Sean and Britt

Business in the front, party in the back.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The ladybugs have always had different personalities, even in the womb, so it isn't a surprise that we find ourselves noting the ways that they react to certain situations and even to each other.

From C&L 12-24 months

Charlotte has always been slightly more dominant, which we attribute to the fact that she has always weighed just a little bit more than her sister. A pound isn't enough to set them apart visually (although it can be when you spend an hour with one in your arms and then switch to her sister) but it has meant that Charlotte can hit physical milestones a tiny bit earlier and assert herself a little more, too.

As a result, Charlotte stood unassisted first and took her first solo steps first and is now walking about 10 steps at a time before she stumbles and falls. She was practicing standing up for a few weeks, sticking her butt up in the air with hands and feet on the ground, and when she stands up she has to move her hips forward or back to compensate for the new center of gravity. But once she had it she immediately used that to step forward, wobbling around stiff-legged, swinging her hips from side to side instead of bending her knees, until she had her center of gravity so far off that she'd fall.

I'd get a song stuck in my head: "What do you do with a drunken sailor, what do you do with a drunken sailor, what do you do with a drunken sailor, early in the morning?" Which is very catchy and sticks with you for a long time. And is easy to plant in someone else's head as well. (Hi, Teri!)

The other advantage that Charlotte has is that she highly values praise. So, when we clap and tell her that she did a good job, she smiles from ear to ear, looks to us for more and then tries to do it again. Lilah, on the other hand, likes to do things for her own benefit. We can talk to her about doing something but she has to want to do it for herself before she'll try it. But when Lilah does want to do something, she will be incredibly determined and work hard to figure it out all on her own until she's mastered it.

Sometimes Lilah will use Charlotte's successes to her advantage - even though she doesn't learn a task as early, she pays attention to what her sister is doing and when she does give it a try she learns it much more quickly. Or she will work so hard at something that she'll accomplish it while Charlotte is giving up, like getting up on the couch. Lilah figured out that she could use the corner of our sectional couch to push off from one side to another with her feet, and she put one foot in between the body of the couch and the cushion to gain more traction. Suddenly, BOOM! She's right there next to you, silent as a cat. Charlotte still tries to get up on a straight side and attempts to lift one leg above her shoulder to get it on to the top of the couch, but this doesn't give her any traction at all, although bonus points for flexibility!

Lilah is also determined to do things for herself as much as she can. If you hand her sister a piece of food, she'll allow you to put it in her mouth. But, on the off chance Lilah lets you put food directly in her mouth, she will pull it out and put it back in again herself instead.

But when it comes to their interactions with each other, Charlotte can be a bit of a bully, even if she isn't meaning to. She's so capable of taking something from Lilah that frequently she'll reach for something and Lilah will just back away because she figures that she would have to give it up anyway. Sometimes Lilah will move along as though nothing ever happened and find something new and cool for her sister to take over. If it is something she was very highly interested in, she will scream and cry but still let it happen. We're often torn about whether we should step in and take the object back from Charlotte or whether it's all part of them figuring out the world and each other.

They do manage to be very well-adjusted with other kids because of these experiences - they don't get irritated when someone is rough-and-tumble with them and for the most part they're content with sharing toys and especially the grown-ups in the room. We've spent time with other kids who are still solo in their households and they definitely aren't as tolerant in these ways, so it's a benefit for them. And since the ladybugs are constantly paying attention to what the other girl is doing, they are equally fascinated by older kids and all the cool things they're doing, too.
From C&L 12-24 months

A few other ways the girls have distinguished themselves lately: Lilah is quite a bit more talkative and she's started using her pointer fingers to indicate everything. She points at things she's curious about, things she wants, things she likes a lot, things that she wants to draw our attention to, etc. She's also displaying some of mommy's obsessive-compulsive tendencies with stacking toys neatly, putting them one-by-one into a container and then taking them out one-by-one, and always keeping pairs of things together (like shoes). Charlotte is practically fearless, whether she's climbing on their playstructure or the couch, and scares us with how she throws herself around without regard for the risks. She also has the most fun with copying our facial expressions and gestures and has a belly laugh that echoes through the whole house, even though she fakes it sometimes to indicate that she knows something is supposed to be funny. Lilah, on the other hand, doesn't laugh nearly as easily - she makes us work for it!

