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First Year Album

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S: Abby and Ben's First Year

FC: Abby and Ben's First Year | September 1, 2009 - September 1, 2010

1: On September 1, 2009, your daddy and I went to the hospital for a routine ultrasound to check in on the two of you. I was 34 weeks and 3 days pregnant and had been on bed rest for the past seven weeks because I was getting lots of contractions. Dr. Goldman told us that he was a little worried about Baby A (Abby!) because she wasn’t growing fast enough and if he thought she was too small for 34 weeks, both of you would have to come out that day! I was excited to meet you but I was hoping you would stay in my belly cooking for a little longer because it was better for you that way and because Daddy had just developed a case of the shingles and the hospital initially was not going to let him in the operating room or even in the labor and delivery area. At 8:00 AM we went to Cornell Medical Center for our appointment and, sure enough, little Abby was a teeny peanut. Dr. Goldman told us that today would be the day and that we should go home, pack up some stuff and come back to the hospital at 2:00 to get ready for a 4:00 c-section. I burst into tears and was hysterical for a few hours until the hospital did some checking and decided that Daddy could be in the operating room and labor and delivery area as long as he covered up with lots of scrubs. Once we passed that hurdle, we both could focus on our overwhelming excitement to meet the two of you, albeit five and a half weeks early! Your delivery was a smooth as smooth can be – so smooth I immediately said I would do it again any day. It only took about twenty minutes before daddy and I heard the first squeal from Abby at 5:08 PM and then just one minute later at 5:09 PM we heard little Ben! You both had perfect Apgar scores and daddy got to hold you only a few minutes later. We got an amazing first family picture in the operating room with Daddy holding the two of you and me right next to you guys still on the operating table! Because you guys were so small (Abby was 3 lbs 13 oz and Ben was 4 lbs 9.5 oz) you had to go right to the NICU. I didn’t get to see you two again until the next afternoon because I couldn’t move around from the surgery, but Daddy got to go to the NICU that night and the next morning to check in on our two little bunnies. We knew pretty quickly that everything was OK with both of you so we weren’t too worried about you having to stay in the NICU. The hospital just wanted to feed you and get you gaining weight at a good rate before they sent you home. Benji had a little bit of breathing trouble and need some help from tubes and oxygen for the first few days which was sad for us because we couldn’t hold him in our arms right away, but the doctors said it was extremely common and we didn’t need to worry at all. Before we knew it, we had you guys both out of your incubators for feedings and snuggle times. You both were very good at breastfeeding and bottle feeding right away which was great! After just two weeks for Ben and two and a half weeks for Abby, we got to bring you home to 200 West End Avenue, Apt. #10C. | September 2009

2: Since we never had any babies before, no less TWO babies, we hired a baby nurse to help us. We thought we would keep a nurse for just a few weeks, but as I write this, we still have a night nurse who helps us with the night time and sometimes stays during the day too! You guys are a handful! The first few weeks you were home were so exciting and a little scary since we didn’t know how to take care of such little babies! We fed you very small bottles (one to two ounces) every three hours, changed your diapers, bathed you and watched you sleep a lot! People came over to visit but we tried to be careful not to let too many people hold you because we didn’t want you to catch any germs since you were both so tiny. We dressed you mostly in newborn size clothes but they were all a little too big on you guys! On Thursday, September 24, 2009 at noon, we had your bris and baby naming in the party room in our building. Even though it was a work day, lots of people came to see you two. We put you both in special outfits for the day - Ben wore a blue striped sleep sack with little embroidered cars on the buttons and Abby wore a pretty pink lacey dress that Grandma Daphne bought for her but then she projectile spit up all over it right before I was going to bring her downstairs so we switched to a cute white and pink onesie with a pink bow and a pink lace bow headband. You both looked ADORABLE. It was a big day and lots of friends and family were there but mommy was stressed out because she was afraid that Benji was going to be uncomfortable. The moyel (Dr. Greenberg) was an hour late which didn’t help but she did a very good job. Ben barely made a peep – just one little cry – and then he got to drink wine and eat sugar water, so he was happy . We lit pink candles for Abby and read some beautiful readings for both of you and all in all it was a very special day.

3: Our First Family Picture | Ben | Abby | Official Operating Room Time!

6: Hanging in the NICU | Snuggling in the Hospital Crib

7: In the Beginning, You Each Fit in the Palm of Our Hands

9: Your First Few Weeks at Home

10: October 2009 | Month two was filled with some adventures and a few little milestones. The first weekend in October, we took you up to the Berkshires for Cousin Lindsey and Ed’s wedding. We brought Sheril, the baby nurse at the time, with us so she could watch you while we went to the wedding. We stopped twice on the way up to feed you on the road and then we basically kept you in the hotel room the whole weekend because the weather was yucky and you were still so tiny. You met Great Grandma Ann for the first time and she was delighted to see you and hold you. The fourth weekend in October we took you up for your first visit to Boston. You got to see Grandma Elaine’s house and slept in daddy’s old bedroom. You met Arlene and Kurt Pressman (Uncle Evan’s parents) and Myrna Finn (Uncle Jed’s mom) for the first time and also got to meet Aunt Sherrill and Uncle Adam! On Halloween, we dressed up as the Wizard of Oz foursome and went to Uncle Rob and Aunt Patty’s for a Halloween party with Lily and Aiden and Grandma and Grandpa. Abby dressed up as Dorothy, Ben dressed up as the lion, Daddy was the scarecrow and Mommy was the tin man. You two looked adorable and Mommy and Daddy looked funny! We had lots of fun! Lily was Snow White, Aiden was little Elvis, Uncle Rob was big Elvis and Aunt Patty was the evil queen from Snow White. Even Grandma and Grandpa dressed up. They were a clown and a pirate! This month, you started to show some changes. You both began focusing on faces, lifting your upper bodies while on your tummies and Ben rolled over from his tummy to his back for the first time on October 28th. Ben also began making cooing noises – we knew he was taking after his talkative Daddy while Abby was taking after her quieter Mommy . Daddy and I would often sit for hours on end with each of you in our laps just watching you examine our faces and look into our eyes. It was such an amazing feeling to have that connection with you for the first time! A big milestone for me this month was spending the day with the two of you alone without any extra helping hands for the first time on October 31st. I was very nervous and you guys gave me a run for my money a few times with your synchronized crying, but I made it through and loved every minute!

