Sippy Cup Boot Camp

**Disclaimer:  I have not been compensated in ANY way to discuss these various sippy cups.  The views expressed are simply my own opinions from our personal experience.  All photos courtesy of diapers.com.

Marcia recently asked how we went about switching the girls from bottles to sippy cups.  I don't claim to have any great method for how to get babies to learn to drink from a cup, but I was curious before we did it too, so maybe my experience will help someone.
We first started offering water and juice in sippy cups around 9 months or so.  I had a variety of different cups that were handed down from friends, so we just started trying them.  The first two we tried were the Avent and the Nuby with the soft spouts. 
Addison and Mackenzie were curious about the cups, but they didn't seem to understand they were actually supposed to use them.  They could get water out when they wanted, but they much preferred chewing on the handles or the spout (particularly on the Avent).  Sometime along the way, I realized there was really no need for the handles anyway, as they had been holding their bottles for awhile already.  So I got a couple more Nuby cups without handles.  Those were the cups they really learned to drink from.  We offered them water and juice with meals and throughout the day.  Sometimes they would drink a good bit; other times they really weren't interested. 
 These are the spouts on the Nuby cups.

As the girls got better about drinking from their cups, I would occasionally put some milk in there for them to try.  Usually, they absolutely refused it.  I do remember one time when all the bottles were in the dishwasher, so we were forced to push the cups.  They did okay, but the milk seemed to flow too quickly out of the spout and they would quickly get tired of it.  We kept pushing the cups during they day, but I backed off and let them keep the bottles in the morning and at night.  Our pediatrician said he wasn't worried about the transition at one year, and he said it was no big deal to just wait until 15 months or so.

I had this idea in my head that we would eventually just have a "sippy cup bootcamp", a weekend when I would just make the switch and only give them milk in sippy cups-no more bottles.  I knew it might be a rough couple of days, so I wanted to wait until the timing was right and we didn't have anywhere important to be during the weekend.

In the meantime, Addison and Mackenzie somehow learned to drink from straws (which is what helped us tremendously, in my opinion!).  We had offered them a straw before, but they only seemed to chew on it, not sucking at all.  One day, I was letting Mackenzie play with a fat pen that was on the counter while my mom and I were standing there talking.  I noticed she was sucking on the pen for some reason, so I quickly pulled out a sippy cup with a straw to see if she would keep doing it.  She did, and seemed excited that she could get the drink out that way.  Addison learned to do it in just a couple of days as well.  I went out and bought a bunch of these Nuby straw cups:

We started practicing drinking from those, and they really seemed to like it...even enough to drink some milk occasionally.  The big advantage to the straw is that the girls can better control the flow so they are not getting too much at once.  I highly recommend the straw cups if you seem to be having the same problems.

Not too long after they mastered drinking from the straw, there was a weekend when I would be off work the following Monday for a holiday (it was in late April, so the girls were nearly 13 months at the time, if you're wondering).  I didn't really plan to switch that weekend, but it ended up working out.  On Friday night, I poured some milk into their cups to drink with supper and noticed they drank a good bit of it.  I decided to try them at bedtime and see what happened.  I didn't get the screaming demands for the bottle that I had when I'd tried the switch in the past.  They didn't drink much (maybe an ounce or two each), but I decided to go with it and put them to bed to see how they did...

And all of a sudden, it was done!  I never offered another bottle, and I moved them to the back of the counter so the girls wouldn't catch a glimpse and want one.  They didn't drink a whole lot over the weekend, and for the first couple of weeks, I'm sure their milk intake was down significantly...but I stopped counting daily ounces a long time ago and instead trust that they are healthy girls who are getting plenty of nutrition.  Anyway, I think it has evened out over time because with whole milk and a sippy cup, it is much easier to offer milk throughout the day instead of 3 specific times.  They now love their sippy cups, and this mama loves my big girls for making a relatively smooth transition from bottles!

thirsty Addison

One tip on the transition from formula to whole milk...  I made the girls' formula with lukewarm tapwater, which they preferred over straight-up cold water.  When we switched to whole milk, it was a little much for them straight out of the refrigerator.  I would pour the milk, then put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds (for both cups/bottles at the same time), just to take a little bit of the chill off the milk.  Recently, they have moved past that and will now just take it straight out of the fridge, along with cold water, juice, etc. 

