Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What do YOU do with 200 ounces of breastmilk?!

Well, I used half of mine to make a super soft, all natural, full of wondrous healing power breastmilk cream! A mom from my wonderful APA forum makes natural baby products under the name Sudzy Baby. She recently began making a kit she sends to mom's with instructions on how to make their own breastmilk cream. All you provide is the milk. Her kit normally uses 7oz of breastmilk and makes 6 oz of cream. I had so much milk that I asked her to do a large batch kit for me. The kit I used called for about 90 ounces of milk and made over a gallon of this white luscious stuff!
I started out by defrosting all my precious liquid gold breastmilk. This was all pumped by me about a year and a half ago! I hated that dreaded pump...but I love the results!
I mixed the ingredients and melted them all together in the microwave. After they melted I whipped it up in the blender. While it was still hot and fairly thin I poured it into 2 gallon freezer bags (1/2 full) and I filled two 1 liter pump bottles.

In the end I had THIS!
We are now set for lotion/cream for quite awhile! Since I was with my family I let them all try it out and everyone was impressed. My dad and my husband both thought it felt like having a paraffin hand dip! (Yes, they have both had this pampering procedure done!) Ayden has a form of dry skin which causes little bumps on certain areas of his skin and we are hoping this helps. We also use a balm from Sudzy Baby that has been wonderful for his skin this winter. Whether you have 7 oz of breastmilk or 100 oz, I highly recommend ordering this wonderful kit. What can be better than lovingly massaging your little one with cream that was made from love and boobs!

Now I have to figure out what to do with the remaining 100 or so ounces!?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring(?) Break(!)