11: Lindsey and Ed's Wedding in the Berkshires

13: Celebrating Grandma and Grandpa's Birthdays

14: Abby and Ben's First Visit to Boston

15: First Halloween!

16: November 2009 | November brought us more milestones and fun. On November 4th you had your two month pediatrician appointment with Dr. Gidwani on 70th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam and, uh oh, shots! You both were very brave and cried only a little. You were quickly growing into full-term sized babies. Abby was 7 lbs. 6 oz. and Ben was 9 lbs. 3 oz. Dr. Gidwani was very happy with your development. In the beginning of November, we hired Abby as your new nurse and we quickly realized that we liked her best of all three of your nurses (the first one, Yvonne, we got rid of because she slept through one of your feedings when you were two weeks old!) On Friday November 13th, we hosted the first Newton playgroup with all of your Newton buddies – Jordan, Theo, Toby and Layla. It was a mad house but so much fun. We lined you all up on the couch in age order and took pictures and promised to do that every time we got together for years to come. I dressed you in cute little outfits – Ben in tan chinos and a blue plaid button down shirt and Abby in a little pink dress. Rebecca, Frannie, Natalia, Heather and I had homemade sangria and started a tradition that we hope will go on for years! On November 26th we celebrated Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in New Jersey with the whole family including Grandma Elaine, Matt and Great Grandma Ann. You wore the cutest Thanksgiving outfits and we took lots of pictures. Uncle Rob, Aunt Patty, Lily and Aiden were there too. We had lots of fun and took a big family picture! This month, you both began smiling which was so exciting for Daddy and me! Abby smiled first at around 10 weeks old and Ben follow a week and a half later. Your little faces shined so bright when we got a smile out of you. At first they were sparse, showing up a few times one day and then hiding out until a few days later. Eventually though, you would both flash your smiles at all times of the day and night!

17: Meeting Arlene & Mildred | Snuggling with Uncle Evan | Cuddling Aunt Steph & Uncle Michael | Hanging with Heather & Gigi | Baby Sandwich with Layla | Snoozing with Aunt Zizi & Uncle Ed | First Restaurant Dinner with the Finns

19: Newton Mommies!

20: First Thanksgiving

22: December 2009 | December was a busy month for the Fink family. To Mommy and Daddy’s delight, you both were smiling up a storm. I know it sounds silly to be so excited over little smiles but this was really the first type of interaction we had with you where you responded to our faces and voices and acknowledged that you knew we were there! In December we celebrated your first Hanukkah. On Friday, December 11th, Aunt Frannie and Uncle Nick had a big Hanukkah party at their apartment in Brooklyn. All the babies and moms and dads were there and a bunch of other friends who don’t have kids yet like Evan and Drea and Erika and Robin and Gave and Heather (we didn’t know then but Heather was pregnant at the time and hadn’t told anyone yet!). On Saturday, December 12th, we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Demarest to celebrate Hanukkah with them and Aunt Patty, Uncle Rob, Lily and Aiden. You guys got SOOOO many presents there it was insane! You got lots of toys, a stuffed cookie monster doll, a big tummy time mat that looks like a book that you love to play on, toys from Marsha and Ricky and cute outfits. We had lots of fun and took more fun family pictures. On December 16th, we moved from 200 West End Avenue #10C to 240 Riverside Blvd. #5H. When Mommy and Daddy moved into their apartment at 200 West End Avenue, they weren’t even pregnant and they certainly didn’t know that they would have twins! So we had to find a bigger apartment that had room for all of your toys. We moved around the block to 71st Street and Riverside Boulevard right on the water. We could see the river and the West Side Highway from the big windows in the apartment and you both loved looking out at the lights from the cars and the New Jersey skyline at night. Grandma Elaine came down from Boston to help us with the move so she got to spend fun time with the two of you and celebrate Hanukkah together. Another big not-so-fun milestone that happened is December was that you guys both caught your first colds. It was so sad! You both had little runny noses that developed into fully stuffed little noses and coughs. Your colds lasted for weeks and Mommy was super protective of you and didn’t want to take you out in the cold so we all hunkered down in the new apartment. Ben caught his cold first so this drove us to another big step – putting you in separate cribs! Until then, the two of you shared one crib together but since we wanted to try to keep Abby from catching the cold and you were both getting to be too tall to sleep sideways in one crib, we decided to put you each in your own bed!

