Monday, July 21, 2008

96 degrees and rising

What do you do with two 1-year olds when it's just too hot to go to the park or even get into the car and drive somewhere?

How about fill a few solo cups full of ice and sit on the deck?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just had to post these

I'm once again stealing someone else's pictures. My sister-in-law, Karolyn, posted (on Facebook) some funny pictures of the girls from their first birthday party in Indiana, and I had to show off a few that made me smile (thank you, Karolyn, for taking these).

The festivities kick off with party hats

Margaret's not so big of a fan of the hat

The fastest way to consuming chocolate cake, as demonstrated by Anna

The girls loving their cake

Wait a minute - there's still chocolate left on the plate! Jackpot!

Yummmm....there's chocolate left on my fingers too!

Oh wait - there's a little bit left on the plate (persistence pays off)

By far my absolute favorite - Anna's signature "shoulder shrug smile," a little look she gives several times a day when she's positively overjoyed by something (usually when her Daddy comes home from work). I love this little satisfied grin she's giving here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How little we knew

You'd think the girls' first birthday would put a moratorium on any sentimental, "flash back" type of posts on this blog. But after going through our camera the other night and pulling old videos off of it, I couldn't resist not sharing one from the first few days of their lives.

Seeing the girls so itty bitty is really sweet. I can't believe they were that alien-like - I mean cute and tiny - just one year ago. But I pulled this video in particular because I really have to laugh at myself for the following (enumerated, because I'm that nerdy) reasons:

1) My voice sounds ridiculously chipper and full of energy (and awfully cheesy as well). I think this may have been the most energy I had for the next 7 months or so, and I must have been still experiencing the after-delivery euphoria of having brand new babies (and the luxury of having nurses taking care of them for the majority of the three days I was in the hospital). Someone should have clued me in at the hospital that Anna and Margaret didn't sleep for those 3 hours between each feeding, as I naively thought. I think I was seriously under the impression that once the nurse took the babies back to the nursery after I was finished feeding them, they would just soundly sleep until they were wheeled back in to our hospital room for the next feeding (and dumped on my lap by the nurse like a sack of potatoes, as I vividly recall).

2. I'm kind of freaking out in that video about that tiny bit of spit-up from Anna. Little did I know that that little bit was just the beginning of a deluge of spit-up over the next 6 months. It was a long time before I stopped smelling like curdled milk all day. The day after the girls were born, one of the girls spit up for the first time and I recall demanding that Joey go down to the nurse's station to fetch a nurse and have her come check on the baby to see if that was normal. We must have given that nurse a good "clueless new parent" story to chuckle about.

3. I wonder if I can get the girls to lay there and calmly stare at each other like that again?

Nah, I doubt it.

Giving a new look to this thing...

I'm trying out a new header for this website - the Pepto-Bismol pink header just isn't cutting it anymore. I don't have a creative bone in my body, so I'm using the awesome powers of scrapblog to try something new. I'm not exactly crazy about the whole bathtime theme, and the photos are fuzzy and have shadows, but I just wanted to try this out and see if it works. I'll be working on a new one (and perhaps enlisting the help of the uber creative person in our family, Joey) in the next few days - stay tuned!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A few disjointed pics and stories...

Yesterday was one of those messed up days that makes it hard to be a parent of twins - the girls were on completely opposite schedules to the extent that the minute Anna went down for her afternoon nap, Margaret woke up - so neither of us ever really got an afternoon break free of chasing babies around the house. It was beautiful outside so Joey suggested I take Margaret for a walk in a stroller while he stayed in the house, waiting for Anna to wake up from her nap. I gladly accepted the opportunity to not only get out of the house and get some fresh air, but also the chance to feel what it was like to just take 1 kid out. I put Margaret in a cheap umbrella stroller - 2 of which I had purchased months ago at Babies R Us for $9.99, but had never really used. And I cannot tell you how weird it felt to push one baby in a very light stroller, instead of using all my strength to push an unwieldy and ridiculously heavy double stroller up and down our hilly neighborhood. I'm not sure I even broke a sweat pushing her around. When I got to the park and was putting her in a swing, a man with his 2-year old son started talking to me and asking how old Margaret was, and I found myself, before even answering his question about her age, telling him that she was a twin. I felt silly saying that, realizing that he didn't even need to know that information and it was completely irrelevant to the conversation - but somehow, I felt as if I was ignoring Anna by not mentioning her. Weird, huh?

