Friday, September 28, 2012

Our First Family-of-4 Vacation

"Are we sure about this?"
"Maybe we're crazy."
"I'm feeling very nervous..."
"What do we think we're doing?"
 
These were the questions and remarks that Jason and I said to each other on the days leading up to our big adventure. At the end of the summer, we had purchased tickets to Phoenix in order to meet little baby Walquist. We were so excited to help Amy's brother Andrew & his wife Sarah celebrate the birth and baptism of their new little one in person. Now that the reality of our vacation was drawing near, however, we were questioning the wisdom of taking a set of 3 1/2 month old, somewhat fussy twins on their first big vacation. We had not yet even taken the boys outside of Billings... talk about starting big!
 
We were most nervous about how the boys would do on their first airline flight. One week before our departure, Amy just-so-happened to see a segment on CBS this morning that fit our situation perfectly! We knew that this was much more than coincidence-- it was God's hand at work to help calm our nerves! We happily stole the idea from the show and created our own candy bags to give out to neighboring passengers on the plane. The accompanying note in the bag introduced the twins and asked for the reader's patience as the boys experienced the speed & the air pressure changes of the plane for the first time.
 

The candy bags worked beautifully! Instead of having disgruntled passengers beside us, after receiving free candy, our new friends were very pleasant and interested in our boys' lives. In fact, we saw some of the same passengers on the return flight who approached us and asked us all about the baptism. We were happy that the note reminded others that we are real people, too, who are trying our hardest to keep our boys calm. And, of course, the free treats helped, too!

Overall, the boys only had a few fussy periods on the flight and thankfully ended up sleeping for the great majority of both the outgoing and the return flight. Mommy & Daddy certainly breathed a big sigh of relief upon arriving at the Phoenix-Mesa airport! Our first big hurdle was overcome!

The other reason we were so excited to land in Arizona was that we were able to meet our precious new niece (the first of the family!), Abigail Marie. What a precious little girl she is!


 
It was a joy to hold little Abby and to see how alert she was. We noticed right away how much lighter she was than our boys!



Jaden & Cody certainly enjoyed all the attention they got from the family, too. Everyone remarked on how much bigger they looked. The boys happily showed off their smiles and coos throughout the weekend as well. It felt sooo good to be back in the arms of Grammy and Papa!



 
Papa seemed to have quite a knack at putting our little guys to sleep. The boys took many a nap on Papa's lap. Doesn't little Cody look wiped out?


It was fun seeing Aunt Kim and Uncle Matt, too. These experienced parents knew just how to hold the boys to keep them smiling and content.


Jaden loves his uncle and godfather, Matt!


It was so fun playing with Aunt Kim, receiving smiles, tickles, and kisses!

 
The busy new father, Uncle Andrew, even took some time out to play with his nephews. Here, little Cody enjoys some story time with his godfather.
 

Uncle Andrew shared some good physical therapy techniques with Amy for how to encourage crawling and sitting up. He was certainly an active participant during tummy time! Cody loved looking right into Uncle Andrew's eyes.


Even the new mommy, Aunt Sarah, shared some lovin' with the twins. Here, she gets some great smiles out of little Cody.

 
Probably the boys' favorite people of the household, though, were their cousins. They were at a much better stage to interact with one another. Here, cousin Ryan and Jaden get a good long look at one another, and even coo some hellos.
 

Our boys and Ryan, who are only 3 weeks apart, are starting to catch up a bit more in size!


Ian was such a loving cousin throughout the weekend, too! He showered our boys with hugs, smiles, and kisses. He carefully held Cody first, and then Jaden. It was obvious that Ian is used to being a gentle older brother. Our boys loved their big cousin!


 
So what did the family do during our time together? Well, as we've mentioned before, we spend our days quite differently as a family now. The greatest majoritiy of our time was spent holding little ones... 
 
 
 
...and playing with them. Showering and getting ready for the day was never a top priority! :)
 


The weekend weather in Phoenix was BEAUTIFUL, so we spent some time in Drew & Sarah's pool as well.


Jason, Andrew, and Matt developed a fun game of frisbee diving. The guys would describe how they were about to jump off the diving board, and then the other guys would try to toss them a frisbee to catch before they landed in the water. This, of course, provided hours of entertainment!



