Friday, October 26, 2007

Two Months Old

The girls are now two months old, and had their appointment for that visit on Tuesday. They are growing beautifully and are hitting the developmental milestones they should, even though they were about a month early.

Our new stats put Elena at 9lbs 11oz and Clara at 9lbs even - both girls are now 20 3/4 inches long. They are just starting to comfortably fit into 0-3 month clothes, which means we'll get a lot of use out of all the clothes that people have sent in a variety of sizes. The great thing about preemies is they don't skip out on some of the cute little things that bigger babies don't ever fit into!

In all of these pictures above, Clara is on the left and Elena is on the right. Some people are still having trouble telling them apart (so are we at night!) so here are a few hints. If you see them together, Elena always looks a little bigger, since she's had almost a pound over Clara for the last month. Separately, Clara's face is quite rounded, and her eyes are often open wide. If you look closely, you can see a birthmark (storkbite?) of a "v" right in the middle of her forehead (you have to enlarge pictures to see it). Elena has a long face - even though her cheeks have chubbed out, you can still see it in her forehead that she's more elongated in the face than Clara. She also has lighter hair, although that's not always clear in the pictures.

Clara is also a bigger pacifier fan than Elena is - here she is with her pacifier of choice, the one where you can see right through to her little mouth sucking. Elena prefers the kind that is less like a nipple, and more flattened.

Above, what Elena prefers is chewing on the toy Aunt Laura made for her!

And here Elena lounges with her Dad, showing off her easygoing spirit.

And we couldn't resist sharing this one - isn't Elena just a little cherub here sleeping? They both are, but the camera was nearby during Elena's nap today. Here she's in her boppy, but earlier she was helping Christina with chores around the house. Out of the two, she more enjoys being carried around and having tasks narrated to her. At one point when Christina was making the bed, she gave Elena a little break to recline:

Now back to Clara, here showing off the first sweater that her Mom ever knit. This was four years ago, before the girls were even thought of, but Christina was getting reacquainted with knitting and was having lessons from HER mom. It is full of errors, but it was a thrill to see Clara wear something handmade by her Mom. She wore it out on an errand to the grocery store where she got some special Mom time. Steve has taken Elena out on her own, too. While we're usually all together, we want to make a habit of not having the girls always go out as a pair in the world. They get treated really differently as "Oh, twins!" than they do as one cute baby out in the world. They should get to experience both things, we think.

Finally, here are both girls with Steve after an afternoon nap. Now that the girls can hold themselves up a little more, it's easier to hold the two of them at the same time without worry that someone is going to fall over. Aren't they a cute trio?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Photo Bonanza Two (Sisters Edition!)

We had so much fun (and we learned so much!) when Aunt Laura came out to help teach us about our girls. She's raised two beauties and smarties of her own (for proof, check her out here and so she shared the combined knowledge she and Uncle David have gathered.

The girls were so happy while she was here, and so quiet and content! Here they were in the little gym (doesn't it look like they are always there?) having fun.

It sure looked like fun, even when they started getting chummy like this:

Yet, as soon Clara realized she couldn't get away from Elena, look at her frown! We rescued her right after this photo.

Laura taught us lots about how to make the babies happy - here she shows us monkey-in-the-tree hold:

Plus, she gave the girls lots of love, which they reciprocated right away.

Although the weather was crazy today, we managed to take some pictures of two sisters with two sisters:

In this photo, Christina is practicing the gentle but effective "shush" that Laura was teaching us.

THANK YOU, Aunt Laura, for coming out to help!! And a huge thank you to Uncle David and cousins Grace and Suki for sharing their wife/mom with us. She helped so much!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Photo Bonanza

We haven't posted in a few days, so we have lots of pictures to share here. It's amazing how quickly the girls change, and how quickly we change with them. We're getting more used to their new cry, and at the same time they are figuring out that they don't need the full-on cry every time they need something. Lately, they'll let out little bursts like "Ah!" or "Ehhh" and just look at us - it's amazing to see the beginning ideas of language take hold for them.

LOOK how big they are getting!

This is one of our favorite pictures of Clara, even if she did just spit up on herself.
Such is our life!

Elena's hiding! No, we don't let her pull things over her face unsupervised...but this was so funny, where she was manipulating her environment for one of the first times. Thanks to Kerrie and Virgina Smyres for the cute Halloween outfit!

We are incredibly lucky to have lots of help lately, which makes everything easier. Their Aunt Caryn and Aunt Melissa have been over to help us with night feedings a few times, which helps us get loads more sleep than we would otherwise get. Their Aunt Merinda flew in from Colorado to help for a few days, and tomorrow their Aunt Laura will leave her little girls and fly out to help for a few days, too. We're so lucky to have such family to help us out - we're loving being with these girls, but it takes a village to raise twins!

Check out these sweet hats Aunt Merinda made for the girls - she is such a talented knitter.

Quick quiz - can you tell who is who in the pictures above?

The girls wore them this past Friday, when the girls and Christina have a weekly date to go meet Steve at work for lunch. They tend to sleep through it, which means Christina and Steve get some time to talk and enjoy each other's company.

The girls are much more interested in their surroundings than they've been in previous weeks. Clara remains entranced by her gym, as evidenced here:

And Elena loves looking out windows. This morning, she sat and stared at the trees, occasionally gesturing at them as if she was saying "Way to go leaves! Change those colors!" She's a cheering girl like that.

