Thursday, August 25, 2016

B l a h ...
The focus this week, is a bit scattered, like my brain.  I had one of my first real late nights at work Monday night and I think my body is still recovering.  The night at work in and of itself was a good night.  I felt confident in my work there and stayed focused for the long case.  It was the build up to myself after that took it out of me.

Being a "stay at home mom" as well as a "full time working mom" has its challenges.  While at home, my focus is always the babies.  But along with that, there's the housework, laundry, what to eat for dinner, feeding myself, and the occasional workout to feel better mentally, physically and to have some "me time".  All that can add up.  I feel like I sometimes have unreal expectations of myself but again, I've said before, we are our biggest critics.

Work life is easy, minus the timing.  Once I get into work, there's one focus: the patient.  I can be there and focus on my job.  We have a great system put together for care of the babies if I'm at work and Alex is at football.  Our families have agreed to each take a day of the week on call for us and are here when we need them.  I cannot begin to explain to you how AMAZING it is to have family around, especially when you have 2 full time working parents.

All in all, things this week have just been... weird... Not on point.  But after an awesome chat with my mom and then some positive words of wisdom from Alex, I'm feeling better.

Me and B!  Alex's cousin Hannah bought these ADORABLE outfits for the babes.  Emmy's has deer on hers but B's has hedgehogs and I am in love.
U p d a t e   O n   T h e   T w i n s..
So... they are developing like crazy.  They will be 8 months old next week and are well on their way to walking by 9 months!

Emmy is a mover.  Unless she is tired, she is constantly moving, which explains why she has started standing!  She uses everything and anything to pull herself up on... including her brother.  She has begun taking little steps but is still very uneasy.  I'm noticing her pulling away more too to try and stand alone.  Which is AMAZING but terrifying at the same time.  I just don't want her to do it when I'm not looking and fall.  We are going to really babyproof the basement to make it more baby moving friendly.  More to come on that next week.

Standing fool!  This girl prefers standing to just about anything nowadays.

Bennett is my little smiley boy.  He is happy majority of the time and is still attached at the mouth with his binkie.  He is in LOVE with mealtime and can't get enough of Pooh still.  I've been limiting their Pooh watching to once a day, I didn't want it to seem like they could just watch it all day or whenever they are upset, although it's a great backup when I can't seem to get them to calm down for extended periods of time.  He has been pulling himself to sitting from laying down.  He also is very loud, not crying, just seems to yell and talk very loudly.  I think he likes the sound of his own voice, and most of the time, Emmy and I don't mind.  Sometimes it gets loud at 6:30 AM.

This is one of B's favorite lounge positions.  Side lying and relaxin'.  He is such a cheese! 

Mealtime is the same as before:  24 oz a day split between 4 bottles.  We are still on the same track with their pureed foods, but I've been introducing them to chunkier pureed stuff along with those bite size puffs.  They love those and they are great for a little snack for them.  I've also introduced them to apple juice (which they were incredibly confused about).  Probably because I put it in their regular bottles.  They can't seem to get sippy cups yet (how to suck the juice out) so I just use their Tommee Tippee cups.

These 2 bedtime gremlins, all cuddled and ready for bed.

B and Auntie Anna!  We visited her new house on Friday and the babies loved it!

This is a pretty common pose for us.  One baby in the activity gym and one baby wishing they were.  But it offers them different views of each other and they seem to like playing this way.

Kind of a scattered post this week, I apologize for that.  But that's the update!  Excited for this weekend... lots of fun plans...

See you next week!

Lauren, E&B

Being Me

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Being a mom changes a person.  And before you say, yeah... no shit, let me tell you my side of things.

I've wanted to be a mom since I was like 3.  I kid you not.  I would carry around baby dolls, as most little girls do, but I honestly believed I was that baby doll's true mama.  There are even home video's of a tiny Lauren, sitting in her tiny rocking chair, rocking a baby doll to sleep.  It's been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.

TBT to 1991, when I was feeling the twins with crib life.
I think I squeezed my little sister more than anyone in the world before the babies were born.  Don't you think Emmy kind of looks like her a bit?  That button nose...
Anna's face is priceless.  Also, my hair is on another level.
The day Anna was born, I was at the hospital and was given this nurses hat.  I immediately became BFF's with Anna but occasionally would have to ask my Dad, "what's that girl's name again?"  Oh the funny sayings of 2 1/2 year olds.
The older I got, I still knew I couldn't wait to have babies.  I wanted SO BADLY to know what that felt like, to create a human and grow them inside of you.  I mean, that's incredible.  When Alex and I found out we were pregnant, I was shocked at first, it only being a month after our wedding, but once it really hit me, I was ecstatic.  Little did I know, we would be bringing 2 tiny humans into the world some 36 weeks and 4 days later.

