Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dear High School Reunion

I'm not coming.

I'm sorry that September, while always being a bit hectic, this year will be even more cray-cray in this house. You see, I have twyns, and they are starting kindergarten. And while they don't see the big deal in this, I KNOW that there will be meltdowns on a daily basis, extra naps required, many a lunchtime/snacktime and wardrobe malfunction crises averted.

And the twyns might be affected as well.

But, to be honest, I was having trepidation about attending the upcoming 20th reunion even when it was tentatively planned for August, which is a relatively peaceful month in our little family unit.

You see, I have nothing going on right now, of note. Yes, yes, I know I write about a lot of stuff going on, but that is just so I can remember the mundane daily state in which I currently reside. I will most certainly remember the milestones - potty training, preschool graduation, that little musical I did, stitches, wedding dates, vacations...but it's nice to look back and see what other mischief we got into along the way.

Oh I know I know motherhood is a tough job, and most people see the sacrifice SAHM's make as a noble endeavor, and it is, after all, rather temporary in the grand scheme of my life and career(s.)

Buuuuuut, to be honest again, I don't have much to show for even before I s-a-homed and started to raise these munchkins. Some things of note. Some goals achieved. But over-arching-career-wise? I still kinda feel like that remains to be seen.

My resume is all over the place, and the next thing I land is going to either solidify a thread running through it, or completely change directions again on everybody and I'll spend a lifetime explaining it before I even get another job interview.

Besides that point, I don't even really think I know what I want to *be* when I grow up! I'm not an eternal child either, I'm just focused on the long game of life. 40 does not seem like an establishment-type age. And I'm not even 40 quite yet!!

And it's not like you have to enter the venue of your high school reunion defining your life and world in a flashy five minutes or less, but you kinda have to define your life and world in a flashy five minutes or less.

And it's not like you have to compete with 300 doctors, lawyers, app creators, documentary filmmakers, charity board directors and life savers, but OH, you do. You don't know my high school. I think one of my high school friends once told me he was helping to design a living computer chip? With like, genetic material? Or am I making that up? That sh** is not beyond the reach of the majority of my fellow graduates, is what I'm saying. It's completely in the realm of possibility.

And like, they aren't just surgeons, but they also served in Iraq?! And learned Arabic while they were there. Just because it seemed to come easily to them. And so then they joined the Intelligence side of things.

Ok, ok, I'm mixing peoples' accomplishments now. But did you know, that's how you feel upon walking out of a high school reunion!?! You wonder who said what, and just remember feeling dumb-founded.

Found. DUMB.

But I'm not insecure. I love my life. I have a lot of happiness, and it shows. And I don't usually compare peoples' outsides with my insides, despite the lure of facebook's braggery and bad habits of self aggrandization.

What I'm most scared of, to be perfectly honest even more than before, is that I don't actually remember how I relate to everyone at school. How close were we? Was I a good friend? Did you see how much I floated around? Did that make you not trust me? Did you know I was always a one-woman or one-man type of friend/girlfriend? I have a lot of photos of my best friend and me, or my boyfriend and me, but rarely the group of friends I called my own. I loved so many groups. And I don't remember where I fit in best. I don't remember who's going to come up to me and say, "Remember the time when..." and if I'm going to remember that time or not. Or if it was as important to me as it was to them. And what if no one comes up to me and starts a story that way. My own little world was truly my own. little. world. What if I did all that I did in complete isolation and never really noticed that I did?

Plus, my husband can't come in September. I can't walk in without him on my arm. I've known him since I was 19 and I don't really think I started to understand who I was without him holding the mirror for me. He is like, my interpreter at parties. He both translates what people are really saying to me, and what I'm really saying to other people. Honestly, everyspazz should really have one of those.

But I do want to go. At the end of the day, I know I will have fun, and share stories, and be dumb-founded in a good way, and feel proud in a weird way of who I am today.

Because I'm pretty sure, it's the same who I was then.

And I don't remember high school being anything other than an extremely special place where we all got together and built our brains, hearts and bodies with the positive support and spirits all around us.

Thanks, Stanton.

I miss you.

I'll catch you at the 25th ;)




Dress fever!

Well as you know I was quite funky last month but now there is a flurry of activity as we prepare for the start of school, two last little summer visits, and I get ready for our semi annual Moms of Multiples Exchange Sale. I've got a lot to sell this time around-big stuff and clothes now that my daughter, at the ripe old age of 5 1/2, can safely admit she won't wear the 2Ts/3Ts anymore.

