Rose Garden

Last Saturday, the weather held nicely all day, so at the last minute, we decided to make a quick trip to the Rose Garden.

The two of us went there on our first trip to Portland, in September 2011:

DSC_0065-1

DSC_0060-1

Even though it was so late in the year, there were still a ton of beautiful blooms. And the weather was downright hot that whole week.

We haven’t been back since, even though we moved to Portland last fall. Recently we decided it would be a nice spring outing with the babies (in carriers–a stroller would not be fun on all that grass). I’ve been starting to see roses bloom around town, so I figured some would be coming up here in the garden. It’s definitely still the beginning of the season, so there weren’t a ton of flowers yet. But it was still very pretty! And hey, we’ll just have to come back later this year, for more roses with bigger babies!

DSC_4127-1 DSC_4128-2 DSC_4129-3 DSC_4134-4

DSC_4146-6 DSC_4135-5  DSC_4147-7 DSC_4151-8 DSC_4156-9 DSC_4158-10 DSC_4167-11 DSC_4168-12 DSC_4173-13

6 months

 DSC_0546-2-2

Dear sweet babies,

Six months! You’re half a year old! What!? I can’t believe it. I can never believe it, of course, but this one is a Big Deal, a Milestone kind of age. No more little babies.

DSC_3728-4

You’re getting so big, so aware, and so interactive. You’re discovering new things about your selves and the world around you. You are still really cute and such happy, smiley babies.

Emmett, you’re just over 26″ long, and you weigh 17lbs3oz. Malcolm, you’re almost 27″ long, weighing 17lbs10oz. I’m happy that you’re both growing so well and that you still seem to be really healthy! It’s not so great for Mama’s back that you’re so heavy though…

DSC_0562-6

DSC_0557-5

This month has had some disruptions from your well-established schedule. Some days your naps are ‘normal’, and sometimes you refuse to nap, and sometimes you nap for an hour and a half! It’s never clear what kind of day you’ll have, so we just have to play it by ear and trust that you’re just going through stuff and you’ll be okay.

You also have had more nights with longer wake-ups. Wide awake at 3am is not ideal, babies! Get to sleep! Sometimes we give you a snack and/or put you in the Rock N Play so you can relax and rest again.

Speaking of relaxing, Malcolm, you have been doing a lot of side-rolling, while awake and also in your sleep. During the really hot week this month, we kept finding you in new spots in your crib. Several times I found a hand or foot through/in the crib bars!

DSC_3854-10

IMG_9786-13

And speaking of cribs, this month the second crib finally got built, and a week later, you started sleeping in separate cribs. Growing up so fast. 😦

IMG_9787-14

One good piece of news is that these Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuits seem to help you sleep a little. You had almost a week of bad nights, and then with this, a week with a majority of good nights.

DSC_0528-6

So Malcolm, now that you’re rolling to the side, you don’t seem to care about rolling from your front to your back anymore. When you get tired of tummy time you just fuss. It’s like you forgot all that rolling you did last month!

Emmett, though, you regularly, intentionally roll when you’re ‘done’ with tummy time. It’s kind of a slow, slow-motion process and you kind of roll your whole self instead of leading with your head like you used to. We can usually put you back and distract you with a toy or book, if we want you to do more tummy time.

Malcolm, you found your feet! Whenever we lay you down, up go your feet.

DSC_3936-15

You both can use your hands to hold/move your bottle, and you try to replace your pacifiers. Generally you end up gnawing on the edges though because you can’t quite maneuver it all the way.

DSC_3346-1

You use your hands constantly. You grab everything, you’ve started to reach out, and most things you grab you try to bring to your mouth.

That plus all the extra moaning and fussing leads me to think you’re in the process of teething or pre-teething. So far it hasn’t been too bad…but I know it will only get worse. I hope we’ll be able to soothe your pain when it starts getting worse.

It’s not all moaning and groaning, though. Your cooing now includes lots of babbling. You both still laugh plenty too! We love to hear those giggles so much.

We took you to a swingset in the neighborhood park! We had you both in carriers and sat on the swing with you first, then tried you in the baby swing. You were a little confused at first, but smiled too!

DSC_3605-1-1

You both do a lot of supported sitting in various baby equipment throughout the day, and you’re finally working on sitting alone. Malcolm, you have definitely mastered tripod sitting.

