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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Christmas Cards

Isn't it amazing, the amount of stash you build up over the years without really trying?  I keep Christmas bits and bobs in a box file and decided that whilst I was downstairs looking after the boys, I would do a bit of crafting in between.  Cards are easy to pick up and put down, so they seemed a good choice of project.  I have no idea what these papers are called, but they were a freebie with a craft magazine some time ago - so I thought I would challenge myself to use them all up!  All variations on a theme, but they certainly got my Christmas cards started off with a bang. 

Warning - image heavy post! 

Using the Tim Holtz Elegant Flourish die and some blue glitter paper - very simple!

Scalloped scissors for the border.  Craftwork Cards "Oh my words Christmas" for the sentiment - makes card making so quick and easy. 

Using up some of my extensive Bazzill "Just the Edge" strips and a bit of left over card embossed with the Cuttlebug snowflake embossing folder. 

A co-ordinating frame, again with free magazine paper from a different collection.  

White peel-offs and the end of the blue swirly ribbon as a tag.  I made up my own sheet of Christmas messages and printed them off on robust card. 

I've had the dimensional snowflake stickers for years and years - you only need one!  The blue scalloped border is cut from glitter paper.  

I cut a bunch of white snowflake die cuts last year with my friend Tara's Sizzix snowflake dies.  Easily customisable with Promarkers and Stickles.

Using my Tim Holtz keyholes die and bits of leftover free magazine paper.  

Lots of scalloped circle punches and a way of using up just a left over strip of patterned paper. 

Even though the paper above is really busy, I really like this card - I think the double scallop is really effective, especially when paired with that snowflake dimensional sticker embellishment. 

And some left over handmade purple paper - again, with just a strip of patterned paper.  I used up one piece of that collection last year, but from the remainder, I have made 25 cards - a great staple if you're on a budget.  All quite easily achieved using some crafting basics - circle punches, ribbon, shaped scissors and some die cuts.  Voila!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Week 7 - 8 milestones

You are both more alert and interested in your surroundings this week.  You have both been creeping off the mat on the floor when on your tummies.  Henry, you in particular have been swiping the mobile above the bouncer and have been hitting the toys with your feet.  Henry, you are getting noticeably stronger in your back, and are sitting steadily a bit more each day. 

The Dr was happy with both of you this week and Mummy got told by both the Community Nurse and the Dr that she was doing a good job, so that made me happy. 

Henry, this week, you weighed 10lb 13oz/4.90 kg - an increase of 11oz.  Lewis, you now weigh 10lb 6oz /4.72kg - an increase of 12oz!  The Community Nurse also said you have jumped from the 9th percentile to the 25th percentile - very good news indeed.  She also said that it was quite common for the smaller twin at birth to outgrow the larger one - so look out Henry - Lewis is catching up to you!

Both Grandma Jones and Daddy thought you were smiling earlier this week and now I am convinced of that too. 

We went to the town on Monday and ran some errands, and on Wednesday, we met some of the other NCT mums at Starbucks in Pinner.  Tomorrow we have plans to go out for lunch, so we are getting out and about quite a lot this week. 

Tonight whilst doing your weekly update, Lewis you were on your tummy, and Henry, you were on your back.  Lewis crept forward towards Henry, and started sucking Henry's toe!  Daddy thought it was hilarious. 

You wore your Pooh suits out to town on Monday.  You both look so adorable in them - people were stopping to admire you.  I had to make sure I took photos of you in them before you grew too big!  They were given to you by Amanda and Stuart Parry. 

I hope we will have more hot weather before the official end of summer, so that you can wear these suits again!  Thank goodness we only have one more pack of newborn nappies, because you are both almost too big for them too.  Before too long, we also will have to put you into 3 - 6 month clothes. Lewis, the Community Nurse told me you had moved from the 9th percentile, to the 25th percentile - that is how much you've grown. 

Henry, you were able to sit up for this photo, but Lewis, you kept slipping down - so these photos were the pick of the bunch. 

We can't wait until Daddy starts his paternity leave on Monday, so that we can all spend some more time together and let Mummy get more rest! 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Week 6-7 Milestones

This week, both of you managed to go longer than 3 hours during the day before the next feed - though sometimes you would wake up after an hour, screaming like you've been starved! 

On Sunday Henry, you turned over by yourself for the first time!  It was so exciting to see.  You were kicking strongly on your tummy (and kicking your brother too, I might add!) and turned up and onto your side.  The impetus of the movement took you onto your back!  I am not sure you liked it though as you immediately started crying.  You haven't managed to repeat this to date, but when on your tummy, you put your head way up into the air, and also your legs are bent up behind you, showing how strong you are. 

Lewis - you are more able to cope with the bottle on your own and one day I left you with it whilst I went into the kitchen to prepare a bottle for Henry.  You were still hanging on to it when I got back, so that is a real achievement also, I think!