23: Daddy took off the week between Christmas and New Year's so we all got to spend lots of family time together. Abby the nurse went on vacation and then her flight home was canceled so we ended up having no night help for 8 out of the 10 days daddy was home. We were happy to have it be just the four of us, but since you guys were still waking up 3 – 5 times a night, we were totally exhausted! On December 21st we took you to your first Preemie Clinic appointment at Cornell Medical Center. The hospital has all preemies come back a few times after they go home so they can check on them. Ben weighed 11 lbs 11 oz and Abby weighed 10 lbs 13.5 oz and all of the doctors said that you both looked terrific! | On Christmas Day, we went to Stacy and Glenn’s house in Katonah and you met your twin cousins, Gemma and Grayden, for the first time. Lindsey and Ed and Paula and Tyler were there along with a bunch of other family members. We all went in our PJs because that’s their Christmas Day tradition. Mommy and Daddy barely held you all day long because everyone was so excited to see you guys and there was practically a waiting list to hold and feed you. On the way home, there was a big ice storm and Benny got upset in the car seat so mommy had to climb into the back, sit between the two of you and sing all the way home to calm him down!

24: Laughing Crying Sleeping Hanging Tummy Timing & Just Being Cute

25: First Hanukkah

27: Snuggling Together | First Night Sleeping Solo | Christmas at the Carr's House

28: First New Year's Eve Party! 2010

29: January 2010 | We rang in the New Year with a dinner party at home with Aunt Frannie, Uncle Nick and Theo and Aunt Rebecca, Uncle Charlie and Jordan. You had lots of fun with your buddies and you all had little Happy New Year hats. In January, we went to the Paramus Park Mall for our first mall shopping trip with Grandma Daphne. You guys loved being at the mall and stayed awake in the stroller most of the time, looking around at all the stores and people. We spent President’s Day weekend in Boston with Grandma Elaine and went to the mall there too! We also went out to your first Legal Sea Foods dinner with Grandma Elaine, Matt, Aunt Sherrill, Uncle Adam and Sasha. We fed you at the restaurant and Ben was pretty well behaved but Abby was pretty fussy and mommy had to feed her standing up to get her to stop crying! Up in Boston we also saw Great Grandma Ann and the Sugarman family and went to the cemetery to visit Grandpa Andrew who Abby is named after. | This month you both really started developing your own little personalities and characters. You both started holding toys. You especially love holding and sucking on the winkle toy that Aunt Sherrill got for you. You both started to suck on your hands and drool a lot. Dr. Gidwani said that you are practicing for teething! You also are starting to try to hold your bottles when we feed you but they’re still a little too big and heavy to let you feed yourselves on your own. Abby loves to pull things over her face – loveys, burp cloths, blankets, and even her own dress!! She also often pulls her pacifier out of her mouth but then she cries for Mommy and Daddy to put it back in. We’ll have to work on teaching her to do it herself! Ben has been cooing up a storm lately and we say that he takes after his Daddy who likes to talk a lot too! We often sit and have cooing conversations where we make cute little “oooooh” noises back and forth. Another thing Ben does all day long is spit up! He drinks a lot and spits up a lot but he is gaining weight at the perfect speed so it’s more of a nuisance than a real problem. It’s not uncommon to have to change Ben’s clothes two or three times a day because he gets drenched in spit up. Mommy usually has to change at least one time too because if you’re in Ben’s path, you’re fair game! One time, Mommy leaned in to give Benny a kiss and he even spit up on her mouth!!

30: Ben laughed for the first time on January 12th when Mommy was changing him on the changing table and zurberted his tummy. Two weeks later we were still waiting for the second showing. Abby, who had previously been the quiet one is starting to coo a lot more too so now we have a little chorus of sweet little cooing voices and smiling faces! Up until now, when we put you guys to bed, we would swaddle you in a blanket so you were snug as a bug and Ben would sleep on a wedge to elevate his upper body to try to prevent all the spitting up. But now, we decided to stop the swaddling and take out the wedge so you are sleeping in your cribs free as little birds. You guys still like to sleep on your backs though and you don’t end up moving around very much at night yet. On January 11, 2010, we took you to Dr. Gidwani for your fourth month check-up. Abby weighed 12 lbs. 12 oz. and measured 23 inches and Benji weighed 12 lbs. 14 oz. and measured 23.5 inches. You both got some shots but you were very brave and didn’t cry too much. On the playtime front, you guys have started sitting in your exersaucers. You don’t really play with the toys a lot yet, but you like sitting upright and looking at everything around you. This is a big help when one of us is taking care of both of you alone because if we need to do something, we can put you in the exersaucers and you are happy and safe! Tummy time is getting a little bit easier and you both seem to be a little more comfortable on your tummies but Ben still gets frustrated sometimes, I think because he wants to move forward on the play mat and can’t yet. A big milestone that we hit this month is that we gave you solids for the first time the week of January 25th. We started just with rice cereal and a little bit of breast milk and then slowly added fruit and vegetable baby food over time. Abby took to eating from a spoon right away and Ben took a few days to get used to it, but you both ended up loving it! We got some really cute pictures of you eating for the first time with cereal all over your faces! You both are really interacting more and it is so much fun to look at your adorable little faces and see you beginning to learn how to communicate and play with us. Abby will often cry from her crib for us to come over and when we pop our faces in her view, she gives us a huge smile! She also likes to stick her tongue all the way out like she is showing you the cool new thing she found. Ben gives us huge smiles and still talks up a storm! On January 28th, Benji got his first fever of over 102. Mommy and Daddy were very worried, but we gave him Tylenol and after about two days, he was all better. Thankfully, Abby never caught it!

33: Newton | BFFs

34: Lots of Quality Time with Family

36: Being Silly with Mommy and Daddy | Feeding Time | You Finally Fit in Baby Carriers!

