Saturday, March 30, 2013

So in love with Spring!

Sunny weather makes such a difference in how I feel, wow!
 Andrew was still at my parents’ place yesterday (till early afternoon) so James and I took the girls for a walk around the neighbourhood to some streets we’d never been on before.  It felt SO GOOD to get out for some fresh air.  I am cooped up inside WAY TOO OFTEN and I’m really hoping the better weather will sway me to get out more.  I need it.  I realized yesterday how truly out of shape I am, which makes total sense when you think about it.  I’ve never been one to be some sort of work-out fiend or anything, but before I was pregnant with twins, I walked A LOT because we didn’t have a car.  We bussed more once we moved back to Burnaby from downtown, but taking the bus still requires a fair bit of walking, so I was quite active.  When I was about 13 weeks pregnant with the twins, we bought our van, and I’ve never looked back.  I couldn’t for the majority of my pregnancy since my mobility was so terrible the bigger and bigger I got.  So I got used to a fairly sedentary lifestyle.  Probably my only saving grace was/is the fact that I love to putter about, and therefore even when I probably SHOULDN’T have been doing stuff, I was still ‘active’ in the sense that I had to do stuff around the house at least or I’d go insane.  But it’s not enough to make me feel like I’m ‘in shape.’  Since having the babies I certainly move around in the sense that I have 3 kids to look after, and Andrew alone definitely keeps me on my toes!  But it’s still limited to being at home much of the time.  Luckily we have stairs now, so that’s a little more exercise!  But seriously, I NEED to get out, and I’m considering trying to figure out a way to take some sort of an exercise class at some point soon.  Not sure yet how I can swing that with the way things are currently but I’m hopeful.  I really want to get in shape again.  The girls are going to be 6 months soon, and while I do hear from people that I ‘don’t look like I’ve birthed twins’ (lol), my body is not how I want it to be, and I’d rather make it better before it gets even worse!

It just felt so good to be out getting fresh air and feeling the WARMTH of the sun.  I carried Margaret in the new Ergobaby carrier I got last weekend, and she fell asleep in it and was so content for the entire trip.  Emily chilled out in the stroller and looked like a little movie star in her baby glasses.  WAY too cute!!

After our walk and a quick milk top up for the babies, we picked Andrew up, did a little shop at Safeway, and went to Confederation Park and met up with the mil.  I had never been to Confederation Park not-pregnant, so it was amazing to actually be able to play with Andrew on the playground.  He loved that I was chasing him around playing tag (until he flipped over a cement step and did a somersault in the air, landing all twisted up….yeah…what an amazing guy though, he only ended up with one tiny scrape on one of his shins!  Thank gawd that was all…)  We had a great time, and a little picnic, and it was the girls’ very first time sitting on the grass (and for that matter, very first picnic!)  I love all the firsts – I love how things we normally don’t think about as being a big deal whatsoever seem monumental because it’s THEFIRSTTIMEIT’SEVERHAPPENED!

Last night the mil came over for dinner and James made a delicious Eggplant Parmesan.  So yummy.  This morning I actually woke up in a good mood which in all honesty is pretty rare, and it made such a difference for the day in general.  We had a nice breakfast together and then James headed out for a bike ride with a friend that was going to take about 3 hours.  I had originally thought Aaaaahhhh threeee hoooooours but I know it’s important for James to have time to himself, so I decided to make the most of it.  I fed the girls, Margaret fell asleep but Emily wouldn’t so I tried out a Baby Einstein video for the first time with her.  She loved it!  Then fell asleep watching it, and of course the instant her eyes closed, Margaret’s opened.  But then she watched the video for a while and when she got fussy I put her in the Bumbo chair in the kitchen so she could be with Andrew and I, and she was happy as can be just to be there watching us.  We made rainbow cupcakes, and once they’d cooled we put on chocolate icing, dipped them in coconut, and Andrew decorated them with mini eggs and little bunnies on toothpicks, and one for himself with smarties.

We had a bit of lunch (and a cupcake!) and then rather than sit at home and do our usual, I suggested we pack up the girls and head over to the park to feed the ducks.  Andrew loved that idea, so off we went.  Andrew was a bit lazy so he went in the stroller with Margaret, and I tried Emily in the Ergo for the first time.  She did OK with it but she didn’t seem to like it as much as Margaret does.  I think Emily is like Andrew was as a baby – not too keen on feeling confined!  But maybe she’ll get used to it.  If not it’s OK because Margaret really loves to cozy up to me in there.

