Friday, May 31, 2013

Jude & Sloane | 7 Months

As much as I keep begging time to slow down it does not appear to be listening to me. Jude & Sloane are seven months old.  SEVEN MONTHS OLD.  As I was watching them play today I saw two independent babies with two completely different personalities. They caught me staring at them, gave me two huge grins and I realized for the hundredth time today that I am the luckiest.

I've been forced to accept the phrase, "Babies don't keep" and it's absolutely tearing me apart.  So on that emotionally charged note, let's take a look at this past month.  It was a good one.  :)

Jude & Sloane have now had rice cereal, butternut squash, and carrots.  They still breastfeed four times a day and take a 7 oz bottle in the evening.  I don't know if it's because Jude's been sick or he's just over the bottle, but this past week he's had a really tough time with it so I've been nursing him before bed.  I'm embarrassed to admit that their solid meals are all over the place.  Some days they are in bed before I realize I didn't feed them a solid all day, which is why they're seven months and have only had a few vegetables.  I'm really going to try to be better about this in the upcoming month.  I want them to try all sorts of fruits and vegetables!

While both loved squash, Jude absolutely HATED carrots! My 22 pound 7-month-old is a picky eater!  I tried feeding him carrots the next day after mixing them with more breastmilk and he ate them right up--I guess it was a texture issue more than taste.  Sloane constantly tries to grab the spoon because we can't feed her fast enough.  Next up is sweet potatoes and then bananas!

(Video of them eating carrots.  Jude's reaction is priceless!)

While they used to take three naps each day they are now taking two solid naps and occasionally three if necessary.  Their first nap is at 10a, second is around 2p, and third (if it happens) is around 5p.   They don't always fall asleep immediately like they used to.  Occasionally they play in their cribs and talk to themselves (or each other).  I'll watch the video monitor and they look like pinballs, bouncing all over the place and hitting all sides of the crib.  One other thing, which I consider HUGE--they can put their pacifiers in their mouths without assistance. Hooray!

The biggest change in this area is consistency and improvement of certain skills.  They can now pick up small objects and hold onto them, whereas at the beginning of the month they were quite wobbly and dropped items often.  Their balance has improved and they can sit for long periods of time.  Sloane actually prefers being on her belly and has learned to maneuver herself (somewhat) gracefully from a sitting position to her stomach.  She can't stand to be in one place and being on her stomach allows her to barrel roll all over the place.  She is extremely curious and is constantly finding objects to play with that are NOT toys (my phone, tissue paper, diaper wipes, etc.). Meanwhile, Jude is typically content to hang out in one place and play with his toys. 

Due to Sloane's constant movement, we've installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs and put caps on electrical outlets.  As far as crawling is concerned, I think it may be a while before either crawl.  Sloane seems to be just fine with rolling and Jude just doesn't show much interest.  The crawling stage really concerns me so I'm not upset about this.

Both are now talking quite a bit and making sounds such as dada, gaga, hi, and whoa.  None are said intentionally, although once we drove over a big hill and Jude said "whoaaaaa." Michael and I burst out laughing. Jude talks and talks AND TALKS.  Sloane is much more quiet and for the longest time would only talk in her crib or carseat. Just recently she's started using her voice more.  Strangely enough, when we are in public it's Jude who gets quiet and oftentimes moody.  He is slow to warm up to strangers whereas Sloane has a smile for everyone.  Both still get great reports in the church nursery and are happy to be held by anyone.  I am so grateful for this!

We traveled to Tulsa in the middle of the month!  We stayed with Kait, Steve, & Leighton (mentor for the twins), and also got to celebrate Luca Pore's second birthday.  It also happened to be Mother's Day weekend and my 31st birthday!  The twins did great and slept most of the way there and back.  It's always good to get back to Tulsa and see our friends!

Dear Jude,
Just thinking about you makes my heart so happy.  You are such a sweet, affectionate boy and when you put your (not so) little arms around my neck I just want to hold you forever.  It's become apparent this month that you are very sensitive.  You like when everything is status quo and get a little uneasy with change.  If daddy laughs too loudly or one of us surprises you, your sweet face shows concern immediately.  Play groups are fun but only for a limited time and then you are ready to be back in a quiet(er) place.

Your favorite thing to do is jump, jump, jump!  In the exersaucer, the jumperoo, or on people's legs, you just want to JUMP!  You also love to thump your left leg on the floor when you're on your stomach.  I can hear you all over the house!  I think you're going to be quite the soccer player with your sturdy legs!