The on-looking infants patiently await their day of frisbee-diving participation!

 
Most importantly, the reason we all gathered together was to witness the baptism of little Abby. What a blessing it was to see her welcomed into the family of God! She didn't make a peep during the ceremony OR during the entire service (her first experience at church!). 
 

Amy's dad, Pastor Walquist, officiated the baptismal service. That's four grandchild baptisms in one summer. Wow!


Amy's parents, Randy & Elaine, celebrate little Abby with Sarah's parents, Rhonda & Spencer.


Sarah and her mother Rhonda prepared an AMAZING brunch following the baptism. The food was exceptional and so fancy-looking, too! What a great way to celebrate!


So, despite our beforehand fears and worries, our first-ever vacation was a success! What a treat it was to all be together as a family! Grammy & Papa love the fact that their grandchildren-quota has gone from 1 to 5 in only a few months' time. From L to R, they are holding Cody, Jaden, Ian, Ryan, and Abby.


Kim, Amy, and Sarah remembered that several months earlier (in February), the 3 of them had stood in front of this same fireplace in Phoenix, showing off their pregnant bellies. Isn't it so much cuter seeing all these precious little faces outside the womb?



Thank you, Andrew, Sarah, and Abby, for welcoming us into your home for a wonderful weekend! We love you and your precious little girl!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tummy Time Progress

Just within the last few days, Cody & Jaden have grown leaps and bounds in their ability to hold their heads up during tummy time. It's so fun being able to see their entire faces rather than hearing them grunt with their faces planted into the quilt!
 
 
Cody was the first one to significantly pick his head up. His other claim to fame is that on his 3-month birthday, he rolled over! Grandma & Grandpa even had the privilege of seeing this first milestone occur in real time over Skype. Cody accidentally fell to the side during tummy time, and then proceeded to kick and kick. Eventually, one of the kicks was successful in pushing him over. He was quite surprised to find himself flat on his back. We were certainly proud of our little man!
 

 
Jaden receives the award for head held up the highest. Also, he can keep his head up for a greater of length time and endures tummy time for longer, too. That's our patient Jaden!
 

 
Way to go, little guys!



3 Months Old

Happy 3 Month Birthday, Jaden & Cody!
 
 
(Jaden is in the green.)

How are our little boys progressing now that they've hit the three-month mark? Here are some of their monthly highlights:

SLEEPING HABITS
  • no longer setting alarm to wake boys up at night!
  • generally wake up every 4 hours at night, with an occasional 5 hour stretch
  • longest nighttime stretch between feedings = 6 1/2 hours
  • sleep at least some between every daytime feeding
  • longest naptimes are in the morning and the early afternoon
  • sleep best during the day in their rocking swing or on Mommy or Daddy's chest
  • love being swaddled at night and for their afternoon nap

EATING HABITS
  • very active feeders, often with arms flailing and legs kicking (If their nursing personality is any indication of their future toddler personality, we are in for a wild ride!!)
  • still use vacuum tape for parts of most feedings to help calm these active behaviors
  • combo of nursing and a bottle supplement at every feeding
  • feed every 3 hours during the day
  • LOTS of spit-up this month!

BOTH BOYS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Jaden in green, then on L directly above.)
  • spend time daily in tummy time
  • can lift chin off the ground and hold it up for a brief period
  • love listening to books
  • enjoy trying to pull on Mommy & Daddy's arms to arrive at a sitting position
  • smile responsively each day
  • like being propped up in the Boppie pillow
  • transitioned out of newborn-size clothing
  • found their fists and LOVE sucking on them!
  • don't like being strapped in their car seats & are often fussy during car rides
  • love bathtime, music, and kicking around on the changing table and the floor

JADEN MICHAEL




  • currently weighing in at 12 lbs. 9 oz.
  • loves sucking on his fist during tummy time
  • often gets distracted during nursing and instead smiles at Mommy
  • was arching back & acting very fussy during feedings, so our doctor started him on medication for acid reflux

CODY ANDREW

 
 

  • currently weighing in at 11 lbs. 14 oz.
  • loves climbing up Mommy or Daddy's stomach during burping times
  • getting more content during walks
  • doesn't like height changes (will stick his arms & legs out and widen his eyes in terror if we take the stairs or pick him up too quickly)