It was great to be out in the sun again, and feeding the ducks for the first time this season.  Another mom was there with her two daughters and one of the little girls asked Andrew, ‘Do you like my dress?’  He paused and looked at it and said genuinely, ‘Oh, yes, I do!’  LOL  So cute!!  I love seeing him play with other kids now, he’s really great.
The girls were kind of oblivious to the ducks, but it was the first time they’d ever seen them.  We stayed long enough for Andrew to use up the bread we’d brought, and for the girls to start getting a bit fussy.  When we got home James and his friend were here so we hung out for a while and the rest is history.  We got a bit of work done in the front yard space but not much…A major work in progress for sure, but it will look awesome soon enough!

I’m sooo happy the nice weather is here.  I know this sunshine won’t stick around EVERY day, but knowing we’re heading into the nicer months of the year makes me happy.  So many adventures lie ahead, and so many of them will be firsts for the girls!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Prepping for Easter

We (me and the kids) had a good day today, but I’m realizing that from about 4-5pm till around 8-9pm I have a really rough time emotionally…I’m in that time (and therefore mind) frame right now, so hopefully this post won’t suffer as a result.  (I’m just really tired at this point of day, worse than any other part of the day for some reason, and it totally affects the way I see things).

This morning after I got Andrew and I fed (and the girls, of course, but that goes without saying since they feed often!), the girls bathed and dressed, and the girls settled into their high chairs in the dining room, Andrew and I got to work decorating Easter eggs.  I thought rather than waiting till Easter day or the day before, we could get them decorated in time to actually give them as gifts to the people we’ll see leading up to Easter.

I got the cups set up with warm water and vinegar, and Andrew dropped the dye ‘pills’ in and we oohed and aahed at the bright colours 5 minutes later.  Luckily they dried quickly so Andrew could decorate them (very sparingly with his stickers, as it happened!)  He also painted some with some Easter paints we picked up from the dollar store.

While Andrew did some of the decorating, I fed the babies.  They had some pureed pears and pureed strawberries.  They were ravenous!  Emily would whine and grump if I was feeding Margaret instead of her, and when Emily was being fed Margaret would stick her tongue out as if SHE was supposed to be getting that bite.  LOL  I may have to start feeding them at the same time with both my hands, rather than one bite for one and then the other and repeat.  They don’t eat a ton of ‘solids’ yet (just purees) but the quantity is certainly a lot more than Andrew took in at their age.  He wasn’t all that interested, he just wanted to nurse 24/7, whereas both our girls seem keen to do both!

The girls had a lot of time in their exersaucers today, as well as being carried in the Ergo (well, Margaret anyway), tummy time, etc.  I think the combo of that and my parents being here in the afternoon made them sleepy and they had a long nap before and through dinner time.  Our plan is to get them doing Jumpy Jumps and more exersaucer time and other stuff that gets their energies out so they won’t stay up extra late after that nap.  They usually never nap longer than MAYBE half an hour at a time throughout the day, and rarely at the same time, so this was unusual for them.

Andrew’s having a sleepover at my parents’ house tonight.  James and I are planning on taking the girls for a quiet stroll tomorrow morning, so hopefully the sun will be shining as nice as it was today.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Andy Roo

Andrew and his fake 'Cheese!' smile!

I feel like I’ve been neglecting keeping track of what Andrew’s been up to lately, since I focus so much on the babies now.  Although I don’t write about them nearly as much as I’d like to either.  There is so much I know I’ll end up forgetting over time that is so important to me right now…It’s just so hard to find the time to document the way I did when Andrew was a baby!

So Andrew is 4 and almost 3 months.  He is adorable as ever, well actually more so every day.  The things he comes up with are so hilarious!  He makes me laugh all the time.

The other day in the car, we were driving along Lougheed Highway and he said, ‘There’s the train up there, it goes way up in the sky.  And it takes foooorrreeeeevvvver when you take the skytrain!’  I laughed and said, ‘Well, sometimes it might seem like it takes a long time, but I wouldn’t say it takes FOREVER…’ and he said, ‘No, no, no, it’s just an EXPRESSION to say that!  It just means it’s SLOW, not that it REALLY takes forever!’  LOL

He’s pretty much game for anything, as he’s always been.  He loves to learn, and while of course I teach him things, I have no idea where he gets half the stuff he knows.  He amazes me all the time, especially with his vocabulary.  He uses big words correctly, things I wouldn’t expect a 4 year old to understand.

