Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Colton & Charlotte’s Newborn Photoshoot

One of the most exciting and fun things about having twins is the opportunity for adorable photos. These two little buddies make my heart smile so often with their adorable poses and sweet sweet baby cuddles. One of my first thoughts when I found out it was twins was, wahoo cute newborn photos! As always, we used my dear friend Laura of Paraphrase Productions and as always are very happy with the results. She did Avelynn’s photo shoot and Bailey’s. I was so excited to mirror both of their shoots with this final one. Laura did an awesome job, as per always. 

The whole fam-jam; how are we a family of 6?!?

Kisses from Bailey

Avie & Charlotte

Bailey smiles with her entire face and I love it.

The joy on Avies face is amazing

The twins and mom

Over Dad's shoulder - love Colt's face here

We have pics of Colty and his two older sisters this way - they look the most alike here.

Avelynn, Bailey & Colt

Dad and his daughters

Paul and all 4 kids

Sweet Char

The pair of them


Colton - our boy!

In their bed

And there we have it - our last newborn photo shoot. Thanks again, Laura!
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The third and fourth Baby Morgan's have arrived!

They're here! Morgan babies 3 and 4, or the Morgan twins, are here! Colton John Edwin & Charlotte Abigail Lois arrived 2 weeks ago (today!) in what was a pretty wonderful twin birth experience. They joined us May 1st at 10:14am and 10:19am - which is also our anniversary! 8 years, and 4 kids later. I've started to write our their birth story but in the meantime, I can proudly say that all went better than anticipated, Paul got to deliver our Baby A, Colt, and I got to push both babies out. It was pretty epic. And for those that noticed - yes it is very intentional that the twins both have C names, after Avie & Bailey. With 4 kids, alphabetical seemed strategic :)

Baby A is our boy, Colt; full name Colton John Edwin Morgan. Colton, meaning from a dark town (or coal town). We were torn on what to name him for the longest time - we had a D name we liked as much as we liked Colton. But once we realized that we could call him Colt most of the time, we were 100% into the name. John is Paul's middle name (and my Dad's middle name, my grandfather's name, Paul's great grandpa's name, and between the two of us we have 2 uncle's named John and 3 cousins). Edwin is Paul's Dad and other Grandpa's middle name. 

Baby B is our youngest girl, Charlotte; full name Charlotte Abigail Lois Morgan. Charlotte, meaning "petite" or "feminine", was picked because we liked it. I LOVE the idea of having a little girl called Charlie, and Char (soft ch), and Paul has been calling her Lottie from day one (mostly so he can say, "well lottie-dah").  Abigail because again, we just liked it. We had almost named Bailey Abigail but figured "Abbie" and "Avie" were just too similar, but this way we still get to use the name we liked so much. We picked Lois (meaning "more desirable" or "better") to honour my Nana (whom I love dearly and is a giant gift to me). Plus that means her initials spell CALM. Hoping that that is somehow a foreshadowing of her life. Right now she's lying in front of me on the couch sleeping, so far so good. 

So far having twins is awesome. It seems totally normal now that there are two babies. It was barely real until it came time to push Char out, and since that moment that I held two babies, it's been our new normal. It feels like the same newborn stage as the other two - just a bit more baby, a bit more feeding, a few more diapers, and a lot more snuggles. I have been surprised by how normal it's all felt. Awesome, and normal. Exhausting and normal. I won't pretend we aren't dealing with the classic newborn start to life - eating all night to gain birth weight. Pumping and feeding and diaper changes. But it's all so much the same as it was with our other two newborns. Yes, there are two of them, but honestly, it doesn't feel like that many more diapers or that many more bottles. I think we got so scared by the idea that it's falling short of that fear and I'm thankful for that. All that being said, if twins is your first or even second child, whoa boy, I bet it would feel like SO MUCH MORE. There's something about the fact that baby three was already always going to be insane, that makes twins added to that not super crazy. If this was my first? Oh man, I remember the fear and uncertainty and anxiety and emotions of that first newborn/postpartum time. Can't imagine THAT with two. As far as I know (as far as we've planned) these are our last babies - we've always wanted 4 kids. I have gotten to soak up each stage, and say goodbye to each stage as it ends. My last pregnancy, my last labour & delivery, my last newborn hospital stay, my last 'first-two-weeks-postpartum', etc. Soaking up these newborn baby snuggles, embracing what there is to love about this stage and moving past the hard moments. PLUS - we have lots of help! Paul's mom was here for the first week, my aunt was here for most of the second week, Paul's Dad & stepmom took the kids for the weekend, and we have a lovely girl from church over three mornings a week to help AND have a night nanny 3 nights a week for a month (started this week and oh my goodness sleep is amazing). The help keeps us sane as we navigate the needs of 4 tiny humans, aged 3 and under. 

