Valentines fun!

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In a bid to get a few cute valentines pictures, since I didn’t manage to get any last year!…um Pinterest people, have you seen the epic cute baby with lipstick kisses all over. Good now picture that, except 2 babies! Eeek!!! But alas it wasn’t to be, why might you ask? Because momma kept forgetting the red lipstick:/ well this year I was determined to make v-day pictures happen. I got what I needed and got them done EARLY! So, here are some of the nicer ones for our annual book!
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20140202-141715.jpgAhhh then there was photographing the twin two year olds….a bit of an acquired taste… I am figuring out why photographers are suddenly “booked” when you say you have 2 year old identical boys.
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NICU Days….week one

The early NICU days were such a blurr for me, so I re-read their medical files and had NUMEROUS conversations with Scott…and this is what we remember as the early days;)
Saturday-day 1
both boys are stable but kept in plexi-incubators for temp regulation, B needed some Bili lights on and off Aedon didn’t and neither needed oxygen. I was finally able to see them about 12 hours after I delivered. And after my nurses rolled me down to the NICU I was chastised by the nurse for wanting to hold them while they were sleeping I settled into my wheelchair too stubborn to hear “no” and just stared at her. I got to hold my boys for the first time…Throwback ThursdayThrowback Thursday We were told that for now we should only be holding them when they were already awake for feedings, but since I would be at the hospital for at least 4 more days we were there for everything.
Sunday-day 2
we had our first few visitors only immediate family though. Later that night we were told Aedon had an “infection” and that he needed an immediate spinal tap to determine what it was and if it had gone to his spinal fluid. While the nurses pressed we asked for some time, we wanted them to do another culture before a spinal tap. At 11pm they did a spinal tap on Aedon, the mini man didn’t even make a sound about it. They did take another sample to culture.
Monday-day 3
A course of antibiotics is prescribed for both boys and that wins us a 10 day say in the NICU:( Even though both the blood culture and spinal tap came back clean. We actually didn’t know about the 2nd blood culture coming back infection free until we requested their medical records.
Tuesday-day 4
after moving the IV lines all around their little bodies their veins kept collapsing and Doctors finally recommended placing them in their head or doing surgery to place a more permanent line into a major vessel in their arms. I was also released from the hospital. Without my doctor addressing my surgery incision… against my better judgment.
Wednesday-day 5
the NICU had suites that we could stay in so we took the dogs to grandpa Michaels house, which is 20min from the hospital, and gave the cat lots of food. (a good thing because after being out for less than an hour my incision burst)
Thursday-day 6
the boys are finally allowed out of their cubes! they are on swaddled with about 15 layers but still having a little trouble regulating and go back into their plexi-jails but, just for the night.
Friday-day 7
at the end of their first week we are finally allowed to bathe them since they were doing so well regulating and eating(though most is still through the NG tube)BAHAHAH Scott and I will never forget, as soon as Aedon got wet his eyes got all big and his internal DANGER alarm must have gone off because he instantly pooped! By the end of week one they had dropped a little less than a pound each which the doctors said was normal but were eating and doing a lot better than expected, just typical preemie issues.Throwback Thursday

Milwaukee Zoo

Grandpa and Nana came to visit on Saturday and treated us to the zoo! We had the perfect afternoon seeing lots of animals and even getting fresh ice cream. The boys absolutely loved the water misters, I think daddy did too 😉Adventures

But we all had fun there was a nice breeze and lots of shady paths. Plus it really wasn’t that busy since we went at 3pm and they close at 5pm.
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And after the zoo we enjoyed a nice family cookout:)