37: We hired a woman named Vivian Sonnenberg, who was a sleep trainer from San Francisco, to consult with us as we went through the process. She gave us explicit instructions on when to feed you, put you to bed and, when you woke up in the middle of the night, how long to let you cry before going into the nursery. The thought of letting you guys cry broke our hearts but, as many people told us, not getting the sleep you needed was worse for you than a little bit of crying. While the training wasn’t fun, you both were sleeping through the night within five days. Neither of you ever cried long enough to warrant us coming in to the nursery, so we were thrilled about that. It truly was amazing. After five nights, the two of you began sleeping 11 to 12 hours per night and you rarely ever woke up in the middle of the night again. We also noticed that once you were sleeping through the night, you both we less fussy during the day and seemed to be generally happier and more comfortable. | February 2010 | Aside from the big milestone of sleeping through the night, you guys began doing more fun things in February. Ben started to discover his feet. We would sit him on our bellies while we were lying down in bed or on the couch and he would lean forward and play with his cutie little toes. Ben also started trying to wiggle forward when he was on his belly on February 7th but it still was a frustrating experience for him. He would stick his tushy up in the air and try to push | February began with the torturous, but huge milestone of getting you guys to sleep through the night. You both were still waking up multiple times a night, but not really because you were hungry. Mostly, your pacifier would fall out of your mouth and you would cry so that someone would come and put it back in. Because you still weren’t sleeping through the night, we still had Abby the night nurse and we decided that you guys were big enough and we were ready to stop having baby nurse help so it was time to embark on the dreaded sleep training.

38: forward with his knees, but his arms would get stuck under him so poor little Ben wouldn’t go very far. It was very cute though and we knew soon enough he would be crawling and walking all over the place! Clearly focused on getting places, Ben is also rolling over to his side from his back getting closer to the big rollover from back to front. Ben is also giggling more and more now. He giggles a ton when we tickle him and sometimes, if Mommy or Daddy have a coughing fit, he will burst out into hysterical laughter! Abby is also starting to giggle a bit more now. Mommy was drinking a glass of water one day when Abby and Ben were in their exersaucers and the water went down the wrong pipe causing her to cough. Abby thought this was the funniest thing she had ever seen! She laughed long enough for Mommy to call daddy at work and leave a long voicemail of Abby laughing! Abby is also really discovering that she can explore objects by taking them and putting them in her mouth. She puts everything she can in her mouth from her hands, to her toys, to OUR hands to a fortune cookie from one of Grandma and Grandpa’s take out dinners! She has also begun to suck her thumb a bit which is absolutely adorable! While you two still aren’t totally interacting with each other, you are beginning to notice each other. We watch you guys look at each other and hold your gaze for a little bit. You are both having a lot more fun with your exersaucer toys. Benji loves the little book and spinners on his exersaucer and Abby loves to grab the dragonfly on hers and eat the wings. She also likes to hit the crocodile puzzle and cause all the pieces to fly off the base! On the eating front, you both now love bananas (although Abby didn’t like them the first time she tried it) and you also love oatmeal. One thing you guys do not like is avocados. In fact, Ben hated avocados so much he gagged when we fed it to him for the first time! After that, we decided to hold off on avocados for a while and try again later! In February, you both lost something that you had since the day you were born – your hair!! Each of you was born with a full head of hair – Abby’s was brown and Ben’s was dirty blonde. Everyone always commented on how cute it was that you both had so much hair. But this month, little by little, your baby hair fell out and you were both left with little tufts of hair on the top of your heads! Abby still had enough hair in her little tuft for us to put little bows in it, but you both had much less hair than you came into the world with! After six months of being home with you guys, Mommy had to go back to work part time on March 2nd so in February, we had to start thinking about nannies. We hired someone named Debbie at first, but after a few weeks, we thought she wouldn’t be so great. On February 16th, Abby the night nurse became your nanny. She took very good care of you guys when she was your baby nurse and she loved you and wanted to become your nanny so we decided to give it a shot! Mommy was not so excited to go back to work, but she was a little relieved that she would only be away from home three days a week instead of five because there was nothing in the world she loved more than being with her two, beautiful babies!

39: Little Buddies | Monkeying Around

40: Fun with Grandma Elaine, Matt and Paula

44: We’d have to get your car seats and put you in them, take burp cloths and blankets and prop your bottles up while you drank them so that if one of you had to be burped, the other could keep eating. Now that you could hold your bottles and sit, we didn’t have to prop up your bottle with burp cloths anymore and, eventually, we would be able to just hand you your bottles and let you drink away! Speaking of drinking, March was the last month that you guys drank breast milk. In the beginning, Mommy was breastfeeding both of you and you were also drinking breast milk from bottles so you didn’t drink any formula until January. In January, we started giving you one bottle of formula a day at the end of the day and the rest of the time you would breastfeed or drink breast milk from a bottle. Little by little though, we gave you more and more formula and less and less breast milk until we began to give you all formula after the first week in April. We weren’t so sure that it would work to breastfeed twins because a lot of people have a hard time breastfeeding only one baby, but to our delight, it really worked and we were so happy that Mommy could do it for as long as she did. Unfortunately though, Benji didn’t discriminate and he still spit up all day long whether he was drinking breast milk or formula! | March 2010 | In March, the two of you began doing two things that made Mommy and Daddy’s lives a whole lot easier – you both started sitting up and you both started holding your own bottles. Abby sat up first at the beginning of the month and then Ben did it a few weeks later and Ben started holding his bottle first and then Abby held hers a few weeks later. Up until now, double feeding you guys alone was a pretty big production.

