Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Cost of Twins, Part 1

Its amazing how different Hubs & I lives are after just a few years. Of course that's what happen when children are welcomed into the world, and things haven't "changed" between Hubs & I, that's a different post at a different time on why...

Our financial situation can get a little scary. When it was just Marc & I, we had a very hefty combined income. Even so when Ava was born. Now that we need that income more than ever, it is so far from our grasp. We didn't imagine all the hardships we would experience over the last year could change the way we live our lives. Of course kids are expensive.. but TWINS, o you have no idea. TWINS & a TODDLER, yikes and on one income. When we moved back to Ohio, Marc had taken a big pay cut to get us back home. I had two opportunities lined up with a good shot for at least one. Well after a couple weeks here, the Bed Rest is brought down on me like a hammer and so some of struggle began. The money we had saved was used to pay off some bills before we moved back. We made money off the sale of our house, but that quickly ran out because we had to pay to fly Ava & myself back to Ohio & rent a uhaul for Hubs & my stepdad to bring all of our stuff back, two car payments, etc... Anyways...

Before I would do some couponing if I thought of it and hardly ever looked for the best priced item between stores. Now, that is a necessity. Yesterday we were low on formula so I went to Giant Eagle to get a small tub to hold us over until we ran to Sam's Club. The girls are on Enfamil Gentlease and Sams has a version of their brand that we buy.

So I'm standing in Giant Eagle at 10pm, in spit up stained sweats, a frizzy curly ponytail &a scarf wrapped around my mouth looking for a small tub to get us through a day, which is literally just one 12oz tub (or less)... that's only one days worth pretty much. They only have the GE in the 21oz Powder, some powder packets & liquid... the 21oz can was $27.99. I didn't have a coupon with me. I normally have some, but we've used them all. There was NO WAY I was going to spend $28 on 21oz when we can get a 48oz tub at Sams for $25. But we needed it... so I'm standing there. Starting to get hot. Doing math. So I take off my coat. We can afford to do this, but this is absurd. Spend that much money for one day of Formula when the Sams tub will last us 4 days and is $3 cheaper!??! On days like this, I feel so guilty for only breastfeeding 4m. After 5mins of arguing with myself , I call Hubs for reinforcement. He said he can go to Sam's on his lunch break and get the formula along with some other things we need in bulk, plus the cashier from my last trip FORGOT to put my wine in the cart and I didn't realize until I got home! So he had to pick it up... BONUS!

But... its good to always have reserves. I have 8, 8oz ready feed bottles on hand along with 6, 4oz powder packets that are for emergencies or travel. So I figure that is more than enough to get us through until he goes to the store.

Anyways... this incident made me realize just how expensive this is. I've never really wrote it down, but I do remember the days we started a new tub of formula, or opened a new pack of diapers, so in Part 2, I'm going to do a cost break down.

Unless you have indisposable income, you should really get a Sam's/Costco/BJ's Membership-- Lesson #1!


A little over 5.5m!

So now that the girls are older and "semi" mobile- things seem tough again. Its almost like each new Milestone, brings new challenges and just when we are getting the hang of something, a new trend pops up we have to acquaint ourselves with. I'm not really sure this will ever be easy... ever.

We keep hitting new stages and positive steps in life, but like I mentioned, there is always a new challenge lurking. The girls are pretty much crib & sleep trained. This has opened a whole new world for Hubs & I. It was tough getting to this point, but persistance & consistency has been key. So now that they sleep so much better & for longer stretches we are getting more sleep... or else we were. These adorable little girls decide they want to sleep on their bellies all of a sudden. Which I'm fine with... Mila was first. Rolling on her belly a few weeks ago was a whole new freedom for her. She was going after items she wanted, which poses new potential risks on the floor and with a toddler around, its inevitable to get past. For some reason, this amazing roller forgot how to roll from her belly to her back in bed... so right when Marc and I were getting enough sleep to unpack the bags from our eyes... she started losing her shit at night (not her actual shit- I feel I need to clarify bc that is also a possibility). She would always end up on her belly and sleep soundly with her little lovey that my Aunt J got the girls. Its a little pink fuzzy soft square blanket with a mouse face on end and satin underneath. Once Mila sees this, she goes crazy and smashes it into her face like its cake. So here she is at night, on her belly. She startles. She goes berzerk, bc this amazing roller we have all of a sudden decides she doesn't know how to roll on to her back from her belly anymore. Are you kidding? You do this all day long. She practically rolls circles around Lola and now she can't move?? Each direction she tried to roll would ultimately be a crib rail, so she's not getting very far. So either Marc or I would have to go in and flip her. Which doesn't make sense bc she calms down, then flips back on to her belly and goes right back to sleep. Or else she decided she was actually hungry and now wants to eat. So this was non stop all night for about a week, all the while, little Lola is fast asleep on side, oblivious to what's going on.