Being Emmy and Bennett's mom has been nothing short of the best blessing in my life, next to being married to Alex.  But like I said, it's changed me.  When I take the babies out somewhere, to a dinner at someones house, or on a trip like last weekend, I find myself putting my needs, wants, desires, aside and focusing on the babies.  I know that's exactly what you are supposed to do as a mom... but it sometimes has me realizing that I'm not always present in my conversations with people.  I have 10 things running through my head while doing anything out of the house with the babies.

I find that I spend alot of time on the floor with the babies.  I like our floor time, it gets me down to their level, to view the world from where they are.  
Our attempt at a selfie again, this is normally how these photo shoots go.

My sweet, happy boy.
FINALLY, although a bit blurry, I really like this one, and these two make me so happy.
For example, if someone wants to grab lunch with me and tells me to bring the babies, I know that while I'm there, my conversation would not be focused as it would be if I went alone.  I would be constantly looking at the babies and waiting for a freak out or for one of them to grab a plate and it smash to the floor, etc.  Going places socially with the babies just isn't an option, unless I have another set of hands.  And that set of hands has to know the babies.  It's hard to explain, but some people just aren't baby people.  Like, they don't know how to hold, soothe, or comfort them.  I'm not trying to be rude, just real.  If I don't have that support with me, it ends up being me just trying to pass the babies back and forth, giving the calm baby away and taking the cranky baby.  I'm not sure if that even makes sense but just stick with me.

So, since people like lists... here are the top 3 things that I think changed about me once I became a mama...

1.  My sense of time and time management.  A while back, Alex and I were talking about how we were doing as parents and how things had changed for us.  While we both agreed that we absolutely loved it, we also agreed on the fact that our time never felt our own.  And it's true.  Alex used to like to get a workout in after work at the school, but now he has to come home to relieve me if I have to go to work.  I used to LOVE to meet people, spur of the moment, out for a coffee, lunch, etc but that changes with 2 permanent sidekicks (as you read above).  Time seems to also move at the speed of sound.  Last week, Emmy was just learning to crawl around and yesterday, she pulled herself to standing for the first time.  Like, WHAT IS THIS?  If I start really thinking about time ticking away and life moving forward, I get freaked out.  So for now, a focus on the present is what my mantra is.

2. My focus.  I talked about this earlier in the post.  I just notice that my presence is lacking in conversations sometimes and I am actively telling myself to pay attention, focus, etc... I want nothing more than to show the people I am with that I am hearing them, am interested in their lives and what's going on... But it gets difficult.  It's hard work to keep friendships afloat when you're simultaneously raised babies.  Ah life, crazy life.

3. My self image.  It's getting better, each week.  Yoga has helped immensely.  That is for sure.  (See below).  I couldn't be more proud to have carried my babies to 36+ weeks but having babies takes a toll on the body and I am still regaining my confidence.  Everyone is their own worst critic.  That I know.

W o r k i n g   O n   M e...
I have just recently started a 30 days of yoga challenge on YouTube (Yoga with Adriene) and it's been a great new workout for me not only physically, but mentally.  I had tried yoga before and liked it but never thought of challenging myself and using yoga as my full workout.  Plus, after only doing it for a little over a week now, I haven't felt this good about my body image in a long time!  I just feel more energized, present in each day and focused.  I have never been a morning workout person.  Ever.  Hate it.  I would rather stay in my pj's until at least 10 am and just lounge.  BUT... I have started doing my yoga during their morning nap (around 8am) and it's been good!  It's not a strenuous, cardio heavy workout, so I can dig it.  Anyways, here's her channel here if you want to try it out.

The older the babies get, things get different, sometimes harder, sometimes better.  I know the dynamics of doing ANYTHING will even change more when they get mobile and I'm chasing after the hooligans.  Thanks for tuning in for this personal post about me.  Sorry to take away focus from why we are all here:  Emmy and Bennett.  But it's so important to know who's writing behind these posts, so I shared.  Thanks for following us on this journey!  There's so much more to come...

