Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Luckily, the woman in charge of distributing the tickets likes Geof a lot and always makes sure we get tickets for the company's suite. That way, we can take the Wonder Twins without worrying that Jimmy the Drunk Super Fan will sit next to us and accidently douse the girls in Miller Light while yelling at the ref for a bad call.
The suite is... well... sweet. It has its own bathroom, which comes in very handy when you have to change dirty diapers. More on that in a second.
Geof won tickets for the March 13 game against the Phoenix Coyotes, which was fitting considering we used to live in Arizona. Although, I don't think I actually knew the team existed while we lived there. A state comprised mainly of desert doesn't exactly scream "hockey town." Ah, I digress...
Back to the game.
We strutted into the RBC Center wearing the twins. Yes, they looked like giant fashion accessories as they hung on us in their Baby Bjorn carriers. We had never actually used the Baby Bjorns until that night, so this was a new adventure.
We were an instant hit while going through the security scanners. The old, white-haired guards loved the fact that the twins were wearing little pink and white Hurricanes onesies. I'm pretty sure their interest kept all the folks waiting in line behind us from getting inside for a good 5-10 minutes. Oh well. Going anywhere with twins is like taking the center ring at the circus. Everyone likes to stare. And smile. And make random comments.
The comments that drive me insane go something like this: "Is one a girl and one a boy?" Or, "Are they both boys?" Um, what? Lady, they're both wearing PINK. Bright PINK. No, they are not BOYS. They don't look at all like boys, thank you very much.
As we shuttled through the crowd of Caniacs to the suite, Geof requested that we first make a stop at the swanky watering hole on the second level. The bartender did a double take as we bellied up to the bar. He didn't expect to see 5-month-old babies staring back at him! Hilarious!
With a beer in Geof's hand, we walked to the suite and set up shop in the spot where our junk (you have to take a lot of stuff with you anytime you go anywhere with two infants) would most likely be out of everyone else's way. So far, so good.
The girls enjoyed the game with mommy and daddy for a while. But, after the first period, they started to get fussy. And, it wasn't just because the 'Canes were losing.
They were hungry, so we dove into the giant supply of bottled breastmilk we'd brought with us. Geof who was wearing Avery fed Lexie, and I fed Avery while wearing Lexie. It's much easier to do it that way. Feeding the baby you're wearing is tough, because you can't see her mouth.
Shortly after sucking down bottle #1, I heard a loud sound and felt a warm sensation on my tummy. "Oh crap," I thought. Literally.
I took Lexie into the suite's bathroom, and upon removal from the Baby Bjorn, I discovered a diaper disaster. It was so bad it entailed a total outfit change. Great. Twenty minutes and half a package of wipes later, we came out of the bathroom, ready to catch up on the excitement of the game.
Unfortunately, there wasn't much of that. The 'Canes were down by several goals, and the chances of a comeback weren't looking good. We hung out until the beginning of the third period and then decided to head on home. The girls had had their fill of hockey and were ready to get some rest. Frankly, so were mommy and daddy!
It was great fun to get out of the house and watch a sport we love with the babies. But, after wearing that carrier for several hours, my back was ready for a rest! Hopefully, this brief introduction to hockey will pique the girls' interest for years to come.
Sorry, babies. That doesn't mean you can to prom with Cam Ward.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
After talking to the girls' pediatrition, we decided they were ready for more than milk at mealtime. So, we vowed to start feeding them rice cereal once a day until they got the hang of eating. At that point, we'd up the intake.
It seems the biggest roadblock to starting this plan was actually buying the rice cereal. We kept forgetting to pick it up every time we were at the store. (And, frankly, we don't really go to the store that often. Twin transportation is tricky, and there is no such thing as "a quick errand" when you're packing a pair of infants in the backseat!)
After finally purchasing a box of Gerber's finest, we set about mixing the cereal up with some of mommy's milk. Getting the right consistancy proved to be more daunting than we thought. Our first batch? More like gravy than mashed potatoes.
"Oh well," we figured. "They're not going to know."
Ready with our special rubber-tipped spoons and baby-friendly bowl, we put the twins in their new suped-up high chairs and turned on the video camera to capture this historic moment.
I started with Avery. She seemed to catch on fairly quickly to the concept of opening her mouth for the spoon. Swallowing the cereal was a different story.
What you can't see off camera is me trying to imitate chewing and swallowing. Clearly, I didn't do such a great job as instructor, because Avery preferred to "eat" her own way, which entailed pushing the cereal out of her mouth. I'm quite certain most of it ended up on her face and not in her stomach. No wonder the doc said they wouldn't get much nutritional value out of eating for the first few weeks.
