Friday, August 17, 2012

Our First Smiles!

Jaden & Cody have shown us their smiles for the past couple of weeks, but tend to get a bit camera shy with their cute expressions. Perhaps it's because we're sticking a large black object into their face when we're asking them to smile rather than simply looking at them... maybe that's a factor. :) Recently, though, we were excited to get some good smiles captured on camera. What fun! Here are our cutie-pies!

Cody, our first smiler



Our happy man, Jaden


Bonding with Grandma

Most new parents probably cannot claim the blessing of having live-in help for two months following the birth of a new baby. With TWO babies joining our household, however, we knew that the two months of help would not be overdoing it. We figured that our days would be extremely busy and our nights too short, so the help was very welcome and needed! After Amy's mother left following the baptism, Jason's mother Carol stayed in Billings for an additional 3 weeks. What a wonderful gift her presence was!

The boys absolutely loved playing with Grandma and listening to her sing to them each day. She woke up each morning with a smile and a refreshing positive attitude (particularly helpful as our energy was often lacking). She willingly accompanied Amy on errands and to school to clean out her classroom. This often meant that Grandma would go cruising through the aisles or the outdoors to quiet the boys, as Amy rushed to finish the task-at-hand. She was a tremendous help in the daytime feeding routine: filling bottles, changing diapers, taking notes, burping, or bottle-feeding boys. She also did an enormous amount of laundry for us and regular cooking & cleaning as well. Jason & Amy loved the chance to relax with her too, playing occasional games in the afternoon and watching many evening Olympic events. Since Jason was back at long days of work, Amy most especially appreciated the companionship throughout her days. Grandma was a wonderful listener, problem-solver, and walking partner. We also valued her firm example of faith, as she prayed us through the tough days and rejoiced in God's goodness with the boys' new accomplishments. What a wonderful support she was! Thank you so much, Grandma, for your many hours of hard work spent with us and for your outpouring of love shed upon us and our boys. These boys love you and miss you, and so do we!





Hangin' with the Boys

So how do we as the Schleicher family of 4 spend our days? Following are some pics that capture some of our moments with the boys...

We do lots of playing on the floor! Jaden & Cody are happiest after each daytime feeding, so we'll see most of our smiles and hear their little voices during this playtime. As you can see, the boys still like to kick and move their little arms and legs in random fashion.



Daddy & Mommy both like to sit on the floor with our boys, shaking rattles or small toys, or simply just watching them kick & play.




As you can see from this picture, both boys are doing a great job of maintaining eye contact. When we stand and walk back and forth in the room, they often move their heads to follow our movements.


Grandma was a fun hands-on floor playmate, too!


The other position the boys love is this one: sitting up against our knees. We love the close-up views of their many funny facial expressions. Here, Daddy is trying to get Jaden to smile.



We also love trying tummy time! (Uncle Andrew the PT should be proud.) The boys still have a ways to go in establishing complete neck control, but they are surprisingly willing to lay in this position, grunting and moving their little heads around for quite some time.




The boys love being involved with anything Mommy & Daddy may be doing. Here, Jaden and Daddy are planning out their annual Fantasy Football picks. Daddy is teaching Jaden everything he knows. This is an important year for Fantasy, as Jaden & Cody are entering the league for the first time with a joint team.



We also do LOTS of singing & dancing in our home these days! Cody particularly loves songs with heavier drum beats. This picture was taken while enjoying his all-time favorite popular Christian artist David Crowder.


Here, Daddy is singing to calm both boys simultaneously. They love hearing his voice!


Mommy is even willing to try out her singing voice for her boys. Here, singing wasn't quite sufficient to calm little Jaden, so Mommy pulled out some dancing moves. Thankfully, it WAS successful in calming him down!




Another popular activity in the Schleicher household is SLEEPING (although we could always use more!). Here are the boys' beloved Rock n' Play cradles we had mentioned-- wonderful for nighttime sleeping!


The boys' all-time favorite sleeping position, however, is right with Mommy or Daddy. We certainly are more than willing to oblige with a daytime nap ourselvs!




Sometimes, our days are simply filled with holding & cuddling. With two little ones, this often means finding some creative positions. Here, Amy found a workable position to hold both boys while still going through the mail.





Bottom Line: Whether singing or playing or cuddling, we love days with our little boys!

 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Two Months Old

Cody (on the left) to Jaden: "Pound it, brother, we made it! We're two months old!"


Happy Two Month birthday, Jaden & Cody!

Well, as evidenced by the lateness of this post (the boys celebrated their 2-month on August 2nd), Jason & I have quickly learned that life with twins is an adventure in the fast lane! While these boys keep us super busy (and still very sleep-deprived!), we've enjoyed seeing them grow and develop through their second month of life. What a blessing it has been to still have live-in help all the way through this stage. Jason's mom lived with us following the baptism until August 6th, making our lives and schedules and the nearly constant job of twin-holding much, much easier-- and more fun!