Taken from snapchat, I caught her standing for the first time.  My heart stopped, of course, as she seemed so high up! Alex lowered it to the lowest rung and now, she's a low rider.
This was taken when the babies were sick and snuggled under the same covers.  I just died when they cuddled up next to each other and watched Pooh that morning.
UGH my heart is exploding!
Finally playing together nicely!  Lately, they have been playing a bit rough together, throwing hands and falling into each other.  I need to supervise playtime pretty closely now so they don't hurt each other. 

Until next week,

Road Warriors

Thursday, August 11, 2016

T r a v e l i n g   T w i n s...
So this past weekend we made our final trip of the summer to Peoria, Illinois for my cousin's wedding!  It's been a long awaited trip for us to see my family and for the twins to meet their cousins (well, my cousin's children so their second cousins?  I'm not even going to pretend I know which is which..).

We left early Friday morning on the what iphone maps would tell us would be a 5 hours and 45 min drive.  With twin babies, just go ahead and add 2 hours on that... always.  The ride there was pretty rough.  We hit a stretch of highway that had no exits.  Not even a side road to pull over onto for what seemed to be 20 miles (it was probably shorter but once you hear the rest, it just felt like forever).  We smelled poop.  

I peeked back at Emmy first and didn't see any poop.  Then I turned to Bennett.  Poop was all over.  His legs, hands, car seat, and even onto his head.  Once he saw my reaction, he started crying, then screaming.  Then Emmy started.  And we had no exits.  All Alex and I could do was just focus on the music and push through.  Of course the first exit told us there were restaurants and gas stations but it was one of those exits where you had to drive a few miles off the highway to reach one.  When we finally found a McDonalds, Alex grabbed Emmy and went in to change her diaper.  I tackled B.  Alex was in the bathroom pretty long so I wondered if something else happened in her diaper.

When I finally finished cleaning up B, I came out to find Emmy in a new outfit and Alex with a look of exhaust on his face.  Her poop didn't come out the front like B's, but up the back and to her neck.  Oh the JOYS of parenting.  All we could do was laugh a little, pack up the poopy clothes in a to-go bag and hit the road again.  Luckily, that was the only real eventful thing that happened on the road trip.  

We rolled into town, checked into the hotel and started getting ready for the rehearsal dinner.  It was at an amazing steakhouse and it was so great to see all the family there.

One of the first feedings in the hotel.  We brought their Baby Bjorn Bouncers along for feeding solids, they work pretty great.  B and his strawberry yogurt.  A favorite thing to do is blow raspberries with a full mouth of food.
The wedding was at 1 pm on Saturday and Alex was a groomsman.  So he left at 11 and was gone for the whole day with his responsibilities for my cousin Leonard.  It was difficult not having Alex but I had my lifesaver, my sister Anna, with me the whole day.  I can't tell you what that girl has done for our family and how she's helped.  I just get so frustrated that I can't hold both babies at once.  I'm sure other mom's of multiples can agree.  When both want to be held, it just gets hard and frustrating and I don't know how to handle it.  Sometimes I do just pick them both up!  All almost 40 pounds of them!  It's just easier than hearing them cry.

Right before the mass, my husband looking so damn handsome.
Quick selfie with my Buddy

Auntie and Emmy girl.  
But overall, it ended up being a great time with family and fun to bring the babies to their first wedding.  Can't say I will bring them to any of our other weddings this year.  I like to use weddings to unwind and have fun.  Being "mom" is great but it requires me to be "on" at all times.  Thinking "do the babies have clean diapers, have they eaten enough, have they taken a nap, when is bedtime" can get exhausting, especially at a wedding.

My trustee stroller.  I couldn't do half of the things I need to do without it.  I'm not sure which stroller to go to next once they outgrow this one... Any suggestions?
Grandpa West, aka my Dad.  Glad to rock the babies while Mom got to walk around for a bit.
I was SO excited to see my cousin Katherine, her husband Pat and their little beauty Lillian.  I hadn't met Lily yet and she is almost a year old!  She was born in September, only a few months before the twins.  I just know that they'll be close friends and Thanksgivings will be onto the next generation of sardines.  Only the fam will get that reference.
Auntie and Em again.  Two peas in a pod.

My sweet cousin Timmer took some awesome family pics for us.  PS these are all iphone pics.  Impressive camera ehh?

