Friday, February 5, 2016

Brooke and Brecklyn are 12 Months (1 year!) Old!

One year ago today we were bringing our sweet, precious twinbies home from the hospital. They were so tiny and new, and it's just incredible how much babies change during their first year.
This photo has appeared and reappeared several times on my blog. I just love it so much. This was our first evening at home after the girls were born. Brecklyn (left) and Brooke (right) were two days old (February 5, 2015). 

Here are the girls on their first birthday! They've certainly changed a bit, yes? :-)

Brooke at 12 months old:

Brecklyn at 12 months old:

We saw Dr. F yesterday for the girls' one year well visit. I'm always anxious to see their official weight and height stats. Brooke weighs 23 pounds (79th percentile) and is 30.5 inches long (90th percentile). Her head circumference is 18 inches (69th percentile). 

Brecklyn is still quite a bit smaller than her older sister. She weighs 20 pounds and 3 ounces (36th percentile). There was a bit of confusion with her length, so we're not sure exactly how tall she is. The nurse measured her at 28.5 inches . . . a full two inches shorter than Brooke. As you can see from pictures, she is certainly shorter than Brooke, and I think that it's very possible that a two inch difference exists. However, when Dr. F saw her growth chart, it showed that she's only grown .3 inches from her 9 month appointment. He decided to remeasure her, and he came up with 31 inches for her length. This is longer than Brooke! She's very obviously not taller than her sister, so we remeasured her again after the nurse and doctor left the room. When we measured her, we determined that she is 29.5 inches long. This is one inch shorter than Brooke and in the 64th percentile for height (which fits nicely into her growth curve and makes the most sense to me). It will be interesting to see what happens at her 15 month appointment as the computer at our peds office now says she is 31 inches long, and it's possible that she still won't be that tall at 15 months old. Her head circumference is also 18 inches (69th percentile).

Here is a comparison of our four children at 12 months old:

Brianna: 22 pounds 9 ounces, 29.5 inches long
Brenson: 23 pounds 7 ounces, 32.5 inches long
Brooke: 23 pounds, 30.5 inches long
Brecklyn: 20 pounds 3 ounces, 29.5 inches long

Brecklyn is still hanging in there as our "skinny" baby :-), and Brooke is our biggest girl. Brenson has always been a tall boy, so it's no surprise that he has several inches on his sisters at this age.

And, because I love photo comparisons, I put one together of all our babies on their first birthdays. Mer!

As the girls get older, their size difference is becoming greater. This makes dressing them a bit more complicated as they no longer wear the same size for the most part. That also means that they don't share many clothes anymore. I know pretty well which clothes fit Brooke better and which fit Brecklyn better, but it's harder for Chris (who doesn't dress them nearly as much as I do). Brooke still wears a few size 12 month pieces, but 18 month clothing fits her better. She wears a size 4 diaper and a size 4 shoe.

Brecklyn needs size 12 month clothing, as size 18 month are generally too long in the arms and legs. She even still fits in several 9 month pieces. She wears a size 4 diaper (we moved her up so that she would be in the same size as Brooke, although she didn't really need it) and a size 3 shoe.

The babies are also very different when it comes to sleep needs. Brooke has always required more sleep than Brecklyn, and that has not changed. Brecklyn has pretty much dropped down to only taking one nap a day. The girls wake up at about 7:00am each day. Brecklyn will usually nap for 2 to 3 hours between 10:30ish and 1:30ish. After that nap, she will rarely go back down until bedtime. However, when 7:00pm hits, she is ready for bed! Brooke will often go down for her morning nap a little bit earlier than Brecklyn (like more around 10:00am), but will only sleep for about 2 hours. Then, she will take another nap that is about the same length later in the day.

At the beginning of this month, we were down to only nursing twice a day . . . first thing in the morning and before bed. We dropped the before bed nursing session a couple weeks ago, and it was a smooth transition for the babies. I had a harder time with it and was in pretty bad pain for a couple days until my body adjusted. I don't remember having pain like this when weaning Brianna and Brenson, but I have to remind myself that I'm making twice as much milk this time! This morning, I nursed the babies for the last time. I don't think it will phase them much as they had both begun nursing for a much shorter time in the mornings, so I feel like they are ready. I am very ready to be done with nursing in some respects (I wonder how many hours I spent nursing during the past year?!?), but on the other hand, I am pretty sad about it, too. It's such an amazing experience, and I'm so glad that I was able to do it with all of my children!