Now that they have pre-molars, the chomper teeth, they are getting much better at chewing food and we can give them strips of food (like peeled apples, sandwiches, meat, bread, etc.) instead of chopping it into bits, so they're able to explore some very new foods, which has been very fun (and easier) for us all. Both girls have started being fascinated with putting on shoes and socks and try very hard to do it themselves, albeit unsuccessfully. They also recognize other behaviors we do frequently and try to copy those themselves, like taking off their clothes or spreading lotion on their chests, making phone calls with Bristle Blocks or brushing their hair. We can really see them taking in the world around them and learning from it, applying it, using the information, and growing up!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yeah, yeah, yeah


So I know there are folks waiting for a post for, like, ever. In the time since my last post the common cold has been eliminated, funds transfers have completely replaced dollar bills, Larry King has married wife number 17 (yes, he's still alive), "Saw XXXII" was released, and the Ladybugs have started collecting retirement. Or it just feels that way.

The trouble is, the longer I wait in between posts, the more there is to cover, which makes it seem a little more daunting, which makes me procrastinate a little more, which becomes a cycle of delay that, it seems, makes you all more anxious than a doughnut at a Weight Watchers meeting. So here I am. Ready to write.

In the time that has passed, the girls had a series of firsts:

First birthday, first cake, first cup tilt (Lilah)

From C&L 12-24 months

From C&L 12-24 months

From C&L 12-24 months

First baby pool (and first face dunk), first sunglasses
From Charlotte and Lilah together

First one year visit at the doctor (below 1st percentile for weight, 97th percentile for head - yes, indeed, an orange on a toothpick)

First independent standing (Charlotte, very proud of herself, thinks we applaud her for falling so claps for herself whenever she lands on her butt)

First cabinet opening (both girls, who then stained their dresses - my favorites - with toilet bowl cleaner with bleach)

First tricycle ride (they never stopped smiling!)
From C&L 12-24 months

First sports balls (the $1 inflatable ones from the drugstore terrified Charlotte for the first two days but now Lilah is a champion thrower)

First time biting each other (to be fair, Charlotte did stick her finger right in Lilah's mouth)

First camp chairs (They looked like such big girls!)
From C&L 12-24 months

First major injury (Charlotte managed to catch her bottom tooth on the coffee table and push it forward 90 degrees from her other teeth. Hopefully we pushed it back in time and it will live.)

First possible words (I think Lilah says Nana (Banana), Num-num (food), and Mama. But maybe it's just coincidence and those are just the sounds she makes.)

All of these firsts actually make me doubt my parenting. Seriously. The ladybugs do so well when they're introduced to new things that I wonder about all the things I'm not doing and they're potentially missing out on. The tricycle, camp chairs, and inflatable ball were all courtesy of someone else and I would never have guessed that they were ready until we tried it out. I'm confident that it won't be the last time I question my abilities as a mom though, so I'm waiting for some massive 3-Mile Island-style failure before I get too worked up about it. All parents screw their kids up somehow, right? I just gotta keep them off the pole and out of prison and that's a moderate success.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Have a baby shower coming up?


Now that the girls are nearing the one year mark (yay!), I wanted to look back at all the ways that our lives were made even the slightest bit easier. Maybe you'll use this information for yourself or someone you love, or maybe you'll just be astounded at the things they make for kids these days because you survived with a swaddling blanket and a toy rock. Either way.

(Note: Some of the best gifts we got were formula, diapers and wipes. No one ever doesn't want or use these!)

Here are some items that made me seriously grateful. The pictures are "borrowed" and might not match the exact item we had, but you get the idea.

This was great for when the girls slept in the front room because the tilted angle helped their reflux and if we had our hands full with one girl, we could rock her sister using our foot.

