Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Music Tames the Savage Beast (or Baby)

I have learned that singing to babies can often calm them down when you can't pick them up and of course we have to use this trick often with twins! I started doing this with Phoebe when she was a baby as I'd have to do dishes, make dinner, go to the bathroom.... I've found not every song works, so you have to find the right song. Sometimes you have to reach into the obscure music knowledge in your head to find the right song. With Phoebe, it was "Close to You" by The Carpenters. Since I didn't have to use this trick very often with her, I didn't get sick of this song right away.

The boys are different. That song does nothing for them. They both love "Yellow Submarine" by The Beatles. Because there are two of them there are many more opportunities to need to use this trick. I'm really getting sick of this song, so I've been trying to find other songs that work just as well. So far I've sung "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" until I've run out of farm animals and then I change it to "Old MacDonald Had a Zoo." And they seem to like "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, but I can't remember all the lyrics. Last night at dinner I used "Fish Heads" by Barnes and Barnes. I definitely know all the lyrics to that one!

So I have a question for you parents out there. Has anyone else employed this trick and if so, what songs have you found work for your child(ren)?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Picture with Santa 2009

As we're getting ready to close out this year, I thought I'd post this year's picture with Santa. What a difference a year makes! Last year I was pregnant and knew it was twins, but I didn't know it was two boys for another several weeks. I was still so scared, but hopeful. We were mostly out of the first trimester and were beginning to tell people. Now they are out and have personalities! And so does their sister! And she adores them!



Today was a rough day though. The boys didn't want to sleep today, but the good news is that Liam did roll over once on his own! Not that we saw it, but when I got him from his crib this morning, he was on his stomach and I know no one put him that way. He didn't do any repeat performances of this act all day though. Ooohh! And I got Liam's hair fixed (not in this pic - I need to post a pic of his new 'do)!!! We were at a holiday party on the 26th and a hair stylist was there and I asked her to fix up the stragglies on his hair. He has these really long pieces that always look like a comb-over. It drives me crazy!!!! So now he looks like a clean-cut little boy. BTW, I'm not counting this as his first haircut. To me that will be when all of it needs to be cut, not just these straggling long pieces sticking out of the short ones.

Tommy's continued to explore entire rooms by rolling alone. We're gone for when he starts crawling because he's already fast just by rolling. I went to the bathroom today and by the time I got out, he was attacking Phoebe's presents under the Christmas tree. And I was trying to use the bathroom quickly since I knew he was on the floor. And people wonder why my old jeans fit again!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow, Snow, Everywhere!

BTW, thanks for also reminding me about the speech therapy part. You'd think I'd remember that considering I was in speech therapy at school from 4th to 7th grade. I had developed a stuttering problem when I moved schools. Oh and Leo had lots of speech therapy because he didn't hear right when he was little. He had really really bad ears. Eight sets of tubes from 3 to 16!

For those who don't know I live near Philadelphia, PA, we had two feet of snow dumped on us last weekend. So of course we had to bundle the boys up in their new snowsuits and get some pics of them outside. It was too windy though, to get them over to "Wilson hill" for sledding. BTW, that's the really big water basin that's on our property. It's awesome for sledding in winter! Here's some pics.

Liam in his snowsuit - you can see how pale his blue eyes are in this pic



Tommy in his snowsuit - with his darker blue eyes



The two of them together - Liam on the left, Tommy on the right



Leo with his boys



Phoebe making the trek to the sledding hill



Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from us all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Let's Talk Early Intervention

Leigh has prompted me to spill more info on EI and I figured I'd do it for anyone that cares to know. As far as I know in each of states of the US has some kind of Early Intervention program although some states call it something else. Both Delaware and Maryland call it Child Watch, which always sounds like a place to report Child Abuse to me. If you are in another country, I recommend asking your pediatrician and perusing the government websites. That's how I found the PA EI program as my ped is in Delaware and they only had the contact info for DE and MD. They now have it for PA too, cause I was nice to pass along the information and they were nice enough to change their documentation they give to parents that same day! As I was saying I started perusing the Pennsylvania state government websites and finally hit on the right area.

