Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Christmas Day in the Morning

Anna Claire and Mallory woke up bright and early Christmas morning. We brought them out into the living room, and when they saw all the cool things Santa had brought them they were...well, they were speechless. ;-) I guess they really didn't know what to think and just sort of stared at all the toys. We (I mean Santa) didn't wrap any of their gifts so after bottles, it was time to dive right in. The immediate hits were the Leap Frog Learn and Groove musical table and the V-Tech spinning alphabet thingy (I can't remember it's actual name).
Anna Claire and Mallory checking out their new toys with Daddy...
We left our house and headed to my parents' to open more gifts with Granny & Papa, Uncle Brian, Aunt Michell and Cousins Connor & Dylan. The girls got more toys and lots of clothes - all size 9 months - which looks huge to me. I can't believe they are out-growing their six month sizes. Here's Mallory sitting up on her own again - such a big girl! And here's Anna Claire relaxing with Papa after opening all those gifts.And not long after, snoozing with Daddy in a quiet corner upstairs...After that, it was on to Aunt Pam and Uncle Ronnie's to open presents with the Watson clan - all the girls' aunts, uncles, and cousins from Granny's side of the family. More presents and books, and two precious ballerina pig ornaments from Cousin Owen...
Also, a time out from playing with their new toys for a lunch break!
Well, by this time Christmas morning was long over. It was about midday and time to move on. Next, it was on to Grandmom's house for more food and presents with Walter's family.

We were back home in time for a much-needed afternoon nap around 4:00. Later that night, back in our comfy clothes, Granny and Papa came over to see what Santa had brought the girls. Yep, that's little Anna Claire sitting up all by herself in the background! Mallory just loves her new baby doll (one of three) and stroller/walker. It took Walter and I forever to put those things together on Christmas Eve. We thought we were assembling strollers for a real baby there were so many parts and screws!With so much going on Christmas morning, we completely forgot to give the girls their Christmas stockings. By that evening, they could have cared less - and you can totally tell by the looks on their faces.I know how hectic the day sounds, but there was absolutely no stress; we just rolled with the punches, and the girls were amazing! There may always be a part of me that wants to say all the travelling from one house to another isn't worth it - you know where we live if you want to come and visit - but the truth of the matter is we are so lucky to have ALL our family within a five-mile radius of us and it is only one day out of the year. We wouldn't have it any other way!

All in all, we had a great first Christmas with Anna Claire and Mallory. It was everything I hoped it would be, and I am already looking forward to next Christmas.

Monday, December 29, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Our story begins on Christmas Eve at GiGi's house. We had a great time with GiGi, Uncle Danny, Aunt Pam, Uncle Rick and Cousin Ricky, Uncle Brian, Aunt Michelle and Cousins Connor and Dylan, and Granny and PaPa.

The girls got lots of wonderful toys and books, but Anna Claire just couldn't have been happier with the ribbons and bows. Imagine how much money we could have saved... And what's this? Mallory is sitting up all by herself? Yep, that's right! I guess this was her Christmas gift to all of us. She's still a bit wobbly, but she really has gotten the hang of it and wants to be sitting up all the time now!The girls were just darling and couldn't have been in better moods. We timed everything right and made it home just in time for bed...but not before the girls were sure to set out cookies and milk for Santa - and don't forget some carrots for his reindeer!
Anna Claire and Mallory were hoping they could sleep under the Christmas tree and catch a glimpse of Santa, but all little children know that you have to be sound asleep in your own bed in order for Santa to leave your toys. Don't they look cute in their Christmas jammies?
The girls were so excited to see what Santa would bring them the next morning; nevertheless, they drifted right off to sleep and didn't make a peep all night long.

Stay tuned for the next part of our story...Christmas morning.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nightime Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing...

Poor little Mallory has her first cold. We just got back from PedsPlus, the urgent care pediatric doctors at Bon Secours St. Francis. I was really worried about her cough, but her lungs are clear and so are her ears. We are just to continue running the cool-mist humidifier and using saline drops in her nose. The doctor we saw, Dr. Ward (love him!!), also told us we could try Vicks VapoRub for babies. So far, Anna Claire seems fine. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

We've been so busy caring for Mallory and trying to sort through all the toys Santa (and Granny & Papa and Grandmom) brought that I haven't had the first chance to post pictures of the girls' first Christmas. I will try to do that later tonight...I'm off to rip more toys out of completely impossible packaging!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Since things are about to get crazy, I thought I'd wish everyone an early "Merry Christmas!"
I am finally able to post a picture of our Christmas tree because I finally have presents underneath it!And I can't believe I have yet to post our Christmas card since I was finally able to send out cards this year with pictures of my children on them just like all our friends send us Christmas cards every year with pictures of their children. I can't describe to you how good that feels!

