Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's just too much!

When I was in the hospital after the boys were born I was told by a nurse, with twins herself, to write everything down because the first 3 months will go by in a blur. Well, she was pretty much right! I wasn't immediately able to start "writing everything down" because...well, life was a little crazy! But, when the boys were about 6 weeks old I sat down and wrote about everything up until that point. How much they were eating, sleeping, their schedule, my pumping, what they were doing, etc. After this I kept up this journal each week documenting everything from that week. The boys also each have two baby books. One is just a traditional Carter's baby book and the second is a special book specifically for twins. I love keeping up with these, but found them to be lacking in a lot of areas that were important to me. It is so nice knowing that I have all this information for me and for the boys in the years to come to look back on. The only problem with my journal and the baby books is that we are the only ones who see them! So, when the boys were about six months old I started this blog so that we could also share with all our friends and family the updates and pictures of the boys. All this documentation takes a lot of my precious time. I don't regret any of it and feel that it is worth every minute. But, there really are other things I want to get done! So, I am "planning" to start using this blog as my journal and not doing so much of my handwritten journaling. I generally only do post about big things, but you may start seeing more little posts about something new or silly the boys did that day/week. Some of you could probably care less...but that's okay. This is more for my convenience since I print these blogs out for the boys. I am just a little bit obsessed with documenting their first year...ummm scratch that. I thought I would not be so obsessed after the first year but I shoulda' known! I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. So, the blogs will keep on comin'!

I have been terrible about updating lately, but here are few things we have done recently.

A couple weeks ago we bought the boys their "big boy car seats"! They were just shy of 30 inches (the limit for their infant carrier car seats) at their 12 month appointment so we started shopping around for a convertible car seat. This was such a hard decision for me. There are sooo many factors that go into this decision! We had a lot of problems getting them installed to my satisfaction. Because of the boy's size and for safety, we are doing extended rear facing. This can be a little trickier to do for some convertible seats. So I took them in the back of the SUV to a certification site and they installed them for us for free with no problems.

(Only pictures from when we fitted them in the house. I'll have to get car pics later!)
A couple weekends ago we had a garage sale. Well, better stated, I sat up for a garage sale. Our neighborhood was having a garage sale, and with babies there always seems to be something outgrown or no longer in use. Unfortunately, since we live in BFE, there was not much traffic. I think it took me longer to tear down from the sale than it did to set it up!

Last weekend Daddy went to Conclave in MO. GG came to stay with us for a few days and we went to Aunt Bea's funeral. I am so glad Aunt Bea was able to see the boys a couple times before she passed away. It was nice to spend some quiet time with just GG too.

I took the boys to the audiologist. This was just a regular check up and everything seems fine. Ayden was just happy to be sitting in Mommy's lap with no interruptions and was not too interested in paying close attention to some of the sounds. Ashton was more interested in getting off my lap to check everything out. She had to be quick on the trigger between sounds or he was making a run for it!

We have been getting out more and enjoying the nice weather we have been having! I took the boys to the neighborhood park and let them play on the equipment a little bit for the first time. I am usually too freaked out by the dirtiness of it and the germs! I know at some point it is going to happen so I just have to let go! This playground is really more appropriate for older kids also. There are several steps and Ashton took off all the way to the top like he did it everyday. Truth be told, he has never had the opportunity to climb more than one step! I have been putting them out on the grass more and they are finally getting use to the feeling of grass under them. They are very interested in eating the grass and mulch right now!

Ayden and Caleb playing across the street.

Ashton figuring out how the wagon works.

The boys are laughing and using their "outside voices" a lot lately! They love to play peek-a-boo and hiding/chasing games. Ashton has learned how to yell from Ayden and they now like to compete in yelling matches - sometimes Mommy joins in too! The neighbors probably think something is wrong! They are also very interested in how things work and using toys for the intended purposes. The can both play the xylophone, put balls in at the top of the ball ramp and push all the buttons on their different toys. They are also going through a phase where every toy is cooler upside down! The music table, the rocker, the walking toy all get turned upside down. And now they have found out that if they empty all the board books (probably 25 or more) from the wooden toy box they are in, they can then turn the box upside down and drum on it! Needless to say we are now working on cleaning up after ourselves! Ayden is also interested in "compartments" recently. He found a flap that lifts up on their push car and there is a tiny storage area there. He likes to open it and put a ball in and then take it out again. Tonight he found Daddy's pocket and pulled it open to look in, then he put a small car in it!