Lexie went next. She did not share Avery's ability to "open wide for the airplane." Her mannerisms seemed to say "The airport is closed."
I'm pretty sure Lexie also did not actually ingest any of the cereal. She did, however, do an excellent job of sticking out her tongue and pushing the cereal out of her mouth and down her chin. It's all about baby steps, right? :)
Now a week later, the girls seem to be catching on to the concept of eating. Avery is definitely eating some cereal. Lexie? Well, that's debateable. She is opening her mouth more often, though, so that's a major plus. The on-time arrival rate for Levine Airlines is now at 50 percent!
We enjoyed Grandpa Dave's visit and look forward to seeing him again in May. Until then, we'll have a lasting reminder of his trip - green grass! He felt there was no way we could care for the twins and our lawn, so he offered to put a sprinkler system in our yard and sod in the backyard. It looks amazing!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
I found out about it via a series of excited phone calls from daddy. Geof had called me repeatedly while I was on my lunch break on Friday, Feb. 26. I had heard the phone ringing in my office, but I was enjoying my sandwich too much to get up from the lunch table to answer it. So, when I returned to my desk, I listened to my voicemail and heard his jubulant voice urging me to immediately look at my e-mail.
In my inbox was a video Geof had shot with our new Flip video camera. I played it and was astounded to see Alexa rolling over! By some audio-visual miracle, Geof had recorded the exact moment when she went from stomach to back for the first time! You can listen to the adorable play-by-play of this important event in the video below. So cute!
I immediately called Geof, and we gushed about how cool this was. I repeatedly told him that I was thankful to get to see it even though I wasn't there in person. We also speculated on when Avery might follow her sister's lead and become a "holy roller."
About two hours later, my speechwriting was interrupted by another phone call from daddy. "You aren't going to believe this!" exclaimed Geof. "Avery just rolled over!"
Unfortunately, Geof wasn't recording when she decided to steal the spotlight from Lexie, but he did roll on a subsequent roll-over, so mommy could see it. I was so proud. And so impressed that they both accomplished this major milestone within hours of each other! Apparently, all that tummy time on their play mat paid off!
Listen, as Geof narrates this Olympic-caliber move from Avery "The Rollover Queen" Levine.
Now that they're proven rollers, we can only speculate on when they'll take their strength to the next level and start crawling! Let the babyproofing of the house begin now, because you never know when they're going to use their top-secret Wonder Twin power to surprise us!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
In the past, they'd often kicked some of those toys by accident while "dancing" on their backs, but they'd never grabbed at the toucan or the giraffe. Until Friday, Feb. 19.
I'd just been asked by the pediatrition earlier that week if the girls were grabbing toys. I'd said "no" and mentioned that they were, however, firmly gripping our hands and their bottles. The doctor said toys would probably be the next step.
Apparently, Avery took that as a challenge. Two Fridays ago, she reached up and grabbed the orange monkey from the top of the rain forest. Geof was home at the time and captured this "first" feat on video. As you can see, she is clearly excited about her new move but is left a little confused as to where the monkey went! Geof's play-by-play offers more insight to this special moment. Check it out!
Alexa has not yet tried to emulate her sister's achievement. However, it's only a matter of time.
At least they're not pulling each other's hair. That's probably also only a matter of time. :)
Nancy lives in Winston-Salem, N.C., which is only about two hours from Raleigh. She shares a birthday with my Mom - Feb. 21. A quick consultation of the calendar showed the big day fell on a weekend this year. I considered that a sign that I needed to pack up the Wonder Twins and take a little road trip to the Triad to celebrate #32 with "Nancy Pants."
As with any trip involving the babies, it started with good intentions of getting out the door on time. Yeah, those good intentions went the way of dirty diapers pretty quickly. Instead of leaving at 9 a.m., we hit the highway at about 10:15 a.m. Sweet.
Despite the girls' hatred for their car seats, they slept the entire way to Nancy's house. It was awesome. Mommy got to listen to some of her favorite tunes on her iPod without any additional "singing" from the backseat.
After a brief detour due to poor directions from Expedia, we arrived around 12:30 p.m. Hugs were exchanged quickly before the twins demanded mommy's milk as payment for their good behavior during the car ride. Nancy and her mom, Adele, helped me feed the girls their bottles. (We always appreciate extra helping hands!)
Following a few diaper changes and the presentation of b-day presents, the Randall/Levine party loaded up into two cars and drove to lunch at a cute little cafe next to Nancy's Dad's office. We enjoyed a great nosh while the twins took a nice nap.