Check back for pictures of Anna Claire and Mallory's first Christmas!!!

Breaking News...

Anna Claire fell asleep in her crib for her nap without having to be rocked. Good job, baby girl!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa, Baby

Anna Claire and Mallory finally had their picture taken with Santa. We tried last week and got there just as Santa was taking the last few pictures before his hour-long break for dinner, so we piled back into the car and went back home (the real Santa would have taken just one more picture with two sweet little babies whose mommy had sneaked out of work early and rushed home to pick up her little girls and Granny so they could get to the mall and back between feedings, but that's another post for another time). The girls weren't afraid of Santa at all and even cracked a few smiles which the photographer wasn't able to capture, but it's still a cute picture.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Family Photo

I think this is the first picture taken of the four of us since the day Anna Claire and Mallory came home from the hospital! Other than Anna Claire with her mouth wide open - which is how we find her most often these days, usually stuffing something inside (teething!) - I think this is a great picture to remember the girls' first Christmas.

Tonight was the big family Christmas party for Walter's mom's side. The party rotates around the family and this year it was held at the Legare-Waring House at Charlestowne Landing. Not exactly a kid-friendly location, but the girls did great. We stuck with our commitment of keeping to our schedule and getting them home in time for supper and bedtime even though it meant leaving the party after having been there just one hour, and as a result, everything worked out perfectly!

I'm considering this our "dry run" for Christmas Eve. So far, so good.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just a-Swingin'

The girls just love their early Christmas present from Mommy and Daddy - a swing set. Well, not quite a swing set but a simple a-frame and two baby swings.

Anna Claire and Mallory tried out Cousin Dylan's swing and had too much fun, so they needed two of their own. As it turns out, the frames are seasonal, so we couldn't just hop down to Lowe's and buy one. Instead, Walter and Chauncey built it themselves so we would have it for Christmas.

The girls love being outside and with the weather still warm today, they had a chance to try out their new swings. Hopefully we'll have more mild weather since I'll be off the next two weeks, and Anna Claire and Mallory will have more outside play time on their new swing set!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh, the Weather Outside Is...Not at all Frightful

The weather has been so warm this week - not Christmas-like at all. The girls have loved being able to get outside some. They love taking wagon rides with Granny who has the perfect system. Anna Claire and Mallory each sit in a bumbo since they aren't quite sitting up on their own yet, and usually Dylan, big boy that he is, sits in the middle of the girls.

Of course, the weather is supposed to turn cold again tomorrow - just when Christmas break beings. :-(

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's a First

I had the babies all by myself tonight (that is not a first) while Walter and Cousin Chauncey work on a Christmas present for the girls. Can you guess what it is from the picture below?

Usually the girls get rocked to sleep on a typical night as Walter and I feed them their bedtime bottles. We each get comfy in our La-Z Boy recliners, turn down the lights and the volume on the TV, and rock and feed until the girls are sound asleep. When I feed them alone at night, which isn't that often, I lay them each in a boppy on our bed and "simulfeed" them - but they don't ever fall asleep. Fussing and rocking is often involved until the girls eventually fall asleep.

Tonight I am tired, so I decided to just put each girl down wide awake. Neither was fussy or "wired," so I thought I'd give it a shot. It worked! Both girls were asleep in minutes. I do not remember a time when we laid both girls in their cribs awake and had them fall asleep on their own! YAY!

Anna Claire and Mallory have never had real sleep issues, and I never complain about rocking either girl to sleep for naps (when necessary) or bedtime. I actually love doing it. But tonight with Walter not here, it was so nice to lay them down and have them fall fast asleep. Now that I know they can do it...we may have something to work on over Christmas break. ;-)

Six Month Update

The girls had their first dose of the flu shot Friday and all went as well as could be expected. Anna Claire and Mallory only shed a few tears. They were so brave.

The best news is that while at the doctor's office we weighed the girls and Anna Claire came in at 15 lbs. 13 oz. and Mallory weighs 16 lbs 4 oz.! WOW - way to go, girls. And...because of all that weight gain and the girls' great response to eating all their cereal, fruits and veggies, the doctor gave us the go-ahead to drop a bottle. We had been feeding the girls 6.5 oz. five times a day every three hours for what felt like forever and they were rarely finishing all their formula, sometimes leaving as many as 3 oz. I think the feedings had become too close together given the amount they were/were not drinking plus the addition of two meals.

We're now giving the girls 7 oz. four times a day: 7:30, 11:30, 3:00, and 7:00 in addition to their breakfast and dinner meals. This schedule adjustment did make for a rough weekend and we still don't quite have naps figured out, but I think it is working out so much better. An added bonus is that I don't have to rush home from work to feed the girls at 4:30 giving me an extra 30 minutes of fun time (not feeding time) with Anna Claire and Mallory. We got so much done today after we got home and still had plenty of time to play before supper.