The kids were helping me wash up the outdoor toys this past week
Mommy camp round three is in full effect and thus my latest excuse for not blogging more.

Taking advantage of some last chance pool days!!
I also happened to have a job interview, but that's another story for another day.

Also the fact that it is my TENTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! WOO HOO! But again, perhaps I'll post more about it later.

My main purpose today is to share my new love of making my daughter dresses. I am finally learning to read! Patterns that is! And I am starting to recall that, although I taught myself quilting, I did start with some magazine quilt patterns here and there to teach me new techniques that I could then incorporate into my own designs. So, true to fashion (hyuk hyuk), I can never quite follow the patterns down to the tiniest detail, but rather, always end with my own little flair. I think I should get started on the book Beginning Dressmaking for Quilters because everything I know from sewing, is geared towards quilts, and let's start with the seam allowances....WHYYYYY is it 5/8" for clothes and 1/4" for quilts?? 'Splain, plz.

[Pictured from left is parts of See & Sew B5443, The Penny Dress, and on the right Simplicity S0613]

So, get ready, blogsophere! I might be participating in a few kids' clothing sewing shares/linkup parties soon...I've got the serger up and running again! Nothing's gonna stop me...

That is, unless I sign up for another race or something stupid like that...

Or finish one of the five quilts I have started over the last year...

But honestly, I'm really excited to continue more meaningful projects, and, as my mantra up in my new sewing area states, to make:
This must be why I have a new "Frozen" section in my cubby-holes. The little girl wants an Elsa costume, alas...even though everybody and their grandmother made one last year...I must learn...

So I've added categories to my idea board: Dresses - House Decor - Quilts. 

So there. It's in writing. So it will get done. Someday. 

In the meantime I will go ahead and spoil my daughter rotten...




Oh, ok, the boy too...

Am feeling like redeeming myself on boy clothes again after my last debacle...
And myself (I learned it from my mom)...
#trouble #itsgenetic #fabriholics
And my sewing space might as well get a little bling, too...
#superheroesforgirls #yardsalesmakemehappy
What's new with you? Any new endeavor firing you up??

Friday, August 15, 2014

CamelBeach Family Fun #funforFriday


Yesterday Daddy took the day off work and we headed into the Poconos mountains (hmmmm, sounds familiar? Seems like he is exceptionally motivated to take days off work to head into mountains...) to hit CamelBeach WaterPark

We did some online research and figured this would be the best local day-trip-water-park for us to try because it was a nice mix of slides for their age and size. The twyns are 5 1/2 now, and the boy juuuuust clears the 42" mark, but the girl does not yet. They are both safely over the 36" mark, and obviously, they are nowhere near the 48" mark for 3 of the faster attractions. 
(Even though the boy continued to measure himself at
each and every stand to see if they had grown between slides.)
This meant they were eligible for at least 6 of the 13 slide-like attractions, and there were also 2 'tower'-like structures/play areas with water hazards, bridges, and slides within: Pharoah's Phortress (probably best for 5 and up), and Camel Cove (probably best for 5 and under.) Believe me, this was plenty for us to do. The kids could have probably ridden the "Titan", the one where all four of us were able to ride together, all day. 

We also loved the skyride! And since we were able to rent a locker (we fit our backpack in a small one for $8 for the day), we didn't have our phones/cameras on us all day long, so the rest of our photos are of the second skyride, after we decided to change into our dry clothes and hit it one last time. 

#skyrideselfie
#skifamily #eveninthesummer
#camelbeachcuties
This afforded us a birds' eye view of the new CamelBack Lodge they are building, with an indoor water park. Hubby said he could definitely see us staying there for a ski trip in the future. 


We had a great time. We arrived just after opening at 10:20 am, and on a weekday, it was relatively un-crowded. The longest we waited for a slide was 10 minutes. I'm sure the faster slides for older kids were a little longer wait-times, but overall I would definitely recommend going on a weekday if you can swing it. We left at around 5 pm and ate dinner in Allentown on the way home. 

We also got the "family fun pack" of tickets, 4 for $99, which was the best value. If you decide to go during the 'twilight time' (after 2 pm for buying tix online, or 3 pm at door), you could still hit the majority of the attractions for half the price as well. I would recommend this if your kids are old enough to ride all the attractions by themselves and are going to be running all around the park to accomplish this. 

