If Babies Planned Their Own Parties

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I’m starting (who am I kidding, I’ve been doing this for months and months) to pin ideas for the babies first birthday party.  My husband wants to do the big, traditional, invite everyone, first birthday for the twins.  I would prefer not to do that since they’re not going to remember it but I like to plan things so I’ll go with it.  I’ve been noticing on social media and blogs that kids’ birthday parties are getting out.of.control!  Gone are the days of just cake and ice cream in the backyard.  Parties now have budgets for floral arrangements and custom made crowns for each child in attendance.  This got me to thinking…if my babies could plan their own party, what would it look like?  Here’s what I think they’d want:

  1. I’d have to call Lowe’s and convince them to set up party tables in the ceiling fan aisle because CEILING FANS!
  2. We’d serve oatmeal with fruit mixed in.  Probably mangoes.  And puffs.
  3. There would be a few different ‘fun’ stations set up.
    1. One with paper, lots of paper.  Either to rip or to eat (aka choke on).  Whatever floats your boat.
    2. One where there are plenty of dogs to lick your face and clean out your mouth.
  4. Favors would be maracas.  A maraca for me, a maraca for you, a maraca for everyone. Have you ever shaken a maraca?  So.much.fun.

And that would be that.  Party of a lifetime, right?

In all seriousness, I’m struggling with this party thing.  I’d love invitations that look really nice, maybe letterpressed or foil printed, but on the other hand I’m thinking ‘find some free printable, fill-in invites and write that shit out yourself’.  I’m brainstorming photo backdrop ideas for a little mock photo booth area and looking for the perfect outfits for the babes and trying to find the perfect candles and balloons, but they’re not going to remember any of this. So I shouldn’t bother, right?

I’d like to get each baby their own piggy bank for their birthday and then open investment accounts for each of them.  I want to teach them about fiscal responsibility because I wish someone had taught me just how important it is.  I want to teach them to live within their means and always have savings and to never carry a balance on their credit cards.  So what kind of example would I be setting if I spent an outrageous amount on their birthday party?

So will you join us at Lowe’s for P&W’s first birthday?  (kidding….kind of)

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10 Months

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The babies turned 10-months-old yesterday.  Every month I say this, but how is that possible?! Month 9 was by far my favorite.  They had a lot of firsts this past month.  Winter started regular crawling quite quickly (instead of army crawling), opening presents for the first time a week before Christmas, their first Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, their first snow since being home from the NICU and their first colds.  I could’ve done without that last part but we all survived.

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I’ve started planning their first birthday party, which just typing out for you is giving me major anxiety.  The actual turning one part, not the party planning.  Truth be told, if it were up to me alone, I wouldn’t throw a big, giant birthday party.  Porter and Winter aren’t going to remember it and they have everything they could ever need already.  To me it’s just a formality.  We’re holding off on throwing the party until May, instead of March, so that we can be outside.  On the day of their real birthday, I’m thinking I’d like to take them to their first photo booth and start a yearly tradition.

Our babes are doing so well with their milestones, especially for being as early as they were.  Their physical therapy is now down to every other week and we’re focusing on building strength and balance so they can pull to stand, stand and walk.  Winter is already pulling up to stand and walking along furniture.  She’s getting a bit brazen and lets go without remembering she can’t really stand by herself yet.  Yesterday she stood up from a seated position without holding on to anything a few times, but once she’s up she needs something to hold onto to balance.  Porter is constantly up on his hands and knees rocking back and forth, trying so hard to crawl.  He’s getting really mad that he hasn’t gotten it yet, but he will.  He does really well with his motor skills, he loves to play with his ‘pound-a-peg’ toy.  He loves drumsticks and his drum.  He constantly hits the sticks together and I can’t help but think he’s going to be a rockstar someday, haha!

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Gift Guide: Baby Boy 9-12 Months

This is the babies first Christmas and I’m sooo super excited.  Christmas has always been my favorite holiday but this year it’s going to be THE BEST.  I’m sure they’re going to have no idea what’s going on, but I’m really going to enjoy it. I don’t know why, but I feel like baby boys are harder to shop for in the clothing area but easier in the toy arena.  Anyone else?  I’m really excited for a few of my finds.

