Twin Adventures

Twin girls now rule the house.

Photography

I’ve found myself slowly turning into my mother… When I was a teenager, it was such an annoyance that my mom always had her camera out and was constantly taking photos. It seemed as though everyone and everything in our world was meant to be photographed. And not only that, but for every one picture that was taken, ten more of the same thing were taken as well. Did she really need to have twenty pictures from the same minute? Apparently she did. And now, so do I.

Everyday Anton and I take at least thirty to fifty pictures. Not that we’ve come across thirty or fifty picture-perfect moments, because we’ve really only pulled out our cameras two or three times throughout the day; we just wind up taking so many at one time. Trying to catch both girls smiling, or catch them looking at you in a certain way. Hoping to snap a shot where the girls are obviously playing with each or are cuddling the dog in just the right position. It’s hard! And, there’s two of them! So, you’re not just trying to get one baby smiling or laughing, but BOTH of them smiling or laughing. And looking in the right direction. And not drooling. Or making an is-your-baby-retarded face.

One baby looking…                … the other baby looking…                      … no baby looking!

Although, if we didn’t take as many pictures as we do, I’m sure that we would have missed out on some unforgettable faces. If we had to work a little harder for them, or keep clicking just in case, that just adds to how great the picture is. In this day and age, it isn’t as though we don’t have several options for keeping and storing thousands of pictures anyway. We’re fond of Picasa Web Albums (part of Google+). Since we run on Android, it’s compatible with our phones so things are uploaded as soon as they are taken and it’s easy to get them from device to device. We do pay Google for the extra storage, but it’s really worth it.

                Distracted…                        … no smiles…                                … and they’re gone. 

It only recently hit me exactly how many pictures we take, because we’ve been cleaning out our online albums and there is so much to sift through! Mostly starting from June of last year (when the girls were born). Each month has between one hundred and four hundred photos. Seriously. Four Hundred. Who needs that many pictures?! So, we’re going through and getting rid of duplicates or almost duplicates, blurry pictures, pictures that have cut someone out, or where a thumb has made it’s way in from the side (who doesn’t have a few of those, right?).

Shula trying to get down…             …Maretta trying to get down…             …and, dancing. 
Sometimes it feels like we’re getting a little crazy and going a little overboard with all the pictures we have, but won’t it be great to have such an extensive photo library to go through in years to come? I love going through my mom’s albums and seeing all of us kids growing up, but I don’t think she was as much of a photo-nut back then, and there are a lot of gaps in the timeline. Looking back through our albums, we’ve managed to take at least one picture every single day for the past year. I’m sure somewhere down the road we’ll pick some favourites and put together an album that you can hold, but until then what’s better than viewing them on a full size tv screen? Uh.. nothing.
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Birthday #1!

Our first birthday party went pretty well! The girls managed to break out of their stranger anxiety shells pretty quickly and were the life of the party. Lots of family made the small trek to come out and be here and those that couldn’t, phoned or texted to send their birthday wishes. The apartment complex we live in has a communal building and I was given the go-ahead to use it for the day. The communal building had everything we needed; lots of space for small children to run around, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. So we didn’t need to worry about making sure our apartment was fit for entertaining (which was awesome, because our house is full of half-empty boxes).

Our birthday theme was Monkeys, with green, pink, and yellow as our colours. We didn’t do anything too extravagant or exciting, but I think what we did do was pretty good. As far as decorations go, I tried to keep it minimal and just went with a few bunches of balloons and some streamers. I put up a photo timeline, one for each girl. Let me tell you.. picking out only twelve pictures for each baby is not very easy! There are so many good ones to choose from!

Food was simple; mostly just frozen appetizers. Sausage rolls, meatballs, mini pizzas, and chicken fries. As well as a fruit tray and a veggie tray. Simple drinks as well; Sprite, Coke, coffee and tea, as well as juice boxes. I had planned on making up some punch concoction and a trail mix bowl but.. turns out there was enough to do!


I had a girlfriend of mine make a cake for the guests, which unfortunately, I didn’t actually get to have a bite of! I heard it was good though. I also made a couple of smash cakes for the girls. Those didn’t turn out anything like I thought they would. I had my suspicions that they wouldn’t eat much of them; as we haven’t introduced them to anything sweeter than applesauce. But, they barely even interacted with them! Shula seemed more interested in the Curious George that was ontop of the cake than the actually cake itself, and Maretta just kept giving the cake the evil-eye, like it was out to get her! These girls that always want to put their hands on and in everything had little interest in making a mess. I suppose that’s a good thing but… I was hoping for some great, messy photos!

Shula enjoying her Curious George.

Maretta glaring at her cake.

In the week or so leading up to Saturday (the party day), I was kinda nervous. I’m not anti-social and I can hold my own in a crowd, but my girls usually clam up pretty good when put into a social situation, even when it’s only a couple of people. So, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go with 25-30 people! The crowd consisted of mostly adults, there were a few tweens, and one toddler (not counting mine), Evony. I’m certain that having Evony there is what helped Shula and Maretta get out of their shell. Evony came right over to the girls and started playing with the rubber balls I had brought down. Maretta and Shula jumped on the chance to play with someone new. (/whew!)

Meemaw’s present. Note the Birth length of each girl.

