Thanksgiving Holiday 2013

We drove 7 hours to my in-laws house Tuesday night and stayed until Saturday. On Wednesday we took the girls to the mall to see Santa. Last year was so much easier. We were able to lay them in his arms and let them take the picture. This year was a screaming fit. The minute that we put Brooke in Santa’s lap she arched her back and started screaming. This of course set off Bailey who then also started screaming and crying. We tried to get them to calm down but it was no use, they were not happy about sitting in Santa’s lap. I finally gave up and had them take the picture with them screaming.

After we left the mall we went up to my in-laws church to take our family pictures in front of the tree. Although the setting was beautiful, we were unable to get the girls to cooperate or the pictures turned out funny. I am finding that it is very difficult to get family pictures with these two munchkins. 

The girls had their first Thanksgiving feast last week. This is technically their second Thanksgiving celebration but last year they were only three months old so it was very different. This year they were able to sit at the table and enjoy the feast with the rest of the family. It was a small Thanksgiving group, my in-laws, brother and sister-n-law, and the four of us. The girls just loved the ham and turkey with potatoes and vegetables. Brooke loved the meat which is her favorite. Bailey’s favorite was the cranberry sauce. She joined me in my seat and found the tray in front of me and decided to dig in. We had to hide it from her after she had eaten several handfuls. Overall it was a nice dinner and the girls seemed to enjoy everyone’s company. They looked so cute on Thanksgiving. My mother-n-law had made them turkey shirts with ribbon feathers and their names on them. They were so adorable.

On Friday we went shopping for the Black Friday sales. The girls were really good while we were shopping. Things went really well until we were in a store and an older man came over to us to talk to the girls. He tried to play with Brooke but she started to scream and cry. We tried to move her away from him but he kept coming over to play. Brooke doesn’t like strangers to come over to her so this made standing in line very difficult for us. I had to hold her until he left because he had her so upset. I know that he was just playing but a part of me wishes he had paid attention to how she was reacting and left her alone.

We left on Saturday morning. It was nice to get back home and relax before starting another week. This week was going to be a busy one with doctors appointments and therapy sessions. Plus working on our master bathroom. With all that on our plate, it was nice to have a day to rest and unpack from our trip. 

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Reaching Developmental Milestones

Reaching developmental milestones can be slightly delayed if babies are preemies. Most people go by an adjusted age for the first year of a preemies life. My girls were born six weeks early so they had a six week adjusted age delay. This means that their norm for reaching milestones should be six weeks behind babies born at 40 weeks gestation. I personally feel that knowing your baby is going to be behind is a hard thought to process. In the beginning it didn’t seem like there were any delays for my girls but after a little while we began to notice some delays.

My twins did not reach milestones at the exact same time. In the first few months Bailey always did things first. She wanted to move and seemed like we would be up and moving in no time. She rolled at 3 1/2 months.  Brooke, on the other hand, did not roll until almost 5 months. She would rather just lay on the ground as long as she could. She didn’t like to lay on her tummy. She would scream if we put her on her tummy.

We worked really hard to get the girls to sit up on their own. We used boppy pillows to help support them as well as their bumbos. Bailey and Brooke were sitting up supported at six months. It took another month or so for them to sit up without the support.

The next few milestones were different. Bailey acted as though she was going to crawl at eight months but then stopped. She had started the rocking and then didn’t care to be on her knees any more. Neither girl began to crawl until days before they became ten months old. Brooke was our first crawler. Bailey crawled two weeks later. This is when we started noticing that the girls were struggling to reach their developmental milestones at the times that most children do. My niece was born at the same time as my girls. She crawled at 7 months and walked at 9 months. It was really hard for Joel and I to see that she was so far ahead of my girls. They were all the same size and were talking they were supposed to but the physical developments were behind with my girls.

By eleven months Brooke was pulling up and standing. Bailey tried but often times struggled to pull herself to a standing position. She kept trying and two weeks after Brooke she was able to pull up to a standing position. From this point the girls were cruising around furniture and attempting to climb. We really seemed to be heading towards walking. Everyone kept telling us, “It won’t be long!” We were so excited. The girls were finally meeting those last milestones and not far behind….or so we thought.