Speaking of 4 tiny humans, we are now a family of 6. 6! How is that possible?? Are we adults now? Bailey and Avie are so into their new siblings. Avie is in love, and Bailey is fascinated. Avie picks a baby at different times in the day and asks to "hold that baby" and will not accept any substitution. She will hold them for 10-15 minutes, stroking their faces, whispering sweet nothings, singing them songs and generally being so stinking cute. Bailey pokes at their faces and says "hi!", which is really all she says regularly in life. It's sweet in its own way. Balancing 4 kids is certainly interesting - the biggest pain point in the day is the moment after the older two wake up when we desperately want to still be sleeping after the night with the twins. But after 9am we wake up enough to rally and make magic happen. And there's always nap time - sleepy newborns sleep a lot, and the older two have naps that overlap by 30-60 minutes, so that time is gold to us. Pure gold. 

We also had our newborn photo shoot! Laura of Paraphrase Productions was AMAZING as per usual. We got to match and mirror some photos from our previous newborn shoots and get some great twin shots. Even Paul, who hates photo shoots, got into it. It helps that it was Mothers Day and he realized his cooperation was a great way to give me a free mothers day gift :) 

And there you have it! Our last baby announcement - and one that is double the fun. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Master Bedroom - Newborn Days

This is our third preparing for new babies. We obviously get the nursery ready, but usually, a super important part is also preparing our master bedroom! I thought I'd take a moment to share some of the things we make sure we have prepared in our room for newborns.

First up - our bed. When things in my life are especially hectic, it helps me to have tidy spaces. In the newborn time I find there is a chunk of time that I am in my bedroom and if it's out of order, I find it hard to feel calm. I try to put my clothes away each day, and I like making the bed so that the room feels pulled together. The problem with the bedmaking is that to make our bed "properly" there are throws and pillows involved - by the time it's made it's pretty but you definitely don't want to mess it up until bedtime. The other truth about the newborn time is to try to get as much sleep as you can - napping, as they say, "when the baby naps". If my bed is made up fully I don't want to mess it up by napping. So during the final months of pregnancy (when I also need to nap a lot) and the first months of newborn life, I implement a half made bed plan. It keeps the room looking and feeling tidy, but is basically no effort to take apart for a nap.

You can see our monitor on the nightstand - linked up to all four! cameras.

Second up - baby/babies bassinet. We start for the first 1-2 months with the baby in our room in a bassinet. Since we have middle of the night feedings to contend with we like having them nice and close. We were given this bassinet and I upgraded it a bit to help it match our room. We like to leave it at the foot of our bed so it's somewhat equally between us :) Paul mostly gets up in the night to grab babies and bring them to me in bed - though who knows what it will be like with twins!

We also keep stuff under the bassinet - pump stuff on the right in the black bag. On the right, we have extra burp clothes, muslin blankets and woombies (great little sleep sacks). I'll add sleepers for the babies once we know their sizes.

As babies grow (and sleep longer and are more aware of what's around them) we move them to a pack n play in our closet. Right now Bailey naps in here since it's dark, and with the sound machine, it's a perfect nap place. Also, hey there baby belly in the mirror. 

I also like having chairs in the room - either to breastfeed in or just to have a place to sit and chat with Paul away from the rest of the house. It's also where I pump - private and comfortable. 

And lastly, probably one of the most used spots is our change station. We use the same change pad and change cover we have in both kids rooms (that way they are all interchangeable). We also lay a waterproof pad over top so that we get to change it less often in case of accidents. In our room, we use an Ikea Kallax System with inserts from Target. In the top left, we have diapers (newborn size, Bailey Size & nighttime for Avie & B), bum cream and wipes. Top right is random baby stuff for newborns. The two bottom inserts are both books and toys for the older girls. We also have a playmat for babies under the bed as they get older. 