We were pretty lucky as far as presents go. Without trying to be party poopers or anything, Anton and I had let everyone know that simplistic was better for us. We don’t need a lot of anything, especially a lot of toys. We have a few things that the girls seem to enjoy and we didn’t want our house to suddenly be overloaded with a lot of stuff. We mostly got clothes, which one can never get enough, especially while the girls are growing so much! And they were all in a variety of sizes so that we’ll have some for the next while. A special mention of the present Meemaw (my mom) got; she slaved over a handmade gift for the girls. She made a growth chart for them! It was something that I’d thought about buying a few times, but couldn’t justify getting new stuff, especially right before the move. The girls birthday present from Anton and I was along the same lines; nice and simple. We got them each a pair of “second year” overalls. We got their names and year embroidered on them and bought them in a size too big so they should last all year. I think it’s the first “tradition” that we’ve started. A new pair of overalls every year for their birthday.

In the end, everything turned out really well. I’ll put in a special shout out here to Mom and Dad Strong. If you hadn’t have come up and watched the girls for us, I wouldn’t have been able to put the party together. Also… for getting everyone out at two so we could continue with our schedule. 🙂

Ahh! They’re Toddlers now!

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Emotional Over Turning One

The girls first birthday is just around the corner; 6 days!

I’ve come across something peculiar about parents that have children turning one… They are quite emotional! Most of these parents have reported shedding some tears in the days or weeks leading up to Jr.’s birthday. Always with thoughts of “The time is passing too quickly!”, or “I don’t want them to grow up so fast!”. It seems like an odd reaction to something that is inevitable, and something that shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m pretty sure I’ve also heard of this while coming across other milestones such as crawling, or standing. While met with proud excitement and encouragement, a lot of parents seem unwilling to accept that their little baby is slowly growing up.

Although it seems that I’m in the minority on this one, I can’t wait for them to turn one! There are so many exciting things to come in the next couple of years. It seems to be not the most common way of thinking, but I really see each time frame as a stage. And you’re supposed to move through and past different stages right? The “baby” stage is coming to an end, and we’re moving on to the “toddler” stage. I may be looking at it from the wrong angle, but I just think of all the things we hopefully won’t be dealing with anymore; middle of the night feedings, the constant spit-up, crying that doesn’t have a cure. And, we get to look forward to all the things that can only happen when babies grow up! Walking, talking, social interactions, self-sufficiency. They’ll be more like little people and less like helpless puppies.

 

I don’t feel any less like a parent, or less connected to the girls because I am not emotional, but I wonder if something in my brain hasn’t “clicked” or if I’m missing a deeper meaning to this change. I’m not an emotional person to begin with and I’ve always thought I would be less of a cuddly parent than most. But I must admit I was a little shocked when I heard of how hard this was for some parents to deal with or accept. They aren’t neccesarily wrong in how they are reacting, but it’s something that I can’t seem to really wrap my head around.

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I Will Pump No Longer!

I’ve had a huge love-hate relationship with my breastmilk and pumping. While I love that my girls have been getting the “best” nutrition, I also despise pumping. Each time you sit down to pump you’re looking at 10-15 minutes of being incapable of doing much else. It’s not very convenient to chase children or answer a phone that’s across the room. Not to mention if company or UPS shows up! And that’s not even thinking about the slight pain that comes along with it. I have no idea how it compares to actually nursing, but there were definitely times while I was pumping when I wanted to scream/cry/yell out in pain.

Without giving a bit of background, all the information that follows may not make much sense… so here goes: First off, I needed a bit of assistance in order to produce any milk. My doctor set me up with Domperidone. A drug that is used for suppressing nausea and vomiting. As a side effect, it also increases lactation. We had tried a few “natural” remedies, but none had worked for us. Even though we had to put down a little money for it, the pills were worth the cost.

For the first six months of pumping, I pumped every four hours. Exluding during the night. Even when the girls woke up for a night feed, I skipped the pumping. In the middle of the night, I was not interested in sitting down and having my breasts attached to a suction cup. Because I was pumping so frequently during the day it really felt like I had no down time. Wake up, pump, feed babies, put the babies down for a nap, shower, pump, wake the babies, feed the babies, put the babies down for a nap, pump, etc etc etc. After six months, when I got a new supply of pills (each prescription renewal was for three months) I decided to adjust my schedule and go with pumping four times a day.

Every time I adjusted my schedule and pumped fewer times during the day, it still never seemed like I was catching a break. It felt like my whole day was filled with nothing but milk, be it formula or breastmilk. It might have been slightly selfish, thinking that a combined time of one hour per day was invading my free time. But, it was really the thought of being stuck on the couch, going through the pain that really got me down. Anyway. I went with four times a day for another three months; the duration of my domperidone prescription. When I got it refilled (for the last time!) I decreased the amount of times I pumped per day. Down to three times a day. This time it felt like I was no longer be ruled by my pump!

Yesterday I took my last  pills. Over the next few days, I’ll slowly stop pumping. It’ll be interesting to see how much the pills have been keeping things flowing. Has my body become accustomed to my pumping schedule, or will my milk production just come to a halt? Just going on the couple of pumping sessions I’ve done so far, I’m thinking it may be the latter. On average, I’ve produced about 200ml per pump. But, my last pump of the day from yesterday only yielded about 150ml. And, my first pump of the day this morning yielded even less. I’m estimating that tomorrow, or even tonight may be the last time I hook myself up! (Yay!!!)

Switching gears a bit; I would really recommend going all out and getting a decent pump if you’re in it for the long haul. We splurged and got a Medela Pump In-Stlye. Although it cost us nearly $400.00, it was totally worth it. It’s an electric, double pump with the option of being a single. It comes in a handy backpack which is ideal for travelling. It also comes with wall plug and a battery pack. I never made use of the battery pack, but I plugged the pump into a car converter more than a handful of times while we were driving (as a passenger!) I would buy it all over again for the ease it provided.

We’ve supplemented with formula, but I’m so happy and grateful that I’ve been able to give my girls breastmilk for a year. On the other hand… I am even more happy that it’s pretty much over!

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