Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Twin Gear for the 1st Year

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now! I know when I was pregnant, I had a lot of questions about what I should buy and register for. What did I need 2 of, and what could I just get away with 1? I'm sure I'll be adding to this post as I think of things, but for now here is a list of what I found helpful during that 1st year. I'll try to go chronologically from newborn - 1 year, but a lot of things overlap!

-Sound Machine that PLUGS IN. A lot of sound machines (the seahorse, turtle, sheep, etc.) are marketed quite a bit and they sure are cute, but when the music goes off after 5 minutes and the wailing begins, they don't seem so cute anymore! You need a sound machine that plugs in and can stay on ALL night. I have used ours every day since we've gotten it without fail. For naps and all night! We have this one and it's worth every penny!!!!

-Miracle Blankets - We got a lot of "swaddleme's" from my showers, and I started off using them. But as the girls started getting older, they were very easy to bust out of. I purchased the miracle blankets from the advice of some twin moms, and was glad I did! They were wonderful and hard to break out of. And you really only need 2, 1 for each baby.

-Receiving Blankets - You do not need many of these! I wasn't sure when I was first registering. They are great little cover ups for when they are in their car seats, or to use as burp cloths, but really I never actually used them to swaddle. You probably need 4-6 at most. 

-Medela Pump in Style Advance - I love my pump! I still use it every day as my girls are still getting breastmilk. To be honest I started out with the Avent Dual Electric and it was fine at first, but after a while my rigorous pump schedule was just too much for it. It was also loud and didn't have the option of different size breast shields. I ended up buying the PISA (pump in style advance) and am so happy with my purchase! I ABSOLUTELY needed bigger breast shields! The pump is quiet and medela's customer service is amazing. A few weeks ago my pump started making this really loud clanking sound and they sent me a BRAND NEW PUMP. How's that for customer service?!

-2 sets of crib sheets - When I was pregnant I heard horror stories about waking up in the middle of the night to find soaked and dirty crib sheets, and that you should layer the sheets so you can just peel one off during the night. Ok, that has never happened. Maybe it's because I CD, but I don't know why I got so many crib sheets - what a waste it was! Honestly you need one for the crib, and a back up set for when you're washing the other set. That's it.

-2 Dishwasher Baskets and at least 16 bottles - if you EP or Formula feed, you are going to have a LOT of bottles! The top rack of my dishwasher is pretty much exclusively reserved for baby stuff! I have this dishwasher basket and it does a great job!

-2 Boppy Pillows - hands down my MOST used baby item. I don't care of you breast or bottle feed, you need these pillows and you need 2 of them. My girls still get fed their nighttime bottle in their boppies.

-2 infant seats and a stroller that will accommodate them. - I ended up with the Chicco System. I got 2 Chicco Keyfit 30's, and the Cortina Together stroller. The seats fold down and the infant seats snap in. When the twins are too big for the infant seats, the stroller can still be used for a very long time! The stroller IS heavy and to be honest I'm not sure it would fit in a small car (I have an SUV). But for our family, it was great!  And another note about carseats - make sure you find two that will accommodate a baby 5lbs+. Some infant seats are for bigger babies only, but keep in mind that twins DO tend to be small. Even though my girls were full term, they were still only 5lbs and 5lbs3oz and I don't know what we would have done if our carseats wouldn't have been safe for them!!!

-1 Rock N Play Sleeper and 1 bouncy Seat - Ok, I ended up with SO many bouncy seats! I got like 3 at my shower then my mom kept finding some ("ohhhh but this one vibrates! This one has a net!") and I kept telling her to take them back. You really only need 1 of each. For us, Emily liked the Rock N Play and Catherine liked a bouncy seat. Anything more just takes up space.

-1 Swing - My girls were never a fan of the swing to be honest, so I'm REALLY glad we just got one! But some babies really like them I hear, so it really just depends on your babies. My advice is to start out with one, and then get another one later if you find that both babies really love the swing!

-1 Activity Mat - Your babies will only really enjoy this when they are small, and 2 babies can EASILY fit under this! We had this one and thought that the music was really cute. They girls enjoyed the lights, sounds and toys. And again, you really only need 1. 

-2 bumbo seats - my girls loved the bumbo before they could sit up on their own and I definitely needed two! I actually started with one but promptly bought a second. I'd bring them in the kitchen with me while I cooked and they loved it! I also bought the trays that go with them which sort of acted as a seat belt when they got older!

-1 exersaucer and 1 jumparoo - Cate's physical therapist said these actually aren't great for babies (something about alignment?!) but when you're a busy parent of twins, sometimes you just NEED to sit your babies somewhere so they are happy and can't escape! :) They do take up a lot of room, but sometimes it's the only way you can get anything done!