45: In March, you both began drooling a lot and putting everything in your mouth even more than before, and this was all for good reason – you both got your first two teeth!! Both of you got your bottom two middle teeth first. Many of your friends and cousins didn’t get their first tooth until after they were one year old, but you guys got yours at six months! In March, your hair was growing back in and Ben’s turned curly! You both were getting more and more comfortable on your tummies. You were even taking your naps on your tummies (although you didn’t really have a full nap schedule quite yet). During the day, you both smiled and laughed a ton. You started to explore our faces by grabbing them and Benji especially loved to grab our mouths and stick his hand inside! You seemed to be starting to reach out for us to pick you up as well. We took you to your six month check-up for a weigh in and more shots. Abby weighed 15 lbs. 6 oz. and measured 25.5 inches and Ben weighed 15 lbs. 15 oz. and measured 25.5 inches. March brought a lot of fun events. In the beginning of the month, we celebrated Daddy’s birthday with a big party at our apartment with all of the babies and their parents. We celebrated your first Passover without whole family at our apartment and we tried to do the second night at the Platt’s but our plan to put you to bed at their apartment was foiled when Benji wouldn’t have it so we had to leave early! Aunt Steph came to visit for a few days and we played in the park with her, went for walks and spent some good quality time together. We went to Noa and Bella’s baby naming in the party room in our building and Abby decided she wanted a glass of wine so she took Daddy’s glass and held it by the stem as he walked her around the party. On March 21st, we got up early and went to Central Park to watch Daddy run in the NYC half marathon. He did great and Benji cheered him on while Abby took a nap!

47: Aunt Steph Visits from Chicago! | Lots of Hanging with the Newton Crew

48: First Passover | Dining with Grandma and Grandpa | Reading with Grandma Elaine | Working Hard at Yummy Memories

50: Swimming!

51: Getting Bigger Week by Week

52: April 2010 | This month, we went on your very first vacation! From April 8th through the 11th, we went to Puerto Rico with Aunt Sherrill, Uncle Adam and Sasha. We were so nervous about your first plane ride but you guys were complete pros! You both were absolute angels during each of the two four-hour flights. Puerto Rico was hot and steamy and you two took a while to get used to the hot weather that you had never experienced before! Each day, we would set up camp under a big blue tent next to the pool. The hotel gave us two pack n’ plays so that you could take your naps outside in the fresh air. We were lucky enough to have a babysitter named Bethany help us with you guys each day so Mommy and Daddy could relax and catch some rays. We played in the pool a lot and even went out to the ocean and played in the sand for the very first time. You guys didn’t really know what to make of the sand but you weren’t scared. All in all, it was a great first family vacation! In April, we started playing in the bouncy swing that hangs from the doorway and Abby loved to sit and dance around with her little feet just brushing the ground. This month, you guys went to your first birthday party for Jordan’s first birthday at his grandparents’ apartment on Central Park West and 86th Street. Daddy had to take you alone because Mommy had Aunt Liz’s bachelorette party but Tio Robin and Tia Erika helped him out. The next weekend, Daddy went away for the whole weekend to Florida for Uncle Ian’s bachelor party and left Mommy alone with you guys for the first time. Thankfully Grandma came into the city to help! April also brought a lot of teething and, sadly, fevers for both of you. Your top front teeth came in so now you both could really bite! And since you could bite, in April we weaned you guys off of breastfeeding and you started to drink only formula. We ended the month playing in Central Park and barbequing at Aunt Heather and Uncle Gabe’s apartment on the Upper East Side. All in all, it was an eventful month full of fun and travels!

53: Springtime with the Soto Lambs and the NadelMasters

54: First Trip on an Airplane | Puerto Rico with Uncle Adam, Aunt Sherrill and Sasha

58: During feeding time, Abby was becoming more and more independent. She began picking up cheerios and putting them in her mouth. Cheerios quickly began Abby’s favorite food. We would put a bunch of cheerios in a little snack cup and if Abby got a hold of it, she would eat every last cheerio (with the exception of the pile that ended up on the floor, in her neck fold, stuck to the seat of her pants, etc.). If you tried to take the snack cup away from Abby once it was in her hands, she would hold onto it for dear life and she would cry loudly until you gave it back to her. Abby also showed her willfulness at bottle time. She began making it clear at the end of each day that she didn’t need to be fed her bottle because she could do it herself. She would wiggle away from us at bottle time and would only drink if we put the bottle down on the floor next to her so she could pick it up herself. In May, you both found a new game that they loved to play with us – the “nonononono” game. You guys would shake your head back and forth as if you were saying “nonononono” and then wait for us to do it back. We spent lots of time nonononono-ing back and forth and you guys would smile and laugh all the way through while we go so dizzy we would almost fall over! On Mother’s Day, Benji began rolling over from back to front and he turned into a rolling machine. He also loved to stand up while holding your hands like a big boy! Ben continued to love making noises and added a full-blown raspberry noise and a lot of “r” sounds that sounded like roaring or race car noises. Ben first consonant sound was babababa and he loved to say it over and over and over again. | May 2010 | In your ninth month, you both began to interact with us a lot and we could begin to imagine what you would be like as little toddlers. Abby started saying gagagaga and repeating it when you said it to her. Since this was her first consonant sound, we gave her the nickname of “Lady Gaga”. Soon after, she added baba to her vocabulary as well. This month Abby began to point a little bit. She started to move when she was on her belly, but instead of moving forward, she moved backwards, pushing her body around with her little hands.

