Summer Bucket List #5 and #6: Brunch and Party

#5: Brunch with babies!

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So we’d had the babies with us in a couple other restaurant situations. They had sat in high chairs in a couple fast food places, and we did one fairly-quick Red Robin dinner with my dad.

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But I wanted to do a purposeful restaurant outing with just the four of us and have a bit of yummy food too. So we went to Old Wives’ Tales, which is a kid-friendly diner-type place. We’ve been there before; in fact, it was the very first restaurant we brought the babies to. They were like 4 weeks old and slept in their infant seats the whole time.

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We made sure to bring several toys to ‘entertain’ them, and to be prepared to give them sips of water from our glasses. Then we decided to let them try the orange slices that came with our dishes. It was their first citrus and they seemed to like it!

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Even more than the toys they liked looking around at the new surroundings and new people. They were kind of quiet, I think just taking it all in. Thankfully it was pretty quiet in the restaurant; I have a feeling that they might have gotten overwhelmed otherwise.

Anyway, it was definitely a success and I am excited that we know we can take them out occasionally!

#6: Host a social gathering

We’ve lived in our house for almost a year now. It was finally time to have some people over!

Last fall, I happened across a meetup group for expectant mamas in our quadrant of Portland. We met up in October and everyone seemed really nice. A few of us started getting together to craft and chat, and then in December after all of the babies were born, we would get together at different members’ houses to hang out and talk babies. It was so great. All the girls are kindred spirits and I loved every time we got to hang out.

However, I’d never had everyone over to our place. Partly because we have a small living room and until a few months ago it wasn’t set up to accommodate a group. But now it’s summer, we rearranged our living room to be more open and spacious, and we have our little front yard. So it was time to play host!

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Of course I started a pinterest board for tasty and trendy snacks…but then I decided to keep it low-key. I made these muffins–chocolate chip with a few blueberries. We made some white cheddar popcorn, got some cheese and crackers, and set out a bowl of the fresh blueberries we’d picked recently.

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Three of the families were able to make it, so there were five babies total. All of the other babies were crawling at least a little, but happily everyone stayed safe in our non-baby-proofed space. Then we got everyone into the baby pool! There was lots of fun happy splashing.

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Overall, it was great to see everyone and host them at our place. I hope that we’ll be able to see them all again soon, and sometime we’ll do another gathering.

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Summer Family Road Trip

Part 2 of our busy family July was a road trip up to Seattle for a long weekend. We were there mainly to see some family (mine this time), but also took the opportunity to play tourist with the babies.

I only realized after we’d gotten back home that we neglected to take grandparent photos. I’ll have to make sure we do that next time we get up there. I don’t know when that will be–maybe before the end of the year/early next year? We did get a few family photos while we were out and about though.

Packing up: I love our CR-V. It would be super awesome if there were like an extra foot of trunk space, though. I guess packing will be easier when the babies need less baby stuff.

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We stayed at my dad’s house, which has this gorgeous view:

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And this silly dog who loves to play fetch:

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And somehow these babies sit up on the counter now! When we were here in January, they were little bitty babies in their boppies.

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On that January trip, I basically sat around one house or the other, mostly trapped with the babies. It was boring and long and boring. So this time, we made sure to explore a bit. Thankfully the babies were willing to play along.

First up, we hit downtown Seattle! I haven’t been there in awhile, so it was fun for me to see the sights too. We did a very quick look around Pioneer Square (mostly the awesome toy shop), but there was some noisy construction going on and we didn’t want to upset the babies (lately they’ve been noticing and not liking loud and/or sudden noises).

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So we moved over to the Pike Place area! We strolled through the market but didn’t stop, because argh, the crowds.

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Phew.

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We did go find some ice cream for “lunch”. It was super delicious.

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And then the babies had lunch in the car. IMG_0636-6

On the second day, we went east to Snoqualmie Falls:

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It was another gorgeous day! The mist from the falls was drifting all the way up the cliff, and it was quite refreshing.

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Since we were so close to North Bend, of course we had to have lunch at Scott’s Dairy Freeze! It’s one of those local burgers/fries/shakes joints that is always tasty and refreshing.         IMG_0683-3

That day we also stopped by one of my favorite places in the whole Northwest–Boehm’s Candies. I always say that if heaven doesn’t smell like that shop, I don’t want to go. If you’re ever near Issaquah, you should go!

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Day three was a big adventure–Whidbey Island. The babies’ first boat ride!