Not for long... as soon as Mila decides she's good sleeping on her belly all tucked vertically in the corner of the crib, Lola decides she wants to be a tummy sleeper too. So now the whole ordeal is starting all over again. Luckily we knew it was temporary so it was easier to truck on through it. The only down fall is that Lola is a heavier sleeper at night. So even though Mila could potentially wake her, it took awhile. Not so much for Mila, she stirs a little easier so Lola's screeches about being on her belly usually woke Mila instantly.

So all that took place just a few weeks ago. Now we are at a much better sleepy place. Even for naps. They both prefer to sleep in their cribs for all their slumbers. So they don't put up much of a fight. Lola still gets mad when you first put her down, but it subsides after a few mins. We started getting better sleep, again. Its like we go through these inconsistent sleep cycles ourself. Our baby monitor has "set" volume levels, not a dial to turn up and down. So we're still hearing all the little whimpers and grunts... it really disrupts our sleep, but there is nothing we can do about it until I feel more comfortable to where we can leave it off.

Hubs & I are starting to fall into a routine, despite still being completely exhausted all day. The twins go to bed around 8:30p, so this leaves about a half hour for Ava to spend winding down with us. She's in bed about 9pm. Then Hubs & I are able to snuggle up and watch some shows or go to bed early ourselves ;) Rawr!!

Naps are so much better... The girls go down for nap #1 about 90mins after they wake. This nap is anywhere from 1-2hours. Then I'm able to get all three girls down during Ava's afternoon nap. This leaves me at least 2hours---CHILD FREE!! I can actually poop in peace! Or take a long hot shower & shave my legs or finish my coffee from 8am.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Little Lola's Update

5.5 months old!

So its been quite an adventure with Lola & LM. As much as it pains me to see her suffering and struggling I HAD (key word, HAD!!!!) to take the good with the bad. It could have been a million times worse. She could have needed surgery and had lasting issues with it. She had a Mild case, and even coined with the word "mild" there was nothing less spicy about it.

We struggled... a lot. Mainly worried about her gaining weight and progress. I don't care if she's a peanut all her life, but I do care if she has to struggle just to be a peanut.

About a month ago we left her 4m check up still disappointed... she gained a little more than the previous appt, but was still hovering in the 2% for her age. Of course on these scales they use her actual age and not the adjusted (from being 4w early). Her pedi was ok with her weight of 11lbs 3oz at 4m... she said since she is eating and thriving every where else, she was ok with the weight bc regardless she is gaining. It doesn't really sit that well with me that she weighs that much. I know 2m olds that are well over that. Actually now that I think about it... from 3m-4m she gained 1.5lbs, but from 4m-5m she only gained 12oz...

anyways... a month ago, she started chugging bottles. The old partier in me felt kinda proud. Now THIS is what Mama taught you! Relax your throat and drink that milk girl! She was out drinking Mila on a consistent basis for over a week. We went from 3oz bottles where she would take half or almost all of it, in about 30mins+ to downing 4-5oz in 15mins. So we upped the ounces to 6 and now she drinks it like its her job! Marc & I were feeling great about it. She seemed to really be filling out, seemed super hungry so we fed her. Her spit up was very minimal. I actually cried when I realized how much she was finally drinking (thank god for my "Baby Connect" App- life saver!)

Last Weds (Feb 19) Lola had her check with ENT Dr. M up at the Children's Hospital. Hubs worked from home the first half of the day and stayed back with Beebs and Mila. Lola and I jammed out to some music, the sun was shining (for once) and I was in a great mood. When we got to the hospital I went to get Lola out of the back. I freaked out. I brought the wrong baby. I stood up with my hands over my mouth and almost threw up. My appt was in 15mins and they already rescheduled us bc Dr. M wasn't going to be for our last appt. We lived 15mins away... I thought about jumping back in my car and peeling down 77 until I took a closer look... thank you baby Jesus, I have Lola. I don't know what it was, but I swore I had Mila. I really hope this is not the trend to come. If I would have brough the wrong baby, then Marc & I both are losing our minds bc it was a collective effort to get everyone up and together before Lola & I left. After sighing relief and gaining feeling back in my legs I flung open the stroller, plopped the car seat in and headed inside.

We weren't there long before we got called back,but I made sure to get Lola out of her seat immediately to play with her and talk. Its not too often she gets one on one time with me, so I wanted to make the best out of our outing even if it was just to the doctor.

The Med Assistant took her weight... this is where I immediately got upset. Lola was fully clothed and had a full diaper. Its normal for them to weigh the girls non nakey. She told me 11lbs 9oz. I immediately put that in my Baby Connect App and popped up as 1% and then also saw last months entry of 11lbs 3oz. 6oz ina month??? NO way, that is WAY TOO LOW. She has to be more. The tech weighed her again. Everything was in kgs so she had to do a conversion and got the same each time. I was so confused. She kept repeating the weight to me. I told Hubs and he agreed it couldn't be right. I tried to just forget about it as we waited for Dr. M. He came in pretty fast, he is a very handsome doctor (blush). They had me sit in the chair and wrap my arms around Lola while they threaded the spaghetti looking camera up through her nose down to her throat. God she hates it. Who wouldn't? He recorded what he needed and then he slipped it out. I turned her around and put her head against my heart and rocked her side to side and told her I loved her until she calmed. He played the video back and one side of the Larynx had "tightened" up!!!! The other side is still "flappy", but its great that one side is already tight. He was very happy and said she was healing well and should fully be outgrown from this by her First Birthday! Her symptoms (clicks) are also very minimal and with the recent intake of bottles, its clear she's doing well. I told him my concern about the weight. His response was simple, that some babies grow faster than others. Well duh. Clearly I just need to call the pedi. So I did and we've been playing phone tag since!

