Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's been a while

We're all still here, with one notable exception- our sweet puppy Samson (the chiweeinie) died yesterday. Our hearts hurt, and there isn't much more to say about it.

Alot has changed since I last wrote. I have three or four entries I began but never posted. The boys are one now, and unfotunatley our winter has been filled with illness after illness. Also, DH lost his job, and I worked. ALOT. Or at least it felt like a lot. A happier post is forthcoming. Just wanted to let anyone still checking in know that I'm still here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Raising Readers

As some of you may know I have a degree in Elementary Education. I never intended to be a teacher, it was merely a pit stop on my way to my Masters and Behavior Analyst board certification. As some of you also know the pregnancy and boys have put an indefinite hold on these plans.  Most of the classes that I took in college were somewhat silly in my opinion (I mean really, in Teaching Elementary PE we played red light green light, and in Teaching Elementary math we played with blocks while our teacher read us children's math books). Little did I know I would have twins that I now plan to homeschool! All of those materials and lesson plans are going to come in handy in a few years. One of the classes I actually enjoyed was called Children's Literature. We learned all about creating a language rich environment, and constantly reading to pupils to teach a love for reading.

My mom always read books to me, maybe that's why I like books so much. Also, a dear woman that I highly respect taught me by example how to instill a love of reading in children. She is a kindergarten teacher turned stay at home mom extraordinaire whose children I used to provide ABA for and babysit. Her children, now  almost 7 and 9, (where has the time gone!!!) love books and reading. I always thought when I became a mom I would be the mom that she and my mom were.

And so, a long time ago I started my children's literature collection. I had to buy some books for the class that I mentioned, at thrift shops I picked up favorite titles from my childhood,  every time I bought a home decorating, christian fiction, or cooking book I would also pick up a few sale priced children's books, and whenever I saw a good book for my clients at work I grabbed it and took it to work until they were done with it. My mom was generous enough to let me have some of the books she read to me when I was little (though not the special ones.) Some of the books I remember loving as a child I searched for on Ebay and purchased. Still others reside on my Amazon wishlist.

Needless to say when the boys arrived they had a very full bookshelf full of beloved stories. Everything from Goodnight Moon, to Skippyjon Jones comprised our library. When the boys were in my belly I tried to talk to them, but sometimes I didn't know what to say, so I read to them. When they arrived and had to spend nine days in NICU I took a backpack full of books up to their bedside along with my ipod and some speakers. I would take them to the nursing room and read to them each night, and pray with them- knowing this would be our bedtime routine at home. I spent hours in the uncomfortable chair between their bassinets pumping and softly humming along to the classical music coming from our ipod. There were few things that I could do for them in those early days; the nurses were always insisting that I would bother them and make them burn off more calories, but I felt they needed to know I was there, and so I read and sang to them. When we came home, I didn't know what to do with them when they weren't sleeping! So I read and sang. They seemed to enjoy hearing my voice, often falling asleep as I read chapter books to them.

From the very beginning we had a set bedtime routine. They stayed up all night, so st first we just picked and evening feeding and did our routine, trying as hard as possible to keep it dark and quiet on subsequent feeding until morning (I shudder thinking of those early nights!) Our routine was fairly simple. Bath (usually just a wipedown with a cloth and a diaper change) PJs, and a warm bottle as we listened to praise music. After they finished their bottles I read to them. Sometimes in the early days I read books without pictures or books for older children and some days I just read poetry. After that we would pray, swaddle them and put them in their crib. That's still our routine, pretty much to a t. The only thing that has changed much is the size of the bottles and the types of books.

At around 3 months, when the boys started to show interest in toys I bought them a cloth book. All the book had were large pictures. However, each picture did something. The first page a door opened to show a bear, the second a crab on a string could be pulled out of a bucket, the third, a mirror was in the middle of a sunshine that took up the whole page, the fourth some ribbons shone out of a light house and on the back there was a sailboat that you could pull side to side. I would "read" this to them several times per day, making sure to show them how we turned the page, pointing out details in the pictures and narrating everything. After about a week of reading this book at playtime I noticed they were more interested in their bedtime stories, so I began to choose books with colorful pictures. They loved those. And then around 4 months we started reading primarily board books. We only had about 10 of them and we read them over and over- at playtime and bedtime. They started to try to "help" turn the pages.

