Friday, May 30, 2014

Swinging is fun!

Michelle & I took the babies for a walk and stopped at a little park to let the babies swing. Avery had tried it before and liked it so we thought we'd give the other two a chance. (They were zonked out the last time!) it won't work for long but we were able to fit two babies in one baby swing so they could all swing at once.  

Maybe it was all the excitement of swinging or maybe just unlucky but no one took a catnap on the walk. This is a bummer because we ended up with three pretty cranky babies at dinner making it impossible for the mommies or babies to enjoy our yummy dinner! Oh well! Such is life these days!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The thing about schedules...

Is that just when you have one down pat and are in a rhythm, the babies are ready for a change!  I've been meaning to write down our current schedule for the past couple of months and haven't gotten around to it.  I figured I'd better do it now because I think the babies are just about ready to drop yet another nap.  For the past 2-3 months (I think we changed schedules in Feb?!) this is what our schedule has been (with the caveat that we started only feeding them dinner and then added lunch a few weeks later and breakfast 3-4 weeks ago):

7am-wake up & nurse
9ish-morning nap
12ish-mid day nap
3ish-afternoon nap
5:30-family dinner
6:00-start bedtime routine with bath &/or naked playtime
nighttime nursing session(s) for Avery & Isaiah while Ellie the rockstar sleeper just keeps sleeping

Our nighttime "schedule" has been a complete wreck lately.  About a month ago we were on a hot streak for nighttime sleep.  Ellie has been sleeping through the night pretty consistently for the past month, with a few early wakeups.  In early May Avery & Isaiah were starting to get into a rhythm of only waking up once, sometime between 1 & 3am, but lately they've been complete disasters.  Tonight Avery went down at 7 and at 7:52 she was crying! She did settle back down after about five minutes without intervention, which is great and has not been typical as of late.  She and Isaiah have both been struggling and waking each other up more than in the past. And with Grandma & Grandpa in the room right next door it's harder for us to feel like we can let them work it out on their own so we've definitely been on a sleep regression.  It's definitely time to re-initiate sleep boot camp around here because all this night waking isn't good for any of us!

But back to the daytime schedule...  You might notice that we have one hour slotted for all three naps, but in reality, the 45 minute nap is still the standard.  I will say that over the past couple of weeks there have been more hour to hour and 15 minute naps, which is fantastic and a trend we'd like to see continue.  We've even gotten a handful of true two hour naps, but those are few and far between and aren't consistently happening at the same time of day even.  This schedule is still working, but these longer naps and the fact that sometimes they really don't seem ready for the next nap are hinting to us that they're about ready to transition to a two nap schedule, but it's hard to know when to actually make that switch.  I just wish we could get a few more of these longer naps because if they only nap for 45 minutes and we drop to two naps we're going to have some crabby babies on our hands!  Schedule transitions are tricky!
Ellie might not always choose the most conventional nap positions but she's our best sleeper so who cares!

As you can see in this schedule, a LOT of our day is spent feeding babies!  Since the addition of three meals of solid foods it sometimes feels like that's all we do.  I know we've said that before just about nursing, so I guess it's not that different, but it does take a lot more prep and clean-up time!  Thankfully nursing now takes MUCH less time, sometimes as fast as 20 minutes (for all of them)!  Here are a few funny eating pics =)
why, yes, I will have some more yogurt

Avery needed not one, but two spoons for this meal!

These prunes are going to do what?!? =)
(thankfully they did do the trick...poor kiddo was pretty stopped up for a couple days!)

Happy In/Out Day babies!

Today is the babies In/Out day. In other words, they've now been out of Michelle's belly as long as they were in!  Here are their 34 weeks in photos:
Michelle wants to note that she had been on IV fluids, making her face look puffy!
Minutes before she was
wheeled into the OR

And here's the 34 week out pic! We love this trio so much, but Michelle might be looking a little sleep deprived in the picture this morning because Isaiah and Avery are giving us a LOT of trouble at night these days.  Ellie is solidly sleeping 11.5-12 hours every night.  She's our sleeping rockstar!