To celebrate their 2 months of life, Jason & I reflected upon the new highlights and accomplishments of Jaden & Cody's life.

SLEEPING HABITS
  • definitely have days & nights figured out
  • sleep well at night in Rock n' Play cradles
  • still woken up by Mommy & Daddy at night every 3-4 hours to feed
  • sleep (at least a bit) between most daytime feedings
  • sporadic daytime sleeping (naps sometimes 15 min., sometimes over 1 hour)
  • won't nap consistently in any one place, other than while being held
EATING HABITS
  • still doing combo of nursing & some supplemental formula
  • developed bad habit of VERY fussy nursing sessions this month
  • will calm to the sound of the vacuum cleaner and will feed very well (The vacuum became a lifesaver this month to encourage the boys to eat! As you can imagine, our floors have gotten VERY clean. Eventually, we got smart and recorded the sound of the vacuum on a portable tape player. Amy takes the tape deck with her around the house for every nursing session. Hopefully, this is just a temporary solution for our boys! Ah, the things you resort to as a new parent...)
  • still gain great weight through feedings: average an ounce or two daily

BOTH BOYS
  • love floor playtime on a quilt
  • enjoy the sound of some toys (like rattles)
  • love listening to Daddy, Mommy & Grandma sing
  • willing to try tummy time
  • neck muscles are strengthening
  • can turn head from one side to other when lying down
  • able to hold our gaze for longer stretches
  • still shoot out arms & legs in random, sporadic movements
  • enjoy bathtime
  • are growing more hair!
  • still no fussy crying in church
  • like to interrupt dinnertime
  • not sure about stroller rides (fuss during first half of every ride)
  • love to be held
  • seem to know when Mommy & Daddy's attention is divided
  • are magnets for attention at church, in stores, on walks, etc.

JADEN MICHAEL




  • weighs in at 10 lbs. 14 oz.
  • had his first coo & smile! (one day after Cody)
  • willing to lie down independently for longer stretches

CODY ANDREW




  • weighs in at 9 lbs. 13 oz.
  • our first cooing & smiling boy!
  • loves David Crowder (pacifies instantly to his songs)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Family Together Time

With all of our immediate family here for the baptism, the house was hoppin'! Here is the crew:

The Schleicher side


The Walquist side


Because our family group now contains 3 infants and one 3-year-old, most of what we did together was hold babies and play with Ian (my, how family gatherings change in a hurry!). However, we were able to fit in a few other fun activities as well. First of all, no Schleicher or Walquist gathering occurs without eating some great food! Jason was our grill-master for the week.


We made some yummy s'mores-- with HUGE marshmallows-- for dessert. The s'mores were especially a big hit with Ian, and were forever afterwards referred to as "fluff."


We also made a getaway to a local park, where the ladies took the youngest Schleicher boys for a walk. This was Amy's first official walk with her twins. She LOVES her double snap n' go stroller recommended to her by her expert mother-of-twins cousin. (Thanks, Becky!)


Little Cody, however, wasn't quite so sure what he thought of the stroller yet...



Kim and Grandma took turns walking little Ryan in his stroller.



Meanwhile, the older Schleicher boys were battling it out nearby in a game of doubles tennis.



Part of the reason the guys played tennis together was to help Jason and Dad S. prepare for their big doubles tennis matches in the Big Sky State Games. Team Schleicher played excellently and came home with a third place bronze medal! (Do we need to mention that there were only three teams playing...?) Congratulations, guys!


Kim and Amy took some time to make through-the-mail shower invitations for Sarah in honor of Baby Walquist. Both twins were needing some attention, so Cody & Jaden got in on the action of card-making, too.





We decided to continue a long-standing Sylvester family (Amy's mom's side) tradition by taking "cousin line-up" pictures. The Sylvester cousins took these pictures at every family gathering, with all the cousins lining up in age order. So... here are our first attempts at a Schleicher cousin picture.

Attempt #1: Ian and Ryan look great, but Jaden isn't happy with his position as 3rd oldest cousin. Also, the pillows are a bit too large, separating poor Cody on the end too much. Doesn't he look a bit left out?



Attempt #2: Ian is the only one who knows where the camera is, and the twins aren't very pleased to be sharing a pillow.



Attempt #3: Nice idea to try the photo shoot outside, but apparently, the sun was way too bright for everyone.



Attempt #4: Seemingly the most successful photo, with pleasant faces all around (thanks to a vacuum cleaner running in the background!). Unfortunately, we forgot the age order. Maybe next time.... :)



Amidst all the hussle/bustle of a busy family get-together, Daddy & Mommy made sure to set aside special time with their boys.



We love our family time! Thanks for all the Billings memories. We're already looking forward to the next Schleicher & Walquist gatherings.