In my adult life I've driven a Honda Civic and then a Volkwagen Jetta. I'm pleased that after my typical research, an American vehicle came out the winner this time around.
Mike and I considered crossovers, certified pre-owned vehicles, and other minivans, but with the fuel efficiency, safety features, stow-and-go seats and various other features not available in the others, the fantastic deal we got made this vehicle choice nearly a no-brainer.
While I wouldn't have minded a sportier ride, neither Mike nor I ever swore against driving a minivan. In fact, having been kids in the 80's, we both actually thought owning one as a grown-up might be kind of fun.
Michael started taking five or six steps at a time with only one foot a while back, so we knew it would just be a matter of time before he realized he could do more than pivot in a circle.
This morning I was sitting on the living room floor with Sophie in my lap putting her socks on, and Michael was standing at the loveseat about five feet away. He looked over at us and let out a little whine, probably wanting to play with the socks (it's a thing we do), so I said, "Well, come here, Michael." And he did! As soon as I saw his left foot take a step after the right one, I called to Mike in the other room, and he, Sophie, and I all watched the walking happen, smothering Michael with kisses when he reached me.
There are a lot of benefits to breastfeeding beyond being healthy for the babies. It's easier in many ways and less expensive than formula. It burns a ton of calories, and...well, let's just say now that I'm only nursing twice a day, one of the other perks has recently expired. Here's a hint.
Twenty-two months, people. Twenty-two months. Keep my family in your prayers. : )
A while back I mentioned that there were a couple changes I hoped to make in the nursery if I found the time. Well, it turns out that when you get down to breastfeeding only twice a day, time seems to open right up...aside from all that other parenting stuff.
A Creative Memories consultant came to my MoMs meeting this week, and while I resisted buying anything or making any big plans for craziness like baby books, I did think of those sad scrapbook frames I threw together last month. See, sad.....
So while Mike hung out with the babies this afternoon, I took a detour on the way to Kroger and spent a while in the scrapbook aisles of Michael's craft store. I already had a book of paper left over from the nursery paintings (below), but I had to pick out embellishments for the frames.
When I got home, Mike continued working toward husband of the year and let me play with my new toys while he fed, bathed, and entertained Michael and Sophie until that last feeding and bedtime.
I'm pretty happy with how the frames turned out. I used the same newborn photos of Michael and Sophie's feet, but I ordered smaller ones in sepia to coordinate better with all the brown. I printed their birth information in brown ink on green velum, added their names in copper letter stickers, and layered the same velum, textured brown paper, two coordinating sheets of scrapbook paper, and brown ribbon.
I couldn't put the frames back up up tonight since we put Michael and Sophie to bed before the frames were totally done. But I also intend to spruce up the windows in the nursery soon. Cordless, blackout shades are on their way, and I have an idea for adding a little color. Watch for a third "finished nursery" post in the coming weeks which should include these in place.
In between refills of Michael and Sophie's lunch today, I tackled the kitchen shelf that houses their food and all associated paraphernalia. Sippies by the pair were crammed into that cupboard among breastpump parts, back-up formula, and the few bottles we kept around just in case. I still breastfeed Michael and Sophie when they wake up in the morning and before bed at night, but those days are numbered. It felt like time to purge.
Here's that cupboard now. No bottles. No formula. No baby megaphones.
And within the next month or so, those jars will be history as well.
This process got me thinking about my first blog post about all the products that made the newborn phase of parenting twins easier. Many of those items have fulfilled their baby care destiny and have been sold or packed away. It's amazing how quickly infants become toddlers, how soon bouncy seats make way for push toys, swaddling blankets step aside for sleep sacks, and sippy-cups elbow their way into the bottle cupboard. Just as toast is the new rice cereal around here, other products are making the early toddler days simpler as well.
Munchkin Sippy Cups
Sophie and Michael have a few different kinds of sippies, and they get excited when they see all of them. We bought these on sale last weekend just to have a couple more in the rotation, and they are Michael and Sophie's clear favorites. The removable nozzles are similar to bottle nipples in that you have to remove them and put them back in after cleaning. That's a little annoying, but I also suspect that similarity is why Michael and Sophie like them so much and drain them dry.
Fisher Price Space Saver High Chairs
Like all big ticket purchases, I did my homework on high chairs. I liked the idea of wooden ones, possibly the kind that you find in restaurants, but after one MoM after another raved about these, I went for it. And now I'm raving. They travel well, clean up pretty easily, are comfortable for Michael and Sophie, and they do save space over full-sized high chairs, even though the kitchen chairs have to stick out a bit.
We've only used these a few times so far, but they've been pretty handy...and fun. We have to put a towel down on the bottom of our bathtub because it has ridges that don't allow the seats'suction cups to stick (the towel holds them in place). That little adjustment is worth it to be able put both babies in the tub at the same time with a little help in keeping one safe while we deal with the other, an ongoing struggle in the land of twin parenthood. The seats open with a latch for easy loading and unloading and fold down a bit for storage. If the makers had multiples in mind, they would have made them stackable as well, but they didn't.
