Rise and....

I love Lauren Conrad.  I didn't think that I would, but I do.  I love her recipes, I love her style, I love her pretty and positive outlook on life.

Being that I'm a mom now, I have pretty much stopped doing everything else that made me JESSICA before I was Mama.  I let my eyebrows grow wild, I wait until my pedicure looks like a French pedicure before I take off the polish (picture it...there you go), and I carefully consider any move I make for approximately 20 minutes before making the move.

So when I logged into LC's blog last night, it was a breath of fresh air to click around looking at her articles about love, fitness, and diet.  As I clicked through, I noticed a particular post titled Rise and Shine: How to Make Your Mornings Brighter.  I thought to myself, 'Wow, that would be nice,' especially considering the fact that mornings are pretty much the biggest shit show of my day.

However, as I began to read, I realized just how far away I am from this lifestyle.  I started to remember what it was like to make myself an omelet and sit down to eat it in front of the TV with my coffee, take a nice long shower, shave my legs, and blow dry my hair.  I remembered lazy Saturday mornings spent in bed.  I remembered getting a full night of sleep and getting out of bed at 9:00 on a Sunday to start my day, doing whatever I wanted when I wanted to.

I guess what I didn't realize when Hershey and I decided to start a family was just how much of myself I would be sacrificing for these tiny human beings.  I used to be a morning person.  I honestly enjoyed my mornings, and I really do feel like the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day.  Today I struggle to make it through my mornings, trying to get as much done in 55 minutes as I used to get done in a whole day sometimes!

Take a gander at my morning routine:

5:45 a.m. - Jane and Emma wake up and start screaming and babbling -- 20 minutes before my alarm is scheduled to go off.

5:50 a.m. - Stumble out of bed to change diapers and get the girls set up in their exersaucers.

6:05 a.m. - Daddy wakes up and comes out to make himself a cup of tea and me a cup of coffee, and gets busy filling the girls' humidifier, unloading the dishwasher, and making bottles.  I run to the shower.  I brush my teeth before I get into the shower, which takes about 2 minutes.

6:07 a.m. - Get into the shower.

6:13 a.m. - Get out of the shower.  Bust my ass because our shower rug is slippery. Dry off, lotion up, get into bathrobe.  Head for the kitchen.

6:19 a.m. - 6:35 a.m. - Accomplish all of the following:  Empty dish rack, make breakfast for Jane and Emma, make my coffee, make myself an English muffin and maybe some eggs (if the girls are happy, otherwise just stick to the muffin), feed the girls breakfast, shove food down my throat, clean up breakfast mess, load dishwasher with dishes leftover from last night and this morning.

6:40-6:55 a.m. - Take Jane and Emma into the nursery to change them and get them ready for their day.

7:00 a.m. - Give the nanny/grandma-squad instructions for the day, run down illnesses, and talk about whatever else is going on with the twins that's notable.

7:05 a.m. - Run back to the bedroom to do my hair, put on make-up, and get dressed.

7:20 a.m. - Go back to the kitchen to pack myself lunch and say good bye to everyone.

7:35 a.m. - Arrive at work, totally frazzled and disorganized.  Drop my stuff in my classroom and head to my first period class, which is in a different room across the school.  Get there just in time for the bell to ring!

I feel like I must be doing something wrong, but I imagine that most working-MoMs are just as frazzed as me.  I have tried to do everything I could to cut corners here and there, but I am so desperate for every moment with Jane and Emma during the week that I'm not willing to give up breakfast and dressing them for the day.  I have it planned so down-to-the-minute that the other morning when Jane dumped her applesauce upside down and Emma played finger paints with her bananas when I turned around to pick up my muffin that we were almost 10 minutes late for work!  But I refuse to spend only 3 hours a day with them, considering I don't get home most days until 4:00.  And I really don't want to miss moments like these:

Walker can be found here, but was given to us by Pampers when we wrote this review.

What am I missing here?  Does anyone have any suggestions to make my mornings more ZEN??  I would love to hear what your morning rituals are like!

Happy Friday!  I hope you all enjoy your weekend!  xoxoxo

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Back from the Dead..or the Toilet...