Anna Claire got her giggle box turned over. She's such a silly little girl...

...and here's Mallory practicing her sky diving free-fall. I think she's going to be our adventurous one.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

This morning Anna Claire and Mallory felt their first earthquake! The quake measured 3.6 and was the loudest and strongest I've felt in several years, which isn't saying much. We haven't had a major earthquake here since 1886.

Maybe it's all the baby gear we have in the living room now which is where all four of us were this morning, but we could hear and see toys rattling, the blinds shaking against the windows, and Christmas tree ornaments quivering on the branches. The boom and subsequent rumbling lasted only about five seconds in my estimation and while the whole house shook, the quake still wasn't strong enough to activate the jumperoo!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Overdose *updated*

This morning I accidentally gave Mallory a double dose of prevacid. I'm going to blame it on my NyQuil hangover, because I have no memory of how it happened. Truthfully, I don't recall giving her the double dose at all. I'm afraid I was still half asleep. I just know that when I went to get Anna Claire's tablet it wasn't there. I had to have given it to Mallory.

I first called the pediatrician's office; the nurse didn't seem worried at all but told me they refer all overdoses to Poison Control. I only mildly freaked out at that point! I called that number (write it down if you don't already have it memorized! 1-800-222-1222), and the man who answered told me there was nothing to worry about - he was very abrupt about it and actually caught me off guard a bit. He sounded kind of like the person on the other end of the line at 911 or when you accidentally set off your house alarm - very abrupt and almost shouting at me. I guess he has to be that way because I'm sure he gets plenty of people calling in a panic, but I was actually quite calm.

I thought maybe he'd have to put me on hold to look up side effects of a prevacid overdose in a 6 month old on his computer or maybe look in his "handbook" or something, but he came back at me with an immediate response almost before I could get the words out of my mouth. He seemed very certain that it was going to be okay, but that got me thinking - who are the people on the other end of the line at poison control? I'm going to do a little research and try to figure out who I spoke with this morning and where poison control is located.

I just talked to my mom and she said Mallory is just fine - she ate all her breakfast and is playing in the exersaucer. Another crisis averted.

This is great information from the American Association of Poison Control Centers...
Child Tips

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Getting to Know Yule!

Getting to know all about yule...

It doesn't feel much like Christmas; today's high was 75. It was fun, though, answering the following questions:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? both, but probably more bags this year because they're easier

2. Real tree or Artificial? artificial for the first time this year, again - easier, we're horrible about watering a real tree, and I don't like all the pine needles all over the floor

3. When do you put up the tree? usually the weekend after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down? a few days after Christmas because all the needles have usually fallen off by then, this year we'll probably keep it up longer

5. Do you like eggnog? yummy!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? my first cabbage patch doll

7. Hardest person to buy for? my dad

8. Easiest person(s) to buy for? Walter

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I love my willow tree nativity scene, I have all the pieces, but now I want the new one with the larger figurines - beautiful!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? mail, although last year I didn't send any because I was suffering from a horrible case of morning, noon and night sickness - just got this year's in the mail yesterday and started addressing them tonight

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? can't think of one thing

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? do you remember the animated movie about the mouse family that lives in the clock tower in the middle of town and the dad works in the post office? I haven't seen it on in several years and I can't remember the name of it, but I loved it as a kid, and A Christmas Story

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? too late

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? nope, but I have returned many to the store

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? anything sweet

16. Lights on the tree - white - I think they show off the ornaments better

17. Favorite Christmas song? Baby, It's Cold Outside is my favorite right now - the James Taylor/Natalie Cole version (not exactly about Christmas, but it's on my James Taylor Christmas CD) and Joy to the World, of course, the girls love Santa Clause is Coming to Town - I sing it about 100 times a day

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? we travel around town, luckily all our family lives here

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? dasher, dancer, prancer, vixen, comet, cupid, donner, blitzen, and the most famous reindeer of all - rudolph - I also sing this numerous times a day

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? star until this year, now Santa

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? both - we have a huge family

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? traffic at the mall

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? every ornament on our tree has a story behind it and I love that - can't wait to share those stories with the girls

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? too hard to decide

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? now that I have my two little girls, I'll never ask Santa for anything again

Okay, consider the snowball thrown your way! Either copy and modify the above adding your answers in the comments, or do your own post and let me know via a comment so I (and others) can go learn more about "Yule" and your holiday celebrations!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Crafts

The girls helped make their first Christmas ornaments yesterday, and I finished decorating them tonight. Can you tell what they are?

It's each girls' hand print and the fingers are decorated like snowmen complete with black top hats, orange carrot noses, and colorful scarves. How cute! There's not an artistic bone in my body, but I can be a little crafty if I put my mind to it.

