Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Anecdotes with Avery

I thought I'd start a series about funny conversations with Avery. She's hilarious and makes us laugh everyday. I thought we could share the joy!

The other night I am tucking Avery into bed:

Me: You are SO silly!

Avery: NO, I'm Avery Barnes!

Me: You're right. Am I Mommy Barnes?

Avery: No, you're Natalie Barnes!

Me: (laughing) Is Daddy Daddy Barnes?

Avery: NO! That's Troy Barnes!

We were making homemade cookies yesterday:


Me: Oh no, what happened?

Avery: I licked the spoon. I'm sorry.

Me: Why did you lick the spoon? Was it an accident?

Avery: I put it in my mouth. It's yummy in my tummy.

Me: I think we need to learn the difference between an accident and on purpose.

Avery: Yeah. It was good.

Me: I know.

Every night we say the EXACT same dinner prayer and let Avery fill in 3 things that she is thankful for. Normally she says baby Caris, baby Kinley, Optimus, fruits, or candies. It's 3 of those 5 things in various orders. 2 nights ago she said this:

Dear God, thank you for a pretty day. Thank you for Jesus, Cinderella, and Jasmine. In Jesus' name we pray, AMEN!

She opened her eyes and looked at us and Troy and I almost started crying. It was SO unexpected and amazing. I mean, she put Jesus in the same category as 2 Disney Princesses, but she also didn't say any of the 5 things that she normally says.

I looked at Troy and we both had watery eyes. Baby girl thanked God for Jesus. We talked about it later and I was like, "I heard her say 'Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for me.'" Now, I know that's not what she actually said, but that's what I heard. And my heart was singing.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snot Faced Kids

I was beyond blessed with Avery. She literally NEVER gets sick. She has been sick ONE TIME since she was born and it was a wicked bad cold and cough the week we brought the twins home and she was quarantined to the upstairs loft so she didn't get the babies sick.


I never had to use the booger sucker with her. Not once.

Forget it. Right now, the twins are bright green, snot faced little aliens. Like, you'd think we were killing them every time we suctioned out their noses. I've heard that with your first kid, they almost never get sick and then you have one or two more and someone is always sick. Well, that is proving to be true.

I keep thinking that they're awake, but really, the video monitor we have has such good microphones that I am hearing their little snorts and snores and grunts because they can barely breathe. It sounds like a pack of wild pigs in their room. With a cold mist humidifier. Which is making feeding them really fun. Whenever I try to nurse Caris, she has a complete meltdown because her nose is stuffy (even after using the evil booger sucker) and with her mouth sealed on my boob or a bottle, she can't breathe.

Has anyone seen the X-Files movie? I love that movie. Anyone? You know the scene at the end where Mulder saves Sculley from the alien ship in Antarctica? And she has started to turn into an alien and kind of looks like she's intubated with a giant mucus hose? Let me remind you...

Well, when we get the kids up from naps, the tip of their nose to their lips are pretty much SEALED with bright green boogers. They're smiley and laughing though. And blowing bubbles in their snot mustaches.

Of course I made the mistake of googling "infant colds" and I just need to stop googling infant problems. Inevitably, I am diagnosing my children with terminal illnesses when I google.

So now I come to you all as I am TOTALLY inexperienced with infant sickness. Tips for dealing with infant colds? Home remedies? HELP! My twins are turning into the X-files aliens and it's a little disturbing.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Avery Singing "What Does the Fox Say?"

I cannot get enough of this girl. I really can't. She is precious. And possibly tone deaf.

You may remember when I talked about her obsession with Ylvis last year. Well, now she sings the song. The video is kinda dark, but it's about her singing more than the fact that she's sitting on the couch in her Rapunzel dress, playing with stickers.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Valentine

For Valentine's Day this year, Troy was working midnight shift, so he worked from midnight thursday night to 8 am friday morning. I was working on friday and leave the house around 7 am to see my first patient at 8 am. But since it was his friday, he got off a little early (around 6am). On his way home, he decided to swing by Starbucks and pick up drinks for us. Here is our text conversation:

That was supposed to be a white chocolate mocha. Clearly my phone autocorrect, did not know what I was talking about. Silly iphone. But he knew me well enough to guess what I would have wanted after I didn't see his text in time.

He got home with a few minutes to spare before I had to leave at 7 so we could chat about the night and the plan for the rest of the day (Optimus getting a hair cut, going to a friends house because they were on THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE!!!).

I went to work and Troy came up to meet me for lunch since Aurora was home with all the kiddos.