Ashton and Ayden continue to be great eaters and don't really refuse anything - especially if it's a carb! We are working to identify some foods that are possibly causing rash issues though.
Ashton is a very messy eater!
Ayden loves lasgana and lima beans! yummm!

And, of course, it wouldn't be a Double the Love blog without pictures of my two loves!

Go Pokes!
Ayden and DaddyAshton and Daddy

The boys LOVE the animals and "kitty" was the first real word for both of them!

They love their new bongo's!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Family Pictures

For the boys one year pictures we decided to do outdoor pictures and incorporate some family pictures. We has Summer from Designs by Summer do the shoot at Woodward park two weeks ago. It was a very humid day after two week of rain. The park was wet and muddy and we were hot and sweaty from carrying the boys all over the park. But, it was fun and we got some great shots! Here are a few of the pics...when we get the CD hopefully you can see more.

Our first visit to the zoo

Jeff took the day off today to spend some "family time" with us before he has to leave for the weekend. We decided to take the boys to the zoo and get a zoo friends membership while we were there. On the way to the zoo the boys went right to sleep since it was their normal nap time. Of course, as soon as the car stopped they were wide awake. We got them out and put them in the stroller, applied lots of Blue Lizard sunscreen, put on our Baby Banz and we were off! We had no idea how long the boys would be able to handle the zoo, but it really didn't matter since we got a membership and can go anytime. After only about 15 minutes Ashton was NOT having the stroller! He is going through a major gross motor stage, and that combined with his ever increasing sense of independence, makes him hate to be confined to a stroller, wagon, lap, etc. We took turns carrying him and pushing the stroller. Ayden was relaxed and chillin' in his banz. (What a change from a few months ago!) We got to see the chimps, elephants, tortoise, turtles and penguins up really close. Many of the other animals where too far away for the boys to be able to see them. After about an hour and a half Ashton was more than ready for a real nap. Lately the boys have both been taking two 2 hour naps each day! This is GREAT when we are at home, but proves to be a little inconvenient on days like today. We made our way back to the car and Ashton was out before we even left the parking lot! We stopped at Braum's on our way home since we heard they had some new ice cream flavors. We LOVE Braum's, and being an ice cream-a-holic is in my genes so checking out this new ice cream was a given! There were sooo many good choices it was hard to select just one! I finally decided on dulce de leche cheesecake! (I plan to try it after finishing this blog!) Then we went home and ate lunch and put the boys down for a good nap. This afternoon we got out a splash pad and hooked up the sprinkler to introduce the boys to "outdoor water play". The water from the hose was pretty cold so we doubted how well it would go over, but went ahead with our plan. Ayden was timid at first, but decided it was okay to touch with his hands, and he loved watching the water spraying up from the holes. Ashton was not so adventurous today. Near the end he finally relaxed a little, but he was still not excited about it.

I am so excited about the warmer weather and the boys being able to participate in and enjoy more activities! I plan to fill the coming days with even more exciting things. Now is the time to rack my brain for all those activities I use to do with my pre-K kids and adapt them for the boys!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our future is so bright...we have to wear shades!

Although I am certain my boys will have a very bright future, the wearing shades part is a necessity! At 5 months of age the Pediatric Ophthalmologist confirmed what we suspected - the boys have inherited an eye condition called Ocular Albinism. This is an X chromosome linked genetic disorder that has effected several males in my family. I won't go into the specifics of the condition, but in short, it will cause them some degree of limited vision, light sensitivity and involuntary horizontal movement of the eye (side effect called nystagmus).

"Ocular albinism in an inherited condition in which the eyes lack melanin pigment, while the skin and hair show normal or near-normal coloration.
The lack of pigment in the eyes causes various vision problems:
-Reduced visual acuity from 20/60 to 20/400 and sometimes as good as 20/25 in African-Americans,
-Nystagmus - involuntary back-and-forth movement of the eyes,
-Strabismus - crossed eyes or "lazy" eye, and
-Sensitivity to bright light and glare."
from the NOAH website