And with that, I think we are 100% complete all baby prep! These were the types of things we could put off but all this baby waiting means we can get it done. Thankful for the extra time. 
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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Twin Preggo Life, 37 Weeks

As this pregnancy draws to a close, it only feels appropriate that yet again I'm blogging in the middle of the night. Mostly my pregnancy insomnia lately had given way to physical exhaustion, so though I wake every 1-3 hours (to pee and roll my bulky self to a different side) I have been able to go back to sleep. Tonight it just wasn't happening - so here I am again - at my computer filling in child passports (in preparation for the twins), creating email addresses for my kids (for their Nexus applications), and now blogging while Diagnosis Murder plays in the background. Considering I can go back to sleep whenever I feel tired, and don't have to get up with kids in the morning, it's really not that bad. Just shifts when I get stuff done. 

I'm 37+4 weeks pregnant (the +4 is for how many days into the week I am). My weight hasn't changed much in the last month or more, but my belly does keep growing (as do the babies!) - it's currently measuring in at 46 weeks pregnant! The skin on my belly is very sensitive now - I can tell it's stretching quite a bit. We got to see the babies on an ultrasound early last week and they are doing great - Baby A (the girl) is 5.5lbs and Baby B (the boy) is 6.3lbs. That's over 11 pounds of baby! Coupled with each of their placentas and sacs (usually each placenta is about 1.5lbs and each sac with fluid is about 1.8lbs), that's about 18 and a half pounds. Dang. I've gained about 30 pounds total, which is fairly shocking - I expected to gain more. My belly certainly feels like it's an extra 30 pounds or so though! Even breathing is getting more and more tiring. It's quite something when simply existing is a workout. 

Belly Shots! Just keeps growing (also, look, friends!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Twin Preggo Life, 35 Weeks

3 years (and 5 days) ago was Avelynn's Due Date - April 5th, 2015, Easter Sunday. It took her another 2 weeks (almost) to make her way into the world. Currently, I'm 35.2 weeks pregnant with the twins and therefore about 1-3 weeks away from baby time. It's eerily similar to my pregnancy with Avie in some ways (very pregnant at Easter Dinner, enjoying the spring transition from winter and wearing the same sorts of maternity clothes, same nursery preparation timeline, similar timing off work), though mostly it's very different! With Avie, I didn't have kids yet so that was drastically different right off the bat.  I finished work officially at the end of February and had March off, which was excellent. I got to putter around, beautifying the nursery, buying pretty things for the baby, visiting friends and resting, lots. 

April 5th, 2015 - My first pregnancy (with Avie)
An Easter Sunday walk with on my due date, then pics of me during week 40.

This time we have kids - so the workload is just so different. I finished some big projects as of the end of February but was still working through March to train my Mat leave replacement and even now am doing a little bit of catch up work to clean up the year (I can do this from the couch). While I did set up the nursery, it was more about getting the basics in there, rather than any beautification. I would love to start decorating and making it extra special but life happens and so that won't be happening. I'm also on a year of no spending so I'm not buying pretty things for the room (though I am sure I have more than enough pretty things around the house to make their room special if I had the time and energy). I am getting a chance to rest - but that has been greatly hampered by first the flu, then a cold, and now a new cold. So the rest is hard to come by - though there is not much activity either. 

Easter weekend - I sat on the couch but our family made Easter awesome for the kids

The biggest difference is probably the toll this pregnancy is taking on my body, versus the relative ease with which I swanned through my first pregnancy. I never got to the "get this baby out of me" stage with Avie in my pregnancy (aside from the 4 long days of labour - I definitely felt it then). Pregnancy was easy - I could still sleep, I could still take walks, I could do most of life. In fact, once I was on Mat leave in the final months of my pregnancy I started weekly walks with my parents (and my Dad walks to lose weight, so it's not leisurely). 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Twin Preggo Life, the start of the third trimester

I'm 31 weeks pregnant with twins and let me tell you, this is one of the most humbling and challenging things I have ever done. I mean also, I'm super lucky and have pretty easy pregnancies, all things considered. I also knew that for most people each pregnancy gets a little harder (whether that's cumulative or just age related) but this combo of third pregnancy and twins pregnancy is hardcore. The last couple months I've been feeling rundown and tired but that's to be expected in pregnancy, especially since I'm working part-time AND looking after two littles the rest of the week. It hit me though in early February in a new way and emotionally I was SPENT. So at the beginning of that month after an afternoon of tears, we made a new plan.