The girls spent a lot of awake-time on their playmate in the early months. The bright colors and dangling toys captured their attention and allowed us to step away for things like eating, drinking, and using the bathroom. (You know, to pamper ourselves.) We wouldn't need to feel guilty about not entertaining them and we knew that they were safe.
Giant mugs
I think they're actually ceramic beer steins, but, whatever. We had two of these that we filled with hot water and used to heat up the girls' bottles. It only took about 2 minutes, and they fit the bottles perfectly with room for the hot water, maximizing efficiency, which we all know is a plus in Britt-world.
Baby changing pad
We set this foam pad on top of their dresser to make a changing table that can be their regular dresser later in life. It was soft and cozy and the cover was washable. Perfect.
Multi-purpose car seats
These car seats are life savers (literally). We could leave the bases installed in our car and bring the car seats inside, which meant we didn't have to disturb the girls or take the extra time to get them in and out of the seats repeatedly, especially in bad weather. The seats just clicked in to the base! Best of all, their stroller was compatible also, so we could take the car seats out of the car and snap them right in to the stroller without disturbing the kiddos. And when the girls were younger we put them to sleep in their car seats in a dark, quiet place if we were out visiting people.
Duo-glider stroller
It was hard to find a stroller that 1) Was a double and 2) Could snap in two car seats, but the Graco worked well for us. Most double strollers seemed to be designed for kids of two different ages, but this one accepted two car seats so it was worthwhile to have the whole system. The front-back seats are great for shopping since the side-to-side strollers don't work in narrow aisles. There are definitely some things I'd change about this design, but it met the basic requirements (see the beginning of this paragraph).
The Bundle-Me
Along with the car seats, we loved the Bundle-Me: a poly-fleece lined cover that fit perfectly in the seat and kept the girls warm without having to use a bulky jacket or a blanket that could be thrown off or lost. We could also zip off the top part and just leave the bottom cushy portion for extra comfort if it got too warm. A winner, especially since the girls were so sensitive to temperature for those first few months until they put on some insulating fat.

Butt Paste
Yes, it's a funny name, but a great product. If I had severe diaper rash I would use Ilex, but for everyday stuff, the Boudreaux's Butt Paste was great. It was easy to get out of the tube, stuck to the butt instead of our fingers, and was easy to wash off. It was also great at relieving diaper rash, which I guess is also important.

Car mirror
When you have a rear-facing baby, it's hard to know if the screams are from tiredness vs. a real problem, or if quiet is from sleeping vs. contentment, so these convex mirrors are super handy and we'll keep using them until the girls face front.
Gerber NUK Pacifier
We tried a lot of pacifiers (binky) when the girls got home because they were so little and undeveloped that their sucking reflex wouldn't be strong enough for most of them. We finally found that these worked best for the girls and really helped soothe them. There is a ledge at the end of the nipple that fit behind their gums and made it easier to keep in and thus, made less bending over, picking up and reinserting for mommy and daddy.
Pacifier keeper
We attached these to either the car seat or the girls' clothes and we never had to worry about a dropped or lost pacifier. (Although I still seem to be missing about 8... hmmmm.) It has Velcro at one end so it can be attached to any style of pacifier.

Baby Tad singing frog
We discovered the amazing use of this little guy several months in and it was miraculous. If you push on Tad's hand when it's in nighttime mode, it will play music for 5 or 10 minutes along with a glowing light in the sunshine on his chest. The light and music soothes the girls and distracts them from the fact that we've left the room. They fall asleep with a lot less argument when we use Tad. I supposed any toy that sings for a set period of time would work, but this is the one that Sean's brother gave us and can't do without it now!

Baby carrier
I used a Moby wrap a few times, but it was a little limited once both girls realized they didn't like to be swaddled and fought against anything the kept them from moving around. I wasn't too picky about the carriers we used since we got them free, but the Baby Bjorn seemed to work well. The best part about a carrier is that I could do other things with hands when I had a girl in it - like making 20 bottles at once, brushing my teeth, or picking up her other sister to soothe them both at once. Now I use it at the grocery store! One girl sits in the cart and the other is in the carrier facing out. They both can grab the cart handle and play together and I have my hands free to shop.

Bendy ball
This was hands-down one of the girls' favorite toys. It's colorful, rattled, and was very hand-held. They fought over it. And Charlotte usually won.
Once the girls were old enough to hold their bodies upright, these exersauers were outstanding!! It kept them reliably in one place and completely entertained and they could see everything happening around them. The Exersaucers also built their leg strength and I credit it for their ability to stand and turn so early. The collapsible feature of one of them made it easy to take to grandma and grandpa's, too.
Snap-crotch long-sleeved onesies
Any top without a snap crotch just rides up to their armpits, and the long sleeves were necessary to keep them warm! These were very hard to find in preemie or even newborn sizes. Maybe it's because the girls were born in June?

Sleep sacks
These come in a lot of different brands and styles, but I really liked the ones with a zipper that started at the bottom and zipped up. Who wants to try to figure out the dual tabs of a zipper in the middle of the night? Since blankets don't stay on well, and you're technically not supposed to use them, these sleep sacks were warm and cozy. Plus, they add an element of constraint which still makes them feel more secure and helps them fall asleep faster.
Having our groceries delivered was incredible. You can get just about everything you need and they even bring it inside. They even pick out really good produce. Such a time saver!