They go back for their 6m (6months?!?! what!??!) in 2.5weeks, but I'm wondering if she'll want a weight check before that. Regardless, Lola is improving... slowly, but that is ok. This is such great news and we are so happy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I can't believe the girls will be 5 months old tomorrow!!! Where has the time gone?! So many days seem to run together and there are many times I don't believe when Hubs says what day of the week it is! He'll send me a text to remind me that someone is stopping by after work... "Ok, but I thought they were coming on Thursday?" He usually responds by saying... "It is Thursday..."

I don't wish the days away, but during the frustrating times I do wish the girls could get a little older. I know this stage is the hardest and it is FINALLY getting easier... and its getting easier because we are all getting a little more rest

My last update was starting CIO... I was aprehensive at first, thinking the girls were so young (4m), but after discussing it depth with their pediatrician we came to the conclusion they were ready.

I made some mistakes. I started with nap time and it wasn't working after a week. Mila seemed to go down easier, but still wasn't staying asleep. After doing some research I realized you should establish healthy sleeping at night before moving to naps. The most restful sleep is at night and when a baby is rested at night they tend to sleep better during the nap. Lola was not adjusting well at all so I actually stopped the nap training with her almost immediately. With her LM, I didn't want to agitate her stridor anymore than it already was. So she was still sleeping in the living room, in the pack n play, swing, etc... but this is distrupted sleep bc Ava and I are in there playing. I would try to usher her back to her room or down into the basement to play, but it didn't guarantee Lola would get a good quality of sleep.

*Disclaimer- I'm no expert and what works for me may or may not work for you. Anything I write here is just an explanation of methods we chose and what worked or didn't work, although I think I'm a baby sleep expert now ;) **********

So I decided to quit the nap training and focus on the sleep training. Babies night sleep cycle is 12hours, whether they sleep the whole 12hours or not... so if they go to bed at 9pm, then 9am should be their wake time. A lot of books suggest EARLY bedtimes and thats generally a great idea, especially if the family needs to be up early the next day. We don't. I stay at home. Ava goes to bed by 9pm and sleeps until 8-9am. If/when I go back to work and need to be up early we'll adjust the times, but for now this is what works for us.

We created a bedtime routine. We don't bathe the girls everynight. Mila has eczema and with the brutal winter we don't want to dry out their fragile skin anymore that it does naturally. So around 8am we take the girls into their rooms, lights dim, low distractions and get them ready for bed. A quick wipe down and lotion up. Lots of love and hugs. Then we bring them out to the living room (low lights again, which works well bc our 2yr old is starting to wind down for the night as well). Our house is by no means up to par sound wise for a library, but is considerably toned down from the day time. We feed them a larger bottle and they drink up, we burp them and try to keep them both upright for a little bit instead of immediately putting them to bed. We also don't want them to always tie that last bottle with sleep. So they finish the bottle, we burp and snuggle them up. Sometimes they fall asleep in our arms without warning. Once we catch the first sleep cues (yawning, eye rubbing, fussiness) we go to the bed room. We all give kisses. That's a must in our family. We always kiss one another good night! We even have Mila & Lola give each other a kiss and of course Ava loves watching them open mouth each others foreheads.

So generally speaking they are drowsy, but awake. Mila usually is out within 30secs and doesn't make a peep. She's a side sleeper and LOVES her little lovey (a tiny fleece blanket with a satin underside and a little mouse face at the end that has a rattle inside). She rubs her hands and face on it and falls asleep. Lola takes a little more coaxing... she will usually fuss it out for 20mins before falling asleep and we've been doing this over a week maybe two. Its not an ear piercing scream, more like an "ehhhhh ehhhhhhhhhh ehh ehhhhhhh". Once asleep it never failed... about 2hours later, Mila would wake and SCREAM for 10mins and the minute she fell asleep, Lola would finally wake from comotion. Poor baby, it takes her longer to self soothe. She can do it and she does, but not quickly. Sometimes we go in and rock her a little to help calm her down and put her back in.

Lately when one baby wakes crying/screaming/fussing it DOES NOT wake the other baby... THANK YOU BABY JESUS!!!!!! I wasn't sure we could get to that point, but we have. They are getting used to one anothers outbursts, this helps tremendously. I keep track of their feedings on my BABY CONNECT APP, love that app. They both are hovering around 30-32oz in a 24hour period. So we know they are taking enough during the day to go without feeding every 3hours at night. Our rule to start was no going in to the babies unless it had been 5hours. Once we hit the 5hour mark and they wake during or after we feed and right back to bed. It was a struggle the first couple nights... but the last couple nights have been great!