-2 high chairs - self explanatory! You just need two!

-2 Sleep Sacks (1 per baby) - When the babies outgrow their swaddles, sleep sacks are a must. Our girls still use theirs. It's like a blanket that can't get tangled up so it poses no suffocation hazard. Of course, you want them to fit the seasons too. In the winter our girls wore footy fleece jammies and a fleece sleep sack. In the summer, they wear lightweight cotton short sleeve or tank top style jammies and a cotton sleep sack. 

-1 Learning Table - when baby first learns to pull up to standing, these little tables are wonderful! My girls would stand at either side and play with each other while pressing buttons and listening to the music. We have this one.

- 2 Walkers - These are a must when baby first learns to walk! My girls loved whirling around with these before they could walk on their own. I say two, because they loved racing each other! :) You could probably get away with one, though! We have this one and another one that my mom picked up at a garage sale.

-2 Portable Placemats - This is something I just received recently. My mother in law got this for our girls birthday and it is WONDERFUL for when you take your kids out to eat!  It rolls up very small so it fits easily in your diaper bag, and then makes for a perfect placemat when you get to the restaurant. I don't find that the suction cups work very well, but my girls are far more interested in their food than the placemat. We have 2 of these and again, they are wonderful!

Well I think that's about it! If I think of more things I'll update this post. But I hope this helps some of the pregnant mama's!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1st Birthday Party

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything! 1st my computer broke the morning of the girls birthday party, and the computer people had to order a part that took a week to come in! Also, I got some pretty crazy publicity with my crochet hats on buzzfeed (http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/pug-hats-for-babies) which was amazing! I'm still crocheting my fingers to the bone getting caught up on all the orders that came in!

Anyways, the girls 1st birthday party was on June 30th and was wonderful! The girls had a blast and of course so did mommy and daddy! We had a "tea party" theme....but the theme was very loose indeed! No one really felt like hot tea on an 80 degree day, so we had iced tea and tea party decorations! I made cucumber and egg tea sandwiches, and made a cake with a tea cup on top! The girls wore lovely little dresses. Their favorite part was opening ALL their presents! They got an entire wardrobe, no joke! They also got lots of fun new toys. It was wonderful to see so many people that we only see a few times a year, as well.

And now for the pictures!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A letter to my daughters on their 1st birthday

Catherine & Emily,

I cannot believe how fast the 1st year of your life has gone. It seems like just yesterday I was elbowing dad in the back and telling him my water broke, and now you've been with us for an entire year. You brighten each and every one of our days and we are such proud and grateful parents. Dad makes fun of me because every 3 months or so I declare, "THIS is my favorite age!" You both do so many new things and are learning things so fast. It's been amazing to watch you grow from a tiny helpless newborn, to a toddler who can express emotions, walk, and be independent to an extent! You are both so curious about everything - and who can blame you?! It's a pretty cool world out there!

Catherine - my eldest, by an entire 2 minutes! You are such a happy and content baby. When sissy does something that you deem funny, you laugh from your gut. Which makes sissy laugh, and me laugh, and daddy laugh and soon the whole house is in hysterics. You love playing peek a boo with sissy especially. You also like playing with your toys alone sometimes. It's not rare to see you off to the side studying something and playing with a toy yourself quietly. You are so very good at fine motor skills. You can pick something very small up and put it right back. You seem to be very meticulous about those sorts of things. You can also point very well! When I ask you where I am, you point to my face! When I ask you how old you are you point "1". You also love to clap. All I have to do is say "yay!!!" and you clap!!!! You also LOVE TV! We watch the Disney channel during the day and you especially seem to love Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Octonauts. And at night you love Wheel of Fortune!  You are also a wonderful eater. You love to try new things. The only food you seem to dislike is bananas. I think you got sick of them. You still sleep pretty well! You have had some rough nights, but I think that's when you have a tooth coming in. You have 8 teeth by the way. You can take 1 step at a time, but you're not quite walking by yourself yet! But you can surely cruise around with the help of your walkler! You look JUST like your daddy. Everyone, even complete strangers, comment that you look like him! And you love him very much. You are a daddy's girl. You light up like a Christmas Tree when you see him walk into the room!!! You are an amazing and beautiful girl, Catherine. You have a wonderful personality and we are so lucky to be able to call you our daughter.