Like I said, I don't have any great methods to recommend, just a lot of luck!  My biggest tip, though, would be not to backtrack...after you take the bottle, stick to it.  They will adjust eventually, and switching back and forth is just confusing.  And don't stress about the timeline.  Like everything else, they will do it when they're ready...with a little encouragement.  : )


We're Baaaaaack

While our second beach vacation with the girls went significantly better than the last one, Jeremy and I agreed that next year we will strongly consider the possibility of leaving Addison & Mackenzie with family while we go on a peaceful, relaxing vacation!

In all actuality, most of it was a pretty fun, stress-free week.  I took a break from technology--I checked my email only twice during the week, and probably used the computer less than an hour total.  I think that break helped me relax and slow my pace down quite a bit. 


We kicked off vacation week with the Braves game last Saturday, along with my sister and her boyfriend.  The girls sat that one out, and instead spent the day at the lake with Jeremy's family.  Because we got home so late, they spent the night at my mom's, which allowed me to sleep in until a glorious 10:00 am. 

At the game

The Braves lost the game, but we had fun anyway.  We had great seats, with lots of foul-ball action to keep things exciting.

My sissy & me

We spent the rest of Sunday packing for the beach.  We decided to drive overnight again, since it worked out pretty well last year.  When I got up in the middle of the night to take a shower and get ready to leave, Addison was burning up with a fever.  Naturally, right?  I knew she had been a little out of sorts in the afternoon, but she didn't seem to feel really bad, so we dosed her up on tylenol and prayed for the best.

Addison hanging out

She didn't feel great the first day or so, but we kept giving her medicine to keep the fever down and she recovered by the second day.  We all know what happens when one twin gets sick, though, right?  Of course Mackenzie got a fever the next day.  Luckily, she never seemed to feel bad at all and it went away pretty quickly.

The first day, we shopped awhile until we were able to check into our condo (remember, we left in the middle of the night, so we arrived around 9:00 am).  The girls were really good, even though they don't usually have a lot of patience for shopping.  They did get to try their first taste of a Starbucks frappucino, so maybe that helped a little...

First taste of Starbucks

Our condo was super nice, with several pools, a lazy river, and the most peaceful beach and bay views.  (No signs of any oil present in the area yet, if you're wondering...but just knowing that it's most likely headed that way makes me so sad.) 

Family Picture

LJ and Mackenzie

We spent lots of time in the pools, and by the second day, the girls were beginning to enjoy it a little more.  They would not let go of us in the water, but they really had fun toddling around our lounge chairs and watching all the people.

Ready to swim
Are they not the cutest things EVER in those little swimsuits??  (I'm only a little biased.)


LJ and Addison

Thanks to an awesome Auntie LJ and her friends, Jeremy and I got to go out to dinner ALONE.  Three nights in a row.  I know, you're totally jealous, right?  : )  It was so, so nice.  (Thanks again, Auntie LJ, Lacie, and Corey!)  We would put the girls to bed around their normal time, then head out for dinner ourselves.  Those were easily the most peaceful meals we've shared in many, many months.


Love those thick, dark storm clouds hanging over the water.

We ventured over to the beach on the morning of the second day. Our condo provided a little trolley over to the beach, which was practically deserted at such an early hour. Addison fell asleep on the trolley ride over, so this was the extent of her beach experience:

party animal

Mackenzie was, well, less than thrilled with the feel of the sand.  More specifically, she hated it.  The ocean didn't go over much better.

On the beach

Mackenzie & Daddy

 By the end of the third day, things started to break down a little.  The girls' tolerance and happy moods began to wear a little thin, as did our patience.  We had an awful time getting an over-tired Addison to sleep that night, and we realized they were getting ready for home and their own beds. 