What a week!
We started out with Phase 4 of our move! Pretty sad that we aren't done and are already on phase 4...anyway...the four of us left for Oklahoma on Friday morning. We stopped close to our home (in OK) to pick up a 14ft. Uhaul truck. After eating our FAVORITE Mexican take out we put the boys to bed and got to work. We sorted through our boxes getting out anything we wanted to take back to our temporary home and the things that we were going to take to our storage unit in St. Louis. Shortly after getting started we found a heartbreaking problem! Our garage freezers' door had been left opened and the water from the defrosting process had soaked into nearly every box on the garage floor! We got off SO lucky in the end though! My wedding dress was one box but, it had been preserved and so only the outer box was touched. A box of "baby memories" but, luckily we had filled in the box a little with some blankets in the bottom. The situations continue and nothing was really ruined! We caught a really lucky break with that one! We loaded the storage stuff in the truck first and the spring clothes, the boys cribs and kitchen, as well as some other items we wanted with us at our temporary home. We finally finished loading around midnight and enjoyed a great nights sleep in our own bed!Jeff left the next morning to drive the truck back while I stayed and fixed some things up at the house. My parents arrived shortly after Jeff left and they entertained the boys and helped me with some things on Saturday and Sunday. We got the yard cleaned up, planted some new plants and put fresh mulch in all the flower beds. We packed up the kitchen and packed and reorganized what was left in the garage.Monday we got to meet up with our friends from the twin club at a mall play date! It was so great to see my mom friends and their twins! I had missed them so much - other than my bff, Lindsey, I think they are what I miss most about my life in Oklahoma. Afterwards, we ate with a few of the mom's in the food court. Hindsight...this was a GREAT decision since we don't generally eat out. On my way home to put the boys down for a nap while I cleaned the house, I talked to my mom. During the course of our conversation I realized I was going to be locked out of the house when I got there. I didn't have my keys, just the garage door opener and my mom had locked the garage door to the house when they left! In the end, I had to call the realtor to come open the lock box to open the house. We had to wait nearly an hour outside, luckily it was a beautiful day! It was really sad to see Ashton going from door to door trying to get them opened and crying. He always loves to go outside but, he was so exhausted from our morning he just wanted to go inside and take a nap!
While the boys napped I worked my heine off! I did a whole weeks worth of cleaning during a 3 hour nap! I swept, mopped, vacuumed, dusted, made the bed, did a load of laundry, wiped down the bathrooms, loaded all our stuff in the car and a few other things. Now I was the one exhausted and ready for a nap! But, unfortunately, I had to get the boys up, give them a snack, take down their pack n plays, get them loaded in the car and drive an hour and a half to my parents house.My grandma had fixed my favorite recipe of hers for dinner and we got there just in time to eat. Why is it that when I fix the exact same meal with the exact same recipe it never tastes like hers?? I think it's a grandma thing! In case I haven't mentioned it before, I have the BEST grandma! She also fixed a custard pie thing for dessert. It has coconut in it and she knows, of course, that I am not a big fan of coconut so she made a mini one just for me! I am so glad that my boys have the opportunity to know my grandma, their Gigi!We spent the week basically taking it easy! My mom and I got a pedicure one afternoon and went grocery shopping on another. I checked out a few stores during nap time one day when she had some ladies over for a meeting. Friday my sister arrived with her two kids who where on Spring Break. We all met up at the park and played for awhile. It was a nice sunny day, but the wind was a little cooler than we expected - but, it was still the nicest day of the week! We planned to have a picnic but decided against it and picked up Braum's burgers on the way home and ate them there instead.During the boys' nap time on Friday my sister, Kim, cut and colored my hair. I decided to have more of my natural color put in this time. It is so much darker than when I was younger! The back has been natural for awhile now since I have only been having the top/front highlighted. She colored it all over the same light brown as the back. Then she went back and just put a few lighter highlights in the front/top. Afterward, she trimmed it as well. It looks and feels so much better! I just have to get use to this new color! After dinner that evening she gave the boys a new look as well! They got their second hair cut, which was also their first "big boy" hair cut! They look adorable, but so grown up! I guess we are getting ready for their (quickly) upcoming second birthday!Our plan was to go home on Sunday. Daddy was going to be in Memphis with his buddies celebrating their birthdays from Friday-Sunday too. As the week went on the weather forecast for the week began looking worse and worse. By Friday night they were calling for about 10 inches of snow at my parents' house starting Saturday afternoon and not ending until Sunday evening! I did not want to get stuck there like we did at Christmas. We had things to get back home for this time! At the last minute I decided we would leave on Saturday instead. I got done what I could on Friday night and then rushed around trying to gather all our things and get the car loaded on Saturday morning. I went out to turn the car around and get started at around 10:30 and it was already about 32 degree and sleeting outside. (Do you remember that the day before was over 70 degrees! Crazy!!) We finally said bye to all our family and left around 11:30. It was a long trip through sleet, snow, and lots of rain and drizzle. I wasn't able to turn off my wipers until about an hour or so from home! It was gloomy here and had drizzled on and off all day and did rain after I got home though. Nana had a great dinner ready for us when we arrived home. We spent Sunday relaxing with Nana until Daddy got home after the boys woke up from nap. We were all excited to see Daddy after being away from each other for over a week! He had a great time on his "Boy's Birthday Bash" and even returned with a few souvenirs."After" hair cut pictures!
The boys loved coming home to play with their long lost kitchen!

Although a lot of kids were our for "Spring Break", it didn't seem like spring most of the week! The actual first day of spring was on Saturday, the same day Oklahoma got inches of snow! Although I did have to do a lot of work the first few days of the trip, it was nice to get away and get a little break from our normal routine!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pastel Puffballs

What a great spring weekend we had! I can't wait for everyday to be so nice! Saturday morning we took the boys to a Family Fun Expo and got some great information, samples, etc. Saturday afternoon daddy began not feeling so well, but the boys spent lots of quality time with their Papa who was in town for the weekend. Aunt Amy also came over for dinner and got lots of kisses from Ayden!

Sunday Daddy was feeling even worse and we decided it was a great day for a Pajama Day! As usual, when we stay home, we need extra activities! This time I was prepared with a spring/Easter theme activity! I bought some pastel colored puff balls from the dollar store and put them in our ever useful tub and had a great activity for Ashton and Ayden! I also included two measuring cups and 1 set of tongs.

They had a great time playing with the measuring cups....

and filling the measuring cups...

until this happened....and then this...

Ayden loves to dump!Ashton loved the tongs and opened and shut them over and over again for a LONG time!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fine Jewelry Artisians...

