18 month check-up

The boys had their 18 month check-up yesterday. It was not a fun appointment. We had a blood draw, one vaccination (MMR), and a TB test. Ezra was stuck with three needles, Noah five (just couldn’t keep him still). Luckily for me daddy did the holding and I took the other baby for walks. The doctor thinks they look great and said we are doing something right. ūüėČ

Noah is 33 inches (70th percentile) and 26 pounds (50th percentile). He gained about 1.5 pounds and 2 inches since his 15 month check-up.

Ezra is 31.5 inches (25th percentile, how does 1.5 inches make such a difference?) and 26 pounds (50th percentile). He gained 2 pounds and 1.5 inches since his 15 month check-up.

In their 18 month update I forgot a couple of things. They can both say Thank You and Baby. They also give high fives and blow kisses. The biggest NEW thing, wait for it, SLEEPING through the night! (hopefully I haven’t jinxed us by mentioning it to the world)

Dedication

Yesterday we dedicated the boys at church. They looked super cute in their Ethiopian outfits.

Dedication

The Family

Dedication

Noah

Dedication

Ezra

As you can see the boys were a “little” interested in the stage behind us and all the instruments up there.

After church we came back to our house for a lunch and a little fun.

abby, ezra & ethan

Ezra and Ethan giggling together.

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Abby

michelle & noah

Michelle attacking Noah

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Ez with Grandpa’s camera

Babywearing

Babywearing is a great way to attach with your child and is emphasized with adoption. It is also very convenient when you have a teething baby who just wants held. With the recent warnings and recalls regarding slings, I feel some new mothers might not wear their babies out of fear. When done correctly and in a proper sling, it is safe and is a great bonding experience. The slings that are not safe are being recalled.

Please see this babywearing safety article for more information.

16 months

Please don’t tell me it’s been another month already! I can’t believe how fast they are growing up. I couldn’t resist the photo above. Look at those teeny, tiny babies in my lap! They are such big boys now.

Ezra has 6 teeth now and Noah has 4 with numbers 5 and 6 about to poke through. Plus I think they are both working on their one year molars.

We spend our days playing outside, eating, eating, and more eating. ¬†They love snacking on fruit, graham crackers, cheerios, and dried fruit. ¬†They aren’t always so thrilled with what I cook for dinner, but when its compatible I can add spaghetti sauce and they will eat it.

We officially are done with day-time bottles!  They still get a bottle if they wake up in the middle of the night.  They slept through the night 3 times last week!

Noah said thank you for a whole week and it was adorable, then he stopped. ¬†I am sure it’s still in there, he’s just busy learning something else. ¬†We still mostly hear dada, mama, kitty, and hi/hey from both of them.

Playing in Grandpa’s tent (this was my dad’s tent from when he was a little boy)

Playing outside is still our absolute favorite.

Climbing is really starting to pick up.

Noah cooking his momma something.

Adding Variety

The boys are (thankfully) still at the age where pickiness hasn’t yet developed. I am hoping to head off some of the toddler pickiness by adding lots and lots of variety now. They do have some food items they clearly love more than others, some healthy (oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, applesauce) some more questionable (pizza, graham crackers, bratwurst). I wanted to add more fruit variety to their diet, and knowing how much they love applesauce, I knew it was a good place to start. I also didn’t want to spend every day peeling and dicing fruits, I do plenty of food prep around here and didn’t want to add too much more, plus when they are hungry they are HUNGRY. So I purchased a whole bunch of frozen fruit and spent about 30 minutes one day (with toddler help) and pureed it all up and placed it in these handy freezer containers, wrote on some removable labels, and presto I have lots of easy to grab pureed fruit to add to applesauce or anything else, like say yogurt (currently they aren’t eating). I also add a little whole grain baby cereal to the applesauce. It makes for a yummy, healthy treat.

Last Chance

The voting ends tomorrow and Noah is in a very close contest with Emma.

So please hope over to totrags and vote for Noah! We love our totrag bibs and could always use more bibs.

Cloth Diapering

Cute bums courtesy of Noah and Ezra

I have been using cloth diapers ever since we came home with the boys and I have to say I love it. ¬†It isn’t hard at all and the diapers are super cute. ¬†I promised Tegan a review of cloth diapers months ago, so in honor of her (and Greg’s) recent referral I am finally going to do it!