This art project went much better than our Halloween ghost and spider projects which I've never posted pictures of because I never finished them. Anna Claire and Mallory were much more cooperative this time - not a tear was shed. It only took us sixteen total ornaments, one ruined outfit, and one paint-covered-hand-in-the-mouth to end up with two *perfect* little hand prints.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bathing Beauties

Anna Claire and Mallory have a new bathtub. They have recently become too big for the baby bath tub (the kind that fits in the kitchen sink or on a counter top), but they aren't quite sitting up by themselves yet. Until they can, we needed something that would bridge the gap and make bath time fun and comfortable.

After considering several options, our new inflatable tub is doing just the trick. It fits both girls, so I only have to run bath water once, and I can bathe the girls one right after the other - such a time saver (more time to splash around!). The girls are super comfortable and most of the time look like they are lounging poolside when they aren't lunging for bath toys which we also have room for in our new tub!

I can't wait until they can sit up on their own and play, I mean take a bath, in the big girls' tub. Bath time, I'm sure, will take on a whole new meaning.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Six Months Old

Yes, it's true. My little girls are growing up. They were six months old Wednesday. I cannot believe how much they've grown and changed. It seems like yesterday all they did was eat, poop, and sleep. Now they laugh, "talk," play, roll around, try to sit up, sleep all the way through the night - they amaze me everyday!

Anna Claire and Mallory's new thing is sucking on their tongue and/or bottom lip and making this silly clicking sound and even goofier faces. I'll have to try to get some decent video to post.

We're a little off schedule with the girls' doctor's visits. We don't go for their 6th month check-up until January, but we do go next week for their flu shot. I have tons of questions I've been waiting to ask, & I'm hoping they will weigh the girls. They are getting sooo heavy! I'm guessing they weigh in the neighborhood of 15 lbs. each.

sorry about the goofy spacing. i'm too tired to try to figure out what's wrong.


Toys are on sale at moolka.com!

There are a few things I've already ordered the girls that are priced better here. I may try to cancel one of my orders or send some things back once they arrive. There are also a few things I wanted, but haven't bought yet from oompa, landbridge, etc. becasue I thought they were too expensive. The prices are so much better here!! I think I may have to make another online purchase!

Six months pictures of the girls coming as soon as I can stop shopping for toys for five minutes. Oh yeah, and I guess I need to get some work done, too!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gettin' Jiggy With It

Because one video of the dancing Cuthbert elves just wasn't enough...


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dance Fever

I laughed until I cried...

The Cuthbert family visits the disco!

This is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. It may take a second to load. Give it a chance; it's totally worth it. Thanks for creating this and sending it to us, Brandon!

Santa Clause is Coming to Town

"Santa" made his first big online toy purchase last night. It's taken me four days of researching, searching, and comparison shopping to find just the right toys and gifts for Anna Claire and Mallory's first Christmas. My favorite toy sites are Lakeshore, Landbridge, Land of Nod, Melissa and Doug and Oompa for those "special" gifts. This weekend, I hope to hit Toys R Us to finish filling Santa's sack.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We Do not Encourage This Kind of Behavior...

How funny is she? Sorry the quality is so bad; I didn't have the video camera handy, so I had to use my digital camera.

We do, however, encourage use of the pacifier, but do you think the girls want anything to do with them? Nope - not since they were about eight weeks old. We have several different brands, and they gag on most of them.

I will say that I think the thumb sucking is a teething thing. Neither Anna Claire nor Mallory can keep their fingers out of their mouths these days. Mallory seems to have gotten her thumb into her mouth by accident...and doesn't she seem quite happy about that?

Roll With It

Little Miss Anna Claire started rolling over in her sleep last night.

She had rolled over for the very first time a few weeks ago, decided she didn't like it and hadn't tried it since until just this past weekend - but she was only rolling over during play time.

Last night she woke up at 2:30, and when I went to check on her she was on her tummy but had put herself back to sleep. Later, at 3:30 she was fussing again and was, again, on her tummy. This time, though, she wasn't going back to sleep without a little help. I rocked her for almost thirty minutes - she has her own little falling-to-sleep routine where she'll "talk" to me for a little while, then reach for and touch my face, smile a little, fuss a bit, then drop right off to sleep - so cute! When I put her down, she immediately rolled onto her side which is how she typically sleeps, but last night she kept on rolling right over onto her tummy and woke herself up. More rocking...

This time when I put her down she stayed on her back and slept until about 5:45, but she was able to put herself back to sleep again on her tummy until a little after 7AM. Yay! Maybe she'll learn a little faster than Mallory to roll over without waking herself. I need to look back in my notes to see how long it took Mallory to figure things out. I can only hope Anna Claire will be a fast learner.