Posts tagged #twins

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Two years ago today we were faced with the pain of having to leave our sweet babies in the NICU while we went home. Instead of reminiscing about it, I'm going to share birthday party details with you all! 

This past weekend, Andley and Silas turned TWO! I can't even believe it. It has been the most amazing, fun, blessed and chaotic two years. They are simply and uniquely two of a kind and we couldn't be more thankful for them. They are our everything.

I love party planning on a budget and this years theme was Pretty Pretty Tutu, Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, Andley & Silas are turning two! The color scheme was light pink, navy blue and gold and it was perfection. We spent a lot of nights making tutus, painting and cutting out decorations, hence my lack of posting. Enjoy the pictures! 

Let me just tell you now, gold is HARD to photograph when you're not a professional so the pictures really don't do the party much justice. But, it was super cute and so much fun!

Cupcakes by Sweet Treats by Mandy // Cookies by Cupcakes for a Cause by Danika // Water Bottle Labels (FREE printable) // Railroad Crossing Signs (FREE printable) // Navy Chevron Paper (FREE printable)

 photo http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54493-108-ED4C11BC129DA757C75FEE6F828EC644_zps1lac2e4p.png
Posted on March 13, 2015 and filed under Holidays & Parties, Twins.

The Ultimate Hospital Bag Must-Haves

Preparing for baby or babies?! Here is the ultimate list of items to pack for your L&D bag. I'm clearly an over packer and slightly high maintenance so take the list for what it's worth and omit and add to as you wish. 

Clothing for Mama:

  1. Comfy, loose, high waist pants. You'll want a great pair in order to be comfortable especially after a cesarean.  Many women opt for button down sleep shirts instead, as they don't have to worry about where it lies on their incision but is still easy to access breasts etc. I prefer pants paired with...
  2. Nursing tanks.
  3. Nursing bras. The most comfortable option is the sleep bras but you may choose to pack and underwire one as well in case you just want to feel more you. If you're pumping, invest in a hands-free pump bra! They're soooo nice!
  4. High waist/slightly oversized panties.  The hospital will supply you with mesh panties that do the trick but sometimes it's nice to have a good pair of cotton panties on. Dark colors are best because let's just say you're going to bleed a lot... even if you end up with a cesarean. 
  5. Light weight robe. This is nice if you get a cold or simply want more coverage. I particularly liked mine for going back and forth to the NICU but my hope is that you won't experience that. 
  6. Non-slip socks. They keep your feet nice and warm and prevent falling from a medicine induced stupor. 
  7. Non-slip slippers. Same concept as the socks with a bit more protection, another great item for walking the halls, walking to the bathroom, NICU etc.

Essentials for Mama

  1. Makeup bag with all make-up essentials & toiletries because sometimes you just want to feel a bit more you or a bit more glamorous than you feel without makeup. You'll also want deodorant, light body spray and q-tips. Don't forget glasses, contacts and contact solution if applicable. 
  2. Compact mirror to assist in applying the makeup and doing hair.
  3. Chapstick. As silly as it may seem this is one of my top items. Hospitals are dry and you will be begging for some hydration.
  4. Hair essentials. Shampoo & conditioner, preferably travel size, hair spray, brush, pony tails holders, bobby pins, headbands and dry shampoo. Dry shampoo will be a lifesaver if you're unable or just don't have the energy to wash your hair when needed. I also ended up sending my husband home for my hair dryer and flat iron, as I was in the hospital for 5 days. 
  5. Toothbrush and tooth paste.
  6. Body wash.
  7. Face wash & lotion.
  8. Hydrating body lotion.
  9. Mints. Your breath can never be too minty.
  10. Razor. Might seem silly but I can't go a day without shaving my armpits, forget the legs.
  11. Water bottle. You will need as much hydration as possible, especially if you're breastfeeding. 

For Baby

  1. Car seat. Make sure it's properly installed and you know how to use it prior to delivery.
  2. Going home outfit, extra outfits and hats. All that's necessary is the going home outfit but if you're anything like me, I wanted to dress them while staying in the hospital so I had extra outfits. Make sure they're all laundered. 
  3. Mittens. Babies have sharp little nails and you don't want them scratching their sweet delicate skin. You likely won't be brave enough to trim their nails and the hospital staff won't do it.
  4. Socks. Little feet get cold, keep those babies warm.
  5. Burp cloths. Not necessary as you'll have plenty of cloths around but it's nice to have your own.
  6. Blankets. Same as above. 

