Where did our babies go? A quick update before they turn TWO.

Well, hello! It’s been way too long since I’ve posted here. Is anyone still out there?

With literally thousands of photos and videos between me and Jing, there is no way I could update this blog with everything we’ve been up to in the past several weeks. Here are a few of the boys at the park recently.

The boys are growing like weeds. They talk, sing, dance, laugh, play, run, and eat so much! It’s heartbreaking knowing we cannot possibly take a photo or video of every hilarious, witty, smart, and sweet thing they do. But we are living life and enjoying every minute of it.

I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it before: The days are long, but the years are short. Many days can feel like an upward battle. The morning rush to get the boys ready, fed, and changed for day care. The commute to work. The long 9 hours at our office cubicles. The dash to daycare and back home, dinner-baths-playtime-bedtime. Whew! Things are never dull around our household.

I’ll be sure to put out a two-year update next week. I NEED to put out a two-year update next week.

Can you believe it? They’re turning two.

Our little babies have made it around the sun twice. It’s incredible.

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An art class and a first birthday photoshoot!

Risky behavior over here. Using only one hand on cruise mode.

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I don’t have a recipe, but I can share a link for you to try. Thanks, Kendreezy, for capitalizing on our resources. Who knew we had the exact ingredients for a beergarita?!?! Note to self, get lime-aid next time.

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What happens when you take your nap later than scheduled? Your brother wakes up you because it’s time to play!

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This is pretty much how most of the day goes lately. The boys just play and explore and mess with each other.

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Sooo, the boys have SWITCHED on us this past week. Adrian has been extremely clingy, fussy, whiney, and difficult. It’s such a 180 from the weeks before when Jer was always the crazy one. It was such a switch that I even looked at Jer and asked him, “Who are you!? Are you an imposter?!” This morning, Adrian totally threw his bowl to the floor, which was previously SUCTIONED onto his tray. I’m party blaming the poor suction capability, but I cannot believe how much Adrian is acting up these days!

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I took an art class! It was called Mixed Media and the featured project was acrylic paint on the gelli plate.

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My creations! Greeting cards on top (my favorite one is the last one), bookmarks (some personalized), and random pieces of art.

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I  had a lot of fun, although the class was not entirely what I had expected. Hopefully I can take the calligraphy class I’ve been wanting to take so I can work on my lettering styles!

Speaking of art and all things creative, have you heard of Fashion by Mayhem? I just LOVE her Instagram photos. Makes me wish I had a little girl… SHH!

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Finally… a sneak peek of our photoshoot today. We wanted to capture the boys when they turned one. Love em!

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It’s so bittersweet. I am so excited the boys are getting bigger and doing better things and playing more and more with each other. On the other hand, I’m so sad that time really does fly, even when the days crawl slowly by. And today is the first of the month, the time I’d usually do another monthly picture. But now that they are one, I decided to leave it to yearly… MAYBE bi-yearly (twice a month?).

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Homemade Ball Pit and a Fruit Mash Up

My babies are almost one!!! I was warned time would fly, but it was hard to believe it. When you’re running off 4-5 hours of choppy sleep, up 2-3 times during the night, tending to two newborns ALL-DAY-LONG, you don’t even think the light at the end of the tunnel is around the corner. You feel trapped in a deep, dark abyss called first-time-parenthood-to-twins and you just fight to survive while praying for the sun to come up!!! Sorry if this sounds super depressing, but those first few months are ROUGH. The great news is, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel! It started to make an appearance for me personally when the babies could reciprocate smiles and laughter. As much as you can love a newborn, those challenges in the beginning are very trying and it takes a little while before you can enjoy being a parent. For those parents out there with newborns, check out these great reads here and here and here that helped inspire me and support me in terms of being a mom, parent, and just getting through the beginning!

wpid-img_20140722_081100.jpgHere’s a glimpse at how I get to blog:
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Yeah, they were knocked out. wpid-20140721_090220.jpg How cute that their got all cozy next to each other?

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Homemade ball pit!!! How cool is this?! We ordered these ball pit balls and threw them into the pack-n-play. Instant success! See video for proof. I was concerned about the price of the balls, but when a fellow mom told me her 2.5 year old twins STILL love them, I was sold.

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They LOVED it!!!

How funny is this? Coffee and water for mommy, bottles and straw cups for babies.

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Costco shopping carts for the win! They boys lasted about 2/3 of the store. I had more on my list to buy, but since we ended up having to carry them, we headed straight for check out. There’s something hilariously ridiculous about carrying a baby (or two) while pushing a shopping cart designed to hold them both.
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Nice shot of the boys playing together:
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Last Friday’s boba trip. Jer couldn’t believe the bill even though we get the same thing every single week.