Nanntastic Cindy!!
I can't even list all of the amazing features of this one! She helps keep me sane, which is just about the best thing ever. (For me and everyone else around me!)

And that's what I can think of off the top of my head. Maybe Sean will weigh in with anything I've left off?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Little piranhas!


I don't know how it's possible, but Charlotte had 3 teeth come up in a single week! She now has 4 on the top and 3 on the bottom (which equals 7, you math-whizzes). Amazingly, she's only been slightly more fussy than usual, although nap times have been a nightmare, and she wakes up a few times in the night instead of sleeping all the way through. Lilah, on the other hand, still only has the bottom two teeth but we can see the outlines of her top two getting ready to make an appearance.

I'll probably always be boggled by the fact that two little girls are identical and yet they have so many differences that you would assume should be the same.

I found a cool graphic that shows how baby teeth come in and when and it looks like Charlotte is seriously ahead of the curve. I wonder how much we take gestational age-adjustment into consideration, because that would make her only about 9.5 months....

I'm a little worried about how Charlotte's teeth are coming in, though. I know they'll do a lot of shifting around in the next year or so as her jaw grows and the rest of the teeth come in, but it looks a lot like she has the same gap between her front teeth that I did as a kid. There is a web between the top lip and the front teeth that's called the Frenum (fraynum). Sometimes it grows too thick and strong and pulls the two central teeth apart. I had to have oral surgery to have mine removed, so that might be somewhere in the girls' future, too. Better make sure they're added to my dental plan, because none of this is going to be cheap.

With the new front teeth and the big gap, Charlotte is starting to look like a cartoon character - a very awkward phase of her babyhood. Every time she smiles at us we have to laugh because she just looks so goofy. But it also makes her look more like a toddler, which means they're growing up!

Accomplishments this week: learning how to "high 5" (holding up one hand so mommy can do the rest), Lilah started clapping (again about 2 weeks behind Charlotte) and has now started barking. Yup, barking. When she hears Roscoe or some other neighborhood dog bark, she reacts with a "HUH! HUH!" which is pretty cute. Charlotte has discovered my cell phone and will turn it over and over in her hands forever, just looking at it in amazement. She'll probably learn how to text before she can sign her own name.

Nanntastic Cindy usually gives the girls their baths twice a week, which saves us a lot of time to spend more quality time with them. She still bathes them in the kitchen sink because it's easier and because the girls freaked out about the bath ring when we tried to put them in the tub. On Friday, though, the girls had finger-painted with their bottles and their hair was covered with sticky formula, so I decided to give the big bath a try. With both girls at the same time. It was such a warm afternoon that I figured if they weren't dried off immediately they wouldn't start shivering right away, so it was a good opportunity to give it a shot (part of the challenge of bathing twins is making one wait). They loved it this time! They splashed and reached for toys and were having a great time. Toward the end, when I had soap in their hair, Roscoe started barking. I heard him jump on and off the couch and the next 10 minutes went something like this, over and over again:

BARK BARK!! Roscoe, off! BARK BARK! Roscoe, leave it! Leave it! BARK! No! Leave it! BARK! Hello? Who is it? BARK! Roscoe, off! BARK! Hello? I can't come to the door! Who is it? BARK! BARK BARK! Roscoe, leave it! (Jeez) Girls, your doggie is annoying. BARK BARK! Hello? I have the girls in the bath. I can't come to the door! Who's there? BARK! Roscoe, leave it! Off!

You get the idea. I finally took one girl out, laid her on a towel and dried her as best I could in 15 seconds, then reached in for the other girl while the first girl started crying. The second girl didn't want to leave the tub and started crying as I tried to dry her off. The first girl started to crawl away, naked, down the hallway. I tried to chase her to at least put on a diaper while the second girl was on my hip, also naked. I put the second girl down, picked up the first girl and attempted to put on her diaper with one hand while balancing her on my hip, listening to the second girl cry, and moving toward the front door. I opened the door to find my delivery guy standing out front, a half hour earlier than scheduled, while the second girl attempted to crawl across the threshold, still naked. I apologized for keeping him waiting and he said that he'd been responding to me but that I didn't hear him. It was apparent that he had no sense of humor about the situation. I pointed to the counter where I wanted the groceries, scooped up both girls, hoping that they'd already emptied their bladders in the tub, and scurried to their bedroom to get them dried and dressed. After the first girl was finished I set her free to roam the house while I dressed her sister. I found her a few minutes later, playing in the plastic bags the delivery driver had set on the floor, narrowly missing having a giant can of tomato sauce land on her ankle as she tumbled the contents across the kitchen. This guy obviously did not have children. What part of "on the counter" was a challenge for him? On the plus side, maybe, as a result of this encounter, he decided to consistently use birth control from that point forward.

