Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to ALL.....

Tanya, Rick, Jackson Ava & Emma!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh wait, I almost forgot...

... I have a BLOG!  I have been so bad lately and to be honest, I don't have a good excuse for not posting anything in the past few weeks.  Oh well, you forgive me right?  Good, then now for some updates! 

Action Jackson is doing great, we are spending lots of time working on recognizing letters and writing his name.  Rick is also working on teaching him to tie his shoes.  There is always some sort of construction going on here and Jackson can't get enough of all of the trucks and tools.  He loves to "go to work" with his dad and Nonno (my dad) and since they are building homes just outside our front door, it's perfect!  Jackson is also really into everything Christmas... especially Holiday movies, Nemo (our "Elf on the Shelf" pictured in the first pic below, sitting above the cabinet) and making anything gingerbread!

The Twincesses are getting so BIG and they are so much fun!  We started solids just a few weeks ago and it's going well.  They really didn't love any of it at first, but after some time they adjusted just fine.  Funny... Ava seems to prefers fruits, like apples and pears and Emma prefers veggies like  zucchini, squash and carrots!  They have also been spending a lot of time "playing".  They love their exersaucers and have started reaching for the attached toys, they love Sesame Street and mostly they LOVE each other!  They sleep close to one another, they hold hands and rub each others heads, they blow raspberries and laugh together!  They are just so sweet!

Oh and I can't forget about Lucy!  NO, we haven't adopted a 4th child... we are dog sitting!  Lucy is a sweet Beagle and she's staying with us while her mom and dad (our friends Heidi and Chris) are visiting family and doing some deer hunting.  Jackson and Lucy spent all morning outside enjoying our first true snow-fall of the year!  She's really a great dog and I am not a big dog person.  I do love animals, but I am just not in love with idea of caring for one full-time.  Rick, on the other hand very much wants a dog.  Lucy is quiet, especially for a Beagle.  She's well behaved, great with kids and Jackson is over-the-moon that we're watching her.  Still, having a dog is a lot of work and I think we'll wait a few years before we re-visit the idea of bringing one into our home permanently!

That's pretty much it for new and exciting news with us.  We've got lot's of Birthdays threw out the Holiday Season and we're looking forward to celebrating with family and friends and enjoying the Twincesses First Christmas!

Join in and share some pics of your little ones enjoying the Holiday season and the snow (if you have snow of-course) and check out Mamma Joss's adorable little munchkins enjoying their first "snow-day" too! 


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight For Preemies

Today is National Prematurity Awareness Day and all over the blogosphere, you're sure to find lots of mom's and dad's posting about their story, all in an effort to help raise awareness.  

We are so blessed to have benefited from the decades of work done by organizations like March Of Dimes.  For us... knowing that we were expecting multiples, also meant that we were a bit more prepared for welcoming premature babies and life in the NICU and at home!  

Luckily our girls were born healthy at just past 35 weeks.  Ava was diagnosed with IUGR at almost 18 weeks and we were followed closely with Ultrasounds, dopplers to check their cords and cord flow and fluid checks.  They took them a week before my scheduled C-Section, due to Ava's slow growth... she was in the 2nd%.  Emma spent just a few short hours (seemed like forever) in the NICU for rapid breathing and both girls had some issues with body temperature, and feeding.  Overall, they were just fine and we came home with them just 5 days after I delivered.

Still there are thousands of babies born too early and born sick every year.  In Massachusetts we get a passing grade, but many states do not!  To find out more about what you can do to raise awareness and support the organizations that are fighting for our babies, click here.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Halloween Part #2... Dino-Boy

This is embarrassing, it's been almost a week since Halloween and I still haven't posted any pics of Dino-Boy!  Jax really had fun with Halloween this year, last year he was too afraid to really enjoy any of the festivities.  This year, I was able to coax him into my sister's annual haunted house, which was NOT easy, but he was fine once we were in.  It's actually pretty scary, so I was surprised that we didn't have any tears.  He loved Trick-or Treating too. We did have to explain that there was not time to start up a Q&A session with every person that answered the door!  He asked people where their costumes were, why they didn't have any Halloween decorations up, told them he didn't like their candy selection, explained that he wasn't allowed to have gum, etc, etc, etc.  It was cute at first and then it was just bad manners and we had to have a little talk with him.  "Just say Trick-or Treat, thank you and move along Jackson".  It (half-way) worked.