After we returned from the park, Anna woke up from her nap, and so Joey got out the other umbrella stroller and we took a spin around the neighborhood to take advantage of the break in the humidity and the beautiful late afternoon sunshine. Although it's not a good picture of the girls, we snapped one just to document their little adventure in their own strollers. I think they seemed to enjoy sitting in their own seat, free of pestering hands next to them!

(And onto a completely unrelated story...) I just checked on the girls a few minutes ago in their cribs and found them in funny sleeping positions. Neither Anna nor Margaret have ever shown any attachment to a blanket or stuffed animal, no matter how much I've loaded up their cribs with little softies and cute bunnies and bears (in the futile attempt to find something besides me to soothe them in the middle of the night...). So I was completely shocked when I found Margaret wrapped around this cute pink teddy bear. She even has her lips pressed up to its mouth! And her little diapered rear end just makes me smile.

Anna, on the other hand, decided to cuddle up next to a nice shiny piece of metal. When I put her down for her nap, she was desperate to hold this little antique sterling silver baby cup that we have on display on her dresser, and wouldn't stop screaming/furiously pointing at it until I gave it to her. Whatever works, I say.

Somehow, no matter how I put her down in the crib, she always manages to wiggle a leg in between the crib slats - a problem exacerbated by our taking the bumpers off their cribs. Yet after witnessing them attempting to scale the sides of the crib by using their bumpers as leverage, I'm not willing to take a chance and put them back on. Can't win, can you?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Showing off a new toy

Nana and Grandpa got the girls a very cool play house (Step 2 "Neat and Tidy Cottage") for their first birthday, and Joey and I finally got around to assembling it this weekend. Or, I should say, Joey did all of the assembling, and I was there for moral support. All along, our plans were to put the house in our backyard, but after Anna got a nasty mosquito bite on her face, just below her eye, that now is swollen and puffy and looks awfully like she got socked in the face - we decided to keep the house indoors until the fall, when hopefully there aren't as many mosquitos.

Of course, that raised the question of where on earth would we put a play house inside our living room - and the only solution to that problem was to remove our kitchen table from the room, and place the house where the table once stood. The transformation from a normal living room to a Happy Fun Play Area is complete, and Anna and Margaret officially rule this house.

The girls are seriously loving this house, and the addition of a kitchen play set to the house, complete with pots, pans, a colander, and several cooking utensils have kept them inside this house for about 80% of their waking hours. Thank you, Neat and Tidy Cottage, for keeping my children away from my own pots and pans cabinet, which ordinarily gets emptied about 6 times per day.

Joey took a video of the girls discovering their house for the first time after coming downstairs from their afternoon nap, and I took a few photos as well. Enjoy!

Daddy rings the doorbell

Access is granted

Daddy makes a phone call while he's in the house (while the girls stare at him as if to say, "are you sure you really belong here?")

True Happiness

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A few pictures from the week

On Wednesday, the girls attended their friend Jack's first birthday party.

Margaret and Birthday Boy Jack hanging out - and playing with a door stopper

Anna and good friend Gus sharing a "Lady and the Tramp" moment with a toy

Margaret briefly considered getting a closer look at the bird in that cage - luckily, we stopped her before that happened.

Anna's ready for cupcakes

Smiley Margaret

But her mood quickly changed when I tried to put a birthday hat on her

We met up with our friends Lilly and Paisley (who are about to turn 2!) for a play date in the park

Covering ground quickly now that they're walking!

Anna preferred to be in control


Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Indiana Trip Recap

We've been home from a great trip to see Joey's family in Mishawaka, Indiana since late Sunday night, but somehow I still feel like I'm catching up on sleep and organizing piles of stuff everywhere and haven't committed time to sitting down and posting some pictures from our trip. Thankfully, the girls seemed to seemlessly travel from one time zone to the next and back without even a blip in their schedules - and jumped back into our daily routine without a complaint. They are truly becoming versatile travelers in their old age of one - and we've also discovered the true joy (and sanity saver) of the car DVD player. I never really bought into that whole Baby Einstein phenomenon until witnessing 2 complete silent hours in the car while the girls stared in amazement at the screen, mesmerized by random objects like wind-up toys and puppets popping into view, set to some (actually quite relaxing) classical music. I'm now off to buy the entire collection.

