Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta: Giants or Midgets?

Apparently, American baby clothiers assume your baby will outgrow you by age 4. And European manufacturers believe all babies are destined to be jockeys.

Both of these pants are meant for a 12 month old - seriously?? The white pants (from Zara) barely fit Collette and the gray pants (from Disney) just barely fit me! Ya, ridiculous...

Check out some other fun fotos at Fx4 with Candid Carrie!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Theater: New Favorite Toy

The best toys require no batteries, no winding up, no plugging in. They just require daily walks, kibble and love:

I apologize for the quality of this video - AuntieKim took it on her phone in a dark room. Still cute though!

Check out some other videos over at Goddess in Progress!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Way Back When-esday: Memorial Day Weekend

Ok, so Memorial Day was only two days ago but that counts, right? I didn't have my act together enough to post about this on Monday or Tuesday so here it is, along with pics I high jacked from FavAuntie's Facebook page. Thanks FavAuntie!!

We stayed put for holiday weekend and put up FavAuntie at our house - she was in for the weekend from San Diego. Again. She just can't get enough of these babies! Our big plan for the weekend was to attend my aunt's annual Memorial Day cookout on Sunday. Usually, this cookout lasts well past dinnertime and turns into a family game night. Of course we could not stay long because the twins have bedtime and I would never disturb their bedtime for ANYTHING!! Not a holiday, not a vacation, not the Pope. Nothing.

So, we figured we could get their early and spend a decent amount of time with the fam and eat lots and lots of meat. This meant that nap #2 was in the car. That was mistake #1. We brought the travel cribs thinking they would need a nap while we were there. Mistake #2. Needless to say, the outing was something between a complete disaster and a partial failure. I was a bit embarrassed at how badly they "behaved" because I kept getting looks from well-meaning family members like "What the hell is wrong with you? Why are your kids crying non-stop??" If nothing else, it was a learning experience. Take-aways:

1. NEVER skip nap #2. Ever. Dumbass.
2. When not at home, babies will nap better in the car seat than in the pack'n'play. For now, at least.
3. Instead of pack'n'play, bring "toys" like bouncy chairs, bumbo seats, boppies, etc. Of course, not sure how long they will be using these either but they are easier to bring than the pack'n'plays.

Next time, we might also try to do their "dinner" there so we can stay a bit longer but still be home for bedtime. That'll be for the 4th of July so we'll see how cookout #2 goes. Better, I hope!

The long weekend wasn't a total loss, though. It was so great to have FavAuntie here and Billy was home, too, so I had LOTS of extra help. Hallelujah!

FavAuntie with Sebastian, wearing his very fisrt baseball cap.

Colie (post-meltdown) giving Grammy and the camera a little smile!

Lola, begging Grampa for Cheetos. Bad pug!

Check out Twinfatuation for more blasts from the past on this Way Back When-esday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

6 Months. That's half a year, right??

Half a year gone by. Yikes! Some days I feel like we are finally hitting our stride and others I feel like I can barely keep my head above water. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be this way for awhile. Ah, motherhood.

So, what has changed in the past month? Well, the babies are now eating 2 *meals* each day and have tried lots of foods. Collette is trying to sit up and is close; Sebastian is still more interested in rolling and has actually gone from his back to his tummy at least once. I think he wants to be a tummy sleeper, like his mom.

As evidenced by my latest posts, sleep has been changing, too. They are now reliably sleeping through the night, with far less fussing when we put them down and usually no wake ups. If they do, its just a few minutes of light crying/fussing and back to sleep. Ironically, all this extra sleep for me (8 straight hours!!!!!!!!!!!!) has made me more tired...WTF?

Not sure yet on their "stats" because our Pedi appointment is not until Monday. But I'm sure they have been growing well and developmentally they seem on target. We'll see what the doctor says about all this and solid food, as we are still trying to get the hang of it.

And as always, here are their chair pictures. Collette was not too happy about taking this picture but Sebastian cooperated.

Happy 6-month birthday, Sebastian and Collette!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

And on the fourth night, they slept...

Ok, so I'm a bad blogger. I can't believe I haven't posted anything since Monday! But I'm tired. So I'm allowed.