Green Momma

Eco Friendly ParentingAs promised our eco friendly laundry methods! Soap Nuts! plain and simple, I will NEVER go back…So the run down, they are literally nuts (4 per baggie) that you put in a little cloth, muslin to be precise, baggie and tie it shut. Throw it in the laundry, no detergent or softener needed. Each baggie can be used multiple times though it varies greatly by load size to my understanding. I’ll update you when our first baggie runs out, but, they are supposed to just turn to mush. Our Laundry…well…smelled like clean cotton/denim/poly blends etc. no lingering odors or flowery fresh scents, making it perfect for us! It was recommended for cloth diapering habit, so we tried a “stripping” last weekend, its really like new cloth! I was so pleased, I will never go back to regular soap. Plus, the nuts can be turned into liquid soap and is an ingredient in things like shampoo and bug repellant! SCORE:)
And also the promised new recipes! Coco-nana-balls/squares/bars a fun concoction that produced amazing little treats! I cant tell you exactly what I used because I attempted from another recipe and when I tried to triple it…well…that’s when it went a little awry. This was the end product though Eco Friendly Parenting
*4 large ripe bananas
*3 T. Melted Coconut oil
*6 T. Shredded coconut
*3 t. Cinnamon
*3 T. Coconut flour
*3 t. Vanilla extract
*6 T. Maple syrup
*3 T. Homemade Unsalted butter
*1 c of oats
*1 bag of Qi’a, I used apple cinnamon flavor
Flatten in a baking pan to desired thickness, ours were about 2in, and baked at 350 for just shy of 30min!
Keep in mind this is a very rough guess-timate of the ingredients and baking directions:)
Eco Friendly ParentingWe also made sweet potato fries. Scott and I really loved the frozen sweet potato fries with chipotle, but in an effort to “eat fresh” as we call it, I looked up alternatives. Well I gave up rather fast, I have little patience when I think I’m signing up for an easy project and it turns out to be a pain in my ass. So, I decided to wing it…..are you catching a pattern here?…I left the skin on but scrubbed the whole potato clean. I then sliced them the “long-way” about 1/2 inch thick. Added a sprinkling of salt and a cup of oil in the bottom of the pan, and sloshed the sweet potato slices around in it. Baked at 450F turning and mixing every 5/10min until desired crispiness!
In other news it seems there was a mix up with our mail, we still haven’t gotten any. It wouldn’t matter so much, but were waiting on paperwork for a “modeling” job for the boys. We’re hoping to be able to build them a college fund! Plus it helps with getting them out and experiencing different things:) but check out this “live action” from the other day. I only wish I had a better camera on me when I snapped this pic with my phone….or that they would hold the pose for me;) But hey, we may soon have cuter pictures than this!Daily Life

sweet summertime fun

AdventuresIn an effort to expose the boys to…well…everything, we have been trying some new stuff! First on our list? The Hindu festival at the Hindu Temple of Wisconsin in Pewaukee. And yes we were pretty much the only white people there. But hey, they were all really friendly to us, though they seemed very harsh with each other. We tried some SPICY food (daddy said it was good, I still cant taste anything else though:0)………Meanwhile, in Aedon land….a Tantrum was brewing. About half way through the fest and still almost an hour from their bed time he busted out with all that had been stored for the 16m of his life. Even throwing himself against me! I have NEVER seen a tantrum like this from either boy(even B stared at Aedon in amazement) but then again the boys are more “whiners” than they are “tantrum throwers.” Chalk it up to him being too tired to be out so close to bed time; we packed up and went home. But the boys did get to try some new foods and see some dances!
Adventures We also went to the car show at Frame park! The weather (and the boys attitudes) held out nicely and there were TONS of cars. I did note a lot of El Caminos and 90 something mustangs (insert snort of derision here). Yes, I am a classic car snob, and yes, I think El Caminos look silly and 90 somthings mustangs dont belong at a show ….especially when they are rusting:/ Anyhow, it was nice to see them all out even though many were leaving by 3, since it was technically done.
I just didn't want to go earlier and throw off the boys routine. The boys didn't seem to be as interested in the cars as the were the big burly biker dudes, guess were going to need to talk with them about not staring:0…But I LOVED it we got to see at mint ’53 Bel Air, a few stingrays, an AMX, a few model T’s, and one AMAZINGLY restored 1937 chieftain. Ohh, and the shelby cobra that, though it was a beauty, ran like the guy had it in storage for the last year and a half, not the sound I was hoping for. These are some of the beauties!
Local parks have also become a new fav, and daddy even talked grandpa into going with the other day! They have had many of their first close encounters with other children at parks and playgrounds. It's kind of funny they look at people almost as if they're confused….they all look so different…I wonder some times, do they realize they're Identical? The playgrounds have been especially nice since they can use their climbing skills CONSTRUCTIVELY!Adventures In other news we have gotten settled after the move and the dogs (Jack Jack Attack) have done worse with the move than boys:) but we are now finding their attitudes are atrocious! Even with the smallest thing they bust out crying like they haven’t been fed in months or have a broken limb or something! 3 days into this and we still trying to hold firm on not acknowledge the “bad behavior,” with the hopes that this is just a phase to see if we will give more attention for tantrums. So far, counting, having a calm “talk” with them and ignoring until they stop the behavior have all worked. But, their explosive tempers are starting to unhinge every one…even daddy…and that’s a feat!!! At first we thought it was the teething, as they have been getting them like crazy(8 each), but we came to see it was mostly bids for attention when we were telling them they couldn’t do something. i.e. the remote is a “no item” and they sit on the floor and break into tears. Hopefully it will pass soon! Ps We also got to test out some of our new food creations nana-coco-nutty bars, granola, and even butter stay tuned for reviews:)

