Week 8, Let's Sleep Great!

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Such little hams.  Lovin the camera.  Photo cred: Grandma West

Their smiles melt my heart!!!

I t 's   S l e e p   T r a i n i n g   W e e k...
We have made it to week 8!  And things are pretty great.  Okay I am done rhyming.  I've been talking to babies too long :)  We are embarking on this journey people call sleep training!  I recently downloaded an audible book that has changed the way I look at sleep training!  It's called 12 Hours Sleep by 12 Weeks Old by Suzi Giordano.  INCREDIBLE are her techniques.  She has 5 children, one set of twins, and her story is unbelievable.  She has sleep trained babies from newborns up to a 5 year old who still slept with his mom!  I HIGHLY recommend her book for anyone that's having trouble with sleeping.  Her method meets in the middle of the "cry-it-out" and the "rock your child to sleep" methods.  This fits perfectly for us.  I don't know that I could stand to hear crying for 30 minutes but her method of waiting 3-5 minutes and then going in to soothe, not pick up, your baby have been working the few days we have been using it.  The babies still feed at least 2 times per night and an early morning feeding between 5-6 AM.  So the 12 hours sleep is still far fetched for us, but I'll post again in 4 weeks and see where we are at.

Here's how they both feel about sleep training:

Not impressed with Mom and Dad just yet, but hey... we're learning  :)

G e t t i n g   O u t..
This weekend we went to the plaza again to meet some new friends and get a good walk in.   Lately that has been my mantra:  Walk every day.  There’s a park close to our house and my plan is to take them there every day I don’t work.  It feels so amazing to get out of the house and the babies just love being outside, even if it’s a bit chilly.  We get them bundled up and use those car seat covers and they are in their own little warm cocoons.

Since getting the clear to work out, it’s been harder than I thought to get a decent workout in.  The babies are definitely my first priority and getting my body back comes last on my list after taking care of my essential needs.  I will say, the mommy pooch that seems to stick around after having a baby is getting annoying, so my drive to get rid of it is at an all time high, hence the walking!  It’s good cardio and pushing the double stroller adds a more challenging effect to it. 

We took some more generational pictures with Alex’s family a few weekends ago and here they are!  It’s crazy awesome that our babies will get to have not only grandparents but GREAT grandparents in their lives.  That was so important to Alex and I and one of the many reasons we wanted to have children young.  We love how our babies will grow up with younger parents and grandparents who can enjoy them and spend time with them.

Great Grandpa John, Alex and Bennett, Grandpa Chris
Grandma Becky, Great Grandma Joan and Emmy, ME!
B a t h i n g...
Giving these two baths was something I thought would be a fight from the beginning but boy was I wrong.  They LOVE baths!  They started in the sink in our bathroom and have just outgrown them.  Those chunky monkeys have moved on to their tub in the tub.  We received the sunflower bathing tool from my cousin Katherine.  It’s basically a large waterproof pillow that collapses in the sink and your baby just sits in it while the water can run over them.  Here’s the link: 


This was from Bennett's first bath at home!  He was such a little guy!
It's been a game changer for us.  Now that they have outgrown the sink we put the sunflower in the baby bath to cushion it.  These two hooligans love it.

Two peas in a pod.  The lion and the lamb, or bunny.  Who knows.

H o s p i t a l   P a c k   L i s t...
One thing I have wanted to do since being home is give you a list of things I actually needed for the hospital stay.  Whether you are a singleton parent, parent of multiples or a future parent, I hope this reaches you and gives you something of good use.  Alex and I were such eager new parents and packed our hospital bags at 28 weeks pregnant, so no matter what we were ready.  But we were overpacked and with the wrong things.  Of course, pack anything you think you might want.  I read so many pack lists and ended up not needing some of the things they suggested I bring.  Anyways, here's the list of the most needed items.

1.  Phone charger (or multiple if both of you use your phones a lot)
2. Clothing for mom:  Loose fitting shirts, tank tops, nursing tops.  I pretty much wore these the entire time.  Bring a cardigan or sweater for if it gets chilly.  I brought my robe too and that was perfect.  You need a lot because they get dirty super fast with breastfeeding and such.  Loose fitting pants too.  PJ pants were the best but again bring a few, they get dirty fast.  Don't bother bringing underwear... they will give you some.  I brought my own thinking "Eh I want my own" and didn't even wear them once.
3.  A pair of slippers you will throw away after!  They get filthy- just prepare to throw them away.
4.  Toiletries:  your own things if you choose.  I'm picky about my shampoo and face wash so I brought my own.  The hospital provides toothpaste and soap but its not the same if you use special stuff.  I brought some makeup too because once I felt better I liked being able to put on some face powder and look less sickly.
5.  Dad:  Bring flip flops!  Alex needed these because of the many times he was up and wheeling me to the NICU for feedings.
6.  Baby-go-home outfit(s).  You just need one onesie, a hat and we brought a blanket for each for the ride home.  They will provide diapers, and pretty much everything else you need.
7.  I didn't bring my own pillow or a boppy but that being said, our babies spent time in the NICU so I think it would have been different had they been in my room with me.
8.  A somewhat empty bag.  I brought my diaper bag.  We filled it with things from the hospital that they gave us!
9.  Some snacks.  Alex brought CLIFF bars and they were great when we needed a bite and food wasn't readily available.

