Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Red Wooden Wagon

My little sister, Kelsey, came to visit us this past weekend over her Fall Break from the University of Arkansas. Her boyfriend, Mikey, came with her. I'm not sure what it is, but Sam and Easton can sense the energy that comes with being 19 and 20 years old... They crawl all over those two. It's great to have Kelsey (and Mikey!) in Houston because, well, it's always nice to have an extra set of hands to help out.
Trust me, it isn't easy when you have two toddlers that take off in a full toddler sprint in opposite directions while you stand there with the stroller wondering how they unbuckled themselves and crawled out while you were just trying to see if the swings were too hot to sit on. Whew.
I had made a ton of arrangements to ensure that we crammed as many activities into the four days that Kelsey and Mikey would be here.
Four Adults > Two Toddlers
I'll touch back more that a different time. Now I want to tell a story about the red wooden wagon.

On Saturday morning, the neighborhood Blake and I live in were having a neighborhood garage sale at the Club House. 
It was advertised as a "Treasure Sale", but really, come on, it's a "Junk Sale" and we all know it.
Kelsey and I got up extra early to ensure that we could get there right when the sale started at 7:00AM. We were both dressed and ready, and we got there about ten minutes after the "opening of the gates". We totally should have gotten there earlier. 
It was a mad house.
We circled the parking lot - filled with people and (let's face it) junk - before we decided that everything good was probably picked off immediately. However, across the street a house was hosting its own garage sale, so we wandered that way. 
There was a little red wooden wagon piled under a bunch of other items that were for sale. It was dented, scratched, and squeaked when it rolled, but I didn't consider any of that... It had charm, and I wanted it. 
I asked the lady standing the closest to me if it was for sale, but she said that it was hers and she didn't think she wanted to part with it. Her husband, however, was very anxious to rid his garage of the wagon that took too much space, so upon overhearing my question, he pressured her into parting with it.
As I began fishing through my wallet for the $30 to buy the precious wagon, she explained that the wagon had been her son's. He was now twenty-eight years old, and he had recently gotten married, but the memories of him in the wagon and the wagon leaving with me were hard for her. 
Twenty-eight years old. 
Where will that wagon be when Sam and Easton are twenty-eight? 
I'll tell you... 

I'm going to love that wagon. We are going to make a few memories with that wagon, and when twins have gotten married and Blake wants more space in the garage (ha! yea, right), we might part with it. 
Until then, I'm going to respect how much that wagon meant to that sweet mom.
I might also have a plan to take the babies' Christmas card photo in the precious wagon and hand deliver a card to that house next to the Club House.
Let's just make it through Halloween first!

 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How I... Got Rid of Bottles

It has been forever since I have gotten a chance to write out anything on this sad, lonely blog...
I'm going to try to make a honest effort to get on here more often. 
This is especially the case considering that the babies and I have survived our first year together.
We have established somewhat of a schedule.
We kinda get each other now. 
With that being said, let's go ahead and dive into the meat of what I was really wanting to say today.

Be warned, reader...
Some people who read this may not have kids and/or may not care to read about the details of life with kids. If that statement applies to you, then click out of this and wander back to the depths of Facebook because I guarantee that what I am about to say will bore you. 
However, to those out there with little ones that consume your every thought, move, and moment...
Well...
This post is written with you in mind!

Some people might describe my parenting style as stubborn. I have always followed the mantra that "a mother knows best".
Note that within the quotations there is nothing about a...
...book...
...doctor...
...neighbor... 
...friend...
...coworker...
...family member...
or
...husband...
I know best when it comes to my children,
Just as you know best when it comes to your child(ren).  

With that I want to note...
My experience is unique to me because, well, I'm me.
My advice on getting rid of bottles isn't really advice, it is a story.
Maybe it will help you, maybe it won't.
Either way, here it is.

Bottles are tricky. 
First, it takes a good three weeks to teach your baby how to use one.

Suck.
Swallow.
Breathe.

Once you have hit that milestone, you feel like you and your baby can conquer the world.

My gosh, my baby knows how to eat without choking!

It seems, however, that once you have introduced and taught the skill and your baby has mastered it, you immediately are thrown into teaching a new, more complex skill.

What?
I have to teach him how to eat lumpy food from a spoon now?

It is never-ending and overwhelming during that first year.
Reading books, listening to your pediatrician, and watching friends with little ones, you know that you have a very limited amount of time to transition your newborn from sucking down 25ml of milk at a feeding to eating what you eat in a somewhat similar manner in which you eat.

One year.
That's it.

Around three months, the twins were enjoying four bottles a day. As they got older, I simply added another ounce or two to their bottles.
7:00AM Bottle
11:00AM Bottle
3:00PM Bottle
7:00PM Bottle

It was a nice, comfortable schedule, but at the twin's six month check-up my pediatrician shoved me into the world of "solids." 
Easton and Samantha did not start eating solids (i.e. jarred baby food) until they were six months old because... 
1. I was intimidated by the thought that I had to add a new obstacle to the daily schedule. 
2. I had no idea how to transition.

