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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from our favorite little pumpkins...

Clara looks like a gangster pumpkin, don't you think?

Oh, did you want to see them in their costumes, too? Well you're in luck!

This little elephant started out pretty happy...

Hey, mom!

Man (elephant) down!!

And that's how we knew the little elephant was done with the photo shoot.

Brother was happy in his lion costume for approximately 5 seconds...

He became a distressed little lion very quickly, cooperating (barely) for just one of their joint pics:

At this point, we very wisely decided to wrap up the picture-taking and try again after naptime.

Elephant or unicorn? You be the judge.

Thankfully the little lion was a little more agreeable at this point, but not without keeping his fingers in his mouth the whole time!

Happy Halloween from the Joiners!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Would You Rather Wednesday

"I've got mail!" won by a landslide last week, and by "landslide," I mean that 5 of you voted and 4 of you picked that option.

In honor of Halloween, and in an effort to provide two appealing options (per Erika's request), I'll go easy on you this week. 

If calories, weight gain, and stomach aches weren't an issue, would you rather...

eat your weight in Reese's peanut butter cups?


eat your weight in Twix bars?

Things to consider:
- Nothing. This is a win-win.

Monday, October 28, 2013

(Short) Movie Monday

Two quick videos to start your week off on the right foot:

Colby being a typical boy

Clara being her typical giggly self

Have a great week, my friends!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Insert AOL Instant Message Sound Effect Here

Happy Friday, all!

A big thanks to Erika for giving me an easy blog topic inspiring me to post for the third time this week. In case you missed it, she revived the AOL chain letter surveys from our adolescence, and for obvious reasons (read: lack of another topic), I decided to follow suit. 

1. If you had to be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose?
Besides Desperate Housewives of Richmond, Texas, you mean? I'm gonna go with that Make Room for Multiples show on TLC. 

2. If you had to be on a TV game show, which one would you choose?
I watch very little TV these days, and haven't watched a TV game show in many moons, except when Brian is channeling his inner 80-year-old and turns on Wheel of Fortune. Um, so I guess I'm just going to go with Price is Right. Is that even still on?

3. If you could have a top-of-the-line, totally tricked out household appliance (just ONE!) for free, what appliance would you choose?
In my current stage of life, I would have to go with a washing machine. We use the crap out of ours right now, and even though it's nice and only a few years old, it would be nice to have a fancier one that didn't mold or make our towels smell like stale toilet water. (Anyone else have this issue with front-loading LG washing machines?!)

4. What company could you be the spokesperson for?
Tostitos. Is that sad?

5. Why did you start blogging?
Because (a) I was unemployed and had just moved here (translation: I had no friends), and (b) Allison did it, and if you haven't noticed, we tend to follow each other's lead :)

6. Would you rather have 10 cats living inside your house or 10 dogs (mixed breeds/sizes)?
Dogs! But it would change my answer to #3... I would definitely go with a top-of-the-line vacuum in that case.

7. Which Disney princess do you most identify with? Or prince. Or villain. Or goofy side-kick.
I cheated and took a "Which Disney Princess Are You?" quiz. It said Belle because I'm "strong, deep, and not a slave to petty superficial things." My primary issue with that result is that I look terrible in yellow...

8. What is your most hated food item?
I think pickles are really disgusting and it seriously amazes me that I'm in the minority for thinking that. I mean, seriously, look at it:

9. Would you rather have a tame lion or a tame panda as a pet?
PANDA all the way. And yes, that's 99% because "panda" rhymes with "Amanda." 

10. Did you make up fake identities to use in AOL/Prodigy/CompuServe chatrooms in the 90s? 
Yes, ALL the time. My friends and I would make up fake identities and go into chat rooms and basically sabotage the entire conversation. I'm pretty sure we went into a weight loss chat room and declared that we were so overweight that one of us ate our boyfriend. I'm sure that the legit chat room members (a) believed us and (b) really appreciated our sensitivity. 

In more disturbing news, we actually met up with 1-2 of the people we met online (usually guys that were our age and went to other high schools in the area). We even invited one of them to our house?! Smart move, high school self.