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I think it’s safe to say they were confused and/or fascinated by the views. IMG_0717-5

We got to my aunt Molly’s house and they took a nap together in their pack n play.

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When they were awake, they were passed around and they were totally into it–lots of new faces all looking at them!

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The whole gang!

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We had planned to leave before their dinner, but there was a huge wait for the ferry. So we ended up feeding them at my aunt’s house and then later, driving around Deception Pass. They slept the whole way, thank goodness. It was a three hour drive to get back to my dad’s house, but it would have taken that long to wait for the ferry and drive anyway. So it was a loooong day.

Altogether it was a good trip. I was really happy and relieved that they did so well being not only away from home, but carted around to so many new places, not to mention having their naps interrupted by outings. By the last day, they fussed a little being put into the car seats, but that was the extent of their protests. What amazing babies!!

Life with Babies Now: Schedule v6 and v7 (8 months)

I think it was around May or so, when the babies were around six months, that their nice schedule of 3-4 45 minute naps a day dissolved. What was good was they started occasionally taking longer naps, sometimes an hour, sometimes an hour and a half, and very occasionally two hours. What was bad was that there was no rhyme or reason to the naps. Even worse was that the naps almost never occurred fully at the same time.

They started waking up earlier too, around 6-630 (instead of 7-730). They would take a 45 minute nap around 830 or 9, eat at 10, sleep for an hour or more sometime after that, eat at 1pm, take a nap sometime in the afternoon for an hour to hour and a half, eat around 4 (sometimes they would sleep through and eat later), sometimes a short nap around 5, and last bottle at 630.

So they were still eating every three hours or so, but I started to notice that those naps overlapped feeding times often enough. So for the last month or so (?) I’ve been doing more of a ‘demand’ feeding time frame–basically waiting for them to start getting cranky and clearly hungry. Interestingly there was flexibility in the two afternoon feedings but not the others. No matter when they had the second to last bottle, at 630 or so they always get super upset and hungry and needing dinner.

Also, the fourth mini-nap became even more important. If they didn’t get enough rest, the last two hours of the day were always rough because they were so tired/cranky. I would try to put them down around 5pm for a little catnap, but most of the time they refused to sleep.

It was nice to occasionally have a long quiet time by myself (on the days I was home with them), but we were also trapped at home. During the week I didn’t bother trying to even plan outings because of the erratic nap schedule. On weekends, we’ve still been doing at least one outing after their lunch bottle, even though it often interrupts or prevents naps.

Last week the babies suddenly decided that they wanted some regularity again and put themselves on a new schedule. It’s also nice because there are big windows to do regularly scheduled ‘meals’ of solids.

Wake up: 6/630

Breakfast solids: 8ish

Second bottle: 930ish

Morning Nap: 10ish-11ish (sometimes an hour and a half)

Lunch solids: 12ish

Lunch bottle: 130ish

Afternoon Nap: 2ish-4ish

“Snack” bottle: 430

Dinner solids: 530

Dinner bottle: 630

Two naps a day! And they’re back to being mostly simultaneous. Sometimes there’s an overlap; one will go down up to half an hour after the other one. And it seems like one or both of them have been waking up a little bit/for a little while during the afternoon nap.

Two to four pm had been our ‘outing time’ for the last number of months, and now that will need to change a bit, I think. Since that’s now such a major nap for the day we should keep it as sacred as possible. We’ll have to use the 11am-2pm window to get out and about, which also means they’ll have to eat while out and about, which is not easy or fun or quick.

Again, this all happened last week. So I’m hoping that A) it sticks and B) those little pips get ironed out. Already I like looking at the day knowing what’s going to happen. I hope to start getting out a little more, for walks and maybe some playdates again.

Summer Family Time

This July has been a busy, fun time that included a lot of special family time for the babies.

First up, Andy’s parents and sister came out to visit for a long weekend. His parents were here for a week when the babies were six weeks old, so E&M have changed just a bit since then! 🙂 The grandparents were so, so happy to hang out with and snuggle the babies. And this was the first time Auntie E met the twins–they loved her and she loved them!

It was only a precious few days that we all had together. I know that they would love to see the babies all the time, so in the meantime we share lots of photos and we FaceTime regularly.

Not pictured: one of the evenings, we got a babysitter and all of us went out for a lovely, grown-up dinner at Salty’s on the Columbia. Another evening, Andy and his sister had a delicious sushi dinner. Good family time.

