Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Twins 3 Month Update



How has it been 3 months already? At the same time, I don't remember what it was like to wake up without these adorable faces smiling at me!


They are definitely getting big! I don't have exact weights because I returned the baby scale and we don't have a doctor appt until their 4 month check-up but they are filling out their 3-6 month clothes quite nicely. They are in size 2 diapers but can wear a 3 for overnight. We are about to have to transition out of the SwaddleMe's as well (sad face). They wake themselves up at night and bust their arms out.



Nightime is about the same. I do their bedtime routine at 6:00 pm. I bathe them together and sing to them while I put on their pj's. Then I swaddle them up and nurse them both until they let go. I've started to have to separate them for sleep in the middle of the night but I still put them down to bed together. They will usually sleep from 6:30 pm until 10-11 or even 2 am sometimes. After that, they are up to nurse every 2-3 hours until morning. I'm still doing well with the lack of sleep (surprisingly).



 One of my big fears when I learned I was having twins was them going through the hard stuff at the exact same time. Thankfully, that hasn't been the case. When they hit a growth spurt, one baby will be fussy and wake up frequently for a couple days and then the other one will start. So I guess the length of fussiness is a bit longer but overall it's less stressful because I don't have 2 miserable babies at the same time.

Even in their hard times, they are still such easy-going and good-natured babies. I can be in a grumpy mood and changing their diaper and they just look up and give me the gummiest, happiest smile. Ahhhh I just melt every single time. They are the BEST!!!


Okay let's talk about their little personalities...


Cullen is still my little charmer. He is so stinkin' cute and sweet. He is super ticklish and tries to laugh when I tickle him. He absolutely loves when Isla or Avelyn come torture him. Even though it freaks me out, he loves to play with them. He is usually much more happy to hang out and look around, listen and watch. I can tell he can't wait until he can really get in the action though! Cullen is fun waiting to happen.


Everett is my little sweetheart. He has a little more reserved personality. He is still just as happy and easy going but he likes to cuddle and watch it all from the comfort of my arms. He doesn't like to be alone too long but will lay on my chest all day. He is so sweet and gives the dreamiest, meltiest smiles you've ever seen. 

I can't wait to see them interact more with each other. I think that will be coming in the next month or so.

It never ceases to amaze me how much people have to say about twins when we are out and about. You hear some pretty interesting things. For the most part, people feel bad for me and make the comment about my hands being so full. I'm sure I probably said the same thing before I had all these kids. But can I just say that these babies are the absolute BEST thing that has ever happened to me? They light. up. my. life. I couldn't imagine my life without them. We still haven't hit the wall or the "hard" that I keep expecting to. Maybe it will come and maybe it won't. But I really am the lucky one! 

I feel bad for not talking about my girls much. I guess it's so much easier to notice the changes in the babies from month to month more than my bigger girls. I will try to get a post about each of them out soon.








Saturday, July 15, 2017

Twin Newborn Survival Tips




Disclaimer: All of these tips are only based on my limited experience of FOUR newborns. There are hundreds of y'all that read these posts and its unrealistic to think that what has worked for my family will work for all of you so just take what you like and dump the rest. :)

Tip #1 - CUT DAIRY 

Way to start off with the hard stuff right?! Well all four of my babies couldn't handle my breastmilk when I was eating dairy. They usually didn't notice it until they were around 3 weeks old but then colic started or purple crying. For the twins, I cut dairy as soon as they were born and they are my first and only babies to not have colic or purple crying. It does take a while to get it out of your system to start as soon as you can. There is nothing worse that watching your newborn(s) writhe in pain and scream uncontrollably for hours!

Tip#2 - SWADDLE

I've swaddled all of my kids and it helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. For my firstborn, I just used those Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. For Isla, I used the Miracle Swaddle (and loved it). For the twins I use velcro Swaddle Mes. I was given the velcro tip from another twin mom because you need to do anything and everything you can to save time with twins. I swaddle them for naps and bedtime and it really helps keep them calm.

Tip #3 - WHITE NOISE

I used to use an app on my phone (Sleepy Sounds) but I got frustrated when it would turn off if I got a phone call or wake the baby when it stopped so I bought the Homedics My Baby Sound Spa. We use the Ocean sound for my girls and the twins. I've gotten so used to it, that I can't sleep without hearing it through the baby monitor. The white noise helps newborns calm down and relax and helps my older girls sleep through noise (like thunder or 4th of July).

Tip #4 - Transferring a Sleeping Baby Without Waking Them

Okay, you've been nursing for 30 mins and your baby is sound asleep but every time you lay them down in the crib the wake right back up. What gives? Well I learned this trick that if you make sure their head touches the crib mattress before their neck or back or legs, they wills stay asleep. Newborns have a startle reflex that is easily activated with loud noise or touch and it is activated if their back hits the mattress first. Try this tip, it works!