Daddy’s Birthday

AdventuresWell yesterday was Scotts birthday, not quite 30 yet :o, and we celebrated with a pretty mellow day and Wisconsin State Fair festivities. Scott also got to welcome baby Bennett to the world at 2:32pm! Hopefully well see more than Jon’s snapshot soon at Nicole & Jons blog. As for the fair…can I just say, thank you Milwaukee for constantly dropping the bar of standards. State Fair was about as gross as I remember, but the amount of teens prostituting around, in what I can only assume they think 23 year olds wear, was just disturbing. That coupled by the drunk 40+ year old grungy men that were already HAMMERED at 6pm and oogling said girls…keeping it classy MKE. Aside from the revolting people it was a nice cool evening and not horribly busy. We took the boys to see the animals mostly, ohh and we also had to get a cream puff for Scott and the boys (first ever!!)
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In other news Scott is apparently more of a spectacle with the twin stroller than I am! I think its because I have learned not to make eye contact with the little old ladies, for Scott on the other hand, it doesn’t seem to matter. They will come right up and touch, yes TOUCH, the boys! Luckily that’s mostly in grocery stores and when momma bear isn’t around 😉 Anyhow, we did get the stares and AWWWee’s but the fair went off without a hitch. The boys love to people watch, but they also got a kick out of all of the animals

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The boys have been very interested in animals lately. Yes, I am loving it! But, we are definitely working on manners around animals…they have been known to sit on the dogs, push them, and even pull the cats hair. So, next week we will be implementing happy dog-baby training…stay tuned to hear how it goes!

What I wish I knew BEFORE cloth diapering twins

Daily Life
As most of you know we are currently doing Nakie Days potty training however, when we started, we used diapers…and no, not cloth diapers :0 We started on disposables. Honestly, we didn’t have the money to pay up front for new cloth diapers and since I was new to it all I had no clue there are trades, swaps and sells of all kinds. Needless to say we used what we were given as gifts and used coupons to buy what more we did need for disposables. This stockpile held us over until they were 5 months old. No joke, it was great to not have to diaper shop. By the time we were out we had gotten some Gdiapers to try, as we were told they were a gateway cloth diaper. I looked at the company and I liked that it was a company I could stand behind and feel good about buying from. In addition, we could still use them as a disposable(with the convenience of being flushable)and of course the other perks of cloth:) One problem… we had no idea what to expect, I mean who cloth diapers twins?! Well, we do, and a surprising amount of other twin mommas! Its not for everyone but here’s how we do it!
Our Stash:
We started with 24 inserts/5 covers/5 liners and soon realized that was NOT enough, even with doing laundry daily. Yes, we wash our own. We added 36 more inserts to our stash immediately and over the next 8 months we added 10 more covers and 15 more liners. This meant we only had to wash once every three days. Ours are all Larges, the boys were a little small for them in the beginning but it worked out well and we’ve been able to get more use out of them! Also Gdiapers use a paper like liner against the back of the cloth insert, but if you sew a piece of fabric on the back it works just as well:) Voila…see picture for example:)
Daily Life