I'm sad to say you don't really enjoy the stroller.  I haven't figured out why but when I run errands I know I have a limited amount of time before you get fussy.  If it weren't so difficult to hold you while pushing the stroller we'd be fine for hours!

You've had a really bad cough for over a week now, yet your disposition is cheery and you still smile and laugh constantly.  When strangers see you they always comment on your crazy (awesome) hair and your judgy stare.  It's such a funny face and doesn't match your sweet personality at all!

You are a great big brother and I'm counting on you to help me reel in your oh-so-curious sister.  I'm just crazy about you, Bubby.


Dear Sloane,
I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone as inquisitive as you. You study everything and everybody in the room and I absolutely love this about you.  While your brother is perfectly happy to play with items surrounding him, you want to know what else is out there.  Your rolling skills are both impressive and terrifying, and if I take something away from you and hide it, you don't forget about it and will continue to search. 

You've started talking more and your voice is the sweetest.  Your favorite thing to say is dada (no surprise there) and speaking of dada, I'm pretty sure you think he hung the moon (he thinks the same about you). 

A new development is your obsession with people's faces.  If I stand you up on my legs you will ever so gently reach your little hand towards my face and as soon as you touch it you have a death grip that would bring a grown man to his knees.  It is so sweet... and then so very painful.

It appears your eczema is going away... hopefully for good!  It seemed like six months was the turning point, which is exactly what your doctor said would most likely happen.  Your hair is filling in nicely... still dark and very textured.  When strangers see you they always comment on your bright eyes and your full body smile.  Even when you are tired or hungry you will offer a smile to anyone (you did NOT get that from me)!

I wish you liked to cuddle more but it just means I get to sit back, watch, and be amazed by you.  I love my front row seat!


...And if that looking glass turns blue, always know that I love you.* 
Love - Mom

*My poorly adapted version of the lullaby and the last thing they hear from me before going to sleep.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Baby Food Diaries

Let me start by stating the obvious: I'm not a cook.  I love to bake but even that fell by the wayside once we had Jude & Sloane.  Most nights we eat meals that take less than 10 minutes to prepare and at least once a week a drive-through window is involved.


I don't know if you want to call it irony or just being decent parents, but we want the absolute best food for Jude & Sloane.  For us, that means knowing exactly what is going into their chubby little bodies.  And when we found out making baby food can also be much, much cheaper... well that just solidified our decision.

(Sidenote: This does not mean they will only eat food made by us.  I realize it may not be practical in all situations.)

Making baby food is nothing new and I'm clearly not the first to do this.  What I prepared is the absolute easiest way to do it.  However, when you see where we started (text messages below) you'll understand why I'm so proud. A few friends have asked how I did it, what I used, etc., so I thought a short blog post would suffice.  I even managed to capture a few pictures!

So this is where we started yesterday evening:

Solid.  I wish I could say it was a joke.  Nope.  Not at all.  I'd heard that squash could be a bit difficult to manage so I asked Michael to slice it right down the middle before he left for work this morning.  He did, covered it in saran wrap, and stuck it back in the fridge.

There are many ways to prepare squash, but my choices were limited.  Since we don't have a steamer I decided to bake the squash, which I also read is the quickest way to prepare it and allows it to retain more of the nutrients/taste.

After preheating the oven to 400 degrees, I scooped out the seeds and stringy stuff, placed both meat-side down in a roasting pan and filled it with one inch of water.  Once the oven was ready I baked the squash for 45 minutes.

When it was done baking, I simply dug out the good stuff and threw it into our blender.

I added three ounces of breastmilk and pureed the heck out of it.

I poured the mixture into my Oxo Tot Baby Blocks, let them cool, and then stuck them in the freezer.  A lot of my friends use ice trays--we don't have any and the Oxo Tot Baby Blocks were given to us at a baby shower.

I did most of this during their morning nap.  I cooked the squash while they were awake and prepared the food while they were asleep.  Prep time took about 40 minutes and I'm sure that time will lessen with experience.

Also, they never show this part but I consider it HUGE.  Here's the clean-up.  Pretty easy:

One $4.50 butternut squash made 28 oz of baby food.  Not bad!  But the most important question of all, how did the kiddos like it?

Here's a before shot.  They were so excited.  :)

(By the way, if you're grossed out that I used the same spoon for both babies... they share everything.  Clothes, burp cloths, boobs, spoons.  Done.)