Enjoying summer in our screened in porch!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Motor Monday-Modes of Mobility

It's been a while since I did a Motor Monday post, but the babies have been learning so many new skills that I've been wanting to write about that I thought I'd get back in the swing of things by talking about their new mobility skills!  Gone are the days of being able to lay them down under the activity gyms and walk away (usually to change someone else's diaper) and come back to find them right where we left them! About six or seven weeks ago the babies all started rolling back to belly and a few weeks later they started putting that together with their belly to back roll, becoming truly mobile for the first time!  This mobility necessitated a new round of babyproofing and the creation of "baby jail." i.e. a safe zone for temporarily unattended babies!

baby jail doesn't look so bad, right?

It was interesting to me that the babies all learned to roll back to belly within a week of each other when learning belly to back was spread out over a couple of months.  Ellie was the first to put multiple rolls together to move and this continues to be her primary way of moving.  Isaiah does this sometimes too, but less often than Ellie.

Then about three weeks ago, just shy of seven months (5.5 adjusted), Avery learned how to army crawl!  Our feisty little Avery who hated being on her tummy and took forever to learn to roll off her tummy (and screamed instead!) was the first to get moving on her tummy.  She now spends TONS of time on her tummy and loves her new found mobility. Her favorite thing to crawl after is our phones and now we have to watch where we set them down because she's got an internal tech radar and before you know it she's on the move.

Isaiah's pushing up on straight arms all the time on his tummy and is doing it hard enough that he is always scooting himself backward.  I think he gets pretty frustrated because often you can tell that he wants a toy in front of him and gets excited and pushes up, but then just keeps moving farther and farther away.  Occasionally he actually goes forward either by getting a little bit of a push off one foot or by lunging forward with his head, but he hasn't figured this out consistently yet.

This stage in development is fascinating to me because kids do such different things!  It actually makes it a little tricky I think as a pediatric PT because not every kiddo army crawls and if they do, some really lead with their arms like Avery and others push more with their legs. Not every kiddo rolls and rolls for mobility either.  So I often introduce the different options and then see what it looks like is going to work best for that kiddo and then help them along, giving their parents strategies to help them practice.

The gears are turning

It's fun to see the babies problem solving skills really emerging these days!  They've obviously been learning all along, but now they have the motor skills to actually show us that learning.

Here's a little video clip of Avery understanding the cause-effect of a new toy that they played with at our friend Stacey's a few weeks ago.
And here are a couple of pics my mom took of Ellie figuring out how to get a toy off her foot

" this is tricky Grandma! 
It's stuck on my foot!"

"Ah, sweet success!"
 They're also now looking for toys they've dropped, are shaking and starting to bang toys to hear the sound, and are anticipating repeated actions.  Isaiah is so cute with his anticipation because if you do something he likes (like tickles or silly faces, sounds, etc) and do it a couple of times he'll start laughing before the next time just because he knows what's coming.  And he has such a great laugh!  Tonight Avery figured out the straw cup.  She played around with Auntie Jessica's straw water bottle a couple weeks ago and started to actually get some water and tonight, after a lot of trial and error, she was able to get some smoothie out of her little straw cup.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We have ourselves a bit of a bully

Our littlest peanut has been using her superior motor skills to her advantage and has become a bit of a bully the past couple of weeks!  Avery is much more stable in sitting so she can reach farther than the other two and uses this to her advantage to steal toys from her siblings sitting near her. =) 

She has also learned to army crawl (more on that in a long overdue Motor Monday post) and will crawl pretty much anywhere she wants to go grab a toy that catches her eye and she doesn't care who is playing with it. This video is from yesterday during "nakey time" before bed where we let them dry out after the bath and just enjoy being naked.  But the rattle Ellie was shaking caught Avery's eye and she was off!
 The other night I took this video of them all sitting up and it is too funny not to share!  I just wanted to take it to document them all sitting but didn't expect this!
I love how Ellie almost falls multiple times like a little weeble wobble and how one time it looks like Isaiah saves a fall.  But in the end Avery got her (thus the quick stoppage of the video mid fall)!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Meet the Triple(t) Threat in St. Louie

A couple weeks ago we took the kiddos on their second road trip, this time to St. Louis, MO. Our good friend Elise was getting married outside of St. Louis and we couldn't miss it so we loaded everyone up and took off on another adventure.  We stopped in Dayton, OH each direction to break up the 12 hour drive.  On the way there we got to see Michelle's mom Denise and her brother Matt because Denise was down there to move Matt out of his dorm.  We didn't get to Dayton until late, but we got to see Matt's dorm, do a mini campus tour, and grab breakfast before hitting the road again.