A bit of advice: 
  • you'll want to wear water shoes if you have sensitive feet. You can put your flip-flops in a cubby hole at the entrance of each slide, but then you still have to walk up to the top of the slide on concrete. I didn't mind; my hubby was a little uncomfortable.
  • you are going to be walking a lot, and up the ramps of each slide (sometimes carrying a tube), so be prepared for sore thighs at the end of the day.
  • It was overcast on our day, and so the water felt a bit cold, and the wind was really not helping. We ended up bringing the kids' towels to put in the cubby of each slide, so that they had them right away when we exited. 
  • stake out your lounge chairs right away (there are many areas, we chose Camel Cove in the center of the park) and park your towels/water bottles there. 
  • we didn't reserve our picnic table within 48 hours, but there were still some available at the door. Because we weren't sure we would get one, we didn't bring food. It probably would have been worth it. $40 for lunch purchased on site minus $15 picnic table rental = $25 of outside food purchases/opportunity cost that would probably have done the trick. 
Clouds did not deter us from having a great time. Just bring your hoodies!
Hope you are enjoying the last few weeks of summer! 

I know my friends in the SouthEast are already back to school, and I can't even imagine it yet! Gonna go cram in as much summer as possible now..buh-bye!!



Monday, August 11, 2014

Daddy's list for the Baby Registry #newmommyweek

So I had originally asked my husband for help with ideas on my baby registry post, and he started saying some pretty funny things, so then I asked him to help me finish up #newmommyweek with a Daddy post, and now you can see how things spiraled out of control and became #newmommyweekandahalf because, first lesson on new mommy-ness: Daddies slow you up. And you have to be a nag sometimes, but it's not because he doesn't want to be involved, he is just thinking about other things less 'in-the-moment' and you gotta snap him back to the crying baby in the other room.

[Now I want to be PC and say that partners slow you up (because everybody has a partner, even single mommies need a partner in this parenthood world), but I'm pretty sure the partner with the most slowing-down potential is the Daddy. Which has its merits as you run around like a chicken without a head and he puts your head back on, but I digress, because I don't know anyone like that #spazz....]

So here I am, writing a #funforFriday post on a Monday, in #newmommyweek half-a-week-later, with only three things on it for Daddies:

1. Rechargeable batteries
All the swings, toys, baby monitors, breast pumps, etc still, for the most part, use batteries. My husband, over the years, has built a cache that could carry us 20 years into the apocalypse. After the first seven runs to the store for some different sized battery, he started to catch on. He wished he had scanned one of those rechargeable sets at the baby store along side the cute crib sets and onesies.

2. Amazon prime
This includes diapers.com, which you will often need within 48 hours, streaming of Dora & Diego and The NeverEnding Story, subscribe & save on staples like: wipes, and just about everything else under the sun. Yes, we all know Amazon has taken over the world of online shopping, but did you know you could get all that sh** at your house in under 2 days? Go ahead and get the prime membership. Or, better yet, ask for it on your registry. You'll be hooked. [Prime includes the streaming, btw.]

Hubby perfected the cross-leg hands-free hold
3. Netflix
You will find, if you haven't already, Netflix has a kids section. And it will play one episode after the other if you let it (to a point.) My children call it the "red channel" and while it is a bit dangerous to have every kind of entertainment we want at our fingertips, at any time, it is crucial that we do not watch commercials. Watching those are just like, creating a shopping list from your couch. My son, in particular, wants IT ALL. Rainbows, unicorns, fluffy pillows, as well as transformers, guns, and toys from shows he's never even heard about... he wants. He's quite impressionable. Gotta find him a nice girl to marry that won't take advantage of his wide-eyed view of the world.

Speaking of rainbows & unicorns, I have been making some dresses lately and having a lot of fun! Who knew quilts took so long and dresses take so short? If you follow TwynMawrMom on facebook or twitter, you will have seen the pics. Blog post to come soon...

What he didn't say, and what we've really enjoyed is: 
4. A real camera
One of our friends told us to get a DSLR camera before they were born, and I ended up getting my husband one for his birthday, which took place a few weeks after they were born but before our daughter got home from the NICU. It really did/does take a softer photo that makes you feel like a pro! Those newborn pics at home with the DSLR camera are priceless and oh so warm.

Anywho, that's the new Daddy part of the equation. You may have noticed your partner not getting quite as excited and emotional about all of this (cliche, but true). Wait til birth-day. It'll take him about 5 minutes to get on board with WHATEVER baby needs :)

Happy Monday, new mommies! 
What else do you want to hear about? 