A friend sent me this link, which has tons of baby food recipes (some with 10+ ingredients--holy cow) and what I used as a reference for the squash.  I plan on using it as much as possible.

I'm really excited to make all sorts of food for them.  I hope they love everything else as much as they enjoyed the squash!  Both were sad when it was gone and Sloane kept trying to yank the spoon out of my hand so she could feed herself.

I was so happy with the results that I used the loose change in my diaper bag to run through the Taco Bell drive-through.  


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

And Just Like That... post to the World Wide Web that your babies are terrific nappers and they prove you so, so wrong. 

Today has been rough. Between two teething babies, short naps, general fussiness (see: short naps) and "don't leave my sight" cries (isn't it too early for that?), I am spent!

Just keeping it real on the ol' blog. For the two of us (I figure there has to be one other clueless soul out there) who thought I had it all together: I'm waving the white flag!

(...But then Sloaney sticks her tongue out at me and I realize today was not what I expected, but it was still pretty great.) 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jude & Sloane | 6 Months

The twins are half a year old!  Fastest six months of my life?  Quite possibly.  Best six months of my life? Absolutely.

This monthly update is a little different than the others.  I'll let you figure out the change, but it's pretty great.

Sidenote: I think there are more pictures in this update than the last five combined.

We went to the doctor today for their 6 month (well, 6 month and 1 week) appointment.  Jude & Sloane did great!  They received one oral vaccine and two boosters.  Both cried for 15 seconds and then were fine.  Maybe it's the extra meat on their thighs but they handle shots like champs. 

Jude's stats at 6 months:
Weight: 21 lbs 15.5 oz (97%)
Height: 27 7/8 in (90%)
Head: 17 1/2 in (75%)

Sloane's stats at 6 months:
Weight: 17 lbs 2 oz (75%)
Height: 27 1/4 in (95%)
Head: 17 1/4 in (85%)

Jude & Sloane nurse four times a day and each take a 7 oz bottle of breastmilk at bedtime.  Their bedtime is 7:30 and they are still waking up at 5:30 to nurse and then back to sleep until 8 or 8:30.  They nap at 10:00a, 1:00p, and a short nap around 4:30p.  On their 6 month birthday they had rice cereal for the first time and did really well.  I'm so grateful they were able to exclusively breastfeed for six months but (because of that) it made this transition a little sad for me.  Regardless, it is time these babies get to experience some of the finer things in life! :)  I'm going to attempt to make baby food in the next week or so--we'll start off with squash and carrots and go from there! Sloane loves to blow raspberries so I imagine we will all be covered in food by the end of each feeding.

Since these are our first babies we never know what is considered unusual but we've had several people comment on how easy they are to put down.  Perhaps it's because there are two of them and (at naptime) there is only one of me, but we've never rocked them to sleep.  They are awake when we put them in their cribs, they fuss for a couple of minutes, and then they're out.  It makes their naptime and bedtime routines a snap for us.  Jude still requires more sleep than Sloane and she wakes several times throughout the night but generally puts herself back to sleep.

These two love to play!  Both really enjoy bouncing in the exersaucer and we recently purchased a door jumper, which Jude absolutely loves.  They still adore Mr. Inchworm, Mortimer the Moose, Huey the Hedgehog, O-balls, and rattles.  They're sitting independently but are still wobbly at times.  I've also noticed a bit of toy envy.  If Jude is playing with a toy, Sloane is suddenly more interested in his toy than her own.  I had no clue it started this early!  I tested it by giving them the exact same toy (o-balls) and they both immediately looked at the other's o-ball and switched.  It's both hilarious and terrifying.

Jude & Sloane LOVE to be on their stomachs.  If I put them on their backs they both immediately flip over.  They also love to stand on our legs (or on the ground).  Sloane gets upset pretty quickly if you try to hold her in a sitting position.

One of my favorite books to read to them is Barnyard Dance.  One day I pointed to each animal and then made the corresponding animal noise.  When I got to the grey mouse ("squeak squeak") their faces lit up.  It was great!  Now when I want to take a picture all I have to do is "squeak squeak" and I get precious smiles from both of them.

We went on our very first family vacation to Branson, Missouri!  Not the most exciting of places but it was a great meeting spot for the Besancon family.  11 of us (five kids ages four and younger) stayed in a three bedroom condo for one week.  And yes, it was as crazy as you're imagining.  We had a great time seeing everyone--I'm excited for Jude & Sloane to get to know their cousins!

