We Hit the Jackpot

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.  Instead of my husband getting to spend the day doing what he wants, or just hanging out with the kids, he’s taking me away overnight to celebrate my upcoming birthday.  To say my kids hit the baby daddy jackpot, is an understatement.  This man is so selfless and so devoted to me and our children.  He works a hard job, with sometimes long hours and a long commute.  He comes home, takes care of the babies, makes dinner, cleans, does the dishes, helps me bathe the babes and put them to bed.  There’s nothing he won’t do for us.

We wanted to show him just how much we appreciate him.  So here are a few reasons why Porter & Winter love their dada:

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You love to cuddle.  You let us eat your nose and pinch your face.

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You can hold us both at the same time, and make us smile.

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You hold us up when we start to fall.  You help us keep our mittens on.

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You know how to babywear and multi-task.  You show us healthy food options.

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You take away our tears and put an end to our troubles (even if it is just a pair of scissors cutting our hair).

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You let us eat cake and get messy.

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You literally held our whole damn heads in your hand, even though it was scary.

There’s so many more things we could say, but we hope this will do.  Happy Father’s Day, Dada!  From Porter & Winter, to you.

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Party Time

We held the babies’ birthday party last month.  Our plan was to have the party outside, since we held off until having it until May, but even the best laid plans [FAIL]…  It was cold, windy and went from being sunny one minute to hailing, yes, HAILing the next.  Luckily, my parents have a large, new, pole barn garage and we were able to set up in there.  It wasn’t the ‘picture perfect’ pinterest worthy birthday I would have liked, but it did the trick.

I did a lot of crafting.  I designed and printed their invites myself.  I designed the thank you cards.  I made tissue paper tassel garland (and only just took pictures of that today with their invites).  I made bunny busts, fringe letters and made ‘ONE’ picture collages out of my Artifact Uprising prints.

We had a ton of people, a million pounds of pulled pork (seriously, 5 crock pots worth and we didn’t even finish 1) donut holes and store bought cake for the babes, because by the time this party came around I had zero F’s left to give.

The babes had fun, and that’s all that mattered.  I have no photos of them in their birthday outfits and only a few fuzzy photos of the party itself.

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photos on invitations by Laura Olivia Photography and Kristin Menzen Photography

A Room for Winter & a DIY

We have recently decided we’d like to separate the twins.  They sometimes wake each other up, or keep each other up.  And basically I wanted a reason to decorate a girly room.  So I started going through my old nursery Pinterest board for inspiration.  I saw this pin of Emily Henderson’s nursery and fell in love with the embroidered ‘X’ and ‘O’ she has hanging.  I can’t afford hundreds of dollars though, so I made a DIY version, sort of.

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Supplies:

  • Rose Gold wrapping paper from Home Goods $2.99 or $3.99, I can’t remember
  • 2 IKEA Ribba Frames (19 3/4 x 19 3/4) $14.99 each
  • 2 pieces card stock from Hobby Lobby $3.49 each
  • Pencil, Scissors, String, Spray Adhesive

Steps

  1. Measured and cut 4 rectangles that were 12″ long and 3″ wide to make my ‘X’
  2. Marked the halfway mark on one end of each rectangle (1 1/2″) to make my point, then marked 1 1/2″ up both sides to draw my diagonal lines, cut them out
  3. Found the center point of my card stock and marked it
  4. Sprayed the back of the wrapping paper with spray adhesive
  5. Placed the pieces so the points all met at the mark on the center of my card stock
  6. Attached a string to a pencil, cut at 9″ to make the outer portion of my circle (9″ string makes an 18″ diameter circle)
  7. Cut the string down to 6″ to make the inner portion of my circle, to keep it the same thickness as the ‘X’.  Cut out circle, used spray adhesive and eyeballed placing it on the second piece of card stock.
  8. Popped into the IKEA frames and hung them on the wall.

Voila!

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For the rest of the room I knew I wanted the palette a bit more muted than I had done in the first nursery but with touches of purples and peaches.  We aren’t finished yet, but we put some things together that I’m really excited about.  A while ago, we had a dresser that was given to us that I had Kyle paint mustard yellow. It turned out awful – it was my fault.  This gave us the opportunity to redo it.  It’s now a barely-there purple shade called Blissful by Behr – which Winter picked out at Home Depot.  I know what you’re thinking, “How could a 1 year old pick out paint colors?” but I picked up 3 swatches and held them up to her and she picked this one, twice.  I found cute rose knobs at Home Goods.  I went to IKEA and scored curtains and picture frames for cheap.

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We haven’t moved Winter into her new room just yet as it still smells like paint.  My husband just went and gave it a fresh coat of whatever white paint(s) we had in the basement.  We also did a DIY of the daybed that I used as a girl and spray painted it purple.  That still needs another coat before it can be moved into the room.  The last piece will be bringing her crib in and finding the right spot to hang the monitor camera.  I’m hoping the transition won’t be too difficult for her.  She really loves her room right now and smiles every time we walk in.  To try and ease the transition, we aren’t changing her crib and we hung the same Parisian door pictures above where her crib will go in her new room.  If you have any advice on separating twins, or moving babies into new rooms, please feel free to share!