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Can you believe Prince George turned one??? I remember watching Will and Kate’s first appearance with baby George while I was on bed rest. I almost cried at the time. Re-watching the clip made me feel happy for them and bittersweet that babies really do grow so fast! Something about how humble and accessible this couple is, despite their high rankings. They seem extremely down-to-earth and I wish I could meet them! Plus, Kate’s wardrobe is AMAZING.

Here’s another “recipe” I want to share! I was proud of myself because even though this “recipe” is not completely ingenious, I did come up with the idea spontaneously. I basically needed to do something with the pears I steamed and wanted to mix up the flavor for the boys. I knew pears and blueberries went well together, thanks to Wholesome Babyfood.

Pear and Blueberry Mash Up

Ingredients

3-4 pears (I prefer to use organic Bartlett, but these were whatever I found at the grocery store)

1-2 cups organic blueberries

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wpid-20140723_214427.jpgThoroughly wash fruits.

Core pears and slice into 1 inch pieces. Steam for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

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Place in food processor or blender and puree to desired consistency. Since the boys are almost one, I don’t worry about the skin any more, so long as it is chopped (not offering a whole blueberry because it is still a choking hazard).

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The results resembled an applesauce consistency.

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One thing I noticed is that after putting the fruits in the fridge, it solidifies a bit to resemble a very firm jello consistency. I thought it would remain like applesauce, but it may be that I didn’t add additional water when pureeing. The boys enjoy the mash a lot. Over the weekend, I would scoop out a dollop to go with whatever meal they had (not just breakfast) and I didn’t even warm it up. I would just take it out to room temperature and offer it as a palate changer.

See more homemade baby food recipes and tips here!

Don’t wanna work out… and green baby food

workout

Do I have to get back into shape? For the LONGEST TIME (essentially since the boys were born), I’ve used the excuse of having twins to avoid working out extensively. Not only did I tell myself that I had three long months of strict bed rest, but I gave birth to twins! So instead of getting back to the gym or hitting the pavement once my doctor cleared me at six weeks, I just kept making excuses. Work, being tired, maintaining a house, caring for two infants… Granted, I did run once, play a bit of golf, and an entire season of recreational volleyball… But fast forward almost a year later and I have no excuse. It’s not about a bikini body or fitting into prepregnancy pants. It’s about HEALTH and being able to MOVE with my children without losing my breath or fearing I can’t keep up one day.

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The following pictures are random stuff and updates. Scroll down to get straight to the baby food recipes!

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I keep telling myself that this blogging gig may not last too much longer, but then I wouldn’t have a healthy outlet for my endless, random thoughts, nor would I have a convenient online journal-thing. I revived my favorite bloggers page in case you’re interested!

Celebrated my sister‘s birthday over the weekend! By the way, I’m really loving my new chalkboard!

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How cute were they in their Hawaiian outfits from their Gramma and Granpa??? They are joined in this picture with the singing Jellybean Rabbit. My goodness, it’s hilarious when the rabbit sings and dances because the boys stop in the tracks and are mesmerized by him!

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We ate at a restaurant and MY GOSH Jer screamed practically the entire time! My new nickname for him: Jerodactyl!!! We need to nip this NOW because we can’t have a crazy baby out in public. It’s one thing to deal with the screaming at home, but he is learning FAST that it gets him what he wants and it’s also amusing (at least to himself). Behavior therapy effective immediately.

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New play pen is under construction! Adrian’s loving it. Both babies are crawling – it’s great, as well as tiring!

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Adrian tends to hold toys and items in the air.
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He climbed up here himself.
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Bathtime has upgraded from the little tub to a… fancy shmancy laundry basket! First day we tried it, they hated it. Second day, they hated it half the time. Third day, they would have begged for five more minutes if they could talk! It’s so fun seeing them splash around, but that means as we bathe them, we are in the splash zone!

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Finding them like this in their cribs more often… I’m just waiting for the day they pull themselves up and we’ll know it’s time to lower that mattress! Jer (Camera 1) & Adrian (Camera 2):

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It’s nice being able to trust them to sit long enough for me to prepare food and whatnot. Here they are hanging in the kitchen as I prepared their breakfast over the weekend:

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Well, the homemade baby food saga continues!!! Here are two green “recipes” I’ve followed myself and had great success with. Again, I use the term “recipes” very loosely because they are hardly complicated! They are more like instructions to prepare baby food. But if you are like me, you want clear explanations and pictures in order to gain a foolproof method for yourself.

Asparagus Puree

From Tyler Florence’s Start Fresh

Ingredients

1 lb (10 medium stalks) asparagus, washed and tough stems removed

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Mashed Peas

Ingredients

One bag frozen peas

Directions:

– Cook peas as directed on package (I boiled them)

– Drain peas and cool

– Mash in a mixing bowl (If baby is not ready for texture, puree with a little bit of added water. If baby is old enough, no need to mash at all!)

