Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Look Back

Birthday girls in their birthday outfits!
As I reflect back on the last year, I find myself amazed at all that has happened. There were somedays (ok, MANY days) that I wondered how we would ever survive the first year with our twins yet, somehow here we are. One of Nate's cousin's recently had twins, and she called me up asking me how I did certain things with my newborns. I felt like I was of zero help to her because I don't know how we did it. It seems like such a blur now and the only thing I can say is I am 100% certain that we could not have done it without God. Somehow, He enabled us to rise to the challenge and He sent us angels in the form of family and friends when we were in desperate need of help. I may not remember everything from this whirlwind of a year, but I wanted to take the time to share a few memorable moments.

The girls were very confused when everyone started singing the birthday song
I remember the first six weeks or so, the babies had no idea the difference between night and day. Especially Lydia. She would wake up at 3:00 AM with no intention of going back to sleep anytime soon. We would take turns holding her and rocking her in the recliner and eventually fall asleep with her on our chests. Those nights were so long but I almost miss it. She just loved to snuggle up and be held and of course has little interest in such things now.
There was no confusion when it came to what they should do with the cake. They went to town on it!

Hey Nate, remember that time you woke me up in the middle of the night with your hallucinations? You were rocking the pillow back and forth and when I told you that wasn't a baby, you started frantically searching inside the pillowcase looking for her. Good times!
We had their party at the park with the Shepherd and Pendleton cousins. The girls absolutely loved the rocks! Lydia got her hand caught in the cookie jar in this picture trying to eat a rock!

Eden refused to look up at me because she was so enthralled with her rocks.
Remember that time I was struggling to get in the door of the store with the twins and the lady commented on how I had my arms full and then kept right on walking without even holding the door. Duh, my arms are full! A little help would be appreciated. Geesh!

They got a little messy with the cake so we had to strip them down. In an effort to get them to smile, everyone started playing peekaboo, but it backfired and the girls just played peekaboo too!
Lydia, remember when you had a massive blow out at Christmas and ended up with poop all the way up your back and into your hair? Yeah, that was gross! Eden, remember when you projectile vomited all over the restaurant at Silver Dollar City. You better bet we left a good tip!

I remember the days when I would snuggle in bed with both my babies (and Ollie at my feet) and all of us would take a nap together. Then they hit the age were they busted out of their swaddles and rolled around and that was the end of that, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Eden giving Lydia a ride on their new birthday toy from Grandma. They have two of these but still usually fight over the one. Silly girls!
I remember hitting my breaking point, more than once, and bursting into tears wondering what I was doing wrong. Why weren't my babies conforming to my delusions of what rearing children was like? I did reach a point where my emotional state had spiraled so low, and I had to really reevaluated my priorities and expectations. I had to quit being so hard on myself, Nate, and the babies. It was a difficult process and the crazy lady still appears at times but I've learned it's better to be happy with my reality than pining for my unrealistic expectations.

Peeking over the crib to watch Daddy work in the yard
I loved when the girls first learned how to smile and how to laugh. Those first couple of months, you feel like you're only a milk machine/bum wiper to your babies. But then one day you walk into the room and their faces light up and they give you the gummiest, sweetest smiles you've ever seen. Next thing you know, they learn how to giggle and chuckle. That right there is a slice of heaven on Earth!

Nate got a bike trailer for Father's Day and it's been a great investment. We love going for rides in the evening after dinner.
One of the girls favorite songs was "Tomorrow" from Annie. Whenever we were trying to elicit a smile or get them in a better mood, we started singing it at the top of our lungs and usually intentionally off key. They espeially loved when we belted out the high notes. They would just stare at us like you are the weirdest parents ever and then burst into smiles

Playing in the water on a warm day
I'm sure if I thought about it longer, I could write a short story entitled "Memoir of a Twin Mommy." I'll just leave it at this and say that this year has not been smooth sailing, but I'm happy to report our ship has not sunk! We take every day as it comes to us and just try to do our best. I hope our girls know we love them so much!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wrapping up Summer

Oh summer days! Where have you gone? We've been busy this month, and other than our entire household's bout with the stomach bug, we've been busy with good things!

Lydia NEVER sleeps on my chest anymore. This was the silver lining moment when she was sick! 