Wrapping Paper from Home Goods, similar here | Frames from IKEA | Glider from RH Baby & Child (we got it at an outlet for a steal with no slipcover) | Lacy/Fancy Photo Frames from IKEA | Wooden Hook from Home Goods | Wall Clock from IKEA | Floor Lamp from Target | Rose Knobs from Home Goods | Blocks and Dresser were a DIY | Crocheted Bunny by Winter’s grandmother

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Motherhood Goal

There’s a significant amount of information out there on how to raise children.  What you should say and do, and what you should avoid at all costs or else you risk scarring your children for life.  This can put pressure on parents to do everything just right.  Well I’m over that.

Instead, I started thinking about goals.  And when it comes down to it, I guess I just have one:  Make my children laugh more today than they did yesterday.

My house may be dusty, and crumbs on the counters, dishes in the sink, laundry unfolded in baskets.  I may praise my kids too much, and tell them they’re special.  I have no idea how to get Winter to stop pulling hair and biting.  I’m still struggling with the transition to table foods (we currently do table foods first and follow up with purees to make sure they’re getting enough).  But one thing I know for sure is that we will never get these days back.  Babies don’t keep and before I know it, they’ll have big people responsibilities.  So for now, my only goal other than keeping them alive, is just to hear their laughter.

Winter

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Lessons from My First Year of Motherhood

Our first year may not look like every new mothers first year.  Going from having zero babies to having two babies, is a big adjustment.  Going from living for myself, to advocating for them in the NICU; making extra pediatrician appointments, specialist appointments and physical and speech therapy appointments; giving medications; using monitors – these are just some of the things that make my journey unique.  But the truth is, all new moms are the same.  We are all just trying to figure it out.  To find our new identities, to figure out how to feed our babies and to get to know these tiny, little people.  The overwhelming love is something you can’t really describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it yet.  Here are some things I learned in my first year.

  1.  Advice is everywhere.  Sometimes it’s unsolicited, sometimes we ask for it.  Sometimes it’s given by well-intentioned people, sometimes it’s pushed upon you or shoved down your throat, or given as a way to judge the decisions you’ve made.  If you don’t like what anyone has to say, just ignore it.  Trust your gut and just go with it.
  2. ‘They’ recommend putting your babies in their cribs when they’re sleepy, but not asleep.  And getting them to nap in their cribs.  My babes learned very early on, likely from the weeks/months they spent living in the NICU, how to self-soothe and put themselves to sleep.  BUT – because of this, they don’t really like to be rocked to sleep, or be cuddled anymore.  So I say, rock those babies to sleep.  Cuddle them.  Let them nap next to you in bed, on the sofa, on your chest.  Babies don’t keep, and I promise you, you’ll miss those cuddles when they’re gone.
  3. The newborn haze is just a phase (hey I rhymed).  You’ll be more tired than you’ve ever been, but it will pass.  Being tired also makes it hard to remember things.  I wish I had kept a journal, even if I just wrote a sentence or two a day or week, to remember the little things.  Their smiles, their fuzzy newborn hair, the things that brought them comfort.  How they held your finger so tightly while feeding…I already cannot remember what it was like.  I wish I could.
  4. Do NOT buy allllll the baby clothes.  I am addicted to baby clothes and I spent a bajillion dollars at Gap and Old Navy when they have 40% off sales.  I’d buy everything, because it was on sale.  Some things they’d never even wear and then my favorite items they’d wear over and over.  So put some thought into it.  What do you want them to wear?  What do you really like?  What goes together.  Now I like to pick a few main colors that all go together and then stick to neutral staples for everything else.  It makes an interchangeable wardrobe that is smaller but more well used.  Also, buy a few heirloom pieces.  I wish I had.
  5. Take lots of pictures, and back them up.    Document everything because again, babies don’t keep.  What might seem like an ordinary moment to someone else could be an extraordinary moment to you.  Invest in an external hard drive and back up your photos, just in case.  Especially because now you have kids, and some kids like to throw things in the toilet, including iPhones.
  6. Get some fresh air.  Even if you’re wearing leggings, covered in spit up or baby food.  When the babes get fussy, or mama gets anxious or overwhelmed, we take a walk and it does us all some good.  Bundle up if you have to and brave the cold, even if it’s just a quick walk around a cul-de-sac.
  7. As a preemie mom, we are very cautious of germs.  We have hand sanitizer in all our cars.  We use babyganics because there’s no alcohol in it, so it doesn’t burn if you have paper cuts, but still kills germs.  So after visiting with people we wipe off the babies hands and when we get home, if it’s not too late, I give them a bath.  If it’s too late, I bathe them in the morning.  Is this being a bit dramatic and over the top?  Maybe but it makes me feel better.  With being said, Porter chewed on the swing at the park the other day, and I didn’t have a heart attack and he hasn’t gotten rabies or anything yet.
  8. Learn to laugh.  Sometimes  you just want to cry.  This parenting gig can be so overwhelming at times.  It’s better to laugh than to cry, but sometimes crying is also necessary.  Try to find something to do for you that relaxes you, whatever that might be.  For me, it’s usually a shower.  The one thing I haven’t compromised on as a mom is taking a shower.  I would bring the rock n’ plays into the bathroom in the babies early days, and now I shower while they nap/have morning quiet time in their cribs.