Anyways, here are some pictures of Dino-Boy in action!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Part #1... The Twincesses First Halloween!!

Ava and Emma seemed to really enjoy their first Halloween... as much as 5 month can!  They were quiet for the most part, taking in all the sights and sounds.  They HATE the wind, so things got a little "scary" for a little bit!  We went Trick-or-Treating with Allison and Junior (older sister and brother -in-law, aka Batman and Elvira) and their kids.  I am embarrassed to admit that for some reason I failed to get pictures of my nephews Orlando and Justin, but I did manage to get a few of my niece, Vittoria and our little friend Rocco, who was also celebrating his 1st Halloween!  The babies were all in bed by 7pm (late for them) and slept late this morning even with the time change!

Check out my little flowers and some of our fellow Trick-or-Treaters and be sure to stay tuned for Part #2 featuring Dino-Boy...


Monday, October 26, 2009

Goodbye Savannah...

My family's dog was put to sleep today.  Savannah, a beautiful and sweet Golden Retriever was really "Miranda's Dog".  Miranda prayed and begged for her and after having major surgery to correct her hip sockets at 7 years old, my parents gave in.  I must admit, I asked my parents not to get a Golden, to get anything but a Golden.  Everyone had one and I wanted something more unique.  Still, I fell in love with her when I came home from school and saw the adorable puppy sitting in Miranda's arms.  We all loved her, but no one loved her like Miranda did.  She loved and cared for Savannah, as if she was her own child and I know that Savannah felt that same love for Miranda.  

Miranda, Alex (17 yo sister) and my mother took Savannah to the beach yesterday, it was her first time with her feet in the sand and the ocean!  It was a wonderful end to her journey and I wish I could have been there.  This morning she was simply to weak to get up.  My mom called me from the Vet's office and said it was time to let her go, so we all went and said our good-byes.  Always by her side, Miranda stayed with Savannah as she went to sleep, my did mother as well. 

Please keep Miranda in your prayers and feel free to leave a comment, as she follows my blog and I am sure could use any kind words offered.  

RIP Savannah, we LOVE you!

Persistence is FINALLY paying off... Part #2

You may have already read Part #1 of this post,  if not you can check it out here.  I am happy to announce that "action Jackson" had another successful bedtime last night and slept until 7am this morning!  Now for the "Twincesses"...

I gave some background info for Part #1, so I'll do the same here:  Ava and Emma were born just over 35 weeks and both came home with me from the hospital.  Emma spent her first day in the NICU, Ava (the smaller baby) was diagnosed with IUGR, but went straight to the regular nursery!  I have to admit, I do sometimes treat the girls differently because of their size and prematurity.  Certain milestones have been met at the appropriate age and some were a little late, but perfect for their "adjusted age".  I guess it's silly, since they don't have any problems related to their early arrival.  I had started to be a little more lax about things at one point, then both girls were hospitalized with RSV and I think I regressed a bit.  

The girls have been sleeping soundly and ALL night long for several weeks!  They have truly been good sleepers from the start.  Like most newborns, they spent much of the day swaddled like little burritos.  I think we expected that at some point they'd "let us know" when they were done being strapped into their "straight-jackets" as my family calls them!  I know all of you twin moms out their can sympathize with me here, as we have had many discussions and even posted illustrated tutorials on our beloved swaddling techniques!  I am sure a lot of singleton moms are with me too.  I mean really, they are sleeping 12 hours at night and napping the day away... obviously I am doing something right.  So now that they truly are out-growing their  
swaddle blanket/sleep-sack combo, we were faced with a decision... buy new ones or see how they do without them.  The following letter from "Ava and Emma" aka my mother, which I received at work last week was the last straw:

Dear Mom,
     I know you don't' want us to grow up, but you gotta face it. We are getting to damn big for those bleeping pink swaddles! Our toes are getting numb from them being to short for our growing bodies. Yes we are comfy and cozy for the most part, but get us something longer or we are going on STRIKE!!!.
Your Loving Daughters,
Ava and Emma

This is not a joke.  So what choice did I have, really?  Anyways, it's inevitable... eventually they will need to learn to sleep without the swaddles, so this week we decided to "wean" them.  With advise from another MOT (thanks Heather!) we got some long sleeve sleep-sacks (again, thanks Heather!) and turned the sleeves inside out, so that they girls could move around, but still were somewhat confined and cozy.  Like any transition, there was an adjustment period.  The first few naps were shorter and they didn't sleep as soundly that first night, but it wasn't bad at all.  We did this for 3 days.  Yesterday, we put them in the sleep sacs, with their arms in the sleeves... yes it's true... full freedom!  They were sooo funny, laughing, swatting each other, rolling around and sucking on their hands.  They didn't know what to with themselves, with all of this new found freedom of motion!  That first morning nap, it took about an hour for them to fall asleep, then they woke up a couple times, fussed a little and would go back to sleep for 15-20 minute intervals.  This lasted for 2-3 hours, which is how long these usually nap.  Their afternoon nap was much better.  Last night they went down at 6:30pm and didn't fall asleep until after 7:30, but they slept until 7am and this morning they went right down for their morning nap with no problem!

I am still not convinced that they really needed to be "set free", but I digress.  It was going to happen eventually and now we are a step closer to putting them down for the night in their crib.  That of course, will only happen when Jackson is consistently going to bed without melt-downs and not waking up at 4am! 

Stay tuned... and for now some photos of the "Twincesses", sleeping soundly and swaddle free!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Persistence is FINALLY paying off... Part #1

I have been a bad blogger lately, but I have a good excuse... actually I have 3!  Most of you that follow are personal friends or family members.  For those who aren't... a little background info:

We live in a small, but sweet and CHEAP 2 bedroom appt.  Jackson has always had his own room and has always been a phenomenal sleeper.  When we learned we expecting twins, we decided to switch rooms with Jackson as ours was much bigger and we knew that eventually the kids would all be in one room.  Jackson moved into his "new" room in March.  We did it then, so that the transition would seem less like he was loosing his beloved bedroom, because of the girls.  He's never really loved it.  It's bigger and better in every way and he even got a new bed, Airplane bedding and cute new shelving for all of his books and toys!  Still, he insists that his old room was "just perfect" for him, "small like me" and would prefer we "switch back and take the girls" with us.  He loves the girls and has no issues with them napping in their crib in "his" room.  He just refuses to also nap or sleep while they are in there!

Another issue... he has been waking up at un-godly hours lately.  Usually somewhere between 4 and 5:30am.  He comes into our room, asks if he can get up and when we tell him it's the middle of the night and he needs to go back to bed, he hits the floor screaming.  Now all 3 kids are up, Rick and I are up and the battle begins!  Some mornings he goes back to bed until 6:30-7am.  Some he goes back for 15 minutes, only to start the whole cycle over again and others he just screams for 2+ hours.  Lovely.  So of-course we need to nip that in the bud, before we start putting the girls in their crib for the night.  Luckily they sleep like angels in the co-sleeper in our room.  Honestly though, some days I feel like they'll be crawling (literally) into our bed, before Jackson get's over this.

In additional to ALL of  that, We have had our fair share of behavior issues lately.  Not listening, out of control tantrums, talking back, refusing to nap, etc.  Some days are great.  Others, not so much.  To be fair, we need to acknowledge that he's been through a lot of transition.  He's been sick.  The girls are getting more attention, oh and yes... he's realized now that we are "keeping them".  A new teacher at preschool.  I went back to work, so Rick's schedule changed as well.  Just for fun, lets throw a little over-tired 4 year old into the mix and see what happens?!  So, one of my co-workers (thanks D) suggested a chart and to be honest, I don't know why I didn't think of that. 