Whilst Lewis is much more expressive, Henry you are also becoming much more aware of your surroundings and are looking about you a lot more.  Lewis, you will quite often stare in my direction, and have both hands on the side of your face with your hands clenched, looking like the end of the world is nigh!

On Thursday, Grandma Jones noticed that whilst you were both lying side by side on your mat, Lewis - you were sucking Henry's thumb!  Unfortunately I couldn't get to my camera quickly enough, but that made both of us laugh a lot. 

You were weighed earlier this week - on a Thursday instead of a usual Friday.  Today, Henry you weighed 4.6kg/10 lb 2oz - that represents an increase of 10 oz!  Lewis, you now weigh 4.36kg/9 lb 10oz - that is a 9 oz increase on last week.  Lewis, you are catching up to Henry slowly but surely - only 8oz behind now!  We shall have to see what happens in the future. 

The Community Nursery Nurse told me that Henry, you are in the 25th percentile - that means that of 100 babies of the same age, 75 would weigh more than you would - but that you are growing appropriately in accordance with that percentile.  Lewis, you are on the 9th percentile, and also developing appropriately.  That is interesting to know - as most other babies of your age would be heavier than both of you!  Both Mummy and Daddy think that you are already heavy and growing every day. 

Since late last week, you have grown out of your New Baby clothes, and things that fit you a couple of days ago are too small for you now.  I find it astonishing how quickly this all happens!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A lullaby ....

This is one of my favourite things to sing to you, when you are both crying and struggling to settle ...

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night

Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.

While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night

O'er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.

Love, to thee my thoughts are turning
All through the night
All for thee my heart is yearning,
All through the night.

Though sad fate our lives may sever
Parting will not last forever,
There's a hope that leaves me never,
All through the night.

Apparently, this is an ancient Welsh folk song.  I remember it (not all the verses, though!) because I sang it when in a choir as a teenager.  I have always loved it, and find it very soothing.  I also think the words are very beautiful, and hope you have a lasting memory of me singing to you - though you may find it more psychologically disturbing rather than soothing!  We shall have to see what you remember. 

Friday, 12 August 2011

Week 5 - 6 milestones

Lucy the Health Visitor was seriously impressed with both of you boys today.  Henry - you weighed 9lb 8oz/4.26kg, so in one week you have put on 14oz.  Lewis, you are rapidly catching up to Henry - you now weigh 9lb 1oz/4.12kg - so this past week you have put on 15 oz! 

She also asked me whether either of you have smiled yet - the answer is no - but we can detect that they're on their way, because both of you give windy expressions that look like the beginnings of a smile.

You both like tummy time on the colourful mat we bought from Mothercare with some gift vouchers we were given at the baby shower.  Henry, yesterday I put you next to Lewis, and then after about a minute, I saw that you were perpendicular to him!  Henry, you push yourself up by your arms, and raise your head up.  Both of you can also lift your legs into the air whilst on your tummy.  Daddy and I think that you are both pretty strong!

You both march your arms and legs into the air when you're not happy and throw your heads and upper bodies back when you're feeling active and nearly headbutt us. 

You both are pretty good at grasping our fingers or the bottle when feeding, and we've all noticed that you've started to put your hands to your mouths and begin sucking your fingers when you're hungry.  Another trick you've both managed this week is to pull my hair when it is not in a ponytail - so that is something for me to remember. 

Grandma Brierley and I cut your fingernails this week with the nail clippers for the first time - that was very scary, but necessary!  They were so sharp before hand - you would both scratch your faces and our necks when cuddling up with us. 

I took the following photo on Sunday, 14th August and I think it is pretty darn cute.  The suits are the first item of clothing that Daddy bought for you when I was in the hospital.  I asked him to go to Mothercare and buy some babygrows that covered your hands, as both of you would scratch your faces.  These are two of the three designs and are so bright and colourful!  Sadly, you have nearly grown out of them now, but we will make sure that they get passed onto a good home. 

Both of you focus on our faces when we're feeding you and we feel that you can definitely see us now. It also looks as if you are starting to be aware of each other especially when we put you so closely together on your mat.  It is all so exciting and interesting!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A Mother's Love ....

I said goodbye to my mother yesterday.  We stood outside, and cried in each others' arms, not sure when we would see each other again, especially wishing we lived within closer proximity.  Mum wrote in her card to us "it has been a privilege to share in the first month of your babies' lives".  Mum, it was a privilege for us to have you here - you have provided not only a great amount of practical back-up in terms of feeding the twins through restless and sleep deprived nights but an impetus to get things organised.  Perhaps most importantly, an enormous amount of emotional support through a huge period of adjustment for a new family!