Drama Face

We made it through one more day, but by the afternoon on Thursday, we decided it wasn't worth fighting them to get one more day of vacation.  I had been to the most important of my work meetings, so at bedtime on Thursday, we packed up and headed for home. 

The trip home was smooth, with the exception of a little crying from Addison in the beginning and a little roadwork toward the end.  We got home around 2:00 am, and we all slept soundly for the rest of the night, glad to be in our own beds. 

Lunch at The Hangout


It was fun getting to watch the girls experience some new things (and getting some adult dinners in good restaurants!), but wow...vacations with little ones are a LOT of work.  I did enjoy being away from the everyday pressures of home and work, and like I said, I enjoyed forcing myself to take a break from technology and social media.  I also read an entire book and started a second (LOVE the Kindle...it was especially convenient on the trip)!

Seriously, though, next year, I think Jeremy and I might go alone.


Thirteen (and a half) Months

After all the excitement of the one-year mark, thirteen months sort of slipped right by me.  I will definitely keep taking monthly pictures, even though we may not always get them in the rocking chair each month.  I am so, so glad I have the pictures from their first year, specifically marked with each month.  It's fun to look back and see how much they changed over just a couple of months.

Thirteen Months Old

So what are Addison and Mackenzie up to at thirteen months? 

They are busy, busy girls, that's for sure.  They are always on the go, and wherever one is, her sister will be close behind.  Sometime over the last couple of months, they changed from the "scooting crawl" to a proper, up-on-all-fours crawl.  It's hard to contain them for long, and we finally broke down and got a baby gate not too long ago!  I use it to keep them in the playroom in the mornings while I get ready. 

Both girls can stand and "cruise" along the furniture with ease.  They are in no hurry to walk, and honestly, I'm okay with that!  They can stand unassisted for just a few seconds, but rarely want to do it.  Once they figure out you are trying to make them stand on their own, they will go limp and refuse to stand at all!  Funny girls...

In the last month or so, Addison & Mackenzie have learned the meanings of these words:  hair, tongue, sissy, daddy, and dogs.  Mackenzie is starting to point to her nose when we ask, and by "point to", what I actually mean is stick her finger halfway up her nose.  It's lovely.  Really.  They love to stick out their tongues and pull their "pretty hair".

My favorite thing they have learned lately is to recognize each other.  We ask, "Where is sissy?" and they point to each other immediately.  When we say, "Love your sissy", they will lean over and love on each other.  Oh, it just melts my heart.  They also want to "share" their pacis with us, so we are teaching them to share with each other instead.  They love to steal pacis from one another, but if we tell them to share, they will usually offer one back to each other.

When I'm standing up in the kitchen or working on something, Mackenzie will often come up behind me and wrap her arms around my legs and squeeze tightly, like she's giving me a little hug.  That's one of the best feelings in the world...I absolutely love it!  Addison is particularly good at mocking the noises I make, and we "growl" at each other a lot in the car.  She has also developed quite a little temper and a scream to go along with it...but that's a topic for another post.  : )

After the switch to sippy cups, we had a little trouble with the of the bedtime routine, but we are finding our rhythm again.  We usually settle in the recliner, both girls in my lap, and they drink a little more milk while we watch a little tv.  I just love that time of day, when they are settling down and getting ready for sleep and they begin to get cuddly and just a little silly.  They will crack up over the littlest things, and it's just so much fun to spend a last few quiet, peaceful minutes with them before I put them down. 

Speaking of bedtime, they are still sleeping around 12 hours a night, from about 6:45 at night to around 6:30 in the morning.  I am thrilled with the later waking time, rather than the 5 a.m. mornings we were having for awhile.  I don't usually set my alarm for work, as they have always awakened before I had to get up anyway, but there have been a few mornings we all slept a little later and I ended up being late.  Oh well...totally worth it!  Naps are a little more unpredictable, but usually average about an hour and a half in the mornings and an hour or so in the afternoon. 

