Monday, November 30, 2009

Makes My Monday: Baby Steps

Join in Makes My Monday at Twinfatuation!


Two weeks ago, I mentioned that Collette took her first steps. Since then, she has been getting better, but still not doing what I would call "walking." She is up to about 8 steps at a time and once even got to 17 steps. They are so small that she barely covers any ground, but every little one counts in my book.

Sebastian is a bit behind his sister. Collette has been standing alone for quite some time and is very sturdy on her feet. Sebastian is not as strong and steady and only recently started standing without holding onto something. But today, at bedtime, he stood up from the ground all by himself, without pushing up off of anything. And he stayed up for a bit, too! Later on, sometime between drinking milk and listening to Goodnight Moon, he stood up and took a step. It was just one step before he reached me but still, he did it! I was so proud.

Both my babies have passed one of the biggest baby milestones and before I know it they will be bona fide toddlers, toddling around. We will have the video recorder at the ready and, as soon as we re-load the software onto my computer (don't ask), I can upload some action videos to share with you all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Guest Post: The Best Thing…



For NaBloPoMo, I asked Auntie Kim (and FavAuntie) if they would write a guest blog post for me. I promised them I wouldn't edit or censor - maybe just spell check. Auntie Kimis up first and has the honor of posting on Thanksgiving. And I'm thankful that I don't have to come up with a post for today. Hard to avoid the cheesiness.

The Best Thing...

There were so many great things that happened at Collette and Sebastian’s 1st birthday party. First of all, I really do enjoy any family get together – especially when all my siblings are there. When you add extended family, it only gets better (and louder)!

Seeing the 4 “grandkids” (or nieces and nephews to me) together is always memorable. Our nephew Ben, the oldest of the four kiddos, is always so mesmerized by the smallness of the twins. Watching him interact with them is so cute! Morgan, who is 2 ½ years old, was so good with them on Saturday – she left me very impressed! She was very good at sharing/passing toys (even though they weren’t hers!) to appease Collette and Sebastian. She, too, seems fascinated by them since she is used to being the smallest and getting all the attention!

Another great thing about the birthday party was all the presents!!! I know how much the twins love their toys so to see all of the new, fun stuff they got was awesome. I got some great candids of them and their new toys, the fake fruit/veggies being a definite favorite:









Although the babies did a good job during their party, they definitely were not acting like themselves. They weren’t nearly as talkative or hyper. This was not surprising to me as there typical afternoons don’t include cake, gifts, and 20 guests. They were out of their comfort zone and clearly overwhelmed by all the external stimuli. Nonetheless, they gradually got more comfortable and explored, played, opened (read: watched Mom open) gifts, inhaled cake, etc. Which reminds me, watching them “have their cake and eat it too” was so funny! They seemed a bit confused at first (as cake tastes nothing like their typical asparagus spear or roasted red pepper) but in a good way.

So…I always wonder if the babies know who I am, if they recognize me when I come over, if they know the sound of my voice, etc. Well, something happened at the birthday party that made me realize – yup – they do! In the beginning when Sebastian was being very shy, he kept looking for a familiar face. Nicole was usually busy doing something else so she wasn’t in view. Sebastian found me, crawled over, crawled on my lap and squeezed me tight. At first I thought, “Aww, how cute, he’s hugging me!” But when he wouldn’t let go and kept looking around (as if to say who are all these strange people and what are they doing in my house?) I realized he was holding onto me because he knows me, I’m familiar to him, he felt comfortable with me. I could have cried. But instead I just squeezed him back. And, in my opinion, this was the best thing that happened at the twins’ 1st birthday party.

-Auntie Kim

Thanks Auntie Kim! We love you!!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Way Back Whenesday: Belly Pictures

Cheryl at Twinfatuation hosts Way Back Whenesday! Hop on over to see lots of other fun stories from way back when...

When I was pregnant with the twins, I bought one of those pregnancy record-keeper books called the Belly Book. Among other things, it has pages for you to paste a belly picture every week. With a twin pregnancy, the growth happens pretty fast so you can see changes in just a week. With this pregnancy, I don't think I will see such big differences from week to week so I may just do month to month photos. This weekend I will take my first one. I am already *showing* - I have been for about 1 year. The abdominal separation the twins left me with makes me look perpetually 3 months pregnant. So, stay tuned for some shameless half-nakedness.



In the meantime, here is a picture from WAY back, my last twin belly picture. I was 34 weeks pregnant when this picture was taken and, although I didn't know it at the time, my babies were just a few days away.