A friend had suggested I stop working, but really the work isn't what is exhausting, it's the childcare. Bailey is sweet but she's a way more clingy 1 year old than Avie was at that age. She has constant physical needs that add up over the day. This has been quite the strain on my body and emotions. She's a bit trickier to please than Avie was also. So when my friend suggested I give up work it made me think, if I'm willing to give up my pay by not working, maybe I just take all my pay, and pay for a third day of childcare. Best plan ever. My stress levels went down right away. My body really needed it. It also helped that in those first weeks I got to go away for a weekend with 2 of my best friends, and now a new great friend, all 4 of us moms with young kids. Three of us were heavily pregnant, due within 10 weeks of each other, ranging from 27 weeks to 37 weeks. We rented a house, we ordered fresh prep rather than meal planning and generally did as little as humanly possible. We ate when we wanted, we slept when we wanted, we talked when we wanted (which ended up being quite a lot). It was relaxing and perfect and I didn't realize how much my preggo body needed that break. I dropped a Cheeto on Friday night and didn't have to bed to pick it up. It stayed there until we left. Now that's a pregnant mom in full freedom. And it was lovely. I'm very thankful for that time with wonderful women and such rejuvenation.

I'm the least pregnant one in the group of us preggos and yet showing the largest #2babies

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Newborn Must Haves; a highly subjective list

Ahhhhh the good old blogger "must have" list. Maybe it's just me but whenever I come across any sort of "must have" list on Pinterest I'm always curious to see if their concept of "must have" lines up with mine and so often they don't. I've read so many lists of "must haves" for the Newborn days and some of the stuff is helpful. Some of it definitely isn't; in fact some of it I would straight up contradict. So I thought I would join the hordes and weigh in on the things that I find to be "Must Have's" during the Newborn Stage.

There are lots of things we use EVERY DAY while having babies and toddlers. I think it's helpful to address those here also since many of them are useful in the newborn stage also. 

Newborn Stuff

Mam Soothers My kids LOVE these soothers. Avie wouldn't use other soothers until well after she was one. They come in newborn sizes and bigger. Bailey hasn't cared as much, but still seems to like these best. 

Baby Socks I CAN NOT say enough about these socks from Hanna Andersson. They are the only socks I have ever found that don't come off of newborns easily. They are amazing. We didn't have these with Avie, but my MIL brought a Christmas pair with her for Bailey's birth and I immediately ordered more (not Christmas themed). Bailey has worn these until like 8/9 months and are epic. I have like 3-4 pairs, and now with the twins coming have ordered another 3-4 pairs since my babies will live in these. 

Baby Slippers Once our babies reach about 2/3 months I start adding slippers to their outfits. We swear by these Baby Slippers which also don't come off - until the baby is old enough to rip them off, and then there isn't much you can do about it. My kids have both worn this well past the age of 1 - even as they can begin to walk, these slippers work inside. They add a layer of extra warmth on top of the socks that I like. They also have a style of glove that can really work for kids. They stay on pretty decently. 

Baby Knitted Boots These are very popular everywhere in Vancouver. Someone gifted us our first pair and they stay on super well. I've gathered these from thrift stores and friends as I've found them on sale. I have two matching white/grey pairs, a bright pink/purple pair and a bright green/blue pair. These stay on exceptionally well and keep your kids feet very warm. Great for stroller trips and car rides. 

Breastfeeding Pillow I swear by Breastfeeding pillows. I have the Jolly Jumper one for my day to day breastfeeding since it's big and comfortable, I also keep a spare in my van (I grabbed a free one online here, they aren't my favorite but work in a pinch) and throw it in my stroller anytime I'm out and about. Now I'll be honest - not everyone loves these or needs these. I have chronic back pain from years of being top heavy - I had breast reduction surgery when I was 23, and while that slowed the decline on my back, it didn't take it away, so breastfeeding without a pillow is basically torture for me. I don't mess around with back pain - I ALWAYS feed with a pillow.
Bouncy Chair / Chair Swings / Exersaucer Honestly every time we've used different chairs and swings (whatever someone wants to lend or give us) and we've liked them all in different ways. In our last house we kept one swing outside where we ate dinner each night (since it was summer) and one inside. In this house, we've kept one on the main level and one up in our room. I think we'll more reasonably have two swings on the main floor. We'll also have two exersaucer's (which we did in our last place since we had an upstairs and downstairs tv room). I like having them in the main areas we hang out in - they are especially useful when I'm cooking, or were eating dinner and want to be hands-free with happy babies. 

