Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back To Reality

Today was one of those days where you stop what you're doing and look around because surely to God you are on candid camera and the whole day was one big joke.

But no.  No cameras.

Last night the twins had trouble sleeping, which meant Michael and I had trouble sleeping.  They woke up around 8:30a and weren't their typical cheery selves.  When I put them down for a nap at 10:15, they  squirmed for a good 30 minutes before falling asleep.  I expected them to sleep until at least noon, but they woke up at 11:30 and Jude was downright cranky.  I've never seen/heard him cry like that.  He was so tired he would stop crying to yawn and then continue crying.  I had a coffee date with some old co-workers so I strapped Jude & Sloane in their carseats and we took off for Starbucks.  I just knew they would sleep in the car.

They did not sleep.  At all.

It was great to see my friends but I was a nervous wreck the entire time because Jude was a wee bit noisy.  I tried holding him, feeding him, rocking him, etc., to no avail.  My friend finally picked him up and he quieted down immediately.  How's that for making you feel like mom of the year?  I put my pride aside and was just grateful he was happy.

Once I left Starbucks he fell asleep immediately but Sloane cried the entire drive home.  Many have asked me if it is terrible when two babies cry at once.  No, it is terrible when two babies take turns crying.

Fast forward to later this afternoon, when I decided to make sweet potatoes for the babes.  I baked two large potatoes that smelled delicious.  And then I cut into them and one had spoiled (we'd had them for three days--thanks a lot, Target).  I tossed the bad one and continued on with the good one.  Instead of adding water I added whole milk yogurt.  This was my first experience with yogurt and can I just tell you the food looked BEAUTIFUL.  Perfect consistency, perfect smell, toot toot tooting my own horn.

I presented it to the kiddos.  Sloane looked at me as if something had died in her mouth.  Jude started gagging immediately.  I gave each of them another bite.  Sloane now looked like she would've preferred something dying in her mouth.  Jude continued to gag.  What was going on?  All of my friends kids LOVE yogurt!  As I was giving Sloane her third bite, Jude barfed.  There is no other word for it.  Jude barfed.  And barfed.  And BARFED.  I have never seen so much vomit.  I froze.  Sloane stared.  He cried.  I ran to get some paper towels, only to remember we don't currently have paper towels.  So I ran upstairs and grabbed the wipes from the nursery.  I cleaned Jude and his high chair as much as possible and then made oatmeal instead (as I sadly looked at the 16 ounces of untouched baby food).

Poor Jude smelled putrid so I decided it was time for a bath.  I texted Michael to see where he was and received a one-word reply: Traffic.  Dangit.  Took both kids upstairs and started the bath for Jude.  As I was undressing him in the bathroom I realized he had a dirty diaper so I took him and his diaper to the nursery.  I put him on the changing table and then remembered the wipes were now downstairs.  I think by this point I could hear sirens going off in my head and smoke was most definitely coming out of my ears.

I'd actually dressed up and fixed my hair this morning since I was meeting my friends.  I always get a little excited on these days because Michael gets to see me in something other than gym shorts and a t-shirt.  Jude makes the bath his very own wave-pool so my cute outfit was replaced by gym shorts and a t-shirt.  Curled hair was pulled back into a ponytail.  I gave Jude a bath (Sloane stood next to me the entire time) and then I collapsed on the nursery floor. 

Five minutes later Michael came home and knew immediately my day had been less than stellar.  I told him what had happened and ended with, "And I'd really wanted to look pretty for you but now I'm wearing this (gestures to outfit with sad face)."  He gave me a big hug and told me I always looked pretty to him and then he nonchalantly pulled something out of my hair.  It was a piece of banana.

I'd fed the twins bananas for one of their meals.


Friday, August 16, 2013

My Current Favorites

Laura asked: What are your current favorite things? (not necessarily baby/mother things, but just in life) 

Sara said: I am getting a little overwhelmed with all the choices when it comes to baby furniture, bedding and gear. Would you be willing to share where some of your big items came from (cribs/nursery chair) and maybe how you decided on some other baby items (stroller/car seat/swing/bouncer)?  Also, I am currently trying to decide my stance on crib bumpers. Would you be willing to share your thoughts? 