Emily - my baby! What a funny little girl you are. My gosh, do you have a personality on you! When you are happy, you are SO happy. When you are sad, you are SO sad. When you are angry, you are SO angry! :) You are also SUCH a momma's girl. You cling to me constantly, and I can't say I dislike it ALL the time! It's nice to know you love me so much! You are a tiny little thing - about a pound and a half less than sissy! But do you sure make up for it! You can WALK miss Emily, you can WALK! It amazes me every time I see you choose to walk over crawl. You just walk around the house like it's no big deal. You are even starting to run! You get so excited. It's funny to watch you walk too - you keep your arms right out in front of you like Frankenstein! But whatever works, little girl! You get bored with toys pretty quickly and always like to be on the move. You love to go new places and see new things. You want to get into EVERYTHING...especially things that you shouldn't get into! You also love to clap when I say yay and wave "hi" and "bye"! You honestly couldn't care less about TV. You never so much as glance at it! In terms of food, you get bored with that really easily too. You don't like very much! Some of your favorite foods are chicken nuggets, cheese, mashed potatoes and fried chicken. You also like to snack on goldfish and cheerio's. You sleep like a ROCK. I honestly don't think you've woken up in the middle of the night since you were 8 weeks old. Even if sissy is screaming or you have a tooth coming in, you just sleep through it. It's amazing how well you sleep. You do need your lambie and paci to help you sleep though, but me and dad think it's cute. You love to hold and stroke your lambie's ear. You have 5 teeth with a 6th coming in right now! You are a beautiful and rambunctious little girl, miss Emily. You keep us on our toes and we love it. We are so lucky to have you as our daughter.

Well girls, you are awake in your cribs so I'd better go get you so we can start our day of FUN! I made you cupcakes for later on, and we have presents to open!

Girls, I love you both so much. Please never doubt or forget that. You are my world and you bring so much joy into this family. You are healthy and happy and we couldn't ask for anything more. We love you.



Monday, June 25, 2012

New Playset!

Have I mentioned my little girls are spoiled?! Look what grandma and grandpa C. got them for their 1st birthday!!!!

To say I was shocked and elated with this gift is an understatement!!! A little back story - my dad used to own a company that sold these sets. This was the display model in the indoor showroom. When I worked for my dad I sold these playsets and always coveted this set. It was custom built and I always thought it was just the coolest thing ever. I wanted it even before I was pregnant!!! After my dad sold the company earlier this year, I was bummed because I knew he wouldn't have the ability to give us this playset. Or so I thought. About a month ago Brian called and said "guess what?! The playset is ours!" Apparently my dad told the new owner of the company that the playset didn't come with the business, as it was going to us!!!

Brian did an amazing job putting it together, too! He got it done SO fast! He brought the left tower home 2 weekends ago and set it up with the help of his dad, then he brought the rest home yesterday and finished it with the help of a friend. It really only took him a few hours total to get it all together.

The girls are absolutely going to love this when they get older! So many things to do and play with. A great way to build their imaginations. Even right now they have fun with it! They swing on the baby swing, play in the playhouse, go down the slides (with our help of course!) and climb on the ladder.

They are lucky, lucky little girls!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

We have a walker!

Little Emmy can walk! It's crazy, I am in shock every time I look over and see her WALKING instead of crawling! She can't go very far, and she still chooses crawling over walking for the most part. But she is really getting the hang of it! Here's a little video:

And we can't forget about Miss Catherine! Although she doesn't walk on her own quite yet, she can stand all by herself for a long time actually! And she can walk while we hold her hand SO well. She is just a little nervous to make that FIRST independent step...but I am sure she will soon!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Homemade Teething Biscuits

These teething biscuits are wonderful! My girls absolutely love them. They are quick to make and a healthy snack for your little one! I give these to my girls if they are being fussy, and they just carry them around while they play. Every few minutes they stop to take a "bite" then go back to playing! And they are rock hard so they really need to work to get a piece off! I usually make a batch of these then keep them in the fridge, because what could possibly be better for a teething baby then a yummy, hard and COLD biscuit!

        (source:  http://greenlitebites.com/2011/10/25/homemade-teething-biscuit/)

-100% whole wheat bread
-unsweetened applesauce (I use homemade)

Cut crusts off your bread.

 Using a rolling pin, roll the bread out to as thin as you can get it!
 Smear 1 side of bread with applesauce. You can add your cinnamon to the applesauce before you spread it, or you can sprinkle it on top of the applesauce.
 Roll the bread up with the applesauce side being the inside, as tight as you can, and put it seam side down on a paper towel lined plate.

You'll want to play around with cook times. I find that for my microwave, it takes 1 minute 30 seconds to reach the desired hardness, but please be careful and do this in increments. I usually do it for 1 minute, then turn it over, then another 30 seconds. But keep an eye out and just do 15-30 second increments until you know how long it will take in your microwave. Just FYI, this thing WILL catch fire if you leave it in the microwave too long. Don't ask how I know this....thankfully no damage was done! :) Also I find that it's best to microwave just one biscuit at a time. I've done 2 at a time before and they just didn't cook as evenly. These will also become very hard as they cool.