Finally, a new addition to the household this week is a mobile from Aunt Amy (thanks, Amy!). We put it up on the side of the crib that the girls don't sleep near, because it is so stimulating we have to save it for their awake time. We took some shots of the girls staring - Clara is staring in awe at the mobile, Elena tends to stare more in awe at her sister!

We are still in search of the perfect schedule to fit us all, and right now we know we just have to wait for it - the girls are too little to really let us sleep. Still, we leave you with this moment of utter peace:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Enjoying the new stage of life

So, as many of you have told us, increased lung capacity, louder cries, and more fussy periods are par for the course. Got we're figuring out how we live with it! Fingers crossed, four days in to the siege and we have some coping strategies.

Exhibit 1: The swing!

We went to get a swing so the girls could have a little more rocking with a different view than our arms, since they're wanting to be in motion a lot lately. We hope later to have a second swing, but for now Elena was trying out the new contraption and was stunned by it.

Exhibit 2: The over the lap jiggle.

We've been reading "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and they talk about an old family secret in there for calming babies. Here's Steve using that tactic on Elena, and she is blissed out by the results. It calms her and Clara both right down, and they often fall asleep like this.

Exhibit 3: The snuggle.

Both girls, but especially Clara, have taken to snuggling right up into our necks. Christina today held Clara as she climbed her way (little fingers grasping all the while) up into her neck. Fun as that is, it was warm today and that position got a little warm. This is Clara with Christina in a slight adaptation of their favorite new position.

The girls take turns with us regarding who is going to be fussy; thank goodness so far they have rarely both been in bad moods at once. Today, Clara was in a great mood most of the day - here she is thrilled to be in her gym.

So, that's life as it stands now in our household - we're getting a grip, pulling together, and loving each other all the more.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Big Girls

We went to the doctor's today because we were concerned about the rash that Elena has on her face and the fact that both girls have started a new (loud!) type of crying. It turns out that Elena has baby acne and that babies just cry (I'll bet you already all knew that) and so we have nothing to worry about. The exciting news for us was the weigh-in. Ready? Clara is 8 lbs 1 oz and Elena is 8 lbs 11 oz!! Okay, so now they're the birth weight of lots of other babies, but it's exciting to us, especially since it means that Elena has nearly doubled her birth weight. Keep growing, girls!

Our Big Girls, Holding Hands

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Weekend Fun

This weekend we had so much fun doing a family fun run together. We only did two miles (the girls are a little young yet for a big run!) and despite the sign behind us below, it did not take us over an hour to do it! There were 5k, 10k, and half marathon runs going on at the same time, and several of our good friends were doing those runs. The girls cheered for their "aunties" as they crossed the finish line, and then we all went together to IHOP afterwards to load back any calories we might have lost. :)

In other fun news, the girls have moved to about three hours between feedings, which gives us all a lot more time to sleep! We're starting to get into a groove together. You can see below how much the Boppy pillows (thanks Linda and Jessamy!) help us when one of us is trying to take care of both girls at once. Can you believe what a pro Steve is at fatherhood? Clara's look of adoration should say it all.

Each girl has a new trick this week, too. Both girls have been smiling for the past few weeks, but mostly only with their eyes closed, when they are happy to be falling asleep. This week, Clara has started giving us big grins when she has her eyes open and when she's looking up at our faces. It is a BEAUTIFUL sight, although sadly we cannot share it on film yet. We're usually too busy gazing at her to get a picture.

We do have a picture of Elena's new talent, which is becoming superwoman! She is amazingly strong - she whips her head around with so much control, and she holds her head almost all of the time. Here she is on the pillow, showing how well she can look around.

Plus, here's a bonus cute shot of Elena looking sideways at us - she does this all the time and it just cracks us up! More shots of Clara next time to even things out, we promise!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fall

This weekend we had quite an introduction to fall in Montana. We have been part of a farm share in town, and have gone every week to get produce, visit the pigs, and feed the chickens. We took the girls this week for the first time, and the fall colors complemented the fall squashes and onions we ended up getting this week at the farm. We think the girls enjoyed their time as much as we did - here's Steve with Clara in a sling:

And then two shots of Steve with Clara and Christina with Elena. The girls usually like these slings okay, although they are a bit snug if they're feeling wiggly. If they're ready to relax, they like being taken around with us in these.

We don't just mark fall with produce and trees around here, though. This weekend was Homecoming Weekend, and the homecoming parade is an annual fall tradition. We took the girls out, and with the attention we get from having cute girls in a double stroller, you would have thought we were in the parade ourselves! We met up with friends of ours, Betsy and Sara, who were dressed to walk in the parade, and they took this shot with the girls:

Finally, here's one last shot from the parade as we walked back to the car past a park. It may still look green, but the weather was pretty cold. The weather report actually called for snow that morning! We bundled the girls in four layers, one of them being the beautiful matching sweaters they got from their great grandmother, who also gave us the stroller.

The girls don't get weighed again for a few more weeks, but we can tell that they are celebrating fall by eating up now to grow big for the winter. Here are shots of both girls at one month old. Elena is helping Christina out with some of the piles of laundry around here (don't worry, she's in a basket of clean clothes!):

And here's Clara, looking all inquisitive in the Boppy pillow. We just love to see how much she's taking in with those beautiful big eyes!