And the rest of the mommies: what were your biggest questions/fears during your first pregnancy?

I had an irrational fear of not getting enough pictures, I guess, 
because we took 1000 in the first 30 days. 
Like, how many pics of my daughter with a tube coming out of her nose
 am I going to really want to save for posterity? Jeez.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How to psych yourself up about breastfeeding #newmommyweek #worldbreastfeedingweek

So last year for National Breastfeeding week I posted about breastfeeding preemies, my only knowledge on the subject. This year, as I happen to be in the midst of posting things for new mommies (hence I created #newmommyweek, kinda just for fun but feel free to 'latch on' hyuk hyuk), I thought I'd write on the fears we all struggle with, when approaching the birth of our first child and the likelihood that we may stick our boobs in his/her mouth.

It sounds weird when you say it like that, twynmawrmom. 

I know, but guess what, breastfeeding is kinda weird. You are producing food. That's different than what we normally do.

Firstly, for some people, it feels good. Yes, for me it was, after the initial rough patch, an incredible release, almost like a runners high. You are sweaty, you are drained, and in a weird way, it feels good.

Oh this is a good metaphor, twynmawrmom, but I don't run. Can't ever, haven't ever. 

Well you don't know until you try, right? Take something else that requires a little bit of effort but feels good in the end...baking? College degree?

With baking, you have to lay out all your tools in front of you, know your oven, read the recipe, and still go at it with blind faith. You never know, even if you've done a specific recipe 500 times before, exactly how the dough will rise...

And that chem lab. That almost broke you from getting your degree. But you showed up. Every weekday morning at 8 am, rain or shine, understanding or not understanding the experiment for the day. You had to at least complete the class in order to graduate.

Now you've gone too far, twynmawrmom. Off topic. I don't get it. 

What I'm trying to say is, give it a try. There are a lot of things that we don't try because we are scared, and, skydiving notwithstanding, we are usually just afraid to FAIL, not afraid to DIE. See it as a job and you can only learn that job through on-the-job-training, trial-and-error, and sometimes, watching other people do that job.

Watching others breastfeed? Seriously, twynmawrmom? I'm not a hippie. 

Oh I know! I'm totally not either! But when I found out I was pregnant with twins, we contacted the only people we knew who had twins, and we didn't even really know them! They were just friends-of-friends we met at a party! It was totally weird, and her twins were 8 months old, but she took me upstairs after feeding me and my husband dinner (not breastmilk, FYI), and let me WATCH HER tandem breastfeed her twins! And, as awkward as it was for me at the time, I held on to that image in my mind for the remainder of my pregnancy and the first year of the twins' lives. It was helpful to know that it was possible, because she totally admitted she never thought she would, and it was helpful to know that it can be messy, and awkward, and silly, but: there are BENEFITS.

Yea, yea, I know, I'm supposed to breastfeed because it's good for the baby. But I have other things to do! I have to go back to work! I'm tired! I want the baby to sleep through the night. I have to have my body back. It's kinda gross, the baby loves the bottle and then I can get away for a little while, I don't know how much he's getting, everybody's always visiting and I can't set a good schedule, I still have to prepare bottles all the time so what's the point, and don't get me started on that stupid effin' pump, twynmawrmom, because that THING is for cows and I'm neither bovine nor machine!!!

I hear you. It's hard. There are a lot of obstacles. Not the least of which, your fear that it's just not gonna work. You're going to starve baby. Baby's going to be hungry in the middle of a traffic jam and your boobs are going to explode all over the steering wheel. You feel gross, and overweight, and not yourself, and this is the LAST thing on your mind. You gotta sleep train. You gotta lose weight. You gotta entertain all the relatives. It's just not your thing.

And the pump! Well I have to say, YES, that was awkward. But out of necessity with preemies, I started with a double hospital-grade pump and got to know my boobs very well before they were introduced to the babies. And I think that was really confidence-boosting. I knew what I could do, how my moods affected my supply, and what hurt and what didn't hurt, and then of course I still needed to trial-and-error with *each* child but we GOT there. We got there, folks. And it was worth it.

It's...it's....it's cancer-fighting. For you AND baby. That's like, 50 YEARS down the road you are providing preventative medicine. The first few days of breastfeeding [the 'liquid gold' they call it] enhances the lining of the intestinal tract in baby to improve digestion FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. Like, you breastfeed for 6 days and all of a sudden you've changed a person's GI tract.