And no, Erika, I'm afraid I never did meet 'summergirl,' but I definitely baited my high school boyfriend with a fake screen name and a picture of another teenage girl I found online...  classy, and not the least bit manipulative.

Bonus tidbit: My AOL screen name was CookieAJN. Favorite food + initials = can't go wrong.

I'm too lazy to come up with my own questions so if you want to participate, then just use Erika's. They're probably more exciting what I would have come up with anyway!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Would You Rather Wednesday

I'm gonna be honest: I'm a little surprised the tarantula was the chosen car ride companion in last week's competition. But in thinking it through myself, I would probably also choose the one that couldn't fly, in hopes that I could do a better job of keeping my eye on it and/or containing it. But either one  definitely gives me the creeps.

So for this week, would you rather...

have to loudly exclaim, "I'VE GOT MAIL!" in the old AOL "you've got mail" voice every time you receive an e-mail


have to start out every phone conversation you ever have with the chorus of Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You?"

Things to consider:
- For option 1, this applies to any device on which you receive e-mail, at any time, in any place. (That'll teach you to check your e-mail during the sermon at church!)
- For option 2, this also applies to every voicemail you leave. You're sure to make the day of customer service representatives on a regular basis!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Punkins and the pumpkins

This is going to be really shocking to you, seeing as though we're a young, mainstream couple with babies and it's Fall, but we took Colby and Clara to a pumpkin patch this weekend! And what is also probably very shocking to you is the very original title of this post that I came up with as a result.

My parents were in town and although the weather in Houston is typically pretty disgusting, it was actually perfect this weekend, so we took full advantage! 

The babies actually cooperated very nicely, but that aforementioned perfect weather proved to be a bit of a problem because it was really too sunny for us to get a good shot. But you better believe that didn't stop us from trying!

One of these [pumpkins] is not like the other...

You can't tell, but they were really pumped up to get the photo shoot started.

That's more like it!

Yep, that would be my son licking the pumpkin. We haven't introduced that food yet so Colby took matters into his own hands.

And this is the result of using flash when the sun is shining.

How cute are the ruffles on her butt? And the bows on her socks? And the bow on her head? Sometimes I just can't handle that girl.

We then attempted some pics of the 4 of us, all of which turned out to be terrible.

We moved to the shade, but still no luck...

Even though we had a good time at the pumpkin patch, I (clearly) wasn't all that excited about the quality of the pictures, so that afternoon we attempted round 2 on our front porch (sans pants) (for the babies) (all of the adults kept our pants on). Fortunately/unfortunately for you, I loved pretty much every picture we got, so forgive me for not narrowing down this collection more:

Silly babies

Clara's telling Colby a secret in this one...

And apparently it was a knee-slapper!

I love how sincerely excited she looks in this one, and then how quickly she loses focus in the next one...

What is this magical orange ball?

Daddy has become an expert entertainer for photo shoots- he'll have to put that on his resume.

And my two favorites (pictures and babies):

Ok now the pumpkin picture overload is complete, I promise! Before my parents left on Sunday, we made a quick visit to see my grandparents (who are 89 and 90 years young!). The weather was once again perfect and thankfully the babies were once again cooperative*, and we even managed to get a picture of the 4 of them together:

Jean Mom, Clara, Roy, and Colby

*This outing was at the expense of the babies' second nap, which means that they were anything but "cooperative" yesterday afternoon, but oh well- it was worth it!

I will make no promises that future pumpkin pictures are not on the horizon, particularly once we put the babies in their costumes, but you should be safe for at least the rest of this week ;)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Would You Rather Wednesday

I know you were all dying to know this, but The Nanny won out in last week's battle.

Moving along to this week- I know I have already done a WYRW post involving bugs, so forgive me if this is too similar and/or if it makes your skin crawl:

Would you rather...

be trapped in your car for a full hour with a wasp


be trapped in your car for a full hour with a tarantula?

Things to consider:
- For purposes of the question, the car is an average-sized sedan. (So no, you cannot choose to be driving a stretch limo.)
- For both options, you cannot wear full protective gear that would prevent them from touching you. You also are not allowed to "shoo" them out of the car window.
- For both options, you can, however, kill the wasp/tarantula if you're able to catch it (and brave enough).