I could go into detail about all the different types of cloth diapers, but I personally think Tara wrote a darn good post about it so why would I bother?  I will instead focus on the four types of diapers I personally own.

KCK One Pocket diaper (one size). ¬†These are my least favorite diapers for two reasons, not the most absorbent (means you have to change more frequently and when you are changing two bums that is a downer) ¬†and they do not fit as nicely as other diapers underneath clothing. ¬†These are velcro (snap is better) but the way the velcro is done on these is great and it is holding up very well. ¬†I purchased these because I could get cute designs on the bums (like Pittsburg Penguins for Matt). ¬†The etsy seller I purchased them from is fast and willing to do special requests. ¬†I still use them every day and they work just fine, I just don’t put them on right before a bottle.

Swaddlebees All-In-One (sized diaper). ¬†These are again not some of my favorites. ¬†The fit is great and they work wonderfully under clothes, but they are not super absorbent, so I have been doubling them ever since the boys came home. ¬†Not a huge deal but I refuse to fish the doubler out of these before I wash (tight squeeze for your hand) and they never come out in the wash, so the doublers don’t always get thoroughly washed. ¬†These all-in-ones also take a ridiculous amount of time to dry even over the other all-in ones I own.

bumGenius One Size Pocket Diaper.  I like these diapers a lot.  The fit is great, the absorbency is great, and they are easy to use.  My one complaint, they only come in velcro and the velcro does not seem to be holding up that well, plus I have caught a couple little boys getting very close to getting them undone.

bumGenius Organic All-In-One (one size).  These are my favorites.  They are ridiculously easy, come in snaps, absorbency is good, and the fit is great.  They are also the most expensive, we just have a few and we use them mostly for going out and about.  They do take a long time to dry, but overall they are worth it.

bumGenius does have a new product out, Flip Diapers, and they have washable inserts, similar to the G Diaper system, but washable.  These come in snap and are more affordable then their all-in-ones.  I would give them a try if I needed any more.

A couple of accesories that you would most like want:

Diaper Pail Liner.  I have two of these because I throw them in the wash every time I wash diapers, you could get away with one if you wanted to, but it is easier having two.

Wet Bags. ¬†Useful whether you cloth diaper or not, you can use them if your baby has an accident and you don’t want to throw the yucky clothes in the diaper bag. ¬†I again have two, you can get by with one, but again I like to wash frequently.

The two things that scare people away from cloth diapering seem to be the washing and the initial investment. ¬†I will say that washing diapers every other day is not among my favorite things to do, but it isn’t that bad (hey I line dry and I can say that!). ¬†I use the No Soak method from diaperpin.com, yes this does require two washes, but I have a high efficiency washer and soaking my diapers wasn’t going to happen.

Now let’s talk cost. ¬†We are going to pretend I actually counted my diapers and kept track of how much they were. ¬†I think we have 40 diapers and I am going to say the average cost per diaper is $22, so $880 in diapers (remember I have twins, if you have one baby you won’t need so many). ¬†Accessories (doublers, cloth wipes, wet bags) let’s say I spent $250 on miscellaneous stuff to go with the diapers some of which you might not need (probably an over estimate). ¬†I use cloth wipes, I think they are easy, but you might choose not to and that’s okay. ¬†So that is $1,130 total. ¬†I will say we did not spend that much, we received some as gifts. ¬†Now let’s pretend I didn’t purchase cloth and I was purchasing disposable. ¬†Let’s say it was these disposables, I estimate at least 8 diapers a day per baby so that is 36.5 packs per year. ¬†In one year that is $1,387. ¬†Obviously we will need diapers longer than a year so the savings will continue to add up. ¬†Of course, I am not factoring in the cost of washing the cloth diapers, I have no idea how much it costs to run my washer per load (it can’t be too much the amount of laundry we do has increased exponentially since the boys, but our water bill is pretty much the same and electric bill is just up a little). ¬†I am going to say overall we are still saving money and a whole lot of landfill space. ¬†At least 5,840 diapers worth of space in one year!

Night time diapering can be a bit of a challenge.  We were managing to cloth diaper the boys and they were making it through the night without leaking (very fat diapers though!), but we had a persistent diaper rash, so we switched to disposables at night.  The diaper rash cleared up and all is well.  So we do use two disposables a day.