I did an internet search for something which approximated my feelings and found the following quote:

Life began with waking up and loving my mother's face
- George Eliot, English novelist

Well, that is the way that I hope my sons feel about me in the future, secure and confident in their parents' love.  Hopefully they will never have to question the way their parents feel about them - that unconditional, constant and unwavering support.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before.
The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.

Despite just a couple of week's experience, Mum you have made me more confident in my ability to love my sons and to look after them by giving me a strong and positive role model.  You were indefatigable and tireless in your efforts for us and we so appreciate it.
I am hoping that we can see you again very soon and that distance will not always be such an obstacle. 

With lots of love and gratitude,
Alison xxxx

Friday, 5 August 2011

A Weighty matter ...

Firstly, yesterday we braved the inclement British summer weather! and met friends at Watford Costco - mostly to do some price comparisons in all things baby, like formula and nappies.  No major bargains or cost savings to be had, but nonetheless it was good to know that it is not worth the cost of membership - instead I need to keep an eagle eye on special offers from supermarkets.  Costco - please sort out some parent and child parking! 

Whilst sitting down to lunch, my friends and I saw a mother of tiny girl twins organising them to have passport photos taken.  I made a joke about match-making the pairs of twins.  When the mother came over and she said that her girls were seven weeks old, I then said that it couldn't possibly work with my two because they would be toy-boys!  The girls still seemed so tiny and Henry and Lewis both seemed so much bigger than the girls.  When the health visitor came today and weighed them, this theory was supported as Henry has put on a whole pound in one week, and Lewis gained 14oz, so pretty much neck-a-neck!  This means that Henry now weighs 8lbs 10oz, whilst Lewis is 8lbs even.  No wonder they are starting to feel quite heavy. 

I think it is also interesting to document my weight for posterity and as a potential way of managing it in the future.  Coming up to the IVF treatment, I lost a stone and a couple of pounds, and then gained the stone back in the first trimester.  I maintained the same weight up to 36 weeks, and then put on a stone of fluid in the last four weeks, when I was pretty much bedridden before delivery.  Since having the boys, I have lost three and a half stone - what that means is that I am now a stone and a half lighter than when I got pregnant.  I also don't think I have lost ALL the fluid either - so hopefully that is a positive sign for more weight loss, albeit it won't be significant.  Now - the question, especially with NOT breastfeeding, is - how do I maintain it?  :)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

At Four Weeks old ...

today, we have already seen some massive changes in our boys, Henry and Lewis.  Whereas suits were too big, now they are becoming very quickly too small.  Unbelievable that tiny human beings can grow and change so rapidly. 

Weight - Henry
At birth on 06.07.11, Henry weighed 3010g/6lb 13 oz.  It is normal for babies to lose weight after birth, but when Henry dropped to 2720g/6lb on 11.07, the midwife expressed her concern.  From that day on, I had to really change strategies and then just tried to stuff the boys full with as much formula as possible.  Weight gain was then rapid - by 13.07, Henry was 2800g/6lb 3oz; 19.07 - 2940g/6lb 7oz, and then on 26.07, he weighed 3260g/7lb 2oz.  This last weight gain was the most astonishing - in three days - ie by 29th July, Henry had gained 220g/8oz to weigh in at 3480g/7lb 10oz!  He really does feel different to how he weighed at birth - and that is why I am so anxious to record details without going into minutiae - I find it difficult to remember from day to day what has happened. 

Weight - Lewis

At birth on 06.07.11, Lewis weighed 2520g/5lb 9 oz.  He then dropped to 2340g/5lbs 2 1/2 oz by 11.07.  When weighed two days later, he had gained 60g/1 1/2oz - or weighed 2400g/5lb 4oz.  In 6 days, Lewis seemed to make a major leap and go to 2620g/5lb 12 1/2oz - so he was the fastest to gain weight past the birth level.  Then on 26th July, Lewis was 2940g/6lb 7 1/2 oz.  The last day he was weighed, ie 29th July, he was up to 3230g/7lb 2oz.  So big, healthy boys, both of them.

So thus far, it seems to be that demand feeding is the routine that we are following - though I do try to feed them at the same time if possible.  I haven't yet mastered the art of tandem feeding, but I will have to rely increasingly on this technique once Mum goes home.  It's not so easy, but I did have beginner's luck the first time I tried after being shown how by the health visitor on the 23rd July. 

Photos were taken by Mum, who doesn't tend to worry about backgrounds, lighting etc - but I will still scrapbook them, I think! 

I don't think it has been so easy since!  The positioning is definitely the worst part - especially when dealing with such wrigglepots.  I suppose it can only get better from here!

And whilst I realise it is still too early, it really does seem as though Henry and Lewis DO look at me when I am feeding/cuddling or generally interacting with them.  I am currently trying to grab some space to read the baby development books to work out when they do what - but we will take it one step at a time!