Monday, June 8, 2015

Easter 2015: Coloring Eggs!

Once again, I am woefully behind on posting to this little blog of mine. Having a houseful of littles is exhausting, and I had gotten to the point where something just had to give. My habit is to write in the evenings after the children have gone to bed, but recently I've been so mentally and physically exhausted by the time evening rolls around that I had no desire to post. However, I love having this record of our lives, so I'm in constant conflict about what to do with this space. As you can see, I'm back to posting {for now}. I know you're excited! *grin*

I've written on here before about how one of my favorite holiday traditions has always been dying Easter eggs. Easter/springtime always seems to be a busier and more hectic time for us, so Easter egg dying is something that we often have to squeeze into our {already busy} schedule. This year, however, was a bit different. Since we had just added two new babies to our family, we had purposefully left our schedule way more open than usual. We just didn't want anything extra that would cause undue stress.

My sister also loves the Easter egg dying tradition, so we made a plan to get together to color eggs while her daughter, Chloe Jo, was out of school for Spring Break. On the morning of Wednesday, March 18th, they came over and we had a coloring party!

The babies were GREAT that morning and slept almost the entire time we were coloring eggs. I was so happy about this as it meant that I was able to participate with my bigs in the coloring process.

Every year, the egg dying process has been a bit of a fiasco with three little ones (Chloe Jo, Brianna, and Brenson). However, this year we could tell that they've all really turned a corner. Brianna and Chloe Jo didn't really require any help at all. While this was wonderful in some ways, it hurts my heart just a bit that they are growing up so much. 

Brianna loved coloring her eggs!

Chloe Jo took the process seriously.

Sweet CJ!

I can't believe I let Brianna use dye without an apron! As another sign she is maturing, her top of perfectly clean when we finished.

Brenson didn't remember much of this activity from years past, so he was especially excited to see what it was all about.

He was generally impatient for the color and would check the eggs over and over again.

As you can see, we had plenty of eggs to color! We did eat most of ours, but did throw just a few out.

Auntie Li helping Brianna:

Chloe Jo and Lisa:

Brenson really didn't want my help at all with this activity, but I tried to squeeze myself in there anyway. Ha!

I showed Brianna how to mix colors and make striped eggs. After I showed her that, she didn't want to do anything else!

Brianna, Brenson, and Chloe Jo with all of our pretty eggs:

We had a few Frozen stickers and wraps that we used in addition to the dye. The kiddos really enjoyed those!

As much as we enjoyed how calm this year was with our three big kids who are growing up, I couldn't help but think that next year we'll be back to the chaos of toddlers dying eggs! I hope we continue to enjoy this tradition for many years to come.




Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Brooke & Brecklyn are Four Months Old!

Today, Brooke and Brecklyn turn four months old! Has it really been another whole month?!? 

Brooke is excited to be four months old!

Brecklyn was a little less thrilled, ha!

Both of the girls are growing so quickly. Yesterday, I unpacked our bin of 6 month and 6-9 month sized clothing! I packed up all of their 0-3 month and 3 month sized things. Most of the 3-6 month things still fit for now.

Brooke, especially, needs the larger onesies and sleepers.

Brooke wears a size 2 shoe, and they fit well. She wears a size 1 diaper, but really needs to be moved to a size 2. I keep waiting until we use up all of the size 1s we have, but we keep finding more, ha! I *think* we are finally almost through all of our size 1s. 

We went to see Dr. F today for the girls' four month check-up. They both got vaccines, and (the most exciting part) we were able to get height, weight, and head circumference measurements. Brooke weighs 15 pounds and 5 ounces (85th percentile) and is 24.75 inches long (72nd percentile). Her head circumference is 16 inches (44th percentile).

Breckyn still fits in her 3-6 month sized clothing well. She is primarily the one wearing the clothing in that size.

Brecklyn also wears a size 2 shoe, but her shoes don't generally stay on her feet as well as Brooke's. Her feet are a bit narrower than Brooke's, but I'm not sure if they may also be a little bit smaller. Size 1 diapers still fit Brecklyn well.

At Dr. F's today, Brecklyn weighed 14 pounds and 8 ounces (73rd percentile) and measured 25.5 inches long (91st percentile). I was pretty shocked by this as Brecklyn has always been shorter than Brooke by just a bit. I wonder if the nurse mixed up their lengths? Although, Brecklyn certainly feels quite a bit "skinnier" than Brooke which would make perfect sense if she weighs less AND is a bit longer. They feel like there is a bigger weight difference than 13 ounces. Her head circumference is 15.75 inches (26th percentile).

Here's how all four kiddos compare at four months old:

Brianna: 14-10, 24.75"
Brenson: 16-15, 26.75"
Brooke: 15-5, 24.75"
Brecklyn: 14-8, 25.5"

All of our girls are about the same size, so far!

These next few photos are kind of gross, but this is part of our life these days. Diaper blow outs are still plaguing us! They don't happen every day, but when they do happen it's a MESS. Both girls generally have about one dirty diaper a day. However, the blow outs tend to happen when they miss a day for whatever reason. Of course, since they are breastfed babies, their poop is mustard colored and runny. Ick!

