Friday, November 21, 2014

"Thanks"-giving before Thanksgiving...

I wanted to take a minute (and dedicate a blogpost) to our nanny, Jackie. During this Thanksgiving week, I feel it's appropriate to send her a HUGE well-deserved thank you.

She has been truly amazing with Conor and Caden. They absolutely love her. Since I am unable to be with them on Wednesdays and Fridays, there are very few people I would want them to be with - and Jackie is certainly high on that list. As many of you know, I love my job and when we found out we were expecting twins, I figured going back to work was not going to be an option. And if it weren't for her, I don't know how I would've done it.

Not only do the boys love Jackie -- I can totally tell when she walks into the house in the morning and their little faces light up -- but she is SO great with them. Managing multiples isn't easy and she accepts the challenge happily. Jackie, ironically being a twin herself, is very familiar with babies and has a great multi-tasking ability. I am super impressed and very fortunate.

I am especially grateful for her sending pics throughout my workday. What Mom doesn't love seeing this???

It is also reassuring because Jackie and I have a few friends in common. My friend Suz used to play basketball with her -- and Jackie's sister Lauren is very good friends with Suz (Hi Lauren!!). That said, having that commonality really took the edge off the first few days I went back to work. I didn't have that 'stranger danger' feeling.

In addition, I must say that it is really nice to bounce ideas off each other like "Oh, when I put them down for naps, I do this :::great idea here:::" or discussions about how and what we feed them during the day. In short, I am very thankful for her and that is why I chose to write about her during this "thanks"giving week. ;)

And of course, I am ALWAYS thankful for these little nuggets. I just love them so much.

Shaz, Conor James and Caden Francis

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Christmas Card ideas?!

How does everyone else choose their Christmas card picture????  I think before I had kids it was easier. Now it's big pressure on finding THE picture to use.  Right?  Or am I making too much of it? 

Although I take a bazillion pictures of them each and every day, I thought it would be cute to have them in their white bath towels - so they would blend with any background of a Christmas card. I also decided to dress them in a red shirt and a green shirt. Here are some of the Christmas pics I took the other night after their baths. Caden is on the left (or top, if you are using the mobile version on your phone) and Conor is on the right (or, bottom...dur). 

I will try and find a card where I can add a few of our family and then a few of these. :)

Caden                                                 Conor



I have to also include a few bloopers, right?! That's what everyone wants to see! I probably deleted the really bad ones while I was snapping away, but these were cute and funny.

Caden outtakes:

Conor outtakes: 

Other favs:

We'll see which photos we end up using. What an exciting and fun time of year! This time next week we will be heading up on our road trip to MA. Can't wait to see everyone. :)


Monday, November 10, 2014

DC - Tidal Basin

We ventured around the city over the weekend and saw some sights we haven't seen since we lived in DC 6 years ago. We walked the National Mall and over to the Washington Monument on Saturday while they were prepping for a Veteran's Day 10K. And on Sunday, we walked around the Tidal Basin and hung out at the Jefferson Memorial for a little while. We put the slingbox on our iPhones and watched some football while we fed the boys.

When Jim and I lived in DC in 2008, we would buy sushi and sit on the stairs and enjoy dinner. Boy have times changed! We fed the babies instead this time, and walked around while we took some pics.

Caden pics:

Conor pics:

And both Caden and Conor:

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! It's sure chillier down here and the days are getting shorter - soon we will be home for Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Summer Shrimp Salad

Happy Weekend!!!

Both Jim and myself take part in an online coaching program called "Healthy Roads - Culture of Health" through ExxonMobil. We have weekly coaching sessions about enjoying a healthy lifestyle. On their website, I found this awesome shrimp and corn salad recipe. I had all the ingredients in my fridge, and I tweaked it a little bit by adding flavors that I love (like the lime juice). It was DELICIOUS. Nothing is better than a seafood and citrus pairing. I also picked up a french baguette from the Panera down the paired perfectly. :)

Shrimp Salad:

  • Large Shrimp (I used frozen shrimp. I thawed them in a bowl with cool water and apple cider vinegar - then took the tails off before adding to the salad)
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper  
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Red Onion
  • Corn
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Mixed Greens 
  • Lime Juice

Divide the mixed greens into two bowls, then added a little shredded cheddar cheese. I then added cucumber, avocado, red onion, corn, lime juice and fresh ground pepper to both bowls. In a separate bowl, I marinated the shrimp in cayenne pepper, paprika and tons of lime juice. I topped each salad with ten shrimp and added a little more fresh ground pepper for a garnish.

I then tossed all the ingredients for the dressing into the magic bullet and poured over the salads. The dressing was light yet flavorful. It went really well with the shrimp. Thanks to the Macombers for the apple cider vinegar and shrimp suggestion! ;)

Then we chatted with Grampa Callahan before going to bed! What a fun Friday night. :)

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Shaz Caden and Conor

Friday, November 7, 2014

Homemade Baby Food!!

Some people suggested I write a blog post about making your own baby food. So here goes ...

Everything I make is fresh to serve. I haven't frozen any foods yet - mainly because whatever I make, they both gobble right up. I'm sure if I had one baby, I would have leftovers and need to freeze some things. I will soon start making bigger batches and will put them in the breast milk freezer bags (as opposed to ice trays). That way I can travel with them! My friend Shayna gave me that idea when she and I met up with our baby boys over the summer. :)

So I start by boiling mostly everything, individually of course. I boil organic apples and baby carrots and peas. And I microwave or bake the sweet potatoes and squash. I don't cook the banana or the avocado - those are mashed up as is.