The Newborn to Toddler Tub was fantastic for almost the entire first year. The sling attachment was great when the babies were tiny. Until Michael and Sophie could pull themselves to standing and we started using it in the bathtub, we had months and months of comfortable baby bathing standing at the kitchen sink instead of kneeling in the bathroom.
We really made the most of swaddling in those first few months, so it was nice to have these to transition into when the babies started rolling over and swaddling is considered unsafe. We've seen no reason to call it quits with these, especially when they make our babies look like Sweet Pea and Cindy Lou Who.
These are very handy for messy meals, restaurants, and dinners at other people's homes. Sophie managed to eat about 1/4 of my Mongolian Barbecue meal tonight with one thumb stuck in the sleeve (I noticed as I took the bib off). Still, both babies' hands and faces were covered in ginger sauce, but their clothes were not!
These came recommended and then as a gift from a friend and fellow mom. On their maiden voyage just this evening they proved to be all they're cracked up to be. They suction cup right to any table and have a little trough to catch food, both of which really work! They're dishwasher safe, BPA free, and super portable.
When Mike first installed these I kicked myself a little for putting fashion over function. These gates retract similarly to rolling window shades, saving space and keeping doorways clear. They take some getting used to, but with a little practice we've gotten pretty good at opening, closing, and moving these even with a baby in our arms. The rollers are removable, and each one comes with two sets of hanging hardware so you can use them in two doorways in your home.
J.J. Cole Blanket
This portable, waterproof blanket lived in the trunk of my car for the last year, but since it's gotten warm in the last few weeks, it's gotten some good use in our backyard.
I could go on and on about favorite toys, but the few I've chosen below, are ones that are so appealing to Michael and Sophie that they work when a distraction is needed. "Oh, Sophie, Michael took your Elmo phone and made you cry? Hey, look at this!"
Fisher Price Music Table
Some friends gave Michael and Sophie one of these for Christmas, and we bought one at a mom-to-mom sale. Before they could stand or even sit up at the tables, we'd set Michael and Sophie in their Boppies, take the legs of the table, and set it on their laps. Now they stand at the tables, often playing two at once like skilled DJs.
That's Not My Monkey
Another Christmas gift, this time from Mike's brother and sister-in-law, this book is one of a few touch and feel books that are hot items in our playroom. Michael and Sophie love to touch the fuzzy tongue, smooth feet, and furry bellies that distinguish each monkey in the book. The title makes Mike and me laugh like thirteen-year-old boys, so that's good too.
There's probably some sensory learning justification for this ball spewing, wind blowing, Rockin' Robin singing toy, but around here its purpose is 100% fun.
A few items that made this year of breastfeeding easier have come to mind, but I'm thinking that will be its own post. We'll see!
Until the summer of 2009, this song took me back to my teen years, to the mid-nineties when Natalie Merchant dancing atop a gargoyle was in regular rotation on MTV. The song filled me with an appreciation for that moment in my life, for the energy of adolescence.
But on a Sunday morning two Augusts ago, I drove to Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries. Driving there was the first time I had been alone since a little blue plus sign changed everything the day before.
On Coffehouse, my favorite Sirius station that plays acoustic mainstream music, often covers or rare performances of familiar songs, I heard this one...sort of. It was a slower, more tender version of "These Are Days" than I'd ever heard before. With the knowledge of my pregnancy just taking hold, the song seemed to have been adapted to that new moment in my life with words about pregnancy, motherhood, and how incredibly fortunate I was.
This clip from Storytellers is the closest I can find to the version of the song I heard that Sunday morning. Mother or not, I hope that anyone listening appreciates this instant of your life and the possibilities that lie ahead.
With my second one tomorrow, I've been thinking back to my first Mother's Day.
Michael and Sophie were about four weeks old, and although we had made a tradition of having family over for dinner on Mother's and Father's Day, I just wanted some family time with Mike and the babies. That kind of time was new to us, and with Mike back at work, we hadn't had too much of it yet.
The best gift Mike gave me was letting me stay in bed the night before. Unlike our normal routine, Mike took care of all wake-ups and brought the babies to me only for scheduled feedings. As if that priceless gift wasn't enough to make any new mom happy, Mike and the babies gave me a beautiful necklace and sweet cards in the morning.
Later in the day my old friend Ali who had recently started taking photos professionally came by to take newborn portraits of Michael and Sophie. It was a fantastic way to commemorate the occasion, and it just coincidentally occured on that day. Had the sun shone better into our living room the day before, the pictures would have been taken then.
To see how much they've grown in one year's time, here's a video from just this morning :
We spent most of my first Mother's Day relaxing. Mike made us a great meal that night, and the occation was just what I had hoped for.
This year, we're back to tradition and will have family over for dinner tomorrow. We feel fortunate to have our family near and enjoy sharing Michael and Sophie as often as possible with those who love them so much.