He brought chinese takeout, a box of chocolate covered strawberries, and a dozen long stemmed roses. No filter on that baby. They're just that pretty :)

I was definitely the luckiest girl in the hospital. He dressed up all cute too. Me in my scrubs and Troy in his khakis and button down shirt. On a date in the hospital cafeteria.

Normally, Troy and I go to Walmart on Valentine's Day and pick out a card for each other. We exchange them in the aisle of the stationary section, read them, and put them back in the shelving. 5 bucks for a card that you toss in the garbage a few days later is just not worth it to me. And it's way more fun to have a Walmart date on Valentine's Day. Haha.

So I'm not sure what possessed Troy to be all sweet and thoughtful this year, but I'll take it.

Ps. I didn't do ANYTHING for him to celebrate February 14. I went to work. And enjoyed him spoiling me.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Operation "Stop Eating Anything/Everything and Laying Around Nursing and then Expecting to Lose Weight"

Here we go guys. It. Is. On.

I decided to do this post after reading this post, written by my friend Ashley at Coffee, Cake, and Cardio. Could blogging about my eating habits and HATING exercise actually help me lose the baby weight?

Troy renewed our gym membership on thursday, February 13. We let it expire in October because we knew the kids would be born soon-ish (October 23) and the YMCA doesn't allow children in childcare until they are 3 months old. They will be 4 months next week and I went to the gym to exercise (rather than swim over the summer) for the first time since April of 2013. That is serious. It had been a LOOOONG time since working out.

Before I BLEW up and gained 31 pounds in 4 days from the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, resulting in a paracentesis, where 5 liters of fluid were removed from my abdomen last March, I weighed 140 lbs. After that was resolved, my weight went back down to 146 when I found out I was pregnant. I got up to 192 while pregnant with the babies. So technically, I gained 52 lbs. I lost a bunch of it REALLY quick. Like within 2 weeks I was back down to 160. I weighed myself this morning and I am currently at 154. If you do the weight, I've only lost 6 lbs in 3 months. That's pretty bad considering the calorie output I'm getting with nursing these 2 hippos and being on my feet all day at work.

So in summary:

Pre-baby weight - 140
Last weight before delivering - 192
Current weight - 154

When I was losing weight from having Avery, it just MELTED off. The 140lbs is actually 10 lbs BELOW my pre-pregnancy weight with Avery. I was 150 when I got pregnant with her. Nursing is THE ONLY thing I did to lose weight. I ate normally with no dieting and was in smaller sizes by the time she was 2 months old.

THIS time, I was like, YEEEEEES NURSING IS AWESOME and I am going to lose so much weight nursing twins!! And I TOTALLY took advantage and have been eating whatever, whenever I feel like it. I figured that this is the only time that I'll be able to eat like this and not gain weight. Well, the jokes on me. Apparently, you can't eat an entire tray of Ghirardelli brownies and expect to lose weight. Or half a roll of cookie dough. Or an entire box of girl scout cookies. Or half of a pizza. It's a problem. And when I am making healthy choices (ie, dinner), I eat more than 1 serving of everything.

So, without further ado, my post baby body: Day 1 of Operation "Stop Eating Anything/Everything and Laying Around Nursing and then Expecting to Lose Weight"

AHHH MY EYES! It's winter. I need a tan. A couple weeks with the pool will change that.

It's actually not toooooooo bad. I made it out good without stretch marks. I definitely am NOT sucking it in or tightening it up. It looks a little better when I do. Not so much here though.

You can definitely tell this body was made for comfort and not speed. Holding and snuggling babies and not exercise.

So I went to the gym today and took Avery to play in childcare while Troy stayed home with the babies. I almost died. I was on the elliptical, which is normally what I do when I'm being lazy. It is the best place to burn calories and read. I just wanted to go and get into the swing of things, but again, the jokes on me. That's what I get for not exercising for almost a year. Eek.


1. Stop eating cookie dough out of the container
2. Exercise 3 times a week
3. Drink 100+ oz of water a day
4. Stop having 3 servings of dinner

I'll keep y'all updated. Sorry if I blinded you with my mushy, white body. That will change. Hopefully sooner rather than later. But you know what they say: 9 months to put it on. Give yourself at least 9 months to take it off. Or more. Whatever. I guess that means I have at least 5 more months.

Only 25% of my clothes fit and I refuse to buy a new summer wardrobe. This is Vegas. It's summer 9 months out the year. It's a problem. I really really need my clothes to fit.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Avery Developing her Fine Motor Skills

I'll be the first person to tell you that I am TERRIBLE about teaching Avery things. I generally have the attitude of "she'll learn it eventually and there's no reason to push her." As a result, Avery didn't learn her colors until about 2 months ago. She said that everything was orange. Not kidding. Troy and I finally were like, "ummmmm, what's her deal?" And then we realized it was because we weren't making a real effort to sit down and teach her.

