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Monday, March 31, 2014

A rant and some pictures

This past weekend was initially shaping up to be about as unenjoyable as last week was. I was stressed out from work, Brian was still feeling crummy, and I felt like I was being smothered by my 8,000-page mental to do list. I went to bed in a foul mood on Friday and woke up in a foul mood on Saturday. 

In the middle of vacuuming (angrily) early Saturday morning, I scraped my hand on one of our bar stools and it was a quick and ugly downward spiral of despair from there. There were tears. There was cussing. There was kicking of a box of diapers. There was throwing of a rug. There was door slamming. There was a confused husband, two oblivious children, and a mom/wife/crazy person who had reached her wit's end.

Because I literally felt like I could not function for even one more second without exploding, I went out to the front porch and sat there and cried. I wasn't even sure about what at that point, but as you can all probably relate, it didn't really matter. I just needed to cry and probably get some fresh air.

In between melting down about how the bushes needed to be trimmed and the bath tub needed to be cleaned and the food labels needed to be made for the babies' birthday party and blah blah THERE'S NO TIME, THERE'S NEVER ANY TIME, I told Brian that I am just really overwhelmed by the amount of things that need my attention at the moment and about how little attention I have to give them all. I just feel live I've been spread so thin and I can't do any one thing well right now.

Thankfully, I pulled myself together and we were able to enjoy the morning. I decided to go to the grocery store while the babies napped and Brian tended to yard work, which was a great idea in theory (getting out of the house alone and all), but I found myself incredibly overwhelmed once I was there and highly considered just leaving in the middle of my trip. I have never experienced a panic attack before (to my knowledge), but I imagine what I was dealing with was similar.

I powered through and made it home, but upon realizing that I had picked out the wrong yogurt for the babies' breakfast this week, I melted down yet again. Fortunately for Brian, I was more sad than angry at that point. Unfortunately for Brian, his wife was/is still insane.

All I know is that although I am legitimately stressed out at the moment, my (over) reaction to everything that's going on lately seems excessive even to me. So I am just crossing my fingers that weaning (sorry, Allison, I know you hate that word) is causing a slightly severe shift in hormones, therefore making me a little loonier than normal. 

Anyway, I didn't intend to rant for so many paragraphs about that, but I guess I have a lot on my mind! The good news is that the rest of the weekend (although still busy with lots of chores and errands) redeemed itself, and we were even able to squeeze in a few very-much-not-professional-quality one year pictures of the babies. (Side note: how long am I allowed to keep referring to them as babies? They aren't walking yet, so surely I don't have to call them toddlers yet, right?)

They were in decent enough moods but we could not, for the life of us, get them to smile (at least not at the same time). Such is life at this age with twins, I suppose. Had we invited the dogs or the cast of The Wiggles, we might have had better luck, but we didn't go to that much effort.

Regardless, we still had fun, enjoyed the nice weather, and managed to make it home with only one small injury (when a certain little nut job decided to dive headfirst onto the concrete).


















Happy Monday, all, and happy birthday week to my favorite little people!


Friday, March 28, 2014

What a week!

Clara came down with a fever on Monday and was pretty pitiful for about 24 hours. Colby actually had a fever last Saturday, but we chalked it up to teething, and figured that was probably the case for her as well. Well unless 30-year-olds can also suffer from teething, our diagnosis was a little bit off, because I came down with a fever on Tuesday and Brian followed suit yesterday. I guess the silver lining is that we didn't all catch this "bug" at the same time?

Nonetheless, at least one of us has felt crummy every day this week. Thankfully I have the greatest husband ever, so when I was feeling like I had been hit by a truck on Tuesday evening, he went to fetch me a DQ blizzard to enjoy while I was taking a bath. (By the way, the downside to this combination of activities is that you are basically watching yourself getting fatter while you eat without any loose-fitting clothes to trick yourself into thinking otherwise. So... yeah, maybe don't do it if you're having a low self-esteem day.)