Daily Life in cloth
The boys did wonderfully with the transition from disposable to cloth. Their instinctual “dirty alert” with cloth diapering became like clock work every day. It was soon after that we introduced the potty(we’re still in the process of finding the best potty for boys, and I will review them all later). The day we got the potty we decided to time our “potty breaks” for when they normally went. Instant success! Cloth Diapering reinforced the natural tendency for our boys to not like their soiled diapers on their bums. After 6 months of timing their potty needs we rarely had more than one poop mess per day and even those if caught fast enough easily “peel” off the cloth G insert, and flush. Yes, if its really liquid-y it soaks in and is harder to get out, so catch it fast 😉 Through out the day I would keep used G’s in a fabric tote (with a garbage liner in it) in our laundry room. If I was lazy I washed what was in that tote once per 3 days, if I was super mom twice per day. And hey, you don’t even have to wash, there are services in just about every major city that wash cloth diaper inserts for you. Leaks, explosions, and utter disaster? Not here, we had the expected FULL diapers and a mishandling by mommy or daddy that got poo everywhere, but things were always nicely contained with G’s. Boy parts do tend to be a little more… crafty shall we say.. about leaking. But, if you don’t want leaks …its all about a snug fit! My only complaint is about night time/nap time absorbency, we have had to stick with disposables to get the needed protection(that was without a nighttime bottle and ample potty breaks :/) oOHhh just a heads up too, cloth are BIG compared to your disposables so plan on going up a size in clothes. We “lost” a good portion of 6m clothes when we started and jumped right to 9m.
Washing Cloth
Yes this does incur a dollar amount so, remember to figure that in when you decide if its cheaper for you. As I said before, if washing isn’t for you there are services in almost every major city….and my solution to everything…just google it! We wash with homemade detergent and always do 2 wash/rinse cycles. It helps with build-up. If you do have build up you will start to notice a constant odor, possibly diaper rash;all you need to do is strip them. Pretty simple, wash/rinse without detergent over and over(5 cycles for us). We do this every 3/4 months, but keep in mind we have few poops in diapers.

Timbavati Wildlife Park

Adventures Well, the rain clouds settled in about 15 minutes before we were ready to walk out the door this morning…way suckey…getting babies and stroller and bags into the car all with even a sprinkling is irritating enough. But it was even more so when my s**t spilled all over the rain flooded sidewalk. Lovely, but after getting into the car it was smooth sailing up to the Timbavati Safari Park in WI Dells. It ended up being about a 45 minute drive from us, not too bad. And just like we thought the clouds had cleared a bit by the time we arrived and it stayed really cool, perfect weather for us:) Unfortunately the price was quite high for admission (almost 20$ per adult) but at least Scott got in free with that handy military ID of his, and of course the boys are still free for most things! Besides admission being high, the facility was VERY new, they had mostly “teenage” animals, and it was quite small(not worth more than 20$ admission that’s for sure). It was a nice change of pace for summer activities though, and the boys always LOVE all the animals. They did have a very nice assortment of animals for such a small park and the staff were nice about taking pictures. But beware it is still “the dells” this means high traffic, nasty children, people taunting animals, and crabby hot tourists = go on a slow day. It took us about an hour to make it through the whole place, it was a slow day but this is definitely a half day activity. All in all the boys had fun, it kept our interest and the weather held out for us 🙂

Heres what our day looked like!!
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On a side note for those of you doing Nakie Days potty training like us, this is how we do outtings…we bring our little frog potties and once we get the stroller out of the back we set the potties up and take a quick potty break…we DO put their cloth diapers on to go into places. Some people recommend they stay naked under their pants, I just wouldn’t want twin poo in the park, ahh thank you!
*we only bring potties for errands or adventures that will take up 3+hours

In other news here’s a mommy freebie! Sign up for UPS membership (totally free, its a package alert program) and they will send you an email for their promotion and you get to pick a free gift! Scott and I won a 15$ amazon card! There are other prizes too…go check it out! http://www.ups.com/pea/register?inc=BE90OGW26