Although Breckyn (finally!) takes a bottle well, she prefers to hold it herself.

Brooke still likes someone else to hold her bottle for her. Brianna loves to help in this way.

They take a bottle of formula in the afternoon after nap time (in addition to one before bed). I will often hold and feed them both at the same time during this feeding.

Neither one of the girls seem to be too picky yet when it comes to solid foods. For breakfast, they eat oatmeal cereal and sometimes part of a banana. For lunch, they generally have baby food, and for dinner they will often eat whatever we are eating. If we're having something they aren't able to eat, they will eat baby food instead. Brecklyn, especially, loves to eat our food, so she will reject the baby food if she feels we are eating something better. When we're not at home, we carry pureed food in a pouch for the babies. They work really well when we're eating out! 


We also give the babies little finger foods with most meals. They love "puffs", "yogurt melts", and "crunchies". One day, Brecklyn slept through lunch, so I fed her when she woke up. Brooke had already eaten, but that didn't stop her from helping herself to sister's finger foods, ha!

She looked at me like, "What, Mom?" Hahaha!

After lunch and dinner, we give them each a sippy (the kind with a straw) of cow's milk, and they both love it! From the very first time we gave it to them, there was never an issue getting them to drink or like the cow's milk. I'm so thankful that they can both drink from a straw well. It makes eating out easier as we just get them their own drink (water, always), and we don't have to haul sippy cups around. 

Brooke has always had very sensitive skin, but lately she's had a severe red, bumpy rash on her back that doesn't want to go away. Also, we noticed several weeks ago that she was scratching at her skin, so the rash was obviously bothering her. She even scratched at a few places until they bled! We aren't sure what is causing this, but we think it may be the cow's milk. She's had several flare-ups of this rash in the past, but since consistently drinking cow's milk it seems like the rash is constant. We have stopped giving her cow's milk altogether (she now drinks almond or coconut milk) - and after about two weeks, the rash is all but gone. We're still working on this. 

Brooke took her first steps back in December, but it wasn't until the second week of January that she became a full-time walker! She rarely crawls anymore, but walks everywhere (and she's fast!) 

For Christmas, both girls received a cute little purse with some accessories as a gift. Recently, Brooke has started toting that little purse everywhere. The other day, I was loading Brecklyn in the van and looked up to see Brooke in the doorway with her little purse. She was all ready to go!

Brecklyn took her first steps on January 6th. She walked three steps in a row on this day! Since then, we have worked with her, and she will take up to 5 steps in a row. At this time, however, she just really isn't interested in walking too much. Once in a while she will try to take a few steps, but for now she is content to crawl (and she's a very fast crawler!)

Both girls love to walk behind things and push them. We have a stroller, a shopping cart, and this little car that all get a lot of love these days. It is so cute when one rides on the car while the other pushes. Brooke can push Brecklyn easily, but Brecklyn struggles a bit more pushing Brooke.


When Brianna turned one, one of my friends bought her a tunnel for her birthday. It's made of nylon and folds up nicely into a little storage bag. We haven't had it out in well over a year, so I decided to bust it out a few weeks ago. ALL of the kids are enjoying it, but the babies especially love it! 

Brecklyn crawling in the tunnel.

Brooke crawling in the tunnel.

Trying to crawl through together . . . this doesn't always end well as sometimes they get stuck and then upset with each other!

Another "new" thing this month is this little wooden rocking chair that my dad built for me when I was a baby. Since the babies were born, we've had the swing set up in the corner where the rocking chair was, so the rocking chair has been in the attic. After we took the swing down, we had Christmas decor up. When we took Christmas stuff down, we put the rocking chair out, and the babies think it's just for them! They both love to sit in it and figured out very quickly how to climb in it themselves. 

Brecklyn will climb in the chair and just camp there for 20 or so minutes. I think she's being possessive of the chair!

After we first got it out, Brooke would climb in the chair then STAND UP. Eeeek . . . it made me so nervous when she would do this! We spent several days training her to not stand in the chair. 

Now, if she starts to stand, all we have to say is, "Brooke Ellie . . ." and she will sit right down. 

Brooke and Brecklyn loving the chair.

Brecklyn also had to be taught to not stand in the chair! She scared me even more than Brooke because she's not quite as steady as her sister. 