What happens here is that the state sends your info to the county - Chester County in this case - and they assign you a local caseworker. The case worker schedules an evaluation of the baby(ies) or child and they come out and identify if they are delayed either physically or emotional/socially. If they are more than 25% delayed, which in my case was 2 months, then they qualify for free therapy appointments which come to your house, day care or caregiver. In our case the boys were spot on emotional/socially, but 2 months delayed physically, so we were approved for a physical therapist to come to our house and show us some exercises to do with the babies. There are some special stretches I need to do with Liam as he has torticolis (tight neck muscle), but for both the boys she taught us some exercises to help them get strong enough to roll over and to strengthen their arms so they can bear weight on them for longer periods of time. The key part is that she teaches us the exercises and we get to help them with them throughout the day. My SIL, Nicki, is also a part of this as she's with the boys most of the day anyway.

I do believe this helps a lot, even if it's just keeping it in my mind that they need lots of tummy time. Tommy is rolling so much now, I have to keep doors closed and we'll need to get gates soon. He keeps leaving the room by rolling! It happened this morning when I was working and Tommy was on the floor behind me (I had just put Liam down for his morning nap). I turned around and he was gone! I walked over and found out he was in the closet that is behind me, as I left the door open. He was so proud of himself!!!

Liam is getting better, but still not as physical as Tommy. He's not as interested in rolling over, even though he has less weight to try to move around. I think he's on the verge of rolling. I keep thinking it could happen any day now.

The other things we learn are how to work with them to "discover" their feet and to help them learn to sit with less support. I again see Tommy making great strides and Liam is right behind him by a week or two. She's also showed us how to use towels on the seat of the high chairs so their arms can clear the tray and let them grab at their toys. I never thought of that one.

That's all I can think of right now. It's really hard to describe the exercises. Sometimes even after I see her do them, I still can't get them just right. It's best to try to find someone to work with you that knows what they are doing.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Liam Getting Lots of Teeth!!!

Every time I look in Liam's mouth I'm finding more teeth cutting though. Poor Tommy is loving gumming crackers, but has no teeth to show to help him out. I already knew Liam had cut one of his bottom front teeth back on the 10th. I kept a look out for the one next to it, as Phoebe always had two come in at once and he looks so much like her (just with blue eyes and a penis, as I like to say). Sure enough, yesterday morning I found the second bottom tooth coming out. Then last night at dinner time, I realize one of his top front teeth are coming through too! So now we've got the whites of three teeth poking through for him all at once!!!! Poor kid.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trying to Get Pics for Holiday Cards

I still haven't sent out our Holiday Cards because I haven't gotten time to have a photo session with both the boys and Phoebe. Follow me on my quest tonight before the boys bedtime. Eventually, we had to stop and put them to bed. But the beginning was good. I think I know what I might like to pic. Need to show to Leo and see what he thinks.

Here's the beginning, the boys in clean red fleece sweaters with Phoebe in her Santa hat that she loves, but a pink shirt. We used to be able to use Phoebe's toddler chair and put a blanket over it for her Holiday pics, but since there are two toddler chairs under there, it seems like everyone is so far away. And I can't get everyone looking my way. There were other shots in this series, but one Liam looks stunned and another he's out of focus.



Then we tried some togetherness, which was hard for Phoebe as she was sitting cross-legged with each on a knee. She was such a good sport about this. I'm not crazy about Tommy's eyes in this photo.



This one I'm digging right now. Need to have Leo look at this and we may use this for cards going out.



Then I had Phoebe change into a red shirt and the boys started melting down ----



So I changed them into my favorite of their pjs and had Phoebe recreate the earlier photo. I like this one too, except they are not in red anymore and the boys are both looking in opposite directions. I'm not sure what I'm thinking right now. Leo may just look at these to get posing ideas and then help me try again tomorrow. I don't think I did so bad on my own.

I Love the Laughter

Phoebe was doing an extra math sheet I gave her for homework after I fed "the boys". I was surprised that she got so many problems done, because she spent most of the time making Liam laugh, which is usually really hard to do. He's usually the serious guy, but tonight he thought she was the bees' knees! I went back and forth taking pics of the boys at their reaction to Phoebe trying to make them laugh.