At this time I started buying more board books. And we began to read at least ten books per day. The boys loved it! They got more excited over a book than a musical toy. That's the way they still are. They love to turn the pages, and look at the pictures. Often they fight over them. When I read to them it seems they are really listening. I feel that we have gotten a really good start in the literacy department. It is never to early to start reading to your baby, and once you start they won't let you start!!! Children who are read to often learn to read earlier, have larger vocabularies, and go farther in college. So if you haven't yet, begin reading today.

Here is our current list of favorite stories
Goodnight Moon
Blue Hat Green Hat
Tiggers Breakfast
Dear Zoo
Brow Bear Brown Bear What do You See?
But not the Hippopotamus
Spot Loves his Daddy
Guess how Much I love You
Skippyjon Jones Shape up
Happy Hippo Angry Duck
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Hand Hand Fingers Thumb

Quick update on things to come.

It's been a busy month, but I have a few posts in the works.

Stay tuned for:

Little Readers,  on our library and teaching a love of reading from birth

9 months (can't believe we're almost there)

Becoming the Mother I want to be (maybe a series, dealing with our TTC struggle, my complicated pregnancy, and my battle with post partum depression/ post traumatic stress)

Any thing else you want to know? I'm needing some ideas so feel free to share.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Eight Months Already!

My big boys turned eight months old on Wednesday. That's 6.5 months adjusted if anyone's keeping up with their preemie development list. But these guys don't look like preemies anymore. It could have something to do with how much they both love to EAT. And eat and eat and eat. They average about 3 9.5 ounce bottles per day, as well as 3 jars of baby food. (that's each!) Although their intake is usually the exact same, obviously there is a weight difference between them. I am not sure what the difference is but I'm guessing it's close to two pounds. You can really feel the difference when you go from holding Alexander to holding Max. Poor boy has Mommy's metabolism. Xander never ever stops moving. The kid is always kicking his feet or flapping his hands, usually keeping beat with any music in the environment. He is so getting the leapfrog music and lights drum for Christmas. Max doesn't do a lot of superfluous movement; the movement that he does gets him somewhere. He has been rolling from back to front and front to back over and over again for a few weeks, but now he lifts his chest and top half of his belly up and scoots in circles. He can go backwards too, although I don't think he knows quite why he goes backwards :-). Alexander began rolling back and forth with control about a week ago. And just today I noticed him practicing his brother's scooting trick. He's been watching Max for weeks (slyly snatching toys as the chub rolls by)  and I guess he was figuring it all out while I thought he was just being lazy. He's gonna be one of those people that takes a while try things, but always gets it right the first time-little perfectionist. Max ,however, is not afraid to try and fail. I love that about him, even if it does mean I have to rescue him from the corner every few minutes after he gets himself stuck there.

They both can sit if they are put into a sitting position, and can sit for a number of minutes with little to no assistance. However, they both have no clue that they are sitting up. So they topple over quite frequently, usually on top of each other. They have yet to bonk heads as they fall, it's probably because I always keep too close of a hand on them. They need to be a little more free to explore. I just don't want to see them hurt,ever. But with all this moving there are bound to be some scrapes and bruises. I just wish they could be my own instead of the boys'.

I think that swaddling them is hindering them from exploring on their own. Yes we still swaddle. Yes, I know we shouldn't. But we can't seem to stop! I try. Really I do. But they won't sleep for longer than 30 minutes at a time unswaddled. And I just haven't come to the point where not swaddling is as important an issue as the family being well-rested. Anyone that stopped swaddling when their babies were infants instead of newborns please speak up and let me know what you did! So far my ideas are weighted blankets or home-made woombies. I'd like an option that requires less sewing. Plus there's the issue of temperature. We keep our house at 68 degrees, and we all like it that way. The boys' room has an entire wall of window, and it gets really hot in there as soon as the sun comes up, so really it's about 75 degrees in their room most of the time. I just don't see an easy solution. Hopefully we figure it out before they turn five. I'm only half kidding.

