Thursday, May 27, 2010

Design Dilemma

For anyone who's been to my house, you know we have a dining room and piano room as you walk in the front door. I've decided to make the piano room a play area for the girls because, well, there's not much furniture in there and it's far away from Tim's office.

 The dining room in case you need a reminder. There are also red chairs that go at the host seats.

The thing it lacks is storage. Right now, there's one black bookcase. I would like to add three more so they line the back wall. Black bookcases are boring, so I need help. What do you do to dress up some plain inexpensive bookcases that will a) work nicely across from a dining room and b) be playful enough to seem kid friendly.

 Here's the bookcase from Wal-mart. A steal at $25!!

I've already decided to replace the crappy cardboard backing with plywood. The question is what do I do with the plywood. Should I paint it? If so, what color? Should I use wallpaper? Should I use mirror tiles on the top half and do something different with the lower half that's closer to kid height? I definitely want to get baskets to hold toys and prevent little climbers, but what kind of baskets?

I'm a mommy in a design dilemma. Help!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Web Love

I just wanted to direct everyone's attention to some great sites.

First up, my friend Mindy. Like me, she was already a furry mama (to some absolutely adorable dogs) but now she's a mom-to-be of the human variety. Check our her words of wisdom at

Next, Ohdeedoh. It's a little obsession of mine. You can find everything from nursery design to DIY projects for your kids. I love it there!

Next, Twinstuff. If you're a MoM (mom of multiples), this place has a plethora of information and support. I love all the articles and especially the forum. It's so nice to know that there are other moms in the same boat as you. 

And finally, The Bump. This site will take you from TTC through the first year. Fun and informative articles, great pictures, a nice Q&A section and also a very helpful forum.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sleep is the Answer

As I type this, I'm sitting at my computer holding Lillie, who is wide awake. Her tummy is full. Her bum is dry, and she is currently quiet. But I can tell by the look on her little face that it's simply the quiet before the storm. Why would now be any different? She's cried a good 75% of the day, and I would like to think I know why.

Yep, sleep is the answer.

As I said in my last entry, I've started on the long road to sleep training. There are many people out there who are convinced that "sleep training" means sticking your child in a crib, walking away, and letting her cry. Granted, that is one type of sleep training, it is not the only one.

The first step in training has been getting the girls acclimated to their cribs. Since we brought them home in February, L & D have been sleeping in a Pack n' Play, our beds, on a Boppy, or in our arms. They never spent the night in their cribs. Last week, we started having them spend nights in their room. We spent lots of time putting that nursery together--making it just so; I think it's a good idea to let the girls sleep there. Plus, it's away from the TV, our talking, and the hustle and bustle that adults do. Maybe, just maybe they will get a better kind of sleep there.

And by better, I don't necessarily mean more (even though they could probably use a little more), I mean longer blocks. My girls sleep, but just like the people who take care of them, they don't get quality sleep.  One day I would love for them to be sleeping two, three, (God willing) four hours at a time before they wake up happy and content, not crying and crabby.

The first week of nursery sleeping hasn't gone too badly. It's still a work in progress and takes some sacrifice to have them there, but I do think it is beneficial to them...and eventually to us.

The next step: getting them to sleep on their own. I've read books, articles, blogs, and forums. I've had conversations with myself and with Tim. And even though it's not set in stone just yet, I think our first approach to getting the girls to sleep better is to use Graduated Extinction as described in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-Training Your Multiples by Marc Weissbluth.

For those who don't know, it means I plan to create a bedtime routine for the girls to soothe them, put them in their cribs drowsy yet awake, and then leave the room. If they start crying, I will not go back in the room for x amount of time. After that time has expired, I will go soothe them as I see fit and then leave the room again, allowing for a little more time if they start crying again. I will do this a few times until they fall asleep. I will do a version of the routine for each of their naps during the day as well.

It's going to be hard work. It's going to wear on my nerves like nobody's business, but in the end, I believe it will lead to better sleep for Lillie, for Dani, for me, for Tim, and for the caregivers who stay with us.

As I can't state enough--sleep is the answer.

In the end, I'm hoping they will take three 1.5 to 2 hour naps during the day and sleep at night in 4-5 hour blocks. This means that all of us will be happier, healthier, and far less agitated and sluggish throughout our days.

If you think letting your children cry in their room at night is bad parenting, then I respect that you feel that way. But I believe that being a walking zombie trying to care for two infants is bad parenting, so this is the track for me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Twins is Not a Unit of Measurement

I've done it. I have begun the long and winding road of researching sleep training for the girls. I'm currently skimming Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth trying to decide if I'd like to by Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins. L & D will be three months old next week, and I think it's high time we started working on preparing them--as well as ourselves--for some sort of regular sleep routine. Granted, the hard core training probably won't start until they're four months old, but at least getting them used to sleeping in their cribs is a place to start.

Before we can sleep train the girls, though, we must train ourselves. Obviously, one of these days, Tim and I will get a full night of sleep again (Marsha too!), but that's not what I mean. As with most things that come with parenting, it's as much about teaching the parents as it is teaching the child. And in this case, we must all fully realize that Lillie and Dani are not one entity. They are two very individual girls.

They both eat four ounces of formula an average of every four hours a day. They both get cranky in the evening. They both average a dirty diaper once a day, and they both like to scream their heads off when you take the bottle out of their mouths for burping. (Seriously, it's deafening.)

But Dani really enjoys spending time in her bouncy chair while Lillie likes to cuddle. Lillie looks around enthusiastically at everything in the room with wide eyes. Dani likes to focus on one thing at a time, and she does it very intently. Dani has an easier time going to sleep on her own in the Pack n Play while Lillie tends to be extremely restless and whimpers a lot.

Right now, when one of them wakes up to eat, we wake the other within 20-30 minutes so they can stay on schedule. There will come a time when this will be counterproductive. Why keep waking the sleeper just to keep them both on a schedule? As parents of singletons have to train each of their children differently, I must do the same with mine. Unfortunately, I have to do it at the same time! So, if Dani ends up being ready to sleep through the night without a middle-of-the-night bottle before Lillie is ready, I will have to accept that.

There will be many more entries on sleep training. I'm looking forward to blowing off stressful steam on this blog. I'd also love to hear what other parents did to help get their little ones to sleep better.