Monday, December 29, 2014

Microblog Monday: Santa Pics

My family Christmas was this past Saturday.  The babies got to meet Santa for the very first time!  They really don't have much in the way of stranger danger, but they missed an afternoon nap (not that they ever get a very good one these days) and were super tired, so we thought they might cry.  Nope!  My niece and a cousin that are both only a few months older than Ayden and Rylee on the other hand....  They were not so happy with Santa.

We have a Santa suit in our family that my Grandpa used to wear.  I'm proud to say he was the Santa for an annual event at our State Capital Building for several years.  Now the Santa suit is used for our family Christmases.  This year one of my uncles dressed up as Santa.

My absolute FAVORITE!

Ayden was thinking about giving that beard a good tug.

I love this one too!  Rylee and Santa look like they are having a good talk.

And then there was my niece.  She didn't like Santa so much!

*If you'd like to read more #MicroblogMonday posts or learn more about what it is, click here.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Our Second "First" Christmas

Technically, this was the babies second Christmas.  However, since they were born unexpectedly only 2 days before Christmas last year and in the NICU, this Christmas really seemed more like their first!

Christmas 2013
I wish I could say this year was the best Christmas EVER, but I think that time has yet to come.  I say that because almost all of us were sick!  Rylee was the only one that hadn't come down with a nasty cold yet. When Ayden and I both woke up with very colorful snot (sorry), I knew we should probably stay home from our planned Christmas Day festivities with Tony's family.  In addition to the snotty noses, Tony and I also had not-so-fun coughs.  So we all stayed home and made the best of our day together, which was still pretty special simply because WE HAD BABIES to celebrate with!

My family traditionally has celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve.  However, this year we moved it to the Saturday after.  As our extended family grows through marriages and added children, it becomes more difficult to plan a time that works with everyone.  We found ourselves without Christmas Eve plans, but it turned out to be a great day anyway!

Tony actually had the day off work, so we took advantage of that and had his mom come over to watch the babies in the afternoon, allowing us to have a much needed movie date.  We went and saw the new Hunger Games movie, the Mockingjay.  We loved it!  It might be the one and only time I've ever thought the movie was better than the book!  I found the 3rd book to be a little slow and hard to get in to, but the movie was fantastic.

Later that night, we all went out to dinner together at a local Mexican restaurant with Tony's parents, Grandpa, and Aunt.  It was the first time we'd ever taken the babies out to eat for dinner.  We were so impressed with how well they did!  I packed them each a baby spoon in the diaper bag and we ordered them a kids meal to share: chicken enchilada, beans, and rice.  Ayden and Rylee just seemed to take everything in and enjoyed the outing.  Of course we had to keep everything on the table out of arms reach from them!  Ayden was intrigued by the ceiling fan and all the people.  We spoon fed them their dinner in order to keep them as clean as possible and they ate their dinner like champs.  They also surprised us all by being able to drink from a straw!  In addition, they got their first taste of sherbet for desert.  It was a hit!

We knew we had colds Christmas Eve, but by Sunday morning they were a lot worse.  We called the family to let them know we would be skipping out.  We are sad that we missed spending Christmas with family, but what a blessing to be able to spend it with our own little family of four!

We didn't put up a Christmas tree this year, because with two mobile babies that like to eat absolutely EVERYTHING, it would have been a nightmare.  Plus, with being in the middle of selling our house and planning to move... It just seemed easier not to have a tree.  I put a few decorations out, but not many.  I'm hoping that in the years to come, we can make it a family tradition to go out and hunt for the perfect tree together.  Being from Oregon, we HAVE to have a real tree!

Our big gift to the babies this year was 4-in-1 trikes.  They start out with a parent handle to push and steer, and the seat comes with a 5 pt. harness.  Then it transitions into a regular trike that they have to pedal.  With their birthday being so close to Christmas, buying gifts was a bit of a challenge.  What they will need and be able to play with 6 months from now is a lot different from where they are developmentally right now, so some of their gifts will need to be put up and brought out at a later date.  Tony put together the trikes Christmas Eve and I wrapped the other few presents and filled their stockings.

When they woke up Christmas morning, we gave them their bottle as usual and then we opened presents!  The trikes were a hit and they loved the wrapping paper of course.

Loving their new bikes!

"Wrapping paper sure does taste good!"

Pure joy for their first T-ball set!  (We can pretend they actually knew what it was.  lol)

Rylee actually did pretty good pulling things from her stocking.  I just had to get her started by showing her there was stuff in there!