Last night... the girls ate at 8:15pm and were in bed a little after 8:30pm. They both went down without a single fuss and they both woke up at 1:45am... a little over 5 hours. To some this may not seem like much, but for us, its a miracle. The girls were waking every 2-3hours before sleep training, then with sleep training they were waking and crying and then going back to sleep. So no waking... we each fed a baby and put them back down. Then a little before 7am they woke again, we fed them and they went back down for about an hour and woke for the day around 8:15am. Not too bad!

Since they've started sleeping better at night, they are now napping better during the day! Every child of mine has been asleep for going on 90mins :) Heaven! In their own beds.

Room Conditions (for Ava too): Dark room, curtains up, humidifiers running for white noise and NO swaddle. Mila moves too much and we were afraid she would flip and without having her arms to help her flip again, could be in a dangerous situation. Lola seemed to love to have her hands up by her hair so we stopped her swaddle too and after a couple days it was fine for her. We watch them on the video monitor and they still startle themselves, but can now self soothe!

People have said to me that I'm creating monsters for having them sleep in such dark rooms with noise and that they will always require that. Ava can sleep anywhere, but she gets more rest if she's asleep in that type of room. Wouldn't you? Anyone can nap on a couch with the sunlight busting in and inconsistent noise on the tv... but what if you took a nap on your bed, with the curtains closed and white noise in the background? I'm pretty sure you'd sleep more sound and feel more rested.

The key for us was consistency. Even with trying to keep Lola from not crying too hard, we stuck to the plan. Even with worrying one baby would wake bc the other was crying. No matter if the crying was driving us crazy. No matter if it was necessary to get to a stage of healthy sleeping for the babies AND US.

Just this little improvement is making our lives easier!!!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

CIO...difficult but necessary

A lot of moms debate on CIO (cry it out). In a nutshell you let your baby cry it out until they fall asleep. Some people think its mean, some people think it is life changing. I think it's life changing. It's not for everyone and obviously every family has to parent in the ways best for them.

We did CIO with Beebs when she was 6m old. At her 6m check up her pedi asked how many times she woke at night. "Twice!" I said proudly, thinking that my nursing baby was doing a great job. Well, she can go 12 hours without waking to eat, breastfed or not. If she is still waking, it is purely out of habit. This was life changing news. She told us about CIO and her recommendation on how to move forward. So that Thursday we decided to start it. Why a Thursday? Hubs & I were both working full time and we figured we start on a Thursday, fully expecting it to be a rough night, that getting through work with zero sleep on a Friday always seemed more appealing, plus we would have the weekend to recover. This proved to be a great idea by yours truly.

We started it 9:30pm. I know that's a late bed time, but when you have a child with no sleep "routine" (we are ROUTINE people, not STRICT schedule people) there isn't really a defining time they go to bed. CIO changed all this. It took Beebs 37mins to fall asleep. I can't remember all the details except it was sometime early May 2012. We didn't have a fancy video monitor so we had to listen to the horrific cries on the monitor. That just makes it worse. So turned it off and watched the "colors" go up and down as her pitch heightened and lowered. We tried the whole, go in at 5mins, soothe, go in 10mins later, soothe and that made it 150x worse. So we just did it cold turkey. Occasionally we would peak in to make sure she was ok. She was swaddled arms out because she could roll back to belly and we needed her arms free. Around 10pm, the cries weaned off. They would stop and start a little, then stop, then whimper... finally at 10:07p not a single peep. Of course this WASN'T a relief bc I needed to make sure she was ok. I nearly woke her up trying to make sure she was still breathing. Hubs & I felt like Champions. I remember late that night/early morning she woke again. We both just sat up in bed, I decided to go sit outside her door and wait for her to CIO and go back to sleep. It took 20mins and she was out. She never woke up until I went in there to get her up for the day Friday. Friday night was easier, Saturday night was even easier and by Sunday night, she didn't even whimper to go to bed and slept 12 hours because each night we moved her bedtime up just a little. We also did this for her naps. To this day at 2yrs (almost 25 months if you wanna be technical) she is an amazing sleeper and napper. Doesn't fight it and will sleep anywhere for a great amount of time.

So here we are... 4 month old twins/19 weeks today. CIO with twins proves to be a little more challenging. They are in their own cribs, but in the same room. They aren't mastering this as quick as Ava, but they are 2m younger and have an extra cry to get used to and sleep through. In one of my previous blogs I wrote about why we're doing it. We are on Day 4 and although its getting better, its still exhausting and they aren't quite there yet. I'm requesting the advice of my other twin mom friends who have had success, because I want to make sure that they are trending the right way and are ready. The last thing I want is for the them to not be ready and we have to start this over another time. The house we're in is rather small, so I can hear them virtually from any room. We have video monitors this time around, so that helps with the peace of mind that they are ok. I wrote down all the details from Monday and listed them below so you can see what we're dealing with. Each day IS getting better, but we still have our struggles.