Here's Liam thinking, "You're so funny, Phoebe!"



Here's another of Liam staring up at his sister, really getting into the joke. And yes, his bib is on the wrong side, which is why the tag is showing. I should just cut them off as when you are trying to get hungry twins ready to eat a meal, you just want the crying to stop, so you really hurry up!



Shoot over to Tommy, eating his fist, not getting the joke -



Back over to Liam who's thinking, "She's really, really funny!"



And back over to Tommy who is finally smizing (smiling with his eyes - it's an America's Next Top Model word)



And then, I did get Liam to smile into the camera. All I think of when I see this pic is "Hey, baby!"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Making Your Own Baby Food

Not sure if I posted this before, but I do make my own baby food. I did with Phoebe and I do with the boys. It does make things cheaper and as the boys get older they will be able to have everything we are having for dinner, but mushed up. Plus, have you tasted some jarred baby food? It's horrible. I do buy some jarred baby food and powdered cereals for when we are traveling, but I try to stick to the things that taste OK.

This website has been very helpful in baby food recipes, but there are many others out there. I do use a spice and nut grinder to grind up short-grain brown rice, barley and oatmeal for cereal for the boys. It takes about 10 minutes to cook on the stove after you grind it up. I have had to reduce the recommended amount of water as shown on the website as the boys like their food less watery than early baby food is.

I have a small Cuisinart food processor for mushing up small portions, but if I'm on a huge production moment, I use my large food processor. I never bought that new baby cooking appliance they sell these days, as I already need a small food processor for making things like cilantro pesto or guacamole. I have so many cooking appliances we use, I can't see buying something that would only be used for a short period of time. For applesauce, I use a food mill, but you could use a food processor. Some baby food you don't need to cook like bananas and avocados. Sweet potatoes are easy as I just bake extra for the baby food when we are having them for dinner and I mush up the insides with some formula or breast milk that I am almost out of. Butternut squash, green beans (love just buying the big bags from BJs!) and carrots, I steam on the stove and then mush them up. I haven't tried peas yet as I'm not sure what will happen with the skins on them, but I will try soon.

When I'm on a big production kick, I do freeze the baby food using these freezing trays. I'm sure I'll reuse these for freezing cilantro pesto or regular pesto in the future. When the big cubes are frozen, I do take them out and put them in a big freezer bag, so I can freeze more cubes of food. When you have twins, they go through a lot of frozen meals!!!!

I usually mix things together now that the boys have had several foods so they'll have combos like applesauce or another fruit and oatmeal for breakfast or carrots and barley or sweet potatoes and green beans for dinner. We don't serve them separately, we just mix them in one bowl for each of them.

I'm in no hurry to have the boys try meats. I'm not a big meat eater myself. We do eat meat in our house, but it's not a big focus of the meal. In the next few months, I'll be more focusing on trying some beans and tofu along with the fruits, veggies and cereals they are eating today.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Day of Firsts!

What a day! I can't believe so much happened! The boys each had a really big "first", but each was completely different and it was a first for either of them.

Tommy rolled over from his back to his tummy for the first time, and the second time, and the third time, and you get the picture. Every time he was on his back today, he had to make sure he could still roll to his tummy. Very, very exciting! Neither of them have done that before.

And Liam's first was a big one too! He cut his first tooth today! No wonder the poor thing has been so congested and miserable. I can see that the second one right next to it is going to come through too. So he's being just like Phoebe, an early teether (she was 3 1/2 months for her first tooth!) and they are coming in pairs. Tommy hasn't cut any teeth yet.

And we had a reorg in my boss and my boss's boss's departments this morning. It affects me. I am now not just managing 5 people, I'm managing 10 people. All developers, of course, as I am the queen of the geeks. I'm very happy. My scope is increasing, no one was hurt as part of this change. It was mostly because someone had already left the department and my boss had to figure out as part of this reorg what to do with her team. It's also helping make a case for me to be promoted to Sr. Manager at the end of 2010. If I don't manage to win the lottery before then. If that happened, I'd have to stop working so I could stay at home with my incredibly distractingly cute three kids.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Boys - Six Month Check

The boys had their six month check appointment with the pediatrician today and they did great. Here they are at the doctor's office. Wondering what fun they were going to have. Liam's on the left, Tommy on the right.