This weekend I participated in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies! Thank you so much to everyone who sponsored us:
RENEA HESS (shout out for team Lilah!)
Gayle Sparks
Marcus and Jill Wheeler
Dean and Bob Magee
Kristina and Garrett Rutledge
Sarah and Max Collinge
Damian and Chelsea Kelly
Teri and Bud Kirkpatrick
Vivian Peterson

We really appreciate your support and hope that we can make this an annual event. Sean's mom, Teri, joined us for the walk and it was an absolutely perfect day for it - sunny, and just the right temperature. The girls were pretty good for the most part. Charlotte fell asleep pretty early on, which was what I was hoping for since the walk took place during their morning nap time. Lilah held out until later in the walk. Charlotte woke up at the end and pulled down the towel I was using to shield them from the sun, waking up her sister way too early. There were thousands of people, but I haven't seen any reports on exact numbers or dollars raised yet. My UWMC team raised $25k overall - not too shabby!

(That's a banana in Charlotte's mouth, not her teeth. Although she does look like Baby Herman here with that tuft of hair and silly smile.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

A new awesome website


If you get the chance to follow this on Facebook or just on the web once in awhile, there can be some pretty hilarious moments captured. Hilarious if it didn't happen to you, that is.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Everyone warned me...


...that it would fly by, go too fast, seem like just yesterday - and they were all right. In the course of a month the girls are now zombie-crawling anywhere they want in the house and are pulling themselves up to standing on anything they encounter, including my pants (note to self: elastic waistbands are not your friend right now). In fact, they both LOVE standing so much that they refuse to sit. And when I say refuse, I mean they go stiff as a board when we try to put their butts on the ground and, even if we do get them to bend, they immediately toss themselves backward in a show of defiance and lay on the floor for mere moments before crawling over to something to stand back up again. Charlotte has even discovered a love for the couch and is now scooting (because walking isn't quite accurate just yet) back and forth, turning to stand against the coffee table, and then back again.

And man, do these kids eat! We've been trying several new foods a week and by the time we turn back again, it has vanished. This week we did pancakes, steamed zucchini, shredded chicken, and yogurt. Not all in the same meal. We're not animals. Ok, sometimes in the same meal. They don't know about flavor pairings yet! I try to keep a balance of a protein, a grain, a dairy, and a fruit/veggie, which means they get 4-5 course meals, which is better than Sean and I eat. We've resorted to convenience food for ourselves quite a bit. Thank goodness for Morning Star Farms! In a single meal they'll eat a cup of canteloupe, a scrambled egg, a slice of whole wheat bread with cream cheese, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup applesauce and a jar of baby food. No joke! Where do they put it?!

In between meals the girls also have formula and absolutely LOVE Cheerios. We put a blanket over a case of toilet paper so they could use it to stand up against and we ended up scattering "O's" on top and calling it "the salt lick" because the ladybugs scurry over to get it as fast as they can.

Both girls have just started to appreciate mimicking us: repeating syllables we say even if they're not identical, holding out their hands, jumping on our laps, etc. Charlotte loves to clap and to carry things around in one hand while she crawls through the house. Lilah has discovered how to make a kissy noise and will make it on demand. We're trying to work on waving and sign language, but I'm beginning to think I'm the only one in the house who is making an attempt, so we'll see if they pick it up or not. Right now the one thing they can do is bang their hands on their high chair table when they run out of food or want another bite from the spoon. No, that is not the correct sign for more, but I get it.

They have their good days and their HORRENDOUS days - I call it their tide chart of moods because it goes up and down so much. Waking up early from a nap, not eating enough, and the msyterious "no reason at all" can get them whinier and fussier than Britney Spears without a Frappuccino. They want to be held, but not really held. They want to stand in our lap and turn around and around until even I'm dizzy, but they don't want to look at anything in particular. They want to be near us at all times, but mostly so they can use us as a jungle gym. They whine and cry at the tiniest little movement if they think for a moment it means we're getting up from being at their every whim. It's utterly exhausting. And it's usually both girls at once. The catch phrase you'll hear over and over again in our house is: "If there were just one...." Poor Sean takes the brunt of it because he's home with them every afternoon, but on the weekends I get more than my share as well.