Oh.  Em.  GEE.  Tonight feels like it should be put on the calendar as a holiday.  The first day that Jane or Emma has not PROFUSELY thrown up in 6 days.  SIX DAYS.  Six days of twins, and Mama, and Daddy, and Grandma, and MeeMa, and the nanny, all with stomach viruses.  In the dead of winter.  During a snow storm.  Does it get worse?

Let me break it down for you so that you can feel my pain.

(In all honesty, I TRULY hope that you NEVER have to go through something like this.  But if you do, you will think of me fondly, as I remember the story my best friend told me about when her and her two sons once got a stomach virus.  I have a new appreciation for her and her strength.)

Monday (Day 1):  Feed the girls bananas for breakfast.  Put them down for naps.  Write a blog post about how great life is.  Get girls up from nap.  Go to walk out of their room while holding Jane -- SOAKED from head-to-toe by alimentum-and-banana vomit.  I'm not even exaggerating a little bit.  I had to scream for Hershey like a lunatic to come and take her so that I could strip where I was standing and run into the bathroom before it fell out of my hair and into the carpet any more than it already had.  It was even in my slippers.  Figured she had a little piece of banana lodged in her throat.  Moved on with my day.  Jane has diarrhea several times.  Throws up and has to change outfits 2 more times.  I think she may be allergic to egg, which I introduced into her diet this weekend (Daddy is allergic to egg, but eats them anyway -- and suffers.)

Tuesday (Day 2):  Jane still not feeling well.  Snow is coming in.  Stay home with Jane and wait for the doctor.  Nanny comes to care for Emma in case I have to take Jane to the doctor.  Snow gets worse.  Nanny leaves.  Jane is smiling and happy, playing and puking (in that order).  Stop feeding her solid foods, stick to formula.  Doctor says she doesn't think it's a food allergy, probably just a virus.  Daddy comes home.  Everyone is happy.  Jane is pooping her pants.  Have to change her pants for the third time.  Daddy goes out to shovel at around 5:00.  Comes back in to me laying on the floor, in tears, in pain.  Daddy gives girls dinner.  Puts first spoonful of soupy rice cereal into Jane's mouth, she pukes up everything from the last 8 months of life all over herself into her high chair.

DISCLAIMER:  This is where the shit LITERALLY hits the fan.

Daddy brings Janey into the nursery to change her.  Emma has adopted screaming like a maniac while in her high chair.  I am dying on the couch.  Daddy yells for me to come help him.  I start undressing Jane and immediately get nauseous.  Daddy is helping Emmy in the kitchen.  I scream for him to come back.  I run to the bathroom and start throwing up like I have NEVER THROWN UP IN MY LIFE.  Emma is still screaming.  Jane poops in her diaper on the changing table.  I yell for Hershey to call my mother.  I hear him pleading with her to come to our house to help him.  She's plowed in.  He hangs up.  I finally stop throwing up and go out to die on the couch, watching Janey play in her exersaucer in nothing but her diaper and socks.  Daddy finishes feeding Emma.  He gets the girls ready for bed.  Daddy puts the bottle into Emma's mouth and she vomits all over him, the couch, the blankets, the pillows, the floor, herself.  Daddy changes Emma.  We finish feeding the girls and put them to bed and I go to lay down in bed.  I wake up 20 minutes later to Daddy standing there, holding a smiling Emma in his arms.  I blink, because I think I'm seeing things.  No, there really is puke all over her face.  "I need your help."  Emma turns her head.  I blink again.  There is puke all over the back of her head.  I jump out of bed and head to run a bath.  I fight waves of nausea as Daddy goes to strip Emma.  I can't bend over the tub, so I set to stripping Emma's bed.  I wake up Jane in the process.  She starts screaming crying.  I can't lean over the crib to help her.  Daddy has Emma in the tub.  He calls his mother.  She will brave the snow.

The rest of that night I spend running between the bathroom, the bed, the monitor in the living room, as Hershey and his mother "sleep" on the couch and listen to make sure Emma or Jane don't throw up in their cribs again.  I make it through one of the worst nights that I can remember in a long, long time.

The rest of the week was a blur, but it went like this.

Wednesday (Day 3):  Grandma Squad comes to take care of the girls.  I spend the day dying on the couch because there is no heat in our bedroom (apartment-living woes saved for another post).  Daddy fights waves of nausea all day.  We go through about 3,569 diapers, 541 wipes, 945 bibs, and 1,073 burp cloths, and I think a whole entire roll of paper towels.