For Daddy

  1. Comfy clothes and pj's. Daddy wants to be comfortable as well.
  2. House shoes or other comfy shoes. My husband prefers tennis shoes but many prefer something more cozy.
  3. Water bottle. Like mama, daddy needs to stay hydrated and buying water from the vending machine gets pricy.
  4. Wallet. You'll need to have both of your drivers license, insurance card, employer contact info, chosen pediatrician contact info etc. handy. It also helps to have cash if you order delivery or ask someone to pick up food or other items for you. Tip from my husband... have a few gift cards to your favorite eateries bought beforehand. 
  5. Toiletries. 

Miscellaneous

  1. Pillow. Hospital pillows just aren't the same as yours.
  2. Healthy snacks. Sure there are vending machines but they're usually full of junk and/or are overpriced. 
  3. Phone & charger. You'll be using it to text, call, send pictures and you don't want to forget the charger at home! Make sure you have all important numbers entered.
  4. Camera. Hello... this is a a BIG deal and you want to document the heck out of it, I promise! The pictures are priceless, even the absolutely unflattering ones. You'll cherish them forever and ever. Another tip from my husband... if you have a GoPro, strap that bad boy to your head and document even more! Unfortunately, we only recently invested in one. 
  5. Nursing pads. Another unnecessary item, as the hospital will supply them but sometimes you just want your own. I preferred the washable ones but used disposables in the hospital.
  6. Nipple cream. Same as above. 
  7. Nursing pillow. There are plenty of pillows to use at the hospital but many women prefer an actual nursing pillow.
  8. Nursing cover. If you're super modest, you'll definitely want to bring one. If not, set em' free.
  9. Breast pump. I preferred to use the hospital grade one but if you already have one purchased it might be useful to go ahead and start with it. I thought I'd be able to put the babies to breast so I hadn't purchased one prior to delivery. 
  10. Pads. Another item the hospital will supply. Your choice.
  11. Candy for the nurses. Our nurses really enjoyed this little treat and it was just a small token of appreciation for everything the did for us.
  12. Bluetooth speaker. If you're a music lover and/or have a labor and delivery play list compiled you will definitely want a speaker. 
  13. Postpartum belly wrap. I had no idea about these until months after I delivered but apparently they are amazing! Do your research and find the best brand for you.
  14. Tylenol. Many people choose to bring their own med's so they aren't charged a significant up-charge from the hospital. 
  15. Stool softener. Same as above. I never used stool softener with my cesarean but if you're having a natural birth it's highly recommended. 

Most importantly, cherish these last moments being pregnant, enjoy yourself, your partner and your belly. Congratulations and much love, you've got this mama! 

Creating a Successful Bedtime Routine for Your Family

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Creating a successful bedtime routine has been a 22 month journey and honestly I'm not sure the journey will ever be over but rather ongoing. I'm sure it will change as the kids age and as our schedules change but right now we're doing what works for us at the moment. We have previously tried to set bedtime routines and failed, so I want to share with you how we did it, in hopes that it works just as well for you. The turning point for us was really just being ready, being consistent, becoming comfortable with them crying for a bit, because they are going to cry, and having patience.

A & S have slept in their cribs for well over a year and a half now but like most babies, they went through phases of waking in the middle of the night, not going to sleep for well over an hour and just not being the happiest babies they could be.There came a point several months ago that Silas became sick, we were tired, had become lazy with our consistency and we ended up bringing him to bed with us. This was after months of us not co-sleeping. Big mistake on our part. Of course he became accustomed to sleeping with us every night and enjoyed mama's cuddles. I'll admit I fully enjoyed the cuddles just as much as he did but I couldn't move. If I moved an inch, he was not a happy camper and that wasn't working for me. A mama's gotta move around some, get up and pee and attend to her other children in the middle of the night. Thankfully, my husband is great at co-parenting and took on the role of attending to A in the middle of the night and well I quickly learned that moving and going to the bathroom wasn't an option and things had to change. 