I'm going to split this into two posts, one for the babes and one for me.  Favorites for me is faster and far less controversial (hello crib bumpers!) so I'm going the lazy route and opting to do it first!

Sara, I actually did something similar a few months ago and it answers some of your questions.  Click HERE for my favorites and HERE for baby favorites!

1969 GAP Summer Cut-Offs
I always swore I would never buy cut-offs.  It just seems a little silly, right?  Well I had a gift card and they had a sale and I told myself I'd just try them on for kicks... and 5 minutes later I walked out of the store with a denim pair and an army green pair.   I have worn them pretty much every day all summer long.  The fit is perfection!  Michael really liked them at first but I'm sure the feeling has faded. ("Oh, you're wearing cut-offs!  Again.  For the 7th time this week.  How nice.") 

Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips
I know I mentioned losing the chips in my post on body and exercise but every rule has an exception.  Stacy knew what she was doing.  Buy these.  Devour these.  You're welcome.  (And on a related note, they go extremely well with Sabra Greek Olive Hummus.)

Volcano Candle
You know when you walk into Anthropologie and you feel like everything is right in the world?  It's because of this candle.  Not only does it smell great but it lasts forever and isn't too strong.  When people visit they often comment on how our house smells like Anthro.  So by the transitive property (yeah, I went there),  visiting our house makes you feel like everything is right in the world.  Until you hear the sweet, sweet cries of two 9-month-olds. 

The Sock Bun
I know.  I KNOW.  I am most likely the last blogger/human to jump on this bandwagon.  I ignored it for the longest time because it looked so difficult and I didn't buy the "It only takes 30 seconds" malarchy.  But guess what?  It only takes 30 seconds!   The sock bun alone made me reconsider my decision to cut off 10 inches of my hair.  And every time I cut off 10 inches of my hair I end up in the fetal position asking myself why I made such a terrible decision.  So for everyone's sake, thank you sock bun!

Michael and I are big fans of finding a show we've never seen and watching it from the very beginning (in this case via Amazon Prime Instant Video).  Right after the twins were born we tore through How I Met Your Mother (It was legen - wait for it - dary).  Now we're on season 2 of Parenthood and really enjoy it.  Warning: There are times we're both hiding behind our pillows because of the extreme awkwardness.  We each have a character we relate to and the good news is they're husband/wife on the show (Julia & Joel).  I mean I guess that's good news... we're only in season 2 so maybe that's terrible news?  (I related more to Julia before I had kids.  I realize I am not, nor was I ever, a powerful attorney.  Thank you.)

West Elm Cluster Glass Pendant
I went back and forth on whether I should include this here or in the baby favorites post.  I purchased this pendant for the nursery because I simply thought it looked cool.  Little did I know the babies would LOVE it.  We have a dimmer and keep it turned down low so I don't think it's burning their retinas (fingers crossed).  We never purchased mobiles for their cribs but I think this more than made up for it.  Definitely a win/win for everyone.

Moving Comfort Urban Gym Tight
I became a fan of the Moving Comfort brand when I trained for a half marathon six years ago.  They make the best sports bra in the entire world.  Let me repeat that: in the ENTIRE WORLD.  In my last favorites post I mentioned how much I loved the Lululemon yoga pants.  While they've held up well, I have to revoke my statement.   I'm sure they are perfect for yoga but they are not perfect for moms who spend time on the carpet/rugs/etc.  The fabric picks up everything.  And I vacuum 3+ times a week so I don't think I'm pig-pen.  Anywho.  These tights are so comfortable and keep their shape.  I can roll around on the floor with my babies and they still look great when I stand up!

Next up... Baby Edition!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Food, Glorious Food!! Oh And Exercise.

Cara asked: I was wondering if you'd be willing to give a postpartum update about how you are feeling these days, body-wise, energy, fitness, etc.?