Interestingly, when they did wake up, it happened at exactly the same time. They weren't sitting next to each other, either. I chalk that up to twin intuition.
Adele offered to feed Avery as I finished up my fabulous spinach salad.
Nancy had Alexa who we both noticed was emitting a foul odor. A quick check of the women's bathroom revealed a changing station was available, so I collected Lex and the diaper bag and set up shop in the handicapped stall where the changer was located.
I was not anticipating the diaper disaster that awaited me. Lexie thought this was very funny and beamed up at me as if to say, "Hee, hee! Mommy, I pooped!" Great job, baby. Perhaps, if you could explode at home versus a public place next time, I'd be most grateful.
Stunned, I just sat there for a minute thinking, "How am I going to do this?" First, I took off everything she was wearing and balled it up, so the non-soiled portions were facing the outside, and stuffed it in a compartment of the diaper bag. Then, I used an entire container of wipes cleaning off her rear... legs... back... You get the picture. Lacking a Diaper Genie, I just tossed the dirty wipes into the trash can.
This was about the time Nancy came into the bathroom and said, "Is everything okay? Do you need help?" I had to laugh. A line was forming outside the women's bathroom. I didn't realize that I was taking up one of only two stalls for the greater part of 15 minutes. Nice.
I asked Nancy to find a new trash bag to replace the one that I had contaminated with all the explosion debris. Once I redressed Lexie, I passed her off to Nancy who returned to the dining area. I picked up the yucky trash bag and found a sweet waitress who offered to toss it for me.
While I was busy with Lexie's bottom, Nancy took this cute picture of her boyfriend, Tom, playing with Avery. High fives all around!
We returned to the Randall's house to continue playtime. I spread out a big blanket and let the girls go to town. They love flailing around on their backs. The arm flapping and leg kicking is hilarious. It makes them so excited, especially when they're surrounded by people making funny faces at them. Such hams. I wonder where they get that from? You can watch them "dancing" on the video I shot with our new Flip video camera.
Avery seemed to be having an especially good time. I heard her laugh for the first time that afternoon! It sounded like a high-pitched, rapid-fire "hee hee hee hee!" I tried to capture it on video, but of course, she always did it when I wasn't rolling. Oh well.
Around 5 p.m., we rolled out of Winston-Salem and headed back to Raleigh. The twins once again slept the entire way! They'd had so much fun they were worn out! Thanks, Nancy, Tom, Adele and Larry, for showing us such a good time!
This road trip was great practice for our upcoming journey to Florida. Geof's Dad is getting married outside Fort Lauderdale in May. We know the babies won't sleep straight through the 12-hour trip. We're just hoping for frequent naps and no diaper disasters!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Their regular doctor, Emili Mack, is on maternity leave until late March, so they saw Dr. Angelica Swiersz. She poked and proded each baby as part of their examinations and found no problems. She said they looked great, but she would like their weights to be a little higher. Avery weighed almost 11 pounds 4 ounces, and Alexa weighed 11 pounds 1 ounce. Dr. Swiersz said she'd like to see them tip the scales at closer to 13 pounds at this point. She emphasized that there was nothing wrong with their current weights; they were average. She just thought with a slight change in diet we could get them to gain a little more a little faster.
On her recommendation, we're now adding a half teaspoon of baby formula to every two ounces of breastmilk in their bottles. Up until now, the twins have been fed breastmilk by bottle exclusively. Adding the extra formula, according to Dr. Swiersz, will add extra calories to the milk and help the girls grow bigger sooner.
I'll admit that I wasn't thrilled about this idea at first for a couple of reasons. I had really wanted to feed the girls 100% breastmilk for their first year and avoid the high cost of formula. But, of course, I'm no M.D. Plus, adding such small portions of formula to their milk wasn't taking away any part of my role as family food source. It was only adding to it. So, I caved. The babies are now gulping down Enfamil with their milk at every feeding with no problems. We'll see how long it takes for their tiny fat rolls to multiply!
The rest of the visit was routine. They got a shot in each leg, which made them scream and cry. I hate watching them get shots. It breaks my heart to see them in pain. Luckily, this time, part of their vaccine regiment included a sweet-tasting oral medication. Once the nurse put it in their mouths and got them to swish it over their taste buds, the tears stopped and smiles returned! Baby candy! I love it, and so do they!