Part of the fussiness may be because of their top teeth. Charlotte had her right top front tooth break through this weekend, so that probably means that Lilah isn't far behind. Pretty soon they'll start looking like little rabbits.

We had an outstanding photographer, Sarah Sweetman, come to our house this weekend for the girls' first ever portraits and I'm extremely excited to see how everything turned out. Sarah is starting to build her business and portfolio and from the looks of it she will be a blazing success! She was very sweet and patient with the girls, had brilliant ideas, and came very well prepared. At one point, Charlotte knocked over the giant Tupperware of O's I had to entice them to stick around, and then she gloriously began scooping handful after handful into her mouth and throwing it around with a gigantic smile on her face. She looked like Uncle Scrooge in his money bin, except instead of coins it was cereal. Charlotte found her happy place. So, Sarah suggested we take off their outfits and let them swim around in O's and get some good shots out of it- perfect! It was so completely adorable and darned if Charlotte wasn't grinning from ear to ear the whole time!

Here is a sneak preview of some of the cuteness:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hitting the big time.


Man, the girls are doing so many new things left and right that it's hard to keep track! Here's what comes to mind:

Lilah has started sharing! When she has something in her hand that she likes, she'll hold her arm straight out and if you open your hand she'll give you the item. And then quickly take it back. When we put our hands over Lilah's mouth and pat quickly she'll make an "aaaaaaaaah" noise and is completely proud of herself for making a new sound. Charlotte took a little longer to catch on, but she finally got it this weekend. And then Lilah one-upped her by figuring out how to make the sound on her own. But Charlotte has started figuring out how to clap and is equally proud of herself. And both of them are now sitting completely independently!

Charlotte has started using her knees ever so slightly in crawling and Lilah can now crawl several feet but she'll stop within arm's reach of what she was going for. It's like she's doing the bare minimum even though she's perfectly capable (kind of like holding her own bottle). This afternoon she threw a rattle down the hallway and both girls headed down the hallway to get it. Sean yelled, "Baby races!" Maybe that's what we'll do tonight. We'll take bets!

About two weeks ago I graduated the girls from the dissolvable O's to real Cheerio's, one at a time. They were a little confused about the transition but after about a day they jumped up and down and waved their arms when they saw the box come out. Now I can scatter a handful on their tray or Exersaucer and they'll have the time of their lives snacking away. I think, more than anything, they just like the ability to feed themselves, to control their own food, which sounds suspiciously like someone they're related to.... When they mastered the art of Cheerio's I moved on to some other items: chopped bananas, scrambled eggs, bits of bread. And at Easter we had access to some new fruits, so the girls tried kiwi, strawberry, and grapes. (All chopped into tiny pieces, of course). The girls look pretty grown up stuffing food in their mouths.

Lilah's bottom two teeth are about halfway up, and Charlotte's single tooth is all the way up with the one next to it finally breaking the surface. Charlotte was a midnight monster as a result of the new tooth and between the two of the girls, who alternated waking up all night, made me long for the days when I was in the hospital. Who knew that would be the most rested point in my entire life? When they have fussy teething days, even Nanntastic Cindy gets worn out. When Sean got home one day this week, she said, "Thank goodness you're home." After spending a day entertaining these two and trying to keep them happy in the midst of teething, I can honestly say that even I'm not cut out for childcare work.

Charlotte surprised us all this week by crawling up to a bar stool, reaching up for a rung, and pulling herself to kneeling and then standing! When she kneels, she then kicks her feet to one side and can get to a sitting position. The drawback to this newfound mobility is that I'm finding tiny tooth marks on the bottom of the rung.... I may have to get plastic crib rail protectors for our chairs.

Unfortunately, the ladybugs have kept us so busy that we haven't had much chance to take any pictures of their cute little faces, so you'll just have to check back soon!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March of Dimes Walk


As you know, our daughters were born 7 weeks early, which was a planned outcome, but many other babies don't have to be born early, and suffer physically and mentally as a result. We were lucky that we had no long-term effects from their premature birth, but it was because of incredible medical interventions, research, and excellent care that we even had a chance.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. I'm walking in March for Babies because I want to do something about this. And I need your help.

Please consider sponsoring my walk on May 15th in Downtown Seattle. Making a secure donation is easy: just visit my MOD profile page and click the 'donate now' button. As little as a few dollars can make a difference.

Thank you for helping me give all babies a healthy start!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Videos!


Watch the girls go mobile!

Charlotte figures out how to get up on her knees. Then she falls and gets frustrated. We've all been there!