November 17th, 2008


I think this will be fun as a comparison shot as I grow with baby #3. I wonder if/when I will get this big!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AWOL

Since I have twins, I have everything in pairs. Including sippy cups. And because I am slightly neurotic, I can only use matching ones together. Because God forbid Sebastian be drinking from the Take 'N Toss cup and Collette from the Nuby - the horror! Well, Houston, we have a problem. A sippy cup (a Munchkin brand one) has gone AWOL. Which means I can't use its pair. Grrr.

However, the more concerning thing about the sippy cup's desertion is that I know, wherever it's hiding, it's got a little bit of milk left in there. And that milk is now spoiling and curdling and I can only imagine how foul it will be once I find it. This mom gig is not all it's cracked up to be...



I'll have party pictures up tomorrow - Thanks Auntie Kim :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Will History Repeat Itself?

This seems to the question on many a commenter's mind as of late: Will it be twins, again? Of course, I won't know for sure until we see an ultrasound but all signs point to NO! Thank the sweet Lord. Strangely, many of my MOT friends have secret fantasies about having another set. I think they are crazy. I mean, don't get me wrong - if I find out its twins, I'll love them just as I would one baby. But there is not even one little piece of me that wishes it were twins. I'm really looking forward to a "normal" singleton pregnancy. And hopefully one baby won't take the same toll on my body that two did.

So, how do I know it's not twins? Well for those of you who don't know, we have used IVF for both pregnancies, this last one a single FET. We know there is just one embie in there - if it does end up being twins, they will definitely be identical. And run the risk of sharing a placenta and/or sac, both higher risk situations than my fraternal twin pregnancy. Also, the hormone levels (HCG, to be exact) does not indicate twins. Just hints at a very healthy, singleton pregnancy. Of course, I will sleep sounder once we see the nugget on the screen and see the heartbeat. Hopefully that will happen sometime next week.

In the meantime, thank you all for your well wishes. We are so thrilled to be adding another baby to our family.



PS - we are due July 25th! Now I have to wrap my brain around the concept of being pregnant for the whole 40 weeks. Hrm...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

O.N.E. = O.M.G.

I couldn't even post yesterday there was so much going on. Sebastian and Collette turned one!! I can't even believe it. I won't say all those cliche things about how fast they are growing up or how it felt like just yesterday we were holding them in the hospital. Mostly because I don't find those things to be true. It has been an amazing year, to be sure, but at the same time it has been a lot of work - the kind that certainly feels like 12 months.


Very first picture of Sebastian


Very first picture of Collette


I wasn't sure if I would get really emotional on their birthday. Leading up to it, I was sure I wouldn't. I didn't get choked up at the thought or start to reminisce about their newborn days. But, at a MOT meeting, someone was passing on a twin breast feeding pillow. The same one that I had. The one I had given to another MOT. And she gave to another. And now that MOT was the one with it tonight, already passing it on to the next lucky mommy. And I had to blink back the tears. It was like seeing a little piece of our history that seemed so far away but there it was, staring me in the face. We have come so far since then; it feels like remembering something you saw in a movie, not something you actually lived.

And then yesterday (their birthday), it was Billy's turn to "sleep in" while I got the babies up. As usual, they stood up in their cribs as soon as they heard the door open, all smiles and squinty eyes. I started to sing "Happy Birthday" to them but couldn't finish it, I was so overwhelmed. With excitement. With joy. With pride. My babies had made it to one year and we were all happy and healthy and enjoying life as it is. What more could a mom ask for?

The rest of the day was spent getting ready for the party, having the party, cleaning up the mess from the party and recovering from the party. I know it's no excuse (especially during NaBloPoMo!!) but blogging was just not part of my recovery plan. My house is still a disaster from the amazing generosity of friends and family. We will have to give away some old toys that will be replaced by all the awesome new stuff we got. Of course, with another nugget on the way, I am nervous to get rid of anything because for all I know, it could be #3's favorite. But, my toy/stroller/clothes hoarding is a topic for another post.

So, we made it. 1 year. 12 months. 365 days. 525,600 minutes. In that time we have learned:

To drink
To nap
To sleep through the night
To eat
To babble
To splash
To roll
To crawl
To stand
To clap
To play
To laugh
To love

And a million more. I can't even imagine how amazing this next year will be. Happy First Birthday Sebastian! Happy First Birthday Collette!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Auntie Kim!!

Yes, this is a busy month for the Soto household. Four birthdays (if you count Sebastian AND Collette), plus Thanksgiving - its exhausting. Anyway, today, the day before my babies were born, is my sister Kim's birthday! Last year I gave her a pretty awesome (belated) birthday so I won't even try to top it this year. Except maybe the news that she will be an auntie again is pretty close.