Anyone having a panic attack yet?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend highlights

The last several weekends have been stressful for me. They've still been more enjoyable than the work week, don't get me wrong, but they were either over-programmed, plagued by fussiness/sleep issues, or just didn't go as planned. And it seems like rather than going into Monday morning feeling refreshed and ready to face a new week, I was more worn out than when the weekend began.

Then along came this past weekend. It was nothing monumental, but it was exactly what I needed to have my faith in weekends restored:

- Ok so this has nothing to do with the weekend, but Brian got a promotion at work last week! He is really excited about his new position and I'm proud of him. He joined this (wealth management) company 2.5 years ago with zero financial knowledge and has really taken initiative and learned the ropes there.

- The babies got their flu shots on Friday and (a) I survived taking them alone and (b) neither one of them cried- not even one tear! Brian graciously treated me to a DQ blizzard as a reward that night.

- Speaking of food, I am both embarrassed and proud to share that I consumed the following over the course of the weekend (in addition to that blizzard): pizza, a burrito from Freebirds (Brian actually chose this as his celebratory promotion dinner, ha!), a ginormous rice krispie treat with sprinkles, quesadillas, and a couple of cinnamon rolls. Let's please not even talk about the amount of candy corn I mindlessly ate out of our candy dish. But hey, I had a spinach salad for lunch on Sunday, so that pretty much cancels out everything else, right?

- The Aggies won (however ugly it might have been)! If we're being honest, I should tell you that I didn't actually stay awake to see the victory, because...

- I got 9.5 hours of sleep on Saturday night! We've had so many issues with the babies' sleep lately (ok, with Colby's sleep)* that I don't think I've gotten more than 4-5 hours at a time in the past several weeks. The babies went to sleep around 8:30 pm on Saturday and minus a few peeps early in the evening from Clara, they slept straight through until 7:45 am. Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus.

- We tried out a new church on Saturday evening. You might recall that we helped plant a new church a couple of years ago, and we continued to attend up until the babies were born. But after Colby and Clara came along, we felt like it would be best for us to find a church with other young families/people in our same life stage. After months of putting it off, we are now officially on the hunt.

The service was at 5 pm and even though childcare was offered, we were hesitant to drop the babies off in the nursery without trying out the church first. We moved in to the cry room once the sermon started just to be on the safe side, but thankfully they were both on their best behavior. I actually think all the lights and music must have been like an episode of Baby Einstein on steroids for them.

Anyway, I'll be sure to keep you posted on that front.

- We made some more baby food this weekend. Get excited, babies, because peas, peaches, and carrots are on this week's menu. 

- We also made this crockpot lasagna soup for dinner this week and I made another batch of these pumpkin oatmeal muffins to have as a snack for work this week. 

- Oh, and it rained pretty much the entire weekend. And even though I'm all for nice weather, I think you'll all agree that rainy days are usually a lot more relaxing.

So there you have it. I hope you all had wonderful weekends as well- also full of sleep and fattening food. 

*Stay tuned this week for a recap of our recent "cry it out" efforts with sleep-training the babies!

Friday, October 11, 2013

On working, being a mom, and being a working mom

So I figured since I gave you an update on the babies, I might as well give you an update on myself and my latest trials and tribulations in motherhood.

For starters, I’m still nursing. And pumping. And I mention that topic first because it still consumes quite a bit of my time. On a typical weekday, I nurse the twins twice and pump 4-5 times. I used to just pump 3 times at work, but wasn’t able to keep up with what we were sending to daycare every day, so I added in an extra session first thing in the morning when I get to work and one right before bed. And guess what- I still can’t keep up with what we are sending to daycare. (Thankfully I've had a freezer stash to help me out. Un-thankfully that freezer stash will officially be depleted as of next week.)

This was a major source of stress for me for several weeks. I was convinced that my supply was going to disappear entirely and that we’d have to switch to formula before I was ready. I think the reason this was so unappealing to me is twofold: (1) The cost! Formula-feeding two babies is not cheap. (2) I have never been good at admitting defeat. If I was (am) going to stop nursing, I wanted it to be because I wanted to and was ready to, not just because I couldn’t hack it.

