Monday, February 27, 2012

Snowman Fun

We got a few inches of snow on Friday during our winter "storm," so Andy and Kaden decided to go out and enjoy it for awhile on Saturday morning. Kaden helped Daddy make his first official snowman, and had fun putting all of the snowman accessories on him. He was very proud!

Putting the final touches on the snowman

Their masterpiece

This cute little guy greets everyone who comes into our neighborhood! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Capturing Conversations

Kaden: Mom, are you happy today?
Me: Yeah.
Kaden: I'm happy today, Mom.
Me: Why?
Kaden: Because Jesus gave me my sisters. I had to wait a REALLY long time for them to be born.

You thought your wait was long, Kaden? You didn't carry twins! :) I love how he loves his sisters so much. It warms my heart.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Imagination Day

This morning....

Kaden: Mom, what are we going to do today?
Me: I don't know, what should we do?
Kaden: I think we should hang out and use our imagination today.

Kaden likes to talk about how he uses his imagination all of the time. Every day, several times a day, he'll say, "Mom, I'm using my imagination to......" I must say, this kid has quite the imagination. I wish I could bottle it and savor it forever. I don't want him to lose this imagination. I want him to be a kid that schemes things up and plays for hours on end, pretending he's fishing in the living room, pretending he's going surfboarding with his friends, pretending that he has a restaurant in the kitchen.

Today Kaden found a tag from a new pair of socks he got. He told me it looked like a fishing hook and he wanted to turn it into a fishing pole. So, when the girls took a nap this morning, we turned a plastic tag which would normally end up in the trash, into a fishing pole. We made fish and added a lure and everything. I think it turned out pretty good, and he was SO proud to show his daddy what he made. In fact, he even had to take a nap with it today! :)

Showing off his fishing pole

Everyday Kaden also asks me what project or craft we can do. He loves doing hands-on activities, and I'm trying to be purposeful in planning some craft and learning sessions with him. I picked up a few craft items at Michaels the other day and we've been doing some of those. He seems to be soaking in everything lately and clearly shows a desire to learn. He wants to learn how to write his name, wants to know his letters better and wants to learn how to read. No problem, buddy. You've got a mom in the right profession for this one.

Working on name writing...

So today, I chose to spend time with him at the kitchen table for a little learning session. I could have emptied my dishwasher or folded towels while the girls were sleeping, but I chose to spend some QT with Kaden this morning on "imagination day." Granted, we weren't really using our imagination for this specific activity, but I wanted to be purposeful in devoting time to just him. No phone, no crying babies, no email..... just him. So, we worked on writing his name and made an awesome book together- "Snowman, Snowman, What Do You See?" He loves the book because he can "read" it. I actually felt like I was being a teacher again for a little while, and I loved it. It made me so excited for him to go to school in the fall, and made me excited for more learning sessions like that together this spring and summer.

Cutting pictures for his book

Working on his book- he cut and glued them in himself! (Yes, it was also snacktime, so he has frosting on his face from his cupcake)

Of course Maya woke up and had to get in on the action :)

I think we should have more imagination days around here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red dinner

Valentine's Day has a whole new meaning now that our family has grown. I remember getting so excited about VD when Andy and I were dating and married without kids. I'd spend countless hours scheming up the perfect gift for him, and Andy had his fair share of surprise gifts for me, too. Well, now we're 3 kids into the game, and I have no more expectations for VD. It doesn't mean I don't love my husband, it just means that our priorities change with changes in life. My focus this year was making VD a fun day for Kaden. I didn't spend countless hours scheming up the perfect gift for Andy or planning out where we going to go for dinner. Instead, I thought about making memories for my kids. When I think back to the Valentine's Days that I celebrated as a child, I remember that my mom always did something special for us. We'd have a special homemade "red dinner," and we'd find treats on our plates when we got to the dinner table. In fact, one year, my brother Steve and I decided we were going to decorate the table for VD and provide treats for our family. We rode our bikes to the local 5 and 10 store in town, and purchased supplies for our perfect VD dinner. I can't remember gifts I've been given for VD over the years (except for a few surprise bouquets Andy sent to me at work), but what I can remember is love shared as a family. This year I decided I'd start that same tradition with our family. When my mom prepared our special VD dinners, she'd try to have all of our food red or pink. I think she used a lot of food coloring, but it was still fun. It's harder than you think to prepared a red/pink themed meal! So, tonight, we enjoyed our VD colored dinner. We had lasagna (red sauce), rolls with red hearts on them, pink homemade applesauce, strawberries, red Crystal Light, and VD cupcakes for dessert. Kaden (my very crafty boy) and I had a blast decorating hearts for each member of our family this morning. Each member of our family found surprise treats on their heart plates when they sat at the table. Kaden was so excited for our special dinner all day, and was motivated to be a good boy so he could get his treats. Sounds great, right? Well, here's the reality. Both girls decided to scream through dinner and didn't want to sit in their Bumbo seats, so they were held while we ate (which is a difficult task when trying to butter a roll) and we listened to them scream. Kaden (who just so happened to wake up with a nasty cold) refused to eat anything because his stomach hurt (but of course it felt fine to eat a cupcake for dessert... hmmm), so we fought with him to eat while he spent most of his dinner time lying on the floor saying he had gas. Our food was cold because by the time we got everyone all set to sit down the food had been out of the oven for at least 15-20 minutes. We inhaled our food quickly just to get through the experience. The rest of the evening was pretty normal- catching up on emails, watching TV, a glass of wine, and dealing with 2 screaming babies who decided that they wanted to wake up at 10:30pm instead of going to sleep. Happy Valentine's Day, folks.

