Thursday, March 27, 2014

6 month old beauties

The sweet babes are already half a year old (I am a little late to post), and are more fun with each passing day.  Their unique personalities are starting to become more evident, which is so much fun!  It is neat to have twins in that you get to see those little differences a little more amplified as you watch how their sibling compares.  It is hard to know if your baby is really laid back, fussy, happy, playful, etc. moreso than any average baby if you don't have one to compare it to. 

Elise is definitely our laid back easy baby.  Really both the girls are really easy babies.  I don't know if it is because we are getting better at knowing what babies need or if they are just awesome.  Probably a combination of both.  When the babies wake up, Erin is almost always the one to sound the alarm.  It is like she cries on both their behalf, and Elise just waits patiently, knowing we will come.  If Elise wakes up first, she will just lay quietly and play for a bit before she starts to get vocal.  Elise is usually just happy to be alive, and doesn't demand much attention.  As long as someone is near her, she is content.  They spend a lot of time sitting on their blanket just playing (with some boppy support in case they fall back), and Elise will just sit and play forever.  Erin usually starts to cry at some point and wants to be picked up.  I try to make sure I hold them both the same amount of time, but Erin probably gets held more just because she cries more often.  Erin seems more active and playful in general than Elise.  She was the first one to really take interest in toys and grab them and shake them.   She was also the first to master spoon feeding.  Elise just wasn't in a hurry to figure it out.  Actually, last night was the first time that Elise really ate well from a spoon.  They both laugh and smile a lot.  The pediatrician said that usually by now they are starting to say consonant sounds and babble, but we haven't heard much more than shrieking, squawking, laughing or grunting yet.  They can roll over from front to back, but not back to front yet.  They spend more time sitting than on their tummies, so I guess that is why.They are great sleepers, and rarely wake up at night (10-12 hrs usually).  They are now in their own room, which helps that a lot, I think.  They sleep in separate beds, and are no longer in the rock n plays.  They are getting to be such chunky babies.  Elise, at 17.8 lbs is 80th percentile for weight and 36th for height.  Erin, at 17.6 lbs is 77th percentile for weight and 55th for height.  I think the height was mismeasured a bit though because Elise's head wasn't touching the top as well as Erin's.  They LOVE their jumping seats, and have really learned how to use their legs to go up and down.  Elise especially loves to jump, and she will just go at it endlessly it seems.  They also love the car, and when we drove down to Dallas over spring break, they hardly made a peep!  Even if they are hungry, they will wait it out much longer if we are driving.  This was helpful when we were 45 minutes away and it was time for them to eat.  I didn't know if they would let us go the whole way, but they did!  We drove down one day and back the next, so I am thankful they are so cooperative. 

Their schedule is in somewhat of a transition as we are trying to go down to 4 feeding times a day, rather than five.  Now that they are starting to eat solids, it seems like that last feeding is just a little snack that keeps us up later than necessary.  I am still exclusively pumping except for breastfeeding them individually first thing in the morning.  Elise has lately started to not want to breastfeed at all, which makes me kinda sad.  It is also less convenient because I can't just lay in bed and feed them for a while before getting up to pump.   

So, here is the old schedule:

8am wake and eat (7-8 oz.)

9:30am nap

11:30 am wake and eat (7-8 oz.)

12:30 pm nap

2:30 pm wake and eat (7-8 oz.)

5:30 pm eat (7-8 oz.)

6:30-8ish nap

8:30 or 9 eat (4-8 oz., depending)

In bed for the night between 9:30 and 10:30, just depends on the night

Here is their new schedule (still a mix of both right now)

8am wake and eat (8 oz.)

10am nap

12pm wake and eat (8 oz.)

2 pm nap

4 pm wake and eat (8 oz.)

5:30 or 6 pm catnap (maybe)

7 or 7:30 pm wake and eat  (8 oz. milk and also feeding them solids after they eat their milk)

In bed for the night between 8:30 and 9:30

I will probably incorporate more solids into their eating routine as they become more skilled eaters.  Right now, I am just doing rice cereal at night and trying the fruits and veggies during the day.

I just LOVE taking care of these sweet babies.  I never used to be such a baby person, but boy do I love 'em now.  I just wanna bottle up their sweetness and innocence so I can remember it when they get bigger and start acting crazy like their big sisters (S and S are super sweet, but just pretty challenging right now).  It will be so fun (maybe not!) when they start crawling around and are able to have a little independence. 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

budgeting for our family of six

The last time I wrote a blog post about budgeting was in 2012, shortly after Sally turned 1.  You can read about it here.  Frankly, I am amazed when I go back and read it that I was able to follow that budget.  It is VERY minimal.  I have to remind myself, though, that things have changed since then.  Now Sophie and Sally are 3 and 4, and they are eating way more than they did back then.  Also, we have made some changes in the kinds of food we buy.  We don't buy everything organic, but there are several things we buy a lot of now (organic) that we didn't used to buy.  We also have purchased a van since then (to fit our big family in!), so our budget now includes that car payment.  It also seems that there are just more random expenses these days, particularly medical ones. 

After the twins were born (and even a few months prior to), I was so overwhelmed by taking care of everyone that I stopped paying attention to our budget very closely.  I mean, I didn't spend crazy amounts of money or anything, but there was already enough stress in my life that I felt like I just needed to give myself a break and not worry about it for a little bit.  Well, now the twins are 6 months old and I am realizing I really need to get back on track.    I did learn from our old budget that, even then, $300 a month on groceries was pretty tight.  That was supposed to include other toiletry and paper product items, diapers, etc.  (We use cloth mostly, but still buy some disposables).  So, my new budget is going to put more money in that category.  Also, since I had things trimmed down so much, every time there was some unexpected expense or if we needed to get a babysitter, I would get so stressed out that we weren't "staying in the budget."  This time, I am going to create a few more categories so that we can accommodate normal expenses that are just going to happen.  Then, if we are under budget at all, I can use that money in other categories that are over the monthly norm.

The grocery category is the one I feel I have the most control over, but it is hard to keep it low!  I recently found a blog whose author claims to feed her family of 5 on $300 a month.  She even listed her expenses and meals for a month to show how they do it.  For one thing, they eat a lot of pancakes.  For another, I don't see tons of fruits and vegetables, which are really important to me to eat, even if it costs a little more.  She did have some good ideas though.  Some of them that I want to implement are:
-not eating boxed cereal for breakfast anymore (instead -- oatmeal, pancakes, homemade muffins)
-making more homemade breads, muffins, tortillas, etc. instead of buying them
-making more vegetarian meals/ using more lentils/beans as a source of protein
-not buying crackers, cookies, processed carbs in general
-buying more produce that is in season/on sale and utilizing our local farmer's market

So, these are my new monthly budget goals

Groceries and toiletries $450
Eating out: $40
Random: $200
Entertainment and babysitting: $50
Medical: $150
Gifts and Home Improvement: $75

Hoping this new budget will help us keep spending in line without causing me to fret over every last penny we spend!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Picture Post

all of us Lungwitz girls

Fun time tummy time!

Snow day!  This is their first real snowman they made.  They were so cute finding things to decorate it with.

sweet sisters!

The babies are learning to sit up now!  Erin is a lot stronger than Elise right now (on right).