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After I scooped some peas into small containers for daycare, I divided the rest into an ice cube tray. This is after it froze:

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After it freezes, I pop the cube out and store em in a ziplock bag. It’s so easy to defrost or pop in a cube or two in whatever I am cooking (chicken soup, pasta, etc).

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Check out more recipes on my Homemade Baby Food page! It’s a work in progress, but slowly growing!

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Do you have foolproof baby food recipes? Please share! I’d love to try new ones.

Sitting, laughing, and homemade baby food

Look who’s sitting all on their own!

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Yes, the boys’ outfits are coordinated. I try my best.

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Life with the boys has taken a significant turn with the boys sitting on their own. I mean, this is HUGE! We can sit the boys in front of some toys or in front of each other, or really just anywhere, and they will be happy and content while we take care of another chore or tend to the other baby or even just take minute to eat and relax!

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Can you believe the boys can pretty much drink their milk while Mama drinks hers? That is, her milk with coffee…

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We finally got a recording of the boys laughing at each other! It was too cute. Seriously, your heart just melts at the sound of babies laughing and giggling. Here’s a still shot of the video we captured:

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We may or may not have started a new weekend routine. Mama wakes up at 5 am as if it is just another day of the week and the boys in turn let Mama load them into the van and they take a spin, stopping bythe Starbucks drive thru and cruising around town just until they fall asleep. This is the new view from the rear view mirror – we got mirrors to place in front of the boys so we could see what is going on while we drive!

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Sleeping update: We are so proud of the boys.Thank goodness we sleep trained! The boys are still going to bed around 7/7:30 pm. They are pretty much able to stay either asleep or at least not crying/fussy until 6 am. It’s such a relief not having to fight through the bedtime routine or deal with inconsolable babies before the sun rises. There are still tiny hiccups along the way (Adrian will wake up at 4:30/5 am and babble away until 6 am!) or someone will briefly whine/cry/fuss in the middle of the night, but for the most part, we have no complaints.

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Homemade baby food: I’m so excited to share my new adventures in the kitchen as I have been planning on making baby food myself even before the babies were born. I am just now getting to it eight months down the road, but better late than never. There is an amazing website I learned about, Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food, which has nearly EVERYTHING you could possibly need, wonder, and imagine about baby food. What to feed, when to introduce certain foods, how to select/prepare/cook the foods… nutrition facts, organic vs. conventional, and recipes galore! I love how thorough the website is.

Here is my haul from Sprouts Farmers Market. Oh, I was giddy alright.

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The great thing about Sprouts is that it is close to home (for me, at least), it has a wonderful variety of locally grown produce and organic selections, and it is super affordable! The minute I heard it was a “Farmers Market” full of organic and specialty items, I thought: EXPENSIVE. But all of the produce I bought above (one butternut squash, two Hass avocados, one organic bunch of carrots, two sweet potatoes, and five organic Gala apples) cost me $10.78. I haven’t prepared or cooked everything yet, but already I know this route of preparing food for the babies is going to not only be better in terms of nutrition and knowing what is in their food, but in terms of saving money! Those darned prepackaged foods may be convenient, but with twin babies in the house, I knew we’d be better off preparing our own food.

When we first introduced baby food to the boys, we did use those Gerber prepackaged foods. We didn’t start off with rice cereal because from what I gathered through research reading online and talking with other moms, rice cereal doesn’t really have that much of a nutritional value for the babies and is simply a new texture to get them used to eating. Instead, we went straight for the veggies and then eventually introduced fruit. I have super high hopes for guiding the boys’ palates and teaching them to love wholesome food. I know I can only do my best and they will eventually make their own choices, but while we control what goes inside their bellies, I will take full advantage of that!

I chose to bake the squash and steam the apples first. The result of my two hours in the kitchen (parts of those two hours was used for meal-prepping for work lunches and doing dishes!):

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I didn’t fill the ice cube tray because I put a few scoops in tiny reusable containers to bring to daycare the following day. I learned about pureeing the food and freezing them in ice cube trays. After they are frozen, I will pop them out and store in a gallon ziplock bag. I sure did break a sweat and my feet were approaching soreness from all the standing, but I am so happy with my accomplishments and can’t wait to get into a good routine. My goal is to prepare 1-2 foods on the weekend and freeze until I have a good stash going that the boys can rotate through. Once that happens, I want to actually incorporate the meals we eat with what I’m preparing for the boys so that I am being more efficient with grocery shopping and meal planning/preparing. Wish me luck!

Things I’m Reading These Days

First, pictures of the boys, of course!