Food is a constant challenge for me.  Addison & Mackenzie are pretty good eaters, but I stress a lot over feeding them the right things and trying to develop good eating habits.  This month, they are loving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut into strips they can hold, with lima beans and milk (sometimes that is lunch for mom and dad, too!).  Addison seems to particularly love peanut butter, and will eat peanut butter and crackers as long as we let her.  Oh, and grapes...I swear, those girls eat a pound or two of grapes every week.  I am making an effort to fix a meal we can all eat together at least once or twice a week.  It's hard for me to sit down and eat with them when I'm home by myself, but on the weekends when Jeremy is here I like to at least attempt it. 

So, that's basically where we are right now.  I pretty much love this stage...it's just so amazing to watch their little personalities develop as they become actual little people

We are kicking off vacation week tomorrow, when Jeremy and I head to the Braves game with my sister and her boyfriend.  Then we're off for the girls' second beach vacation!  I hope we get to work some relaxation time in next week, but my expectations aren't too high.  I will update and share some pictures as I can.

Have a great weekend!

**There were supposed to be several other pictures in this post, but I am having some issues getting them to show up.  Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.


For a Good Cause

Have y'all heard of that new little piece of technology known as the iPad?  I don't profess to know much about the latest technology trends (after all, I refuse to even upgrade to a cell phone I can get email on), but I have to admit, the iPad looks pretty fun.  I sure wouldn't turn one down if it was offered to me!

If you feel the same, you should head over to Melissa's blog and enter her Great Big Giveaway.  For a donation of just $5.00, you can get a chance to WIN an iPad, or some other fun items.  Ten dollars gets you three chances to win!

The best part?  This isn't a just-for-fun or promotional giveaway.  This is a giveaway to raise funds for a wonderful and amazing purpose.  Melissa and her husband Nathan adopted their son Iliya from Russia in 2007, and now they are ready to add to their family through a second adoption.  (You can find their story from the beginning on her original blog...it's a good read!) 

So if you're feeling lucky, and you can spare a few extra bucks, click on over to the Giveaway page and help them bring a waiting child into a wonderful family. 

And if you win the iPad, feel free to send me a thank-you gift for referring you there!  Kidding, kidding....  : )


Obligatory Mother's Day Post


I don't remember a whole lot about Mother's Day last year.  Addison & Mackenzie were just a month old, Jeremy was just going back to work, and basically, it was still a struggle just to get through each day.  Life was a blur.  I think we went to Jeremy's parents' house for dinner, and I have a couple of not-so-great pictures with my two little bugs.  Do y'all remember how hard it was to get good pictures with newborns?  You're either bending at an awkward angle to hold their heads up and support little bodies, or you're getting a picture of the inside of their nose because they're laying on the floor/couch/bed all the time. 

Thank goodness for children that can hold themselves (mostly) upright this year!

Mama & Mackenzie

Addison and Mackenzie gave me a great Mother's Day present and slept until 7:15.  Those girls really know how to start mama's day off right!  If that had been a work day, I so would have been late, since I use them as my alarm clock most mornings.  (It would have been totally worth it though!)  Luckily, we still had plenty of time to get to church. 

After church, Jeremy grilled steaks and vegetables for lunch.  Those were our first grilled steaks of the season, and now it feels like the summer season has begun! Then, because I have such an amazing husband, I got to take a long afternoon nap.  In my bed.  All alone. 

Kisses for Addison

I also have a very nice new gift to take to the beach next week, thanks again to that wonderful husband of mine...Addison and Mackenzie got me a Kindle for Mother's Day!  Jeremy had a strong suggestion on this one, and he didn't let me down!  I was unsure how I would feel about reading books on an electronic device, but as many online friends reassured me, I LOVE it.  I can easily read with only one hand free...like when the other is wrapped around a sleeping baby I don't want to disturb.   I think my Kindle may be my new best friend.


Besides these three, of course.  'Cause they pretty much make my day.