The girls will be fifteen months old at the end of this week. Brooke has started walking on her own. She began walking about two weeks ago. She took her first steps around 13 1/2 months but wouldn’t let go of furniture or your hand in order to walk. Then one day after Joel got home from work she decided to chase him. She just let go and began to walk. We were so excited for her. We were clapping and cheering with lots of excitement. Then we looked over at Bailey who was crying. She was watching her sister walk and wanted to try too. So we helped her stand up so that she could try. She took three steps and fell to the floor. She began to bawl. I felt so guilty because one child was reaching a special moment and the other was watching knowing she couldn’t do that yet. Bailey still has to develop the strength in her tummy and upper legs in order to walk. We are hoping that we can get her walking soon. She can walk with a push walker or holding onto your hands but she still has a little way to go.

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The Kitchen

The next thing I wanted remodeled was our kitchen. Our kitchen was the original 60’s kitchen. The only things they had updated were the appliances, excluding the oven. 

I hated everything about this kitchen. Joel and I replaced the cabinets. We put in new tile, beautiful granite, and crown molding. I love my new kitchen. It took us three weeks to put the cabinets in. We did one side each week. 

Once the cabinets were in we ordered our granite. We fell in love with Kashmire White granite. We found out that the granite yard went on strike so the company we ordered the granite from was unable to get it in. I was so disappointed. I really loved that granite so it was really hard to find something else. We spent two weeks searching for another granite color and couldn’t find anything that we both liked. I was so upset. At this point we had been living with plywood on top of the cabinets topped with picnic tablecloths. Really sad I know! 

We decided to try one more time at the granite yard here in town. When we pulled up the guys we had been working with on the granite came out with a big smile. They had found some Kashmire White for our kitchen! I was so excited, I wanted to cry right there in the granite yard. We were able to have it installed the following week. It was the perfect completion to our new beautiful kitchen. 

-Stephanie

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First Projects To Complete

The first few projects were the girls’ room, the dining room, and the front door. We then painted the entry. We painted the laundry room and half bathroom. 


Girls Room
The first room that was painted and updated was the girls’ bedroom. I didn’t have a chance to decorate their nursery in our previous home so I really wanted to decorate their room here. Their bedding and decorations were purple and light green with butterflies and other girly things. So, I chose to paint their room lavender and white. I absolutely love that their walls are painted a pretty purple color. 
Dining Room
I have always wanted a bold dining room. When thinking of color schemes I had always wanted a Burgundy or Maroon dining room. Well, after being married to an Aggie for a few years that quickly changed. I can honestly say, I am sick of Maroon! 🙂 I started looking for other designs. Joel and I both liked the idea of paneling or wainscoting for half of the wall topped with a chair rail. I found a room that had teal walls with white paneling and fell in love.  So, we painted our dining room teal with white wainscoting. We also added crown molding and a beautiful bronze chandelier. 



Front Door
Our original front door was a 42” glass door with a side light. We had to put a curtain up to block people’s view. Anyone that drove by our house could see into the house. So we had the front door taken out and a new one put in. The new front door has two side lights and is solid so that no one can see in our house. 🙂 


-Stephanie

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Whole Home Remodeling Projects

Whole Home Remodeling Projects

When we moved to Midland last December, we moved into a 1960’s house. The entire house had not been painted in probably 20 years. We knew that we were going to have to update it. Making our list of what needed to be remodeled turned out to just be a whole home remodel.  Joel and I are not interested in the Modern looks; we prefer things that give an updated look but still are conservative. 
This house had fabric wallpaper, blue and pink heart wallpaper, original cabinets (which weren’t really cabinets but instead boxes made of 2x4s with doors on them). The flooring had been updated but it was a burnt red brick style. We also knew that we had to get rid of the carpet in this house. The front room where the girls’ toys were had stains everywhere. I didn’t want the girls to crawl on any surface until it was clean and no longer spotted with nasty stains. So, we had to get new carpet. Knowing that we have little ones and a husband who is sometimes messy, we went with a two tone that hides stains a little better. Hopefully we will not have any stains but life happens so you never know. 

I will post about our remodeling projects and how they turned out. 
-Stephanie

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Bath Time and Moving The Girls From Small Baby Tubs To The Big Tub

When we registered at Babies R Us we asked for two baby tubs. We were not sure if it would be a good idea to have two tubs but it worked out for us. Bath time in the beginning was at the same time in their little tubs. Then we moved to the big tub but still placed the girls in their little tub. They had to bath one at a time. The girls were ten months old before stopped using the small baby tubs. When we were transitioning, we put water in their baby tubs for them to get used to the idea. Then we moved them into the big tub together.

