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Then & Now

John

It is SO hard to believe the girls have been in our lives for almost a whole year now! Things are changing around here on an almost daily basis, and I'm LOVING watching them grow in so many ways. When I first started this blog (when the girls were about 2 months old), I posted our "daily happenings" regularly.  I also started an outline of our daily routine, and update it as we alter it to better fit our growing "needs." We are starting to do things like incorporate "enrichment time" into our day, and changing our meal schedule around as we get ready to drop the bottles and I wanted to do a check in and paint you a more in depth picture about what a typical day for us looks like...... Now that we have cut down to one night time waking (around 1ish and most of the times they go back to sleep within a few minutes of getting the boob), we are shifting back to doing a feed at "night" (5am-ish). I don't mind the waking and them crawling into bed and cuddling at all, but they tend to sleep until 7-8 this way, vs the 6- 6:30 if we don't do this. And momma doesn't mind the extra sleep or early morning quiet time with her coffee! After they wake and get a clean/dry butt, we head down to the play room for some play time.  (We took a small break from EC due to our new found mobility, but the girls are actually waking with dry diapers again and asking for the potty SO, we are easing back into it! I'm so glad bc I want to be done with diapers ASAP!) In our play room we keep the "play toys" (stuffed animals, rattles, balls, our ride on cars, the crawling tunnel, kitchen toys.... etc.) And we spend mornings and evenings in here. (It is SO much easier to have a designated space for them to keep them occupied; sacrificing the dining room was WELL worth it!)

We have recently started doing morning smoothies (we did them off and on for a while when we went for daily walks... thanks to the GA heat, we haven't been out as much) in place of the morning bottle. I am a firm believer in 5-6 small meals a day, and what better way to kick off the day then with a cup full of healthy goodness! (Need ideas for smoothie recipes? Look no further!) The girls play after our am drink, and I take this time to pick one thing to clean in the playroom (sweep, dust the shelves, clean the window, arrange the toys... you get the idea). I use the rest of this time to sit in the play room and enjoy watching my girls interact and play with each other. (Sure, we have our fair share of snatching and what not, but from the beginning we have always used "please," "thank you," etc and they respond VERY well to these words now... Since they were about 10 months they have been handing stuff over if I say "can I have it PLEASE? :)!!"  HERE is more about how we communicated with the girls over time)

Around 9:30, we all have breakfast. One of the GREATEST perks of BLW is that I have at least 3 guaranteed times a day to eat! (I can scramble us all up some eggs and make toast, or warm up waffles or fresh frozen pancakes. The possibilities are endless! Have you seen our sample weekly menus? ) When we first started eating solids, we would have a few pieces/slices of one type of food (avocado, fruit, quesadillas, toast, etc). Over time we slowly added another "food" to the meal, and made it to three "foods" (a grain/protein, fruit, and veggie) by 10 months. Once their eating got to the point where they were able to finish their "pieces"/slices more quickly, I started putting 2-3 pieces of food down, and am now introducing plates into their snacks and/or lunch time. I do use all three compartments of their highchair tray to separate their foods.  The logic behind this is that in the beginning, they tend to get over excited when there is a "lot" on their trays, but as we hit the one year mark, we are working on relying more on solids for nutrients and to fill up on.  (And of course you can read more about our experiences with starting solids and bottle weaning).

After breakfast, they go back to the playroom. A few months ago, they used to go into their jumpers after mealtimes (before they were mobile). Ever since they started getting "good" at crawling and walking, (and rejecting the jumpers) they go back into the playroom (adjoining the kitchen) and are free to do what they like. I take 5 minutes to sweep up the left over mess and clean the highchairs off. (I unload the dishwasher and get things rolling in the kitchen for the day while we are eating breakfast; Recently they have started playing with their kitchen sets and food while I cook and get SO tickled when they "do it like mommy" GAH, they are SO big!)  They play until they are ready for a nap (anywhere between 10:30-11. It just depends on them. I am trying to let them go as long as they can so we can  slowly shift to one LONG afternoon nap instead of 2 shorter ones.)  They take a bottle and go down for a nap. We have tried several times to take naps in the cribs,not in the swings. We just took the swings out of their room 2 weeks before their 1st bday and did my best to dig up some much needed patience.... ;) Of course I will report back on that when we find success!!

Right now we are working on weaning off bottles and formula and increasing our solids intake. I am SO glad that we decided to do BLW from the very start at 6 mo! It made the whole eating thing SO much easier for us in the long run, and it's been MUCH easier then I imagined it would bottle wean.  I have slowly started adding snack times when they wake up from naps and taking away an ounce every few days. (If they ask for more milk, of course they get it.. the whole idea is to get them to shift at their own pace.) One thing that I am SUPER grateful for is having a 10-15 min window between wake ups and feedings when they were younger. This allowed me to slowly make that window bigger and add in a snack without throwing them off too much. At the end before the "final shift" to dropping this bottle I was nursing for about 5 minutes an hour after they woke. (I try to keep meals at 1.5 hour intervals... smoothie at 8/bfast at 9:30/ nap bottle 11/ snack (wake up time) 1:30-2/ etc, etc) I would nurse just to make sure they had something in their bellies before lunch time so they wouldn't be SO hungry that they were fussy and didn't want to eat. (GREAT rule of thumb for starting solids too! FYI)

(Want to know what I do during nap time? Read more about it HERE!)