Day 1: 1/20
10a-12p: No nap, both just cried
12:10- feed both
12:40- down for sleep, tried no swaddle, neither took paci
2:00- both asleep
2:30- Mila wakes, her cries soon was Lola.
2:40- 2hr mark, changed clothes, diapers
3:10- finished bottles, comforted both, nice and snuggly/ both visibily sleepy
3:40- both in bed drowsy, but awake, instantly fall asleep
4:05- Mila wakes, waking Lola
5:25- Both back to sleep within mins of one another
6:05- Mila wakes, waking Lola- 2hr mark hit get them out of bed
6:30- Diapers changed, fed, both downed bottles fast
6:30-8p- played with both, both fell asleep briefly during play
8:00- diapers, pjs, bottles, both pooped, changed diapers again
9:00- bed, Mila out immediately. I could tell Lola spit up, went in and cleaned her up
10:15- Mila wakes, offer paci 2x, won't take it, wakes Lola
10:40- Mila back to sleep
10:50- Lola back to sleep
11:15- Mila woke up and then back to sleep

Day 2 1/21
2:10a- 2:30- Mila & Lola wake, feed, back to sleep
5:20-5:30- Mila & Lola wake, feed, back to sleep
8:00- Both up for day
10:00a- Put down for 1st nap, both crying
10:20-10:45- Mila sleeps
11:45a-12p- Mila sleeps
11:50a- Lola finally sleeps
12:00p- 2hour mark, Mila is up, give her bottle
12:30- Lola up, give her bottle
1:00p- put back down
-----My grandma came over to relieve me so I could take Beebs to play, I forget her info, but it stays consitent, lack of sleeping-----
9pm- Both in bed

Day 3 1/22
12:30a- Mila wakes up, eventually waking Lola- let them cry
1:15a- Lola back to sleep
2:15- Mila still awake, feed her
5:00- Lola wakes!!!!!!!! feed her, back to bed
6:00- Mila wakes, feed her
8:15/8:30- both girls wake, feed, change clothes
10:00- both in bed, both asleep by 10:15
10:45- both wake, Mila falls asleep at 11a
12p- Lola still awake, get her out, feed, snuggle, play
12:15- Mila wakes (over an hour nap!)- feed snuggle, play
1:15- Both asleep
2:00- both wake feed left over bottle, immediately falls asleep again
3:00- both wake, diapers
3:30- Mila refuses bottle
3:45- Lola eats entire bottle
4:15- Both back down
5-5:30- both awake/sleep off/on
5:40- both awake, take out of crib
7:30- pjs, snuggles, diapers, bottles
8:30- Lola bed, immediately asleep
9-10:45- Mila up crying, Lola NEVER wakes- woohoo!!! feed Mila, back to bed

Day 4: 1/23
12:30a- Mila up, reswaddle, back to sleep
1:45a- Lola up, fed back to sleep
3:00- Mila up, fed, back to sleep
5:30- Lola "  "
7:00- Mila "   "
8:15- Both up, fed, play, change clothes
10:15- Both down, immediately sleep
10:45-11:45- Fussing, although Mila has been sleeping in and out. She is currently sleeping, not so much for Lola...

^^^^^ this bring us to our current time. If Lola is awake at 12p, I'll take her out and start the process all over again. Now that I review it.... it doesn't look like its going that great. Just really slow. They don't fight the crib anymore and we have not brought them into our bed or let them fall asleep in our arms, so thats success in that arena. Even though I have these "two hour spans" of baby free moments I'm still beyond exhausted. Listening to crying babies is tough... really, really tough.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The last two months...

have been a blur... with the exception of my recent post "perfect mom", its been two months since my last entry. So many times I had an opportunity to blog, but it got cut short. In fact, I have two posts sitting as "drafts" as we speak. I get a topic and I run with it... if I can't finish in one setting while it's fresh then it just sits there, like a box of good n plenty on Halloween.

The girls have been great (minus the sleep of course). They are so alert and active that it makes the groggy days bearable. The smile from ear to ear when they get a glimpse of me and even belly laugh with excitement. I swear they kick their little legs so fast like they are trying to back stroke over to me.

I'm checking my calendar as I write, because I really can't remember whats gone on since their two month appt. For starters, they are now 4 months!!!! They had their 4 month appt this past Friday. Here are their stats:

Lola: 24 1/2 in, 11lbs 3oz, 16in head
Mila: 26in, 14lbs 10oz, 16.75in head
When Ava was 4 months: 25 1/4in, 14lbs, 16.9in head

So really... they are all relatively similar. Of course Lola's weight is still significantly below her sister's, but she is gaining. She's only in the 2nd percentile and I really thought by now the doctor would have intervened, but she said Lola is hovering in the "safe" zone. She is eating and she is steadily gaining, just not a huge push just yet. We've upped the calories in her Formula to 24 so hopefully that will help. She's also not spitting up as much and takes larger bottles.