"What is this cool little ball that lights up?"  He was intrigued.
We had a great morning, but the day as a whole was a little rough.  Both babies decided they didn't want to nap all day.  Ayden skipped his morning nap altogether, and Rylee only slept for about a half hour.  For their afternoon nap, they both slept for only about 20 minutes and both of them were up screaming.  Kind of like they are doing right now as I type this.  Sigh.  They were most definitely grumpy cats with the lack of sleep.

We decided we would distract them and take advantage of the no rain by taking them for a stroll on their new bikes.  It was either that, or let them keep screaming while fighting their naps.  They enjoyed being outside and we enjoyed the walk.

Our only Christmas Day family photo
Overall, it was a good day spent together.  We were sick and we were all a little grumpy, but we were together.  It was so much fun to experience giving them their first Christmas gifts and actually being able to put them to good use right away.  We have my family Christmas tomorrow and Tony's extended family gets together the first part of January, so we still have some Christmas left to be had.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Birthday Party!

We celebrated Ayden and Rylee's first birthday on Saturday!  It is so hard to believe that their party has come and gone already.  Of course, their actual birthday isn't until tomorrow, but still.  We have managed to keep them alive for a year.  We made it through the infant stage.  Phew!

We had their party at the church that Tony's family attends.  It was the best place we could think of for the large number that we were expecting to come.  I don't think we will always invite so many people, but we did feel that at least for this first birthday, it was important to invite everyone that has been so invested in Ayden and Rylee.  I don't really know how to explain it other than they were so long awaited, and are truly our miracle babies, that they tend to hold a special place in everyone's heart.  We ended up with a total of 44 people that came to the party, including all the adults and kids.

Other than the number of people, it really wasn't a big fanfare.  We didn't have a party theme.  I didn't make a bunch of party favors or decorations.  We just.... had a party.

Or course I did a few things....

I did make Rylee's tutu.  I had searched on Etsy for matching birthday outfits for them both and discovered that Etsy is WAAAaaayyyyyyy too expensive for me.  Most of the matching twin birthday outfits on Etsy cost about $98.  Say what?!!!!?!!  No thank you.  So I bought them personalized onsies online from Personalization Mall and made Rylee's tutu myself.  Thank you Pinterest!  I used to be fairly crafty, but that changed over the years. Now I wouldn't say I'm very crafty at all.  The first tutu I made, I ended up stretching the elastic out and it was about twice Rylee's size!  Sooooo, I had to take it all apart and start over.  When I finished it on Friday, I had Rylee try it on to make sure it would work.  You would have thought I was torturing her the way she screamed!  She did NOT want that tutu on!  I gave her a stern talking to on Saturday about how much time I spent making the darn thing and that she better wear it!  Haha. Just kidding.  But I was really, really hoping she would let me put it on her for the party, and she did.  Yay!

The stinker wouldn't look at me, but here's her birthday outfit!

I made two crockpot soups for the party.  I had to borrow a crockpot from my mil so I'd have two.  I cut up the veggies and browned the hamburger the night before so it would be ready to throw in the next morning.  I got up early Saturday morning so I could get the soups going, but wouldn't you know it, I forgot to plug one of the crockpots in!  Agh!  Thankfully, it was discovered in enough time that we could turn it on high for the last few hours and it was still ready to go.  We served Mexican Chicken Chili and Sweet Corn Chili (both recipes are from Mix and Match Mama's Family Blog), rolls, and cake.  I didn't realize the number of people that would actually be coming to the party so I was afraid that we wouldn't have enough soup, but it ended up being perfect.

I also printed off their monthly birthday pictures that I'd taken throughout the year and strung them up for display, along with some other pictures.  That's as decorative as we got, except for a few balloons.

The babies each had their own smash cakes and I got a Costco sheet cake for everyone else.  I love Costco cake!  It's my favorite.  But I always eat too much of it.

Rylee's "little" cupcake almost sat taller than she did!

Their first taste of sugar!

They didn't make too big of a dent in their cakes, but they sure enjoyed the frosting! 

First time playing with balloons!

Playing with their new Imaginarium from their Auntie and Uncle

Our little music makers.  They got a new "piano" for their birthday!