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Here are the details:

Toys:  Hape lawnmower push and pull toy from Diapers.com | Janod magnetic rocket toy from Saks Fifth Avenue | Jellycat dino soother from Nordstrom | Old Bear and His Cub book from Ollie’s

Clothing: Zara happy days tee | hummingbird and henley onesies from Zulily | clearance shorts from Target | Milk Barn fox pants from Hatch in Ambler

Small Business Finds: Little Unicorn quilt, Lulu and Roo slouchy beanie and Milk Barn pants from Hatch in Ambler, PA | Hello Moccs ‘Action Hero’ leather moccasins

If you have an Ollie’s near you, you should buy all of your baby books there.  Their prices are ridiculously cheap.  For the majority of my online purchases I also used Ebates.  If you haven’t discovered them yet, you’re missing out on cold hard cash.  With all of my online Christmas shopping, I’ve earned $24.22.  That may not seem like a lot, but it’s for doing absolutely nothing!  So I’ll take it.

Happy Christmas to Porter.  I cannot wait to see the babies faces on Christmas morning with the tree lights and presents and everything!

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Gift Guide: Baby Girl 9-12 Months Old

So Christmas is next week, apparently.  Did you realize, because I just looked at the calendar, and HOW!?  I had ‘finished’ shopping for the twins a month or so ago, but then, you know, I saw some things and had to have them.  I always said I wasn’t going to go overboard on Christmas.  Just chalk that up to another one of those things you say you’re never going to do when you’re a parent.  Because I dove head first.  Well, I guess not really.  It could be worse, right?

Below are the very special gifts for Winter.  I tried to do a decent amount of small business shopping in addition to snatching up all the sales at my favorite major retailers.  I didn’t want to buy so many flashy, in your face, plastic toys – though you will see a baby smartphone on the list because she’s obsessed!  I doubt it will fool her into thinking it’s as cool as my phone, but I figured it was worth a shot.  Take a look and let me know what you think.  With expedited shipping you can probably still get your hands on some of my must-haves.

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Here are the details:

Clothing:  Zara pinafore | pink sweater, pink leg warmers, white and black peplum top from Old Navy | shorts on clearance from Target

Toys:  B. Toys smartphone in purple scored in-store at Target, found online for you at B&N | Hape bunny push & pull toy from Diapers.com | GUND mouse toy from Zulily | Jellycat bunny soother from Saks Fifth Avenue | Reindeer book from BabiesRUS

Small Business Finds:  Little Unicorn quilt and fox socks from Hatch in Ambler, PA | heart onesie and mustard stripe headband from First & Marley based in Philadelphia | Hello Moccs ‘The Chloe’ white and hot pink leather moccasins | headbands from CollectiveCreationsC on Etsy

Happy Christmas to Winter.  Not pictured are a bunch of other baby clothes, because I have a problem.  I blame Target and Old Navy.

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Wine & Cheese DIY Gift Box

I’ve put together a little gift for our neighbors.  They have mowed our front yard most of this year since Kyle has been working a lot of overtime.  And, they saved Porter when he stopped breathing and well, that’s something we won’t ever stop thanking them for.  This would be a great gift for friends, family, neighbors, just about anyone really.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cute gift box – I went with this Rose Gold colored box from Christmas Tree Shops for $1.99
  • Infinity Scarf – $5 at Five Below
  • Bottle of Wine – I selected a Merlot with a label that reminded me of Christmas
  • Cheese – I paired my wine selection with Gouda.  You can google wine pairings to make sure your cheese goes with your wine
  • Small Olive Wood Cutting Board – I scored mine at Home Goods for $7.  Similar here

If they don’t have kids, this is all you need to give a great little gift!  Our neighbors have a son so I added these wooden blocks from a local shop.

To put the gift together, I took the lid off the gift box and placed it on the bottom.  I layered in the infinity scarf, placed the blocks for their son in the back, the wine bottle and cutting board in the middle and the cheese in the front and that is that.  Easy, peasy.