Happy birthday to you Auntie Kim!! I can only hope to repay all the help you have given us this past year. I don't think I could have done it without you.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight For Preemies!


The blogosphere is taking today to bring awareness to premature birth and all that comes with it. As a mom to preemies, I am joining to share a bit of what it was what like to have preemies and why it's important an issue.

Up until 34 weeks and 2 days, I had a picture perfect twin pregnancy. I had appropriate weight gain, mild symptoms, no high blood pressure, no swelling, no gestational diabetes. My babies were growing and developing well inside me. All was good in the world. And then I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. They admitted me to the hospital and shortly discovered that my kidneys and liver were under a lot of stress and very close to failing. 2 days later, at 34 weeks, 4 days, I had an emergency c-section and delivered two healthy, yet premature, babies. One boy and one girl, as you already know.


All in all, our experience was not so scary our harrowing. Both Sebastian and Collette could breathe on their own and regulate their own body temperature. They didn't need light therapy for jaundice. But they were small. And lazy. They just weren't ready to be born. So, dubbed "feeders and growers" they stayed in the NICU for almost 2 weeks, learning how to eat without dozing off. They came home and did great but their prematurity and time in the NICU taught us to deal with parenting in a way we wouldn't have done otherwise. It impacted my ability to breastfeed, it still makes me nervous about eating enough and affects how we look at (and worry about) milestones.


Additionally, I have still not recovered from that fact that my body betrayed me. I truly thought I would be one of those moms who made it to 37 or 38 weeks. I was walking around, working, driving - I had no signs that I would have this happen to me. And worse yet, no one knows what exactly causes preeclampsia - although there are many theories out there. They know the risk factors (multiple pregnancy being one of them) but they can't tell you why it happens. And sadly, this disease causes a lot of premature births, as the only "cure" is delivery. I hope that the research they are doing will help shed some light on this disease but for now, the best medicine is regular prenatal care. You never know when your blood pressure will spike, as mine did, or when protein will show up in your urine, like mine did. That OB visit probably saved my life, and my babies' lives - just one example of how vital prenatal care is.

Please visit the March of Dimes to learn more about the wonderful work they do!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Makes My Monday

Join in Makes My Monday at Twinfatuation!

Well, I had some very good news making my Monday but I can't share it with you because I can't find the cord that connects the camera to my computer. I know, I know. I really should not have a blog as, clearly, technology and I do not mix. But my forgetfulness will only be getting worse :) Thank you for putting up with me.

In other exciting, week-starting news, Collette climbed an entire flight of stairs (I was spotting her after she did the first 3 steps on her own while I was putting Sebastian in his crib - oops!) and she took three baby steps today!! Go Colie!! These are the kinds of things even good parents don't get on film so I don't feel so bad about not having proof. But believe me, it happened and I was as excited as a first time mom should be. Hope that she does a repeat performance for Daddy when he comes back on Thursday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Da Klub

A few months back, when it was so hot I couldn't stay inside my house or go outside, I joined a very well air conditioned indoor play space. Another twin momma friend of mine joined, too, and now we kind of make a thing of it, doing a play date there at least once a week. It's been especially great as the kids get bigger and more mobile, need more room to roam.

Over the weekend, the weather was awful and I decided it was time for Daddy to experience a day in the life of a SAHM - so we all went to the Klubhouse. And took some pictures. For your viewing pleasure :)



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Operation Sippy Cup: Complete!

We have said our final good-bye to bottles, nipples and liners in our house. Hurrah!! Sippy cups bring their own set of work (and mess!) but overall, I think this is much easier than bottles. They haven't mastered drinking them fully upright and refuse to drink from them in their high chairs. So, the we still have work to do but we'll get there.

To help them learn to drink sitting up straight, I give them water before and after meals in their special directors chairs that Auntie Kim scored for us. They do pretty well with it when the cup is full (and therefore easier to drink from) but can't empty is sitting that way. As with all things, though, practice makes perfect and they're getting better by the day! Here is Collette, showing off her skills:

Messy, but still...



Friday, November 13, 2009

Because I'm a good wife

That's why I missed yesterday's post. My darling husband needed my computer as he is experiencing technical difficulties with his. Actually, he is still using it now and I have revived my 5 year old computer to bring you this riveting blog post. This computer is slower than molasses on a cold day so I won't be uploading much until I can reclaim my lap top, probably by tomorrow. And because I'm being so selfless, I don't think this should count against my NaBloPoMo record. Oh, what's that? No one cares? Oh, well in that case, forget I even mentioned it.