DSC_3929-11

Look at that face!

DSC_3932-12

The jumble of hands and feet is also adorable. Emmett, I’m pretty sure you can also sit, but you would rather use your hands to grab something instead, so it’s tough to make you practice.

Malcolm, after a month of regular, low-volume baby noises, you started shrieking again and became Pteryodactyl Baby. Emmett, you have joined in the screeching fun by now too.

When we pick you up and hold you, your arms go around our shoulders or necks like you’re hugging back. I adore it. I wish I could hold and hug you all day long.

DSC_3976-2

I took you for a solo park outing in Laurelhurst Park a couple weeks ago. First we did a walk around the park trails, and then I put out the new picnic blanket and set you down. You both protested right away. I held you both on my lap, precariously, for a few minutes, and then you calmed down. You happily hung out on your tummies for a little while after that and then got fussy again. Being outside on the ground is still hard and unhappy for you. As the weather gets better, I need to help you get used to being outdoors! We’ll have to practice in our front yard.

IMG_9743-8

Malcolm, your hair fell out/thinned out in the last couple months, but this month it started coming back in. A mohawk stripe and these little mullet wings were the only remnants of your first baby hair. They were starting to get out of control in the back there, so one evening I got my hair scissors and trimmed them. You look much less mullet-y, and so much more grown-up. Sad mama!!

DSC_0531-1 DSC_0536-2

Emmett, your hair remains a masterpiece. It’s getting longer all over and it does some impressive acrobatic, gravity-defying stunts. It’s great fun pulling off your sleeping cap and seeing your bedhead.

DSC_3962-1

Finally, hands down your favorite activity this month has been grabbing faces. If anyone gets within tiny-arms reach of either of you, up go those hands! It’s so freaking cute. But geez, those baby fingernails are sharp! I need to work on keeping them trimmed enough so that we don’t get scratched up!

DSC_3895-2

DSC_3736-5

DSC_3687-2

And of course, we had our first Mother’s Day together. Thank you for letting me be your mama.

Babies, I know lots of fun things are ahead for you, and for us all as a family. Before I know it, you’ll be scooting all over the floors, sitting on your own, eating food, cutting teeth, growing, growing, moving into the world and away from me. I wish I could hold on to this wonderful baby-ness stage, though, and keep savoring it forever. I’m trying to memorize how it feels to squeeze your incredible chunky thighs and kiss your soft but firm cheeks that are just begging for a nibble. How it feels when you see me for the first time in the morning and you have these huge smiles, and you don’t take your eyes off me. How when I read to you with you on my lap, you lean back and look up at me, maybe to check I’m still there, or just to see my mama face, and smile. How I can delight you with some tickles and squeals. How The Wheels on the Bus will abruptly stop you from crying. How it feels when you chew on my fingers with your very strong gums and jaw. How it feels to hug you and squeeze you and love you so much.

We love you, babies. Though you’re progressing through all this baby stuff like champs, and always growing and learning, you’ll be my babies forever.

I love you,

mama

The M Word

Last week was Mother’s Day. My first official Mother’s Day. (Last year I was secretly pregnant for Mother’s Day, and also we were ending our trip in central Europe.)

DSC_0524-10

I was hoping that by now I would have been able to put together some words about being a mother.

DSC_0515-9

But…I haven’t. I can’t. It’s so strange.   DSC_0499-7

See, Mothers are grown-up ladies who know what they’re doing.   DSC_0488-5

That description does not sound like me…ergo, I can’t possibly be one! And yet…

DSC_0472-3

Here are these two babies that apparently are mine. I have two babies. They are pretty much the best and cutest babies in the whole wide world. Hugging them is seriously one of my all-time favorite things to do. Their giggles, their chubby thigh rolls, their little hands grabbing mine, the way they have a huge smile when they see me first thing in the morning…I love these things and lots more. I love these babies. I guess that makes me a mama.

I hope all of you mamas had a good, relaxing day. All I wanted this year was a nap and a photo of me with my sweet babies. Check and check, thanks to my husband. 🙂

Regression?