Does this make me foolishly stubborn? Maybe, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time! But admittedly there is a third reason, and that is the fact that I don’t want to be forced into making decisions due to going back to work that I wouldn’t have had to make if I was still at home with the babies. I already feel like I (and they) have to sacrifice a lot for me to be at work and away from them all week, so it just seemed like one more thing I would be forced to give up against my will, and I just wasn’t ready for that to happen.

SO with all that said, I’m still giving it my best shot. But I’m thankful to report that I have stopped obsessing for the most part and come to terms with the fact that I will have to supplement with formula during the week at some point (sooner rather than later), and that is a-ok. I think I had convinced myself it was an all or nothing deal, which isn’t the case.

Now let’s all pretend I didn’t just devote 3 overly lengthy paragraphs to that one topic, ok?

While we’re on the baby-feeding front, I also wanted to touch on the topic of introducing solid foods! This proved to be one more source of stress for me that had me very frazzled at first but I have chilled out about in recent weeks (do you sense a theme here?). I wanted to give making our own baby food a try really for the same reasons as above: it’s cheaper AND it’s something I would likely do if I was staying home. But I was worried it was going to be a pain in the butt and one more annoying chore on our weekend to-do list.

Thankfully it has been a lot easier (and less time-consuming) than I anticipated! We have introduced apples, avocados, sweet potatoes, pears, and squash, and already have some carrots frozen to add into the mix in the next week or so. Pretty sure these babies are already going to eat healthier than I do and have more expanded palates, so props to them. Oh, and no, we didn’t buy any of the fancy baby food prep machines. We use a blender, ice cube tray, and Ziploc bags and so far that’s really all we’ve needed.

Again, I have no issue with jarred food (other than the cost) and will have no problem using it for convenience purposes when needed, but I'm thankful to have the choice.

Related to both of the topics above, let me just go ahead and state the obvious by saying that being a working mom is hard. (I actually think being any kind of mom is hard, but being a working mom is my current reality, so I’m just generalizing from my own experience!)

Raising two infants is exhausting no matter how you slice it, but having to wake up at 5:15 am and be both presentable and fully functional with other adults for 40 hours a week in addition to that takes exhausting to a whole new level for me. And on the weekends when I really want to just hang out with Brian and the babies and enjoy our time together, I also really want to have clean laundry, paid bills, and food to eat for the next week, so something pretty much always has to give. And either way, there is guilt involved over whichever one doesn’t happen.

All that to say, I’m still overwhelmingly thankful for our current circumstances… which you might not know from all of the whining I do, but it’s true. I get excited about picking the babies up from daycare every evening and about getting to wake them up every morning (assuming they aren’t already awake… I’m looking at you, Colby). And at the same time, I also get excited to catch up with co-workers in the lunch room every day and about the fact that any free time or productivity isn’t limited to the duration of naptime that day. And therein lies the paradox of being a working mom.

So there are my deep thoughts for the week. In case this is too heavy for you, fear not because I’ll return next week with more mindless reading material for your viewing pleasure!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Would You Rather Wednesday

So glad that you all enjoyed Brian's guest post last week. Not surprisingly, there was no clear winner because all of the hairstyles were truly terrible.

Speaking of terrible, would you rather...

have the voice of Fran Fine on The Nanny


have the voice of Steve Urkel on Family Matters?

Things to consider:
- Either way, no one will want to talk to you... ever.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Six months!

I know, I know- how can the twins possibly already have been here for half a year?! These have undoubtedly been the longest, shortest, most fun, and most exhausting six months of our lives. Even though Colby and Clara are still very much helpless little babies, they become more and more like actual little people every day. And cliche though it may sound, I am trying my best not to rush their current phase of life even though I'm anxious to see what the next will be like!

Ok enough rambling, let's talk about the stars of the show.