My cousin Liz and her little girl Katherine.  She was born in February, so she's close to the twins age too.  It was so good to see them and see how big she got since we saw her back in the Spring.
Okay, orobably my favorite pic.  Emmy and Daddy's first dance together.  Cue the cute feels!
My sweet boy, all ready for bed and one last slow dance with Mama.  We ended up leaving around 9:30, which was way past their bedtime but they were troopers and fell right asleep when we got back to the hotel.
We stopped off in STL on the way home to visit some of our great friends John and Sarah, who just moved there from NYC.  I was soooo happy we made that a must on this trip.  We got to STL around noon and stayed until 4 before heading back to KC.  It gave the babies some time out of the car and a chance for mom and dad to have a beer and relax with friends.  I loved not having a time limit for that return trip.  It felt so great just to be spontaneous, it's sometimes hard to be with two babies.

Rolling around in STL.
Although I loved the trip, it was so great to get home.  Does anyone ever feel like a tornado hit their home after they unload the car?  I always feel like everything I own is scattered around my living room.  It normally stays like that for at least a day until I muster the courage to tackle it. {Side note, its put away now}

U p d a t e   O n   E & B
So I want to get back to the meat of why I started this blog.  The babes.  We're currently in the middle of tackling our first bout of colds that were probably caught on the trip.  Let's face it... you can't clean those highchairs at Wendy's long enough, I'm not surprised the poor babes got little colds.

Monday night we put the babies down around 7:15 PM and Em woke up crying and completely stuffed up around 10:30 PM.  We tried calming her down and rocking her but every time we tried to lay her down, she couldn't breath well and would scream.  We unpacked the trustee Nose Frida and went to town to try and clear her poor nose.  We even created a sauna with the hot shower and sat in there with her.  I ended up rocking her on my chest in the nursery until about 1 AM.  I just wanted to take her sick away and let her sleep.  It's so hard to see your baby sick and know that they don't understand why they feel bad.  Ugh, cue the tears.

B came down with the crud yesterday.  I knew it was a matter of time before he got it.  I tried to keep the toys separate (because everything goes into the mouth) but that like trying to catch a minnow in your hand out of a lake with these two.  As I type this, the sniffles are coming on with me now.  It's just a matter of time.

Other than the colds, the babies are doing so great.  They aren't quite crawling yet but are SO DARN CLOSE.  Within this month, I just know it.  Emmy is up on all fours and rocks back and forth.  B is a champ at army crawling.  They eat like crazy, still pureed solids, and I've just started giving them banana rice rusks? (Basically a dissolvable rice cake for babies.)  They also LOVE strawberries.  A friend from work recommended these little mesh things that allow the babies to basically suck the strawberries out without having to hold the berry... you can find them here...

Emmy has two teeth already!! On the bottom and B just had his first break through on the trip!  Caught this awesome pic on the trip home... I feel like it's kinda rare to get a baby to show their pearly whites...

Alex is back to school and guys, I am so ready for FALL!  This hot weather has got me in a mood.  Ugh.  Oh and my best friend and B's godmama got engaged over the weekend!!! Shout out to Meredith! Can't wait for that wedding.

Just a girl and her Mama, playing salon... or just pulling hair, salon sounds better.  But she was pulling my hair.

Until next week...
Lauren, E & B

Mama's Weekend Out

Thursday, August 4, 2016

My first weekend away from my babies was pretty great!  I went to Hermann, MO for one of my best friend's bachelorette parties.  I'm in her wedding in October and was glad to be able to get this weekend in before Alex starts teaching again in 2 short weeks.

We took the Amtrak there Friday morning, so I left the babies and Alex right after the first feeding.  They were so smiley and happy, that was the hardest part.  Once I got in the car and on my way, I was fine.  We arrived in Hermann around lunch time.  The town was totally "small town USA" with a main street and rolling country side surrounding it.  People visiting get around mostly by trolley.  You pay $20 a day and they take you to and from where ever you need to go.

The bachelorette!  One of my best friends since grade school... 
The trolley was so fun!  We brought mimosas on in the morning and wine throughout the day...

We stayed at this awesome house with 5 bedrooms, all new kitchen, renovated bathrooms and a huge deck overlooking the countryside.  The owners of the house lived right next door, so each morning there as a fresh breakfast awaiting us on the counter.