That's pretty basic.  But seemed essential for Alex and I.  Hope this finds and helps someone along the way!

Anyways!  I'm off the load the babies up for a walk!  See ya next week...

Lauren, E & B

Week 7, We're in Heaven

Thursday, February 18, 2016

W E E K   7

The second half of our pictures came in from Rachel Moore (our wedding photographer) and we LOVE them!  Here's a few of our favorites... Remember, these are from like week 2... 

My two little bugs- I can't get enough of them.


Emmy Girl



They were SO LITTLE compared to how big they are now! Eeek- this time is FLYING!  If you're interested in her photography, you can find her through RPM photography (http://rpmkc.com/home-weddings-lifestyle).  She is amazing and does BEAUTIFUL work.

6-8   W E E K   H U M P...
We hit a bit of a slump these past few weeks.  Alex and I are getting very little uninterrupted sleep and it's starting to catch up with us.  The babes are dealing with quite a bit of gas and have had a few screaming bouts from the discomfort and let me tell you, you need at least 2 people there to handle it.  The screaming of two babies is heartbreaking and when you're alone, it's more than challenging.  I've heard from people that things start to turn around at 8 weeks and they will start sleeping through the night more.  Let's pray that it does.
Right now they seem to be on a growth spurt.  We have upped their food from 3 ounces per feeding to 5 ounces!  Which seems like a huge jump but I've noticed them acting more satisfied after feedings.  One thing I can't wait to see go away is the spit up.  It's a constant!  I make sure to put them each in bibs before, during and for an hour after they eat and it's a life saver to those outfits.  

U p d a t e   O n   M o m...
I had my 6 week postpartum appointment with my doctor this week and I'm cleared for working out!  Which I am PSYCHED about.  Even though I don't have a ton of time in my days for it, the fact I know I can is enough for me.  I took the babes up to St. James yesterday to work out because Alex had a few hours with no classes.  It felt amazing to work out, even if it was only walking on the inclined treadmill and some 5 lb weights.  The babies slept right through it!  Let's hope this becomes a routine for them.

Alex's idea for the pics--- be intimidated- those are a whopping 10 lbs a piece! ;)  I figured the rate these two are growing I need to start lifting more if I'm going to hold them!

I'm really starting to feel myself again and it feels great.  I feel like Alex and I are getting this parenting thing, besides the sleep deprivation and the gassy issues, things are all in all pretty damn good all things considered.  I feel like I could have really lost my mind a few times but with the support and people I have around me, it's been bearable.  And now that the babies are interacting with me more and smiling back, it makes everything we do worth it.  I recently told someone the first few weeks were sort of like taking care of little robot babies who couldn't make eye contact or interact with you and I felt like I was just going through the motions.  It really gets more and more exciting every week!

My handsome man- one of my favorite pictures
My whole world in one picture!

Emmy Lou and her faces... she was cracking up at Alex sticking his tongue out...


We are in the works of getting their baptism scheduled but it's looking like it will be March sometime.  We've chosen Godparents and will post lots of pictures once it happens.  

I can't sit here and type any more with almost 70 degree weather outside!  We are off the enjoy the day and take the babes for a long walk!  

Until next week...

Lauren, E & B

All Smiles Over Here!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Week 6 has arrived and we've noticed some major changes in the babes!  They are focusing their eyes on us more, responding with small grins, and making more and more little coos that will absolutely melt our heart.  Alex and I are in trouble with these two bambinos...

If I'm guessing weights... Bennett is about 10 lbs now with Emmy right behind him at about 9.5 lbs.  They are getting bigger every second it seems.  The pediatrician said they are gaining weight appropriately and so waking them to feed every 3 hours at night is not necessary any more!  Alex and I can try and get some longer stretches of sleep... and by longer we mean about 4 hours max... It seems so long though! 