But, the day wasn't really all that bad. Andy brought home roses and surprised me with a massage- I can't wait to use that! Kaden was happy with his treats and when I asked him what was special about today, he said, "Jesus loves us!" That's my boy. And of course the girls looked adorable with their VD-themed outfits on.

Beautiful roses

Heart decorations

The table

Makenna with her present

Maya trying to get hers

Valentine's girls

Makenna- eating her present


Monday, February 13, 2012

Sleep training

It's been a week now since we started sleep training the girls. I'm not sure what brought it about, but all of a sudden I just decided that I had had enough, and we were going to make some changes. I borrowed a book from a friend with twins- "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins." The authors actually wrote a version for singletons ("Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"), and I'd highly recommend it if you're trying to get your child on a manageable schedule. The truth is, there was nothing rocket science about what the book suggested. I think I just needed to be told what to do. Often Andy and I talk about how we feel like we've forgotten how to parent. That's obviously not really the case, but with the twins everything is SO.DIFFERENT. I'm more concerned with getting them on the SAME schedule than on A schedule. What you normally do for one child doesn't always work for 2, and yet as much as you want them to do things the same, you realize that they're 2 individual kids with different needs and traits. That brings us to the challenges we've been facing. Our habit prior to a week ago was to get Kaden in bed and then do one last feeding for the girls and get them to sleep. This usually lasted until midnight or 1am most nights. This was taking a toll on our life as a family and made things tense and sleep-deprived doing the same thing day in and day out. When the book arrived in the mail, all 3 kids happened to be sleeping at the same time (a rarity during the day around here), and I sat down and read faster than I've read in a long time. Kaden woke up from his nap and asked to watch a DVD, and I obliged- knowing that I needed the info from this book! :) Again, nothing I read was necessarily new information; I just needed someone to tell me what to do! Our pediatrician had suggested writing out their schedules, as did the book. I had been doing this for awhile but didn't notice any major patterns. The biggest takeaway I got from the book was to watch for their signals and put them down for the night between 6-8pm (the magic window for their age). According to the book, if they're crying and rubbing their eyes, we've missed the window. You want to look for slowing down in their movements, a yawn, glossing over of the eyes, etc. I think we were so focused on getting Kaden to keep his bedtime routine that we were missing all of the girls' signals. As a result, they were sleep deprived and since they missed the window, they were miserable- hence dealing with crying babies until 1am. Sleep begets sleep, and while it's hard to understand this concept, it's so true. So... since then I've been putting them to sleep awake at the same time for naps when they show signs of being tired during the day. They typically take 2-3 catnaps a day, lasting for 45 min-1 hour each. Each night has gotten better. We've had to let them cry only for short periods of time before they give in. Makenna rarely cries- she does what she's told (must be the youngest child trait?!?). Maya, as usual, has given us a little bit of a run for our money. She tends to scream like you're doing a terrible thing by getting her to sleep, and then gives in. Sometimes she wakes up Makenna as a result, and then we have 2 crying babies on our hands. Fun, huh? :) I think Makenna is getting more used to it and sleeping through it much better, as the book suggested would happen. What we were doing was letting their eating schedule run their sleeping schedule. Oops. I wanted to get that last feeding in before bed, but because they were so overtired, they didn't sleep any better anyways! At this point the girls have their last feeding between 6:30-7:30pm and go to bed between 7:30-8pm. They usually wake up once or twice during the night, but I'm okay with that at the moment. Andy and I still think we're living in a bit of a dream. We don't even know what to do with ourselves. You have no idea how big of an accomplishment it feels to have both of them sleeping at the same time. We have new- found freedom, and we feel like we got a small piece of our lives back. Ah. Don't get me wrong- we're not on a perfect sleep schedule yet- it's only been a week. Sometimes they wake up screaming after only 1 hour in bed, sometimes they won't go back to sleep when they wake up, sometimes Maya goes down an hour after Makenna because she's not as tired. But, we're working on it, and progress in the sleep area is a beautiful gift, my friends.

