on my list and prepare for tomorrow by cleaning out lunch boxes, going through any school papers that need to be returned etc. Before going to bed I catch up on emails and blogging. I usually make it to bed around 11pm. And then it starts all over. Oh, and I still get up at night to feed the boys. On a good night (we've had very few so far) it's twice ( once for each boy ) but more often it's 4 times a night, usually around 1am and 5am.

So anybody thought I wasn't working? ;). It's pretty exhausting at times but I wouldn't trade it for anything and at the end of the week Michael comes home and does his half of the work and then some.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some new pictures of the boys

Playing together, Jacob - left, Lucas - right.
You look like me!

Jacob

Jacob

Jacob, his leg kept getting stuck inside his outfit.

Lucas has 4 teeth!

A tired Lucas just awoke from a nap.

First therapy session

Today we had our first therapy session with Jacob. For about an hour we worked hard with him. We learned about different positons for me to hold him in, we also learned about how to stretch, rock and tilt his body in ways to work the muscles on the right side of his back. The therapist showed me how to pick him up in a way that makes him work that side and how to play with him. It's a constant mindset on getting him to lean,rise,stretch and look the opposite way of what he is comfortable with. After an hour he was exhausted but he did so good! And my arms were hurting. He went right down for a nap after the therapist left.
Lucas was playing in the exersaucer in the meantime, he was watching and behaving very well despite the fact that he had not had lunch yet ( he took a very long nap this morning and just woke up when the therapist came ).
I'm very excited about all the new things we've learned today!

And btw, Jacob is doing new things almost daily. He is so determined to move around and does not let his back "issue" stop him at all. He is now sitting more than laying down. He army crawls and scoots where he wants to go and then he sits up. He's still a little wobbly when sitting so it's a kind of exhausting because I have to constantly make sure he's not sitting in a bad spot if he falls. He has also learned to stand up on his knees by the toy basket and by the window. And the pillows that we've put around the playarea to keep them from escaping does nothing to stop him now. It's time to babyproof for real.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Video clips

Thursday evening we did some yard work. The boys were really tired but it was too late for a nap and too early for bedtime, they were content just watching us work and the girls roller skate and bike. 

video video

Friday, October 10, 2008

Busy Friday

Friday before Michael leaves for work is always a crazy busy day. It always seems like we have a million things to do before he takes off.
This morning we had an appointment with our therapist from ECI. Today we just talked about our daily routines and set up some goals for Jacob. Beginning next week we're starting weekly physical therapy sessions. The therapist will be teaching us exercises and things we can do with Jacob on a daily basis, we're so excited to get started!
After the boys woke up from their nap and ate their green beans and applesauce we went grocery shopping at Whole foods. We love Whole foods, they have the best produce and almost everything in the store is organic.
We got back home just in time for picking up Maddie and Lily from school. While Michael went to get them I put the boys down for a nap and unpacked the groceries. After the girls had a snack ( mango ) Maddie and I went to Target and Walmart to look at Halloween costumes. Lily already have one, she had wished for an angel costume and I found the perfect one at Target yesterday, and so I wanted to take Maddie while they still had a good assortment. She did eventually find the costume she liked ( Hannah Montana ) but we had to go to Walmart to get it. I also bought the cutest little puppy costumes for the boys. I wasn't planning on dressing them up but the costumes were so cute and pretty inexpensive, I could not pass it up.
Back home we ate Tacos for dinner, gave the boys a bath, Michael packed his bags for tomorrow and he and the girls are now watching a movie while I'm blogging and cooking baby food. Right now I have a butternut squash in the oven and I'm about to boil some plums. I puree all the food and freeze it in ice cube trays. Homemade baby food tastes so much better than the store bought, it's healthier ( we do everything organic ), economical and it's actually fun to make. I'm not a great cook but baby food is very easy to make. After this I'm baking a pumpkin and some sweet potatoes. The boys love sweet potatoes, especially mixed with applesauce. Seems like everything tastes better mixed with a little applesauce :).

We also have some news from Jacob. Tonight for the first time Jacob was able get himself into a full upright sitting position from lying on his back - way to go Jakie!


This is what Jakie looks like when daddy is feeding ;). Lily captured this great picture!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

National night out

National night out is Americas night out against crime. One of the things it's designed to do is to strenghten neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and to send messages to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. In our community a lot of people hold block parties where neighbors meet and hang out for a few hours. After dinner we went down the street where some of our neighbors had gathered for some BBQ and dessert. There were some people we already know as well as a few new neighbors. There were tons of kids, one girl from Lily's class, a boy from Maddie's 1st grade class and another friend of Maddie's she's known from Kindergarten etc. It was really nice!

Parent-Teacher conference #2

Today I had a conference with Maddie's teacher. I was really looking forward to speaking with her! She said Maddie is a very sweet girl, she gets along great with the children in her class and she's a hard working student. Ms. C went over the testing she had done with Maddie in reading, writing and math. The most impressive is her reading skills, she is reading on the level you're supposed to be at the beginning of 4th grade! Her writing and math is basically where it needs to be at the end of 2nd grade and Ms. C is very impressed by Maddie's story writing. She is great at making up little stories. We are so proud of her!