Baby Play Gym Same as with the above items, we've used a huge variety. I hardly care what they are like (and the babies seem quite indifferent to the differences and just like anything), as long as have one in the upstairs area of the house and one in the downstairs. I find they are great to give me a few moments to have a shower. I usually buy mine at a thrift store for like $15. We have one on the main level of the house, and one up in our bedroom. The girls often have their morning bottles on the floor in our room while we get ready, and then play with toys while we do laundry or clean up, so it's nice to have a place to lay babies that keeps them a bit occupied. 

Stocked Diaper Bag Last time we used an should bag, and this time we've switched to a backpack (so it doesn't slide off and on to a twin) but either way it's vital in the newborn times to have these stocked. We always go through it together each night (if we've used it) to make sure it's stocked. We keep a bottle (or two), formula, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, baby tylenol and extra socks. I'll be writing a further post on exactly what we keep in there and how we organize it but for now those are the main areas. As they grow into toddlers we start to keep more food there as well, but in the newborn stage, food isn't necessary, though again we do swear by some formula just in case babies are starving and you can't breastfeed where you are. 

Baby Stuff

Diaper Genie We have one of these in the kids' room and one of these on our main level where we spend most of our time (next to a rolling diaper kart that contains wipes, diapers, extra soothers, bum cream and refills of all of the above). We also have one of these for the new nursery room. I like the look of these, they are relatively inexpensive, the refills are cheapest at Costco (and I love me some Costco), and they do a decent job of containing diaper smells.

Sound Machine We have two of these, one for the kids' room and one for the twins nursery. Right now we're using the nursery one in our closet for Bailey's naps. I used to be either indifferent or opposed to sound machines - I was worried about giving the kids a crutch that would mean they would need special circumstances to sleep (like black our curtains and noisemakers) but with so many people living in our home, it makes such a difference to help keep some of the people noise at bay while the kids nap and sleep at night. 

Video Monitor We not only have this video monitor (which comes with one camera) but we now have three extra cameras to go with it. I love that you can add up to 4 cameras (crazy that we'll have enough kids for each of these). It lets you tilt around the room, if the kids gets out of bed, and you can talk back to them through it (not that I find that it helps - it mostly pisses our kids off more). You can chose what camera to leave it on, or set it to patrol so it cycles through all the cameras you have linked or you can leave it on a view that shows all at once. One thing I really like is that when you leave the volume on (which we only do in the newborn stage since we can always hear our kids through the walls as they get older) it doesn't broadcast a white noise, like our last video monitor did. It used to drive me nuts - if the volume was on at all it meant we had to listen to a weird white noise that it projected. This one just leaves it silent until your kids cries. I like that. Also, it shows the temperature - which was useful in the summer when the kids room overheated like crazy. We wouldn't have known to do something if it wasn't so clear. 

The big stuff for babies / toddlers 

City Select Double Stroller We LOVE this stroller. We took it to Europe and it was AMAZING. We take it everywhere in the city and have used it on beaches and at camp and it always performs. It's great in the newborn stage since you can click your seat into it (see below) and then continues to be great as you grow into the seats it comes with. It's easy to fold (a win for my bad back) and isn't too huge once folded (though you do have to remove the seats to fold it). It's adaptable and smooth. We will be trying a three seater hack I saw online and have heard good reviews of - we'll see how that goes. 

Car Seat with base We were given one of these free when we first had Avie and then bought another of the same when we were expecting Bailey. We now have a second on route to us. We love it. Inexpensive, easy to clean and easy to use. 

Car Seat to Stroller Adapter These adapters are awesome - they allow your sleeping newborn to transition from your car to your stroller and back without waking up. Life saver!

Car Seat Canopy These keep your baby warm and covered. Helpful in less than ideal weather conditions, or in louder spaces. We always get our free and just pay for shipping. 

I think that brings my must-have's list to a close. There are other handy things, but these are the things I wouldn't do this baby thing without. I wonder if this list will change much with twins - anything I would newly call a must have, or will no longer use as much? Let's see! Just a couple more months until we find out!
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