As they always do, Joey's family graciously treated us to a completely fun, relaxing weekend of hanging out with family, playing with nieces (and eagerly talking about the much anticipated arrival of our nephew in October!), eating great food, and celebrating the girls' first birthday. The weather was almost too good to be true - in the mid-70s, sunny, and with a cool breeze. The kind of weather that is perfect for being outside all day long without ever feeling hot. We heard fireworks in the distance, smelled barbecue in the air, took a dip in the pool, had a perfect meal complete with sweet Indiana corn (which is decidedly far superior to any corn you can buy in TN), laughed with our family until our stomachs hurt, and sat outside on the grass and stared at the sky. It was one of those weekends where I felt like I truly lived and breathed summer, and even if I barely get out of the house again over the next month due to the oppressive Tennessee humidity, I felt like I experienced a perfect weekend in Indiana that made the summer complete for me.

Even though the girls both ran a slight fever while we were in town, I think they too loved being home with family, and truly ate up being the center of the attention at their birthday party. The weather was too beautiful to sit inside, so after lunch, we moved a bunch of chairs outside on Kathy and Joe's beautiful front lawn and opened presents and ate birthday cake outside. Aunt Karolyn bought a tasty cake with chocolate frosting for the girls. All along, I prepared everyone for what I thought would inevitably be a disappointing ending to the much anticipated eating of the first birthday cake by Anna and Margaret. After witnessing Margaret pick, in disgust, at her cake the weekend before while in St. Louis, I figured I'd keep everyone's expections low and make sure they were't prepared for what customarily everyone expects by one-year olds at their party - you know, the cake all over the face and in the hair kind of fiasco. I clearly underestimated the power of chocolate. Anna apparently decided that her hands were useless, and if you truly love your dessert, just dive right in, face first.

*Note: this and the next few clips are a little long, but you'll get the main idea in the first few seconds anyway

The chocolate cake face dive continues

Licking the plate and her fingers clean - with a very self-satisfied grin

From now on, I'm keeping chocolate cake in our refrigerator for cranky moods.

Another fun part of our trip was meeting long-time blogger friend Rachael and her sweet family. It's pretty surreal to meet someone in person that you've known solely in a virtual sense for some time. Rachael and I traded messages while we experienced pregnancy together, and I started reading her blog when she went on hospital bedrest. Though we weren't supposed to deliver at similar times, her sweet babies arrived much earlier than expected, on July 8, 2007 (Happy Belated Birthday, James, Ella and Cameron!). I've felt like I've met some really great friends through a message board and through blogs, and so it was really incredible to finally meet, in person, a friend like Rachael. Her 4 children are even more adorable in person, if that's even possible, and it's just heartwarming to see such beautiful, thriving, healthy triplets who had such an early entry into the world and now are happily exploring the world and behaving just like any other 1-year olds. Thanks for meeting up with us, Schirano family!

My heartfelt thanks to the Leniski fam for showering the girls with presents, for spoiling us by having us there, and for giving us quite the break by holding the girls and giving them so much attention and love. Anna and Margaret are SO blessed to have 2 sets of grandparents who love them this much. We love you guys so much and already miss you tremendously.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Growth Spurt!

Anna and Margaret visited the pediatrician today for their 12-month appointment - otherwise known as the "it's all fun and games at the doctor's office until the needles come out." They received an excellent report of perfect health, and they're right on track with their milestones - although we did get a mini-lecture on how to put a stop to all those night wakings that we still (STILL!) are experiencing every - single - night. My little non-sleepers - trying to prove to the world every day that they can survive on 6 hours of sleep per night. Dr. Long gave us some good tips - so once the Fourth of July holiday is over, it's Ferber method from here on out!