Well, maybe not for a few more years yet! I feel really guilty that I have not done any sort of bead stringing activity with the boys yet. I had an idea and planned to get the necessary supplies at Joann's the other day. I was disappointed with their selection of the beads and dowel rods I had pictured in my head. So, I decided I would just wait (again putting off a skill I knew I needed to work with them on!) and pick the supplies up somewhere else. Instead I did buy some pipe cleaners and small beads. I intended on saving these until the boys had perfected their fine motor skills with the large wooden beads and dowel rod stringing activity I had originally planned. Well, yesterday the boys had a ton of energy to burn and I had neglected to make plans to leave the house or prepare for a planned activity. So, after building with Lego's, reading lots of books, coloring, and playing with play dough all before 11am, we needed yet another activity! I decided to go ahead and bring out the beads and see what would happen. I worried that Ayden would try to eat the beads and that both boys would lack the fine motor skills and coordination to hold the pipe cleaner and the bead and put the pipe cleaner through the small hole of the bead. As it turns out, they didn't do too bad! I had to help them a lot but, they definitely had the idea down. After a bit Ayden did attempt to put a bead in his mouth. I don't think he would ever actually try to eat/swallow one. He has been going through a phase the last week or two where he has begun putting things in this mouth that he never use to. I think he is just being silly and "pretending" that it is food.

Here are a few pictures of the boys (aka - artisans) making their fine jewelery!



Thursday, March 4, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

Our social calendar is filling up quickly at our new home! I have been doing a lot of research to find activities, playgroups, events, story times, and toddler friendly locations in general. So far we are off to a great start! We have found several friends and lots of great free and indoor activities for the winter. We have also joined Parents as Teachers and we are getting ready to start services with MO First Steps and the Delta Gamma Center. These provide therapy for the boys vision condition. We have had several tests and assessments conducted recently as well. The DG Center sent out a speech and a vision therapist to assess the boys. They both said the boys were doing really well. Both boys' expressive language is a little low (Ashton has about 15-16 words and Ayden has about 17-18 words). They generally look for 20 words at 18 months and 50 words at 2 years - although this varies a lot. But, both boys receptive language skills (what they understand) was amazing! They were about the level of a 3-4 year old! She was pretty impressed! We don't know yet if we will get any speech therapy but, we should find out next week. During the vision assessment the boys had a great time playing with all the therapist's fun "toys". I think she was a little overwhelmed! Generally they are assessing younger kids but, since we just moved here we are getting in a little later than what we normally would have. She was not use to kids that were so interested in her toys. They boys knew where her bag was and kept going back to it to try to get out more fun stuff! She had also never assessed twins before so she was shuffling her paperwork back and forth (while the boys were trying to color on it none the less!). Oh, well! She thought she got enough information for the assessment in the end! She thought the boys were doing really well with their vision as well. Last week we also returned to St. Louis Children's Hospital for some more extensive vision testing for the boys. This will help determine exactly how severe their nystagmus is, confirm the OA diagnose, and help with the surgery plans. The testing could only be done one at a time and we were told it would last an hour and a half for each boy. We brought Nana with us to help entertain the boys. When we got there we found that we were in luck because there was a book fair going on at the hospital that day! The boys loved looking around and they each ended up only taking about an hour to complete the testing. They were very cooperative even though the technician was hooking electrodes up to their heads and putting patches over their eyes! We will hopefully be hearing the results for those tests any day now. All this excitement and adventure is helping the boys burn off their energy and they are now napping and sleeping great! I am sure once we move (wherever our house finally sells!!), we will have to deal with some set backs again but that is to be expected and we will start all over again. I will leave you with a few pictures from some of the fun stuff we have been up to!

Playing basketball
Building with Legos
Playing with playdoughMaking valentine craftsReading lots of booksColoringGoing on train ridesGetting into everything!Wresteling
Getting ready for spring!
(Don't ask about the hats! They have had a thing for them lately and want to wear them all the time!)
So...after going through all my pictures and posting them I realize that I haven't been taking pictures of our playdates and other out and about adventures! I guess I will have to do a better job of that now!

Split Pea What?!

So, I have been trying to be better about planning out an activity for the boys each day. I have a TON of ideas since I was a pre-K teacher before the boys were born. I sometimes forget that they are growing up and can actually participate and enjoy some of the activities I enjoy planning (and participating myself!).

Tuesday I got this out for them:
It was a bag of green split peas as well as a variety of kitchen tools.

They seemed to know I had something exciting instore for them!
I put a vinyl tablecloth on the floor and had them sit on it.

They enjoyed running the peas through their fingers, scooping, filling and investigating! This kept them very engrossed for a full 30 minutes!