My playlist...just FYI.

There is a play and pause button on my playlist so that you can turn the music on and off yourself. For now I have changed the settings so the music is not on auto start anymore.

Lily's birthday party.

video

Monday, October 6, 2008

Biting


We had our first biting incident. Jacob bit Lucas on the forehead!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Visit from the toothfairy and more...

Maddie lost a tooth last night, number 5 for her, and the toothfairy made a visit after she went to sleep. With the money she got from the toothfairy she had enough to go buy a new webkinz, so after lunch the girls and I went to Hallmark where she picked out a dolphin.



This morning the girls went outside to play with the sidewalk paint and chalk that Lily got from a friend yesterday. They had a lot of fun painting!


Here are the boys with daddy before bedtime. They are watching a clip from Baby Einstein on Michaels computer. Jacob is so fascinated with anything electronic; the computer, stereo, radio, alarm clock etc. I bet he'll be an engineer of some sort


Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy birthday Lily!

Lily turns 6 years old today!

We've celebrated all day long. This morning we woke her up early, she opened some of her gifts and the girls and Michael had ice cream cake (homemade) for breakfast. We then went to school and stayed for Friday assembly where they celebrated everybody who had a birthday this week or has a birthday this weekend.

Two hours later we went back to school to have lunch with her. We brought mac'n cheese and ice cream cake for dessert. And at the end of the day we went again to help her celebrate in the classroom by having m&m cookies with her classmates. At school when it's your birthday you get to go to the office for a birthday crown and birthday banner to wear during the day. It makes the children feel very special.

After coming home in the afternoon they had more cake and she opened a couple more gifts that we had saved for later. She got a Littlest pet shop toy (she loves littlest pet shop), a Polly pocket pool/waterslide toy, a new underwater webkinz, an easy bake oven and some other things. She is very excited about the easy bake, unfortunately I didn't read on the package that you need to buy a light bulb separately so we have to run to the store before she can try it. For those of you who don't know an easy bake oven is a little oven for kids that bakes real cookies! It is heated by a regular light bulb and it works because the cookie pans are small and the baking area is tiny.


Lily opening gifts, 6:30am.

Blowing out the candles.

At school.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

RSV season

The RSV season has officially started. The typical season runs from October through March and lately I have heard of numerous people with babies going into lockdown. That means they will not leave the house for the entire season and they will not have any friends or family over, with possible exceptions for grandparents and adult family members as long as they are completely healthy and practice good hand washing etc. I'm not talking about families with "normal" full term babies; I'm talking about preterm babies and multiples that are at high risk for complications and hospitalization. It's a valid concern and for some families with very preterm babies it may be a good idea. Now, Lucas and Jacob were preemies and did need help breathing the first couple of days. I guess that they are considered high risk, maybe low high risk if that makes sense. A lockdown would not be an option for us and considering that the boys are 8 months old, breastfed and generally healthy I do not think that would be necessary even if it were an option. I'm a little concerned about the fact that Maddie and Lily are in school and fact is they will get sick! We will be taking some precautions to minimize the risk of the boys getting sick such as practicing good hand washing.We always do by the way, the first thing Maddie and Lily does after getting home from school is wash their hands. If the girls are sick they won't be playing with the boys and we will not be giving kisses on the mouths. 

We will not be going into crowded, public areas with the boys such as restaurants or stores. That will be easy since we don't eat out nowadays.... for 2 reasons. 1, I can't eat out due to my diet restriction. For those who didn't know already I can't eat dairy, soy or eggs due to intolerance in the boys. And trust me one of those things is in almost every processed food out there. We went to Chilis to celebrate the school start and the only thing on the menu that I could eat was plain lettuce and plain steamed veggies. 2, we can't afford it anyway ;).

Also, we will not be getting together with any people who have a cold. The problem with RSV is that for older children and adults it usually only presents as a mild cold and there's no way of knowing if it's caused by RSV. This is a good site for more information for anyone who is interested: www.preemiecare.org/rsvfaq.htm

This may seem paranoid but I'm thinking about making a sign for our stroller that says "Please wash your hands before touching mine". There's a website where you can buy a sign like that but why pay for something you can easily make yourself!? Is a sign really necessary you may wonder. Well, you would not believe how many people come up to us when were out to admire the boys. People are truly fascinated by multiples, I understand and I kind of like the attention (most of the time). But what really bothers me is how often these people touch them and they go straight for the hands. We did not have this "problem" when Maddie and Lily were babies so I do think it's the fascination with twins that does it. Everybody wants to touch their little baby hands and they usually don't touch just one of them they have to touch both. Why do they have to do that?! Who knows what germs that person has picked up while shopping or using a public restroom etc and now they're touching my babies’ hands that will eventually go into their mouths! I would never touch someone else’s baby like that, especially someone I don't know and never with "dirty" hands. But what do you say to the nice old lady at the grocery store who wants to admire the boys? I don't want to be rude to people but at the same time I feel like they are the ones being rude. When I saw that sign I knew it was the perfect solution. See www.mytinyhands.com 

If we catch RSV despite our precautions I hope it's mild. And I can't worry too much about it; life has to go on as usual.