I've been watching the babies alone for most of the past week with some help a few afternoons.  I will admit it's no easy task.  The hardest thing for me is when they both cry and want to be held.  It's emotionally hard to hear one baby cry and know you can't hold them yet until you calm the other.  I have developed a plan that seems to work.  

If they are both sleeping, I will wake one, feed, burp and change them before the other wakes up.  In an ideal world, this is perfect!  But there have been times when they both want to eat at the same time.  When this happens, I grab the twin boppy pillow, stick them both in it and grab the bottles and we go to town.  It's pretty messy but they are both fed and happy within 15 minutes or so.  

Post eating slumber!

S l e e p i n g...
For a while here, we had them sleeping in their swing, which we know is a big no-no.  But we weren't able to get them to fall asleep for anything!  So finally we made the decision to switch them to their nursery for good.  Better to start now and get them used to it than to wait until they are older and will be more conscious of where they are sleeping.  They are sleeping in the same crib for now as they seem to calm each other.  And Alex and I have been sleeping in the nursery as well!  We moved the twin bed from our spare room in their and it's been working guys.  Call us crazy if you want!  We know it's just temporary...  Meaning we probably will return to our room this weekend and hope for the best.  Sometimes I need to just jump up and stick a pacifier in and with them this young, the peace of mind being so close makes us sleep better if you can believe it...

W o r k i n g   G a l...
So the reality of going back to work has begun to set in this week as I spoke with my manager yesterday.  I'm going back in a new position that will be perfect for our family.  I used to work 40 hour work weeks 6:30 AM to 3:00 PM Monday through Friday.  That just wasn't going to work for us now.  If we put the babes in childcare for that amount of time, we would be paying more than I would make!  

The shift is a call only shift during the week where I'll be taking night call for emergent cases.  It works well because Alex will be home in the evenings and I'll hold my pager until an emergent case comes in.  Otherwise, I'm home during the day and at night if we aren't working...

Leaving these babes will be hard but I am beyond excited to go back to work to see everyone and to have adult interaction!  It's been awhile since I've been able to work to my full potential and I can't wait to dive in and do some heart surgery.

Yesterday the babies and I visited Daddy at work for Ash Wednesday Mass!  It was great getting out of the house and introducing the babies to the St. James community.

The meal train that was generously started for us is starting to come to a close and Alex and I wanted to thank everyone for their love and food they brought over.  We could not be more thankful and grateful to have such a loving community.  We cannot wait to share the love for others that need it.

Until next week... I'll leave you with some updated pics...

Lauren, E & B

Had to rep our KC Chiefs for the Superbowl!
Grandpa West and Emmy

Daddy and Emmy Girl
Activity mat is a little large for Daddy
Little Tree Toad

Have a great week everyone!  Thanks for reading!

Being a Parent..

Thursday, February 4, 2016

ONE MONTH DOWN! And we have survived.  I chose the word "survived" for a very real reason.  It's been very challenging but INCREDIBLY rewarding.  A few nights we felt like we might not make it through the night but somehow we did.  These past 5 weeks have made Alex and I realize so many things about parenting that we didn't know before and I don't think anyone could have prepared us for.

T w i n s   U p d a t e...
We had our one month appointment Monday!  Bennett is weighing in at a chunky 9 lbs 6 oz and Emmy is 8 lbs 13 oz!  The growth is INCREDIBLE!  People have told me they will grow so fast and I've always just shaken it off.  But guys.  IT'S SO TRUE.  Alex and I have started to see more and more personality show in each of them and it's the best feeling in the world.  They are just starting to focus their eyes, for short periods of time, on us and are starting to be more awake during the day.  When I talk to them, I'm getting more of a facial response versus just a blank stare.  It's such a miraculous feeling.

Since we have switched to only formula, they have been doing really well.  We recently tried to switch it up from Enfamil to another brand and that backfired pretty fast.  They weren't sleeping well and seemed incredibly gassy and fussy.  We have switched back and things are going back to normal.  They will sleep for about 3 hour stretches (which is awesome at night!) and so Alex and I can feel a bit more rested, even though we are waking up every 3 hours to feed still.

These two kill me.  When they are awake and fed, they make the most hilarious faces and have started talking with eachother.  And by talking, I mean coo-ing sounds back and forth.  We don't have genius talking newborns.
Emmy was WIDE awake and Bennett was almost completely asleep.  This seems to be a theme in our house.  When one sleeps, the other wants to play.  That's why our routine and schedule are so important.  Otherwise we would be feeding all the time.
Grandpa West got him this hat.  It's a little big but he'll grow into it!
One of my favorite "Emmy Looks".  She will stare at you with those beautiful eyes and then leave you with a smile that melts your heart.  Alex always says he's in trouble because if she's this beautiful now, he's nervous for when she grows up.