It's weight-loss-enhancing. Now for some, yes, it makes you uber hungry, and I did actually gain 5 pounds in the first month because I didn't move from my nursing chair, but, again, it's the long term fat you are beginning to lose. It is literally causing your uterine muscles to contract so that they can regain their pre-baby shape. Muscles engaged! Like that info-mercial with the ab-wrap. No, your body will never be the same, but, this is a nudge - a BIG ONE - in the right direction.

It is baby-bonding. Of course, maybe you feel you have enough bonding, or maybe you are not keen on bonding with the pump at work while someone else is with your baby, but it is bonding in a whole other way. It is something only you can do for the baby. Grandma can't, Daddy can't, Nanny can't. Baby knows that. And it can be very calming to hold onto that thought when times are rough. Like, in the middle of the night when you need to effin sleep and only you can run to the baby. There's a reason all the mommies get thanked in the acceptance speeches. No, they didn't all breastfeed, but breastfeeding is a solid, physical representation of the role of motherhood and why mothers are the end-all-be-all of nurturing life. We feed the babies. We feed their minds, hearts, egos, and yes, bellies.

But what if I can't.

So you can't! So you tried. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with *not* breastfeeding. I'm not a nazi. And certainly families have morphed into all kinds of scenarios these days, and nurturing comes in many different forms, and babies know they are loved no matter what the source of birth, food, or protection is. There were many times I wanted to give up. But I'm really, really, glad that I didn't. And just like my 70.3 sticker, those days of training and breastfeeding are long gone, but no one can take it away from me now.

I said it before, and I'll say it again:
  • give yourself a minimal goal (like: 6 weeks)
  • surround yourself with people who will help you achieve that goal, and ask them to
  • give yourself a 'target' goal (like: 6 months)
  • reward yourself when you reach it
  • give yourself a 'fantasy' goal (like: more than 6 months)
  • hold on to that accomplishment for the rest of your life

My babies got cold bottles, warm bottles, formula bottles (powdered, pre-mixed, preemie, soy, normal), breastmilk bottles, one boob at a time, two boobs with two babies at a time, and sometimes one bottle and one boob on the same lap! 
And they learned, as I did, to take whatever came their way. 
You can, too.









Ok, ok twynmawrmom. Shut up already! I'll try.

Good luck new mommies! I love ya! 
Thanks for feeding the world!!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

First 10 items to put on your baby registry #newmommyweek

So for some reason friends keep asking me my opinion on baby stuff. You'd think I was some kind of self-professed baby expert or something?! So I promised them some registry advice, even though it has been 6 years since I have registered, and all the sh** has changed, cuz guess what: it hasn't changed that much...thus begat #newmommyweek.

As I've said many many times before... mama's always got an opinion, and here it is! The ten most important categories on which to focus, and the "VIP" (Very Important Product) and their links in each...

QUICK & DIRTY (the absolute must-haves)
  • Bottles
  • Breast Pump
  • Baby Monitor
  • Diapers, wipes, cream & pail
  • Diaper Bag
  • Infant tub, bath seat, washcloths
  • Swaddlers & Receiving Blankets & like, clothes?
  • Boppy, other entertainment/seats
  • Pack n Play
  • Car Seat
  • Stroller

SLOW & PAINFUL (my more-than-two-cents about it all)

1. BOTTLE SYSTEM (aka feeding baby)
OMG everyone's going to tell you which one you must pick. Low air flow, less burps, chill-infused, microwave ready, etc, etc...just pick one and then change your mind later. But register for a 'system' now, meaning: at least 8 bottles/inserts/nipples (perhaps of different flow options), drying rack, cleaning brush
"But twynmawrmom, which one did you pick!?! There are so many!! JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!"
Slow your roll. It's gonna be ok. Once you make a decision about bottles, brands, formula, political parties, you can still change your mind. Baby stores are open like, all the time. And babies adapt to new nipples, etc...