59: When we put Ben down to bed in his crib, he would often roll around and talk for a good half hour/forty-five minutes before falling asleep. It was so much fun to watch and listen to him on the video monitor because was an adorable bundle of energy! One night he was rolling around in his crib and we suddenly heard lullaby music coming from the monitor. We looked and realized he had figured out how to turn on his little crib soother that hung on the side of his crib. He would turn it on and lay on his back facing the soother (it lit up and had little rainforest animals on it) until it stopped. He would then promptly roll over to his tummy and scoot over so he could reach the on button and turn it on again. He also loved to lie on his back with his feet on the soother and moved the soother up and down as hard as he could. It was quite noisy and we were always amazing that he didn’t wake up Abby doing this and that he never broke the soother! Eventually we would have to take the soother out of the crib because it was making too much noise and keeping him up much later than his bedtime should have been! Both of you guys began loving to play peekaboo with us this month. We would sit the two of you in one of your cribs and crouch down on the floor. You would wait patiently until we popped up into your view saying “peekaboo!” The two of you would erupt into hysterical giggles every time we did it. Sometimes you would laugh so hard you would tip over! On May 25th, Abby rolled over from her back to her tummy for the first time in her crib she often sleeps on her side in her crib. She also started saying “bababababa” just like Ben! In May, we did lots of fun things and saw so many friends and family. As usual, we went to Hands On Music Class on 69th and Amsterdam on Mondays so sometimes Grandma Daphne would come with us when she came into the city. You guys really started interacting and enjoying the class around now. We would sing songs and learn about different instruments. By far, your favorite song was the bouncy ball song where we’d sing “I am a bouncy ball, I bounce without a fall, I bounce and bounce and bounce and bounce although I’m very small!” and we would sit you on a bouncy ball and bounce you up and down. We also started hanging out in the park more and more since the weather was getting nice. We had a little picnic in the park with Robin and Erika and Rebecca and Charlie and Jordan. We hung out with cousins Justin and Brad and had Theo, Frannie and Nick sleep over one night before they moved up to Boston. On Mother’s Day, Grandma Elaine and Matt came down from Boston and we went to a big brunch in New Jersey with Grandma Daphne and Grandpa and Uncle Rob, Aunt Patty, Lily and Aiden. It was chaotic but fun! For Memorial Day Weekend, we went up to Boston and saw Grandma Elaine, Matt, Great Grandma, Ian and Deb and Theo, Frannie and Nick again! We had lots of fun and went swimming at Matt’s pool. May was a great month!

60: Fun Times in May!

61: Mother's | Day | 2010

62: Play!

63: Spring Visit to Newton

65: June 2010 | In June, you guys both continued to develop your unique and lovable personalities and you started to show some progress towards moving around more independently. After rolling onto his tummy for the first time in May, Ben became a rolling expert. Both of you began to scoot backwards on your tummies using your arms to push you bodies around. Sometimes, if you wanted a toy that was out of reach, you would turn so your feet were facing towards it, push yourself backwards until you were close enough to it, and then fully rotate around so that you could reach out and grab it. When Daddy and Mommy would come home from work, you both started to try to pull up on us to give us hugs which was sooooo great after a long day away from you guys. You also both started to get up on your knees a little bit, testing out what it might feel like to really crawl! Abby officially became a thumb sucker in the month of June. She looked adorable when she was sucking her thumb and she loved doing it so much that she had a sore on the base of her thumb which ultimately turned into a little callous. Sometimes, we could swear that Abby was waving goodbye to people but we weren’t entirely sure yet. In June, Abby started making a funny facial expression where she would scrunch up her nose and then breathe in and out really fast. She looked just like Lily Tomlin’s operation character. It was hysterical and she knew we thought it was funny so when we would laugh and do it back to her, she would smile and do it more! Having mastered the art of feeding herself cheerios, Abby became our official little cheerio piggy. Any time there was a cheerio in sight, she would grab it. It even seemed like if we gave her an entire box of cheerios, she would take it down! Cheerios were Abby’s new favorite food!

66: In June, Ben started becoming a little mischievous and exhibiting a sense of humor. In the morning, Ben would often lie in his crib and grab the little green monsters on his Red Sox mobile, practically pulling the whole thing down on top of him! Whenever we were in the car or the snap n’ go stroller, Ben liked to pull the canopy of his car seat down to his feet so that the canopy hid his entire body. This was a great way to play peekaboo and he loved it! In June, Ben also started to play the “nononono!” game more interactively. If you shook your head back and forth to Ben and said “nononono!” he would laugh and start shaking his head back and forth to you. We had lots of fun playing the nononono game! By the end of the month, Ben started to reverse his tummy scooting and was able to pull himself forward a little in addition to the mastered backwards scoot. Because you guys were preemies and twins, it was likely that some things, like crawling and walking, would take a little bit longer to master so in June we started doing a little physical therapy. Generally, you guys hated it! It seemed like it should be fun – rolling on big rubber balls and playing with toys – but you two would rather be hanging out in the park so a lot of the time, you would cry the whole session. Mommy was so sad to make you do it but it was good for you so we kept going and eventually, it started to be fun. June was filled with lots of weddings and great times with friends and family. We hung out with Uncle Jose and Uncle Erik for dinner one night and we started taking you guys out for brunch to restaurants. You two loved it and would sit so nicely in your highchairs. Everyone always commented on how adorable and well-behaved you guys were! In June, we made your first visit to the Demarest Swim Club with Grandma Daphne and Grandpa. You guys loved the kiddie pool and playing on your park blanket in the shade. For Father’s Day, we got together with Grandma Daphne, Grandpa, Uncle Rob, Aunt Patty, Lily and Aiden at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and had a barbeque. The last weekend in June, Mommy and Daddy were invited to two weddings – Dan and Meshi’s in Boston and Liz and Mike’s in New Jersey. We were good friends with both couples so we decided to each go to one wedding and take one baby. Daddy went up to Boston with Abby and Mommy stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s in New Jersey with Benji. This was the first time you two were apart for more than an hour and you did great! Abby went on her first train ride with Daddy and Tio Robin to get to and from Boston. While it was sad for our family to be apart, even for one night, it was a great adventure for everyone and we were all really happy to be back together on Sunday!