Colby's current nicknames: Colby Guy, Guy, Lumpy, Turtle Lumpkins, Lumps

Weight: 15 lbs (10th percentile)
Length: 26 inches (25th percentile)
Head: 17.24 inches (64th percentile)

Colby has slowed down on the weight gain and continues to be on the small side (compared to his "peers"), but is still our chunky little guy. He better watch out, though, because “little” sister is gaining on him! What was once a 2-pound weight gap between the two is now a mere 12 ounces. He is definitely the bigger fan of solid foods, though, so I’m guessing he’ll be picking up the pace again soon.

Speaking of solids, Colby seems to have a love/hate relationship with them so far. Correction: Colby loves them, his stomach hates them. He gobbles up everything we feed him and acts impatient if made to wait too long for the next bite (yes, I know, he’s obviously my son). But his digestive system hasn’t gotten the memo yet that he’s moved on from a liquid-only diet and I think it’s protesting as a result. Poor guy. And poor mommy and daddy, because those issues, along with congestion and a cough that will not go away, has meant that Colby has been way off of his sleeping game this month.

Nonetheless, Colby continues to be a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. We have figured out that he generally doesn’t like to be confined (to his car seat, for example) or left alone, so as long as he can be in the middle of everything and see what’s going on, he’s good to go.

He rolled over from his back to his stomach for the first time this month and is getting a lot better at sitting on his own without toppling over. He still prefers standing over sitting or lying down, though. Wonder if he’ll be an early walker?

Colby’s current favorites: aggressively yanking the pull toys on his car seat, blowing spit bubbles, holding Clara’s hand and/or stroking her hair while he eats, the jumperoo, eating, drooling, being bounced, playing peekaboo

Clara's current nicknames: Littlest, Little Lady, Lady, Baby Girl

Weight: 14 lbs, 4 oz (17th percentile)
Length: 25.88 inches (50th percentile)
Head: 16.26 inches (27th percentile)

As I mentioned, Clara is catching up to Colby in weight, and I’m pretty sure most of that is in her chubby little thighs. She somehow gained an entire pound last month while Colby only gained 5 ounces, so apparently homegirl has been hungry.

She continues to be a great little sleeper and on the rare occasion that she does wake up in the middle of the night, all it takes is for us to pop the pacifier back in her mouth and she’s back out in no time. (Unless she’s in the mood to party, in which case she stares intently at you and flails her legs around. At that point, we have to physically hold her legs down so that she will settle down, which makes me feel a bit like we’re dealing with a patient in a mental institution!)

Everyone comments on how smiley she is and although occasionally she’s started to show a few signs of separation anxiety, she is pretty much friendly with everyone she meets/sees. Clara is a little busy bee and likes to be entertained, but is also perfectly able to entertain herself. She is a bit of a hoarder, and sometimes has a hard time picking which toys to play with because she wants them all in her hands at once. See below:

She hasn’t mastered any new tricks yet and still needs a lot of help sitting, but is getting better! She seems to be better coordinated than Colby but just isn’t quite as strong as he is yet. She is also not quite as interested in solids as he is, so she doesn’t typically eat as much in one sitting, but she’s definitely warming up to the idea.

Clara’s current favorites: experimenting with her voice (read: shrieking loudly), chewing on her feet (she recently came home from daycare with a sock covered in spit-up…), her Wubbanub pacifiers, the pink caterpillar toy, smiling, splashing in the bath, watching anything on the tv, trying to steal and eat my iPhone

And of course, the requisite pictures of the twinkies together:

 “Wait, mom, we’re not ready yet!”

These next two pictures make me laugh… can you tell they have discovered their feet?

This one is a facebook repost, but it was just too cute not to share (again)!

Eating: nursing/taking pumped bottles 5 times per day and eating solids 1x/day (although we upped them to 2x/day this weekend)
Sleeping: Ugh. I don’t even want to talk about it. Clara pretty consistently sleeps from 8:30-6 am on weekdays and 8:30-7 am-ish on weekends without waking up. Colby has been all over the map this month, but very rarely makes it through the night without at least one wake-up lately.
Clothing: 6 month

Just in case you didn’t know it, babies, you’re the best thing that has ever happened to your daddy and me and we love every day with you more than the last (even the sleepless ones)!