It may not have been a fancy smancy party, but it was perfect for us!  Everyone had a good time and the babies enjoyed experiencing their first cake, balloons, and opening presents.  The soups were a hit.  I got asked a dozen times where I got their cool birthday shirts and people were impressed that I made the tutu. We got to visit with some people we hadn't seen in awhile.  Most importantly, we got to celebrate these two special babies with everyone who loves them so much!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nothing is Safe

The babies have been getting into EVERYTHING!  They are in love with touching our cadet wall heaters, regardless of how many times we tell them it's dangerous, or say owie or hot.  We try to keep it turned off if they are roaming around, just in case, but Rylee did actually burn her hand one day.  The poor girl had little burn lines blistered onto her hand for a few weeks.  I thought it was going to scar, but it did go away.  She did not learn her lesson however.  Now they think they are sneaky.  They crawl past the wall heater to stand at the wall a further bit down, and then walk along the wall to the heater.  When we say their name as a warning, they stop, look at us and smile, then continue on their naughty way.

If we leave the hallway doors open, they instinctively know it and find their way into a bathroom or bedroom they shouldn't be in.  There is not a cupboard or drawer in the kitchen that they will stay out of.  I had a few people suggest giving them a cupboard that would be "theirs."  They said that their own child then left the others cupboards alone.

I decided one day to finally give in and let them have a cupboard.

New Toys!!!

They taste so good!

I love how they are sitting back to back.

The Pyrex has now found a new home

So now my question is this:  How in the world do I get them to stop getting into every other cupboard still????  I've given them their own cupboard and drawer, yet they STILL want to get into every other one as well!  I realize we could solve this problem by putting little door baby proof thingies on.  However, we don't have the kind of cupboards that have knobs, so we can't just tie them together.  We actually have to screw/drill into the cupboard door to attach the baby proofing.  I don't think that is something we should do at this point, since we are selling our house.  I also don't want to do that to my china cabinet!

Now, not only do I have plastic containers and lids spread all over my kitchen and living room floor, they are still getting into the other cupboards.  I was told that if I gave them their "own" cupboard, that they'd leave the others alone.  I want to know how to make that happen!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Creme de la Creme

This is the 9th year running that Mel at Stirrup Queens will be putting together a Creme de la Creme list of your favorite blog posts.  Do you have a favorite post that you have written?  Something that came from the heart and means a lot to you?  For a first time visitor to your blog, what post would you direct them to read first?

Tomorrow is the last day to submit your post to be on this years Creme de la Creme list.  Tomorrow at midnight is the deadline.  Be sure to get yours submitted!  This is a great way to introduce your blog to others, and increase your own blog traffic, in addition to finding other great ALI blogs to read as well.  To add a post of your own to the list, click here to fill out the form and make your submission.

Don't be shy!  Just do it!  Mel has also stated that she thinks this might be her last year doing the Creme list, so this may be your last chance to be a part of this great project!

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Baby sleep... I will never understand it as long as I live.  Just when we think we have things figured out, they go ahead and change the rules.

They both go down for bed at night fairly easy. They talk and play and giggle with each other for anywhere between 10-30 minutes (occasionally sometimes more) and then they go to sleep.  Ayden continues to sleep through the night, with a few exceptions here and there.  Sometimes Rylee does wake him up, and also when he was sick he had a hard time because he had trouble breathing, but otherwise he is a great nighttime sleeper.

And then there's Rylee.  We were actually doing pretty good there for awhile.  She was sleeping most nights until about 4:30-5:00am, and then I'd go in and get her when she woke up, and we'd finish the night out on the couch together.  If you recall, for several months she had been waking up anywhere between 10:00 and midnight, so this was a vast improvement.  For awhile now, if she ever wakes up before 3:00, I've been putting her in the spare bedroom in the pack n' play, but it always takes longer for her to go back to sleep when we do that.

Naps were also going pretty good, with the exception that Rylee almost ALWAYS poops right after we put her down for her morning nap.  Once we then change her diaper, we'd put her back down and then they'd both sleep for about 2.5 hours.  Yes!!!  Then they'd also take a short afternoon nap.