Brecklyn . . . leaking out of her diaper playing on the giraffe mat. It's never fun to check on the baby and see this:

One day, I had Brooke in the bouncy seat in the kitchen while I was cleaning up lunch. I leaned down to pick something up off of the floor and smelled poop. Sure enough, she had made a massive mess in the bouncy! UGH.

It seriously pooled in the bottom of the bouncy! Brooke got a bath immediately!

Ok, moving on :-). This month has brought with it some big changes on the sleep front. Up until about 3 weeks ago, the girls were sleeping in a pack-n-play in our bedroom. They still sleep swaddled  and snuggled close together. Earlier this month (May 5th), they slept all the way through the night (from 8pm to 5:30am) for the first time. It happened several more times that week, and on May 10th we actually woke them at 6:30am! We were so excited! 

The trend continued until we decided to move them to their own room . . . and then it came to a screeching halt! Brecklyn started waking at least once - and sometimes twice - a night to eat. It was very frustrating, but I can tell she is a slow-to-warm, hard-to-transition child. Brooke will generally wake when Brecklyn does. In the past few nights, they have been doing better and sleeping through until about 4:30 or 5:00am again. We have two cribs but they still share a bed. They both sleep better that way!

Brooke, Brecklyn

We noticed that Brecklyn would wake in the night, then spend about 10 minutes fighting to get out of her swaddle. We thought that maybe if she wasn't fighting so hard, she would go back to sleep on her own. So, we tried swaddling her with her arms out a few nights. Unfortunately, her sleep was worse than before, so back in the swaddle she went. Since that time, she's pretty much stopped fighting so hard to get out of it, ha!

Happy Brecklyn, after fighting out of her swaddle . . . how did she get her legs out?!?

Brecklyn - once again breaking free from the swaddle!

Brooke will sometimes fight to get one hand out of her swaddle (but nothing like Brecklyn will). I found her like this when I checked on them before I went to bed one night, ha!

Both babies take one long morning nap (~2 hours) and one long afternoon nap (~3 hours). They will also take a cat nap in the evening that is generally around an hour long. I have always loved to rock my babies to sleep, but Brecklyn will fight sleep and have a major tantrum if we try to rock her to sleep. However, she's not very good at self-settling either. We often use the swing to get her to sleep, and sometimes she will sleep her entire nap in there. I have always been against my babies sleeping in the swing, but survival mode has taken over this time around! Our swing (that we've had since Brianna was born) has been on it's last leg for a month or so now. It seems like it's always running during the day . . . it's my second set of arms when I need it. It finally died for good this past week, but we were able to borrow one almost exactly like it from some friends who are no longer using theirs. THANKFULLY! Brooke LOVES to be rocked to sleep. She also likes to be held while she naps :-).

Brecklyn, in her favorite spot (with a giraffe Bren gave her to cuddle):

Another big change that has taken place this month is that Brecklyn and Brooke now sit with us at the dinner table! They aren't eating any food yet, but they love to sit in there with us. They first joined us at the dinner table on May 30th. Brecklyn sat the entire meal with us. Brooke sat with us for about 15 minutes, then got tired of sitting up.

Brecklyn, Brooke

Brecklyn

Brooke (obviously getting sleepy)

Eating as a family of SIX!

Speaking of eating, I'm still nursing both babies. They tandem nurse less often now as they are getting distracted easier. We do still tandem nurse some, though. Brooke, especially, is distracted very easily while she's eating. If the bigs are being too loud or she hears a noise that's out of the ordinary, she pulls off and looks all around. Brooke is still great about taking a bottle, and gets a bottle about five times a week. About half of those bottles are formula bottles.

Brecklyn can also be easily distracted while eating these days. She will refuse to eat if it's too noisy or if she's in an environment she's not sure of or if I'm trying to feed her before her scheduled time (like if we need to go somewhere). I do try and feed her before we leave the house because she still REFUSES to take a bottle. If she even sees a bottle, she will start to cry. There have been a few evenings that I've left the babies with Chris for one reason or another, and she won't even fuss for food if I'm not home (I've only stayed gone no more than 4 hours). However, the minute I get home, she starts crying to eat. I'm not sure how we're going to work this out, but for right now we're just kind of dealing with it.

I enjoy nursing them and hope we can keep it up for a while!

As the weather has been warming up, we've been spending more time outside. Both of the girls seem to really enjoy being outdoors, but especially Brecklyn. One day, we packed a picnic lunch and took it to the park to eat. The babies thought it was great!

Brooke cracked me up because we had only been at the park about 5 minutes when she wiggled off of the blanket and got her foot in the mud. She is so much like Brianna sometimes that Chris and I are just amazed! I sent this photo to Chris at work, commenting on how she's taking after her {very messy} older sister :-).

Miss Brecklyn - in her happy place with Mommy!

On May 14th, Brecklyn rolled over for the first time. I was able to get a video of her doing it several times! This photo was taken right after she rolled over for the first time (she can get that arm out, she just hadn't yet).

Two days later, on May 16th, Brooke rolled over. I didn't actually see her do it, but I looked over and saw her on her tummy. She tends to scootch herself all over the living room rather than roll over when she plays. Brecklyn will roll over then fuss because she doesn't want to be on her tummy.