67: The First of Many | Restaurant Adventures in High Chairs

68: Father's Day 2010

69: Fun in June

71: July 2010 | July was a big month for movement milestones! Both of you were combat crawling all over the apartment! The cuteness was out of control with you two little munchkins scooting around everywhere on your little bellies! And if that wasn’t cute enough, both of you started to consistently sleep on your bellies with your little tushies sticking up in the air. I don’t know how that was comfortable, but you did it and you were out cold! Benji’s combat crawling had a unique style. He would pull with his right arm and hand and push with his left foot to get his body moving around. And move around he did! Benji liked to explore every inch of the apartment. I guess discovering that you don’t have to depend on someone else to move you | around makes for a big burst of independence! In July, Ben’s personality continued to show itself to the world. He had the cutest way of cocking his head, looking at you and smiling the sweetest smile. He loved making raspberry noises back and forth with Mommy and Daddy. The funniest thing Ben started doing in July was dancing. Whenever Mommy sang the bouncy ball song from Hands On music class, Ben would start dancing sitting on his tush, just rockin’ to the music. Ben’s favorite toy was still by far his Mozart cube, so we started thinking that little Benji might be a musician one day because he sure loved music! It was starting to become clear to us this month that Ben wasn’t as into sleeping as Abby was. Benji would play in his crib for an hour before falling asleep. He’d turn on his baby soother and kick it over and over to the point where I thought it would fall of the crib onto his head! He would roll around the crib, rock on all fours and plays with bla bla until finally he would pass out. Then, the next morning, even though he had fallen asleep later than Abby, Ben would be up at 6:00 AM, bright and early. Usually, he would be happy to hang out and chat to himself and let Mommy and Daddy sleep until about 6:45/7:00. At nap time, he would perform the same routine as bedtime, just hanging out and playing his crib for a while before finally falling asleep. In July, Ben started to get better at picking up cheerios, which was a treat for him and for us. He also took a few little crawling steps in the middle of the month, but really started crawling at the very end

72: of the month, when Mommy was away for the weekend at Aunt Stephanie’s bridal shower and Daddy decided he was going to spend the weekend keeping Benji up on his knees. He didn’t let Benji combat crawl the whole weekend and put him on his knees anytime he started to move and sure enough, within a day, Benji was fully crawling! Abby’s combat crawling had a different look than Benji’s. She would alternate both hands and both feet and on July 11th, she got up on her hands and knees and started crawling! Now that Abby was living life at a higher altitude, she discovered the diaper caddy that we keep in the living room and she LOVED to crawl over to the diaper caddy and pull every last diaper out of it and throw them all over the floor. Somehow diapers were more fun than toys! Not only did Abby master the art of crawling this month, she started showing lots of interest in pulling herself up. She always wanted to be climbing up on our legs when we were sitting on the floor with her. She pulled up on us and some low things like the diaper bag trying to stand. By the end of the month, Abby had tried a few times to let go while she was standing. At night before bed, when we would hang out in the nursery, Abby liked to pull up on Mommy or Daddy so that she was standing, let go, and then fall on her tushy to the floor and then laugh. As long as she didn’t tip over and bang her head, this was Abby’s favorite activity! In addition to trying to stand, Abby started to cruise in July. On July 14th, she cruised all the way around the coffee table. In July, Abby’s showed lots of personality. She started clapping on July 2nd and she also started dancing on her tush when Mommy would sing the bouncy ball song. Abby also officially started waving good bye this month with a bye bye wave to Grandma Daphne. Unlike Benji, Abby was definitely a sleeper. Rather than playing in her crib at night, Abby would stick her thumb in her mouth the second we put her down and she would fall fast asleep. In the morning, she almost never woke up before Ben. I think if you two didn’t share a room, Abby would have slept from 7:00 PM to 8:00 AM every night!

73: In July, we went to a lot of fun parties. On July 4th, Tia Erika, Tio Robing, Aunt Heather, Uncle Gabe and new little Dez came over to celebrate and watch the Macy’s fireworks on the Hudson River. I was so worried that the booming of the fireworks would wake you guys up, but you stayed fast asleep while we got a great view of the show from the den window! The next weekend, we went out to NJ for Aiden’s’ 1st birthday party. It was Hawaiian-themed and we had lots of fun. Daddy and Benji fell asleep in Uncle Rob’s hammock and took a relaxing outdoor summer snooze together. The weekend after Aiden’s birthday party, Grandma Elaine, Aunt Melissa and Cousin Mia came to visit. We had lots of fun with them! We took them to our music class and showed them the Upper West Side. We even brought them out to NJ to go to Grandma Daphne and Grandpa’s swim club. At the end of the month, we all traveled up to Massachusetts to go to Ian and Deb’s wedding. It was an adventure bringing you guys. We all stayed in one hotel room together and you guys had a blast. Except when you had to go to sleep at night. On Friday night, I had to leave the rehearsal dinner to get you guys to go to bed! Maybe you were just excited to be staying in a hotel room again!