Kerry asked: I'm always curious to know how other twin moms manage their time, find time for themselves to shop, workout, eat right, etc. (Note: I'm going to do a time-management/schedule post later, but I included this due to the last part of her question.)

Amber asked: What do y'all eat for dinner? Curious on your meal planning during the week!

Leslie asked: If you had to choose one fast food restaurant for the rest of your life (not that you had to eat it every meal, but you could only stop at one forever) which would it be?

Before I answer any of the above (terrific) questions, I'm wondering if it is obvious who has known me and my diet the longest?  Leslie's question made my heart stop--what a terrible world it would be if there was only one choice! :)

This is not going to be an easy post to write, mostly because my answers are pathetic.  However, I said I would answer everything to the best of my ability so here we go.

I was the absolute heaviest I'd ever been when I got pregnant.  I had a high-pressure job with two busy seasons.  I sat at a desk and snacked all day long.  I went to Starbucks three times a week and ordered a white chocolate mocha with whipped cream every single time.  I didn't exercise and I didn't eat right.

Once I was pregnant things changed.  I ate better, drank a lot less caffeine, and moved around more.  As the weeks went by and I grew exponentially bigger, however, the movement slowed down dramatically.  By 38 weeks, I wanted to cry each time I had to go to the bathroom because the 15 measly steps made me lose my breath.

What little muscle I had before I was pregnant was completely gone when Jude & Sloane arrived.  But I nursed.  Two babies.  Around the clock.  I gained 40 pounds while I was pregnant and lost 43 pounds in two weeks.  Here's what they don't tell you:  Stretch marks also happen when you lose weight too quickly.  I had one stretch mark when I left the hospital.  I now have several.   I've lost another 10 pounds due to nursing, but these pounds were lost gradually and safely.

At my 6-week check-up I asked my doctor when my belly button would go back to normal--it still stuck out.  My doctor sighed and told me it would not on its own.  What?! Turns out I have an umbilical hernia, which requires surgery.  It doesn't hurt and I've decided not to have the surgery until I'm done nursing.  Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to exercise until I have the hernia repaired, which means my babies are nine months old and I have done zero crunches. 

With that being said, I have two babies who weigh around 20 pounds each.  We live in a two-story house and I only carry one baby at a time.  The nursery is upstairs.  Our bedroom is downstairs.  They play upstairs.  They eat downstairs.  They nap upstairs.  The car is downstairs.  So even though I haven't stepped foot in a gym, I DO workout--it's just my barbells are babies and my stair-stepper is actual stairs.  My friend and I also go to the park or mall every few weeks and walk a few miles.  We're determined to make that happen more often! :)

Something I think is crucial for moms who stay at home: I try my hardest to get out of the house every single day.  The change of scenery, fresh air, and exercise (pushing a stroller is exercise, people) is so good for your mind and body.  It is very obvious to both Michael and myself when I don't leave the house all day.  I'm exhausted and in a terrible mood. 
For those of you who are pregnant and planning to breastfeed, make sure you are eating well and eating often once you have the baby (babies).  I remember skipping meals because there was no time but you have to take care of yourself or you will experience rapid weight loss, which is not healthy.  And stretch marks, which are not attractive.  Now I eat three meals a day and three snacks.  Yes, one of the snacks is Oreos and milk, but it is what it is.  At least I include the milk. 

Michael and I have good weeks and bad weeks when it comes to food.  There are a few meals we love and eat often (recipes below).  There are also days when we eat waffles and call it dinner.  I've always loved to bake but I've never been much of a cook.  Add two babies to that and I'm even less of one.  My favorite afternoon snack is a banana and peanut butter.  Or a corn dog from Sonic.  :)

When I look in the mirror I barely recognize myself.  My arms and legs are small but I still have a belly.  My butt has disappeared and so have my leg muscles.  Most days I'm ok with it because my body and battle wounds are due to two healthy babies.  I'd be lying if I said the marks and scars (and belly button) never get me down.  Fortunately, I have a husband who tells me he thinks I'm pretty and that is enough.

