One of the things that Nomi and I have been learning to do for the past five-and-a-half months now is putting the kids to bed in a way that gets them to go to sleep quickly. Whether or not they get to sleep and stay asleep can sometimes feel like a crapshoot; for the past two nights, the girls have gotten to sleep relatively quickly (thanks to Nomi) but then woken up within a half-hour and been unable to get to sleep again until very late. There's also the fact that they do wake up during the night for feedings and diaper changes, all of which contributes to a lack of sleep for both Nomi and myself.
A nice part of all this, however, was developing a bedtime ritual that we thought the kids would enjoy. As it now stands, here's what we tend to do.
First we tend to feed them as much as they'll eat, change them into fresh diapers, and then put them into their sleep sacks. We know the kids are learning because one night we put Muffin in her sleep sack before feeding her, and she got this sad, confused look on her face as if we were planning to put her into her crib without dinner. We fed her immediately, and she ate two and a half bottles of food, and was most satisfied.
After they are in their sacks, we sit them on our laps and read to them. Right now, we're mostly reading to them from "But Not the Hippopotamus" by Sandra Boynton, and they seem to appreciate it a lot. We tend to read them the book twice.
Then we walk them into their room, gently lay them down in their cribs and sing to them. A lot of our singing is from the davening, which makes Nomi think that the girls will spend their lives falling asleep in shul. Sometimes we pick them up and rock them as we sing to them, but we also try to get them to fall asleep without that.
Anyway, that's our usual bedtime ritual with the kids.