The ladybugs have got this sitting thing figured out. Until Lilah decides she wants to lay down, of course. But she held it for 20 minutes yesterday.

Charlotte demonstrates her crawling skills!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Checkin' in


Drum roll, please.....

Charlotte - length 2'3.5" (47th percentile), weight 14 lb 9 oz (1 percentile), head circumference 45 cm (76th percentile)

Lilah - length 2'2.25" (11th percentile), weight 13 lb 14 oz (0.3 percentile), head circumference 45.5 cm (87th percentile)

Let's note that the method for measuring length is not entirely scientific. They lay the girl down on the paper-covered exam bed and hold a pen flat to the top of her head and draw a line. Then they straighten her leg and put another mark by the base of her heel. In the meantime she might have wiggled down the table slightly, have an arched back, or bent leg, and who can say that the pen was flat to either parts of her body? Needless to say, that inch of difference between the girls may or may not be accurate, but the weights probably are!

We did know ahead of time that Lilah had dropped behind her sister pretty dramatically when she got her cold last month, so it wasn't a surprise, especially since she started out on the lighter side as well. But, now that Charlotte has a few weeks of head start on crawling, maybe she's burning up the calories and things will start to even out. Or it will matter less the older they get. Also a possibility.

Our wonderful Dr. Dunn described their behavioral/physical achievements as 90th percentile. They can stand while holding on to things, create single-syllable sounds and use the same sound repeatedly, use a pincher grasp, play peek-a-boo, and combine syllables. All they aren't doing much is banging objects in two hands together (because why would you hit another toy when you can hit your sister?) and sitting unassisted. But then this weekend they both sat up unassisted for several minutes, apparently proving us wrong. They just never wanted to before, so they'd always try to lay down again. This time I distracted them with goodies and they were perfectly capable. So I'm personally increasing them to 93rd percentile instead.

Either way, THEY STILL AREN'T SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. *sigh* I had a hint of hope for about a week and then they got sick. Now they each wake up at least twice each in the middle of the night. At least I can hand them a half-bottle and head back to bed now. So I got that going for me, which is nice. (Bonus points if you know the movie quote!)

But lately it seems that it happens multiple times a night and then they're also awake at 5 a.m. I was hoping-hoping-hoping that the time change would mean they fall asleep at 8 p.m. and wake up around 6. No such luck. Apparently they misinterpreted the whole Spring-forward thing and instead fall asleep at 5 p.m. and wake up at 4 a.m. (as was the case yesterday). Wrong way, ladybugs!!

In the last week, Charlotte has really started to branch out on her crawling skills. She pulled herself over to her exersaucer lying on her belly, reached up for the rim and pulled herself up and onto her knees! She's not even knee-crawling yet but she's kneeling unassisted. She even goes inside the coffee table and pulls out baskets and papers and then goes through them once they're on the ground. Sean said that yesterday she made her way down our hallway and cautiously peered in to the guest bedroom, wide-eyed, for a few moments, then pushed her way back to the living room. A bit later she did it again, and again, each time very warily. He said that it reminded him of when our kitten, Cooter, was hesitantly checking out the world while not going too far from his comfort zone. So our daughter is like a cat. Or like a puppy since Nanntastic Cindy found her gnawing on the leg of our barstool.

Lilah, meanwhile, has discovered the fascinating game of peek-a-boo! She will pull any blanket or towel over her face, hold it there for a few seconds, then bring it down and look to make sure you're watching her, with a smile. If you say "Peek-a-boo!” she'll give a little giggle and pull the blanket right back up again.

The best part is when Sean and I get home and the girls do happy arms and bounce up and down and shriek when they see us. It's nice to know that they get so excited to see us! But then we go to wash our hands and it all turns to angry shrieking because they watched us walk away.

So that's where the girls stand right now. Sean and I are still keeping busy (like that's a surprise) with all kinds of projects and on Friday night I'll be heading up to Bellingham with my grown-up girls to see Brandi Carlile! A ladies night out! Whoo-hoo!! We'll be staying in a hotel and I can't decide if all of us moms are a) so well-trained for early mornings that we'll lay awake at daybreak angry that we're wasting our one chance to sleep in, or b) so utterly exhausted that they'll have to call security to pull our sleeping butts out of bed hours after check-out time. I'll let you know!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

BabyGap is Disturbing


Why does BabyGap have these jeans? I'm so disturbed. What's more disturbing? That they have so many positive reviews.