Overall life with Max and Xander is great. They are such neat little boys. It is amazingly fun to watch them grow and explore. Already they have a relationship like I have never seen before. They totally  play off of each others mood, and sometimes I swear they are speaking in their own language. I can so see them being like those yelling youtube twins in a year. I love seeing them interact with each other. But I admit, sometimes I am a little jealous of their bond. Most moms are the single most important person in their child's life for those first couple of months; but I have been competing since before I met them. We totally have a cool three-way mommy/max/xander bond though, and that's not something everybody gets to experience. This adventure of parenthood is the most exhausting and rewarding thing I have ever done.

So, here's the monthly recap for each of them.

Alexander loves bouncing in his jumperoo. His favorite food this month has been bananas, he "oooohhhms" and "ahhhs" for them as he flaps his hands and stretches his neck towards the spoon. He loves listening to music and playing with his daddy. Occasionally he can be found swiping his brother's pacifier or monopolizing the crawl ball, which is still his favorite toy. Xander's favorite activity is being naked, closely followed by reading books. Today at Target he picked "But Not the Hippopotamus" and greatly enjoyed it when we read it tonight. He also especially likes "hand,hand fingers thumb" and "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed". At Uma's house (my mom) he has a stuffed monkey that he often holds conversations with. He really likes going to Uma's house, because he gets to snuggle with her and wrestle with grandpa. (Mommy can only entertain two boys on her own so much). Alexander enjoys watching Samson play, and happilyanticipates the day when he will be able to crawl after him. Most of the time Xander sleeps well, but lately his bee mini pillow pal that Daddy bought him at Toys R Us last week has been distracting him. Mommy sees him on the monitor turned towards the bee cooing. It is cute, except for at 3 o clock in the morning, when it is not allowed. I love you little Xander Mander. Happy 8 months, my son.

Max loves bouncing in his jumperoo, while squealing in excitement.  His favorite food this month has been yogurt. He is a picky eater, tightly closing his little lips when the spoon comes near if he is unsure of its contents. However, he recognizes the yogurt container and always kicks his feet like crazy when he realizes that's whats on the menu. He loves watching t.v. and rolling around the toy room. He often giggles at his Daddy, who tickles him with his beard. His favorite toy varies from day to day, usually he prefers to play with his binky, getting it stuck to his thumb and chasing it when it rolls away from him. Max's favorite activity is watching tv; he even watches it when it is off, presumably hoping it will magically come on. Today at Target he picked "Happy hippo, Angry Duck" and he kicked his feet in excitment when we read it tonight; he LOVES books.  He likes to go to Uma's house too. He loves his Aunt Allyson and often watches her every move. He gets a kick out of grandpa tickling him and loves "Uma". In fact, he gave her the name. He gets tickled at random things, often laughing at his toys or the dogs. Max has been sleeping a lot better lately. He had been waking up several times in the early evening, but since we switched the schedule he usually sleeps through the night without waking. He likes the panda pillow pal that keeps him company in his bed. I think there might be big pillow pals in store for the boys for their birthday.  I love you my Maximo! Happy 8 months lovebug.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just another manic Monday

I've been playing around with my background. The robots were just too busy for me. I'm not sure what I'll end up doing, but I don't think the current brown background is what I'll stick with either. How did you get you current layout? Was it easy to achieve?

I've come to the realization that I either need to be a better blogger (post more, add pictures, comment more etc) or give it up and just work on a journal for the boys. I'd really like to continue to blog, but I think it needs to be a bit more well rounded, instead of long wordy updates about the boys. Any suggestions? I'm sure I have some sage twin parenting advice up my sleeve somewhere. I'd love to hear comments or suggestions. Thanks.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hey ya'll (a vlog)

So Samantha over at Where the green grass grows posted a vlog. It's an exercise designed to let your readers decide if you have an accent or not, by asking you to pronounce words that are often said differently depending on the region of the United States you are from. I thought it looked fun, so here it is. I really don't think that I have much of an accent because I have family from Alabama and Pennsylvania, which probably evened my accent out enough. I'd love to see your vlog too, do you have an accent?

Here are the directions:
Say these words:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

And answer these questions:
•What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?

•What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?

•What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?

•What do you call gym shoes?

•What do you say to address a group of people?

•What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?

•What do you call your grandparents?

•What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?

•What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?

•What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

And here's my video 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A beautiful, hearbreaking story

I came across this video through friends on facebook. A heartbreaking question of choosing life or death when our will to live is gone. Would your choice be different than his? I'd like to say mine would be, but I don't think we can ever know what we would do. 1000 days