Twin Questions & Answers

As parents of multiples, Jeremy and I get lots of questions on what it's like to have twins.  I suppose it's natural to be curious, as I happen to think twins (multiples in general, for that matter) are a pretty interesting phenomenon.  As long as I'm not in a hurry or in the midst of baby-wrangling, I don't mind answering questions...usually. 

One of the most common questions we get asked, particularly when I was pregnant, is "Were you shocked to find out you were having twins?"  Often, it's followed by, "Do twins run in your family?"

Our answer to these questions is a little complicated.
Both Jeremy and I have LOTS of twins in our families.  My mom has always said she felt like either my sister or I would have twins (or even a "litter" of children, as she sometimes puts it!).  I think the possibility of having twins has always been a factor in my life.  A childhood friend tells me that for as long as she can remember, I said I wanted twins.  When discussing how many children I wanted, I used to often say that I wanted to experience the pregnancy/birth process twice, so if I had twins, that would probably mean three children (!).  (We'll see about that part...) 

I have seriously always known that twins would somehow be a part of my life somehow.  So was I shocked to hear in our first ultrasound that I was carrying twins?  No, not really.  It felt more like a dream fulfilled.  (I really do mean that, too.  As hard as it is at times, I still think having twins is the coolest, most fun thing I'll ever do in my life.)  I don't think I really expected the identical part, but that just makes the whole thing even more interesting.  Similarly, I also knew in my heart that we would have girls.  In picturing my family and the kind of mother I would be, I have never, ever been able to picture myself with a little boy.  That's partly due to the lack of boys in my family (I have two sisters and no close boy cousins, etc.), but in the way I knew twins would be in my future, I also think I have prepared for girls.  Funny, I think I would have been more shocked to hear that our babies were boys than I was to learn we were having twins!

Now, do twins "run in our family"?  Well, our girls are identical, which as many parents of multiples know, is not hereditary.  Fraternal twins can be hereditary, but only through the mother's side.   So the technical answer would be no, our twins did not happen because it runs in the family.

However, on a practical, non-scientific side...yes, twins most definitely run in our families!  Here are just a few of the many, many examples of twins in our close family:
  • My dad is a twin--fraternal
  • My dad's twin sister has a set of fraternal twins
  • TWO of Jeremy's aunts (mom's side) have twin boys--both sets are identical
  • Jeremy also has identical great-aunts (dad's side)--they are in their 70s and are so cute!
So, yes, hereditary or not, I would have to say twins run all over our family.  And NO, they do NOT skip a generation.  When Addison & Mackenzie were first born, my mom joked that she was sending my sister a "double dose" of birth control pills, just in case! 


Let them eat cake

(Hey, history buffs, where did that title come from??)

This is part 2 of the birthday party recap.  Be sure to check out part 1 here.

Now for the cake pictures...

cake time

I just went ahead and stripped them down to diapers, so they could enjoy their cupcakes without Mama stepping in and trying to keep those cute outfits clean!

thinking about it

Addison was a little unsure.

Can't wait
Mackenzie is not wasting any time.

clean Addison

Addison did not really want to get her hands messy, but she really wanted to taste it.


Mackenzie really didn't mind...

hmm...this is pretty good

Good cake


Addison's bite

Big bite
Addison was willing to accept a little help with hers.

Mackenzie wants to share
And Mackenzie decided to share.

messy Addison
Addison was over it, so we headed inside to clean up.

They loved their cake, and would shriek for a bite anytime we were eating leftovers during the next week. 

All in all, I have to say the first birthday party was a total success!!

Party Time!

Almost a month later, I am finally getting around to sharing some pictures from the girls' first birthday.  Ah, well, better late than never, right? 

To start, let me say that hiring someone to photograph the party was one of my best decisions ever.  I got some great pictures, and Ashley captured much more than I would have ever been able to...plus, I just let myself enjoy the party without worrying if someone was getting a picture of every cute little moment.  Unless otherwise noted, all pictures in this post were taken by Ashley at Life's Mirror Images.