IMG_9607

IMG_9621

Thanks to Ask Moxie, I learned about growth spurts and sleep regressions long before it would ever be time for our babies to go through them. I blame pretty much blame any weirdness on one or the other. However, as their four month ‘birthday’ came and went, I wondered if somehow we had escaped the four month sleep regression that I’d heard such terrible things about.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the babies had a hard time going to sleep. They cried for a good half-hour after we put them down, which is very unlike them. Wednesday and Thursday nights (I think?) they were up–WIDE AWAKE–for an hour and a half around 3am. We gave them snacks and tried to help them calm down, to no avail. Eventually we put them (or at least one of them) in a Rock n Play, and they must have fallen back asleep.

They also suddenly refused their naps, or at least their nap schedule (which had been 45 minute naps four times a day). Emmett would finally sleep for 1-1 1/2 hours, and Malcolm stayed up longer and crash for half an hour. They also got a lot more hungry, eating 7oz or more for at least half the feedings.

The morning after the second bad night, we were talking about it, and as I went through all the unusual things that had been happening, I was like, Dang, I am describing a sleep regression.

I was still a little hesitant to label it that in my mind, because I’d heard about babies waking up every 45 minutes or every 2 hours all night long.

I was also hesitant because I was scared that some terrible torture was about to befall us for weeks on end–some babies’ regressions can last up to SIX WEEKS. Ie, insanity time.

However! Over the weekend they were back to their normal nighttime routine–went down fine and had some overnight wakeups, with us making quick trips to replace pacifiers. The erratic naps and increased appetite have stuck around.

Also–I swear they’ve started rooting again!

Then! On Sunday and Monday nights this week, they had NO overnight wakings! It was amazing! We felt incredulous in the morning: “Did you wake up for anything?” “No, did you?” Rest for all of us–hallelujah! Maybe this was the shortest sleep regression on record!

Tuesday night, however, was another awake-for-an-hour-and-a-half at 2am. It suuucked. Naps Wednesday were even worse than they’ve been: They both took two half hour naps in the late morning and early afternoon. Then Malcolm was awake from 2pm until their dinner (630pm). Four and a half hours! He wasn’t happy, fussed from 5pm on, even when I was holding him. The swing calmed him but still no sleep. Poor baby. Emmett napped for less than half an hour somewhere during that time, so at least he was okay.

From Wednesday on, the babies have mostly napped back on their old schedule, and needed a little more to eat, but not a lot. No more long overnight awake time though, so far. Knock on wood. Friday, the 11am nap lasted an hour and a half–for both of them! At the same time! This is unprecedented! I’m sure it was a fluke–I won’t hold my breath that it’s a new pattern or anything.

However, the last few days, Emmett has occasionally been getting upset and extra fussy again. We think it could be related to pre-teething?

So it’s all a crapshoot at this point–especially remembering that there’s a six month growth spurt on the horizon. I guess we just need to be patient with the little babes and do our best to comfort them and keep them happy.

Rhododendron Garden

DSC_3334-19

Last fall and winter, I joined a bunch of Meetup.com groups, in hopes of meeting people and learning about interesting places in Portland. One was a group called New to Portland Moms. Well! That’s exactly who I was (or who I was about to be)!

DSC_3280-1

They are a very active group, with outings most days a week. But most of the meetups are early in the morning. So when I saw an outing for the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden at a 11am (an hour past a feeding), on a Thursday, it was like, “Bingo! That’s perfect!” It was close by, I hadn’t been there before, it wasn’t too early, and I wouldn’t have to feed them there. Finally, an outdoor outing that I could feel comfortable attempting by myself!

DSC_3282-2

DSC_3292-7

The garden is a lovely network of paths ambling among trees and around water, with lots of colorful rhododendron bushes everywhere. All seemed to be in peak bloom. It was a perfect day to stroll, just the right amount of warm. The paths were nice and shady to keep you cool. There are some small hilly sections that were a little bit of a challenge with my big stroller, but for the most part it’s easy to roam. There’s a large lake in the middle. I found a few moms from the group with their kids–all bigger than mine–and after a little loop of the flowered paths, everyone hung out on a lawn while the kids roamed and snacked.

DSC_3317-14

DSC_3290-6

DSC_3302-11

I laid out a muslin on the grass and took the babies out of the stroller. In less than two minutes, the fussiness started.