The boys & papa accompanied me to Ulta yesterday. They were very well-behaved and Adrian was even very sociable and cute, making the ladies in line behind us smile.

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The toe grabbing is just so adorable.

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Jer was almost not having it, but he made it through the short trip. Thanks, Jer.

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The boys are sorta getting the idea of their Sophia teethers… They’re getting really good at grabbing toys and items in front of them, and even better at putting them in their mouths. How we are going to keep up with cleaning and sanitizing everything, I do not know. But I also hear it’s good to not be such a germaphobe because we’ve gotta build up that immunity!

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The things I read these days seem to be 99% baby- & parent/motherhood-related, 1% everything else. I wish I could read more current events, new recipes, fitness and running blogs,  even celebrity gossip. However, I am still in survival mode. I’m still trying to navigate the chaotic world of parenthood, while juggling work and a household. Thus, I continue to gravitate toward anything on raising babies and being a parent.

Luckily though, since returning to work full-time last month, I am ever so slightly transitioning into a new mode. I’m happy that I am finally going from fighting to survive to learning to thrive. I may not be ready to go for a run again or throw a party, but I’m cooking again (yay!) and getting back into old routines, which makes me feel like I’m finally enjoying myself as I wade through the waters of parenthood, compared to when I was fighting to barely stay afloat.

When I stumble across a great read these days, I send an email to myself with the link and then save those emails to a folder for blogging inspiration. It was a great idea until the folder started to grow and grow and I never found the time to write. So today I realized that I would be happy with simply sharing each link I’ve saved so far in order to spread (what I think is) the goodness and move on with my (blogging) life!

Parenthood and Raising Children

10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make (Me Included) | Kari Kampakis

This post is a pretty much a big “NOTE TO SELF!” I know some of these things are not quite applicable until later on, but it’s nice to have a glimpse of what is ahead.

Our Montessori Home | When Hippos Talk

I never completely understood what “Montessori” meant. This blogger does a great job explaining – complete with pictures!

I Signed Up for This | Mrs. Gore’s Diary

This post caught my eye because I wrote something with a similar name, although the title suggested the exact opposite. This post written by Mrs. Gore was honest, humble, and true. After I read this post again, I look forward to reading the follow up.

Photographer Captures Beautiful, Loving Glimpse Into The NICU | Huffpost Parents

I can’t believe how much I miss the NICU. Being a parent in the NICU has certainly given me a newfound hope, inspiration, and admiration for all people – parents, family members, friends, nurses, doctors, and most importantly, BABIES – who have ever had their lives touched by the NICU. I regret more than ever not saying yes to photographs in the hospital. It’s true that I was too busy and stressed about the babies’ health that I just passed up the opportunity. What’s worse I that I learned Kaiser does full on photo shoots these days with babies! But luckily we were given an amazing opportunity to capture the boys during their infancy and I will cherish those pictures forever.

 

Being a Mother

31 Days to Becoming an Organized Mom | Mommy Kudos

More than half a year into our kiddos’ lives, we’re ready to tackle those pesky home projects that have been put on hold for far too long! Before starting, we need to get our house back to a functioning, beautiful environment. Home maintenance alone is such a challenge. Laundry-food prep-dishes-tidying… it’s a never-ending story.

A Breastfeeding Story: Breastfeeding Through Leukemia | I Am Not the Babysitter

Wow, this post inspired me. I cannot wait to write about my own experiences with breastfeeding.

Dealing With Working Moms Guilt, Whether You Love or Hate Your Job | About.com

I sure did type things like “working mom,” “feeling guilty with kids in daycare,” and “dealing with mommy guilt,” to name a few. I think I may have shared this other link on a separate post, but the lesson learned is that no matter what your situation as a mother, you are doing your best and that is more than enough!!!

25 Rules for Mothers of Sons | Team Studer

Growing up with a sister meant I grew up in a household full of women. It was nice to read about things I have to look forward to now that I have been blessed with two baby boys.

50 Things Moms Need to Do for Themselves | Elephant Journal

I agree! Now the challenge is finding the time to actually do these…

A Love Letter to the Father of My Child | Elephant Journal

This letter really resonated within me. Becoming parents surely changed our lives, but the relationship I share with my husband is still #1.

 

The 1% that is non-baby/parent related

Ben & Jerry’s Nails It With New Core Ice Cream Flavors | Huffpost Taste

There’s ALWAYS room for ice cream! MUST. TRY. THESE. ASAP!!! See? I’m not 100% baby/parenting…

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Did you see how long that list was? This is why I can’t even try to blog more often than I do. I spend a good amount of my time reading other amazing blogs and good stuff!

I wish I could devote an entire post to each link above, complete with all my thoughts and comments, but no can do. This gal has to keep on moving along!