We took a little weekend trip to Kansas City so Nate and I could go to the temple there. We had an "interesting" adventure at our hotel. There were a couple of trucks parked right outside our hotel door whose owners apparently didn't believe in common courtesy or city noise ordinances. They were blasting their music, drinking their beer, and cursing at each other until all hours of the night. Naturally our girls decided to throw their own party and forgo sleeping. Nate finally called the front desk around midnight and they made them turn their music down. But I swear these people never actually went to sleep, and hotel walls are so thin you can hear everything. The girls finally relaxed and fell asleep around 2:00 AM and lo and behold a car alarm went off for 5 minutes! AHHHHHH! It was a long night, and of course our girls are incapable of sleeping in, so we started the next day at 6:15 AM when Eden woke us up. As we left the hotel, I noticed the trucks said they were part of an escort service. Nate says it was probably a trucking escort service but I think they were part of a different kind of escort service. Ugh, next time I'll be more willing to pay a little more and hopefully get a better night's rest. I guess when you pay to stay at the dump, you shouldn't be surprised when the trash shows up! Is that mean to say or just true? Other than our hotel experience, we had a good time going to the temple and exploring the downtown area a bit.

We also had the opportunity to do a little boating! Nate and I won a boating trip at a silent auction the Young Women at church held for a camp fundraiser. We were able to do some skiing, wakeboarding, and surfing. It has been way too long since we've been able to participate in any water sports and we definitely felt it the next day...and the day after that.....and the day after that! We used some muscles we forgot even exsisted and had a great time doing so.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Krystal told me they had free guest passes to Silver Dollar City and invited us to go with them. Say what? Free? You know we're all over that! It worked out great to be able to trade off watching the kids so we all could take turns on the rides. Despite the rain, I had a brilliant idea that we should all go on a water ride because we probably wouldn't get that wet.....yeah, about that......we got soaked. With the humidity and a light drizzle we pretty much stayed squishy all day! But we still had fun and did I mention it was free? Thanks Krystal and Cam!

It was a great way to wrap up the summer and we are looking forward to a fun-filled fall!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

11 Month Old Twins

We are only one month away from the girls' birthday!!! Does that seem nuts to anyone else? A year ago Nate and I were hanging out in the hospital in Little Rock thinking our babies would be here any day. (Of course, they built up a whole lot of suspense before they finally made their debut a month later.) I would never want to repeat my experience in Little Rock, especially not my exorbitant helicopter ride, but I'm so grateful to now have two healthy 11 month old babies!

I made these adorable pillowcase dresses using some cute fat quarters my MIL gave me. 

Eden: Sweet little Eden has a pair of lungs on her! She used to not care when sister stole her toys but now, she lets out a shriek anytime Lydia touches whatever she is holding. That's great that she's standing up for herself, but perhaps it would be better if she expressed herself a bit quieter! She loves stuffed animals and we always have a small one in the crib with her. (I know, I know, suffocation hazard.) It's nice when she wakes up to hear her babbling to her little friend rather than crying for me to come get her. Eden also loves waving at people. She waves at Grandma when we video chat so she's gotten a little bit confused and will wave at people on the tv sometimes. She also waved at a picture of Jesus at church on Sunday but I don't think she was confused when she did that. She cut her two top teeth this month as well so she has four teeth now.

Lydia: As mentioned above, Lydia still likes to steal Eden's toys. It doesn't matter if we have two of the exact same toy, she wants the one Eden's holding! I don't want to paint Lydia as a mean bully, because she really is still my sweet Cuddle Bug. In the mornings after I nurse them, I usually bring them into bed for some time with Daddy before he goes to work. Eden usually crawls all around, but Lydia will lay her head down on your chest and just snuggle! Lydia loves books! She always gets an extra story before nap time and she is often found flipping through the pages of a book on her own. Still no sign of top teeth for Lydia so she still just has her two bottom teeth.

It's never a good sign when things get quite in the nursery!
Pre-Walkers: Both girls pull themselves up on the furniture. Lydia has started doing some "couch surfing" and taking a few steps while holding on. I thought walking was a ways off for us, and it may still be, but it could be right around the corner.