At her LM follow up with the ENT in Dec he said she looked great and that actually she was improving!!!! Mila also got scoped, but she was fine. She had a very minor case of LM, but not enough that Dr. M thought he should DX her. Mila took the scope like a champ. She didn't even cry. Lola on the other hand threw a fit. Marc made and excellent point. With Mila being so much bigger, her nasal passages looked more spaced out compared to Lola's. Very observant my dear! Ava stayed at my Mom's for this appt. Afterwards we went Christmas shopping and ran some errands. I don't really remember much else except Lola had a weight check and had only gained 1lb in a month... again I thought this was bad news, but she was treading lightly towards the positive side.

We had Christmas in our new place and it was amazing. We went through some really bad times over the summer trying to stay afloat and keep positive thoughts about the risk of premature labor. We spent more money than we should have on the girls and each other, but we looked at it like a celebration that we "made it". We made it through the hardest time of our lives, still loving, happy and as positive as can be. All bad things in life are temporary if you want them to be. We cut down our own tree this year and took Ava with us. There was a ton of snow and Ava loved every minute. Marc and I were cold and exhausted, but the belly laughs coming from Ava were enough to keep us going. Our tree was beyond perfect and so was our First Christmas as a family of 5 :) Damn I have a big family!!!

Marc & I decided to stay in for New Year's. We cooked Steak & Lobster tail for the three of us (Beebs). She loved the steak, not so much the seafood and ate up all the potatoes. The girls slept while we ate. Ava was so excited for dessert until she tasted the cheesecake... it must have been the texture because she spit it out, shoved her plate across the table, hopped out of her booster and screamed "I DON'T LIKE IT!!!!!" That girl.... she is something else!

She went to be around 9pm. Marc and I headed down to the "Stroud Haus Basement Bar" and poured a few drinks. We took it pretty easy bc we still had two baby dolls to watch over. The night was going smoothly until 11:30pm and both girl woke up and did not want to go back to sleep. I guess they wanted to be awake for their first new year! After 20mins of trying to get them to go back to sleep we chalked it up as a loss... for the past 9 NYE's we've always toasted champagne at midnight, this night, was just water. We immediately felt guilty Ava wasn't with us so we tip toed into her room with both girls and gave her New Year's smooches while she slept! Finally the girls fell back to sleep and we popped the bubbly. Marc got some "flavored" champagne and it was awful. We didn't even finish it. He got another bottle of the good stuff, but by this time it was so late we called it a night and so it sits, chilling in the mini fridge.

Hubs & I also had our first "child free night" this past weekend. With how exhausted we've been, I thought we deserved a night to rest and relax, just the two of us. My mom watched Beebs & I arranged for the twins to also be split up. My Aunt Mary insisted on taking both, but I assured her I didn't want to do that to her even if she thought she was ready, she watched Mila. Barb is a really good family friend and she has become like family to me. She watched Lola. After the girls 4m appt, I dropped them off at their respective homes for the night and went our house to change. I only told Hubs the night before about the arrangement and to say he was excited was an understatement. We tried to decide what to do.... should we do it big? Dinner, movie, drinks & a late curfew!?!?!? At the last minute... we thought, lets do dinner close to home and play it by ear. We went to a sports bar and sat at the bar. Then the hardest question came up... "what do you want to drink"? Shit... what do we want to drink??? Beer? Wine? hard liquor?!?!? We had the bartender come back two different times, that's annoying as shit, believe me... I know! I decided a Margarita sounded good, so we ordered two... then we remembered why we don't order Margarita's in Ohio... they suck ass. So we finished it, Marc decided on a pop & since they didn't have Dos XX I just went with a Miller Lite draft. Odd, we were no longer in the mood to drink! We went back to our house, immediately put on comfortable clothes and headed to the basement to blare the surround sound while watching a movie. We watched something stupid called "Behind the Pines" or something like that... owell, I just enjoyed the alone time with my love. We went to bed around midnight after a few texts to check on the babes. All seemed to be doing just fine! O Lord did it feel good to sleep in!! We laid in bed a couple hours just talking and falling in and out of sleep. We both took long, uninterrupted showers, Marc made breakfast that we didn't have to scarf down and for the first time in a long time, I drank a steaming hot coffee in its entirety before it got cold!

It was a much needed and appreciated "day off"!!!

Well I'm falling asleep while I type this and the girls just woke up, but we're doing CIO so now I gotta sit and listen and pray they fall back asleep quickly before working themselves up too much.

Sorry! I was busy being a perfect Mom!!!

It's been almost 2 months since my last post. I've just been so busy being the perfect mom & wife that I haven't had time for an update...