Our feeding schedule became a little more complex than before.

7:00AM Bottle (8oz Formula)
8:30AM Solids
11:30AM Bottle (6oz Formula) and Solids
3:00PM Bottle (6oz Formula)
5:00PM Solids
7:00PM Bottle (8oz Formula)

As the weeks passed I slowly added more solids to the "meals". 
Instead of one jar of food, they would have two.
I also decreased the bottles at 11:30AM and 3:00PM by two ounces. 

As several more weeks passed, I slowly added normal foods like cut up bananas, peas, and bread.
Eventually the "solids" weren't consisting of jarred baby foods. By ten months, Samantha and Easton were eating only table foods besides their bottles. 

An example of our daily feeding schedule at this point looked like...
7:00AM Bottle (4oz Formula/4oz Whole Milk)
8:30AM Pancakes and Fruit
11:30AM Bottle (3oz Formula/3oz Whole Milk) and Sliced Turkey with Pickle and Cheese
3:00PM Bottle (3oz Formula/3oz Whole Milk)
5:00PM Macaroni and Cheese with Corn and Blueberries
7:00PM Bottle (4oz Formula/4oz Whole Milk)

Once Samantha and Easton became gumming pros, I started to introduce a sippy cup with whole milk at each meal. My goal was to offer it as much as possible. I offered water in a regular sippy cup between meals, and offered milk in a sippy cup that had a straw during meals. They were horrible at first, choking on every sip, swallowing some only to spit half of it back out, but they got the hang of it slowly. It took a month or two, but they got it! 
(Side note: They like using the straw better than the sippy cup you have to tip to drink. By teaching them to use the straw right off the bat we are free, in a way, from sippy cups. I don't have to carry a sippy cup with me to a restaurant because you can just order a cup with a lid and a straw.)

Throughout the time that Samantha and Easton were learning to consistently drink from the sippy cup, I began to withhold bottle feedings. They were obtaining more calories from the table foods, so our daily feeding schedule turned to this...
7:00AM Bottle (4oz Formula/4oz Whole Milk)
8:30AM Waffles and Fruit with Whole Milk
11:30AM Grilled Cheese with Sliced Turkey and Pickle with Whole Milk 
3:00PM Bottle (3oz Formula/3oz Whole Milk)
5:00PM Macaroni and Cheese with Corn and Blueberries with Whole Milk
7:00PM Bottle (4oz Formula/4oz Whole Milk)

Then, a week later, it looked like this...
7:00AM Bottle (4oz Formula/4oz Whole Milk)
8:30AM Pancakes and Fruit with Whole Milk
11:30AM Grilled Cheese and Sliced Turkey with Pickle and Cheese with Whole Milk
3:00PM Yogurt with Whole Milk
5:00PM Macaroni and Cheese with Corn and Blueberries with Whole Milk
7:00PM Bottle (4oz Formula/4oz Whole Milk)

Another week passed...

7:30AM Pancakes and Fruit with Whole Milk
11:30AM Grilled Cheese and Sliced Turkey with Pickle and Cheese with Whole Milk 
3:00PM Yogurt with Whole Milk
5:00PM Macaroni and Cheese with Corn and Blueberries with Whole Milk
7:00PM Bottle (4oz Formula/4oz Whole Milk)

And then finally...
7:30AM Pancakes and Fruit with Whole Milk
11:30AM Grilled Cheese and Sliced Turkey with Pickle and Cheese with Whole Milk
3:00PM Yogurt with Whole Milk
5:30PM Macaroni and Cheese with Corn and Blueberries with Whole Milk
7:00PM Sippy Cup of Whole Milk 





That's where we are right now. 
The babies have about 16-20oz of whole milk a day via sippy cup. I have one sippy cup for each baby for their milk, and I refill them throughout the day, making sure I return them promptly to the fridge after every meal to ensure that the milk doesn't spoil. They have another sippy cup each for water, which just hang out upstairs until bedtime when I toss them into the dishwasher. 

The "bottle to no-bottle" process took about six months, but at the very beginning I was really cautious about introducing new foods three to five days apart. After a while, I dove right in. This whole change could easily be altered to do within three or two months depending on your doctor's approval, of course.

I hope that if you're struggling with getting rid of bottles, getting ready to start the process of getting rid of bottles, or just wanted a reminder of how grateful that you are to not deal with bottles any longer, that this all provided some insight. 

Here's hoping that potty-training goes well here in a few months!
It really never ends.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christmas Collage: Catch-Up


It has been a busy past few weeks.
We had a beautiful Christmas.

The new year is already showcasing new adventures for our family.
(And, no, we aren't pregnant!)
More to come later...