The girls don't have to return to the pediatrition until they turn 6 months old. I can't imagine what they'll weight then! Perhaps at that visit, they'll be just as good as they were at this one. When both kids are crying, it's very hard for mommy to feed one, console the other and listen to the doctor explain important health information. That's why Geof and I try to tag team our visits. Like Tuesday's visit, however, crazy job schedules sometimes prevent us from doubling up. Thankfully, the nurses at the doctor's office don't mind helping us! They exemplify the most important lesson in raising infant twins - never turn down an offer for help. Especially when the babies outnumber you two to one!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
The other thing that really stands out in these photos is their eye color. It's such a vibrant blue! We're told the exact hue won't settle out until about six months of age, but we think these baby blues are going to stick around!
The Wonder Twins are BIG talkers! (That's surprising, right? I don't know anyone in their immediate family who likes to talk a lot. Nope. No one.) They're not exactly saying sentences yet or even real words for that matter. But, they coo and jabber all the time!
Alexa is definitely the Chatty Cathy of the two. She enjoys interacting with everyone and has no problem answering questions with a loud "Goo!" She often adds different inflections to her baby speak to show she's trying to prove her point. Clearly an early multi-tasker, she does all this while sticking out her tongue.
Some people think her aggressive attempts to talk indicate she will follow her parents' footsteps into television news. Although "Alexa Levine reporting live" sounds pretty sweet, we're hoping to point her towards a more lucrative career. Seriously, we'll probably spend more on diapers in the next six months than I made in TV my first year out of college!
You can listen to her conversations with daddy by clicking on the video below.
Avery is also talkative, but she doesn't babble as often as her sister. I like to think it's because Avery only opens her mouth when she has something really important to say. That means you better listen up.
She also tends to speak softly, which seems to go along with her more laid back, introverted personality. I have a feeling Lexie is going to be the outgoing one. "OMG! Look at ME!" :)
The funny thing about Avery is she, like Lexie, smiles a lot. But, Avery has recently started opening her mouth really wide when she's excited. I think it's a precursor to laughter, but I'm not sure. It's like she knows to open her mouth wide for a big belly laugh, but she doesn't know yet how to make the sound come out. In short, it's adorable.
Check out the video below of Avery doing her "almost laugh" while Geof entertains her with the caterpillar rattle.
Yeah, they're pretty darn cute.
We can't wait until they start saying actual words. Since they are Wonder Twins, I'm thinking they'll just bypass the whole "first word" thing and go straight for a "first sentence."
I vote for "Mommy is awesome." "More milk, please" is probably more likely.
Somewhere between Geof's marathon winter weather TV coverage last weekend and my long days in what is very likely an asbestos-filled building at work, we caught colds. So did the Wonder Twins.
We're not talkin' a sniffle here and a cough there. These were I-Should-Invest-in-Kleenex colds. At one point, it really seemed like my brain was leaky out my nose.
While it was bad for "the big people," at least Geof and I could blow our noses and open up our airways a little. The girls, however, aren't quite old enough yet to learn the "Superman Blow" technique. So, unless we used the bulb aspirator to literally suck the snot out of their noses, they really struggled to breathe.
For those of you who have never used the force of suction on a child's nose, let me give you some insight. Babies don't like it. At all. But, it's a necessary evil to ensure they can inhale.
That means you have to use the dart skills you honed in bars in college to actually stick the aspirator in their tiny nostrils successfully, while they cry and wiggle their heads back and forth. Despite my advanced training in darts at Harpos, I still managed to poke them in the cheeks a couple of times before finally hitting my mark.
After a while, though, it became almost like a game. Who can suck out the biggest booger? Geof may have trumpted me earlier this week, but I'd have to have visual proof be sure the mass he pulled out from Avery's nose was bigger than the one I dislodged from Alexa last night. As you can see, we really don't get out much. :)
In addition to the runny noses, the girls were both sneezing and coughing. Avery also had a slight temperature (100.2) last Sunday, but it returned to normal the next morning. To help relieve the twins' congestion, we let them sleep in their bouncy seats, so they wouldn't be flat on their backs. It seemed to work well.
The nurse at the pediatrition's office told me colds generally go away within six to 10 days, and unless the twins' temps rise to 101 or they develop a "chesty cough," I shouldn't worry. Yeah, right.
The good news is that the babies seem to be feeling better. Their noses are still running a little, but they don't seem to be coughing and sneezing nearly as much. Plus, they haven't had any signs of fever since last weekend.
We think with just a little more rest and some TLC the babies and "the big people" will soon be able to stop carrying around the Vicks-infused tissues with them wherever they go.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The babies are such a blessing. We're so thankful to have them. Despite the early mornings and late nights, we would never want our lives to be any different. The girls are the best things that have ever happened to us, and we can't imagine our family without them!