At this first visit the dr. said he thought the boys vision may be between 20/100 and 20/200. We recently went back for a six month follow up and were greeted with a little bit better news. The boys had come a long way since that first visit. It is common for babies with vision impairments to development certain skills a little bit slower. This time the dr. decided that their vision may be closer to 20/80 - 20/100. Unfortunately this is as good as it gets for now. There are no corrective procedures and corrective lens won't make their vision any better than is. We are still holding out hope though! Until the boys can actually tell us what they can see it is only an educated guess. We decided to get a second opinion and went to see Dr. Morgans (Optometrist) at Harrel Eyecare Center in Tulsa. She was great with the boys! She didn't say anything really different than we had already heard and agreed that glasses weren't necessary right now. She did strongly encourage the use of sunglasses though. Because I am familiar with this genetic condition and have the light sensitivity issue myself, I knew they needed sunglasses. I had bought them some, but like most one year olds, they were more interested in chewing on them than wearing them. Kelley, an Optical Specialist at Herrel's, showed us some new baby sunglasses they had just brought back from a trade show. The sunglasses are called Baby Banz. They have a neoprene elastic strap and are made of durable polycarbonate in ophthalmic quality. The lenses offer 100% UVA/ UVB protection and are category 3 lenses which offer high sunglare reduction and good UV protection. We were the first to get these cool shades from Kelly so we are their official "testers". As you can imagine, the boys would much rather play with these new "toys" than see out of them. I have tried to put them on several days when we go on our walks. Since we have had so much rain during the last month I have not been able to get out and try them as much as I had hoped. This week has been beautiful though, so I got the wagon and the Baby Banz out and we tried it again. And....they actually kept them on for close to 10 minutes! The strap is very soft and the frames are a great fit - unlike the other glasses I had bought first. My only complaint so far is that the band will not go quite small enough to fit as securely as I would like. The shades are designed for 0-2 year olds, but I don't see how a baby under one could use them too efficiently. My boys' heads are a pretty average size for a one year old and they are just a tad too big now.

I am really excited that the boys will have something both fashionable and comfortable to protect their eyes while we enjoy all the opportunities the summer has awaiting us!

These pictures were from the first day I tried to put the sunglasses on the boys. I must have put them on a dozon times before I finally gave up and we started our walk.



These are from yesterday! (Excuse the pj' was a Monday ya' know!)

Yes, Ashton, the sun is bright! That is what the Baby Banz are for!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cloth Diapering 101

My newest fluffy bums shots!
Ayden (left) Dream-Eze and Ashton (right) Bottom Bumpers

Since starting my cloth diapering adventure in February I have received lots of crazy looks and even more questions! I am really still a beginner, but I have learned a lot and would like to pass on my knowledge to those of you who have been asking. I wish I had the time to respond individually to everyone but, since everyone had pretty much the same questions I will answer the basics here.

"What do I do with the poop?"
If you are breastfeeding and have not started solids - nothing! Breastmilk poops are water soluble and the diapers and all can just be thrown in the wash. If you are using formula or your baby eats solids you simply dump the poop in the toilet. Many moms who cloth diaper use a diaper sprayer to clean off the diaper. This is a sprayer similar to the one on your kitchen sink. It attaches to your water line and comes with an attachment to hang on the wall. This makes cleaning your diapers mess free! I personally don't use one right now but may invest in one at some point.

"Is it nasty?"
Not at all. Diapers are so simple and modern now that it can be just like changing a disposable (aka- sposie, paper diaper). Again, a diaper sprayer can make changing even the nastiest diaper simple and clean.

"How do you wash them?"
You have two choices. If you live in an area that has a diaper service you can have them drop off clean diapers each week and pick up your dirty ones and wash them for you. If you would like to have your own diapers it is very easy to wash them at home. You use very little detergent (too much can affect the absorbency of your diapers) and depending on what kind you currently use, you may be able to use the same brand for your diapers. No softener or bleach is needed. You can line or machine dry. I don't have too many problems with staining, but most diapers can be hung/layed out to sun and the stains magically disappear!
Check here to see how your detergent rates.

"What size do I need?"
Many diapers are available with a one size option. The diaper snaps down to make it smaller and unsnaps to make it larger. These are intended to last from newborn to potty training. These are great if you are trying to save money and want the most bang for your buck. They are often a little bulky on newborns though.
You can also choose diapers from size extra small to large. Every diaper brand has a size guide telling you the weight range for their sizes. In general a medium size diaper will fit most babies for most of their diaper wearing stage.

"There are so many choices, which is best?"
This answer really comes down to preference. Every mom has a different answer to this question. Here are your options and the pros and cons.

