This week has been yet another one for the books.  Daddy came down with another stomach virus (same strain that MUTATED...ugh!!!), and the girls fought it for about a day and a half, which was fun.  My mom and I spent an entire night giving Pedialyte every 15 minutes for 4 hours until Jane and Emma could hold everything down, and then we gave them 4 whole ounces and put them to bed.  I now live in constant fear of being soaked in throw up every time one of the girls puts something in their mouths.  Awesome.

Some cool stuff happened this week, though.  Now that the virus has cleared the girls' systems, they are acquiring all types of new skills.  The organic puffs that I posted about on my Facebook page were a little hard and terrifying (for me), so I went and got them some Gerber puffs, which have been a big hit.  Emma even learned how to feed them to herself!

We gave them sippy cups for the first time this week.  

They have learned how to pull themselves up to standing, and they are dabbling in standing on their own (which has resulted in a couple of scary crash-landings, but we survived).

This one was taken just prior to Jane falling straight backwards onto her back, and pulling the walker right down on top of her.  I'm now 10 years older after hearing the crash and turning to see her lying under the walker, screaming her little face off.

They have also finally started trying some CRAWLING!  This means more independence for Jane and Emma, and less for Mama and Daddy.  Time to start baby proofing!

What babyproofing methods do you use?  We live in a small apartment with lots of fun corners and fixtures for them to smash their heads on, so I'm trying to figure out exactly how far I have to go and what products work best.

Hopefully we are all over the worst and I'll be able to post more frequently and regularly now.  We got some great weather this weekend, which made me yearn for spring even more than ever!  I am in full-blown spring/viral cleaning mode, and am beginning to purge our apartment to prepare for our biggest news of the year -- we are starting our home search!  I hope that you will all follow along as we search for a home to raise our little family in.

Have a great Monday everyone!  xoxo

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How do you survive the first year of motherhood?

"Sleep when they sleep," they said.  

"Nap when they nap,"  they said.

But what do you do when they rarely sleep OR nap???

It feels like it's been WEEKS since I last slept through the night.  Between the girls being sick and their 9 month sleep regression (yes, that's a real thing!), I don't remember the last time we got a good night of sleep.  Or a good day of sleep, come to think of it.  Which has resulted in this feeling:

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Needless to say, we are exhausted.  And running out of steam.  Quickly.

So I went on a search desperately seeking sleep advice.  I visited various websites, made about 473 phone calls to doctors and nurses and grandmas and friends.  I felt like I was on a quest for the Holy Grail.  And I may have found some solace.

I stumbled upon a sleep blog where the author's words caught my eye and made me really think:  

"Sleep deprivation... UGH. There’s a reason it’s commonly used as a form of torture!"

SHE'S SO RIGHT!!!  I've definitely been suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation.  I'm normally a pretty logical person.  I have a short fuse and sometimes I can be pretty ditzy, but I would say that I can make sense of things and think on my feet for the most part a majority of the time.

But lately, I've been feeling sluggish, extremely short-tempered, angry, and desperate.  I realized a couple of days ago that after 9 months of NO SLEEP, I am beginning to suffer from sleep deprivation.  

Here's what I found out.

1.  Everyone goes through this.  

2.  It's all my fault. 

3.  It can be fixed.

Let me explain.

We (people) have sleep associations.  When we go to bed at night, we lay our head down on a pillow and pull the blankets up to our chins.  Throughout the night, we wake several times, even if we don't remember it.  We readjust the blanket, fluff our pillow, and fall back into Sleepyville with little issue.

Now imagine you're a baby.  To fall asleep, you need your wooby, a blankie, a pacifier or a bottle, and maybe even a session in a rocking chair.  All of these things are supplied by the adult in charge of you, and have been since you came home, since you can't figure out how to get your little legs to rock the chair or how to make your hands bring your choopie to your mouth.  So your adult provides you with all of these things to help you get to sleep.  Thank you, adult!

In the middle of the night, you awaken, find that your choopie is gone, or that you can't fall back asleep.  You look for a bottle, but it's not there.  You try to find your choopie, but that's missing, too.  And for the life of you, you cannot make your crib rock!  So you cry out, and hope and pray that your adult will bring you one of the things that you have come to depend upon to fall asleep.  

I'm totally guilty of doing this to my poor littles.  

Luckily, this is a habit that we can break!  It's not too late!

After speaking with our pediatric sleep specialist, she confirmed all of the information that I had found on the internet.  It is time to readjust our bedtime routine, and take away those sleep props.  