I was nervous at first to try but they were too big for the baby tubs. I had read about using a laundry basket for baths. It is supposed to allow water in without the huge tub space. So I tried to find a laundry basket but couldn’t find one big enough. We just had to put them in the big tub.

At first they were a little scared but soon figured out they could move. Once they knew that, bath time was a blast. Now they hurry to the bathroom for bath time.

I still worry a little about two of them in the tub. Especially since they bump each other all of the time. I only fill water to their lower tummies which helps. They love playing in the tub! They play with lots of toys and move around the tub. The hardest part is keeping them away from the knobs that turn on the water. They love playing with them. Which is why we try to create bath time rules.

The girls are supposed to sit down until we wash them. They are not supposed to play with the knobs. For the most part Bailey listens and enjoys sitting during the bath. Brooke is the opposite. She wants to walk in the water, mess with the knobs, and try to climb.

Bath time with two is difficult at times but it is so convenient to have them in there at the same time and to have bath time over after a few minutes. I think it has helped having a bath time with each other for the adjustment to the big tub.

-Stephanie

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Teething Nightmare!

I never truly understood why teething was such a nightmare until I had the girls. I remember losing teeth and getting permanent teeth. I do not remember the pain of it. I had braces growing up so I remember that pain. I can imagine that for babies, this is the kind of pain they experience when getting teeth. I know that some babies do not have the pain but my little ones do.

I wonder if teething is another trait that is passed down to your children. At this point, my girls have both followed their parents in teething. Brooke cut her first tooth right after she turned ten months old. Joel cut his first tooth at ten months as well. With Brooke, her first tooth came in and a month later her second tooth came in. They were both her front bottom teeth. A month later her first top tooth came in, followed shortly by her second bottom tooth. Those two are still coming in together. The top teeth are more painful for her. I feel like we are constantly giving teething tablets and oragel.

Bailey, on the other hand, has not cut any teeth yet. Unfortunately for her, she too is following traits of a parent…me. I cut teeth at fifteen months old. I was late but got several teeth at once. Bailey has little bumps in her gums that appear to be teeth preparing to break through but nothing has come through yet. She drools and chews all of the time. The girls will be fifteen months at the end of the month so I figure it is coming soon.

My girls have hated teething rings. So finding things to check on is hard. We received a tip recently to try the frozen ice pops. I haven’t tried it yet but I am thinking about it.

***Bailey got her first tooth a few days ago. It finally came in. We are so glad that she is finally getting those teeth. She doesn’t seemed to be phased by the tooth breaking through and I am hoping that it continues to go smoothly for her. (edited Nov. 23, 2013).

-Stephanie

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Trying to Finish My Master’s Degree

I was in Graduate School, taking online courses when I found out I was pregnant. I continued my courses until my third trimester. During my pregnancy, I became very distracted and my grades began to slip. I was paced on academic probation around March of last year. I had four classes to bring up my grade. I had done well in my first three courses. During the last week of my fourth class I went into preterm labor. I was hospitalized and unable to finish on time. I had to file for an extension. When I filed for the extension, my grade dropped a letter causing my final grade to be below the requirement. I was then placed on academic suspension even though I only had one course left to finish.

I was suspended until January of this year. I appealed to the Dean for re-entry. I was granted access back into my school. This was about the time that Bailey’s trips to Dallas and physical therapy began. I knew that I could not handle returning to school so I pushed it to the back of my to do list.

I decided to go back to school in August after the girls were both done with their Dallas doctors. So, I contacted my adviser about starting my courses again. My adviser told me at that time that I had been out of school too long and would probably lose some of my credits. She also told me that I would have a new adviser. I was transferred to the new adviser, someone in a re-entry group. After three weeks of emails back and forth, I found out that my degree was outdated and they had a new one for me. I would lose all but four credits because they were the only ones that could apply to my new degree plan. I would be basically starting over with a new plan. I went into complete panic. I knew I had to retake a course but I only had one other course to complete before I had my Master’s degree. I could not start over.

I emailed my new adviser back again asking if I could do anything to stay with my old degree. She told me about a re-appeal. I would have to appeal to the Dean and hope that my story would touch them enough to give me another shot. I instantly agreed to do that. So, I wrote my appeal, submitted it, and waited to hear. A week and a half went by before I heard anything.