R e a l i t y   o f   P a r e n t i n g...
When we were on our honeymoon, Alex and I got some of the best advice from a man and his wife that has been our theme for these first 5 weeks of being parents.  "Forgive each other for literally everything for the first 3 months."  I didn't think anything of this at the time but it means something new to us now.  Parenting.  Is.  Hard.  I have a completely new respect for parents, especially parents of multiples.  Your whole life changes.  As a mother, your body goes through some crazy changes, especially postpartum.  It was so challenging for me to accept this new reality and overwhelming to know I was responsible for these two beautiful children.  I was the one who needed kills spiders for them, make sure they don't eat cookies before dinner, have enough clothing to wear, and keep them clean, fed and make sure they are safe.  It's such a mind-boggling fact.  And when you're also recovering from surgery, trying to breastfeed for the first time, and learning to parent, it gets overwhelming and it gets there fast.

We have been frustrated.  We have been tired (and still are most days).  But through all this, Alex and I have always looked out for each other.  We have had tired arguments over what we think could be wrong with the crying baby, we have struggled to find out how many ounces to feed them and which formula would be best.  We have had moments of vulnerability that have left us wondering "How do people keep having children???"  Through all these, we have forgiven each other for the things that were said that we know were said out of frustration and sleep deprivation.  One of my most favorite things Alex has told me is how much he loves our team, meaning our family.  I LOVE this statement.  It's totally a team effort.  Even though sometimes it feels like the twins gang up on us... :)  At least I always have Alex to have my back.

P a r e n t i n g   M u s t   H a v e s...
Surviving this first month, we have a few things we could NOT have survived without.  Here's a small list and how they have changed our lives.  ***I will tell you, I am not getting paid for listing these items, so this is purely one parent to another trying to help out!  We just wanted people to know what worked for us so you can use these tactics if it works for you!

1.  The Nose Frida
This charming, simple piece of equipment had saved our lives.  If you can believe it, it's a tube connected to a long tube and is used to suck boogers and snot from your baby's nose.  Similar to what those bulb's are used for but way more effective.  The girls at my work told me about it and I was extremely grossed out but after using one, I was sold.  Babies are nose breathers primarily and they cannot clear their noses on their own.  So any obstruction messes with them being able to breathe properly.  It's crazy the boogers these tiny humans have!  Don't worry, there is a filter so you don't suck up the boogers.


2.  Muslin Swaddle Blankets
These blankets have been a huge help in swaddling and calming the babes down.  When we first brought them home, we had the fancy sleep sack but quickly realized it wasn't working for them.  They seemed to get really sweaty and weren't sleeping well.  Once we switched to these, they have been sleeping great! And they come in super cute designs.


3.  Glider
We received this glider as a gift from some of my work family and it's been a GOD-SEND.  Our babies were small enough to share it in the beginning and that's why I think they love it now so much.   We think Emmy may have more reflux than Bennett and the glider seems to alleviate it some.  ere is the one we have, but there are so many good ones out there!


Glider pics:

4.  BURP CLOTHS (cloth diapers)
Okay.  GET A TON OF BURP CLOTHS.  Multiple packs of 10. (Especially if you have multiples) Cloth diapers work the best.  They are super absorbable.  We go through so many in one day.  I would say burp cloths, bibs and swaddlers are the majority of laundry I do.  We didn't have near enough when we first brought them home and I felt like I was constantly using bathroom towels as burp cloths because we didn't have any clean ones.


5.  Soothie Pacifiers
We were given a handful of these in the NICU and got some at a shower of mine.  Bennett absolutely loves these.  He could be super fussy and when given one, calms down immediately.  I definitely worried about spoiling them in giving them pacifiers but realized quickly that you cannot spoil a baby that this age.  They don't understand enough yet to be spoiled.  It's been such a nice back up plan when I can't seem to settle them down.  Most of the time, it puts Bennett right to sleep.

How we find him most of the time... Pacifier fell and stayed there..

Well guys, thanks for reading still and sticking with us on this crazy journey we call life.  Let me know if there's anything you are curious about or want to know about the life of Keith's and I will be happy to share!  This blog is a great way for me to communicate but also to slow life down a bit and let me focus on one week at a time.  Life seems to be in turbo mode now.  I need to wrap this up before the babes wake up and are demanding their late lunch!

Until next week...
Lauren, E & B

Most of this blog was typed like this and one handed... oh the sacrifices...

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