Last night, we ate dinner at 5:00, had some fruit at 5:30, and took a bottle at 6:00.  From 6:00-7:00, I changed the sheets on their beds, put them into their pjs and nighttime diapers, and then read them a bedtime story.  Finally, Hershey and I braced ourselves for a fight.  We knew that putting them down in their crib without that bottle that they fall asleep on every night was going to be a war.  

We turned off the lights, kissed them goodnight, and placed them in their respective cribs.  

They were both asleep before their little tiny heads hit the beds.

Now, we did NOT have a restful night of sleep.  They woke up several times throughout the night.  BUT the awakenings were over by around 2:30-3:00.  I woke up at 5:00 thinking, What did I miss?!

At 5:55, Jane and Emma woke up for the morning.  They seemed happy and refreshed.  Both went down for a nap at around 9:00.  Jane is sitting next to me right now, just finished her mid-morning bottle.  Emma is still sleeping.

I've also discovered a couple of other things.  

One size does not fit all.  It seems like Emma sleeps longer in the morning, and needs less of a nap in the afternoon, while Jane needs a longer afternoon nap and sleeps for a shorter time in the morning.  

Limiting toys with flashing lights and music before sleepy time really does help them to unwind.  Think about if you went on a rollercoaster and then tried to lay down to go to sleep.  Probably wouldn't work out too well for you.

If they wake up after 20 minutes, play with them quietly for 10, and they will usually go back to sleep.

During this time, they are going through the biggest brain development phase of their lives.  They are busy in their cribs at night practicing new skills in their heads.  Provide lots of time during the day for them to practice their new skills, and once they master those skills, they will sleep better!

And finally, the piece of information that rocked my world the most -- THERE IS NO SCIENCE BEHIND STUFFING THEM TO MAX CAPACITY BEFORE BED.  Just because you give them a bottle and put them to bed doesn't mean that they will happily sleep through the night with a full belly.  In fact, the opposite may take effect (they may be sensitive to pee-pee diapers, in which case they will waken to a sopping wet diaper, begging to be changed).  

I hope that you find this helpful, and that you (and I) find some peace soon!  Remember to be patient with them -- I often find myself losing my temper because I, too, am exhausted, and I have to tell myself, "They are going through SO MANY changes in those little bodies, and every change is a change to their routine and need.  BREATHE!"  

This, too, shall pass.


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V-Day Breakdown

Happy Post Valentine's Day!  

I haven't quite figured out how I feel about this holiday yet.  Before I met Hershey, I had a love/hate relationship with it.  I loved love, but I hated to be alone.  I would often venture out to dinner with a close girlfriend and we would point and laugh at all of the cheesy couples.  When Hershey and I got together, we would do things for Valentine's Day, like visit museums.  We would go out to dinner, but usually a few days after V-Day to avoid all of the crowds.

Once we got married, we basically stopped celebrating the day.  I would buy him anything Reese's peanut butter cup I could find in heart shapes, and he would bring home flowers, but we didn't do anything special.

Now that the girls are here, I'm back in love with the holiday, but for THEM.  We did LOTS of fun V-Day stuff this year, even if they didn't know it.  

First, we sent out V-Day cards to our most special friends and family. 

Then, I found some really cute heart-shaped pillows, felt purses, plastic slinkies, and pink and purple socks in the Dollar Spot at Target.  The girls had a BALL opening their V-Day gifts yesterday morning.  I also purchased a pretty, simple garland from one of my favorite Etsy shops and hung it in Jane and Emma's room.

I love their messy little bed heads!

We also got all dressed up in V-Day gear, which was adorable (until Jane choked on her bottle and puked all over it).  

Finally, we got Daddy his annual Reese's V-Day gifts, signed a card, and asked Daddy to be our Valentine.

Jane and Emma are definitely doing much better now, and Daddy and I have a 4 day weekend, so we are working on solid foods and sleep training.  The girls have been sick for one full month, so their sleep schedules are total shit.  They sleep for 29 minutes during the day and wake each other up.  And as soon as I go in there they think it's play time.  So I've been sitting in my living room for 30 minutes now listening to them scream, squeal, cry, get hysterical, and all of the above simultaneously.  

I don't know about you guys, but I'm totes ready for spring.  I just want to be over this crap hump and into some nap times and sleepiness.  I've already started thinking about how to decorate for St. Pat's Day.  I favorited a few things in my Etsy account that I'll be saving up for over the next couple of weeks to help us usher in spring.  I couldn't be happier about that!

Thank you all so much for all of the love and support you continue to send our way.  I hope that you had a very happy Valentine's day, filled with love and chocolate!


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