Tip #5 - Bath/Bedtime Routine

This doesn't really have to start until around 6 weeks but there's no harm in starting sooner. Get a solid bedtime routine. Doing the same thing every night will tell their body that it's time for sleep and save you so much sanity later on. My bedtime routine starts right after dinner at 6pm. I take the babies upstairs, get them undressed and run a bath. I don't use soap at every bath because it can dry their skin out and it's really not necessary. I will put a little soap on their privates to get them clean but I save a whole-body-soapdown for only once or twice a week max. After bath I sing them a song (Twinkle Twinkle) while I get them in their jammies and swaddle them. I make sure the white noise machine is on (and fan for good measure) then I nurse them, burp them and put them to bed. Even if they aren't asleep I put them in their crib and they usually fall asleep pretty fast. Sometimes, one twin goes right to sleep but the other requires me to go back in and try some more soothing.

Tip #6 - ME TIME

We all need time to ourselves to relax and recharge. For us sailor's wives, that can be a challenge when our husbands are away. When Avelyn was about 7 months old, we started going to the YMCA and it has been such a lifesaver. I get to have some alone time to blast my music and not worry about crying babies for an hour a day. The kids get to have socialization with other kids and we always hit up the playground afterwards. Once my babies have had their shots, I am cleared to get to the gym again. I only grew to love exercise after having kids. For one ENDORPHINS make all the difference when kids are running you ragged all day and also you're going to need to be strong and healthy to care for them. They start running from you pretty fast and carrying a 27lb two year old throwing an epic tantrum along with your twins out of a store will require some muscle (or so I'm told). ;)

My trick for making this work is to time our arrival to right before they need to eat again. After I get the girls checked in, I take the boys and change their diaper, swaddle them and nurse them down for nap. I hand them off sound asleep. I try to always drop my kids off happy because they won't usually ever cry when being dropped off in the future. I want the Y to be a place we all look forward to going and it's a lot easier for me to disconnect when I know all my kids and babies are being taken care of and are having fun. (Side tip: Be nice to the childcare staff!! Those ladies are dealing with tons of kids all day long and deserve your respect and kindness. :)

Tip #7 - COFFEE

This is another one for you, not the babies. I set my coffee pot to make itself the night before. No matter how rough the night was, when I know I have a delicious pot of Ruta Maya Dark waiting for me, the day seems less daunting. Following my sister's advice, I've started to drink a cup of iced coffee (leftovers from the morning) at noon everyday and it has helped get me through the afternoon and evening fussiness.

Tip #8 - BABY HOLDERS EVERYWHERE

This one is a special shoutout for the twin moms. Get baby holding devices all over your house! I have a pack'n'play in my bedroom, a swing and rock n play in the living room, two bouncy chairs in the kitchen and so on. It's also necessary when you have a 2 year old who is bound and determine to hold and feed your babies every second you turn around. Invest in the babyholders!

Tip #9 - Diaper & Snack Stations Everywhere

Create diaper stations in all the main areas of your house. The only place I don't change diapers is ironically the changing table. I have a basket on my nightstand with diapers, wipes, booger-sucker, diaper rash cream (Purple Desitin FTW), a burp rag, snacks and a water bottle. I have the same in the living room and upstairs in the nursery.

Tip #10 - Baby Tracking App

This will help you the most in the first 6-8 weeks. I used Total Baby (it's great for twins). This app will track all your feedings (nursing minutes and which side you left off on, bottle feeding and ounces). It also tracks your babies sleep and growth. It even gives you their percentiles!

That's it. Those are my top 10 newborn survival tips. Is there something that worked for you that I didn't list? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Twins are 2 Months!

I can't believe they are two months old already. I am busy busy busy these days so the days just all sort of blur together. I did a poll on my Instagram asking what y'all wanted me to talk about for this update and the answer was how I am doing it with two babies (and two bigs). So here goes!




First off, I learned really fast that my attitude and outlook was going to determine how this goes. If I choose to be negative, then the day (and night) is going to be pretty rough for all of us. If I choose to be happy and embrace it, things go so much better. No matter what the night was like, when I wake up I pray and ask God to give me the strength to do a good job that day...and He has come through for me every time. If I get into a funk, I put some music on or laugh at the kids. Now that I am able to get back to the gym, that will be my happy place as well.

A typical day (when my husband is away) looks like me waking up at 6 am and grabbing a cup of coffee. Seriously I use the biggest mug I can find. While I'm nursing the twins and caffeinating, the girls come running down the stairs. They usually fight over who gets to cuddle me and I turn on cartoons or give them my phone until the coffee kicks in. The twins go back to sleep after that for an hour at least so I get up and make breakfast. The girls usually play for a while after breakfast or start nagging me about what we will do that day. When my husband is away, I try to get out of the house every single day. The kids need it and so do I. We like to go to the splash pad or the park and now back to the YMCA! Getting everyone ready takes some time, but we can get out the door in about 45 mins.


I'm not sure how to answer how I do it....I just do. I do do do. haha I am almost always doing something or planning to do something (if I'm nursing). I tried to think through a lot of this while I was pregnant. I got the girls used to playing together or in the backyard by themselves (I open a window so I can watch and listen). The boys are on the same schedule for the most part and that helps. During the day, one will want to be held while the other one naps.and then they switch. I babywear them individually and together if I need to be getting things done. I love the Weego for tandem carrying and the K'tan for solo carrying.