Thursday (Day 4):  Dun-dun-DUUUN, Daddy is sick.  Grandma squad comes again.  I still cannot stand upright for more than 12 minutes.  The girls are still having the time of their lives, poopin' and pukin'.  They think this is a PARTY!  Mama, and Daddy, and Grandma, AND MeeMA, all together for 2 days!?!  This must be what baby paradise is like, despite the disgusting.  I'm pretty sure that this is the day that Emma put her hand in her diarrhea diaper and Jane put her foot in hers.  Awesome.  Thursday night both Grandma AND MeeMa spend the night on their respective bathroom floors.  This has become surreal.  Daddy is up sick all night.

Notice Jane drinking her Pedialyte cocktail ALL BY HER LITTLE SELF in the background.
Friday (Day 5):  Mama plans to brave it and head in to work, but the nanny has come down with the virus!  There is literally NO ONE to take care of Jane and Emma.  All of our contingents have fallen.  I stay home.  Jane sleeps 2 hours past her normal wake-up time.  I have to go into the nursery and pull her out of her crib.  She looks sleepy.  I put her on the changing table.  She is groggy.  She starts to fall asleep.  I pick her up.  She's like a rag doll.  I call the doctor.  "Bring her in immediately."  Jane has begun to become dehydrated, despite the Pedialyte we have been pumping her with.  White blood cells are low.  She's anemic (separate issue).  Bring her home and give her 1 mL of Pedialyte at a time, like an IV drip.  She's starving.  She sucks EVERYTHING down and screams hysterically every time it's over.  We finally start feeding her formula.  She starts to come around.  Emma is still not doing well with solids.

Saturday (Day 6):  Still no contingency.  Poor Daddy has to muscle through and help Mama because Jane is still not back to herself yet and there is a lot of crying and whining and pooping still going on, and Mama is running on her last bit of energy.  I distract the girls with their first bubble encounter.  Just when we thought we made it out of the day with no puke, we feed the girls their last bottles of the day and put them down in their cribs, and Jane pukes in the top of her crib.  I pick her up, clean her off, and flip her to the other side (head where her feet go).  She then throws up there.  I bring her out and give her to Daddy for a pedialyte cocktail.  She soaks him, the couch, the blankets, the pillows, herself with a vomit cocktail of her own.  I lose my marbles.

Today has been pretty tame.  The girls are still not 100%.  I took Emma out for a little while to run to the store, and she spit up a LITTLE bit a couple of times, but no craziness like what we went through.  I mean, I feel like I should be building a poop and puke fallout shelter over here.  And both girls still are sleeping more than usual and eating less formula than usual, but I got them back on solids and they seem to be doing well.  I even gave Emma a little bit of yogurt for the first time today and she loved it!

Here's what I learned from this FIASCO.

1.  You need a strong contingency on call AT ALL TIMES.  And I don't mean your BFF from when you were 5.  Because if you call her and tell her, "There's poop and puke everywhere please come help me!" chances are good she will run in the opposite direction.  You need dedicated people who love you and love your children and know that chances are good that they are about to catch whatever evil juju is in your house when they come to help you, AND THEY COME ANYWAY (with supplies).

2.  Always keep a good stock of diapers and diaper rash cream in the house.  Thank GOD I had my Amazon Mom set up and we had diapers delivered.  Because shit got real over here.  Pun intended.

3.  When one kid gets sick, they are all going to get sick, and so are you.  Buckle up and get ready for a BUMPY ride.


4.  Moms (and Dads) have superpowers.  Real. Live. Super. Powers.  Everyone around me had the virus for approximately 2-3 days longer than I did.  But I was able to put on my big girl panties and man-up to care for my family.  It definitely wasn't up to my usual par.  Dishes piled in the sink, laundry laid on the floor, piles of puke-splattered clothes adorned our laundry room, the cats ran out of dry food, and I just let it all happen, because I had to in order to make sure that my husband had warm soup in his belly, my girls had fresh applesauce and mushed bananas, and the cats made due with wet food.