He’s getting more into playing with his toys, and while he prefers it if someone will play with him, he’s getting better about playing on his own and using his imagination to come up with scenarios for his toys to be in.  He sometimes has a short attention span and doesn’t tend to focus on any one toy for any real length of time, although occasionally he will.  I brought his toy box down to have in the living room (we have a HUGE living room, or at least it’s huge to us!) so it makes sense to have it where he’ll use it more.  I do encourage him to play in his bedroom, but he’s still getting used to it being on another level, and isn’t keen on being upstairs when everyone else is downstairs (although he has to when he goes to bed, and he’s good about that).  So I’ve got a bunch of his toys in the living room, and I plan on rotating what’s upstairs and what’s downstairs every so often so he’ll actually play with everything and not forget about all that he’s got (which tells you right there he has way too much…but what can I say…at least the girls will enjoy playing with a lot of the same stuff as they get older!)

Some current favourite toys of Andrew’s are tinker toys and blocks, wrestlers (from the 80s, handed down from my brother!), puzzles, and board games (he loves Sorry! and Snug as a Bug in a Rug, Chutes and Ladders…)  He is also happy to play with balloons (we often play ‘the balloon game’ because it’s easy and can be done even when babies are being held…and the babies love to watch the balloon, too!) or a blanket – it’s amazing how much time he can while away wrapping himself in a blanket and ‘hiding’ under it, etc!  I swear, if all he had was a blanket and some balloons, he’d do just fine!

He also loves his activity books, and colouring (sometimes, although he never spends all that long on it).  Last week he drew pictures on a bunch of pieces of cardboard that had been in the boxes the babies’ highchairs came in, so I made them into a book, and then he had me write jokes in it and called the book ‘Andrew’s Laugh Out Loud Joke Book’!  He loves projects like that, and so do I.  I have such fond memories of doing that same sort of thing when I was little.

Andrew’s VERY active, so I’m looking forward to the warmer weather coming and lots of trips to the park.  He’s such a good boy, I was telling James yesterday that all of our kids are just so GOOD.  We are so lucky.  Yesterday James took Andrew to Crash Crawly’s because he got ’14 black stars’ (he decided black stars are ‘good’ stars and gold ones are ‘bad’!) for sleeping all night in his own bed without waking us up till at least 6am for 2 weeks.  I think we’re on a good roll now of him sleeping through.  Sometimes he’ll wake us up a little earlier than we’d like, and poor James gets up with him, but for the most part he’s doing AMAZING with sleep now.  It took a long time to get him to this point, but it’s going really well finally!  So while the boys were at Crash Crawly’s, I went to Baby’s World (which is right beside CC’s) and I got an Ergobaby carrier.  I’m SO excited about it!  It’s still complicated because it’s not like now I can just carry baby in the carrier – there’s still the 2nd baby to go in the stroller!  BUT I think I’ll get use out of it at home and not just when we’re out.  Sometimes one baby is sleeping and the other wants attention, so I can wear that baby and still do some stuff around the house or whatever.  Today all the kids are downtown so I didn’t get a chance to use it, but tomorrow I’ll try it out.  When I tried it in the store both babies absolutely LOVED it (the store clerk wore Emily and I wore Margaret LOL).  It goes to 40 lbs (which I told the clerk is ridiculous because Andrew is 4 and weighs around 40 lbs but not quite I don’t think, and I couldn’t imagine him wanting to be carried in an Ergo!  LOL)  But then I told Andrew about it and of course he wanted to try it out BEFORE the babies got to try it at home, so I put him in it yesterday and it is amazing how well it dispersed the weight, because I honestly didn’t feel it in my back or anything, I think I COULD carry him around in it easily (although I am not going to – he’s too old for it and I think the novelty of being in it would get old pretty quickly for him!)

Anyway, the girls were SO good while we wandered around to a few stores within walking distance.  We were out for about 2-2.5 hours or so and they had a bottle each and napped and were content to just look around at things with me while they were awake.  So awesome to go out and not be completely frazzled with crying babies the whole time.  It made me feel so much more positive about taking the kids out on more outings!

I’ve got to start jotting down some Andrewisms right after he says them because I’m telling you, the things he comes up with are priceless.

Upstairs at our house

James took ALL THREE KIDS downtown to his mom's for the day.  This is the very first time I've been alone in our new place since we moved here in January.  And the first time I have been without at least one child in my care for I can't remember how long!  It feels amazing.  I've puttered about getting some things done that I normally don't have time for, and ultimately no matter what I choose to do with this time, it just feels SO GOOD for my psyche to be ALONE.  I have no one to answer to, and I don't have to constantly feel like at any moment someone could suddenly interrupt my thoughts and need me for something.  WOW.  I just wish it could last longer than I know it's going to!  

So I finally took some pictures of the upstairs of our new place.  Downstairs to come at a later date!  But this is a start!