Then Thanksgiving happened.  Surprisingly, even though they were in the same room, they actually did nap during the day while we were gone to Sunriver.  Not as long of naps, but they did take them.  And then nighttime.  The first night, they both went to sleep okay but Rylee did not STAY asleep.  She decided she wanted to party for a few hours that night.  She would. not. go. back. to. sleep.  The second night, neither one of them wanted to go to bed.  They knew something was going on in the rest of the house and they wanted no part of going to bed.  Their 7:00 bedtime turned out to be more like 9:00 and they had to be held to go to sleep.  Yet again, Rylee was awake for several hours in the middle of the night.  To be fair, she was super constipated and I think that had a big thing to do with it.  She would go to sleep for about 45 minutes and then wake up crying. She was pretty gassy and was only happy if I was standing up and rocking her.  As soon as I would sit down, she started crying again.  Then she'd finally go to sleep for another 45 minutes or so, and we'd repeat.  This continued all night!  It was pure torture!  For both of us, I'm sure.  It was even more challenging because I was also trying to make sure she didn't wake up the other 24 people staying in the house!

Since we've been back home, nap times have been terrible!  Neither one of them want to go to sleep!  They cry.  Actually, Rylee's taken on a whole new level of screaming to let us know she's not happy.  It is absolutely exhausting when they refuse to go to sleep.  I ride it out and they do eventually fall asleep, but the naps have been much, much shorter and it is so hard to listen to them cry SO MUCH.  Rylee has been waking up after only 35-40 minutes, through one sleep cycle, and then waking up crying screaming.  I wait about 5-10 minutes for her to go back to sleep, and then if she doesn't I go in, pick her up and comfort her, and put her back down again.  She screams some more, and then generally falls back to sleep within a few minutes and sleeps for another hour or so.  The nice thing is that once Rylee is up, she is almost always in a very good mood.  Once Ayden wakes up from his afternoon nap, he is the biggest grouch EVER!  It's almost not worth having him take that afternoon nap because he wakes up crying and is so grumpy.

The last few weeks, since we've been home from our Thanksgiving trip, Rylee has been waking up at night around 11:30 to midnight again, and not wanting to go back to sleep.  She cries if I put her in the pnp, and she wants to party if I go to the couch with her.  If she won't go to sleep with me holding her, I always put her back in the pnp, but sometimes she's in there for over an hour alternating between crying and playing. She's been up as much as 2.5 hours during the night.  Why doesn't she sleep?????

Then Tuesday night, she teased us.  She slept ALL NIGHT in her crib!!!!!  Hallelujah!   It was only the second time EVER she has slept all night in her crib, and she made it to 6:20am! I thought maybe we'd turned a corner.  But the very next night, she was up to her usual antics.  Sigh.....

You may wonder why I don't just ignore her when she wakes up during the night and let her go back to sleep.  Here's why - last night I heard her wake up at 2:30am.  She wasn't crying, but I could hear her talking.  I waited a few minutes, but then I made a beeline to take her out of the nursery.  When I walked into the room, she was standing up BOUNCING in her crib, and trying to wake up Ayden.  Okay, there's only one thing worse than one baby that won't sleep at night, and that is TWO babies that won't sleep at night!

I definitely can see how people with only one baby think they know the magic trick to getting babies to sleep once they figure it out.  If we only had Ayden, I'd think our system works great!  I'd be able to say we have a great sleeper.  Yes, naps have been a bit challenging lately, but he does sleep all night.  However, I know first hand that what works for one baby most definitely does not work for all.  We do the exact same routine with both Ayden and Rylee every night. He sleeps great, and she does not.

I do have an obsession with checking in on them while they are sleeping and sometimes taking pictures. They are so cute and innocent while they are sleeping.

I think it's adorable when he's snuggling his little minky blanket

He makes my heart melt

Pure sweetness

She fell asleep with her feet in HIS crib.  Plus, she never sleeps on her back!  Guess I shouldn't say never.

She fell asleep ON her Seahorse!

Again, asleep on her Seahorse!  Silly girl.

At Sunriver, he fell asleep with his legs scrunched up on the side of the pnp.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Microblog Monday: Weekend Funnies

Funny #1:  Yesterday while taking a shower, I washed and conditioned my hair, shaved a few body parts, and then proceeded to turn off the water and start drying off.  Only then did I realize I didn't actually wash.  So then I had to turn the water back on and you know, actually get clean, the whole purpose of the shower in the first place.  I've done this a few times in the past couple months.  The only thing I can do is laugh at myself.  And of course, share it with you, so you can laugh at me too!

Funny #2:

Don't Text and Drive

On another note, our house inspection is this afternoon.  Please pray that it goes well and we have no major issues so we can finalize the sale!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

11 Months!

I'm a bit late with this post, but better late than never!  We are now exactly 3 weeks away from the babies' first birthday.  How is that possible?  It truly is amazing how much they grow and the changes that take place in this first year.  From fragile little preemies to almost toddlers!