UD tour selfie
The babies were so great at breakfast!  No fussing and they ate a ton!

We stayed with my college buddy Stacey and her family who live about 45 minutes from St. Louis and 30 minutes from where the wedding was.  It was great to see Stacey and her kiddos were so sweet with the babies, reading to them and sharing their baby toys with them.  
Will reading to the babies while Cora helps Ellie sit up
Isaiah was very attentive!
Cora was a big help all weekend!
and such a big thank you to Stacey and Mark for welcoming 3 infants (and their moms) into their home!

The wedding on Saturday was so beautiful and they totally lucked out with the weather!  It was great to get to hang out with so many good friends!  And since we were the only ones who brought our kiddos we had lots of baby holders!  Unfortunately, with 3 babies in hand, we don't take nearly enough pictures!  We're hoping friends can pass theirs on to us because the babies had a ball with all of our friends and we'd love some photos to prove it! :)

So happy

Family pic at sunset
On Sunday we drove into St. Louis to spend the day with my college friends and their families.  We all went to Grant's Farm, hit up our favorite Mexican restaurant, and capped the day off with some Ted Drewes ice cream!  It was wonderful to get to hang out with everyone and get to know their kiddos.  I miss living close to those girls!  We also got to see our friends Kelly, Ed, Liz, Lauren & Annie on Sunday which was a bonus! 
Isaiah wearing Will's Cardinals hat!
Feeding the baby goats
Happy girls
Obviously there was something interesting happening to our left!
some of the crew
SLU girls and their kiddos
First bite of Ted Drewes...he doesn't look nealy as impressed as he should!!
It was a beautiful hot spring day!  Perfect for some custard!

St. Louis rugby buddies

On our way out of town we stopped to get take out from Pho Grand, one of our favorite restaurants, and swung by our old house (fun to see the now mature landscaping my dad & I did) and drove by SLU, our alma mater.  We actually fed the babies on campus before we left town. 

SLU fountain feeding spot

St. Louis spring was a couple weeks ahead & SLU always had nice flowers!

The babies were not as tolerant of being in the car on this trip as they were on the Chicago trip when they were only 3 months old.  They did fairly well on the way there, but by the time we were driving home they were sooo over it!  They did sleep some, but they also got bored when they were awake so there was a lot more crying and more stops than we would have liked. The trip was too short and the drive was too long, but it was great to see so many special people!

7mo pics & stats....a couple weeks late!

These babies (& working A LOT more) are really keeping me busy & making it hard to find time to blog!  When we went to the doctor on April 28th, just shy of 7 months here were there stats:

Isaiah: 13lbs 8oz & 24.5"
Avery: 12lbs 12oz & 24"
Ellie: 13lbs 4oz & 25"

I'm a little late, but here are the 7 month pics finally!  They are getting so big!  It's hard to believe they are already seven months old!

Our little guy likes to roll and no longer stays where you put him.  He was consistently rolling off the blanket in Hawaii.  He is prop sitting but isn't too stable and seems the least interested.  Isaiah slept through the night (7-5:30) on Monday April 28th for the first time.  He has been starting to only get up once to eat with a few little fusses at other times, but this is inconsistent.  (And in the past two weeks he's been backsliding with this!)  He has a funny high pitch squeal and in fact most of his "talking" is pretty high pitched.  He likes to be surprised by things like saying "boo" or playing "gotcha," where Michelle grabs his hand really fast, and cracks up laughing. 

Our big boy!  He's getting a belly!

Check out that belly!