DSC_3315-13

They weren’t screaming or anything, thank goodness, or even crying very loud. It was just clear that they were unhappy. I tried to deal with it for awhile, and a fellow mom even held one baby for a couple minutes. But finally I decided that the hassle wasn’t worth it, and I packed them up again.

DSC_3285-3

DSC_3297-9

DSC_3286-4

DSC_3313-12

DSC_3322-16

DSC_3329-17

So it wasn’t the greatest outing in the world, but it wasn’t the worst either. I guess I just need to take baby steps–ha!–in getting these babies out and about in the world.

Damn you, Google Reader

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I’m still in denial that Google Reader is going away. Stop trying to make Google+ happen! Anyway, I’ve ‘claimed’ this blog with Bloglovin. Please follow me there or with whatever other reader site you’re using. 🙂

I have, no joke, 16 other drafts waiting…I need to find an entire day to finish writing some of them and start feeling more caught up. Either that or stop being so finicky about posts.

Anyway. Happy almost weekend!

Acknowledgements and Apologies

I wanted to take a moment away from all-cute-babies-all-the-time to address a few points.

First and foremost, I hope I haven’t offended or irritated or annoyed anyone by being preachy or braggy or something terrible like that. (If it’s my personality that’s annoyed you, well, you might be out of luck. :/)

This having-twins thing is kind of crazy, and it can be difficult. There are a lot of ways that logistically it’s more difficult than having one baby, and I have been guilty of thinking and saying, “Oh man, one baby would be so easy!”

I came across a link to this blog post–Your hard is hard–and felt humbled, and guilty. I want to apologize–whether to you specifically, or to the ether in general. This baby business is not a competition.  I must remind myself constantly not to compare my experience or thoughts with others’. I hate to think I may have offended someone. I am so sorry–I would never do that on purpose.

My uncharitable thoughts or thoughtless remarks are really unfair. A new baby is a huge change and adjustment and lifestyle shock to anyone. We happened to have a slightly different kind of lifestyle adjustment than do people who have singleton babies. But that doesn’t take away the difficulty and the shock and exhaustion that all those singleton-baby parents experience. It’s different, but it’s not better or worse. It’s all difficult because it’s all new, and because each baby is different.

In so many ways, I have been so lucky in my experience, and please, I want to make it clear that when I say that, I’m acknowledging that a) it has nothing to do with me or anything I’ve done; b) I have had a lot of support; c) I am grateful and surprised; and d) a lot of mamas have a much harder time than I do.

There are so many people out there whose babies have colic, or sleeping issues, or allergies/sensitivities, or other difficulties. That is so tough! I would have a really hard time dealing with those issues, and I acknowledge and applaud that so many mamas are dealing with them so gracefully–or at least surviving! (Which is really all we can do sometimes, right?)

Multiple babies seem to elicit responses from people like, “Wow, you must have your hands full!” and “I don’t know how you do it!” When in reality, any baby is going to keep his parents’ hands full in one way or another. It seems like all babies have their ups and downs, good and bad aspects, and each of us has to deal with and work through what our own babies present. We don’t know any better and we certainly don’t have a choice.

So, fellow mamas, I applaud you simply for being mamas. For doing your best for your baby or babies, for getting through every day, good or bad. It’s really hard sometimes, isn’t it?

When I post about things we do or have, or systems that we use, it’s just to share or perhaps inspire ideas. It’s not to preach our way as the end-all be-all. I don’t subscribe to any one theory or philosophy of parenting, and even if I did, I would never ever want to preach/force it on anyone else. All I know–all any of us knows–is our own babies and what works best for them and for us. Sharing ideas in a friendly, helpful manner is one of my favorite things about knowing other mamas. So that’s all I’m doing here. And believe me, I am very aware that I don’t know anything! That’s why I categorize some posts as “Non-Expert Advice”, to acknowledge that I’m coming from an extremely limited scope of experience.

I love hearing from other people and reading what other folks (in comments or on blogs) have to say, and I hope to be a helpful and interesting addition to the giant world of baby blogs. And most of all, I hope to be respectful of everyone who stops by. Because no matter how many babies you have, this parenting thing is hard! We all deserve support and encouragement. So please give yourself a virtual hug from me. 🙂 And give your baby a snuggle and don’t forget to give yourself a break every now and then–you deserve it!