Hahahhaha I crack myself up. Perfect is so far from the truth it makes me cry. No really... I'm crying. I'm so unperfect and my parenting skills match it. Everyday I have to make decisions and pick battles that I often question how I got so lucky to become a parent. My life would surely be empty without my husband and children, but sometimes I think... Damn. What was I thinking? We all want it (well most of us anyways)... the doting handsome husband, the adorable kids, the cute family portraits at Christmas, the homemade children's gifts for relatives, a delicious hot dinner in the oven,  and so much more... But behind all those smiles and adorable children are real struggles. Struggles so real that you just shut your eyes and pray at random times looking for help, for guidance, for patience. Lord I need patience. In fact I ask everyday for patience... mainly when I'm holding a crying baby. A baby I love more than life itself and I can't figure out what she needs... or wants. There are so many times I just want to lay the girls down and run as fast as I can out the front door. I always tell myself I'll come running or crawling back because we all know I'm completly out of shape... I probably wouldn't even make it out of the 53 foot driveway before my lungs scream WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!!! YOU HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING IN A DAMN YEAR!!!!

The reason I have some time to finally update is that the girls are all asleep. I'm praying to God its for awhile. But it wasn't easy getting here. In fact, we're still in the beginning stages of our new self titled "go to sleep" training. So this new found peace could very well be temporary.

I'll give life updates in another post, but this is going to be about why I'm updating today.

The girls turned 4 months on the 12th... can you believe it?!?! That is crazy!!! In fact, pretty much a year ago today after some drinks with girlfriends, 2am McDonalds and missing my husband who had been gone a week, our little girls were conceived.

The girls were pretty good sleepers when they first came home. Of course most newborns are, but it stayed consistent. They were on the same schedule bc we would wake to feed the other no matter what. When they started growing we didn't need to. So they started waking at different intervals. I wish I could tell you twin moms to be that it gets easier, but it doesn't. At least not yet, at least not for us. In fact, its at its worse right now. I'm sure someone reading this is saying.. Ashley told me they were fine. I'm sure I did. I'm sure I told you they don't sleep, but I'm sure I told you they were great. Because they are great, but the don't sleep. So if they don't sleep, Marc & I don't sleep... you do the math.

So once they were waking at different intervals, it was like the newborn stage all over again. Thank the Lord he brought Marc into my life. He is the most hands on, supportive, non-complaining husband I could have asked for. We would take turns waking with the girls. I could no longer handle the week nights by myself when we moved the girls to their own rooms at Christmas. Its just too much. So now we suck it up and do it.... last night was the straw that broke the Camel's back and its not even Humpdaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

The girls do not like sleeping their cribs. Their room is cool, dark, we have them swaddled, we have white noise going. They were/are sleeping about 3hour stretches at most, which for a 4 month old is not normal. They should def be going at least 6hours before waking. When they wake at night, we attempt to feed and they take an ounce maybe two.... never a full bottle. Almost the minute we pick them up, they are passed back out. Ok cool, we think and put them back in their crib. Only the minute we lay them down you would think we were laying them on a board of nails. Instant cries of protest. We pick them up. Usually sitting down in the worn out rocker from Ava's baby days. Most times we fall asleep along with them. Who knows for how long. Then we wake up, confused, thankfully we haven't managed to drop the baby from our arms while we passed out. We only managed to put the wrong baby in the wrong crib once. This happened a week or two ago. Both girls were up. Marc went and put "his baby" down. A couple minutes later I take in Mila. Only to see a baby asleep in her crib. What the hell?!? I become so confused that I can't even move. I stand there and stare at the baby in my arms. This is Mila, right? Or do I have Lola? I can't tell... how can I not tell when one baby has a full head of hair and the other is 3lbs heavier???? I probably stand there for two mins... finally I take my baby and walk out into the kitchen. I ease her into the nightlight next to the sink. My suspicion is confirmed. I DO have Mila, not Lola. That means Hubs put the wrong baby in the crib. I walk into our room and whisper his name as to not freak him out. Regardless of my attempt he springs forward in the bed and says... "which one is up?!?!" I tell him none, but that he put Lola in Mila's bed. "What?? No...." Yes, I say.... and he jumps out and follows me in. "you're right" He scoops her up and lays her in the right crib and lay Mila down. We shuffle back to our bed and by this point, we're less graceful and more like drunk zombie plop in. I'm not even sure we made it under the covers...

I'm not even sure what happens after that story, but most likely the girls still wake up at some point and then inevitable happens. We bring them into bed with us. I'm sure some readers think co-sleeping in bed with them is the way to go, not us. We're not a fan of that and prefer to keep the girls in their own beds. All three... there have and always will be minimal exceptions. Like sickness. I can't bare a sick child to sleep alone. Once they are nestled in our arms its like our body plays a never ending lullabye to keep their little eyes shut tight. Usually they'll go close to 5 hours like this. If you were to take an aerial shot of us, I'm sure it can't be comfortable for Marc & I. It doesn't even matter... we are sleeping too. Of course we wake up with numb hands and arms and trying to manuever around a sleeping baby with a tingling limb proves to be a stupid move. The time comes for Hubs to get up and shower for work... he wakes me softly... asking what he should do with "his" baby. Whichever baby is in our possession we call them "ours" which changes frequently. I used to say put her in her crib, but that would last 3mins and she would be awake. I started telling him to slide her next to my baby so they are touching. That lasts 20mins until one head butts the other or grunts and then in unison they awake, MAD. These are all signs the girls are ready for sleep training. Of course sleep training is up to the parents involved and there are no right or wrong ways. We know what goals we have and what we want... no babies in our room, babies asleep in their own beds, babies that don't require rocking or feeding to go to sleep, same goes for our toddler. Total independence when it comes to sleeping. Of course I enjoy rubbing Ava's back until she falls asleep, but its nothing we want to make a habit of.