Worst case scenario you can have a shower after baby is born. Although we didn't plan on it! Babies do come early...
Back to bottles. We breastfed, first off; stole some 2-ouncers from the NICU, stole a sh**load of nipples from the NICU, and utilized these for 'in-between' meals and top-offs. Then I used the two Medela bottles that came with my pump and bought several different Medela nipples to try with them. Then my mom bitched that I was crazy for not having more than 2 bottles that held more than 2 oz at a time, so as the babies got bigger we used the Advent system with the bags for easier travel with formula just because that's what I used when I nannied 8 years earlier (told ya! lazy). I also bought a lot of pre-made Similac bottles for travel and 'about town'. I was not one of those organized mommies with the pre-measured formula powder tupperware and the water bottle...just. wasn't. And then there's the glass bottle trend...you gotta figure out what your priorities are and express those ideals to your guests through your registry.

The other feeding systems for 'baby food' and crap - forget it. You have no idea where your head will be in six months.

Highchairs - eh. We had travel seats we hooked to the counter in our kitchen. I'm just not that formal about it all, I guess. Don't get crazy about the highchair. If you have a small house or apartment, get a travel one! It gets just as dirty as the fancy ones, I promise.

From this section, allow me to suggest the VIP (Very Important Product) I personally used the most:


2. PUMP (aka efficiently feeding baby)
Again, go ahead and register for one, unless there is a reason you already know for which you will not be breastfeeding. If you intend to give it a try, (and I intend on blogging about that later this week), you will most likely also want to give pumping a try. Even though we breastfed once the twyns were home, I still used at least one bottle of formula every day (usually the bedtime feeding), at which point I pumped at the end of the day, and stored that for the next 24-48 hours. I pumped with a hospital-grade pump the first few months that I rented from the hospital for $75/month. Most pumps on the market are more portable than those, and can easily run $300. If you can get someone to purchase that for you on your registry, it will be great to have in your arsenal of weapons in this battle to conquer mommyhood.
VIP: The Freestyle was powerful enough for me after the first two months of hospital rentals.

3. BABY MONITOR (aka getting away from baby)
Again, things have changed a lot (they had just come out with video monitors when our babies were in utero) (annnnnnnd there weren't any smartphones yet!) So I don't know what kind of apps are preferable, but I really liked having the separate monitor system. We had a dual monitor that toggled between the two kids' rooms every 30 seconds. This was actually a good thing when trying to 'cry it out.' I still use it in our house when we have babies visiting!

I just have to say, that, not having the the video was actually a good thing! Let them cry for real before you head in there. Again, just my $.02.
VIP (ours was a Graco although I can't seem to find the dual base monitor system right now)

4. DIAPER SYSTEM/PAIL/WIPES (aka poop matters)
Again, this is your opportunity to express to people who may be purchasing gifts for you, what your preferences and priorities are. If you have decided to cloth diaper, you may want to register for those and the accessories; if you prefer wipes that are biodegradable, make sure you register for those, too. If you want a cute diaper pail that matches baby's room, register for that. I personally loved the Diaper Dekor as I did feel it kept out as much smell as possible, and I could use normal garbage bags in a pinch (although the system refills were best.) Diaper cream (I loved Balmex, and the babies did too...) And if you are going disposable all the way, go ahead and register for those! It doesn't hurt to fill your house with diapers. Clean ones, that is. As they will be dirty ones very very VERY soon...


VIP: Diaper Dekor

That reminds me...

5. DIAPER BAG (aka portable full service baby salon)
Diaper Bags have gotten super sophisticated! Annnnnd expensive. You better put one on the registry. You may even want to put a small one on for quick trips, and the large one for the all-day affair. I loved the Petunia PickleBottom one I had, but now they have even more options that look like real purses. OMG and don't even get me started on the cute stuff on etsy...
VIP: Look at this cutie I found on a quick search! I want this thing NOW!

6. BABY BATH SYSTEM (aka keeping baby clean)
We used our little plastic bath for about 5-6 months because the twyns were tiny preemies. You may only use this for 2-3 months, but you'll need one. Just a bath, but maybe tack on some little super soft washcloths and the best baby suds around. Once the baby can sit up on his/her own, I really like those seats that suction to the bottom of the tub so baby can't slip around. HIGHLY necessary when bathing twins!!
VIP (for after infant bathtub)

7. ONESIES/BLANKETS/SOCKS/SWADDLERS (aka keeping baby warm)
Why, oh why do they bombard you with so many newborn clothes when you hit the baby store? Why, oh why does every new parent feel the need to have 500 different types of onesies and sleep shirts for the first couple of months? Baby's gonna end up sleeping in a diaper half the time. Don't sweat the small stuff, seriously. Scan a couple of things and see what other people come up with. Receiving blankets are awesome, y'all. They can be bath towels, swaddlers, spit-up cloths, diapers, and yes, even blankets! Get like, 20 of these, please. Ok you can register for a real baby towel and real baby clothes but I'm just being honest with you. Baby's gonna be in a diaper, and maybe a superman shirt. For like, 10 minutes before he has a blow-out. Then back to diapers only.