I'm not above bribing. Every day, after lunch and dinner, Avery sat down at the table with Troy or me and we learned colors. With M&Ms. That's right. She was allowed to eat the candy if she got the color right. We gave her good incentive. And then she was constantly like, "can we do chocolate colors?" It took about 2 weeks of daily effort, but she now knows almost all her colors. The main ones anyways. She has a really hard time with things like gray, teal (or any shade of that kooky teal/green/aquamarine color) and marigold (where there's a fine line between orange and yellow).

She knows about half of her letters, but again, we aren't really pushing it. Like at all.

She recently got SUPER interested in coloring and drawing pictures. I could not be more proud of her tripod grasp on a pen or marker. It's gorgeous. She colors for at least an hour a day. Here are some of her pictures:

Her VERY first smiley face!

Look at that detail:

She colored this whole picture by herself:

I love how she colors the letters at the bottom. She notices the weirdest details to color. Most kids would color the dress and focus on the main part of the picture. Not Avery. She colors the spines of the books and the architecture in the background:

I helped color some of the blocks on the left side, but she colored the rest of this one too:

I just love it. She is actually out of pictures in her coloring book now, so I have to go get another book for her to start on. In addition, I want to get a handwriting book that is similar to Handwriting Without Tears especially since her grasp and control is so good! Here are few free downloadable pages if you are interested in how the program works. The program teaches numbers and letters using basic rules and funny directions for kids to learn the proper way to write. It starts with easy concepts first, like horizontal and vertical lines. So letters like E, F, L, T, and I are first. Once they master certain skills, it goes to other letters that are curved like C and O. Then it combines the 2 concepts for other letters like D, P, B, and G. You get the idea.

So anyways. Hopefully we can get some of those books and some blank lined paper to practice. As a side note, we enrolled Avery in preschool for the fall, starting August 26, 2014. She'll be going on tuesdays and thursday all day. Troy and I were really impressed with the school when we took a tour. The FIRST GRADERS were diagramming sentences and doing basic algebra (4 + X = 7) and Troy almost started crying. We were both like "ummmmm, what?!?!? We didn't diagram sentences until middle or high school." Crazy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Putting in the Pool

We had our backyard landscaped in October of 2012. We only did 1/2 of the yard, knowing that we wanted to put in a pool, but we needed to figure out the financing at the time. Well, a year and a half later we are ready. We tried to refinance the house to pay for it, but it didn't quite pan out the way we wanted. We didn't want to take out a loan from the bank to pay for it, so we are now in a position to pay for the pool with cash outright! Dave Ramsey would be proud :)

We decided to build our pool with the same company that did our landscaping, especially since they already did the electrical drop BEFORE putting in the astroturf in our backyard to prevent digging anything up to lay it later:

We went and met with the company last week to finalize the design, some details, and sign all the paperwork. They had a really cool program that Sabrina (our designer) input all these pictures and measurements from our house to make a 3D mock up of the yard and pool. Going into to see the mock up design was cool because it reminded me of Property Brothers on HGTV where they show the people their choices on the 3D screen. It was really neat.

I had told her previously (at some meetings at our house for measurements) that I wanted some kind of tile design in the pool and she put in an octopus, which we are NOT doing. We picked 3 small turtles (one for each of the girls) that I'll show you in a bit. So picture it without the giant purple octopus in the deep end.

ps. That's supposed to be Avery sitting on the wet deck

The pool is 9 feet across and 26 feet long. The wet deck is 4 feet long so that we can put a beach chair in there, use it as a "baby pool" area, or whatever. We also asked them to put an umbrella sleeve in the wet deck so that it can be covered if there are babies in there or we are relaxing in some chairs.

You can see on the right, our 2 air conditioning units. The pool pump is going to go next to them and they are going to put a fence around the units so they are all blocked off together from the pool deck.

Here is what the pool looks like at night. There is the pool light in the deep end, which will be 5 feet. The way the pool is designed, we can advertise it as a "lap pool" as well because it is long and the left side of it isn't interrupted by any stairs or returns or anything.

We left the pool company after signing our contract and went to the tile place. The guy there was AWESOME. There was tons of border tile to pick from and instead of just letting us pick something pretty, he gave us tons of advice about what cleans the best, what looks the nicest, which tiles cheap hotels use (to avoid), which collects calcium or shows it the most and tons of other stuff. We also picked the color of our pool decking and some decorative tiles for in the pool (the little turtles).