Back to last night... Ava was in bed by 9p, the girls ate and were down for bed around 10pm. I know this is considered late, but its the schedule they've put themselves in too. We had two baskets of clean laundry in the living room. When the girls were asleep I got ready for bed. Marc was out folding clothes. I told him to leave the clothes and I would get around to doing most of it tomorrow (which is today). He insisted he wanted to help me so he folded up the basket of darks. I took the monitors and went to bed. Shortly after, he came to bed. We talked briefly only to hear Lola wake up. Its sad, but when we heard her crying...I'm sure we both felt the same emotion... frustration Yep, you read right... frustrated that we weren't going to sleep right away. He went in and got her and brought her to the room. The same convo ensued... we just don't get it. They've been in their cribs since Christmas. They are fed, dry, burped and we give gas drops to help and most definitely LOVED. I told him I would take her and he denied my request. He was holding her and she became unswaddled and then my husband... the most calm, caring & understanding man became frustrated. Then I knew. When the peacekeeper of the house is feeling stress... change needs to happen. My fuse is considerably shorter than his. The benefit I have is that I realize it and before I stress myself out I ask for him to relieve me. Of course there are times when he can't and I have to deal... those are the times I stop and ask for patience.

So after he got frustrated I took Lola. It took awhile to calm her down. She was so tired but couldn't sleep. Around 1am I finally put her down, checked on Ava & climbed into my bed. About an hour after she went down she woke back up. I brought her in bed with us. Shortly after, Mila woke up and Marc brought her to bed as well. A few hours later Mila woke again and we fed both babies. Mila fought to go to sleep at first, but then we were all sleeping again until Marc had to shower... I mentioned how that goes already in the above paragraphs.

At their 4m check up on Friday I told the pedi what was going on. She said that it is 100% Behavioral. I couldn't believe it... at 4m?? She said the fact that they won't sleep in their cribs, but will sleep for hours in our arms/bed and they wake and don't eat a full bottle is what tells her they are purely doing this out of wants not needs...

So today I decided to start CIO (cry it out) for their naps. They were just so tired this morning that they needed constant holding. I can't do that. I have two babies and a toddler. Beebs woke up at 8:30a and she didn't get a good breakfast until 10am. She just got little snacks to hold her over that I could get while holding a baby. Just enough to hold her over. How can that be fair to her? I then quickly realized I never even changed her diaper when she woke up. What is wrong with me?? The girls were just fussing and crying and I couldn't take it... I texted Hubs... " I can't do this" He responds that I can and he will be home for lunch to help me. I just sit there and cry. I had to walk away, but Ava of course followed me. I regrouped and said this is it... they need to just go to bed, right now. The girls are horrible nappers, like mini cat naps unless you are holding them. The girls need adequate rest, and I need to do this is for Ava. She gets the short end of the stick all the time. She always wants to play and usually I'm saying... "after I put sissy to sleep", which, lets be honest, entails holding until she falls asleep, put her down, usually in the swing, then its usually time for the other to sleep so I hold her to sleep, same deal... and Ava usually gets about 20mins of mommy time. That's not enough. Not to mention during those 20mins I need to wash bottles or do something else important around the house. Then we play "quietly" so we don't wake up the girls. We usually go back into Ava's room to play loudly, but I'm so afraid one will wake up, cry and wake the other that I'm constantly listening down the hall for a baby. My day is spent responding to baby noises and raising my voice at my toddler. So here is how the day went and is currently going... I expect this to last a few days before they get used to it. I'm sure some of you will say I'm mean and how could I let my babies cry this long... but until you've walked a mile...

10a: girls have been awake almost two hours, they are drowsy. Put them to bed.
10a-12p: no sleeping, just crying. At the beginning I went in at 5, then 10mins to soothe, but that just made it worse.
12:10p: Feed both (hubs came home and took the rest of the day to help me).
12:40p: down for sleep, no swaddle, wouldn't take paci, crying
2:00p: Lola asleep
2:15p: Mila asleep
2:30p: Mila wakes up, her cries wake up Lola
2:40p: 2hour mark--- change clothes, diaper
3:10p: finished bottles, comforted. Babies are smiling, seem happy but very drowsy
3:30p: change diapers again, arms out swaddle
3:40p: put in bed drowsy, but awake. Both fall asleep immediate
4:05p: Mila woke, her cries woke up Lola
4:50p: they are both still crying... its been 30mins since they woke, but their nap was less than 30mins, definitely not enough.

If they are still awake at the 2hour mark, 5:40p, we'll take them out, feed again, play and then hope that we have better luck for an early bed time. I'm not counting on it, but this will be our schedule the next few days until they are sleeping better. By the way... we have a video monitor so I can see them perfectly.

Pray for us!!!