CIO has been going well. Actually, its been going surprisingly well, despite both babies having the sniffles. Here is a quick recap, for those of you playing at home:

Monday Night

Sebastian cried for 50 minutes to get to sleep, 6:15 - 7:05. I had to move him to the other room during that time because Collette was sick and I didn't want her to wake up.

He woke again around 10pm, I did one check and after 5 minutes, fell back asleep.

Collette woke up around 6:45am and Sebastian was still sleeping!.

Tuesday Night

Sebastian cried for just 15 minutes to get to sleep. My mom and Auntie Kim were staying over so I put Sebastian in my room with me. I don't recommend this. While he didn't cry loudly, he fussed on and off from 11pm - 1am. I decided I would sleep better on the love seat in the family room.

Collette then woke up around 1:30am, snot-faced and miserable, so I caved and we (thanks Mom!!) fed her. I think it was the right call, though, considering she really wasn't feeling well.

Both babies started to wake up around 6am.

Wednesday Night

Sebastian was back in his crib because Collette was no longer feeling sick. He fussed for less than 10 minutes and then fell asleep.

Collette woke up at 3am. I went to do the Ferber "check" but quickly realized that it made her cry more. So, I let her cry and naturally she woke up Sebastian but it only lasted about an hour. Maybe 30 minutes. Not sure because once I stopped doing the checks, I kinds stopped looking at the clock. But it wasn't that long or that heartbreaking. It was actually kind of nice to not get up.

They woke up at 7:15am. That one went down as a win for Mommy.

Thursday Night

Sebastian cried again for about 10 minutes before he fell asleep.

We heard grumbling at 5:30am! They fell back asleep and we didn't hear them again until 6:50.
Does that count as sleeping through the night?

We'll see what they have in store for us tonight now that Daddy is home. They always behave their best when he is here. So not fair.
But I have to say, I'm digging this CIO thing. It's...empowering. Like, you mean I don't have to feed you at some absurd hour anymore? You mean I don't have to rock you to sleep? You mean I don't have to swaddle you? You mean I don't have to go in and give you your pacifier 372 times? What am I going to do with all this spare time?? Sleep? Blog.

PS - The 6-month post is coming up but I haven't done the chair picture yet. Tomorrow, I swear.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Makes My Monday: Thank God for Small Favors

Last night was the worst night of sleep I have had since the babies came home from the hospital. Even worse than during our vacation. Weren't they supposed to be doing this months ago, so we could all be past it by now?? Here's a little timeline, as best I can recall:

6:30pm - Put babies in crib (both unswaddled - this was Sebastian's 5th night after 4 successful nights)
6:45pm - Pacify Sebastian
7:10pm - Pacify Collette
7:50pm - Pacify Sebastian
8:25pm - Pacify Collette
9:05pm - Pacify Sebastian
10:10pm - Sebastian is hysterical; give him a bottle (1oz)
12:30am - Pacify Sebastian
1:15am - Pacify Sebastian
2:00am - Collette is hysterical; giver her a bottle (1oz)
2:30am - Pacify Sebastian
2:35am - Pump
3:30am - Pacify Sebastian
4:00am - Sebastian is hysterical; give him a bottle (1oz)
4:50am - Pacify Sebastian
5:20am - Collette has a very stuffy nose (from crying??); rock her for a few minutes and back to bed
5:45am - Daddy pacifies both babies. Leaves for work.
6:10am - Pacify Sebastian. Make Coffee. Pump. Watch Desperate Housewives.
6:30am - Get babies up.

So, what is Making My Monday?? I was certain that after getting approximately 30 minutes of sleep, the twins would be little hellions this morning. But as soon as I turned on the light to get them up, they showered me with delightful smiles. Thank God for small favors!

And starting this weekend we will be doing CIO/Ferber/SOMETHING!!! Because I'm not doing that again. Ever. I would like to keep the morning smiles though.
Start you Monday off right with more stories at Twinfatuation!

PS - They aren't teething; not even the slightest bump under their gums. Unless they have the Princess-and-the-Pea syndrome. In which case I'm screwed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Twins Do Grand Cayman: Part 2

Obviously, I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow of our whole time in the Cayman Islands. However, to help others and myself (for future trips) I will just recount what did and didn't work for us. So, without further ado, here are the highlights, good and bad...