Throwback Thursday #3

17 weeks; it was finally my next appointment! I went in with a lists of questions and ended with a handful of answers. I quickly found that the nurses and doctor were more interested in clamoring around the pictures of twins “holding hands” on the mini-ultrasound machine, than addressing my concerns. Of my questions I was told that our boys were probably “momo,” and that I didn’t need to see a specialist until at the earliest 24 weeks. While google had not been my friend in the start, it did at least provide me with some good information. Namely how WRONG this doctor was.
I talked with Scott, we re-read some of the studies on identical twins “momo” as well as “modi” (monochorionic diamniotic) and decided it was time to find a new OB. I was now in panic mode…I again went to work trying to find an OB I liked but this time I was also trying to find a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist “MFM”. 3 weeks of research and I found a specialist, downside, he was in Milwaukee(almost 2hours away), only worked M-W-F and was booked for 4 weeks! Not wanting to waste any more time, I called OB’s that I knew worked with him and took first available appointment.
At 20 weeks I went in and met with the new OB; she only had a chance to scan my file and I filled her in on what they had said to me. She asked who the MFM I was seeing was to get the rest of my files…silence, I was so angry… I think she could tell because she cringed with the next statement. I needed to have a few more tests done…for what you might ask…?? cervical cancer. YUUUP. My first OB had failed to tell me she’d done the test, let alone that it came back abnormal. I sat in the chair for a moment, it must be a mistake, I said lets just redo the test and moved on. Throwback Thursday
I told her I wanted Wigton as my MFM; that I realized the long wait time to see him but he was who I wanted. With the understanding that I would be admitted at 24 weeks as per hospital policy to have constant monitoring for “momo” twins, she filled out a form, told me to take it two suites to the left and make my next appointments. I scheduled an appointment with the OB for retesting in 3 days and a recheck “the day after the soonest available appointment with Wigton.” Her form ended up being a “special request” to get me in sooner, so I was scheduled to see the MFM at 22 weeks and the OB 4 days later.
At this point Scott and I were forced to announce even though we were still really unsure of what any of this meant for us. After asking all of our coworkers, friends and family if they wanted to meet their new nephew, cousin, grandbaby etc. We would pause, when they stopped with their excitement, then we would ask if they wanted to meet his brother. Most-excited-to-get-the-news went to Scotts Uncle Mike, Scott said he was surprised he didn’t drop the phone!
This was probably one of the more stressful waiting times for me during pregnancy, I had to wait 2 weeks to find out if I had one of the most risky twin pregnancies and if I would be on hospitalized bed rest at 24 weeks and if I would deliver at 32 weeks!
Here are some links to studies and sites I found helpful at this point in my twin pregnancy
*not all are informative but sometimes its nice to read other peoples experiences
http://www.twin-pregnancy-and-beyond.com, http://monoamniotic.org/public/welcome.html, http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(97)70012-7/abstract, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2001.00216.x/full, http://www.acog.org/
and the best book by far was What to expect when you’re expecting twins triplets or quads! It had proper nutrition, tips, stories and links for even more info! find it here http://www.drbarbaraluke.com/books/Expecting.aspx

Scheduling with Twins

Daily LifeThe one piece of advice anyone with twins agrees on is….GET THEM ON A SCHEDULE!! They both feed, nap and wake at the same times every day. As they grow you have to adjust the schedule with the needs of both children rolled into one daily routine. yea…its an art…
why have a routine
well try it without one and get back to me 😉 its chaos, and I can not stress that enough, CHAOS…as new parents the schedule of one baby can be baffling enough on an “on demand” feeding routine let alone two on opposite routines. Scott and I were lucky enough to only experience this twice, once while they were in the NICU, and once shortly after they came home. *Plus a schedule is an easy way to track baby vitals (potty times, who did what, feed times, etc.)…think about trying to remember which baby you changed last and who peed… at 3am.
from day one have a routine
Whether you are coming home from the NICU one at a time or all leaving the hospital at the same time have a plan for your daily schedule and stick to it! When we left the NICU the staff had already established a “feed-every-three-hours” routine. We followed this for 4 days and then they immediately jumped up to every 4.5 hour feeds.Daily Life
keeping them on the same schedule can be tricky
It means making tons of judgment calls throughout the day on waking a child once the other is up, feeding both when only one is hungry, keeping two tired babies up to avoid breaking the routine. It also means tight scheduling or not doing some activities to avoid breaking the routine. We did wait quite a while to begin doing outings with the boys for this reason.
adjusting the schedule
As your kids grow their needs change and you will have to adjust to them. Each child is different but ours have always done best with a “slow change.” So when we went from a bottle to dinner with milk we slowly reduced the amount of the night time bottle, while increasing the amount of “solids.” That being said, the boys from day one have been very sensitive to time discrepancies in the schedule and we have struggled on occasion to maintain sanity sometimes. No this doesn’t mean you don’t have to stick to the routine all the time, a day here or there will throw them off a bit but its manageable. So just make sure to plan any big events(that will be all day affairs) in advance and block out the days around them.
As they get a little older (12m+) outings get a little easier, they can walk, they require less “baggage” and once ours passed a year we moved to one nap a day so we only had to plan around that:)