I hope that you enjoyed, could relate to, or feel better because of this story.  The good news is, the girls held their cheery dispositions (for the most part) through this entire ordeal, even when they had throw up dripping down their little dimpled chins.  So I got some really great pics of them this weekend.  And today we got ready for Valentine's Day, because what better way to come out the other end of a crisis than to put on some pretty clothes and take happy, smiling photographs?

Have a great week everyone!  Don't forget to vote!  xoxo

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Inside Out

Happy MLK Day!  I LOVE three day weekends!  And what better way to spend the day than to hang out with my little chicas all day long (while doing laundry and making baby food, of course!).  

Last week, we met a major milestone.  On January 13, Jane and Emma were officially on the outside for as long as they were on the inside (32 weeks, read our birth story here)!  Here are some of their stats:

Measurements (as of Nov. 26)
Weight:  14 lbs 2 oz  Height:  25"  Head size:  44.2 cm
Diaper size:  4 (with some bagginess)
Clothing Size:  4-6 months (she can wear 9 months, but they're baggy)
Fave foods:  Anything with chicken, apples, mangoes, blueberries
Fave toys:  Her exersaucer (of course), Puppy, this remote control, books, 
Favorite thing to do:  Snuggle with Mama and take a bath
Least favorite thing to do:  Get strapped into her car seat, which is a close second only to sitting in traffic while being strapped into her car seat, getting dressed, or NAPPING!
Major Milestones for This Month:  Rolling onto her belly, eating chunkier solid foods, and holding her own bottle (when she's feeling like an independent woman, she still prefers we hold it for her while telling her she's pretty)

Measurements (as of Nov. 26)
Weight:  15 lbs 5 oz  Height:  25"  Head size:  44 cm 
(even though it looks twice the size of Jane's!)
Diaper size: 4
Clothing Size:  6-12 months and 9 months
Fave foods:  apples, blueberries, fish, but she literally loves ANYTHING I put in front of her -- I think she's going to be a foodie like Mama and Daddy!
Fave toys:  Her exersaucer (see a pattern?), stacking rings, Sassy rings, and Daddy
Favorite thing to do:  "Walk" around the apartment, get raspberries from Daddy, rough house, "pet" the cats, and watch sports
Least favorite thing to do:  Sit and wait for dessert after dinner, sit still in general
Major Milestone for This Month:  Emma has started to figure out how to military crawl.  She spends a lot of time on her face, which leads to rug burn on her face (thank goodness for Aquafor!), but she can move herself from point A to point B, even if it takes a little bit of time (and a couple of kitty-petting detours).

This month has been the coolest so far because their little personalities are really developing, and they are more mobile.  They can also sit up on their own (and face plant into the floor on their own), which makes them a bit more autonomous, and they are so happy and proud of themselves when they are sitting up on the floor all by themselves playing with their toys.  They love exploring the world around them -- they are constantly touching things, throwing things, tasting things, and squealing at things.  I am just so in love with them, and with this stage of their lives.

I hope that you all are having a WONDERful Monday!  Please show us some love by clicking the links below!  That's all you need to do to vote!

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Chugga-Chugga-Chugga-Chugga Zzz ZZZZ...

Aaaaand we're back!  The last two weeks have been extremely trying.  Jane and Emma had begun sleeping through the night at about 6 months old.  We have since gone backwards.  
Here's Emma, wide awake while Janey is napping, enjoying a teether while Daddy eats his lunch.
Sherpa blanket found here.
First, Jane started saying "F YOU NAPS!"  I would put her down for her morning nap, she would sleep for 20 minutes, and then be wide awake.  I would do that with her about 6-7 times a day.  Then, Emma picked up that same habit -- but on the off times.  So I would put Jane down, and Emma would wake up.  As soon as I put Emma down, Jane would wake up.  My entire weekends consisted of picking up and putting down babies (and making baby food and doing laundry, of course).  

Then, to add insult to injury, Emma decided it was time to sleep on her stomach, despite the fact that she hadn't quite mastered rolling back onto her back.  And when I say ...hadn't quite mastered... I mean she would wake up and lay on her stomach, or on her arm, on her face, and whine for as long as it took until either Hershey or I would hustle in there to flip her over like a pancake.  And then Jane started doing that, too.  Again, on the off times.  And that would start at about 11:45 every.single.night.

Since then, they have reduced their naps to 4-5 naps per day.  But the nighttime shenanigans continue.  