74: Crawling and Scootching Everywhere!

75: Snuggle Time!

76: Fun with | Family and Friends

77: Stroller Time!

79: August 2010 | August, the last month of your first year, was a month of fun, vacation and growth. You guys really started interacting with each other in the beginning of what will hopefully be the best friendship of your lives. On August 3rd, at the end of the day, I had the two of you on my lap on the love seat in the living room and you both started babbling to each other in full-blown conversation. You were taking turns making noises to each other with varying inflection in your voices and you were smiling at each other so you must have been discussing something great! You two often looks at each other and smile throughout the day – while you’re playing with your toys together, during meals, all the time! This month you started to play a funny game together where you look at each other from across the room and then you start making delighted, screechy, squealing noises and then crawl really fast towards each other and bump heads. It is adorable and absolutely hysterical. We tried to catch it on video but it’s so hard to predict when you’re going to do it! Every month, Abby has been showing her sassy personality more and more and developing her ability to move around independently and August was no exception. Abby is developing into an independent, strong willed, affectionate and humorous little bunny. On the independent eating front, she fed herself an entire breakfast for the first time this month including eggs, cantaloupe, strawberries and cheerios. One morning, to our surprise, Abby grabbed a plum that Daddy was eating right out of his hands and ate the whole thing! We were so used to worrying about cutting everything you guys ate into little pieces so this was a sight to behold – little Abby, big plum with little bite marks, and plum juice all over her face and hands standing at the coffee table in the living room. Such a picture!

80: Abby began waving to people this month, especially when we would go outside for walks. She started blowing kisses as well. Her strong willed nature came out often when she didn’t want to wear a barrette that Mommy put in her hair and she would make an unhappy face and pull it right out! Her silly side showed itself with a new comedy routine where Abby would hit her belly and her head and fall into hysterical giggles. But in spite of her independence and sass, Abby never fails to show her affectionate side, always asking to be picked up and hugged, sucking her thumb and laying her head in our laps to snuggle. This month, Abby began standing alone for extended periods of time. We would stand her up and then let go and Abby would stand solo, looking at us like she couldn’t believe she was doing it, and then she would plop on the floor and laugh. Even though it didn’t technically happen in August, Abby’s practice standing culminated in her taking her first four steps on her birthday, September 1st! Benji also worked on getting around independently a lot in the month of August. He was consistently pulling up onto his knees in the crib, on the bouncy seat, the activity table and the coffee table and by the end of the month, he was pulling up to the standing position a little bit. In August, Ben mastered the art of crawling around on his hands and knees and he was making his way all over the place like this. He even used his crawling skills to chase Uncle David and Aunt Amy’s two terriers around their living room when we went out to New City to visit and go for a swim! Benji loved the little dogs and kept trying to reach out and pet them. Abby wasn’t as enthralled though. She was clinging to us and even shaking a little bit when they came close! Ben also began eating more independently in August. He loved eating teething biscuits and breadsticks. When he ate his teething biscuits, it was a sight to behold. He would chow down so intently and by the time he finished, he had teething biscuit goo all over his hands, face, hair and even his ears! This month, Benji also began picking up cheerios and feeding them to himself too!

81: Benji was continuing to develop into a sweet, happy, talkative little boy this month. He smiles and laughs all the time, especially when he sees himself in the mirror! When Ben sees Mommy and Daddy across the room, he gets really excited and crawls as fast as he can to us, just like he does with Abby. He loves being up on Daddy’s shoulders, splashing in the pool and bonking heads. Another thing Benji loved to do this month was going to restaurants where he can sit at the table in a high chair. He loves to sit across the table from Abby so he can laugh with her and talk to her throughout the whole meal! And speaking of talking, Benji really began saying a lot of consonants this month, including “mama and dada!” August was filled with a lot of fun activities and then a great vacation in East Hampton for the last two weeks of the month. In the beginning of the month, we played with Grandma and Grandpa a bunch, went to Central Park, visited Uncle David, Aunt Amy, Justin, Brad and Robbie in New City and obsessively played in your little red and yellow Cozy Coupe! Two weeks before Labor Day, we headed out to East Hampton to a house that we rented with a pool and lots of toys and had a great summer vacation. We had lots of friends and family come out to stay with us including Grandma, Matt, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Patty, Uncle Rob, Lily, Aiden, Layla, Uncle Jed and Aunt Heather! That was a lot of people! And, we played with a bunch of other friends who were out at the beach already including Bella, Noa, Kate and Shai and Toby, Natalia and Mike. We swam in the pool, played with toys, went out to restaurants and even went to the beach for the first time. You guys really didn’t know what to make of the sand so we stayed on the blanket most of the time. We had a few little birthday parties out in the Hamptons for your first birthday. One was with our family when everyone was at the house at the same time and one was with Noa and Bella on your actual birthday. You guys got lots of presents and you ate cake and cupcakes for the first time! Abby loved them and Benji wasn’t as enthusiastic about them, but we knew he would grow to love cake! Since we were on vacation for your birthday, we decided not to have your big party until later in September, but we sure did celebrate a lot!! Happy Birthday to the two sweetest, most fun, adorable little munchkins a mommy and daddy could ever hope for. We love you!!!

83: First Vacation in the Hamptons

88: Happy 1st Birthday Abby and Ben!

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  • By: Jill F.
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  • Title: First Year Album
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  • Started: about 7 years ago
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