Sleep: I am thrilled to report that we have seen a dramatic improvement with naps. Don't get me wrong, they still (frequently!) only take short power naps but we have had quite a few days were one or both of their naps are at least an hour long and sometimes an hour and a half! I feel like we've had enough of those good days to declare it's not a fluke; the girls are learning to take naps! It's nowhere close to perfect but it's also no where close to the mess it was before. They've also figured out that I will not be getting up with them at 5:30 AM, so we've thankfully moved our wake up time closer to 7:00 again.
They LOVE the water! We've had so much fun taking them to the water park, splash pad, and the backyard pool all summer long. 
Birthday: With their birthday right around the corner, I'm wondering how to celebrate such an occasion. I don't want to make a big fuss, but at the same time I think it's a very big deal that all four of us have survived this first year!! I'm curious to hear what other people did to celebrate their baby's first birthday.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Fun in the West

Vacationing with little ones can be exhausting, but it is definitely worth it when you get to visit your family. We just got back from a trip to Utah where we were lucky enough to be able to visit both sides of the family. We had a busy vacation trying to fit everything in and traveling from Logan, to Bear Lake, to Spanish Fork, to Cokeville. We were able to do quite a bit, and the trip was full of many firsts for the girls.

First Camping Trip: Nathan and I have always enjoyed camping, but since having the girls, we haven't been able to convince ourselves that it would be quite as enjoyable. I worried the girls would wake the entire campground up with their cries, or crawl into an ants nest, or have to sleep on the airmattress with mom and dad, or we'd run into some other unforeseen catastrophe. But I'm pleased to say our first experience with camping went rather well. We camped with my family at Bear Lake and had a great time! The girls loved being outside and there were plenty of people around to entertain them. We borrowed my parent's 3 room tent so we had more than enough space to set up two pack-n-plays and an airmattress. The girls actually slept really well and I've even contemplated setting a tent up out back for them to sleep in all the time......
Mommy and Eden showing off our spacious accommodations

Daddy-daughters bonding time in the tent

We also got a chance to camp again later in the week with my extended family in Wyoming. We didn't exactly "rough it" though because my Grandparents let us borrow their camping trailer! Both camping trips were really successful, and Nate and I were even considering a camping trip this fall until we realized the only reason we enjoyed camping was we didn't have to do anything! No packing, no set up, no planning; we just showed up and had a good time.

First Swim in a Lake: Although the water is a bit chilly at Bear Lake, the girls had fun splashing in it and eating sand! Nate and I had a blast playing on the jetskis my family rented. We rode together once but discovered we were both happier on our own jetski. What can I say, we both like to be in control and drive.

Cooling off in the shade with Gramps and Gran

Playing on the beach with cousin Jaxton

Nate fell off the jetski and lost his glasses in the lake!

First Call to Poison Control: I must confess I had a Mommy-fail moment on the trip. Lydia somehow got into some medicine and we had to make a call to poison control. Luckily, she only ate one tablet and she ended up being fine. The funny thing was it was a pill for urinary tract infections and it turned her mouth, tongue, and urine orange!

 First Backyard Swim: The girls really love the water and the backyard blow up pool at my parent's house was no exception! My favorite cousin Betsy and her family were able to come spend the day with us in Logan one day. We went to the zoo, got ice cream, and finished the day off in the pool. The kids loved it!


First Family Reunion: Nate's parents live in Seattle, so we were so excited that they were in Utah for the Smith family reunion and we could spend time with them as well. We spent a few days staying at Grandma Smith's house in Spanish Fork. It was fun to see many of Nate's extended family members at the reunion as we haven't
Nate and Shane being manly!
seen many of them since we got married.  The reunion was at a park so the girls enjoyed the water games and playground, Nate enjoyed playing football and volleyball, and I enjoyed visiting and eating good food!
We also went to the Feuz family reunion in Cokeville, Wyoming. My grandparents have a huge yard so everyone always "camps out" for the reunion. We had a great time and the highlight for Nate was going 4-wheeling up in the mountains. 