You might notice there are no pictures of the girls opening presents in these pictures.  Since we have lots of toys, books, and clothes already, we decided to ask our guests to do something a little different.  Instead of bringing a gift, we asked our friends to join us in making a donation to the NICU at the hospital where the girls were born.  We made it in Addison and Mackenzie's honor, and in memory of monoamniotic twins Joshua and Jake, who were born still in October 2008 (I wrote about them here).  Thanks to the help of our friends and family, we were able to donate about $400.00 to help the regional NICU!

I spent a lot of time mingling with our guests, so looking back, I realized there aren't many pictures of me with the girls.  They had a great time though, and it was a pretty fun and stress-free party for all of us!  I'll just let the pictures do most of the talking...

Month-by-Month banner

Monthly pictures

This is a banner made out of all the monthly pictures I've been taking of the girls.  Each picture is mounted on patterned cardstock and strung together with ribbon.  Even though some of the early pictures are not very good (I've progressively become a slightly better photographer, thank goodness), I am extremely proud I was able to put it together like I had envisioned.  I'm so proud of it, in fact, that it's still hanging right there between our living room and kitchen.  I plan to take it down this weekend to re-glue everything, then it's going to hang above the closet in Addison & Mackenzie's room.

Birthday banner
Another banner!  This one was SO easy, thanks to my co-worker who tied all those tiny little bows between each star.  It's made out of those foam craft stars, with chipboard letters from the scrapbooking section glued on each one.  Then, we just punched holes and tied a ribbon between each one.  This one is tucked away in the closet for future use.

food table

food table
Some of the food...we grilled hot dogs and just had finger foods to go along with them.  The glass hurricanes have puffs and M&Ms for the little ones.  All of the bright serving pieces came from the Target dollar aisle.


We had cupcakes rather than a single large cake.  I ordered them fresh from a local store, then added the toppers myself.  The decoration is another scrapbooking cutout (are you surprised?) attached to a toothpick.  I knew I wanted to make my own little cupcake flags, and I just happened to run across the little daisies and realized they would work perfectly.


Enough decorations, now for all the little cuties at the party!  Addison & Mackenzie's dresses came from Smitten & Company.  I LOVED them, especially paired with $3.00 leggings from Target!  Check out the Etsy shop, she can design just about anything you want.  I will definitely be ordering more of this oh-so-cute personalized stuff in the future. 

all the girls
(L to R:  Grace-16 months; Mackenzie; Addison; Ella Kate-6 months)
This picture is a special one for me.  During college and grad school, I shared an apartment with two of my sorority sisters.  We shared a lot during those years, and the three of us still meet for dinner as often as we can.  We've spent the last couple of years sharing stories about pregnancy, babies, and learning to be moms to the precious little girls you see here.  I think it's funny that between the three of us, we now have FOUR girls!  I hope they might one day be good friends like their mamas are!

All the babies
All the girls, plus Jackson (1 year) and Wyatt (10 months).  Can you tell all my friends and I started having babies around the same time??

My girly-girls practicing their synchronized gymnastics. 

new friends
Evan & Jasmine
These two cuties became fast friends.  Can you tell she had a little crush on Evan?  : )  Jasmine's mom told her there was a little boy there who was her age, and she replied, "I know; he's CUTE!" 

Jess & Wyatt

NiNi and Ella Kate
Can you believe Ella Kate is only six months old?  She's almost as big as A & M!

JenJen & Mackenzie

Addison & Aunt Kelly

Hi, Wyatt


Shy Grace

with Granny & Papa
A &M with their great-grandparents (Jeremy's grandparents).

Sharing with Lindsey
Addison sharing her lunch with Lindsey.

with Paw Paw & Adele
The girls with my dad and stepmom.

Proof that I WAS at the party...

Mama & Mackenzie
I just love these pictures of two great daddies with their girls:

Daddy & Addison
Addison with Jeremy.

EK & her daddy
Ella Kate and her daddy.

Since this post is quickly approaching epic length, I think I will just make a separate one with the girls' cupcake-smashing fun.