Avery continues to be out little spitfire!  She rolls to her tummy and back a lot, but she doesn't do a lot of continuous rolling.  Avery learned to sit up this month!  And she very quickly became quite the professional sitter, playing with toys and reaching for toys around her.  She really likes sitting and seems proud of herself.  Avery is our quietest baby for the most part.  She doesn't babble and coo as much as the other two but when she gets mad or frustrated she will let you know!  Avery is our animal lover!  She gets so excited to see Humphrey or Bailey walk by and will reach out for them.  She likes to have us bring her by Humphrey so she can "pet" him.  Avery likes playing with her tongue and rolling it, oh and using it to give sloppy kisses.  Avery started out liking to eat the most, but as the month went on she was a little less interested in eating.
"Mom, you're so funny!"
I got my toes!
Ellie is getting so tall!  The stats said she was only 1/2 an inch longer but she seems much longer than the other two!  Ellie is our rockstar sleeper!  She slept through the night April 27th from 7:30pm to 7am.  And better yet she does it pretty much every night, making it to at least 5:30am.  Ellie is a sweetie and is probably the most likely to snuggle in for a good cuddle.  Ellie rolls and rolls though she mostly only rolls over one shoulder.  She really likes her feet and grabs them at every diaper change.  Ellie learned to shake a rattle this month and really liked learning this.  She started to get a little bit of stranger danger at the end of the month, showing a strong preference for her moms.  This can be a pain, but she sure does give us big giant smiles when she sees us. 
Ellie loves her feet so much these days!

Ah ha ha!
Group shots continue to be a challenge!  And now that they're moving the challenge is multiplied!

Froggy must be telling Ellie an important secret...

Oooh, ball....

Look out Avery!  He's comin' to get ya!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

We have a busy house this weekend!!

On Wednesday my Mom & Dad arrived for a two week visit.  We are so happy they are here and they are soaking up all the baby love they can.  Baby smiles and cuddles are good for the grieving soul (plus they keep us all busy)!
Grandma & her grandbabies

Grandpa & his grandbabies

Reading to Ellie

Chillin' outside with the boys
This weekend and week were set to be a particularly difficult time where my brother's absence would be especially notable with Mother's Day today and my dad's birthday this Tuesday.  So to head this off, my mom and my sister Kate cooked up a surprise for my dad.  Kate, Claude, & Abigail flew in for the weekend and Mom and I came up with a good excuse to get away to pick them up mid day on Saturday.  So Mom came in carrying Abigail and Dad was very very surprised.  We all almost blew the surprise soooo many times, but we managed to pull it off!  It has been great to have them here and fun and healing to have everyone together again.

The Betenes 

Enjoying some time outside

Abigail & Isaiah wanted to be stroller buds...
can you see what the problem is??

All the grandkids
(they look thrilled about this photo don't they?!)
But Kate, Claude & Abigail were not the only surprise visitors this weekend!  Saturday morning around 7:30, Michelle and I were finishing feeding the babies and seemingly out of nowhere Jessica, Michelle's sister, appeared in our bedroom and said "good morning!"  It took me at least a full minute to process what the heck was going on.  And for that minute the look on my face was hilarious...I know this because Jess took a video! =)  Jessica flew down for a surprise weekend visit because she had Monday off!  (She had already bought her ticket and then found out that Kate & Claude were coming!)  Soooo, we have a very full house this weekend!
Did anyone notice the missing baby in the first pic?!
And the fun doesn't end there!  We are celebrating my dad's birthday tomorrow, a day early, because Kate & Claude are leaving Tuesday morning.  So my dad's sister Mary and her husband Phil drove over from Massachusetts today so they could be here to celebrate my dad's birthday with him.  So my Auntie Mary & Uncle Phil (the babies great aunt & uncle) arrived around 1 today and hung out with us for the afternoon and joined us for dinner.  So we had 9 adults plus Abigail enjoying my dad's spaghetti & meatballs.  (The babies were in bed already, but they split a meatball & sauce for their dinner and wolfed it down!)
Auntie Mary & Avery making silly faces at eachother
Uncle Phil hanging with Ellie
Auntie Mary correctly identified all the babies thanks to her loyal blog reading!  She told me that whenever she's in a bad mood she just pulls up the blog and peruses the pictures and next thing she knows she is smiling. =)  Auntie Mary & Uncle Phil picked out some cute coordinating outfits for the babies for the summer.  Isaiah got an extra one though because the color coordinating outfit said "cool like my auntie" and Uncle Phil was feeling left out so Isaiah also got a onesie that says "I heart my uncle."  =)