And while we're on the topic of dairy products, I can safely say that the milk transition for the babies has not been successful. I know that we might have a little more success if we would give it to them in bottles, but I am being stubborn and refuse to do that since they drink water out of sippy cups all the time with no problem. If you can't tell, we subscribe to the "tough love" philosophy when it comes to many facets of parenting. :)

Relatedly, and very importantly, I pumped at work for the last time yesterday!!!!!!! There are really not enough exclamation points in the world to truly express my excitement. It was glorious. I cannot tell you how excited I am to not have to lug that bag to/from work every day, awkwardly carry bottles of milk and pump parts to and from the break room, and explain to random co-workers why there is a "please do not disturb" sign on my door. Oh, yeah, and there's the whole part about not having to actually pump! I will, however, miss having 30-minute increments of uninterrupted alone time.

And this has nothing to do with anything, but I had a dream the other night that majorly stressed me out and that I actually have on a semi-regular basis: I drove into the parking lot at my office and realized I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. In the dream, I am always scrambling to find a store nearby where I can buy work-appropriate attire (and that's open before 7:30 am?), but inevitably I can't find anything in my size and then I end up running late for work in addition being dressed inappropriately. Do any of you have this dream? And is this the boring adult version of accidentally showing up to school with no clothes on as a kid?!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Milk and smocked clothing, you know, the usual

Big weekend at the Joiner house: the babies had their first taste of (cow's) milk! The verdict?




Contrary to what these pictures suggest, they were actually pretty unimpressed. Clara drank a little bit before losing interest. Colby drank a sip or two, looked highly offended, and then threw his sippy cup on the ground. We tried again later that day and again on Sunday with the same results. We'll see how it goes at daycare this week… the teachers are some kind of miracle workers so I won't be surprised if they each down a whole cup full today!

Another first happened this weekend when I made an impulse purchase that made me feel both proud and ashamed all at the same time: I bought a smocked dress for Clara. I'm proud because it is quite possibly the cutest dress that was ever made. I'm ashamed because I paid full price for it and it was not cheap. But I really just couldn't help myself:


I also unknowingly purchased the matching bow that was attached to the hanger, and even though I could have easily gone back to the store to exchange it and get my $10 back, the fact that it matched the dress so perfectly stopped me from even bothering. What has happened to my will power?!

Other than that, we spent most of the weekend playing around the house and yes, you guessed it, preparing for the upcoming birthday party! There was much planning and crafting to do and Brian even got to bust out some power tools and put his wood-working skills to the test. Don't worry- I'll be sure to show you the finished products when all is said and done.


And that's about all I have to report. I'll leave you with this picture of my favorite little nut case and her friend, Pink Ellie:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Delayed baptism weekend recap

Assuming you are a reader of Allison's blog, you already read the recap she posted about the baptism on Monday. She definitely hit the highlights, but in the interest of pretending we aren't basically the same person, I will share a few points she didn't already cover:

- I spent the majority of the 4-hour drive to/from Dallas sitting in the backseat of the car with the babies. On the way there, I had to hang out in the back to keep Colby happy because his morning nap in the car only lasted 30 minutes. On the way home, I had to hang out in the back to keep Clara happy because her afternoon nap in the car only lasted 30 minutes. So sweet of them not to do it at the same time.

- Do not ever underestimate the amount of (a) diapers or (b) Cheerios to pack in the diaper bag. We learned both of these the hard way at the baptism. Thankfully there were no major crises as a result, but I was definitely kicking myself for poor planning (and wishful thinking).

- I am very thankful that this trip occurred prior to the end of my breastfeeding-twins "diet." I am not comfortable sharing the exact number of cookies I consumed throughout the weekend, but let's just say that it was in the double digits.

- I graciously shared a small bite of one of these amazing cookies with the twins. We also graciously shared a couple of blueberry donut holes with them. And we also graciously shared some chocolate chip bunny grahams with them. And we're also apparently going to graciously share adult-onset diabetes with them. (JK, obviously. I promise they really do generally eat pretty healthily... when they are in the mood to actually eat, that is.)