When my adviser called, she told me that I got my appeal. I would get to keep my degree plan and finally finish my remaining courses. So, now I have to reapply to the university, submit all of my forms, and hopefully start soon. Prayers that this time I finish!

I am planning to start courses again at the end of this month. I will blog more about managing school and twins.

-Stephanie

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Our Play Room

We have a formal living room with french doors at the front of our house. I wanted a safe place for the girls to play. This room seemed like the perfect choice. A few months back we had the room painted a tan color with white ceiling and trim. (Thank you Papaw and Daddy.) The color is called barefoot beach, I love the name!

We created a play kitchen for the girls. (You can read about it in a previous post.) We are still working on getting kitchen supplies that are safe for little ones under the age of three. For now, we are washing their old snack cans or jugs that can be cleaned thoroughly and use them for our kitchen supplies.  
I am a former reading teacher so I wanted a reading space for my girls. I made an alphabet quilt and put their soft chairs on the quilt. The quilt is positioned right next to their bookcase with their books and dvds. The girls love to sit and read books(or at least look at). So, this was a comfy corner that they use for that time. Above their reading corner I put up the word READ using letters from Hobby Lobby. 
I know that babies are somewhat infatuated with themselves and mirrors. It is a great learning experience and play time to look at themselves in the mirror. So, I hung up a long dressing mirror sideways on the wall. It is at their height level so they can look at themselves in the mirror. They both will go up to the mirror and stare at themselves and laugh. They also love to play peek-a-boo with me through the mirror. 
I had Joel create an over-sized magnetic, chalkboard for the girls. It’s 38″x38″. I have it located right next to their art table. I purchased this table from ikea. It’s just a two chair and table set that I added dowel rods on each end of the table top. These are there so that I can add a roll of art paper and let the girls draw. I also added side rails to their chair so that they have a little more support sitting in them. The chairs are a little tall for them to touch the ground so the arm support helps them from falling. 
I left a workstation corner for me in their playroom. The workstation will allow me to work on activities or my own school work while the girls play or read independently. My workstation is tucked in a corner with a reading chair and desk. I am able to see them the entire time while I am in this space which helps since they are into everything. 
Around the room, I have the alphabet letters and numbers as a border. I also put pictures of the girls up in the room. I left space for future children and artwork. 
This has been a perfect space for the girls to play and make their big messes. I has been a blessing because I can close the doors when guests come over and pretend the mess isn’t there. The girls love their playroom and I am so happy to have their little space.

-Stephanie

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Play Kitchen

Play Kitchen

Joel and I have been working on the girls’ playroom. I have been trying to find things for their playroom to stimulate their learning. I have to admit I am a pinterest addict. Pinterest is where I found the idea for the play kitchen.

I found this idea to convert an old entertainment center into a play kitchen. We bought an entertainment center for $20. Our entertainment center had two small doors, and a middle shelf on the bottom row. The top row had a big tv compartment and a shelving compartment on the right.

We painted the entire cabinet with white primer and white paint. The two bottom doors were painted with primer and paint. We added would around each door to give the shaker look. We painted that wood white also. We added the handles on and then put them on the cabinet.
The middle section on the bottom was converted to an oven. Joel made a drawer box then added a piece of wood for the front. The front wood piece was painted to look like a black and stainless oven door. The black was painted in the center and a frame of silver painted around it. Then we added a handle at the top to pull out the drawer.
The tv compartment became a sink and stove top. We used a round silver bowl for the sink. Joel cut a hole for the sink and glued it in. For the faucet we used a reverse osmosis facet. We found ours at Home Depot. I created burners using my Cricut cutting machine. I used black vinyl for the burner cutouts. We used wood circles for knobs for the burners and oven. Joel screwed the knobs down leaving a little room so the knobs could turn. The back wood piece was turned into a window. We bought a picture of a window opened to a beach and ocean and glued it to the wood. Then Joel created a window sill around the picture. I made curtains for the window. We put them up using quarteround wood to look like a curtain rod.
To create the refrigerator, we added a door to the top right shelving. The door was painted first with magnetic paint (several coats because the paint had started to separate). Tip: Have the store shake it for you before bringing home magnetic paint. Then we spray painted the door the same silver we used for the oven. Again, the same handle was added to the refrigerator door.
-Stephanie

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