What went well:

1. The location of our room. Originally, we had a "suite" (just one big room) because we thought the extra space would be necessary. When we went to the pool the first day, we realized that they had ground level rooms with a patio door so you could walk right out into the courtyard. This was sooooo much easier that going into the hotel, up an elevator and down three hallways to reach our suite. We checked out one of the available courtyard rooms and realized that it would still be big enough for two cribs. The switch made things so much easier. And at night, we could sit in the courtyard and order dinner/drink/talk/relax and still hear the babies, just in case. This will now be a "must-have" for us in the future because I am a big believer in early bedtimes, even for toddlers, and don't want to be trapped in silence after 7pm on my "vacation." If anyone has any recommendations of other hotels like this in the Caribbean, I'm open to suggestions!

2. We cheated and hired a babysitter. Everyone warned me that vacations are no longer vacations; they're trips. This is oh-so-true. However, having a babysitter made some parts of the trip vacation-like. We had the same woman, Sandra (in the pic with Billy and Collette), the whole time and she got very good at handling the twins by the end of our trip. The company came highly recommended by the hotel so we were very comfortable working with her. She could watch the babies during their naps or walk them around in the stroller while Billy and I could go for a swim in the ocean, eat lunch, dip in the pool, do a little sunbathing, etc. And it was cheap!! For a 7 hour day, it cost us less than $80! And I'm sure it would be even cheaper in less expensive countries like Dominican Republic or Jamaica.

3. Get a spot at the pool early! The first day, we scoped out the pool and decided where the best spot would be for us and the babies. We needed shade and extra space, and an easy get-away is always nice, too. So, each morning, we brought our stuff down to the spot to stake our claim and went back and forth throughout the day. We set up the sundome next to our chairs and there was still room for the double snap'n'go.

What did not go well:

1. Sleep. Well, I should have known that they would not sleep as well as they do at home. Naps were abbreviated and nighttime sleep was, in a word, awful. I think we had to get up to pacify a baby every other hour. And they woke up very early. Sometimes before 5am. And they were just so restless which means they were loud, even while sleeping. So, in that respect, the trip was not so relaxing. I can imagine that a 2-room suite would be great, but they didn't have any. Our friends suggested using the bathroom (that's what they do) but, alas, they have one baby, one crib. I think if we had brought their crib bumpers, that may have helped but who knows.

2. The heat. Ya, the Caribbean is hot. Duh. And we have winter babies so they just were not accustomed to all that heat and sunshine and it made them fussy. Also, it was very hard to find shade during the afternoon, so our time outside was often cut short. Thankfully, no one got heat rash or sunburned. Just cranky...

All in all, the good outweighed the bad. I would say it was definitely worth it - you just have to lower your expectations a bit and prepare for everything! We are going to El Salvador for Christmas so I'm glad that we already have one trip under our belts - lots of valuable lessons learned.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta: Apple Girl

This look is all over the European runways...

I couldn't resist - and I'm too lazy to write a real post right now. Still *recovering* from my vacation. Cayman Islands: Part 2 coming soon! I promise, FavAuntie.

Find more fotos at Friday Foto Finish Fiesta!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Twins Do Grand Cayman: Part 1

One of the biggest challenges was what to bring on our trip, so I will start there. This was an issue, of course, but for me especially. I am a super-procrastinator when it comes to packing, much to my Grandmother's dismay, and because of that, I tend to over-pack. I don't put a lot of thought into what I should bring, so I just bring tons and tons of stuff. For this trip, we obviously needed the basics and plenty of things for the babies. What that meant for us was:

Clothes for me and Billy (duh)
Every single baby short-sleeved or sleeveless shirt/outfit
100 diapers (5days X 5 diapers per day X two babies X 2 for good measure = 100 diapers)
All "good" bibs (about 15-20?)
Approx. 10 burp cloths
2 sleep sacks
Sebastian's swaddle
Baby swimsuits
Sun Hats
Baby Bjorn
Baby sling carrier
Approx. 20 small toys (small for carry-on, other packed)
2 Boppies (for the plane ride)
Activity with all the fixin's
2 floaties for the pool
6 blankets
Stuffed Diaper bag (diapers, emergency clothes, baby toiletries, bibs, burp cloths, baby Tylenol, bottles for the plane)
6 pacifiers
12 cans of Nestle Good Start
Breast pump
24 extra oz. of breast milk in Medela cooler pack
3 sets of pump parts
6 sets of nipples and bottles
100 bottle liners

So, maybe I have a packing problem. But in all seriousness, we used 97% of the things we brought and needed about 90% of it. For such small people, they require a lot of crap!

As for the actual travel, our flight was at 6am (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, remembering that...) so we woke up at 330am, got the babies up and in the car seats at 415am and started loading the taxi (a minivan one) about 3 minutes after that.

At that time, there is no traffic so the ride was about 20 minutes. We were flying first class, so check in was quick, too. We got 8 boarding passes (4 people, 2 flights), checked two enormous suitcases and had four carry-ons: my purse, my pump, the diaper bag and an extra bag with randomness. And the boppies on top of the twins in their car seats in the double snap'n'go.

As you can see, this is A LOT to get through security. This was the worst part because TSA employees all get mandatory frontal lobotomies before beginning work at Logan airport. Since both babies were awake, we had to take them out of the car seats and send the seats through the x-ray machine. Why it's ok to wand a sleeping baby in the car seat but an enormous security risk to do so with an awake baby makes no sense to me at all. Thanks TSA. We put all our bags on the belt, and then unloaded the babies. We forgot about the stroller. Oops. Its not very easy to fold a double stroller while a holding a 5-month old baby. Even harder to get said stroller onto the belt while still holding baby. Do you think any of the TSA people helped us? No. Of course not. They simply stared at Billy who was willing his body to grow extra limbs so he could pick up the stroller without dropping Colie. Finally, the guy behind him helped get the stroller on the security belt and we were on our way. A few seconds later, I saw another couple coming through security with a baby, a single stroller and a toddler (walking) and they had their own security guy escorting them through!! WTF!!!! I hate you, TSA.

Anyway, we made it through, headed to the gate, changed the babies diapers and boarded the plane. The flight was fine - we gave them some baby Tylenol and their morning bottles on the way up. Collette slept the whole way after that and Sebastian took a 45 minute nap. I had to walk the aisle with him a lot to keep him from fussing, but that was no big deal overall.

Our layover in Charlotte was no problem either. We had plenty of time to eat, change the babies and play a little. Luckily, Sebastian used this time to have a diaper blowout and we used our second emergency outfit (Collette used the first one in Boston - pee leakage). While this was gross, it was sooooooo much better dealing with it on the plane.

The second flight was pretty much the same as the first, except we had an hour delay, on the runway (grrr). So, what should have been a 2 hour trip ended up being 3. But the babies did fine, much to the amazement of the first class passengers who were sure they were doomed to hours of infant crying.

We landed with two happy babies, in 85 degree Grand Cayman. They had our stroller and carseats waiting for us outside (no walkway, you just deplane directly outside) and we headed to customs. They let us cut the line (sweet!) but we still ended up being the last ones to leave. Why? you ask - because of my illegal immigrant husband. (JK - he's not illegal, just foreign). Apparently, Salvadorans need visas to enter the Cayman Islands. After 20 minutes of back office hoopla, Billy offered his Mexican passport (ya, he's Mexican, too) and that did the trick. Whew - that was a close one!

And so, we successfully got there. Being there was almost as challenging as getting there - more on that later!!

Makes My Monday: Home Sweet Home

Back again for Twinfatuation's Makes My Monday...
We had a good time on our trip to the Cayman Islands - a good time, not a great time. It was the perfect length and when we left, I was so ready to come back. Today, getting back into our regular routine (mommy and two babies, hanging out at home) is Making My Monday.