Once I have the surgery I have full plans of getting in shape--I want to be able to keep up with Jude & Sloane and not be the mom who's sitting on the park bench (unless there are other moms at the park, then I'm totally sitting with them on the park bench).

I realize this post was not entirely encouraging.  To those of you who asked about my postpartum recovery, I want you to know that every single one of my friends who have had babies look and feel phenomenal.  They ate right and exercised.  Some nursed, some didn't, some dieted, some didn't.  I'm absolutely amazed what our bodies can do!

The entire time I've been writing this post I've been thinking about Leslie's question.  I love Chick Fila's breakfast, Raising Cane's special sauce, Whataburger's burgers, Sonic's corn dogs and Taco Bell's chalupas.   I think I would choose Sonic, only because it has the most extensive menu.  But I sure would miss the others...

Last but not least: meal-planning.  We typically discuss what we'd like to eat that week, Michael makes the grocery run, and we go from there.   Below are a few of our favorite meals, which I'd consider staples around these parts. They all consist of very few ingredients and are incredibly easy to make.  We make sure to have fruit and vegetables at all times.  We don't always eat them with our meals but they're great snacks throughout the day.  When you're in a hurry you grab whatever is close and easy.  Blueberries are close and easy.  Unfortunately, so are chips.  Moral of the story: lose the chips. 

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, & Lemon Pasta (Sidenote: We always add chicken or shrimp)

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili (perfect for Fall/Winter)

Taco Ring (I typically substitute chicken for the beef but both are delicious!)

Thanks for the questions!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Baby Food Diaries (Part II)

Ashley and Savannah had some questions re. baby food:

I need advice on solid foods! I'm introducing them to an exclusively breastfed baby! How did you decide how much breastmilk to add?  How long does it keep in the freezer? When you decided to give them the food did you thaw in the fridge or pop it in the microwave? Did they eat it warm? 

I wrote a bit about the twins (and our) first experience with baby food here.   

Disclaimer: I'm happy to answer any and all questions related to baby food but I need you to know that over the past month I've felt very behind.  Some of my friends are feeding their babies whole graham crackers and mine just started accepting puffs in the last few weeks.  So I may not be the best person to ask about these things.  Jude & Sloane are thriving so that is what is important to us, but I wanted to share this before I said anything else.

Ok!  Michael and I made the decision to wait until the babies were six months old before we introduced any type of food (including rice cereal).  We did this for a few reasons.  

Breastfeeding is:
1.  Free.  
2.  All a baby needs for the first six months ("The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first six months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods (except Vitamin D) or fluids unless medically indicated.")
3.  Convenient (and when you have two mouths to feed, convenience is key)

Once they were six months old we began with rice cereal.  From there we tried different fruits and vegetables and fed them one solid meal a day.  At around 7.5 months we started consistently feeding them two meals a day (oatmeal in the morning, fruit or vegetable in the evening).  As of this week I am cutting one nursing session (from five to four) and adding another solid meal.

When making the baby food I added enough breastmilk to make the food the preferred consistency (meaning: I didn't add a measured amount but it was typically two to four ounces). If there isn't enough liquid in the blender, pureeing is impossible.  Since I'm no longer pumping I've replaced breastmilk with water.  My advice is to start with a little bit of breastmilk/water--you can always add more but too much will make the food too thin.

Once I prepare the food I keep enough in the fridge for that day and the next day's meals.  Everything else I freeze. You can keep the food in the freezer for up to 30 days.   I rarely make more than a week's worth at a time and oftentimes I just make it on the spot (throw a banana or two in the blender and feed it to them immediately).

Also, this is where I expect a huge eye-roll from the masses...

We don't use the microwave to heat their food.

Coming from the girl who uses the microwave three times to reheat the same cup of coffee, the above statement seems ridiculous.  Michael and I made the decision to avoid the microwave (for the twins) as long as possible.  I pull the prepared food out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge.  It thaws overnight and the babies eat the food straight from the fridge.  It's all they've ever known so they don't mind the temperature.

