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(image via stephaniesterjovski)

What Little Sisters Can Teach Big Brothers

It's no surprise that Juliet has learned a lot from Drake. From morning to night she loves her big brother and follows him everywhere. Drake is a great big brother, for the most part, and really doesn't mind having Juliet tag along with him all the time. Since they spend so much time together, I always encourage Drake to show Juliet what he is doing, explain to her how games are played, what letters are on the book, where to put things away.

Juliet is in that wonderful stage where she imitates everything, so oftentimes she will copy Drake which also helps her learn. The downside is of course when Drake is being naughty or silly (shoes on your head, anyone), she often picks up those habits too. I always tell Drake he is Juliet's best teacher and as her big brother he will always be the one she looks to when learning about our world. With that in mind though, there have been certain things that I have noticed Drake has learned or gotten a better understanding of since Juliet's arrival. I never realized how having a little sister, or a sibling in the home, could help teach Drake things I have been working on with him for years to much frustration and futility. Watching him interact with Juliet and learning these lessons from her really warms my heart, especially since I know he will teach Juliet countless things throughout her life. It's nice to know that she can also help him become a better person too.

Feelings -  Of all the lessons Juliet has taught Drake, the biggest one I have noticed has to do with feelings and emotions. Before Juliet was born, my biggest worries about Drake always stemmed with how he played with other children roughly. Drake would push and shove and snatch and grab no matter how often I would tell him it wasn't nice and that we don't use our hands on others. Going to school and just simply growing up and maturing have definitely played a part in helping with this, but it wasn't until recently with Juliet that I noticed Drake starting to grasp the idea that others have feelings too.

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Holding Down My Little Fighter

Last week was a busy one for us. D had an appointment at the GI clinic (which means they draw a TON of blood), and an IVIG infusion (which requires an IV line to be placed), and because he has a cold he's back to getting nebulizer treatments. These weeks full of appointments used to be much more common for us, and somehow the timing worked out that these two big ones were back to back. At each appointment I had to hold him down for multiple painful pricks or uncomfortable procedures, which is one of my least favorite tasks. I really hate doing it, but in the moment I can just tune out his struggling and complaining and crying since we have no choice. In a way I dread the day when he is more vocal, since I imagine him yelling, "No Mommy, stop it, it hurts!" will be much harder to ignore, and the questions about why he has to go through all of this so regularly will be harder to answer.

D waiting to see the GI doc one day, getting his IVIG infusion the next

He gets the IVIG infusion about every 5 weeks to give his immune system a boost. Apparently a lot of short gut kids have weakened immune systems - although his hemotologist is hopeful that he won't need it forever. The prep for the infusion takes over an hour (I start by putting numbing cream on the possible IV sites before we leave home), and the infusion takes about two hours. They have to continuously monitor his temperature and blood pressure, even though he's gotten it since his 2nd NICU stay and has never had a bad reaction. The IV prick itself is the least offensive, followed by the blood draw at the GI clinic, where they have to keep squeezing his arm to get enough blood for all the tests they have to run. Thankfully now we only go to clinic once every few months, although for a while it was weekly. Worst of all is the nebulizer, where he has to be pretty still for about 15 mins breathing in the meds - three times a day! The only saving grace is that the nebulizer is more effective when he cries, since he takes deeper breaths.

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My Skincare and Haircare Routine

After having Olive, I really got into a funk where I put almost almost no effort into my appearance. I rarely wore makeup and avoided mirrors. It was a little embarrassing when I would run into people I knew on the street since I always wore my bummiest clothes, didn't have a stitch of makeup on and had unwashed hair, but I didn't have enough energy to change. I was depressed, but nowhere near the worst episodes I've had in the past, so I just chalked it up to the difficult early years of parenting. Earlier this year I finally made some big changes, started taking better care of myself, and started feeling much better. And looking better actually does make me feel better -- lately I've been wearing makeup 4-5 times a week, instead of 4-5 times a year!

I've always loved beauty products, and lately I've added a number of new products to my routine that have had a huge impact on my skin, so I thought I would share!

1) DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - Koreans believe in a two-step face cleansing system that involves first removing makeup with an oil like this one. I've been using this Japanese product for well over a decade and it does a fantastic job of removing all your makeup before you cleanse. As the popularity of cleansing oils grows, many American, Korean, and Japanese brands carry similar products.