All-in-One (AIO) - These diapers are just as they are named and require no additional parts or stuffing. The outside is a waterproof PUL cover and there is an absorbent insert sewn in. These come with both snap and aplix (velcro) closures.

Pros: Very simple. These are a favorite with dads and daycares. They are just like putting on and taking off a sposie.
Cons: The sewn in insert may not be enough for heavy wetters. This problem can be resolved if the diaper has a pocket for additional inserts (stuffable AIO). Because you can't take this insert out it does increase the drying time for these diapers.

Pocket diapers - This diaper also has a PUL cover and cloth inside. The top of the back side of the diaper has an opening, or a pocket, for you to put in your own insert(s). If you purchase a new diaper it will usually come with an insert, but you can also buy them separately. Inserts are made in all shapes and sizes and made out of all different types of materials. These come in both snap and velcro closures.

Pros: Pocket diapers give you the freedom to customize the absorbency of your diaper. This is great for heavy wetters and for nap/bed time.
Cons: In my opinion - none!

Prefolds - These are the kind your mom used! It is a flat cloth that you have to fold. You need a waterproof diaper cover or wrap with these.

Pros: The actual cloth is cheap and the covers can be reused for a couple diaper changes. You only change the cloth part. These are also great for newborns because you can get a trimmer fit.
Cons: The folding can be difficult until you get the hang of it. Covers are sold separately.

Fitteds - These look like a diaper but don't have the waterproof cover. Because these diapers can come in such cute prints some people don't use covers at home, but they will leak if you don't change soon enough!

Pros: Easy to put on and wash.
Cons: You do have to buy the covers separately. They usually take longer to dry.

Covers - A lot of brands make diaper covers and wraps. These go over the prefolds and fitteds. Other choices for covers are wool and fleece. There are diaper soakers, longies, shorties and even skirties! They are both wicking fabrics and are super breathable.

Pros: These can be a good choice for heavy night wetters. They don't have to be washed often.
Cons: These can be very expensive and require some special laundering care.

"How many do I need?"
This depends on how many children you have and if they are still getting changed over night, as well as how often you want to do laundry. I would suggest getting at least a two day supply or the washing may be overwhelming. For one child 15-20 diapers would probably be good. For two children 25-30 diapers.

"What about diaper rash?"
Cloth diapered babies generally get a lot less diaper rash - no harmful chemicals on their bums! But, if they do you can not use just any diaper rash cream. Check here to see what you can use.

"What do I need to get started?"
1)Diapers (duh)
2)Diaper pail (trash can with a lid works great)
3)Pail liner (made from PUL material and can be washed with the diapers) *not absolutely necessary, but convenient
4)Wet bag (small version of a pail liner - for diaper bag) *you will not need this if you only use cloth at home
5)Diaper sprayer
6)Diaper safe laundry detergent

Diaper sites I use/recommend- - This site has a "try cloth" program for $10. They also have a lot of good info about cloth diapers. They sell gently used diapers at a discount each week. Sign up for their newsletter to be notified when they are posted. - You can get overstock and seconds here for a good price. - This is a forum where you can ask questions and talk with others who use cloth. This is a new forum, but we are all very welcoming! - Another forum, but also a great place to buy and sell diapers!

There are lots of places to win cloth diapers!! Here is one that is running currently, but they also give away diapers weekly! - Great reasons to cloth diaper - if some of this doesn't have you convinced. I don't know what will. This site is new and run by a great mama I know. She also sells diapers, wraps and other good stuff.

My preferences - in case you care!
Right now I only use pockets and AIO's. I am thinking about trying some fitteds soon though. I love Fuzzi Bunz pocket diaper for overnight. They have NEVER leaked! I love the fit of Blueberry AIO diapers. The ones I have are stuffable so I usually put an extra little insert in to prevent leaks. I have also recently discovered Bottom Bumpers and Dreme-Eze and I love the fit of both of these diapers. Another favorite of mine, as well as many other CD mamas, is Bum Genius. I don't have a lot of experience with inserts. All but two of mine of Haute Pockets. I love them though. They are contoured instead of shaped like a rectangle. They also come with a doubler that snaps on and off. I bought these from the clearance site listed above. Haute Pocket diapers are a good trim fit but I don't like the PUL as well. It is called "breathable" and this causes it to "feel" moist although it has not actually leaked. You can purchase the inserts separately though.

Well, I think I have covered the basics! If you have additional questions feel free to ask. If I don't know I can find out!