VIP: Of all the swaddlers, the one was the most effective.

8. BABY GYM/BOPPY/BOUNCEY SEAT/SWING/BOOKS/TOYS (aka keeping baby entertained)
My boy works out so hard at the gym.
I'm lumping all this stuff together because, at the end of the day, they are not necessities. You will likely get some books and toys without registering for them, and you can be seduced by the luxuries of various places to sit your child and vibrate them. So, if you are so inclined, register for them, and have fun with it! But don't get crazy about them and all the different options and themes and titles. They are all a bonus and not necessary. Unless you have twins, then go ahead and get two swings please and you can bill me later for that priceless piece of advice ;)

VIP: My daughter ended up napping the most in her boppy above all else
(For breastfeeding I had two other pillows I preferred, 
more on that in the breastfeeding post later this week)

9. PACK n PLAY/CRIB BEDDING/FURNITURE (aka sleeping baby)
Think we had enough sleeping apparatuses?!
My mom made the bassinets. I come from a long line of scrappy sewists!
Baby's sleep habits are very important. You will want baby to be sleeping. So let's encourage this...with nice sheets and a couple of options. I really like the extra pack n play up in the house - on a different level or in a different room, or at Grandma's house! I napped my twins in different rooms after a few weeks so the pack n play was my son's nap place, and I think it had a different meaning for him. It was a good, restful meaning. My husband put both twins in the pack n play in the living room with him in the first couple of weeks when they were still waking up at 12-1 am and I was sleeping in the bedroom next to theirs so I could have a more restful sleep.
This is the "double bassinet" sized pack-n-play
Have fun with picking out your theme and expressing some creativity there in the sheets and bedding. That stuff does get pricey, so again, it's nice if someone else will be able to buy that for you. If you change your mind (or the baby's gender surprises you), don't sweat exchanging the sheet set you got. I sure did! I got two froggy sets because we didn't know the genders and when I got my girl I switched one for a purple-y buggy set. Sooooo happy about that.

VIP: Another sleeping necessity: I really really like the sleep sacks. And I really really like the ones that open on the side so you can change baby's diaper in the middle of the night without having to pull his legs all out and stuff. Check out these sweet ones here. I've been trying to sew the fancy quilted ones since I had babies and have not really gotten that together yet. Another project for another day!!


10. STROLLER/CAR SEATS (aka transporting baby)
Stop. Look. Listen. Do NOT get a 'system.' You need a good car seat, maybe even a convertible one, and you need a stroller. They do not necessarily need to be chosen together. Many, many of your favorite strollers have attachments for your favorite infant car seats. Before your baby can hold his head up, you'll want to keep him in the infant seat and transfer him straight from car to stroller to home, so the snap n go was a must for me. But once we were ready for a real stroller, I found that many could fit the infant seat in it anyway. You can get confused with jogging strollers and umbrella strollers and big wheels and air-filled wheels, etc. The first thing to think about is the immediate use you will have for your stroller. Have you been running marathons and intend to head back to them within six weeks of baby's birth? No? Then just get a freakin' normal stroller. Even with twins, half the time I ended up using a souped-up umbrella stroller (this one) and an Ergo carrier. I got hand-me-down Britax car seats after we grew out of our Graco infant seats and that was that until boosters. So, as for the registry, we registered for the two infant car seats and four bases, for my husband's car and/or grandma's car, and we never used the second two. And that's my $.02 about seats. We used the double snap n' go, and the Phil & Ted's tandem stroller, and I would recommend the City Mini double (or single) all day every day until the cows come home even though I only used it for my two trips to Disney. The Phil & Ted's did not suit the kids as they grew (just our experience.) I thought it would be great for running, too, and it wasn't great. And I could write all day about strollers. And you could shop for them all day, too. On the cheap end I'd say register for a souped-up umbrella (this one) and, for the high end, see if someone will actually get you one of those City Mini's. Mmm. And bake them a pie if they do. ;)
VIP: Easiest stroller for the money once you hit about 1 year and are done with the snap n go

So, shall I start to rent out my time with new parents, shopping and registering with them? Mama's available! ;)

And by the way, 
this list has prompted my husband to start his own, 
"For the Daddies" list! 
That's next to come!! 