13 months!

Bookworms!
Bookworms!

The boys turned 13 months on Monday and I still cannot believe how fast they are growing. I am finding it impossible to get a photo of them both looking at the camera at the same time. They are very active and really a lot of fun.

They are both crawling everywhere now and are getting very fast. Ezra started walking and is doing it more and more. I find it fun that they are both mobile now, everyone seems to think it would be more trouble, but I am finding it easier. Noah is so much happier now that he can also crawl and get into stuff, no more throwing fits when Ezra goes off and leaves him! Yep most days my house looks like some miniature tornadoes have been at work, but they are both happy so I am happy. ūüôā
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Noah has his front two bottom teeth now. He loves to say momma especially with his growling voice. He loves books, legos, and door stoppers.
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He still loves to play peek-a-boo and clap. He also loves to make the cutest fish face which I still haven’t caught on camera.
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Ezra has all four front teeth, two of them are most the way in the other two are just breaking through. I am hoping he gets a break from teething for Christmas. He loves things with wheels, books, and door stoppers (of course).
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He loves to play his own version of peek-a-boo and claps all the time, especially when he is supposed to be asleep.

They stopped sleeping through the night and need bottles sometime between 3:30 and 6 am. Meal time is becoming very interesting at our house, they are wanting to feed themselves more and more and don’t want us to feed them. Foods they love: enchiladas, spaghetti, pizza, corn bread, stuffing, cranberry sauce, apple sauce, bananas and oatmeal, graham crackers, and craisins. Ezra loves apples. Noah loves cheese.

This stage is a lot of fun and we are really enjoying it.

Forward or Rear Facing?

Noah (first time in a car seat)
Noah (first time in a car seat)

Our plan all along was to turn the boys around when they hit one year, as long as they were 20 pounds. Those are the recommendations we had always heard, but a friend posted on facebook that her pediatrician recommended keeping her baby rear facing until 2. Turns out that is the safest way to ride in a car for a baby according to AAP. Our doctor (family practice) recommends turning them around now so we can interact with them more. For now we are ignoring our doctor and keeping our babies nice and safe in their rear facing positions. I think safety trumps interaction, not that we don’t want to interact with them, we would love more interaction.

What age did you turn your toddler around? Any regrets? Any tips on keeping them happy while rear facing?

One Year

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My babies are now officially toddlers. I still can’t believe they are already one, the past five months have just flown by. They had their one year check-up at the doctor today and are healthy! Noah weighed in at 22 pounds and was 28.5 inches tall. Ezra weighed in at 21 pounds and is 28 inches tall. They got their first shot since being placed in our arms ūüôĀ . The doctor would have given them several more, but I don’t want to do too many at once and this shot was already a 3 in 1, so I thought it was more than enough.

They are doing so much these days and are getting very close to being into everything! Ezra crawls everywhere, he will even crawl in the dark, he isn’t scared of much. Noah is still trying to crawl, he mostly goes backwards with occasionally movement forward, he rolls around a lot more to get to things. It is nice seeing him have some initiative finally. I thought he was just going to sit there and expect me to bring him everything for the rest of his life ūüėČ .

Ezra stands unassisted now and for longer and longer periods of time. He even claps while standing, and occasionally tries to dance! Noah has pulled up a couple of times, but only on me or Matt, nothing else yet. I think it is because he hates to fall! He prefers to stay close to the ground.

They both clap now, all the time. It is pretty cute, they do it when they are excited or when the other brother does something they approve of. Noah plays peek-a-boo frequently and Ezra is finally starting to do it too.

There are a lot more smiles and giggles now, that makes it a ton of fun. Ezra is extremely ticklish, I mean extremely! Noah is ticklish too, but you have to work a lot harder to get giggles, but they are worth the extra work.

Ezra still has one tooth, but the second one will be here any day now. Noah seems to be working on his first one!

They self-weaned from their before bed bottle, which had the nice result of sleeping through the night most nights. They wake up when teething now, but they don’t need a bottle, just some love and either tylenol or teething tablets. They do wake up between 5 and 6:30 drink their morning bottle and then go back to sleep until at least 8, this is a nice change for us.

We are done with formula! They are happily drinking whole milk with no issues. I will next be transferring from bottles to sippy cups.