After they wake up (usually around 1-1:30 regardless of what time they go to nap), they play in their nursery until lunch time. We started (every other day and worked our way up to every day) with replacing the "wake up" milk with a snack, and the afternoon snack with a 3 "course" lunch around 10.5 months.  At first I just let them have ONE piece of food at a time and let them wander and play. (Filling up on food wasn't so much the goal at this time as getting them in the habit of having food shortly after they woke.)  Since I need them to focus on snacks now that we are knee deep in dropping the bottles, I started putting them at a little table (still searching for the "perfect fit" for us).  They LOVE this, and I LOVE being able to see a light at the end of the highchair tunnel! (My kitchen is an obstacle course some days... I dont mind AT ALL bc  I can fold up one chair and tuck them in the corner, but that rarely happens since I'm just going to pull it back out in a matter of hours lol. Check out our list of baby must have's to see more of what we loved and hated!) In addition to the table, I am introducing plates. Usually they end up on the floor with the food everywhere (which is why putting a clean sheet or plastic office mat under the table and chairs is super helpful), but as with everything else, patience and consistency will win this battle. I switch between the compartment plates and "open" plates. Sometimes they have to share one and other times they get their own plates. It just depends on my mood (and whats clean at the time lol). When they are in especially easy going moods, I give em a fork and help them "stab" their bites and eat them.

For a few months the nursery was pretty neglected but I am SO glad to be back in it!!! (They still sleep in our room; they go to bed in their cribs and usually wake up in our bed. THIS is what we do for bedtime.) From 3 mo (when we moved into our house) until about 5 months (right before the rolling over turned into scooting) we would do playtime in the nursery since space was not in high demand. Now, we use the nursery for "enrichment time." We have all of our puzzles and other "thinking toys" in there. (wooden letter blocks; the red and blue pull apart ball with the yellow shape blocks, talk about old school lol; a laundry basket of clean clothes that they help me "fold" whenever I bring up our laundry to fold... this whole thing started by accident, but they apparently they love throwing clothes out of the basket and then putting them back in lol; counting toys; etc).  I have a play vacuum that the girls like to play with (I vacuum the nursery every day after they wake up; I would do it at the end of the day, but they like supervising me while I do this oh so much!) This is probably my most favorite part of the day... our "learning" time... I have flash cards and more fun stuff that we will be transitioning to soon so stay tuned! (Check out our "activities" section to see what we did to keep our days busy and fun from birth to current!)

An hour and a half after we START our snack time, we head down to the kitchen for lunch (which is usually around 3-3:30). After that we usually immediately go down for our next nap (which we are working on making our afternoon "quiet time"... I'm still working out the kinks...)  This time passes the quickest for me (bc I usually start to think: oh wow, my days almost over... and yet I still have 5-6 more hours to do...). I sometimes like to take a nap here or blog.  I am working on getting my day situated enough to where I can use this time to read (til I fall asleep hehehe).

Once the girls are back up and at em (I make sure they are awake no later than 6:15 no matter what, otherwise our dinner and stuff can get messy.. no pun intended). We started doing a light snack after waking the week that we started doing morning snack everyday (about 2 weeks shy of 1st bday). We usually curl up on the couch and watch Hola Bebe (spanish baby program on the Baby First channel. We all LOVE this show!) We are pretty flexible for this part of the day. Sometimes we go out to the library or grocery store, out to the garden, or stay in and play in our play room (the girls are showing MAJOR interest in being outdoors and occasionally I put a blanket out in the yard and take some toys, but these GA mosquitos are seriously NO JOKE!). Sometimes they get one on one time with daddy and I get a "break" (to nap or blog) or get a chance to get dinner going early... sky is the limit!

By 7:30 sharp we are in our high chairs and have dinner going. (The advantage to me getting dinner going early is that all four of us can sit and eat, otherwise there is a good chance that the grownups have to wait til after bedtime since most of the food isn't ready until they are winding down... their meal times average about 30 min). After we eat, Daddy takes them one at a time for baths. I clean the kitchen (floor, dishes, empty high chair) and get the pm bottles ready. By the time we make it upstairs it is time for a baby switch. I dry and lotion up the clean one and get the room and cribs ready for bedtime. HERE is more about our bedtime routine. We are finding that the girls are getting super restless when we try to hold and cuddle them to bed, so now we are working on transitioning them to take their bottles in the crib and fall asleep in there... No more bedtime cuddles :( (Our bedtime routine can be found in part 2 of our "sleep training" posts)

I just can't believe it's already been a year. I have had SO much fun on this adventure we call motherhood, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for us. Stay tuned.......

PHOTO BOMB TIME! 

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