I think another thing for my "how" is that I have really great babies. They are very easy-going and happy. Even when they are cranky, I know how to console them. I cut dairy out before they were born and I truly believe that is the reason these babies have never had the "purple crying" or colic that my girls had. I am not the type of mom who lets her kids cry. It gives me such bad anxiety. So I do my best to meet their needs right away. I tandem nurse them if they both are hungry and for the most part they really never cry. A huge part of this is also because these are my 3rd and 4th kids. I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve for soothing and I am confident in my choices as a parent. I've found that when I meet my babies needs right away they become independent, confident and happy toddlers. We haven't struggled with separation anxiety with any of my kids outside of the small periods they naturally get it.

I hope this isn't coming across like I just think I am perfect and have this all figured out. All I have figured out is what works for me. My family..my kids..our needs. Every momma learns this on their own.

I had a really hard time with Avelyn and struggled a lot with the transition from 1 kid to 2 kids. Somehow, God has made it so that 4 kids is easier than 2. I have no idea how that works but He did it. I have been warned that it's also because they are still in the sleepy newborn stage and to prepare for what's coming for me. . . but I am just the type of person who wants to enjoy things when they are good and figure out the challenges when they come. :) So for now, things are good. They really are.



The twins don't have any set schedule yet. They eat anywhere from every 30 mins to 3 or 4 hours. Nights have been slowly getting better as well. I started the twins on a bedtime routine that includes bath, swaddling, nursing with white noise, and falling asleep in their cribs. It's tricky getting it done when the girls have their bedtime routine at 7. I have been playing around with the times trying to find what works best for all of us. Evening is the hardest time of day. The goal is to do the twins bedtime routine from 6-7 while the girls play and then do the girls from 7-8. But since the boys are cluster feeding in the evening, they nurse from 6:30-9pm. I have just been nursing and doing the girls at the same time which is a little chaotic but once its over..glory hallelujah..everyone is asleep in their own beds!!!! PTL!

The boys have been sleeping from 9-1 then wake up again around 3 or 4 and again at 6am ...and we start it all over again.

The last thing I will say about how I am doing it all is that I have a different perspective with these babies. I know this is a short season. I know these are my last babies. I know I will look back and miss this. They have taught me to truly just take ONE DAY AT A TIME. Something I have never done in my life. When I try to look at the week or the month ahead and plan things, I get anxious and overwhelmed. But when I just look at the rest of the day, I know it's going to be fine. When it's the middle of the night and I am nursing and exhausted...I only think about getting to the next feed. Just take it in little bits and before you know it...you're two months in and things are going better than you dreamed!

I plan to do a separate post with newborn tricks and tips I've learned in hopes that it will help another mama who is brand new...look for that on Thursday!

Here are the boys!

Cullen is 10 lbs 4 ounces and 21.5 inches long
He has held true at being the happiest little guy. He started smiling for real and it just melts me every time. He has also tried to laugh when I tickle him. He is very content to look around the room and let his sisters torture  play with him. He is a great napper and I have to wake him up during the day (after I feed Everett) to keep them on the same schedule. It seems like every 3 days or so Cullen decides to switch personalities with his brother and becomes more fussy or sleeps less. Cullen is such a little cutie and looks exactly like Avelyn did as a baby.

Everett is 10 lbs 10 ounces and also 21.5 inches long.
Even though the babies seem like different sizes, their heads are the exact same size and they are the same length. I think Everett packed those extra few ounces straight into his cheeks. He still has the deepest dimples and he smiles a lot too. He loves to cuddle mom and wishes he could always sleep on my chest. He is also content to lay on the floor but is usually the first to start crying and saying he is ready to be picked up. Everett seems to sleep more at night but honestly I mix them up a lot at night so I cant be sure. I will nurse a baby the whole night and in the morning when I unswaddle them and see their clothes, I am shocked it is the wrong baby! Everett also got a birthmark this past week. It's a small brown circle on the inside of his wrist. Sorry kid, now people will always be able to tell yall apart.

I think my boys look so different but then, I do mix them up sometimes. They have a very different look in their eyes but when they are sleep they look just the same. One thing about boys that I've learned is true is that they DO love their mamas. When I am babywearing them, they just stare at my face with this expression that is pure adoration. It is the sweetest thing. I can't even explain it. I can't wait to see how they interact with eachother as they get bigger. They will look at eachother and still sleep cuddled together every night. When I put them in their cribs, I experimented with putting them further apart to see if it helped them sleep but just like magnets, within 5 mins they were cuddled face to face.

I doubted God so many times in my pregnancy. I didn't think I could handle four kids. I had no idea what was coming. My life has never felt so complete and joy-filled. Even though there are hard times and challenges I can say that I have joy every single day. I love being their mama! He really does work it all together for our good. I have learned to slow down, learned to enjoy little moments instead of always looking ahead. I've become more selfless than I thought possible. My heart has doubled in size and filled to the brim.