The end wasn't fun. Liam had 3 shots and Tommy had four. Tommy had four because his weight was high enough to make his Synagis (RSV) shot 2 shots instead of just 1. Poor boys. I gave them some Motrin for the pain in the afternoon. They were just so miserable. I worked from home this afternoon to keep an eye on the boys. I was able to get some good pics of the boys today. Here are my favorites - Liam is on the left in the pics and Tommy on the right. BTW, we do that on purpose to make Liam look to the left at his brother more. He has a tight muscle in his neck (torticolis) that make him want to keep his head to the right, so we try to give him reasons to look to his left.





Here's Liam with his beautiful eyes. He was really tired, though.


Here's Tommy on tummy time with his gorgeous peepers. His eyes are shaped just like his daddy's but they are blue instead of brown.



But of course you all want to know their stats at the doctor's office. Basically in the last two months, they have gained 2 pounds and 2 inches. So an inch and a pound a month. Here they are:

Tommy:
weight - 17 lbs. 5 oz. (7.85 kg)
length - 27 1/4 inches (69.2 cm)

Liam:
weight - 14 lbs. 10 oz. (6.62 kg)
length - 26 1/2 inches (67.3 cm)

Hope everyone had a great day!

Monday, December 07, 2009

More Twin Pics!

Here's the boys playing on tummy time. Liam is on the right of the picture and Tommy is on the left.



I love this one! One night I was getting Tommy changed in his PJs and asked Leo to hang with Liam. This is what I found 10 minutes later. I had to take a picture.



Here's a pic of "my little overachiever". Some kids suck their thumb. Some pic two fingers. Liam decided to try shoving all three in his mouth. It looks funny so I had to snap a pic.



And to answer some questions that were in comments. I love the Peg Perego Prima Pappa high chairs. I bought them without seeing it based on reviews online and I love them! I find them very easy to clean, especially using Clorox wipes. The tray comes off and on very easy. I do recommend swiping the corners/folds of the bottom of the seats regularly with cleaning wipes/rags. They do collect things. But the seats are so soft and so easy to keep clean. I bought them on Direct Buy too, so they were a lot cheaper than in the stores. Whenever I decide to buy things through Direct Buy I always do price comparisons to see if it is worth it.

And on trying sippy cups, I did take the stopper out for their first sip to let them know it was in there. Tommy is seeming to take to it when he's not starving. Liam I think I need to remind him that it's in there again. He hasn't been interested lately.

Here's a pic of sleepy Tommy on the same morning I snapped Liam with his thumb and two fingers.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Boys - 6 Months Old

The boys turned six months old on Sunday!!!! I'll post some more pics soon. Things have just been very busy getting ready for the Christmas holidays and crazy busy at work. One of my peer managers is going to another department and I believe my manager is going to make an organization change that will have me managing twice as many people. Which will be great to position me to get a promotion to a Sr. Manager at the end of next year.

Yesterday the boys had their first day trying the backup day care at my office. It's really hard to get into the infant room as they are so busy, but we got a call at 8AM that they had room for both the boys!!!! Nicki was out of town on Monday and Tuesday, which is why I had the boys on the waitlist to come in to the office with me. I also have them on the waitlist for December 21, 22, and 23. Then I'm taking the rest of the year off. The boys had such a great day listening to stories and songs and making new friends. They really liked the three ladies that were taking care of them. Liam even gave Miss Carol a big smile when I handed him over to her in the morning. And he's usually so reserved with his emotions.

The boys also started trying sippy cups! I started having Phoebe try a few sips from one with the stopper in it when she was 6 months old and she loved them so much by 7 months she was off bottles. The boys are acting like Phoebe did when she first tried them, curious why it comes out so fast when they suck on it. They both were starting to get good at it at dinner last night.

And Phoebe has a crush on a boy at school. Sniff! She keeps getting so big. He told her he liked her "a little" which she told me meant he really likes her as "boys always don't want to completely admit it." She's wise beyond her years....

I'll post more updates soon.