Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Messing with Perfection

The last few weeks have seen a marked improvement in the napping around this house. By marked improvement I mean to say that it has been completely predictable, scheduled and organized. The girls have slept like a dream, right when I wanted them too. They have been well rested and happy and playful as a result. Why then, you might ask, would I want to mess with the system I have going? Two words - The Holidays. Yes, the holiday season is upon us and that means we are all looking forward to loads of good food, good visits and a general all around good time to be had by all. On the flip side, we are heading into uncharted napping/sleeping territory in unfamiliar beds and rooms with unfamiliar smells, sights and sounds. Thus I have thrown my perfected napping system out the window in order to retrain them to expect the unexpected. This means that in the next couple of weeks, Ada has to learn to nap in a crib instead of the swing, they both have to learn to nap through the other's cries and the white noise maker on the swing in their room is out of commission. I started this new training yesterday, yes I know this was a little late but seriously folks... I had to get some things done last week! So I just went with what worked until I could get my house/self/life put back together. My normal routine is to put Ada in the swing and then rock Margot until she get's drowsy, then put Margot in the crib where she settles into her napping posture , turn on the white noise and that's that. They are both out like a light for the full nap time. What bliss this has been. Bliss that was not present in this house yesterday morning. 

I decided to hold one child while the other finished their tummy time so I started with Margot while Ada attempted to roll over on her blanket. Margot got sleepy as she usually does and I put her down with her blankie and binkie. Then I held Ada for a few minutes until she was sleepy and put her down with the same equipment. That lasted about 5 minutes. Ada just doesn't sleep as well in the morning as she does in the afternoon.. this is the reason I started using the swing with her in the first place - desperation. Crying ensued and I made my trips back and forth comforting and replacing binkies. Soon they were both going at the top of their lungs. I sat on the couch reminding myself of why I was doing this to myself. Ada finally cried herself to sleep about 5 minutes before she was supposed to be up for her next feeding. Margot went the whole time in tears. Fabulous. Exhausted I got both girls up and fought their flailing limbs and red faced screams to change diapers and we all sat down for a nice long feeding. They were super cranky afterwards ..hmmm.. wonder why that could be. I used the same routine when I put them down at one and this time I only had to go in once for Ada. They were both so exhausted that I even let them sleep an extra 30 minutes. So what have we learned? Ada still doesn't like to nap in the morning and if they have poor morning naps they will most likely make up for it in the afternoon. I may decide that Ada gets to stay up when Margot goes down in the morning. I think I may try to get her to go down but if she won't them I may not push the issue too hard. When she is ready to nap in the morning I guess she will do so. She has a different sleep cycle than Margot anyway. She doesn't need as much it seems. I say that but when I go in to replace the paci and rub her tummy she calms down and her heavy eyes close. Anyway.. it was much better in the afternoon. This morning it is better than yesterday morning and I hope this trend continues. I would be having them nap in their new travel cribs  but they are already set up at Mom and Dad's house awaiting our arrival this evening. We are spending Thanksgiving there and this will be the first time the girls have spent the night away from home so... crossing our fingers. We are praying this all goes pretty well. If they don't really have it down by the time we come back home, I will be having them sleep in these quite a bit until we head to Florida for Christmas. That's right, we are driving to Florida with 4 month old twins to spend Christmas with Grammy Mary and Grandpa Larry. As much as I am looking forward to spend all that time with everyone and getting to see everyone.. I .. am .. a little.. terrified. I mean.. I still haven't figured out how to get there! Meaning, when to leave for the drive.. should we drive all night ? Leave after their last feeding and just go through until morning? That seems nutso.. but so does trying to find a place to stop and nurse twins! Can't just do it in the car.. it will be packed to the brim.. and if I do stop to nurse them both.. where will we change diapers? Car again.. packed to the brim. McDonald's ? One of those Koala Care stations? I nurse while Stephen run's babies in and out changing diapers? That could take at least an hour.. what a circus :) I figure if I can at least get them super comfortable sleeping/napping in their new cribs that will take some of the stress out of the whole endeavor right? And no, bottles wouldn't help, just trust me on that one. We will figure it out but we are still figuring :) Ok.. gotta go start getting things ready for this trip tonight.. wish me luck!

PS.. the girls are both sleeping..in cribs.. no white noise.. with 80s music playing outside their door... things may be looking up :) 

Friday, November 21, 2008


Well life did not stand still after I was able to fit into my green pants.. thought it must seem like it as I have not posted since that moment. The truth is that aside from being a little busy, there have been so many happenings that I felt overwhelmed when considering how document it all here so I just stayed away. Anyway, I am back now. These are a few recent (as in yesterday) shots of Ada and Margot. Aren't they getting big?!

These adorable little sleepers are from Aunt Sheila and Uncle Lewis. Thanks guys!!! 

Boy do these girls love to smile. They smile when they wake up in the morning, after a feeding, while they are getting dressed for the day, when they get up from a nap.. in the bathtub.. the list goes on and on. They seem to get happier and be more content with each passing week. 