Up the stairs and to the immediately right is Andrew's bedroom. When we were planning our move I told him that he could choose the 'theme' for his new bedroom, and he decided on a 'Spiderman theme, with lots of good guys and bad guys.'  This is what we came up with, and he loves it!  (So do I!)

(Don't mind the cut-outs on his white shelf there in the corner that we store his books in...those are outlines of him and the babies that we made one afternoon, and he insisted they be taped up in his room! lol)

 The 'feature' of course is this giant Superman sticker (which looks much larger in person than this picture fact I find the pictures in general don't give the rooms justice, but at least you get an idea.  The Superman sticker is HUGE and Andrew decided where all the characters would go around him.
Andrew's room is quite big, especially compared to his room in our last place.  It's painted with Benjamin Moore paint in 'Little Boy Blue', which Andrew picked out himself.

He also helped pick the colour for his sisters' room, 'Bunny Nose Pink'!:
 I keep changing their room around, I'm not sure whether to have their cribs side by side or like this angled, against that wall or straight across by the window...It's a constant work in progress!  I also really want to get something for that wall by where the cribs are, but I haven't found just the right thing yet.  I'm considering a wall decal with owls, as their 'theme' is owls.  But I'm indecisive.
 (Not sure why the above picture won't center...Weird!)

I got this cute little hook from Ikea with owls on it.
I also have a few owl things on their shelves, including a really cute print, also from Ikea. 

 I love being able to have the rocking chair in their bedroom.  Technically it would be great for night time feeds, although at this point James is the one getting up with them in the middle of the night! 
I'll do a close-up post of some of my 'favourite things' sometime, but these prints are one of the highlights of the girls' bedroom for me.  I ordered them from Etsy.  The print in the middle is of 2 owls having a tea party, and it's the very first purchase I made for the girls' room once I'd decided on an owl theme.  The prints on either side are from another Etsy site, and have the girls' names (I blocked out their last names for the blog but under their first names they have their middle and last names, too), and all their birth stats, including weight and height.  With, of course, a little owl picture to go with the theme.  I absolute LOVE these prints!
Out the door of the nursery and to the right is our main bathroom.  Pay NO attention to the tiles around the tub, I find them hideous!  I'm used to them now, but they were one reason I wasn't sure I wanted to move here, that's how much I hate them!  LOL  Luckily I'm able to look past the features of our place that I don't like - it's dated for sure, but there is SO much to love about this place that those little things ultimately don't matter.  I didn't take a picture of behind the shower curtain, but we have a great soaker tub, I really love it (just not the tiles!)
  The other end of the bathroom.  It's quite a big space, with a ridiculously long counter top! 
 Then onto the master bedroom, which I feel could use a bit more artwork, but again, it's a work in progress!
 Our room gets so nice and bright in the afternoon, since we haven't had much sunshine lately, on nicer days I sometimes take the kids upstairs for a while so we can enjoy a bit of the brightness (without going outside in the cold!)
Not totally sure yet about placement of things on our shelves - this used to be my 'thing' to organize do-dads and have fun decorating, but I have so little time for such things these days.  One day I'll get things switched around to my liking!

The wall here beside the mirror needs a punch of colour or something to liven it up, but behind these closet doors is a dream come true - two large walk-in closets, his and hers!  I am IN LOVE with the space.  When I get around to actually organizing my closet, I will take some pictures with the door open!

 The view of the kids' rooms from our bedroom door.  To the immediate left outside our room is our 'linen closet' (I use quotes because I'm using the big shelving unit with door for our linen closet that we used in our last place as our pantry cupboard!  But it works perfectly!)  And to the right outside our door is the furnace room, which is a decent sized space but we just have a few things stored in there since I'm not really sure we should have much in there in case we needed to get to the furnace for some reason.  It seems crazy to me in some ways, having a furnace, because it's so old-school.  I don't like it because often I find downstairs too cold but upstairs is stifling.  At the same time, there's something I like about the furnace.  I actually enjoy the noise of it, I find it comforting (maybe because when I was little, up to age 8 when we moved, we had a furnace, so maybe it reminds me of my first childhood home?!)
And one of our criteria for moving: stairs!!  It makes such a difference having two levels.  It really makes it a house and not an apartment.  I love living here, it really has felt like 'home' since day one.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Finally some sunshine