Saturday was our big day!  Hermann is known for it's wineries, the most popular one being Stone Hill (at least that was the one I had heard of before).  I'd say its the Napa Valley of Missouri, and that's being nice I think... The trolley picked us up after breakfast and we headed to the first one.  We did little tastings all day and even had a beer tasting at Tin Mill Brewery in the middle of the day.  That night we treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at an Italian restaurant and went out to a bar to end the night.  It couldn't have been more perfect!

At Tin Mill Brewery!  
Some pretty amazing ladies..
Night out on the town!
Nothing could top the smiles I got from the babies and the clean house I came home to.  I was nothing but impressed with how Alex handled the weekend on his own.  I kept checking in but not too much, I wanted him to know I trusted and knew he could do it.  Remember back when I had my first solo weekend?  It's intimidating!  Those two tiny humans can be rambunctious and I remember that!  Vividly... And he took on the weekend with ease.  I even came home to dinner in the crock-pot.

Jumping back into work the day after was also a challenge.  They needed me to work Monday instead of Tuesday and that was just another day away from the babies.  And it turned out to be a long one: 15 hours!  So I was ready for the remainder of the week with them.

Being away from my family made me realize and solidify that in my life, I am happiest with them.  Yes, the diaper changes and feedings seem relentless some days, but hearing Bennett's laugh or seeing Emmy smile-- those are truly the happiest moments of my days.  It's so cheesy but those of you with children, nieces or nephews, grandchildren, etc... can relate.

I asked Alex to share a bit about his weekend with the babies.  It's so important to hear from dad's.  They have an insight to parenting that I think differs from that of a mama.  So, ladies and gents, here he is.  The father to my babies...

Hey all! I wanted to thank Lauren for letting me write a little bit this week and thank all of you for continuing to be interested in our family! Now this weekend was hardly my first time alone with the kids but it was by far the biggest stretch of time I have gone without Lauren in the house. Now honestly I wasn't too stressed out about it. Family and friends heard I was going to be home alone and were quick to offer their help, which I took them up on, for sure!

Looking back on the weekend it seemed to fly by. Every day we went for at least 2 walks, one in the morning and one in the evening. It worked out great because they like being in the stroller and are very calm when outdoors and I get a little workout in. On Saturday, we were out for a longer walk and once we got about 2 miles away from the house, wouldn't you know it, it started pouring! I ran up to the closest house and hoped someone was home. Luckily there was an awesome family with 2 girls who invited us in and let us wait it out. The man's name was Carlos and could not have been nicer, he even held Emmy the whole time. It did not show any sign of letting up so we jumped into his SUV, with 2 car seats already in it for his 2 girls and he took us home. This is why I love living in Shawnee. This is why I love living in the suburbs. Yeah it lacks big city flare but there are Carlos' all around and every time we go on a walk I seem to get into a conversation with a new neighbor.

I won't go into detail about the highs and lows of my weekend but let's just say the house runs way more efficiently with both of us here. The feedings, the naps, the playtimes, the housework can all stack up on you and I was wiped at the end of the day. I have noticed that this week I have been a lot more calm, patient and willing to do housework and I have no doubt it is because of my time here with the kiddos. I will leave you with that and leave the writing to my much smarter, beautiful wife.

My cousin is getting married this weekend so the babies will attend their first wedding with us and we are so excited!  Thankfully Auntie Anna will be there to help.  Alex starts back to school next week with Professional Development and I'm done working extra days... for now.  Which makes me nervous to not work at least one day a week.  We'll see.  If anyone is interested in hanging with the babies for a day, let me know! :)

PS:  The babies turned 7 months this weekend!  7 MONTHS!!! YAY!

Alex sent me this on snapchat... My heart almost exploded.
My world!  These two are so smart!  It kills me.
Emmy Lou, always making faces...

We were gifted this AWESOME wagon with straps on the seats that is the perfect size for them.  And as I imagined, they love it.  Right now we really just go up and down the drive way, but in the fall, I plan on taking this puppy to the park!
Photo cred: Grandma West; she helped Alex for a few hours one day and sent me this and a video of the babies.  All the pics helped.
My mom also bought them each a stuffed animal at the Disney store and Bennett's life was MADE. 
Emmy got Piglet... who I still think should be a girl.  Whatevs.

Have a great weekend everyone!
See you next week...

Lauren, E&B

template design by Studio Mommy (© copyright 2015)