SO much has happened since my last post..and some even happened before that but I didn't get to post about so here is a laundry list of highlights:

- Went to dinner with my Dad's good friend Don and his wife Nicki at Don's daughter Wendy's home. She made a fantastic dinner and we got to meet her family and we all juggled cranky babies and generally had a great time visiting. I have been hearing about my Dad's friend "Barker" ever since I can remember and it was such a treat to get to meet the man behind the stories. I only wish I had been able to take more time to visit and one day I hope we can pack up our little family and head out to AZ for a visit. Wendy's sweet daugher, Kendall, even gave the girls one of her dolls for them to take home with them. Such a precious visit. 

- Grammy Mary and Grandpa Larry came to visit!!! We had a blast and took advantage of their being here by heading out on our own in the afternoons and leaving them with the ladies. We had a great visit as always but I got about 4 pictures and none of them are very good :( Mary was there with me when Margot giggled for the first time which was pretty special. 

- My Mom came over and cooked us a full on turkey dinner - early Thanksgiving. SO good and we had loads of leftovers.. can't wait for the real deal next week!

- Aunt Margie came to visit the girls while she was here with Uncle Gavin for a conference in Raleigh. She brought a bag of goodies as well :) It was so wonderful to visit with her and I must add a bit surreal to have her in my home .. I mean.. she is the grown up..I  am the kid.. right? I still feel that way.. felt sort of like I was inviting her into my play house :) Fun house is more like it these days :)

- Stephen turned 28.. yay!!!

- We have already had snow flurries twice this week..I hope this means we are headed for a cold winter around here. That would really make Stephen happy :)

there may be things I am forgetting but that should at least catch us up a bit..

Normally I go grocery shopping when Stephen gets home from work (or sometimes after the girls go down at 8). Usually I come home to the scene above or similar. This week I got the bright idea to take one of them with me to the store. Why didn't I think of that before!? I got to spend one on one time with Margot while we roamed the aisles together with cart and Baby Bjorn, and Stephen and Ada got to hang out while we were gone. I think I will definitely do that again. 

It never ceases to amaze me the way one baby  can cry right next to the other and the other may join in or may just ignore the ruckus. 

Ada is getting VERY strong.. yes Ollie is bathing himself in the background of this picture but it was the best one I have of her demonstrating her feats of strength so.. I think her cuteness outweighs his lack of decorum in the moment. Margot is getting strong as well but in this picture she was taking a break. 

Ada considering Grandpa Larry. 

My one pathetic picture of everyone together from the recent visit. Gotta get the whole picture taking thing together for the holidays!!!!

Ada and Margot - The Latest

They have both laughed several times and are THIS CLOSE to rolling over. They are going down like clockwork each night at 8pm and each wake only once.. Margot slept right through the night without a single peep one night this week. Margot is my amazing sleeper. She really seems to get it. I can put her down for a nap and even if she is not falling asleep yet she will lay there and smile and talk to herself before she drifts off. Ada is still working on it but naps faithfully in the swing on those days that Mommy needs to get things accomplished around the house. I am going to be more strict about training her to nap in the crib in the coming weeks. They have both napped so well this week. I can almost set my watch by them. They get a little fussy about 10 minutes before 9am and 10 minutes before 1pm and by 9 and 1 respectively they are fast asleep and stay that way for the full 2 hours until their next scheduled feeding. They are reaching for the toys dangling from their bouncy seats and kicking and splashing in the tub. They are growing too fast!!!! The older they get, the more sure Stephen and I are that we want a big family. Having kids is just so incredible. 

Parentals - The Latest

We are doing well but (of course) missing New York in this cold season. We sit around the dinner table reciting memories and stories from this time last year. I am getting a handle on the cooking and shopping in the house - I actually made  a pot roast tonight with carrots, potatoes and onions.. green beans on the side.. it was so good. It's nice to feel domestic for the first time in about 5 years. 

I am sure I could go on and on with this but I need to get to bed so I am going to stop here and hit the hay. 

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I had made myself promise not to try on any of my old pants again until the girls were six months old.. still.. periodically I can't help myself. Yesterday was one of those days and lo and behold.. THEY FIT!!!!!! I tried on my Citizens first and when they buttoned I just about screamed!!! I pulled out all my fall cords and started trying them all on as well and they fit too!!! Granted, there is still a bit of a muffin top, but they are totally wearable and that means I do not have to go out and buy new clothes for the winter with $$ that I don't have. I am super psyched!! I have been wearing the same pair of stretchy jeans since April or something.. this is a much needed development around here. Now I feel like busting my tail with walking and pilates to get back to my old self despite any exhaustion I might feel on a daily basis. The task no longer feels insurmountable. But enough about me..

Margot woke up earlier than usual this morning and was super exhausted (read cranky) as a result. Here she is sleeping it off :)

Ada too woke early this morning and played with her keys until quite worn out (again read cranky). She too is sleeping soundly in her crib. 