10 tips for new mommies #newmommyweek

To all my pregnant friends: 
10 Tips for New Mommies
(that's me the night before the big event. sorry if it's painful for you to see; it was painful for me to experience, so THERE.)
I think of you often, and send you love.

I'm no expert, but I've always got an opinion. I think I've learned a few things (especially from my fellow mommies). Feel free to add!

Quick & Dirty Guide to being pregnant/having a newborn
  • You are the Director of the show, the Captain of the ship right now
  • Say no whenever you want, and even when you don't want to
  • Follow your instincts first
  • Call/ask another mommy
Slow & Painful Guide

1. There is a fourth 'trimester', i.e., the first three months the baby is born, during which you cannot spoil the child. You can only teach it to trust the world by knowing that his/her needs will be met.
 After the first three months, don't go in on the first cry.

2. Lower your expectations surrounding social/non-baby-related activities. It'll be at least half of what you expect. And you'll be grateful for the time out, and for the excuse to stay in.

3.  Don't give up on the nap. You're the mommy, you know when your baby is tired even when he/she doesn't.

4.  Make sure Daddy helps in the beginning, even if Grandmas are around, so that he gets used to helping.

5. Breastfeeding can be hard, not like in the movies. But totally worth it if you want to do it. Tell important people your goals so that they can help you reach them, or let them go if you need to. See my post on breastfeeding here.

6. Don't listen to what someone in the grocery store or mall has to tell you within the five seconds it took them to sum you up and give you such well-thought-out advice.

7. MAKE MOMMY FRIENDS IN YOUR SAME SITUATION. If you are at home, you need at home mommies; if you are working part time or full time, you need part-time or full-time mommies; if your husband is in the military, you need military mommies, and so on...See my post about that here.

8. Don't expect Daddy to have the same nose-twitching sense that you do. Just tell him the baby needs to be fed, the diaper needs to be changed, etc; he's probably not going to figure it out on his own and he's not going to be offended by being directed.

9. When the plane is losing pressure, you put your air mask on first, and then help the child. Same with life--if you are not getting what you need, your child will ultimately suffer. What's good for mommy is what's good for baby.

10. Have fun. Laugh and look your child right in the eye as often as possible. Brain growth is stimulated by simply looking at your child. Don't. ever. stop!

To all the twin mommies, add to that...

11.  PUT YOUR FEET UP RIGHT NOW!! No seriously, for me the pregnancy was a little difficult. I was put on bedrest at 26 weeks, so I always tell twin mommies to prepare by starting out right. You want to keep those babies cooking as long as possible.

12. My next step would be to forget all the "STUFF" you can buy--get the book: "12 hours sleep by 12 weeks old." I think it has a different name now, it's on babycoach.net. It was designed for multiples and is a short book to read, and could really help you get them on the same sleep schedule so you can actually have a brain for other decisions you'll need to make. 

13. Stop believing the hype that you need two of everything--I know some women who co-cribbed their twins for 15 months. You'll figure it all out as you go. You will need two car seats, and for that reason I did like the double snap n go stroller, but there are new strollers on the market that fit two car seats and still turn into a regular stroller after that. If I had to do it all again I would invest in the "city mini" stroller. It is a dream! We rented it at Disney and always admit we should have gotten it. Too late now, as the kids are 5 1/2. Although maybe we'd still be using a stroller at 4 years old if we had gotten that one. 

14. If you didn't already have a baby, you might not know about "receiving blankets". You could not go wrong with having 20 around the house--they are great as burp cloths, blankets, swaddlers, bath towels for newborns, and just comfy places to land on furniture and floors. With twins you will always want one at the ready. Ask the nurses in the hospital to teach you how to turn them into swaddlers.

15. Think about - no, just do - join your local "moms of multiples/moms of twins" club--it should be a local chapter of the national organization of twin moms. They may have exchange sales, an online forum, monthly meetings and/or nights out, and sometimes they even help prepare meals for moms after the new babies are born. Check out National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club Search.

Congrats and please ask me anything!! I'm not shy!! It is a VERY special thing to have twins. If you survive the first three six months, you will reap the rewards of having a constant playdate in your house!!

And to my fellow parents - what do you have to add to some unwitting pregnant lady who stumbled upon this page in the desperate search for a perfect new mommy experience?

More posts to come this #newmommyweek ! 
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