Nothing like sleeping babies!



It's funny how different things are the 2nd/3rd time around. When Kaden had his 4-month appointment and got the "ok" for cereal, I think I stopped at Target for some on the way home and we tried it that night. It seemed so much more exciting to give him "real" food! We got the "ok" for cereal at the girls' 4-month appointment at the end of January, but I really didn't feel a rush to start it. Our pediatrician told us that people tend to rush the use of foods, and that they don't even really need it for anything besides practicing to eat later on. In fact, she said we could just do cereal from now until 6 months and that would be just fine. We might introduce some veggies more towards 6 months, but I don't feel the urgency to shove food down their mouths. Anyways.... we tried cereal for the first time last week. It seems wrong to call it cereal. I mean, it was pretty much just breastmilk with a little cereal mixed in there, it was so soupy. But needless to say, it was food for them. They weren't quite sure how to handle it. Most of the cereal ended up on their bibs. Makenna seemed to do better with it- go figure- the chubby one likes it! :) I tried it again a few days later and they seemed okay with it and maybe even each swallowed a few bites. We'll try it a few times a week before they go to bed and see how it goes. For now, I'm not rushing it, though. We're doing enough with training these girls right now (another post on that soon).

Getting ready- with big brother sneaking in the picture of course.

Makenna's reaction

Maya's reaction

The "after" faces

Sports weekend

In Kaden's words, we had a sports weekend this weekend. We went to the Calvin/Hope game on Saturday as a family. We originally planned on leaving the girls home with Grandma, but since their feeding schedule is still a bit unpredictable and they won't take a bottle, we decided to take them with. I bought them new Calvin shirts to wear for the game, and everyone thought they looked pretty cute. It worked out great having them at the game. They ate right before we left the house and didn't need to eat again until we got home. They even managed to sleep through most of the game, which amazes me considering the Hope students were less than 3 feet away from them yelling and screaming the entire time. I'll have to remember this next time I tip-toe around the house when they're taking a nap. And of course Kaden was a big fan, too. He loves going to Calvin games, and I love that we can do this together as a family, just like Andy and I did when we were at Calvin. I think Kaden's favorite parts of the game were getting popcorn, sitting by Uncle Brian for awhile, and seeing Joust. It takes little to please him :)

On Sunday night, Andy took Kaden to a Griffin's hockey game. Kaden earned 2 free tickets from the library this summer, and our choices of home games were running out. It just so happened that the hockey game was $1 breadsticks and soda, and free bobblehead night!! Bonus!! :) I meant to have Andy take a few pictures of Kaden while they were at the game, but I forgot. He did happen to snap pictures of Kaden playing the air guitar during the music at the game in between plays. This kid cracks us up. It was nice for Kaden and Andy to "do guy stuff" as Kaden says, and spend some time together. Lately Kaden likes to tell Andy that they have to stick together because they're the only guys in the house! :) Mommy had some bonding time with the girls at home during the game and even had the girls in bed by the time the boys came home- woo whoo!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Baking and bumbos

This is how we bake these days. Computer with the recipe and a baby on the counter in the bumbo. Next time we'll let Maya join in the fun if she's not sleeping :).

My little helpers

Friday, February 3, 2012

Notes from the crib- 4 months

We're 4 months old already!
(Thanks to Photos by Kaity for our adorable 4-month picture!! Mom brought us to get our pictures taken last week, and this was a preview shot. Don't we look so identical in this picture?!? Can you guess who is who?)