So, I went on-line and made my own, one sleep chart and one behavior chart.  Jackson earns stickers for things like "listening the 1st time", "cleaning up his toys" and "going back to sleep" after a middle-of-the-night wake up, without a tantrum.  I printed them on photo paper and dug through my scrap-booking supplies for some stickers (need to hit the dollar-tree for come basic gold stars and smiley faces).  I must say, I thought the first night was a coincidence, but he's been consistently better since we have been using the charts.  We have had 2 days of difficult bedtime (he's never gone to bed well for Rick) and one morning that he woke at 5:30am , but went back into his room and read books quietly till after 6am.  He's been napping better and when he doesn't nap, he has an hour of quiet time in his room.  He's been a better listener, more cooperative and he's even getting himself dressed (this is HUGE)!  All just for some stickers on a home-made chart!  We had originally thought of having some sort of reward or prize after he earned so many stickers, but Rick felt that the stickers should be the reward and honestly I agree.  He needs to understand that this is the behavior we always expect from him,  so getting rewarded with toys and such, for doing things like getting himself dressed and not having melt-downs at 4am seems a little ridiculous.  Right?

Regardless, it's working!  Here are our charts... stay tuned for Part #2, to see how persistence is FINALLY paying of for the "Twincesses"...  


Friday, October 16, 2009

Things I Just CAN'T Live Without!

I have lots to update everyone on!  I just don't have the desire or the energy right now, emotionally we are all still pretty raw.  But, I will must say THANK YOU all so, so much for the prayers and well wishes and you'll all be happy to hear that Jackson is perfectly fine!  I promise to post all about that soon.

For now though, I am sort of copying Cheryl and having a little fun.  So... here is a list of things I just can't live without.  

1. Popcorn

2. My compact

3. Cell-phone

4. Soapnet

5. Digital Camera

6. Foot rubs

7. Chocolate

8. Girls night (drinks preferably, but not required)

9. Magazines (both trashy and parenting)

10. My Kitchenaid Stand Mixer

11. Coffee

12. Fuzzy socks

13. Scrap-booking, party planning and gift-wrapping

14. Butternut squash

15. Warehouse shopping (love my Costco and BJ's)

16. Everything Christmas, but specifically:  Late-night Christmas Eve, wrapping gifts with my Mom, while sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas Carols.  Watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation with my dad.  Big FAT real Christmas Trees.  The sweet surprised look on the kids faces.

17. Spell-Check

18. Talking!

So of-course my family is a given!  Honestly though, when I read this... I am a little embarrassed.  I mean I was honest, but yikes... I sound so tween-like!  I am not that vein, I swear.

Now EVERYONE please, pretty, pretty please leave a comment!  Anything on my list that makes yours?  What can't you live without?


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apple Picking for Alex's Birthday!

My baby sister Alex is turning 18 in just a couple weeks and thank goodness she's (sometimes) a sweetheart and wanted to include the kids in the celebration!  She chose apple picking and really what could be better?  We had already been planning on going to Lookout Farm this year, as we did last and although it's pricey, there is lots of fruit for picking and lots to do for the kids.  The day was extra special, since it isn't too often that all 6 of us sisters are in the same place!  Also, Jackson's had a great weekend and OMG is that worth celebrating?!  So I packed the kids up and brought along my "new" baby jogger double for the first time, although it didn't get much use, since Sam (my sister) and I had the "Twincesses" in the Baby Bjorns.  The kids picked lots of Apples and had a blast running around the farm's huge play-area.  There was so much to do, but for the most part they enjoyed a kids music and magic show.  Fun was had by all and the weather could not have been more perfect!  

Here are some of my favorite photos from today and be sure to stay tuned for this years photos of Rick and Jackson making apple pie (it's their tradition)!