I remember when we first brought the ladies home from the NICU, they were on a STRICT schedule.  Change diapers, give bottles, stare at toy for 15 minutes, sleep.  Repeat every 3 hours.  It was exhausting for me, but it worked for them.  And that's what's most important!

Once I went back to work, other people took over the daily care of Jane and Emma.  And although they love them to pieces and are so very good to them, the simple fact remains - they are not Mama.  The girls started getting excited, staying awake, and their schedules were totally thrown off.  Then I started them on solid foods, and forget it.  What schedule?  I tried to let Jane and Emma tell us when they were hungry and when they were tired, and tried to make sure that we were all doing the same thing, but, again, no one else is Mama, and, not for nothing, but Jane and Emma don't know what they want 98% of the time!

Although the girls are still waking several times during the night (and usually for good at 5:57 a.m., when our alarm clocks go off at 6:05 a.m. -- and you KNOW that the difference between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. is no joke), we have begun to try to get them back into a strict routine.  Here is the daily routine we are trying to implement (based loosely around their natural rhythms):

6:30 Breakfast (fruit+oatmeal)
7:30 Bottle (5.5 oz)
9:00-10:00 Nap
10:30 Bottle (6 oz)
11:00-11:30ish Play time
11:30-12:00 Cat Nap
12:00 Lunch + Fruit (in fresh food feeder)
1:00 Play time
2:00 Bottle (6.5 oz)
2:30-3:30/4:00 Nap 
5:15 Bottle (5 oz)
6:00 Frozen Mini Bagel *aka dinner roll* while Mama cooks dinner
6:30 Family dinner 
6:45 Dessert (fruit in fresh food feeder)
7:00 Bath (if it's bath night, they bathe every other night in the winter months)
7:30 Bottle (7 oz)
8:00 Crib

So far, this is working OK.  Yesterday, the girls did GREAT with their naps.  They also woke up during the night less, woke up later this morning, and were not as cranky right before bed last night.  Today, they were back to 4 naps (5, if you count the 25 minute nap they took at 4:00), and I'm afraid that they will be up at 4:30 a.m. like they were yesterday morning.

A friend of mine at work who has two daughters of her own once told me, "They have to sleep good, to sleep good."  I am CRAZY about them getting their naps in because I have always found that the better they sleep during the day, the better they sleep at night, and the less unhappy they are during their awake times.  I'm also convinced that they are going through a growth spurt right now, and that their bottom toofers are going to pop out at any moment now, and so they REALLY need their sleep. And so do we.

The hardest part is that Hershey and I are working full time during all of this.  And not at desk jobs where we can zone out for a few minutes.  We have to be thinking, on our feet, observing and questioning and engaging and entertaining TEENAGERS for 9 straight hours AFTER not sleeping half the night.  We are literally dying.  Literally.  And I get that it's difficult to make babies do things like take naps, but THERE HAS TO BE A WAY!  I need a minute to sit down, to veg out, to PEE for crying out loud!  

HOW DO YOU DO IT?  Please, share with me your knowledge, oh wise blog readers!  If you can't get in to comment on the blog, please head over to my fan page and comment on the conversation we have started there.  I would greatly appreciate any advice that you have to offer, and so would my sanity.

I wish that you all have a wonderful, relaxing, restful weekend.  And please don't forget to vote!

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Happy Birthday to ME!

Good-bye to another year!  Today I turn the big 3-4, and in honor of that, I've added a pretty cool page to my blog!

I wanted to make it easy peasy lemon squeezy to find all of the fundamentals that I post on my blog, so that mommies can go to one place to find all of the goods we have tried and twinnie-approved.  Today we are unveiling MULTIPLE FUNDAMENTALS!  

Any time I post a list of GOODIES, I will add a link to that post on this static page, so that you can easily access it whenever you want.  As a busy mommy myself, I know how frustrating it is digging back through a post to try to find an item when you've got 12 minutes in a store and need to find something quickly.  Hopefully this will help you out.

In other news, we went back to blueberries (I MUST be a glutton for punishment).  Here's the outcome:

Jane and Emma LOVE their blueberries.  Give them a shot!  But don't say I didn't warn you! (And always consult with your pediatrician before feeding anything to your kids!)