The other day I was ready to throw in the towel with regards to breast feeding.  The babies weren’t latching, it was making me miserable, I wasn’t pumping enough, blah blah.  I wrote my last post about the whole thing and then the next morning Margaret started nursing again and was latching on with ease and wanting to just cuddle up for her feeding sessions.  Emily still freaked and flailed if I tried to get her on there, but I figured one out of two nursing was better than none!  Then today, after a 3-4 day complete hiatus from the breast, Emily latched on several times and was very content to nurse.  So…I guess you just never know!  At this point I’m just going to take it each day at a time.  It’s still stressing me out, and that was one reason I wanted to ‘quit’ – because if it’s not an option anymore, I won’t have to keep feeling concerned about it.  But I also know that I WANT to give them breast milk if I can, so I’m going to stick with it as long as they want it.  If it becomes too much of a struggle and it’s totally not worth it anymore, I’ll stop.  I’m not going to pump anymore, though, so if they want the milk supply I have (which definitely isn’t anywhere near what it used to be since they often have bottles instead of breast now), they’re going to have to nurse to keep it up!  My ‘policy’ will be to offer breast first, and if they don’t take to it I’ll give a bottle.  Of course, there’s also the exception of times (like right now) where if they get hungry, James HAS to give them a bottle, because I’m ‘not available’!!  Part of me thinks that I should be available at all times and nursing more often to re-establish exclusive breast milk feeding…BUT the majority of me says that I really do need to allow myself time away from the babies, and the only way is to be OK with formula feeding. 

I am primarily on my own ALL THE TIME through the week, so I really do need to get away and clear my head when given the chance.  I’m looking forward to Saturday because James is going to take all 3 kids to his mom’s so I can have some time at home on my own.  It will be the first time I’ve been home alone since before the babies were born – first time ever at our new place.  I’m planning on getting the last of my boxes unpacked, the stuff that isn’t essential but really should be organized – stuff I’m not able to get to when I’ve got all the kids needing me every 5 seconds!  I might also crank up some tunes I enjoy, have a nice bubble bath, and while I’d like to do more like go for walk or SOMETHING different, I’ll probably need to throw a nap in there somewhere!  I already know that the time is going to fly by and it isn’t going to be enough, but it will definitely be better than no time at all. 

We had a pretty good day today.  With the sun finally shining, I took the opportunity to get the kids out to the park.  I am cooped up SO much of the time, it’s kind of sad.  When Andrew was a baby we lived in Coal Harbour and I used to get out almost daily by the time he was the girls’ age.  We’d walk the seawall or go and get groceries – everything I did was on foot because we didn’t have a car and we lived close to everything.  Here, we need the van to go anywhere and I don’t take the bus at all anymore (I don’t think I could get the double stroller on there if I tried!)  We don’t go out much because it’s usually raining and cold, speaking of which we often seem to have colds, and the logistics of getting all 3 kids ready to go anywhere is a bit of a nightmare.  Case in point, it took almost 2 full hours to get ready to go to the park today, and we were probably only out for half that time!  It was really cold out (though beautifully sunny) so we couldn’t stay out as long as I’d have liked, as I was worried that the babies were getting too chilled.

At the park, Andrew had fun running around, although I felt kind of bad for urging him to go down the slide in his rain pants only to go flying off the bottom of it and getting all mucky, which he HATES!  Oops!!  I actually suggested that he play in a big puddle just for fun and he could bathe when we got home and he said, ‘Mommy, how about I just have the bath part but without playing in the puddle, because I’d really rather not get all dirty!’  LOL  It’s so funny because when I was his age, I loved nothing more than to play in mud puddles, and here I am as the parent ENCOURAGING mud puddle play and he’s against it!  Ha!

Andrew was so good about the fact that I couldn’t do some of the stuff at the playground that I’d do if I didn’t also have to look after the babies.  Margaret slept through pretty much the whole thing, not waking till we were on the walk home.  But Emily wanted out of the stroller as soon as we were at the playground, and she was taking in everything around her.  I put her in one of the baby swings and she wasn’t smiling about it but she seemed content enough.  I think it reminded her of her swing at home and if I’d kept her in it much longer she’d have dozed off!  It was her very first outdoor swing experience, awww!  Margaret will have a turn next time  =)

I think getting out in the spring and summer will be SO good for my mental health, just to have outings and not be in the same space ALL THE TIME.  Of course it will be healthier for the kids, too.  I do worry somewhat about the time it takes to get ready and how exhausting that alone is, let alone the actual outings themselves…It’s going to get crazier as the babies get more and more active/mobile etc.  But I want to focus on the positives - the enjoyment of the fresh air and the sun, the change of scenery, and the experiences that will create happy memories as a family.  I’m done with all this rain!  Bring on some spring time sun and I vow to get us out of the house more regularly, even if it DOES take half a day to get us all out there!