Before the trip we switched Jude's carseat.  He was getting extremely uncomfortable in the infant carrier and the new seat seems to be a much better fit.  I already miss the ease of the carrier but I know he appreciates the extra room.

It has been an amazing six months and I can't wait to see what else we'll learn from these two!

Dear Bubby/Buddy-
Your mom calls you Bubby, but she keeps catching me saying Buddy by mistake.  You don't seem to mind either one and that matches your disposition pretty well.  I love to hear you laugh.  You don't quite have it nailed down yet, but it's definitely a laugh and it's infectious.  We keep searching for new ways to bring it out of you.  Raising you over our heads is almost a guaranteed laugh fest, but that's getting more and more difficult due to your heartiness.  That's a polite way of saying that lifting you has become our daily workout routine.  

Two teeth made an appearance recently (April 18).  They're in the middle on the bottom, and they still don't really show when you smile. You haven't found a very good use for them yet, but you're willing to gnaw on just about anything you can reach.  Your hair keeps filling in and growing straight up.  We assumed it would begin to lay down at this point  but it's still pushing onward in defiance of logic and gravity.  What was once a baby flat top is now another beast entirely.  I'm afraid you'll resemble Doc from Back to the Future before too long.  Back to the Future was a movie made in ancient times.  They will probably have remade it by the time you're old enough to watch movies, and if hover boards don't exist by then I'll be very disappointed.  I know those were in the second Back to the Future but who are you to challenge me in sci-fi movie continuity?  

Escaping the tangent, you are a jumper.  The first couple of months when we put you in the exersaucer you would mainly hang there and try to figure out the toys.  Now you are jumping all over the place!  We bought a new bouncer that has you hanging from the doorway, and you are a maniac for running in place.  It reminds me a little of Tommy Boy.  I'm not sure that movie will hold up to the test of time, so just ignore that reference. 

Early on I was afraid you were going to be a thumb sucker for life.  However, you really only do that when you're really tired, and we take that as a cue to get you to bed.  Obviously you love your food, but you can sleep like your mom as well.  You hardly ever fuss when we put you down for a nap or for the night, and you sleep so much longer than your sister.  We may put you down in your crib on your back, but you are on your stomach before we can turn around.  Sometimes you'll adjust and sleep with your rear up in the air.  It doesn't look comfortable, but it works for you.  

Every day is something new with you and we're thankful for what a blessing you are in our lives.  You're sitting up on your own but I know you'll be crawling and standing before we can blink.  We look forward to every step along the way.  



Dear Sloaney Boloney,
I don't know how to add a y to bologna, but I'm pretty sure bologna is a fictitious word anyway so we're moving on.  Your mom made up a song using your name that she sings whenever you're upset.  You truly enjoy it and it's fun to see you recognize the tune.  We recently took a road trip and there was probably a period of 15 minutes where I sang the same 4 lines continuously.  As soon as I tried to stop, you would get upset again.  I can't take all the credit, as your mom and I had to trade off since neither of us could keep it going as long as you needed.

If it's your brother's laugh that always sticks out in my mind, it's your smile.  You love to share your smile with anyone that will come say hi.  At the same time, that's always when you get a little shy.  It's heart melting to see you break out in a big smile, and then quickly turn your head the other way.  As long as this doesn't translate into you being a huge flirt in high school, I love it.

You love to feel everything in your reach.  It always makes me laugh when we think you're asleep in the back seat of the car, only to hear you scratching on the car seat moments later.  You take after your mother in that you introduced competition into the relationship with your brother.  At first you guys were fascinated by anything we gave you.  Then one day you wanted whatever your brother had, even if you had an identical item in your possession.  He has now started to retaliate, but you need to know that in this situation you're Han, and you definitely shot first.  (By the time you read this you would have already gone as Princess Leia on Halloween so you'll be familiar with Han.)

You already want to stand all the time, so I'm wondering if you'll be like your friend Leighton and quickly go from sitting to walking.  There are so many things I'm excited to find out about you!  Your hair texture is the question of the moment.  Curly, straight, wavy?  I don't care at all because you'll be beautiful with any of them, but having so many more things to look forward to is certainly exciting for us.  I'm going to head to bed soon because I expect you'll wake up and need a quick consoling in around four hours.  It's never a hassle because seeing you and your brother is always a blessing.




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