End eye-roll.

A quick tip for those of you making your own food:  Butternut squash and sweet potatoes give you the most bang for your buck.  One butternut squash will feed Jude & Sloane for an entire week for a whopping $4.50.  Assuming you buy organic, the only fruit or vegetable I've noticed that costs as much as store-bought baby food is peaches.  Blueberries are a close second.

One other tip.  The Wholesome Baby Food website is fantastic.  I referenced it before every new meal I made for the babies.  Great recipes, great nutritional information, great reference.  I really can't say enough good things about it.  And while we're discussing reference guides, I know I've mentioned it before but I absolutely love Baby 411.  I'm going to start giving it as a gift to new moms.  It has quite a bit of information about breastfeeding & baby food, as well as every other baby-related item out there. 

While hindsight is always 20/20, I wish we would've introduced different foods a little faster (they suggest every 3-4 days, I typically waited an entire week).  Jude & Sloane have tried quite a few fruits and veggies but I know there are so many more! I also wish I would've offered foods with a thicker consistency a little earlier than I did.  I'm still glad we waited until six months to start solids.  It was the best decision for the babies and myself.  And our wallets.  It's pretty neat that for six months we spent $0 (food-wise) on two babies.

Ashley and Savannah, I hope the above answered most of your questions.   I'm all ears if anyone has baby food advice they want to share!  While I'm extremely flattered that some of you wanted to hear my tips/tricks, I sometimes feel like I'm the blind leading the blind.  I'm clearly no expert and always love to hear what others think.

I'm going to continue the food theme and answer your questions about food, exercise, & body image for Michael and myself later this week.  I know you're on the edge of your seats!  :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

10 Ways Michael and I Are Different

Laura's Writing Suggestion: 10 ways Michael and I are different
I texted Michael yesterday and asked him to think of five examples.  After we put the twins to bed we discussed the day's events and I asked him if he'd come up with anything.  He told me he never had a chance to think about it.  Meanwhile, I'd spent the majority of the day thinking about it.  So there's a perfect example of how we're different.  :)

We came up with the following:

1. He folds his clothes meticulously.  When he packs a suitcase, angels sing.
I "fold" clothes and throw them in a drawer.  Sometimes my shirts are still inside out from the dryer.

2. He wakes up Saturday morning and is excited about a completely open day with no plans.
I wake up Saturday morning and want to discuss everything we're going to do that day.  (Sidenote: I was like this before kids.)

3. He could watch "sports games" on television all day.  Any sport.  Any number of hours.
I call them sports games.  And I can watch one a day--max.

4. He drives fast, whips in and out of lanes, and gets a very mild (ahem) case of road rage quite easily.
I drive five miles over the speed limit, wave to everyone, and don't realize I'm behind the car going 10 under the speed limit until it's way too late. (Sidenote: I was like this before kids.)

5.  He hates fast food (but will eat it).
I ADORE fast food (and I eat it).

6. He is the most amazing gift giver.  If I casually point to a watch in a magazine and say, "That's pretty," it will be my birthday gift seven months later.  That actually happened.
I am a terrible gift giver.  Absolutely terrible. 

7. He doesn't mind grocery shopping, which means he makes the weekly Target runs.
I loathe grocery shopping.  I'm always freezing and I have "aisle rage" (if there is such a thing).  I also pick the slowest check-out line.  Every. Single. Time.

8.  He loves four hour movies.  If they made five hour movies I'm sure he would love those too.
My limit is two hours.  If you can't tell a story in 120 minutes, you're wasting my time.

9.  He is an extreme collector.  Books, comics, you name it.  This can be dangerous.
I am an extreme purger.  I throw away everything.  This can be dangerous.

10.  He loves the ceiling fan and wants it on all the time.
I'm not a fan (HA!) of the ceiling fan... unless it's time to sleep or I'm 6+ months pregnant.

This was fun!  Thanks so much, Laura!


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