One day we had Brenson's car seat in the house, and we quickly found that the babies were also obsessed with sitting in that. Brooke thought she was such a big girl sitting in Brother's car seat!


As soon as Brooke got out, Brecklyn crawled over and climbed in! 

In fact, they loved sitting in it so much that they ended up fighting over it. Yes, even babies their age can fight (sigh). They would pull at each other and cry at each other, so we finally put it out into the garage until we could get it installed in the van again.

Another big thing that took place this month was teething. Ugh. Teething can be so hard! Brooke seems to have a very hard time with teething, so we saw lots of tears from her while she was cutting the two teeth on either side of her front teeth on the top.



C'mon teeth . . . give us a break!

I don't remember the other kids having quite this hard of a time with teeth. While the teeth were coming in, Brooke was up constantly throughout the night it seemed. We were desperate for some relief, so I got on Amazon and ordered an amber teething necklace. It's hard to say if it truly works or not, but the first day she had it she slept through the night. I know that's not exactly scientific, but it did seem to help her.

You can see her teething necklace well in this photo.

Brecklyn also cut two teeth at the same time that Brooke was cutting teeth. Breckles finally got her bottom front tooth and her top front tooth on the right side. Teething doesn't seem to bother her as much as it does Brooke, but there were a few days that we could tell she was in some pain. She now has four teeth total!

This is what Brooke thinks about teething . . . hahaha!

The above look is one that we see from Brooke fairly often. She's given this look for a long time, and I've never been able to catch a photo of it. However, when we had extended family photos taken the day after Christmas, there were a few people jumping around being silly trying to get the children to smile. Brooke wasn't shy about what she thought of that, and she's giving "her look" in several of the photos!

Both girls can wave hi and bye, but Brecklyn especially loves to wave. She charms people when we're out in public by smiling and waving constantly, and when we pick her up after nap or night time, she will wave to us. 


I very much remember this age as one of finding mischief and getting into things, but having two babies at the same time takes it to another level. The girls seem to get into things so quickly, and they often work together to accomplish this. This day, I made this mistake of leaving my purse in the chair for just a minute, and they quickly set to cleaning it out for me (including unloading my wallet!)


One of their favorite things to do is unload their bookshelves. I don't mind this too much as they will generally sit and look at their books while they're at it. Also, we've taught them to help us pick up by handing us the books while we put them away. This day however, they not only unloaded the shelf, but pulled the shelf out of the bookcase as well!

Of course, they enjoy following big brother around and finding mischief with him. I walked in the living room this day to find Bren standing on the car (that has wheels . . . bad idea!), and Brecklyn trying to climb up there with him. I quickly put an end to that!

One of my biggest defenses right now is to keep doors closed to rooms that I don't want the babies destroying (like the bathrooms and my bedroom). For now, they can't open closed doors. My hope is that by the time they can open closed doors, they'll be old enough to be taught a little more effectively to stay out of certain rooms. Anyhow, one day Bren left the door to the bathroom open, and the babies decided to redecorate. I sometimes look at these photos and think, "How did that happen? What was I doing while this was going on?" but they are so fast. I look away for one minute and anything is possible!

The babies' very favorite room of the house is the Brianna and Brenson's room. They aren't allowed to go in there because Brianna and Brenson have toys with small pieces that are a big choking hazard to the babies. Anytime the door to that room is left open for a second, the babies make a beeline straight for it. This day, they both made it in before I could get to them, and they were proud of themselves!

Another day, Brecklyn not only went into the Big Kid room, but was holding Bren's {current} favorite little stuffed animal, Leo. She looks like she's holding him hostage, ha!

If anything is left out on our coffee table, it's fair game for the babies. This day, they looked so cute looking through a travel magazine that we had left out. 


For the most part, Brianna and Brenson are very patient and tolerant of Brooke and Brecklyn. There's a lot of love between these four, and I pray that strong sibling bonds continue to grow.

Brenson, Brecklyn, Brooke, Brianna

Brianna absolutely adores her baby sisters. She misses them when she's at school and loves playing with them in the evenings. They think she's pretty great, too!

Brianna and Brooke

Brenson plays with the babies some also. He's very sweet with them and is always concerned for their safety. Both babies love to take this play hairbrush and "brush" their hair. This day, Bren was letting Brecklyn "brush" his hair!