In other Soto household technology news, I dropped my cell phone in the toilet and, after a grueling surgery and hours of revival attempts, I am sad to say that it has passed on. But it was 3 years old so it lived a long life. Unfortunately, I lost all my pictures which is actually quite a bummer. Next time I will be sure to upload them to my computer and avoid further tragedy. On the bright side, I get to buy a new phone! My grand plan is to wait for all the huge deals they have on Black Friday and get a cool one. Up until now, I have always had a cheap-o one that does the bare minimum. No I-phone or Blackberry, but maybe something with a qwerty board and that takes good pictures.

I'll be back tomorrow with baby pictures, promise!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fav Auntie is Coming!

My sister is mental. She booked a flight from San Diego to Boston for the Thursday before the twins' birthday and is leaving the Sunday after, which is also the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I think she is the only person travelling that weekend and returning before the holiday. Seems silly but, as she put it, the twins' first birthday is far more important. Take that, Pilgrims!

Either way, I am so excited she will be here. Since we will be in El Salvador for Christmas, it was going to be a LONG time before we all saw each other and the babies are growing and changing so fast - I hate for her to miss so much. So, Fav Auntie, let me brief you on where the babies are as of late:

Babbling lots but no real words
Furniture surfing like it's an Olympic sport
No more bottles (more on that later)
Practicing the spoon
Fighting over the walker toy
Still napping twice a day (thank the sweet Lord)
Loving Brown Bear, Brown Bear

That last one she'll especially like because it's actually, Oso Pardo, Oso Pardo and she can show off her impeccable castellano.

Can't wait to see you!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wish List

My family has been asking what the twins would like for their first birthday. I asked Sebastian and Collette - they said, "mamamamama!" Maybe that means they want a new mom? Sorry, babies. Even Santa can't make that happen.

Here is what I think they might like:

Corn popper
Radio Flyer wagon with canopy
Board books (in English or Spanish)
Xylophone
Fake fruit/veggies (to go with the play kitchen we got them)
Sweaters (18m)
Busy Ball Popper
Bee Bop Band Play and Learn Drum
Sensory balls
PJs (18m)
Hooded towels

Additionally, I already got them fake shopping carts, doll strollers and a play kitchen. What else do you all suggest I ask for as a 1st birthday gift? Anything really awesome I'm missing??


(Could I ask for my family to chip in to train and pay a babysitter? That's kind of a gift for them because they would get to hang out with her...right?)

Monday, November 9, 2009

You Can Do Better Than That

C'mon, babies! Sneaking into the cabinet and pulling out the tupperware? So unoriginal.

But still cute :)

(Did I mention that we aren't totally twin-proofed?? Ah, well...)



Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Hate Technology and Pugs

Because we realized we are horrible parents (and a horrible mom blogger), Billy and I finally charged the camera and video camera to help get through 30 posts in 1 month - and to document our kids lives, of course. I was all excited and busted out the video camera this morning to get some action shots of the twins doin' their thing. Mostly crawling and chewing stuff but there was bound to be a memorable moment if I waited long enough.

Lucky for me, Sebastian started to play with the dog which, if you haven't seen it before, is quite cute. Now that they know which toys are the dog toys, they can properly taunt her. He had her bone and was holding it in front of her while she was biting it but he wouldn't let it go. Baby-pug-tug-'o-war is definitely video-worthy to a mom. Anyway, I was psyched to post about how awesome it is to have your pug entertain your 11 month old and vice-versa. A few hours later when I was ready to upload this awesome video, I realized that the cord that connects the video camera to computer was gone. Dust in the wind. Probably in the same black hole all the missing socks go.

But now, that doesn't even matter. Because I take it back. Pugs are not like a free babysitter for your kid while you watch the Pats game. Oh no! Because while you are cheering your team on, the dog is throwing up the food she didn't even chew and then your daughter is eating it. And then you catch her and scream bloody murder and throw up in your mouth a little bit and only narrowly avoid reenacting that scene from Stand By Me where they show everyone projectile vomiting after the pie eating contest.

So, screw you, Technology, and screw you, Pug, for ruining what should have been a very fun, uplifting, family friendly post.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Birthday Party Planning: Take 1

More birthday stuff - lucky you!!
Billy and I decided that a nice, gender neutral theme for the twins' first birthday party would be bugs. I am no fan of bugs but I'll hold a lady bug or butterfly; they're OK. I won't kill an ant or caterpillar but I don't particularly like them. Anything beyond that - your centipede, cockroach, or (Heaven forbid!) spider - and I have to call in reinforcements (read: Billy). But, in a cartoony way, bugs are cute. And so a bug theme we have.