- Taking care of two almost-one-year-olds in non-baby-proofed settings is exhausting. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was sore from the weekend and I can assure you it was not from exercising.

- Taking two almost-one-year-olds out to restaurants is getting progressively less enjoyable.

- Getting to spend some concentrated time with my family (minus my brother) is great, but not living in the same town as any of them is a major bummer.

- And speaking of major bummers, having one of your dogs vomit heaping amounts of undigested dog food all over your breakfast room rug is not a really fun way to unwind from a weekend of traveling.

And now for a few pictures that Allison didn't already share with you (and one that she did):

Brian and Colby were coincidentally matching (ok it was completely on purpose) and it only seemed appropriate that Brian make the same unimpressed face as Colby. Please note Clara's expression in the background.

Now at least one of the boys is smiling... same blank stare from Colby. But more importantly, please note our little ham in the background. Couldn't you just eat her for breakfast?

Clara hanging out with her Granddaddy (Brian's dad)

And this is how you keep babies entertained in the congregational care office during an hour-long church service: give them a few bulletin inserts and let them go to town. Miraculously, their outfits were still white when we took pictures after letting them scoot around on the floor for an hour. Surely God intervened on that one.

This is the repeat pic. You can tell Colby & Clara are twins because they both have their hands in their mouths ;)

Love these peeps!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nothing to do with the baptism or St. Patrick's Day

Contrary to what my lack of posting last week might suggest, I was not, in fact, on any type of Spring Break. In fact, in the world of working parents and daycare, Spring Break is not actually a real thing, so I'm going to choose to believe it doesn't really exist.

We did, however, have a short week as we left for Dallas on Friday for the babies' baptism. As such, any awake time I had last week outside of work and child-rearing was spent packing and preparing for the trip rather than blogging.

We got back yesterday evening, and while I need to give you a recap of our whirlwind of a weekend, it will have to wait until I finish doing laundry :)

In the meantime, enjoy this video we took last week of Colby playing outside in his walker (soundtrack courtesy of Brian):


And yes, we know it's time for the babies to start wearing actual shoes, so no reminders necessary :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Confessions

A few Monday morning confessions for you:

I overreacted (shocking) and lost my temper yesterday morning over something dumb (running out of eggs). As usual, Brian was the victim of my wrath, but rather than tell me to shove it (which I would have deserved), he went to the store to get some more eggs and brought me these:


He is, in fact, the greatest (and most patient) (and most forgiving).

I have never truly been "thrown off" by a time change until yesterday. I thought it would be no big deal… the babies woke up at 8:30 instead of 7:30 and I figured we'd just get back on track with their normal schedule at bedtime. Then bedtime rolled around and they were acting like patients that had recently escaped from a mental institution. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth and when they both finally went to sleep, I felt like I wanted to escape to a mental institution.

I am not going to miss pumping. At all. Not even a little bit. But I think I'm actually going to miss nursing a little… I'm blaming it on the my-babies-are-about-to-not-be-babies-anymore hormones.

As many of you saw on Facebook, we gave the babies their first taste of peanut butter this weekend. We also gave them their first taste of a cookie. Lest you judge us for "introducing" junk food so early, then you should know it was a Thin Mint, so at least we kept it classy.

My mind wandered off during the sermon at church on Saturday and I spent a solid 5 minutes planning the layout of the food table for the babies' birthday party in my head.

Speaking of church, we're getting the babies baptized in Dallas this weekend along with Avery (at the same church where Allison and I were baptized 31 years ago!). That's not the confession part though. The confession is that while I'm of course looking forward to the baptism and spending time with family, I'm most excited to have other people prepare meals and help entertain the babies for an entire weekend.