Apples:I clean the apple and boil a pot of water. Once boiling, I throw the whole apple right in. After about 10-15 min, the peel starts to fall off, so I turn off the heat, peel it all the way and let cool. Once it's cool to the touch, I slice off all the mushy "good" parts and throw them in the magic bullet. I add a little water...and zap zap zap, pour into a little baby food bowl and serve! Fresh applesauce! The boys love it.

Baby Carrots & Peas: 
The carrots and peas are done the same exact way as the apples, minus the peeling step. I boil them and then throw them into the magic bullet with water. Find a good consistency that your baby likes and you're good to go. 

Sweet potatoes:
I buy the plastic "microwave" sweet potatoes and put them in the microwave for 8 minutes. Once it's cooled and/or I actually have a minute to make their food, I peel and dig out the good stuff, toss into the bullet with water and you know the drill. I find that sweet potatoes need a lot of water, so again - get a good consistency and serve.


The squash is very similar to the sweet potato, except I cut it in half and bake it in the oven. I usually buy an acorn squash. Once it's done, I take out all the seeds and let it cool. After it's cooled - I use the same process as the sweet potato. I dig out the good stuff and put it into the bullet with water. 

I have these great size bowls that have lids that I use for baby food. My friend Kiley had them in LA so of course I bought them too! I store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. They usually don't last that long because the boys eat it within a meal or two. I think I bought them at Crate and Barrel maybe.

Banana & Avocado:
I find banana to be the easiest - and it was my first real solid food that I gave to Conor and Caden, besides the brown rice cereal in the photo. I literally peel the banana, break it up and put into the magic bullet. I add a good amount of water (hard to see in the pic) and then mix together. I do the exact same process with the avocado. I tend to mix the banana and avocado together since the flavor of plain avocado isn't the best.

A typical day for us these days: 
The boys wake around 6-6:30AM each morning. When they wake, they have a 6-8oz bottle. They play for a couple of hours and then go down for a 30-45min nap. Caden usually wakes first. While Caden is up playing, I make their first solid food meal of the day. I puree one banana for them to split, some rice cereal with the Nutramigen formula so Caden doesn't get an upset tummy and each a bottle to top of their meal. They only have a couple ounces, depending on how much they ate. I am hoping to soon eliminate the bottle from this meal...I've been trying but they sort of fuss til they have it.

**Note: I add a few spoonfuls of the banana puree to the rice cereal for some flavor. Caden is clearly loving his rice cereal and banana combo here in this pic below.

Conor eventually wakes and joins in. They each have their rice cereal mixture and banana. They then have a little bit of their milk and continue to roll around and hit each other in the face. Thanks to Penny Jenny for these cutie firecracker bibs! She bought them for the boys around the Fourth of July. Her daughter Callie is 5 days younger than C-Squared. :)

Usually after they are done eating, I wash their little faces, change their diapers and dress them for the day! Then we play for about an hour until it's time for a change of scenery. We typically walk to get coffee or go for a drive. We then have another 6-8oz bottle again around 1-2pm and dinner is often some squash or sweet potato around 4:30pm. Once we are nearing the end of the day, we do baths around 6-6:30pm, have our final bottle and go to bed around 7pm. Repeat tomorrow at 6am! ;)

Shaz and the boys in blue

Thursday, November 6, 2014

C-Squared: 6 months old!!

HAPPY 6 MONTHS... my happy, smiley, cheerful, loving, adventurous, curious, amazing little twin boys. I cannot believe they are already 6 months old. I am fortunate that we've made it over the "hump". And I must say, they are becoming more fun everyday, we are so blessed.

Kicking it back to LA - here's Conor and Caden in my belly at 6 months:

And here they are OUT of my belly for 6 months!

We had a silly little photo shoot to celebrate their half birthday. These are a few of my favs:

Their 6 month appointment isn't for another few weeks, so I will post all their info when that happens (height/weight, etc). For now, I will just say that their personalities are blossoming even more than before when I blogged about them at 4 months old.

Conor James:

Conor is still my snuggle-buddy. He loves to be held and loves being rocked to sleep when it's time for a nap. He falls asleep on his own when it's time for bed, but naptime is Mama time. He is so sweet, so gentle and so curious. He loves to use his little hands and fingernails to touch every new surface he can find. He is so happy and has the best little smile. I love my little Baby A.

Caden Francis:

Caden continues to keep Mama on her toes. This little guy can MOVE. I put him down for a few seconds to go pick up Conor, and come back and Caden has moved about a foot or two and is facing the opposite direction. He is so adventurous, he cannot wait to start crawling. I can tell. He is such a better napper than before, he is really starting to soothe himself. He also enjoys rocking in Mama's arms for naptime, but he also really likes his bottle to fall asleep, too (hey- whatever works, right?!). He has the most adorable little smile, he loves sticking out his little tongue. It's the cutest!! I love that Caden is a little smaller than Conor too; because it makes me cherish the time I have that they are little. They are growing so fast!

Anyway, both of them can't keep their eyes off me. When I leave the room, they notice. When I come back to the room, they notice. They are sooo alert and very observant. I will document their 6 month stats after their doctor visit - but here are their fav foods and fav pastimes. We are eating brown rice cereal, banana, avocado, sweet potato, carrots, peas, acorn squash and apples. I have made all their baby food so we will see how long I can keep that up! ;) Conor loves the sweet stuff like bananas and even the rice cereal (especially when I add banana to it) and Caden loves the squash and sweet potato. I read that babies who are on nutramigen tend to like the more savory that makes sense!

We also LOVE our little jumpers and exersaucers now. They pass the time nicely and keep the boys entertained for a while.

 They are also really interacting is so fun!!

Shaz and my little 6 month olds :)

Flashback photo: Me, Jason, Kelsie and Kayla down at Keyes Beach in the Cape! This was before Jared was born...when there were only three little Berrys. ;)