Skinny jeans
For the budding fashionista, a pair of skinny jeans, pre-washed for extra softness and made just for her.

Boyfriend jeans
Just like yours. She'll love these stylish and fun boyfriend jeans, pre-washed for extra softness.

They couldn't have called them "Jean Leggings" and "Relaxed Fit"? This is BABYGap!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google Passive-Agressiveness


When someone asks you to find information that they could have Googled themselves, try this:

Go to (Let Me Google That For You)
Type in whatever the request was for in the search box (For example, "Where is the Space Needle")
Copy and paste the new URL into an email and reply to the requestor.

This is what they’ll see:


Monday, March 8, 2010

9 months!


We're now at 3/4 years old (9 months for the rest of you) and really racking up the milestones. Charlotte figured out how to get up on her hands and knees and can now rock back and forth, although she's still a few days away from being able to get places. Both girls are now so mobile that we've started to find them asleep on their tummies; Lilah grasping a toy and Charlotte hugging a teddy bear. And last Wednesday I got home and Sean told me to feel Charlotte's gums - and there it was...the very first sharp little nub of a tooth, poking it's way through her lower gum.

The odd part was that Lilah's been the one who's been up in the middle of the nights, crying and yelling and angry that we're making her stay in bed. Somewhere between 10-2 in the morning, she wakes up and nothing will put her back to sleep again: not eating, not Tylenol, not rocking, nothing. Eventually one of us will end up in the dark on the couch with her, cuddling and singing and waiting for hours until she finally calms down enough to fall asleep. It's a killer. We actually were confident enough to think that these nights of exhaustion were behind us. Ha.

Lilah pulled this again last night and I was up for so many hours trying to get her to just stop crying that I woke up utterly exhausted and luckily had the chance to work from home instead of having QWERTY imprinted on my cheek. Later in the morning Sean told me to feel Lilah's gums. Ah ha. I rubbed my finger on her lower gumline and felt the reason for our rough night - TWO teeth poking through her gums. It's so interesting that she was literally only days away from her sister in getting teeth, but she one-upped her and had two. Must have hurt like crazy. I forgave her a little. Only a little though, because I was still wiped out.

In the meantime we're finally getting a little nesting done. Between me and the girls being in the hospital for so long, the amount of work it's taken every day, and a serious shortage of funds, we never really fixed things up around here in preparation for the ladybugs. So we've now done a mini bathroom remodel (new cupboard, wainscoating and trim), decorated the hallway (frames and some of my favorites pics), the bedroom (frames and some botanical prints found on etsy), wall-mounted the tv and ran the cords through the walls, had two enormous stumps in our front yard ground down, and now we're on to a pantry remodel. Ambitious, yes, but when Nanntastic Cindy asks how we get so much done every weekend, I reply, "We don't put away laundry."

We took everything out and I spent all weekend repainting the whole room from top to bottom, performing feats of contortion to get behind the ducts, pipes, water heater and furnace. It was was a dusky pink that made everything look dirty and needed a minimum of 2 coats to start. I wanted to keep the room bright since there's a window that brings in lots of natural light, but I also wanted white shelving and Sean's compromise was that part of the room had some color. So, 2 white walls and ceiling and the gray-blue from our bedroom on the other 2 walls. Next weekend we're off to Sean's sister's in Sequim, so it may still be awhile until food re-enters that room....

Friday, February 26, 2010

Finally, videos!


(This is a long one)



When Sean gets home around 1:00 every day he usually gives me a call at work. We catch up on each other's days, talk about the plans for the evening and just generally touch base. Usually at some point in the conversation, if the girls are still awake, he'll pause our conversation for a moment to fill me in on what they're doing. It usually sounds something like this:

Charlotte's on her back, Lilah's on her stomach next to Charlotte.

Charlotte is smacking Lilah in the head really hard but neither of them seem to care.

Lilah somehow got Charlotte's shoe. I heard the velcro, so she must have pulled it off.

Lilah's eating Charlotte's shoe.

Charlotte stole her shoe back.

Charlotte's eating the shoe. Lilah has the monkey.

Lilah has the shoe again. Charlotte stole the monkey.

Charlotte is on her stomach. She turned around and Lilah is kicking her in the head. Neither of them seem to care.

Don't hit your sister.

Oh, I see an eye rub on Charlotte. Are we ready for a nap, girls?

That was Lilah shrieking. She's just talking.

Roscoe, off! No. Roscoe, off!

Charlotte's almost in the hallway, now.

What should I have for lunch?

Ah, good times.