Maya Grace
Yay for being 4 months old! I'm getting more and more fun to play with as I get older. I love to giggle, smile and talk to my mom and dad and my older brother. Everyone thinks it's pretty funny when I get a case of the giggles- we all end up laughing together. I'm much more of a giggle pants than my sister is. She laughs too, but she's more of a talker. Go figure. I went to the doctor this week for my 4-month check-up. I weighed in at 11 lbs, 9 oz, and I'm 24 inches tall. My weight puts me at the 9th percentile, and my height puts me at the 40th percentile. My doctor says I'm going to be long and lean. Good thing Gap makes a line of jeans in this style for when we get older! :) Even though I'm just a little thing, I'm still full of fun and energy. I love to play on my playmat, swing in my swing or sit in my vibrating chair. I'm much stronger than my sister and can hold my head up for quite awhile when I play on my tummy. I don't mind playing on my tummy for a bit. In fact, Mommy is going to get me and my sister a tummy playmat for Valentine's Day that makes lying on our tummies much more fun! :) I'm pretty happy most of the time, but as usual, I'm feisty when I'm mad. I can turn it on and off pretty quickly. Sometimes Mom and Dad think I'm injured because I scream pretty loudly out of nowhere! I'm starting to get better at sleeping, and in fact last night I went to bed at 9:30am, woke up at 5:30am because I was hungry and slept again until 10:15am. Mom says she would like me to do that every night. We'll have to see about that. Usually once a week I still give my mom and dad a hard time and won't go to sleep until 1am, but usually it's more like 11-12. Mom says even a little bit earlier is better than nothing! I still eat every 3-4 hours and won't take a bottle. My doctor says that mom needs to leave us for 6 hours and if we're hungry enough, we'll take a bottle. Mom is thinking about trying that one of these days. I'd probably just refuse it and wait until she comes home. I know she'll come home eventually, she loves us too much. I'm still in size 1 diapers and can still fit into size 3 month clothes, but since my sister has moved up in size, I'm wearing size 3-6 month clothes. They fit pretty well and I like my new wardrobe. Let's be honest, here.... we're pretty stylin' girls! :)

Makenna Anne
I'm 4 months old! I'm getting cuter and cuter with my chubby cheeks and rolls on my legs. My sister is filling in a bit more, and I like it that she's getting some rolls, too. Babies with some chub are the latest craze. As my sister mentioned, I'm quite the talker. I talk to my toys, my brother, the TV, and anything I make eye contact with. I have a very soft, sweet gentle coo, and my sweet personality shines through. I'm still pretty laid back and I get very excited when I get to play with my family and my toys. I'm VERY close to rolling over. In fact, I get my whole body turned over except for my head. It's actually quite hilarious. Mom will have to take a picture and do a blog post about that. I was the first to sit in a Bumbo seat, and I like it a lot. Mom says that she'll blog about that sometime soon, too. Even though I'm bigger than my sister, I'm not quite as strong as she is yet. I haven't quite gotten the whole point of tummy time and only hold up my head for a little bit. Mom says this is a normal thing with twins and I'll get it eventually. We went to the doctor this week. I tried to block that out of my mind since we got shots, but I suppose you want the update on my measurements. I weigh 13 lbs, 3 oz, and I'm 24.75 inches tall. My weight is in the 39th percentile and my height is in the 69th percentile. I'm long and lean like my sister, although not quite as lean as her! :) We get our height from our dad, and we think that's a pretty good thing to inherit from him. Mom is still not used to these lower percentiles because our brother was always in the 90's! Me and my sister are still very healthy, and Mom is pretty thankful for that! As my sister mentioned, we're sleeping a little bit better. Mom has started keeping a record of our schedule in hopes that she can find a pattern and get us to nap more consistently in our cribs and get to bed on time. I tend to fall asleep a bit later than my sister, usually around 11-12pm after another feeding. What can I say, I like my food, obviously. Our doctor told mom to let us just cry for awhile to get us used to going to bed earlier, and mom is working on that. I'm not too happy about that, but I usually give in within 5-10 minutes. Not really worth the cry, I've realized. Mom has given up on pacifiers, so now Mom has to find a use for those cute pacifier holders she made but never used. Mom is ok with us not using pacifiers, though, and she'll work on the bottle thing a bit more. My sister explained that to you already, so I won't repeat her. I'm wearing size 1 diapers still, but could definitely move to size 2. My mom has a few packages left in size 1, so she's trying to get rid of those before she moves us up and she said it's too hard to keep track of 2 kids in 2 different sized diapers. Thanks, Mom. Now I have a cupcake top from my diaper. Not so fashionable. Well, I gotta' go. Mom says it's time for our strength training tummy time. Sigh. I think I might just take a nap instead.

Capturing Conversations- night time reality

Me: Good Morning, Kaden, did you sleep well?
K: (very excited tone) Yeah, Mom I did. My sisters cried a lot, but I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

I love how he says it like it is. The reality is that they only woke up once last night, but clearly them crying doesn't even phase him anymore. Sometimes I wish I could just roll over and go back to sleep when their crying wakes me up.