Brianna is a BIG help to me during the days. The babies LOVE her, and they always have a smile for her. She has even rocked Brooke to sleep several times. One day, Brecklyn was having a melt down during nap time, and I could not get her calmed down (this is not too uncommon). Brianna came out of her room, talked to Brecklyn for a minute, stroked her face, and calmed her right down. I pray they'll always cherish their sister relationship.

Brooke, Brianna, Brecklyn

Brenson is less interested in playing with the babies or helping with the babies, but he loves them, too. And, they love him! He can generally get smiles out of them, as well.

Brenson holding Brecklyn, Brianna holding Brooke

Brooke will take a pacifier if she's trying to go to sleep, but no other time. She still prefers to suck her thumb or fingers. It seems like she always has her hands in her mouth. 

Brecklyn won't take anything to soothe her - not even her own fingers! And trust me, at times I wish she'd suck her fingers to help her calm down. Brecklyn tends to have melt downs where she'll cry for 20 to 30 minutes sometimes. It's very frustrating because there's nothing I can do to comfort her. Chris gets lots of photos like this during the day when he asks me how everyone is doing.

We try to do tummy time every day. Brecklyn will do it happily for about one minute.

However, it doesn't take her long to get agitated about it.

And, pretty soon, she'll start to cry. Poor thing :-(.

Brooke doesn't mind it as much as Brecklyn.

She'll usually just relax and suck on her arm.

Brooke isn't generally inclined to hold her head up during tummy time, ha! I love how this photo shows her curly hair!

Brecklyn certainly isn't fussy all the time. She gives lots of smiles (just not for the camera). She is cooing and finding her voice more and more every day. 

Lately, Brecklyn has been sticking her tongue out a lot. Ha!

Brooke loves to "talk". She has a naturally loud voice (once again, like Brianna). Both babies say "hi" to us a lot. I'm sure they don't know what it means exactly, but it's so cute anyway.

When the babies play on the floor together, they will often get into positions where one is kicking the other or they are rolling on top of one another. This day, Brecklyn decided Brooke's foot would make a tasty snack, ha! Brooke can often be found sucking on Brecklyn's head . . . especially in the morning when they first wake up and are in the crib together. Brecklyn doesn't seem to mind, for now.

The looks I often get when I try to get their photo together!

Brecklyn is really bad about pulling hair, and no one is safe from her hair pulling. Brianna, especially, doesn't appreciate this. Multiple times, we've witnessed Brecklyn reaching over and grabbing Brooke's hair when they are playing.

As you can see from the look on Brooke's face, she doesn't appreciate this, either!

One of comments that we hear most from people when they see the babies is that one has so much more hair than the other. Brooke has a pretty full head of reddish brown hair (with a bald spot in the back), and I was able to put it in a little pony tail for the first time the other day (June 1st). Love it!

Brecklyn lost most of her hair, but it's really starting to grow back in well. The new hair is super blond!

As part of Brecklyn's check-up, Dr. F examined her ping-pong ball fracture in her skull. You may remember that when she was born, she had a very large indention in her skull behind her left ear. Dr. F told us at the time of her birth that it would heal itself in about 4 to 6 months. Sure enough, it has almost popped out completely and is hardly noticeable. There is still a small ridge in her skull, but it's gradually disappearing.

My sweet, serious Brecklyn:


A few more things about Brooke:

We almost always call her Brooke Ellie. She is very chill most of the time. She rarely fusses, but can get worked up sometimes. She likes to wiggle and move (seriously, reminds us so much of Brianna!) She loves to snuggle and will just lay her little head on our shoulder sometimes. 

Brooke has the sweetest little sigh that she does when she's sleeping. She typically requires more sleep than Brecklyn. Her eyes are a dark gray color, but are getting lighter. My sister thinks she looks like a Cabbage Patch doll (and I agree!)

Brooke Ellie has darling dimples in both cheeks, but they are less noticeable as her face fills out. She spits up all the time, and it can sometimes be very stinky. To quote Brianna after Brooke spit up on her the other day, "Ugh! This is the stinkiest!" Lol. Brooke is free with her smiles and has the sweetest little laugh.


A few more things about Brecklyn:

We often call her Breckles or Breckleton. She is a particular child and likes her routine. She likes to be held facing outward where she can see everything going on. She's also trying very hard to sit up already! Serious and observant are two adjectives that describe our Breckles well.

Brecklyn loves to give big, open-mouth kisses, but only to Mommy. She'll sometimes kiss Daddy or Brianna, but not always. She prefers to be held by Mommy or Daddy only. Although Brecklyn rarely laughs, she has an adorable little gummy grin that we see often. The photo below caught a rare moment of laughter (at her biggest sister, Brianna).

Although Brecklyn doesn't love to snuggle, she will often stick her little arm through the neck hole of my shirt (touching my collar bone) while she's nursing. I love that. 

I may say this about every month, but I love this age! Their little personalities are starting to shine, and it's such a joy to watch. We are truly blessed beyond measure by these little sweeties!

Breckles in white, Brooke Ellie in pink