And speaking of meals, even though Colby really has gotten better about eating the food we give him, he is still pretty finicky and unpredictable, so it is not uncommon for an entire "meal" of his lately to consist of Cheerios and a mum mum. And that's if he's in the mood to eat the Cheerios. I know what you're thinking, and yes, nutrition abounds at the Joiner house.

And while I'm filling out our "Parents of the Year" application, let me go ahead and tell you that on Friday evening, we let Colby mouth the top of Brian's beer bottle while simultaneously letting Clara play with Mardi Gras beads while wearing her pants on her head.



And with that, my friends, I'll wish you a happy week ahead. Any confessions you'd like to share on this Monday morning?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Eleven months!

Here we are, just one short month before my babies turn ONE. As you might expect, my emotions are mixed. On the one hand, I am excited to celebrate their first birthday and relieved that we all 4 survived the first year (relatively) unscathed. On the other hand, I miss my tiny little preemies and it makes me sad to think they are closer to being toddlers than babies. Sigh.

Anyway, I'll spare you my psycho mommy ramblings for now and get the show on the road.

Colby's current nicknames: Colby Guy/Colby Guy Man, Buddy/Buddy Guy/Buddy Guy Man, Guy Man, Colbs

Weight: 18 lbs, 14 oz 

I took the twins to the pediatrician last week (thankfully they just had colds) and was surprised to learn that although they were weighing almost exactly the same at 9 months, Colby picked up the pace and is now a pound heavier than Clara… again. I shouldn't have been all that shocked, however, because he has really taken more of an interest in food in the past month or so.

Colby's preferred foods (as I mentioned the other day) are definitely the starchy variety. I would say sweet potatoes and bananas are his favorites, along with any and all bread products. It is definitely safe to say, however, that milk is still at the top of his list of favorite "foods!" We give them water in a sippy cup during all of their solid meals and although he is getting better, he still spends more time chewing on the spout than actually drinking it.


I know we're less than a year into this, but I really do think it's true what people have told me: boys seem to get easier as they get older and girls seem to get harder. Colby spends progressively more time being happy than grumpy the older he gets. Don't get me wrong- he can still throw quite a tantrum and spends his share of time yelling (not crying), but he has definitely chilled out a lot from his earlier high maintenance days.

He is sleeping pretty well at night, napping pretty well during the day, and other than being a little impatient and completely unpredictable at meal times (will he eat what we give him or slam his sippy cup angrily on his tray and yell at us?), he is pretty easy-going. 




It is safe to say that Colby definitely knows what he wants and is not shy about doing what it takes to get it. Unfortunately for his sister, "what he wants" is most often whatever she has and "doing what it takes" most often entails ripping items out of her hands. At that point, she usually melts down and he just stares blankly at her as if he can't figure out why in the world she would be upset. A boy does something that makes a girl cry and then has no idea why she's crying… crazy, right? :)


Now that he has mastered crawling, Colby is constantly on the move and generally likes to stay busy. He is sweet and cuddly just before naps and bedtime, but other than that, it's hard to get him to stay still for long. He loves to cruise around in his walker and is happiest when standing. I know he is going to be so excited when he finally figures out how to walk without our help!



Colby's current favorites: the walker, playing with daddy's sunglasses, stealing from his sister, bath time, the dogs, swinging, waving, clapping (particularly for himself), banging toys (or items in general) together, playing in his crib during nap time (he's way better at independent play time than his social sister), straws (for playing)


Clara's current nicknames: Littlest, Little, Baby Girl, Messy Misses

Weight: 17 lbs, 13 oz 


Yes, the Littlest has slowed down on her weight gain and is once again the littlest of the two! I'm guessing her newfound love for crawling and pulling up is helping burn some of those calories. Clara has also been a little more finicky with eating this past month, which we attribute to the fact that she is a girl (and therefore allowed to change her mind whenever she pleases) and to the fact that she was busy growing her first tooth (and therefore a little particular on what went near her gums). However, when she is in the mood to eat, she can pack it in, and unlike Colby, Clara prefers the healthier stuff.


