Monday, April 28, 2014

Showing up for motherhood...

...or whatever your calling/occupation in life is

I think that one of the greatest lessons my mother ever taught me was to get up and get dressed.

Seriously though. It sounds super simple, but some days it just isn't.

I remember mornings where she would wake us up at 6am (this was part of the regular routine) and all I wanted to do was lay in bed. My head hurt. My throat hurt. My stomach hurt.

I would proceed to tell her how miserable I was and this was her response:

"If you get up, get dressed, and start moving around and you still don't feel well, you may stay home from school"

I would venture to say that 99% of the time I ended up going to school.

The thing is, I wasn't faking it. I absolutely did feel miserable when I woke up, but by some fancy Mom Magic I always felt better when I got up and got dressed.

Fast forward 20 years and now I'm a mom and guess what?

I still wake up feeling miserable some days and I don't want to get out of bed. And I certainly don't want to think about the pile of dishes sitting in the sink. Or the dirty laundry on the floor. Or the babies that want to suck the life out of me (ie breastfeed). I just want to stay in bed.

And while staying in bed isn't necessarily an option, not getting dressed absolutely is. Being a lazy bum falls in the category of "options" as well. This is where the Mom Magic comes in...

I have three babies. Two of which I breastfeed, at the same time. I stay at home during the day, but I work almost 30 hours every week during the evenings. I think I wake up feeling miserable more often than not. On those mornings I just picture my mom telling me to get up and get dressed and I make a deal with myself----

If I get up, get dressed, and get something to eat and I still feel miserable, I am allowed to get back in my pjs and lie on the couch and not do anything but feed the kids and change diapers.

I would venture to say that 99% of the time that I do that, I end up actually staying moving and getting things done.

Motherhood is hard. I could probably get by on doing the bare minimum, but that's not what I want for me and that's not what I want for my children. I want a life in a comfortable home. I want to spend time with friends and family. I want to go on adventures with my husband. I want my kids to know the joys of good books and great friends. I want my children to feel happy and fulfilled.

And that's not going to happen if I just stay in my pjs and sit on the couch all day. So I decide to show up for motherhood. I decide to get dressed, to tackle the laundry (I leave the dishes for my husband) and to love and nurture those babies.Yes, I have PJ days. Yes, I complain about it more often than I should. But I am so grateful for a mother who always decided to get up and get dressed, because therein she taught me the secret to success and happiness.

So whatever it is that you do---be it motherhood, fatherhood, a full time job/school, or a member of a sports team---make a deal with yourself to just get up and get dressed. Show up for your responsibilities and see what happens. If it doesn't work, I give you permission to go back to bed.

Isn't she the most beautiful mama you've ever seen?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I get by with a little help from my friends...

...and baby gear. Baby gear is a must.

Here are my top six necessities for twin baby life in the first six months (in no particular order)

1.  San Diego Bebe Nursing pillow

I honestly could not have survived without this. I tried tandem nursing without it and you would not believe how miserably I failed! This particular pillow comes with a built in cover, which is great because the babies can't pull it off and there is no awkward shifting around to try and stay covered. Also, when Annelise and Olivia first came home from the hospital we had to monitor how many ounces they were getting, so I was only allowed to nurse once a day and then I bottle fed them (expressed breast milk) for their other feedings. I liked using the nursing pillow to be able to hold them both even when we were just doing bottles. I had one rule in the beginning, and that was "when one baby eats, the other baby eats". I bought mine used at a local baby store.

2. Baby Trend Snap-N-Go
The girls were asleep when I got to the grocery store, so I plopped them in and off we went!
Car seats are an obvious must, so I'm not even going to discuss that. But the snap-n-go? GENIUS. I love this thing. If the girls are asleep in their carseats and I don't want to wake them up to wrap/wear them, I just take their carseats out and go. No juggling babies and unclipping and reclipping. No fuss, no muss. It also maneuvers extremely well, which is important, because I generally have to push/pull a cart as well!

3. Bouncer

All snuggled up in one bouncer! Also, I'm morally opposed to dressing twins the same,
but EVERYONE gets matching PJs on Christmas!
In the beginning I just put both babies in one bouncer, they were happier that way and LOVED to be snuggled next to each other. They don't fit together anymore, but even now when they seem inconsolable I just hold them both real close to one another and they calm right down. I only had one bouncer from when Gideon was a baby (I got it for free at a church swap and shop!), and I didn't want to buy two because I knew that some babies prefer a swing. At this point Annelise is always in the bouncer and Olivia is always in the swing.