Here is what the little turtles looks like in real tiles:

But we picked these colors:

We also decided to have a decorative tile to make the edges of the stairs and the wet deck in the shallow end, and the bench in the deep end. It looks like bubbles and the tiles are a royal blue. You can see where they would go if you scroll back up and look where the diamond tiles are on the edges of those spots in the pool.

We chose a light gray color pool decking because it's the same color as the window and door framing on our house. The plaster in the pool is going to be mixed to be a light blue so that the water looks more like the ocean than clear (which is white plaster) and we picked a border tile that is a similar color and texture to the bubble tiles that are going on the steps. I didn't get a picture of those because we changed our minds to that at the last minute. Here is a pic of the pool decking color next to our 2nd choice tile:

The misty gray color is the decking color. And just ignore the tile...we went with a darker one.

For now, we are waiting for all the approvals from our HOA and we have to go get our neighbors to sign off on our blue prints because of the construction. We live on the corner lot and they are taking down a wall of our brick fence to bring in the back hoe to dig and the cement truck to pour. Once we get everything passed through our HOA (which our contractor handles) and they get all the permits we need, we will be a go for the pool building. We are hoping it will start the first week in March. They said it takes about 6-8 weeks to complete construction, so we are pretty pumped to get the pool in for the summer. Especially since the YMCA pool is so crazy in the summer with the camps and it's ONLY open from 12-5 everyday.

Avery loves the water, so we are pretty excited to get this all rolling. We already have that side of the yard completely fenced off with a self closing gate and it's state law to put an alarm on every door and window that exits into the backyard from the first floor, so it should be very safe.

We'll keep you updated with pictures and stuff as we start digging!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Torticollis and Physical Therapy for Kinley

I mentioned in a post a few months back that Kinley has a preference for turning her head to one side. The right to be exact. She likes to look to her right side and when she turns to her left, she keeps her chin tucked down. It's called torticollis and she got it from positioning during my pregnancy.

This is Kinley:

This is how Kinley feels about turning her head to the left. And an example of how she likes to sit. With her head turned to the right and tilted slightly down:

If you look at the picture below, some of the symptoms of torticollis are present. As a result of her right sided preference, she has a little flat spot on the back right side of her head. It is also pushing her right ear forward and resulting in an irregular distribution of the fat in her cheeks. So in the picture, you can see her right cheek (your left) is a little bigger looking:

At her 2 month appointment, right before Christmas, our pediatrician put in an order for physical therapy. I asked around a few months ago for a good pediatric physical therapy place in town because I had 2 friends who had kids who needed some therapy. My co-worker's wife works at a place in Henderson call Children's Therapy Center. It's a bit of a hike (about 45 min to get there) but it's worth it to see a therapist that I trust.

They are teaching us exercises to stretch her sternocleidomastoid muscles, anterior scalenes, and trapezius muscles. And how to strengthen her back muscles, which will help her relax and stretch out her neck.

Here is Kinley in PT with her therapist Leslie:

And she got her neck taped last week to assist in engaging muscles to prevent the head tilt:

Leslie says that she is doing better but her neck still feels a little "rope-y," as in the muscles feel like ropes and are tight. We've been going once a week for about a month and are expected to be able to start going once every other week soon. We are good at doing our homework. She has to do little baby sit ups, stretch some, sit up while we rub her muscles, and do lots of tummy time to strengthen her back and extensor muscles for her neck.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Breastfeeding Update, Cloth Diapers, and Back to Work

Aloha everyone. Long time no blog.

Last time I left you, breastfeeding was going pretty well and I was nursing the girls once every two hours. Well, about a month ago, Troy and I decided we couldn't handle the crying anymore. And the not sleeping. No one should be AFRAID to be alone with your kids. The babies were nursing every 2.5-3 hours, even at night and they were approaching 3 months old. They should have been sleeping longer and we were both struggling with the whole no sleep thing. And when they were awake they were crying all the time.

Basically, I would nurse one while the other one screamed (I still can't tandem nurse). The one I was nursing would fall asleep for about an hour. I would nurse the second one and they would fall asleep for about an hour. After they both woke up an hour later, they would scream and scream and scream until their next feeding. I would usually cave after about 2.5 hours because we couldn't take the crying anymore.

My boobs felt empty empty empty and they would cry and not latch on because my milk wouldn't come down immediately. Everyone was frustrated. We were tired and the babies were hungry. And not sleeping.

My solution?? Start pumping like crazy. I had to increase my milk supply. At the time, they were drinking 3 ounces each every 3 hours. If they could make it that long. To make sure they were eating enough, we started just bottle feeding my pumped breastmilk. We were able to figure out that they were SO comforted by the boob that they weren't nursing long enough and would fall asleep,

starving an hour later and not helping my supply grow because they weren't completely emptying my boobs out. By pumping, we could ensure they were eating enough and empty the boobies all the way so my supply wouldn't drop off.