I have to say, it was as hard for me as it was for the twins to be out of our regular activities and atmosphere. I will write some posts about our trip (getting there and being there) but that will take me a while. For now, I will just use this little post to say this: as much as I think I am not, I am a creature of habit. When it comes to this new life I have, I am a bit inflexible. I never thought I would be this way - I was always a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person. I'm not (wasn't??) a planner or a scheduler. I like to procrastinate and improvise. And in some ways, this hasn't changed. But with the twins, I have found what works and am loathe (scared?) to stray from that. And that's ok. We have a whole lifetime to improvise. For now, we are happy to live in our predictable, routine world and enjoy the little moments of spontaneity as they may come.

While I work on my vacation posts, here is a picture of the babies (and us!) from our trip:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Big Easy Wedding

A friend of mine congratulated me on dealing so well with being away from the twins for the first time. She hasn't seen them in a few months which explains why she thinks it might be difficult. But it wasn't. It was EASY!! Well, it was easy once we were gone and I couldn't worry about preparing my two sisters and mother for the task of caring for my little babes.

It turned out that preparing them wasn't so difficult - they were excellent students! I had been using frozen milk so that the mini-fridge was packed with the fresh stuff for the weekend. This would make it easier for them to prepare bottles because unfreezing milk is a pain in the ass. I had prepared 24 hours worth of bottles before I left so my sister had a nice head start. Also, I wrote down our routine to give her an idea of how the day should look, when to feed them and how to do naps and bedtime. Of course, as I was writing it, the twins were throwing me curve ball after curve ball and I wasn't sure how relevant the "routine" would be by the next day! I warned by sister about as much but she was a trooper - she would just roll with the punches.

Other than that, I didn't do too much to prepare. I had my sister with me the day before so I got to show her where things are and how I do certain things and that was really all she needed. My other sister and mom are here most every week so they already knew the drill and would be helping her out. So, between the three of them, I was pretty sure they could handle it. And it was nice to think that it takes 3 people to replace me. Hehe.

The trip was short but fun and so needed! I was at my wits end with baby tantrums and craved a day off. And New Orleans was a great place to do it, seeing the city and celebrating my friend's wedding.

When we got on the plane going from Newark to New Orleans, Billy commented on how bigger it was than our first plane (BOS - EWR) because the first class had twice as many rows (he was hoping to get upgraded...). So, we are checking out how full first class was as we're walking to our coach seats and YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHO WAS THERE!!

The drummer, bassist and keyboardist for BON JOVI!!!!
And they were waiting for their bags right next to me at baggage claim but I was too chicken shit to ask for a picture with them. I'm so mad now because that would have been blog-perfect stuff!! Oh well. You'll just have to take my word for it.

The first night, we had the rehearsal dinner and after that we were too tired to do anything else so back to our Heavenly Beds we went. We woke up early-ish that morning and had plenty of time to get showered, get "pumped" and get to the infamous Cafe Du Monde by 9am. The line was long but worth the wait. We gorged on Cafe Au Lait and Beignets while we people-watched on Decatur Street. We also bought some Cafe Du Monde swag as thank-you gifts.
We spent the rest of the morning wandering through the French Market, French Quarter (Bourbon Street is very yucky and disappointing in the daytime - far too much sobriety and clarity...) and Jackson Square (see picture to the left). Then we headed to the river to find a nice outdoor restaurant and get our fix of traditional New Orleans cuisine. Billy and I had some Cajun shrimp, po' boy sandwiches and steamed crawfish, complete with Cajun spices. Finger lickin' good, in my opinion.

In the afternoon, we relaxed a bit on the rooftop pool and napped. Because when am I ever going to get to nap again??

That night was the wedding - the ceremony and reception were both beautiful. I cried my eyes out as soon as I saw her. She wore her mother's dress and, with a few alterations to make it a little less covered up, it was perfect. Here is the best picture I could get of the bride and groom, exchanging their vows:

They had their reception at the Elms Mansion, which had a gorgeous outdoor space complete with magnolia trees, gazebo and Brass Band. Here I am, with the beautiful Bride. I couldn't be more happy for her - it was like seeing a little sister get married.

It was too bad we couldn't stay longer but all in all, it was a great trip. Great to see Lena, great to be away from home and see a new city, great to spend some quality time with Billy, sans twins.

Now...packing for our next trip. Leaving at 430am tomorrow - sheesh. Will post more on that later.