Reading is a favorite activity around here, and the babies have started really loving books lately. They've always enjoyed reading, but just recently will they sit down with a book and look through it independently. Brecklyn really loves "touch and feel" type books and knows just where to touch on each page. 


Brooke will go in her room, get a book, and carry it to the living room to read. She does this often if she has to wait for Brecklyn to take her night time bottle before getting her turn.

I have a little basket of books I keep between their cribs, and it's a popular spot in our house. Brooke especially enjoys squeezing back there to look at books.

We do often find them back there together, though. 


I've taken the girls to library story time since they were 7 months old, and it's something we all enjoy! Brooke loves to watch the other babies, while Brecklyn tends to play more. We always do a few songs in addition to reading books, and the girls love to shake their egg shakers during the songs. 

Brecklyn, Brooke

They also really like doing the puzzles during free play time. 

Our library has baby story time first, directly followed by a story time session for bigger kids. We always do the baby session for the twins and the other session for Brenson. During Brenson's session, I put the babies in the stroller, and they are always so good to sit while Bren has his session. I've never once had to get them out of the stroller or leave story time because they were being fussy. Such good baby girls!
Brecklyn, Brooke

As they get older, we find them playing together more and more. They have started to really watch each other, babble at each other, and laugh at each other.


Brecklyn isn't one to snuggle much, but she LOVES kisses! 


She not only loves to receive kisses, but she loves to give them, as well. She will sometimes kiss us (with her wide open mouth) four or five times in a row :-).


Brooke isn't into kissing so much, but that girl will snuggle all day long. Brooke is a Daddy's girl through and through. When he gets home from work, she will immediately walk to him and start whining to be picked up.

 
A couple Saturdays ago, Chris ended up having to work from home for a few hours. He set up at the dining room table, so of course he had a jillion interruptions from the little people in our life. Brooke whined until her let her sit in his lap for a while. 

After Brooke got down, Brecklyn had to have her turn. She sat very nicely for a few minutes, then she was ready to get down and play again. 


A few more things about Brecklyn:

Brecklyn can be pretty aggressive with her siblings and other kids her age. I teach her Bible class on Sunday mornings, and she will steal toys, Bibles, hair bows, etc from whomever she can reach. One day, I watched her BITE Brooke when Brooke snatched a toy from her. She will repeat words sometimes, but most often when I ask Brooke to say something. She gives the best kisses. If I put a headband on her head or a bow in her hair, she will almost immediately take it off. She also loves to take off her socks and shoes.

She already knows how to throw massive fits, but she calms down quickly. She is good to help pick up toys and books, and she loves to put things in and out of containers. Sometimes, she gets jealous of her siblings if they're sitting on Momma's lap and she thinks that's where she needs to be. We've also seen her get jealous of our friend, Sadie, when Momma picks her up or holds her hand. 

Brecklyn understands and responds to the word "no", as well as other easy commands (such as "give the book to Daddy). She can point out her eyes, mouth, and nose. When we ask her "How old are you?" she holds up one finger. She wants control of the toothbrush when we brush her teeth, so after we brush we let her "brush" on her own. She loves stuffed animals and baby dolls. Her giggle is the sweetest little sound, and we hear it often. Outside is still one of her favorite places to be, and she is so content when we play outdoors. The joy she brings to our life is immeasurable!


A few more things about Brooke:

Brooke can often be found snatching toys from her twin sister or getting things that she knows she shouldn't have. If I try to take something from her that she doesn't want to give up, she will hold it behind her back. She also does this in Bible class. She will help pick up toys and books when we ask her to. She also likes to put clothes in the dirty clothes hamper.

She hates having her face wiped after meals, but will "clean" her own face if we give her the washcloth. She loves to come up to us while we're standing, wrap her little arms around our legs, and just squeeze. She gives the best hugs. Her newest word is "duck", and she's been carrying around a book about a duck and saying "duck, duck, duck." Brooke loves the trashcan and has been caught putting toys and books in it. She responds to "no" as well as other simple commands (such as "sit down"). 

When asked how old she is, Brooke will hold up one finger. She can point out her ears, nose, and mouth. If we say "Yay!", she will automatically clap her little hands. She likes to tease, and loves to play peek-a-boo. Her little dimpled smile melts our hearts, and she lights up our life!


Happy first birthday to our sweet baby girls! We love you more than words can express and can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us!