I should mention that we've always rocked them to sleep as well, from day one we rocked them then put them in their beds after they were asleep. It worked for us for several months, we enjoyed the quality time with them and it's what worked for our family. Well, at 22 months that just simply wasn't working for us anymore. I was tired, my husband was tired, A & S were getting crankier at bedtime, waking every night and none of us were enjoying it. We had to change it up. We ended up transitioning their cribs into toddler beds back in October, at 19 months, best decision ever! Only thing I wish we would have done differently is transitioned them sooner.  They love the gained independence. They climb in and out of them all day, jump in them and think they are so much fun! We'll deal with the bed jumping another time.

Part of getting a smooth bedtime routine going was creating a better routine from the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep. Now, now... don't run away just yet. I know what you're thinking... "our lives are too chaotic for a routine", " strict routines are ridiculous" etc. I promise we're flexible when needed, they aren't missing out on anything and life has gotten so much easier for all of us.

Our day looks something like this:

7:30-8:30am Wakeup & eat breakfast

Immediately following breakfast: morning routine

  • sit on potty
  • brush teeth
  • change diaper
  • wash hands
  • lather with lotion
  • get dressed for the day
  • brush hair

9:30am Snack (if requested)

11:00am Eat lunch

12:00pm-1:30/2:00 Nap 

2:30pm Snack

5:30pm Dinner

7:15pm Give warning that they have 15 mins unti they have to get ready for bed

7:30pm Bedtime routine

  • sit on the potty
  • brush teeth
  • change diaper
  • wash hands
  • lather with lotion
  • get jammies' on
  • read 3 books

By 8:00pm Lay them in bed, kiss them goodnight and leave the room. 

The first 3 nights they cried for quite awhile, about 30-45 minutes. It was hard, probably harder on my husband and I than A & S but hard none the less. My advice to you, do not go in the room until you absolutely think you need to. Unless they've cried for an excessive period of time with no signs of giving it up, there really isn't a need to go in. Not only does it show them that you're not going to stick with the routine but it generally makes them more upset when you leave again.

You will know when the time is right, until then it's hard to be successful. I had to lock their door so they wouldn't get out and disrupt the routine from the get go (note: I highly encourage you to unlock the door before you go to bed, in the event of a fire etc. you will not want anything to prevent you from getting to your child quickly). The door lock didn't work long though, Silas figured out how to unlock it on day 5 during nap time. This put a damper on things but I just stand at the door and hold it shut if needed during nap time. I might add, they never cried out of fear but rather out of frustration. Fearful cries are always attended to immediately with hugs, kisses, cuddles and redirection.There were a few middle of the night cries that were definitely fearful cries and they we answered by going in loving on them for no more than a minute, laying them down and walking back out. Now a week later, when we put them to bed they go to sleep within a few minutes sometimes less than a minute! They aren't excited to be going to bed at this point but once we leave the room they're fine. They usually whine for a second but nothing serious. It's amazing ! If they come out in the middle of the night, we simply redirect them back to bed, this is less than thrilling at 2am but it does the trick and after about an hour they're back to sleeping soundly. I trust that these wakings will come to an end soon and we will be on the track to complete success. In the meantime, we will adjust accordingly. 

Now, nap time on the other hand is a bit more challenging. It's light outside and their room isn't dark so they take quite awhile to fall asleep. I have accepted it, let them play until they decide to go to bed. Regardless of what they choose to do, they have to stay in their room for an hour. If at an hour they're still not asleep, which has only happened once with one of them, I go ahead and let them out of the room. Most days they're asleep within 15 minutes and sometimes as little as 5.   

Be confident in your decision to stick to whatever approach you take and you will be successful! For us, letting them work it out themselves wasn't an option until now. None of us were ready for it, I strongly believe you will know when you're ready and that's such a wide range for each family. In order to be the best mama I can be, I had to create a better routine and it has resulted in greater happiness and better sleeping all across the board. I hope you feel the same once you find the right time to start a routine that works for your family. 

Feel free to ask any questions! Good luck mama, you've got this. In the meantime, spend your days and evenings cuddling and loving on your little one's as much as possible so that the transition is easier on you all.

Posted on January 12, 2015 and filed under Motherhood, Twins.