While waiting for my supply to grow some more, we supplemented about 2 oz of formula per day, per child. I was sad at first because I want to exclusively give them breastmilk, but after talking to a friend of mine with twins, I realized, "I am not made to nurse a litter." I just need to do the best I can and make sure my kids aren't hungry. If that means supplementing with formula every once in a while, so be it. Every once in a while when we have a busy day, we'll bring formula out with us if we know we'll be gone for a while (going to church and then running errands for example) and then I pump when I get home, usually enough for more than one feeding per kid. Which is pretty great.

I have been pumping during the day and bottle feeding and only nursing for the middle of the night/early morning feeding. As a result, they almost immediately got happier, were sleeping from about 9pm to 5am (the feeding I would nurse) and then pump a full feeding for each of them before I go to work. If they don't wake up before I leave for work at 7am (which has happened), I can pump 18+ ounces. It's craaaaaaaazy! Women's bodies are amazing.

Overall, since I switched to mostly pumping, everyone is happier. It makes my life a little more inconvenient, but it's worth it. For our pocketbook and the babies immune systems :)

Call us crazy, but about 2 weeks ago, we started the cloth diapers. I wanted to wait until the babies were big enough to fit in the diapers so there was no leaking from the leg holes. I started Avery at 3 months exactly (when she was about 10-11 lbs) and I was really excited to start using them for the girls. We are using BumGenius pocket diapers with snaps and prefolds with Thirsties covers and snappis. Troy and Aurora (our nanny) do really well with the prefolds, but I am TERRIBLE. The prefold gets held together with the snappi and then the cover snaps over the prefold. Well, if you don't make sure that all the fabric is tucked in to the cover, the SECOND they pee, there are leaks everywhere and multiple clothing changes per day. I'm getting better at it, but there is a little more patience involved. The prefolds are definitely cheaper than the BumGenius, but I am still partial to the BumGenius. They were having a sale on and bought 15 more last week.

A lot of people have said, how can you cloth diaper 2 babies? Well, we'll see how it goes. I did it with one so with a few more diapers, we should be able to keep the same laundry schedule and keep going with two. BUT I don't do any of the kids laundry. Including diapers or bedding. Which is seriously amazing. Aurora is fully on board with the cloth diapers (she used them with her kids) and does at least one load of laundry on days that she's here (3 days a week). So having extra help really makes a difference. I do Troy's and my laundry and bedding, but having Aurora here for all the kid stuff and kitchen stuff makes a huge difference in terms of time makes our quality of life better and our laundry hasn't gotten out of control. Yet.

I am also officially back at work and on my mutually agreed upon schedule at work. I work on mondays, fridays, and saturdays all day. I used to just work whenever I was needed, but now that there is more going on at home, having a reliable week to week schedule just works better for us. And for hiring our nanny.

I've gotten a ton of questions about how we found her, agreed upon pay, "extras", and hours.

We registered on, which is how we found Carolyn, our nanny before we had the twins and she moved away :( Having had luck on the website before, we decided to give it a second go. We placed an ad with our requirements, hours, level of experience, days/hours needed. We had about 35 people apply and only interviewed 3 people. Everyone we interviewed was over 50. We really wanted someone with experience with multiples and with multitasking/running a household. It is easy to get overwhelmed with 3 kids under three and I frequently have freak out moments. I was hoping to hire someone that wouldn't feel that panic, and I felt pretty confident that hiring someone under 30 who didn't have their own kids could get in over their head.

We ended up hired Aurora. She is from the Philippines, is almost 60, has 2 children and her mother lives with her as well. She has tons and tons of experience and great references. She tutors children with special needs and we could tell she wasn't intimidated by watching 3 kids under 3 years old. She has a very gentle, calm spirit and so far, the only issue we have had is that she can let Avery boss her around at times. Aurora is here for 10 hours a day, from 7am-5pm on mondays, fridays, and saturdays and she has come for occasional other things like date night or when we met with our pool contractor (!!!!!!). So far things are going well with me being back at work. She will do dishes, empty the dishwasher, make baby food, cook for Avery, do all the kids laundry, vacuum common areas (ie. areas the kids hang out), change kid bedding, and clean up all the toys/books that Avery hurricanes through in a day.

I'll be back with an update about the pool this week :) We are waiting for the HOA to approve the plan and for the permits for engineering. We are hoping to start digging in the next month so that the pool is up and running by Avery's birthday!