Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cameo at the 'Canes Game

One of the perks of Geof working for WRAL-TV is that we often win free tickets to watch the Hurricanes play hockey at the RBC Center in Raleigh. The company does a lottery for all interested employees, and the ones whose names are drawn get the free tickets.

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

The Rice Cereal Experiment

Today officially marks the beginning of Week #2 of The Rice Cereal Experiment. We introduced the mashed potato-looking substance to the Wonder Twins for the first time last Sunday. The non-milk sustenance was met with a healthy mixture of excitement, confusion and slobber as you'll soon see for yourself. :)

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!

Grandpa Dave's Inaugural Visit

The first week of March brought a hint of spring and a long-awaited visit from Grandpa Dave! My dad had not yet met the Wonder Twins, so this was a special occasion.

Unfortunately, I had used all my vacation and then some to cover my maternity leave, so I was unable to take any time off work during the trip. But, Geof did an outstanding job as host in my absence. He and Grandpa Dave spent most of the day playing with the girls, but they did manage to sneak in a little ESPN while the twins napped. I don't think Geof made Grandpa Dave change any dirty diapers, but he certainly did his share of holding the girls and feeding them.

Grandpa Dave also bravely ventured out to Knightdale Seafood and BBQ with us for dinner. You never know how mealtime is going to go. Sometimes, Avery and Alexa totally sleep through it. Sometimes, they cry through it. Most times, it's a little of both.

We managed to make it through the ordering process before the crying commensed. Everyone immediately turned and stared. Thankfully, the clientele of this restaurant is not exactly what I'd label "cosmopolitan," so most of those stares turned into sympathetic smiles, once they realized we had two babies to keep from getting on "the fussy bus."

Thankfully, Geof and I have mastered the art of one-armed eating. This allows us to feed a baby and ourselves at the same time. That way, we don't have to wait until the baby is done (and our food is very cold) to chow down.

Using this method, we let the twins suck down their very full bottles, which helped console them. Avery needed a little extra soothing, so Geof took her for a little walk by the kitchen. She apparently loved watching all the hubbub back there and was a big hit with the cook and his staff. Hopefully, that means we'll get free hush puppies the next time we're in!

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!

We're so thrilled that the girls will have gorgeous grass to stick their feet in this summer, not seed and straw! We can just envision the swing set out there, can't you?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

On a Roll

Twins are special. I'm told that before they can speak actual words, they talk to each other in a "language" that only they understand. Well, I haven't exactly seen evidence of two-way conversations going on between Avery and Alexa yet, but somewhere in their baby babble last week, they must have made a pact to reach an impressive milestone before the end of February.

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!