Stephen and I went to look at a potential new apartment yesterday. We have been trying to choose between one floor plan and another, the difference being a few more square feet and $100 more in rent. We plan to live in our next abode for a few years at least so we want to make sure we make the right decision for the long term. The cheaper apartment was the one we went to see and though we liked the apartment itself, it is on the outskirts of the community, facing a busier street. Turns out the more expensive place is on the same street as the two other couples from our church who live there (one of which is expecting twins in April - crazy right!?) and I think that will end up being the one we go with. It's bigger and I just have a gut feeling that we will really need the extra space. There are pros and cons to both places but when I made a list yesterday there were and equal number of each for both places so.. location wins out it seems. 

I will leave you with this humorous story from Stephen and one of his students:

Student handing Stephen a brochure for a ski resort in Colorado: "You should really come on our ski trip Mr. Shingler!!!"
Stephen: "Thanks man but there is no way I can afford that!"
Student: "What do you mean? All you have to pay for is the plane fare and the lift ticket - come on.."
Stephen: "That's not all I'd have to pay for man! Where am I gonna sleep?" 
Student brandishing the brochure: "Here!"
Stephen: "Right.. can't afford it."
Student: "You wouldn't have to pay for that part!"
Stephen: "What do you mean?"
Student: "We own it. We just have to give them a couple weeks notice."

Ah the joys of teaching at a private school :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

13 Weeks and counting..

Only 13 weeks and already the girls are ready to take the family car for a spin :) 

Ada says, "Please Mommy? I promise to be back by nap time!"

Things are picking up around here. I know it is only the 5th of November (Remember remember the 5th of November.. anyone ? Anyone..? Go here if you are having trouble) ..but I broke down during play time this morning and started playing Charlie Brown Christmas.. oh how sweet it is. I can not WAIT until Christmas this year!!! Snuggly babies on Christmas morning!?!?!? Fresh hot cinnamon rolls?!?! It's gonna be amazing. 

We have just emerged from 4 weeks of very trying times. The days have had their ups and downs the but nights have been consistently difficult. The girls got into a habit of waking every hour after about 12:30AM to eat. You can imagine how tired the two of us have been. After the 3rd week of this I started to suspect that this was not the growth spurt that I had previously thought but instead a habit forming. So, I devised a plan to break them of this killer (after consulting the web and several of my baby books). I decided to see if they would take a binkie instead of food since they only were eating for a few minutes when I fed them and then falling back asleep. I started getting up on the hour with them and giving them the binkie. I found it easier to just stay in their room during this whole process so I made a bed next to the crib and settled in. I watched when they squirmed in their sleep and when they stared to wake up. I watched to see if they showed signs of hunger and was pleased to see that they did not. The next night I felt confident that they didn't actually need the food and that they were perfectly capable of sleeping for longer stretches. So when they woke I would get them up and hold them like they were going to be fed but give a binkie instead and they would snuggle down and suck and drift right off. Then I moved to just giving them the binkie while they were in crib when they woke. The waking was getting less and less frequent. Monday I started them napping in separate cribs and they did so well I decided to do the same at night and .. VOILA !!! Suddenly my waking babies are sleeping 8-9 hour stretches again!!! They go down around 8 and don't wake until 4 or 5 at which point if they are truly hungry I give them a snack and they go back to sleep until 7 when I get them up for their first feeding. This morning I actually had the energy to get a shower before Stephen left for school, I didn't feel like a deflated balloon like I have been feeling in the AM. Sigh of relief. Hope they keep this up. 

They are growing so much. Smiling all the time in response to being smiled at. They love to play and listen to Mommy talk her head off and sing songs to distract them when they are cranky. Ada still really loves to observe her world and seems to be so sensitive. There are times when she screams and I can't do anything to help and I really feel like that is her just needing to get her emotions out. So I hold her and she kicks and wails and before long she settles down for a snuggle. Margot loves to be held and feel like she is participating in whatever you are doing. She loves to be talked too and isn't as much a fan of the toys as Ada is. She is more interested in your face and interacting. Ada does this as well but I can tell Margot is really into it. 

Stephen and I are doing well despite the recent lack of sleep. I do feel a little trapped some days but lack the energy to get myself up and out. I think that will be changing very soon. Sleeping at night is heavenly. 

I must admit, moving the girls into separate cribs has been a little tough. I love seeing them snuggled together and I felt like they were happier that way. But apparently, that time has come and gone. Aside from the waking up, they were also doing a little traveling in their sleep so I am sure it feels better to get sleep without your sibling smacking you in the face with a runaway arm or having your sibling squish you with her diaper butt. Sigh. Maybe they will start liking to sleep together again when they are older. I don't know why this is so hard for me!? They look so alone in that big crib on their own. I suppose it will just take time for me to adjust. It is obviously better since they are sleeping so much better. 

Yes, I voted yesterday... and no I don't want to talk about it here. I have never brought up politics on this blog and I don't plan to start now.