Can't get enough of these smiles!

Ayden and Rylee are most definitely on the move!  Rylee had been about 2 weeks ahead of Ayden for most developmental milestones, but they've pretty much evened out now.  Ayden is now standing unassisted for long periods of time.  Rylee can, but won't.  She thinks she needs to hold on to something, but every once in awhile we catch her letting go of the furniture and stand on her own.  If we are holding onto her hands and try to let go, she immediately drops down though.  Both of them are able to walk while holding onto our hands, and are even starting to walk with just one hand held.  I have a feeling that once Rylee does start walking, she will be more at a run!  If there is such a thing, she run-crawls.  And she doesn't just cruise around the furniture, she CRUISES around the furniture.  She is a fast little booger.

He's so proud of himself!

They are eating a lot more solids now.  They LOVE to eat!  We are consistently giving them breakfast and dinner, and have phased out one bottle (after their afternoon nap) so they are down to 5 bottles/day.  Soon we will be phasing out their after mid day bottle and doing lunch instead.  We mostly do oatmeal with a fruit for breakfast, but have had scrambled eggs, french toast, yogurt, and pancakes.  For dinner they've had rice, various types of beans, peas, avocado, chicken, turkey, potatoes, tortellini, shredded cheese, tamales, grilled cheese sandwiches, and acorn squash.  Ayden really liked the acorn squash the first time I gave it to them, but since then seems to absolutely hate it!  They've also had bananas and apples.  I tried cut up grapes, but found that they are like squirrels and hoarded the skin in their mouths so I haven't given them grapes again.  Oh, and Puffs.  They LOVE their Puffs!  I've also learned why parents cut the crust off the bread for their kids.  I was never going to be that parent!  However, Ayden stores the crust on the roof of his mouth, later to be found by me.  Sooooooo, I now tear the crust off his bread.

I am now pretty glad that they don't have a lot of hair.  They are happy, but very messy little eaters.  They just love to grab their ears and hair with their grimy little hands.  While they are happy eaters, they absolutely do NOT like being wiped down afterwards.  For some reason they don't mind it while in the bathtub though. Weird.

Rylee now weighs 18 lbs, 9.5 oz and is 27.5 inches tall.  She is wearing mostly 3-6 month and 6 month clothing, but has a few 9 month outfits she is now wearing also.  (I don't understand sizing.  It's stupid.)  She is wearing size 3 diapers.  Rylee has 2 bottom teeth and 1 top tooth with another on it's way.  Teething doesn't seem to bother her much.  I'm thinking it's because they come in so incredibly slow.

Ayden weighs 23 lbs even and is 29.5 inches tall.  2 whole inches taller than his sister!  He is wearing 9 and 12 month clothing and wearing size 4 diapers.  Ayden has 8 teeth total with 4 on the bottom, 4 on the top.  He's also a little beaver with all those teeth, chewing on EV.ER.Y.THING.  His poor crib.  He also slobbers on everything.  One of his favorite pastimes is to lick the sliding glass door. Gross, but funny and strange.  There is nothing that is safe with him around.  If there is a exposed cord, he will get it.  He also has learned how to open the kitchen cupboards.

He's proving that he's too smart for the child proofing!

He still has the biggest smile!

They are interacting more and more together.  They talk and laugh with each other all the time.  Rylee still says dada and Ayden says mama.  I swear that sometimes they are having a friendly argument about who is right because they will say it back and forth to each other.  Ayden also says baba and just recently said dada, but only once.

They've now experienced their first Halloween.  We made a brief appearance at a friend's Halloween party, but skipped out on the trick or treating so the babies could get to bed at least close to their normal bedtime.

They also had their first Thanksgiving spent with lots of family and a little vacation to Sunriver for a few days.

Ayden with his Great Grandpa
Rylee and a cousin

We took advantage of the nice weather one afternoon and spent a few minutes playing in the Fall leaves.

Ayden spent most of the time trying to eat the leaves
He was very intrigued
Rylee decided to give them a taste as well

They still love Winnie the Pooh.

They love helping me with the laundry.  Not really, but I can distract them with the laundry basket!

Now for the best of the 11 month photos.  They are so challenging to get pictures of lately, especially together!  I already shared the outtakes in a previous post. 

Love that smile!

*Please excuse any typos in this post.  I've been wrestling Ayden for the last 20 minutes since he woke up early from his nap, trying to keep him distracted enough so I can finish and hit publish!  No time to proof read!