And now for lots of great family+baby photos!

We had some time to hang out at home:

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We got out and about a bit too: for some burgers, to the Rose Garden, and berry-picking.

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We can’t wait to see you all again!

Eight Months Old

Dear sweet babies,

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You are eight months old! Where did my teeny tiny babies go? Why are you getting so big?! You’re starting to look so old, like little boys instead of babies. Makes me sad. But you’re still the cutest babies around, so I guess we’ll keep you. 🙂

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Here’s all the cool stuff that’s happened this past month:

Biggest news is that you both have teeth! Emmett, one of your bottom ones came first. A week later, both of Malcolm’s bottom teeth popped up. And then sometime last week, Emmett’s second bottom tooth showed up. Exhibit 353 why you are the Best Babies–you didn’t seem to do the traditional screaming/major fussing/fevers; the teeth were just there. Wow, are we lucky! Who knows if you’ll be upset for future teeth.

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Other big news for the month is that now both of you are sitting really well unassisted. We still keep pillows behind you for topples, but you will sit and happily play for a long time. Of course, “playing” almost always involves you stealing toys back and forth from each other.DSC_0736-8  IMG_0490-3 IMG_0491-4

You also love to practice standing, and can pretty much do it on your own; you just need balance support. Malcolm, here’s a terrible photo of you balancing on my lap while I hold you with only one hand:

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You both love to talk, babble, and blow raspberries. It is the CUTEST thing. Lots of “mamamama” etc all day. I can’t believe that someday you’ll be saying “mama” and “dada” and really mean it.

You continue to be very happy, giggly, ADORABLE little (big!) babies. In the morning especially you are so very happy to see us!

This month you/we discovered that you both like water. In fact, you love water. Emmett, you are a little OBSESSED. You have figured out that my purple bottle has water in it, and if you see it, you will stare and start trembling in excitement, mouth open and arms out in baby-bird anticipation. You sip on my hard-core-lemon water and don’t even make a face at the sourness (I put a LOT of lemon juice in my water–I go through about a liter in less than a month).

We got you some sippy cups to see if you could ‘feed’ yourself some delicious water…but you’d rather chew on the spout. You haven’t figured out how to hold the handles and tilt it up yet, which is fine–you’re only little babies!

Speaking of chewing, you still love books, but for eating instead of reading. Reading to you is like a mini wrestling match as you frantically pull and grab for the book to shove toward your mouth.

New dislike: being laid down on the changing table. New like: sitting up on the changing table looking out at the living room. It looks like you’re a sovereign baby surveying your domain. I need to get a picture of this.

You have been eating solids all month, usually only once a day. We’ve done mostly store-bought purees, but we’ve also done some fresh foods: mashed avocado, mashed banana, peach chunks in mesh feeders–you LOVE that–and baby mum mum crackers. You still seem to like everything, or at least you don’t hate anything so far.

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Lots of changes to your sleeping habits this month. First, because it got so hot, we transitioned you out of the sleepsuits and into sleep sacks. We were very nervous about that, but you still are sleeping well–thank goodness. But since the sleep sacks don’t prevent movement, you now do a LOT of squirming around in your cribs. We lay you down one way and you never stay there–you turn to your side, you grab the bars and wiggle sideways or ‘upside down’, and then you started flipping over onto your tummy! Malcolm, for about a week you woke up crying on your tummy every night at 330. Then, happily, you seemed to either get used to it or stopped flipping over so much. Emmett, you almost always roll to your right and sleep that way.

Neither of you is crawling or seem to be super close, which I am relieved about. You both started doing this little bounce on your butt when you’re sitting up. Looks like a scooting pre-cursor. And you like to lean forward and make forward movements with your hands, which probably means that soon you’ll figure out that you can keep going and end up on all fours. Ack. You can both turn around and move while on your tummy.

You’ve now gone on some great daytrips and also had your first overnight trip to Seattle. (You went when you were 2 months old, but you’re so much more ‘awake’ and our routine has changed so much since then!) You did SO WELL. By the end you were just a little unhappy to be stuck in the car so much, but thankfully you were able to relax and sleep during a lot of our long drives. You slept in your pack n plays for naps and overnight, which we’d been a little nervous about, but again, you did really well–in fact, you kind of slept better!

You’ve been meeting/getting to know lots of family and friends–everyone loves you and loves holding you guys! You are so sweet and curious and adorable and you seem to charm everyone with your big grins and friendliness.

We love you!!

love,

mama