We feed them all sorts of table foods now, they usually like what we are eating for dinner and then they still eat their baby food. Last night they ate almost 2 pieces of pizza between them and then ate their food, I was a little shocked at how much they could put down!

They both say momma and dadda a lot. They do seem to have their twin language already. I swear they have conversations!

I am sad to say goodbye to the baby stage, but I am totally looking forward to this next year. They just keep getting more fun!

Making Baby Food

I promise not all our NaBloPoMo posts are going to just be quick photos and videos, but I will say those are so much easier right now! I have a lot I would like to share and get out of my head, but most days my brain is mush.

Noah and I making some baby food not long after arriving home from Ethiopia
Noah and I making some baby food not long after arriving home from Ethiopia

I decided to make all the boys baby food even before we brought them home. I just couldn’t stand the thought of all those little glass jars, plus I figured it would save us money. I honestly have not kept good records of what we have spent so I cannot do an accurate cost analysis. I would like to think it has saved us money. We did buy jarred food once for a picnic and thought the consistency was weird. The boys ate it just the same though.

Why making our baby food works for me:

1. I love to cook and it is one of the ways I love to show the men in my life my love. I only had Matt to feed for 7 years, it is nice to have two new men to feed!
2. I do not like packaging, I couldn’t deal with throwing away/recycling all those jars and containers.
3. I like to eat organic, local, and seasonally, much easier to do if I just go to the farmers’ market and make the food.

I received a good book recommendation from a friend, “Super Baby Food.” I purchased a used copy for cheap and I love it. While the author can annoy me at times, she really likes the term super and she seems super proud of herself, I still love the book. It has lots of tips, recipes, and information on all sorts of veggies and fruits. She also has recipes for the toddler years, it is nice to have something that lasts beyond the baby years. I am going to try some of her cracker recipes soon and will share if it is worth it. I don’t do everything she suggests, in fact I haven’t even read the entire book. I got it right before we left and have been busy with the boys since we returned home, so I always just turn to exactly what I need.

Ezra enjoying something yummy
Ezra enjoying something yummy

I cook most of our baby food in my solar oven, but she gives you cooking directions for each food at least three ways, microwave, steamer, and oven. I use her food cube method to make large batches and freeze so I am not constantly making food. We go through a lot of food around here!

I would like to address a couple of the bad reviews on amazon, because I always read the bad ones before making a decision.

1. She promotes a vegan menu for babies. She does not, she does promote a vegetarian menu for babies, which was fine with me, because I was only planning on introducing meat once they were eating what we were eating and since we don’t eat meat often this was a good approach for me.

2. She introduces allergy foods too early, yep sometimes she does, but she does have a short chapter dedicated to allergies and does encourage you to talk with your pediatrician first.

3. One reviewer thought she was not breast feeding friendly based on the food serving suggestions. She is not against breast feeding and suggests you serve your baby the amount of food they can eat. She does say to feed them their meals with bottles and give them snacks. I decided to feed the meals and bottles at least an hour apart and thus did not have to feed snacks. She also states the amount of breast feeding/formula drinking they should be doing and if it drops when you push solids to cut back on the foods so they get enough breast milk/formula. My boys drank 30 – 36 ounces a formula a day until about 10.5 months when they naturally started wanting less bottles.

Noah eating avocado
Noah eating avocado

I feel with any book or recommendation with child rearing you look at it with an open mind, discuss with your pediatrician, and then decide what works for your child. Not every single suggestion will work for every single child/family. I understand making baby food will not work for every family, but for ours it did, and if you think it will work for yours, I highly recommend it. You get to avoid all those little glass jars and no preservatives.

Now for a typical daily menu at our house at 11 months old:

Wake-up – 8 oz Bottle
Breakfast – Whole Banana and 1/3 cup of prepared steel cut oats (each)
Wake-up from nap – 8 oz Bottle
Lunch – 1/2 cup of yogurt, 1/4 cup of fruit (apples/pears/peaches), and iron fortified baby cereal to thicken (each)
Wake-up from nap – 8 oz Bottle
Dinner – They snack on something while we eat, sometimes crackers or cheerios, but sometimes it is what we are eating. For their actual dinner they eat about 1/2 to 3/4 of a veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash) about 1/4 lentils and sometimes I sneak a green veggie in there!