Broken record here, but Clara continues to be a great napper and sleeper. She is thankfully able to fall and stay asleep during Colby's marathon squealing/playing sessions during nap time and generally naps for a good 30 minutes to an hour longer than he does. This is no small part thanks to her continued love for the pacifier, as evidenced below!



As I mentioned above (and last month), Clara has gotten progressively more sensitive and dramatic in recent months. She is still pretty happy-go-lucky, but when she's upset, you better watch out. Much like her brother, when Clara knows what she wants, she is not shy about doing what it takes to get it. But in her case, "doing what it takes" generally means melting down into an inconsolable mess. Fun times. 

"My life is so haaaaaaard!"

Look at that sass.


Clara's current favorites: babbling ("dada," "mama," and "da" (dog)- she has also started to use a tone that implies she's asking a question, which is pretty darn cute), her wubbanubs, the dogs, bath time, watching anything on tv, swinging, waving, clapping, stuffed animals/dolls, bouncing, chugging out of her sippy cup (and Colby's)

As I mentioned the other day, taking pictures of each of them individually was challenging enough, so I all but gave up on getting decent shots of the two of them together:







And that's a wrap.

Their normal at-home schedule these days:

7:30 am - wake up and nurse*
8:30 am - solid breakfast
9:15 am - nap (usually 1-1.5 hours)
11 am - nurse
12 pm - solid lunch
1:30 pm - nap (usually 1.5-2 hours)
3:30 pm - nurse
5:30 pm - solid dinner
7 pm - bedtime routine
7:15 pm - nurse
7:45 pm - both babies are asleep!

*Wish us luck this month as we embark on the transition from nursing to regular milk. Invitations to my breast pump burning party are forthcoming- ha!

Happy 11 months, little ones- we love you!

Monday, March 3, 2014

I hate coming up with blog post titles

Thanks for everyone's input on our date location dilemma last week. The majority of you voted for Jupiter Pizza & Waffles, which is where we fully intended to go. However, en route to the restaurant, we called an audible and went to Churrasco's instead. The determining factor in our last minute change of plans? We were too hungry to wait for an appetizer/meals to come out and we knew Churrasco's would serve plantain chips as soon as we sat down. Instant gratification for the win!

We even had time to go get dessert before heading home, and even though I found the name of my ice cream combo highly irritating ("Better Batter Boogie Board"), Maggie Moo's turned out to be a good choice.

We are very appreciative of Aunt Shannon keeping the twins for us and giving us the opportunity to have some uninterrupted adult conversation. And speaking of adult conversation, Brian thoughtfully asked me during dinner what kind of hobbies I'd be interesting in taking up now that the twins are getting older and a little easier to leave for extended periods of time. My response? Get more pedicures. My aspirations know no bounds.

Other than our getaway on Saturday evening, it was a pretty normal weekend for us. We took the twins' monthly pictures (they'll turn 11 months on Wednesday!) and I once again considered googling "how to take monthly pictures of your baby without wanting to harm yourself or others." Seriously, are those pictures a massive pain in the butt for anyone else? They were no problem until the twins got to be about 6 months old and suddenly took an intense interest in (a) the stickers and (b) doing anything except looking at the camera and smiling. Nonetheless, we persevered and you'll see the results soon enough.

And speaking of those twins, just a few random thoughts to share:

- Colby has a very strong preference for starchy carbohydrates, and when a friend introduced us to the Gerber "lil' crunchies" recently, they were an instant hit for him. But can we call be honest and please just admit that these are basically Cheeto puffs?


- How cute is this little hood rat?



- We finally installed a baby gate last week! And by "we," I mean Brian. The twins aren't bothered by it and they actually seem to enjoy playing with it, even though this picture makes it look like they're in prison:

- And lastly, it totally doesn't bother me when people ask if Colby & Clara are twins when we're out in public, but these responses are too funny not to share:


(Considering I refer to my pump as "the third child," this isn't too far off from the truth ;)