We have a big day planned today!  I made these DELICIOUS cinnamon buns for breakfast.  I'm on the lookout for an easier recipe, as I'm not convinced that this is the path of least resistance to deliciousness.  Keep an eye on my Pinterest recipe page for updates. 

Then I'll be doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen all day, and trying to figure out a less messy way to give the girls their blueberry fix.  I'm thinking about something having to do with trash bags...  

Tonight, after the little devils angels go to bed, Daddy and I are going to sneak out to go out to dinner at Miller's Ale House.  I'm excited to have some good food and fun!

Hope you're all having a great weekend!  

And, as always, please don't forget to VOTE!  :)

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Chomp Chomp CHOMPERS!

Just when we thought that the girls were all set -- off of the apnea monitors, off of the reflux medication, sleeping through the night, rolling over, sitting up -- dun dun DUUUUNNNNN... enter TEETHING!  Yes, that's right, our little ladies are trying to break their first teeth.  And you know what that means...


Jane and Emma are miserable.  Absolutely miserable.  Emma has adopted this gutterel, primal screech whenever she doesn't have something in her mouth.  And Jane has all but fallen in love with her pointer and middle fingers on her left hand.  I'm surprised they haven't turned into two little shriveled stumps at the end of her hand by now.

And the DROOL.  Oh.Ma.GAH.  So gross.  All over.  Strings of it.  I've considered putting two bibs on them lately.  Not kidding.

I started out by giving them Ibuprofen.  That seemed to upset their little sensitive tummies, so we moved on to Tylenol.  Lots and lots of Tylenol.  Apparently that's frowned upon by the medical field, so we stopped that, too.  My bad.  Emma's mood did seem to improve when we stopped giving them the pain medicines, but we had to substitute SOMETHING in their place, because they still seem SO uncomfortable.  Here's what we have had success with:

1.  Mini bagels.  We bought whole wheat ones and just stuck them in the freezer, and I gave them to the ladies tonight, and they LOVED THEM.  Total success.

2.  If I've said it once, I've said it a MILLION times.  Sophie the Giraffe.  Just suck it up and buy her.  You won't be sorry.  

3.  Sassy Terry Teethers.  Wet them with some filtered water, pop them in the freezer, then let the littles go to town on them.  They occupy Jane and Emma for a good 15 minutes before they go into babyzilla meltdown mode.  

4.  Lamaze Logan the Lion or Mortimer the Moose Teethimals.  It's a rattle.  It's a teether.  It's a cute and fluffy stuffed animal.  So many ways to love this little slice of silence.

5.  Green Sprouts Cool Hand Teether.  Freezer.  Done.  Lots of ridges and bumps and different ways to hold this little hand-sized and shaped teether.  The girls love them extra lots when their gums hurt extra lots because they freeze SOLID and are very hard, so they numb their gums.  And they're little tiny hand-friendly.

And, finally, as you know, Emma and Jane's favorite thing for their little sore gummies are Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders.  They looooved frozen blueberries, but their cheeks started to turn pink and I feared eczema (plus the blueberries were staining EVERYTHING in a 5 mile radius), so I switched to frozen peach slices.  The twincesses love peaches.  LOVE peaches.  As in, they may actually love peaches more than they love me.  20 minutes GUARANTEED silence (with the occasional pause to pick up a feeder that has been launched across the kitchen).  As soon as they are done with their dinners, I punt one of these into their hands and then Hershey and I can finish OUR dinner in peace, AND clean the kitchen before the girls graduate to bat-shit crazy meltdown mode.

Now, these are temporary fixes.  According to our pediatrician, teething comes and goes here and there, and should not last for days on end.  Some of the signs that Jane and Emma are having teething issues are drooling, hands in the mouth, whining, diarrhea, slight fever, and just general baby bitchiness. Sometimes they wake up in the night and I know that they're teething because when I try to give them their choopie, they turn it around and start gnawing on the sides (which makes these choopies great for teething because they HAVE gnaw-able sides).  Putting things in the crib with them is not advised, but at least if they have a choopie that they can chew, they are usually content enough to go back to sleep.

When all else fails, bury them in tissue paper.

Do you have any tricks of the teething trade that you can share?  Have you found any unique or interesting ways to help your babes through this painful rite of passage?  Please share them in the comments below!

And as always, please don't forget to vote!

Have a great week!  xoxo

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