2) Blum Makeup Wipes - When I'm too tired/lazy to use the deep cleansing oil, I turn to these natural wipes. They're now a must-have in my skincare routine.

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A Day with 4 Week Old Twins

With Miss H, I loved that I tracked what some of our days were like schedule-wise in the early days, including when Miss H was 2 1/2 weeks old. It's really fun to look back on, especially right now when I'm sleep deprived - it's made me realize I was just as sleep deprived back then, maybe even more than I am now (or, at least now I'm used to it)!

The twins are almost 4 weeks old, so the other day I tracked what our schedule was like from midnight to midnight (we use the Baby Connect app on our iPhones). It's crazy to see that the babies went through a combined 28 diapers (14 each!) and consumed 52 ounces via bottles (mostly formula, about 6 ounces of breast milk for each baby during the day). And I pumped 11 ounces of breast milk during that time period - obviously I can't keep up with their demand!

Both babies have been sleeping amazingly in their rock-n-plays (knock on wood!).

So here's what 24 hours with our 4 week old twins looks like (from midnight to midnight):

(The babies had been sleeping from about 7/8pm)

12:00am-12:10am: Miss Hop had a bottle (Mr. Hop had his bottle before the clock struck midnight!)
12:10am-1:48am: Both babies slept! (1 hour, 38 minutes)
1:48am-2:33am: Miss Hop had a diaper change and a bottle, a diaper change; Mr. Hop had a diaper change and bottle; I pumped after they went back to bed.
2:15am-4:20am: Both babies slept! (1 hour, 55 minutes)
4:20am-4:45am: Miss Hop had a diaper change and bottle; Mr. Hop had a diaper change and a bottle.

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11 things no one tells you about having a scheduled c-section

I spent the majority of my first pregnancy wondering what labor and delivery would feel like. I went back and forth about pain relief options and how I wanted to labor and where. We took a childbirth class that focused almost exclusively on vaginal deliveries, and somewhere around 33 weeks I decided that I needed an epidural because I did not want to feel anything. At 34 weeks we found out Chloe was breech and would be scheduling a c-section if she didn't move head down. I felt like we'd wasted time and money on the childbirth class. It barely scraped the surface of what a c-section was like, so I really went into mine without having a clue what to expect. I knew a handful of people that had had one, but none of them were planned and no one had a positive story to tell. They mostly complained about the recover,y but I was more interested in knowing what the actual procedure would be like. I did have a positive c-section birth, but I thought I'd share the ins and outs of getting a scheduled c-section... you know, the stuff no one ever tells you.

1. You have to walk to the operating room.
I thought I was going to crap my pants when the nurse came and got me to escort me to the operating room. She wanted me to walk? I felt like I was walking to my sudden death.

But then, I was TRICKED! With my second c-section, I was wheeled into the operating room. I thought I would like this better but it turned out I didn't like walking to or being wheeled to surgery.

2. It's freaking cold in there.
Maybe it's because you're half naked or are hooked up to an IV with fluids that feel like ice running through your veins, or maybe they really do have the thermostat set to -100*.  Either way, it's flipping freezing in the OR. They gave me super warm blankets to warm up and I decided right then and there that I needed warm blankets on me at all times. It was like being wrapped in a cocoon and semi distracting at the time.

3. You might feel a little tugging... or you might not.
I've heard that if you have an epidural, you'll feel tugging and pressure but if you have a spinal you won't feel anything.  I don't know if there's any truth to that, but I did have a spinal both times and didn't feel anything the first time. I was absolutely clueless as to what they were doing and actually had no idea that they'd even begun the surgery. I remember them telling me that my husband would come into the OR once surgery had begun, so imagine my complete surprise when he was suddenly sitting beside me (and I realized what was going on!).

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Baby Girl Winter Bootie Roundup

With our baby girl born in the cold winter months, I've been going a tad crazy searching adorable winter gear for her first few months. It really doesn't get much cuter than baby booties, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites for the little lady pre-walkers this winter!

1. PediPed Rosa Original 2. Stride Rite Crib Sweetie Snuggle Knit Bootie 3. Zara Cashmere Knit Bootie 4. Minnetonka Sheepskin Bootie 5. Oeuf Animal Bootie 6. Zutano Cozie Fleece Bootie 7. Bobux Moccasin 8. Freshly Picked Amour Moccasin 9. Acorn 'Tex Easy' Slipper 10. Uggs Bixbee 11. Robeez Cozy Ankle Bootie 12. Ugg Kids Purl

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