My MIL is throwing them an ENORMOUS party for when we visit El Salvador. Let's put it this way - it should be twice as big as my wedding. And she has found lots of cute bug themed things for the bash. A ladybug pinata (how do I do an n with ~ ?), plates and cups with cute bugs on them, bug balloons and other bug decorations. She even had someone design bug invitations:


Plus, she's getting a clown, a cotton candy machine, a popcorn machine, and if Billy has his way, a beer cart. Should be lots of fun for adults and children alike. And with about 150 people, I am just grateful that she is in charge and not me. Don't you just love doting grammies?? :)


Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Billy!!

Billy turns 34 today!! I had a special night planned but due to some medical issues (nothing big, I promise), that had to be postponed. So, we'll just do some Indian takeout, wine and Glee. Not so bad if you ask me :) By the way, my first time celebrating Billy's birthday (the big 3-0!), I took him to Disney World. Things sure have changed...

Billy and Eeyore on his 30th birthday

Also, I am getting him a Wii - it will be part of the future "man cave" that is currently our unfinished basement. I haven't procured it just yet - running solo errands with twins is unreliable, to say the least. So, my plan is to pick it up this weekend, sans kids. For those of you out there who have the Wii, what "additions" should I get? I know there is a starter kit, but I don't know what it does. There is the Wii Fit, which I think would be cool. And then there are all the games we will need to buy - sheesh! But hey, should make Christmas easier. What are some of your game suggestions?

Anyway, a big happy birthday to the best guy I know! Hopefully he won't read this until after he gets his gift. ;)



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday Theater: Scary Parenting

For our children's first Halloween, we made sure that neither the camera nor the video camera had a charged battery. So, all photos/videos from Halloween are from my 3-year old, free-with-two-year-subscription cell phone. On the upside, we did have lovely weather Saturday and hung out at the farmer's market with all the other costumed families. And then we let Sebastian try to develop a nasty habit:










Another fine parenting moment.




Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Way Back Whenesday: Birthday Edition

As promised, many of these NaBloPoMo posts will be centered around birthday parties since that is on my brain lately.  And, for blogspiration, I am rejoining some blogs in their daily themes to keep me on track to post every day.  So, I have returned to Cheryl's Twinfatuation Way Back Whenesday and I'm taking things all the way back to the lovely 80s.  Hurrah!

First:  June 1984, My 3rd Birthday




Not sure if I am making this face because I'm so happy or because I'm pissed.  Knowing 3-year olds, I'm probably pissed.  Sorry, Mom.


Second:  November 1987, Auntie Kim's 4th Birthday (I think - does she look four in this picture??)



Auntie Kim must have known she would have to maneuver many a baby bottle!


What do you have hiding away in your old photo albums??  Bust 'em out and join us this week!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaBloPoMo

Before I started my own blog, I was a blog stalker - mostly of other twin moms as I was on the hunt for all the tricks of the trade.  Back then, I kept seeing this "word" - NaBloPoMo.  I couldn't fathom what it might mean so I googled it and realized it stands for National Blog Post Month.  The idea (I think...) is that you post every day, or as often as you can, for the entire month of November.  And, although I'm two days late, I'm going to do it!

I have been a very unreliable blogger lately and it isn't because I don't have stuff that I want to put into a post - it's just that I'm tired and lazy.  One of the biggest reasons I wanted to have this blog was to document my kids' lives, especially with pictures.  I figured having a blog would encourage me to take pictures of them on a regular basis and it did.  But not so much lately.  I never have my camera, they move to fast for me to get good shots, the lazy/tired thing again.  Also, there are some things taking up my mental energy that I don't think I'm ready to blog about so that has been affecting my writing as well.  Either way, I figure the cure is NaBloPoMo.  It will force me to write more, to take more pictures to go along with the posts and to focus on the stuff I want to write about instead of the things I'd rather not write about.  And November is the perfect month because, HELLO, my kids are turning ONE in less than three weeks and that is some big shit going on!  You can expect lots of posts related to party planning.  It's going to be a small affair, not at Chuck E. Cheese, but I want it to be memorable and special.  More on that to come - I need to save the details to fill up 30 more posts. :)

Also, I am thinking about forcing Billy to do more video taping since he has totally dropped the ball on that one.  Videos are probably more appropriate now since they are moving all over the place and just do funnier stuff on the move.  Maybe I will even ask him to do a guest post.  I'm not holding my breath.