Being a mom is no joke.  It’s hard work.  Having your first, or first two in my case, is a huge adjustment.  Combine that with the crazy hormones that are racing around your body and tiny humans who communicate with you by crying and you can see how it would be easy to get overwhelmed.  Just know you’re not alone and we’re all in this together, just trying to figure it out.

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Where’d The Time Go?

Last month, the babes celebrated their first birthday.  THEIR FIRST BIRTHDAY!!  I can’t believe how quickly the time went by yet how it feels like I’ve known them forever at the same time.  I can’t remember my life without them.  Their party isn’t until next month, so we celebrated quietly at home, with balloons and cheesecake.  We almost forgot to give them their gifts.  Go ahead, nominate me for mom of the year.  I know you want to.  Ha!

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Porter was more obsessed with the balloon than the cake, but he was a fan of both!  Winter mostly just wanted to smash her cake.  It was pretty adorable to watch, as I’m sure all first birthday cake smashes are!

Sources:  Highchairs $20 at IKEA   |   Striped Playmat from Gathre   |   #1 Balloons from GlamFete   |   Happy Birthday candles by Meri Meri from Craftsy

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The Things I Need to Teach You

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There are things I need to teach you children,                                                                          things I need you to know.                                                                                                          I will love you through the easy days,                                                                                        but even more when the tough times show.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about things I hope to teach my children.  It’s our job as parents to provide our children with a solid foundation so they grow into independent, capable adults.  I know there are some lessons and many mistakes they’ll have to make on their own, like we all did because what do our parents know? (teenage mindset, ha!)

  1. There’s a place for kindness. Be polite, mind your manners. Smile at strangers. Hold the door open. But don’t let anyone mistake your kindness for weakness. We will teach you to stand up and speak up for yourselves and others. We will teach you how to protect yourselves if the need arises – physically, mentally, financially.
  2. Don’t do fad diets.  You’ll know you’ve hit rock bottom if your diet consists only of liquids for a few days.  It’s all a joke.  Eat your veggies, but enjoy your food.  Eat a bowl of pasta and go back for seconds  Find an activity that keeps you active so that you’re healthy, but food is meant to be enjoyed.  And remember, ice cream may not cure a broken heart but it helps numb the pain.
  3. Don’t ever feel stuck – in a job, a major, a relationship, whatever.  You’re strong and independent.  You can walk away and start over, and we will help you.
  4. With that being said, pick something you’re interested in or good at and make a life out of it.  There are people who will tell you that you can be anything you want to be. It may sound wonderful to think that big, but it’s overwhelming.  There will be too many options.  Focus on your likes and your talents and you’ll find the right path.  If at some point you find it’s no longer fulfilling, refer to #3.
  5. Change is good, when it’s for the right reasons.  You’ll be changing your entire life. As you figure out who you are, you’ll be adjusting and growing and evolving.  Make the changes you want to make, but only ever change for you.  Too often people get into a relationship and their partner wants them to change.  This is not to say that a partner can’t help us realize an aspect of yourself that may need work.  BUT the change has to be for you, not them.
  6. Confidence will take you places.  People are mean.  You will likely face adversity throughout your life.  At times, people may say or do some really nasty things about you and to you.  This says far more about them than it does about you.  You keep on being you.  Hold your head high and show them the bully never wins.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  It shows great strength when you can admit you can’t do everything alone.  And you’ll be surprised how many people will be willing to help.
  8. Don’t do drugs.  This one seems obvious, but seriously.  I’ll kick you.  Addiction is considered a disease, but unless someone physically restrains you and forces you to do drugs and gets you hooked, it’s a choice (at least at the beginning).  And it’s one that will haunt you forever.
  9. Independence.  We will teach you to cook, clean, take out the trash, mow the lawn, shovel the driveway, do laundry, dust, mop and vacuum.  We will teach you to change a tire and drive a manual car (daddy will have to teach you and I’ll learn with you). Daddy will teach you to always face the exit.  These are skills you will need all throughout your life and then you won’t ever be dependent upon someone else for your survival.
  10. Happiness.  It’s not a destination or even a journey.  Happiness is a choice.  You wake up everyday with a choice, to be happy or to be something else.  Choose happiness.  Life is too short for anything else.

There’s so much more I could say, but this is a start.  We cannot wait to see the great people you become, but don’t rush it.

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