Now that that we have transitioned from formula to whole milk, I will start giving them snacks because the milk doesn’t seem to hold them over as long. Since we don’t eat a lot of meat I will ask the doctor about iron supplements next week at our 1 year appointment. That’s it in a nutshell. Please feel free to ask questions!

Early predictions

Ezra and Noah have some super cute little boy personalities showing through. We are already seeing a lot of things shine through. So we thought we would share some of our predictions.

Noah will be our little detail oriented engineer (poor kid). he will also probably be less of an adventurer, and more of the big idea guy, crafting up plans for ezra to execute. He will probably be taking things apart just to see whats inside, and how they work.

Why we think so:

  • Examines every nut, bolt, switch, button.
  • notices the smallest details. new things, moles, belly buttons, teeth, glasses, leg hair, stickers, labels, logos, scratches (on toys and skin), and so on.
  • He has to touch, pull, lick and poke all of the above.
  • flips toys over to look at said switches and screws.
  • quietly sits and watches.
  • giggles and yells when ezra is doing something funny or or something bad.

Ezra is our trouble maker. He will be the muscle behind noah’s plans. We are also hedging bets that he will be the first to break a bone, need stitches, and will be the reason we need insurance.

Why so:

  • Barely crawling, he knows every exit and door in our house.
  • He is already reaching for the handles (good thing he is short)
  • Ezra also figured out how to climb things. Already wanting to scale everything in sight.
  • He enjoys doing things that make noah happy, clap and giggle.
  • Already found the fun that comes from house plant dirt.
  • He has no real fear. Falls & hits his head on all kinds of things and rarely cares.
  • While he may do what noah wants, he is not afraid to tackle him already.

Splish-Splash

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Someone finally found the dog water yesterday.  I knew it was going to happen eventually but was hoping I still had a while.

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The dogs were just a little concerned and kept their distance.

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What are these new words I am hearing, “no and don’t?”

What to do with the dog water? ¬†Pick it up and just put it back down during nap-times? ¬†Matt said I should just keep an eye on him, duh I hadn’t thought of that (insert rolling eyes). ¬†Sometimes I have another baby that needs something and can’t keep Ezra from crawling away. ¬†He’s is getting pretty fast and loves exploring the house. ¬†I don’t want to have to cage him every time I have to walk away. ¬†I am more of a “free-range” baby kind of person. ¬†So to all the experienced pet owners/parents out there, what did you do with your dog water? ¬†There isn’t a spot in the house that the dogs can get to that the babies can’t. ¬†For now I will just be picking up the water when I am home alone.

10 months!

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I cannot believe Noah and Ezra are 10 months old. We have known their faces for 7 months and held them in our arms for 3 months. It is amazing how much they have grown since we first laid eyes on them and even more amazing how their personalities are really starting to shine.

Ezra is very independent, giggly, and pretty easy going. If he gets upset, or bonks his head, he only needs a little consoling, and he’s back to wanting to play. Standing up in the tub is a new issue. I guess he figures what better place to try and crawl and walk than in a few inches of water.

Noah is super snuggly, loving, and talkative. Lots of DADADADAs all day long. He needs a lot of attention, and will get fussy if he feels you are not watching his every move. This has started to improve over the last few weeks, but it’s still tough to multitask with him, but that’s okay because his snuggling is so sweet.

Ezra is getting around fairly well now. He goes all over the living room, luckily he can’t get anywhere else on his own yet, as soon as he hits the tile he starts spinning his wheels. We have caught Noah crawling in his crib, but outside of that he could care less about moving, he would much rather be in mommy’s lap.

Noah finally started to laugh out loud this month, usually just Ezra can get him to do it, apparently we aren’t as funny as his brother.

They can both stand for short periods of time hanging on to something and longer if it is one of us holding them up. Ezra is trying to pull-up on stuff but has not managed to do it yet.

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They both now give hugs and Noah gives kisses by licking your cheek, he learned that from Taffi.

They both still love to eat and are gaining weight nicely. Ezra really likes cereal and puffs, Noah is more of a fruit eater. Noah seriously loves apple juice, Ezra could care less for any liquid besides formula, I think he will be my milk drinker.

They also love to play with their cousin Abby.

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A couple more months and the three of them are really going to be tearing up the place!