To my great amazement, the girls gained THREE inches from their 9-month appointment, which means that they're either sneaking fruits, vegetables, and growth hormones behind my back, or perhaps there was an incorrect measurement at some point. Here are the stats:

Height: 30 inches / 73%
Weight: 20 lbs 9 oz / 38%
Head Circumference: 46 cm / 76%

Height: 30 inches / 73%
Weight: 19 lbs 5 oz / 19%
Head Circumference: 46 cm / 76%

So, let's see, I have small(ish), tall(ish) girls. Though many say the girls look exactly like me, those kinds of dimensions definitely don't come from my side of the family, so perhaps Joey's family's DNA is at work and the girls may be taller after all! Of course, Dr. Long indicated that kids often have growth spurts, and then level off, so I imagine they'll even out in the end and grow up to be somewhere near my 5'4" stature. I'm sorry, girls. I'll root for your Daddy's genetics in this case. What definitely comes from my side of the family are those huge noggins. Check out the head size on my kiddos! I have a huge head, as does my father - I'd like to say we need more cranium to fit our enormous brains. Right.

There was a funny little mix-up at the doctor's office when the nurse weighed Anna and declared her to be "29 lbs," a weight which was promptly entered into the computer, assessed by Dr. Long, and raised some red flags as to how Anna gained 12 lbs in 4 months (well, she did eat a lot of birthday cake). After a few seconds of confusion, a once-over of Anna by Dr. Long, and a re-weigh, they discovered their mix-up - obviously the nurse meant 20.9 lbs.

Have a wonderful Fourth of July, everyone! I can't even remember last year's 4th - I was so delirious at that time last year from day 6 of caring for newborn twins. So I'm so excited to be among the land of the living this year, and enjoying it with family and our adorable one year olds. Have a great holiday!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Birthday Party Recap

I've finally recovered from the whirlwind tour and birthday party extravaganza to post a few pictures from our incredible day. The girls' first birthday party in St. Louis was absolutely wonderful, and I could never thank my family enough for going above and beyond to celebrate Anna and Margaret's special day in such an amazing way. We feel so spoiled and so lucky.

I didn't take any photos during the party, but my Dad took a bunch. I haven't gotten them from him yet, so I'm shamelessly stealing my friend Anne's photos to post here - thank you, Anne!

The beautiful party table that my mom decorated - she's truly got a designer's touch! Do you like the pink and purple overload? Pre-children, the idea of a princess-themed party would make me a little nauseous. Somehow it's a little more palatable when you've got 2 pretty little girls who look great in pink.

My completely amazing and overwhelmingly generous friend Anne, whose has furnished half of the girls' wardrobe over the past year, had these M&Ms custom printed with the girls' faces and names on them - pretty cool, huh? She had 5 lbs (!) of M&Ms printed, and now they are all sitting in our kitchen in a canister, and I think I alone have eaten 1 1/2 lbs of them. Darn you, Anne!

Joey holding Anna as the festivities were kicking off. I think Anna was a little bit overwhelmed by all the activity - particularly since she woke up from her afternoon nap to 8 new people staring at her. She clung to Joey for the first 30 minutes from waking up - quite the Daddy's girl.

Finally warming up to everyone and allowing Aunt Aggie to hold her - particularly since she's got a cool bracelet to play with!

Our little family. Why do I always have some kind of stain on my shirt (check out the drool stain on my shoulder)?

These cute little party hats lasted approximately 15 seconds on their heads

Singing happy birthday!

Margaret's reaction to the cake in front of her. Just its very presence seemed to bother here. Don't worry, Margie, you will soon learn to love desserts, particularly in this family. While she didn't touch the cake, she ate her weight in blueberries over the course of the past week. Where does this love for healthy food come from? She's reassuringly a fan of Macaroni and Cheese.

Margaret says, "I said, No Cake!" Don't you like her pout face?

In completely opposite fashion, Anna dug right in.

That's my girl!

Trying to shake the cake crumbs off their dresses outside - and realizing our attempts were futile. So the dresses came off.

Opening some very cool presents. Nana and Grandpa gave them the Little People school bus and SUV, which they totally love. And the SUV looks exactly like (and is about the same size as) my Honda CR-V, which Joey oh so affectionately refers to as the "grocery grabber." I guess I should have been a better steward to the environment and searched for a hybrid car instead - or perhaps a Fisher Price bicycle.

In the end, though, the present bows and ribbons were far more entertaining than the actual gifts.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Mom, Dad, Amy, Anne, Linda, Pat, Grandma, Mary and Aggie for hosting and throwing such a fun party for the girls -they were truly treated like princesses.
We're headed up to Mishawaka to visit Joey's family this coming weekend and can't wait to spend the Fourth of July with them - and celebrate the Twinski's first birthday, round 2!