First Parade: We were actually able to see two parades on our trip. The first was celebrating Fiesta Days in Spanish Fork. This parade is intense! You have to save your spot on the sidewalk at least a day in advance and then you still have to go early the morning of the parade because someone will steal your spot! The girls were enthralled with all the people and noise.
Watching the parade with Uncle Brady
Grandma and Eden having fun at the parade
Nate chased down Cosmo to get a picture with him
The second parade was in Cokeville celebrating Pioneer Day. This parade was a tad smaller. And by a tad, I mean the whole parade goes down main street, turns around, and comes back down the street for a second round! We enjoyed both parades.
The Cokeville parde

First Taste of BYU Creamery Ice Cream: I worked at the Creamery on 9th all through college. I have so many good memories of that place not to mention the ice cream is divine! I loved working there and met some of my best friends there. Plus Nate and I went there on our first date. So naturally we had to revisit and let the girls try some of the best ice cream! While in the Provo area we were also able to eat a Brick Oven (delish!) and meet up with two of my dearest roommates. I almost felt like I was back in college again. You know, other than the two munchkins in the high chairs.
Reunited with Erin and Tess!
We had such a fun time visiting everyone, and I'm afraid the girls are already bored with me so hopefully someone will come visit us soon!

Family selfie on the flight. Luckily, the flight wasn't full so we could sit by each other with an empty seat in the middle!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

10 Month Old Twins PLUS Family Pictures

Sometimes I look at Lydia and Eden and think to myself, "Whose children are these?!?!" They are just growing and changing so fast, I hardly even recognize them. I'm a little late on the post since we were on vacation last week, but our babies are now 10 months old! I'm excited to have some beautiful pictures to share of them. Nate's cousin, Carly, took some family photos for us a few weeks ago and I was so pleased with how they turned out. It's not an easy task to get two little ones to look at the camera and even somewhat smile!

Eden: Our Little Peanut weighs about 15.5 pounds. She loves Ollie and I'm convinced she even says dog, although it sounds more like "Dah." Ollie loves her too, especially around lunchtime! She has started doing the sign for "more." It's usually more like clapping her hands, but we know what she means. She is often giggling and still loves to do her fake laugh to make us laugh. She is really into faces and likes to pinch lips, noses, cheeks as she explores your face.

Lydia: Lydia weighed in just under 17 pounds. She has turned in to quite the imitator. She'll smack her lips or blow bubbles if you do it first. Lydia doesn't really like to play with toys unless Eden has it. Then, she immediately thinks she needs to steal it. Eden seems to have figured out that Lydia will quickly get bored and toss the toy to the side, so she can snatch it back pretty quickly. I've also noticed that Lydia likes to lead the music in church. As soon as she hears the organ playing, she'll start waving her arms to conduct the music! Lydia is also into head-butting. When you hold her she likes to bonk her forehead into yours and if she is on the ground and wants to be picked up, she will head-butt your legs.

Eating/Nursing: Both girls are still really good eaters. They normally eat whatever we're having for a meal and we haven't found many things they don't like. Although, sometimes they are a bit finicky about eating their vegetables so I have been known to get creative (spices, dipping in pear juice, even a bit of brown sugar on the carrots!) They prefer to feed themselves and can get pretty mad if I try to feed them, especially Eden. She'll swat my hand away, spit the food out, and scream if I attempt to feed her. Self-feeding can get pretty messy (hence, Ollie loves mealtime!) but it keeps the girls happy. As they are eating more, they seem to be losing interest in nursing. They still nurse four times a day, but they're easily distracted and are pretty quick to finish. However, I plan to continue until at least their year mark, possibly a bit longer. We're planning a trip to Disney World in October and I'm debating whether it will be easier to still be nursing them or tote around milk with us. Any opinions?

Walking? Nope; thank goodness! I'm not ready for that yet! Both girls will pull themselves up on their knees but not their feet yet. I think we're a ways off from walking, but I guess you never know with how fast they change!

 Sleep: I don't like to write about sleep because it makes me depressed! Neither one of my babies take consistently good naps, especially Eden. Anywhere between 30-45 minutes is typical for her. So if your baby takes two, two-hour naps a day, keep it to yourself. I don't want to hear about it! I've come to the realization that all I can do is be consistent and set the stage for good naps. Eventually, I hope they get the memo and we can have at least one long nap a day! The days are long but at least they are usually good sleepers at night. (Except when we're on vacation and out of our groove.) This month they decided to move their wake up time to 5:30-6:00 AM. I'm not a fan, let me tell you. The nice thing about their routine being thrown off with our vacation is we get a chance to reset things and I'm (desperately!) hoping to make 7:00 AM the normal wake-up time again.

While the girls aren't perfect, we do think they're pretty much the best kids we could have ever asked for. We love them so much and look forward to each day with them!