4. Swing
This is actually Gideon in the swing, because apparently we have
no pictures of Livvy in it. 
This is the swing that my AK sisters got for Gideon and he spent a lot of time in it. Now it's where Olivia takes most of her naps! Again, I didn't buy two swings because I figured one baby could be in the bouncer and the other in the swing.

5. Baby wraps

The top one is a Free Hand Mei Tai, the dark blue braided one is an Oscha Nebula 6
and the tealish one is a Vatanai Orkney 7

I could not live without these. They have become a bit of an obsession. It just isn't feasible to bring a stroller everywhere you go, and with three children 1yr and younger I just don't have hands enough to carry them all either! This was an absolute MUST for me. I would wear the girls to church, to the grocery store, to weddings, on walks, EVERYWHERE. It also doesn't hurt that I feel like Supermom when I wear them all together. 

6. Medela Double Breast Pump

You get no pictures of me using this item.

A double Breast Pump is a glorious thing. If you are having twins you will need this! Since the girls were in the NICU and unable to breastfeed at first, this was a necessity to build my milk supply. If you have children in the NICU they have breast pumps there for you to use, but it just wasn't feasible to be there every time I needed to pump. For those first two weeks I pumped every two hours during the day and I slept through the night. I figured that I should get all the rest I could while the babes were in the NICU and that my body would readjust its supply for nighttime feedings. *Check with your insurance company to see if they will furnish one to you for free, that is one great thing that has come from Obamacare

There are obviously tons of other items that are amazing to have when you have a baby, but these have been my most used items specifically with twins.

Other items that I would recommend:

Cloth diapers (read about those here)
Dr. Brown's Bottles
Bottle Warmer
Aiden and Anais Swaddles

**I should also note that because of our transient lifestyle (oh the joys of a husband in school!) all of my children have slept in Packnplays instead of cribs. It is not as aesthetically pleasing, but they get the job done and they are easy to move and fit almost anywhere. For the first 4 months the girls slept in the same Packnplay, but are now sleeping in their own because they can roll over. That means that Gideon got kicked out of his and graduated to a toddler bed (this happened about 2 months ago)!

Looks comfy, eh?

You can't really tell, but there they are in their packnplay!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cloth Diapers Part 1*

When I found out that we were expecting not one, but TWO babies, my whole world flipped upside down.

Now, I've written before about the twin omens and about how I knew that it was twins before the first ultrasound but I never really acted on those feelings, because, well…

I thought I was INSANE.

As it turns out, I wasn't insane at that moment (but maybe now I am a little bit)

With the news of twins, one of the hardest things for me to swallow was the idea that I would have three in diapers.

Diapers are expensive, not to mention gross. It was overwhelming to even consider how many diapers we would go through in a month.

Gideon would go through about 5 diapers a day and newborns are supposed to go through 6-8 a day.

21 diapers…In 1 day.

630 diapers in 1 month.

Costco diapers cost about .35 cents per diaper.

$220 a month for disposable diapers.  (One more reason I hate when people tell me that I got two babies for the price of one)

Anyhow, those figures were nearly crippling for me. Even if I only changed their diapers half of the predicted number I would be spending $110 every month on diapers.

Enter Cloth Diapers.

I don't even know how the idea crept in, but I joined a cloth diaper support group on Facebook. I then researched everything I could possibly need to know/do to begin cloth diapering. I had two main questions:

1. Would it really be less expensive?
I found a "starter pack" of Best Bottom diapers that cost around $500 ($600 if you go with hemp/cotton inserts, which we did). This pack of diapers comes with 9 covers that are size adjustable, 18 daytime inserts for each size of diaper, plus 3 nighttime inserts for each size. It would cover the needs of all three of my children from birth to potty training for less than what I would spend on 3 months worth of disposables! 

2. Would it really be better for the environment?

Here's a link to the environmental effects. 

I know that not everyone can afford to shell out $600 to start cloth diapering, but there are many less expensive ways to go about it. I factored in convenience when I chose what brand I would use, and that upped the price significantly. I also had 3 babies from the get go so I couldn't build a significant stash over time---I had to do it right away. On top of all of that, I also have an amazingly generous aunt who funded our starter pack. Without her help we would definitely still be building our cloth diaper supply.

The other huge benefit is that cloth diapers are WAY cuter…

Nothing worse than an ugly disposable sticking out of a cute dress!

 Ain't nothin' more manly than working on your bike in your underwear.

*Part 2 will come at some point and I'll talk about how we care for our cloth and the pros and cons we've personally seen as we've implemented using cloth diapers. In the meantime, head over to Kelly's Closet to find more information!