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You are Enough

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Motherhood is messy.  Things are covered in spit up.  You may not have showered today, or yesterday.  Your babies might be covered in food.  Your house hasn’t been ‘clean’ since before there were babies.  And it’s okay.  Try to imagine yourself at 75, looking back on your life.  Do you think you’ll remember that day that the dishes did not get done and that you hadn’t dusted in weeks?  (Did you know people clean their baseboards?! Or take the vents out of the floor and off the walls and wash those?!)  What you’ll remember is the time you spent with your children.  It won’t matter that your hair and makeup weren’t done or that everything wasn’t in it’s place.  It won’t matter that some stranger on some social media site that probably won’t still exist seemed to be handling things better than you were.

My current struggles are seeing other people’s 9 month old babies eating pancakes and other actual solid foods.  My babies still just eat purees, because when I give them anything thicker or more solid (avocado, anyone?) they gag.  Gagging is normal until they learn what to do with it, but it scares the bajeezus out of me so they might just be on a puree diet forever.  I mean, juicing and smoothie drinking is a thing, right?  My babies don’t hold their own bottles.  Our Early Intervention Physical Therapist seemed concerned about that at their last appointment.  What I didn’t tell her was that I have TWO babies – I’m pretty sure she knows that part – but that I don’t have a ton of time to sit around and help them learn how to hold their bottles.  Feeding would take an hour or more then.  So I hold their bottles for them, because it’s easier.  It’s quicker.  But I guarantee that at some point, probably before they’re 5, they’ll learn how to hold a cup by themselves.  When was the last time you saw a kid who couldn’t drink out of a cup on their own?  Please tell me that’s not a thing.  I mean, they can put their own spoon in their mouths so I’m pretty sure they can figure out a cup at some point.  We have two different kinds of sippy cups, they can hold them and sometimes get them to their mouths, but we don’t use them often.  I’m working on it though since she seemed to think it was super-duper important.

I’ve come to accept that my house will never look as clean or as put together or styled as other people on social media, because A) They’re showing one piece of a room in a picture, so I’m hoping the rest of their house is a shit hole B) I have twins and dogs and carpet and too much stuff in a too little house and C) I just do not have the energy or give enough shits to care about it.  I have threatened to break out the sledgehammer to remove my breakfast bar because it.collects.everything!  My husband says I can’t remove it, and I wouldn’t have the motivation anyway, so it will continue to collect mail and paperwork and toys and cleaning supplies and sometimes dirty diapers (usually only pee-filled ones, ha!).

My Christmas tree is still undecorated, though my husband put the lights on it the other night.  Our stockings are hung, but that’s about it.  My Christmas cards are not yet mailed.  I haven’t made any cookies, or salt dough ornaments, or fresh greenery wreaths, or fancy faux-calligraphy leaves to use as name tags on all of my gifts, or wrapped most of my gifts, or made an advent calendar.  All of these things I totally meant to do.  I had a really great idea to use my artifact uprising prints to make an advent calendar to hang on the wall in the shape of a giant Christmas tree.  I wanted to post gift guides showing the coolest things I Santa got for the babies.  None of that got done, yet.  Martha Stewart, I am not.

What I’m doing instead is changing babies, holding baby bottles, feeding babies, trying to get babies to stop crying, trying to get babies happy.  Trying to get babies all set up to play with their toys.  Oh, you don’t like that toy today?  How about this one?  No?  This?  No?  Here’s the wipes container, play with that.  Sitting on the chaise lounge to catch my breath.  Trying to get babies to stop crying again.  Are you hungry? Tired?  Do your teeth hurt?  Are you bored? Are you getting sick?  Why haven’t you learned how to talk already to tell me what you want?  Just tell me what you want!  Repeat, all day long.

And then the babies smile or laugh or say something or make kissy sounds or blow bubbles and I realize that nothing else matters.  I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.  And so are you.  So forget about comparing yourself to others.  Let go of the idea in your head that you can be everything to everyone and just be a mom to your kids and let that be enough.  It is enough.  You are enough.

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The Mommy Wars: It’s Not What You Think

If I’m being honest, I haven’t experienced much in the way of the mommy wars.  Sure, people voice their opinions but I typically let it roll off my back.  My parenting philosophy is: feed, clothe, shelter and love your babies.  However you get there is the ‘right’ way.  My other parenting philosophy is ‘survive’.  Easy, peasy, right?  Wrong.

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The mommy wars I’m talking about today are internal.  This has been weighing on me for a while.  I’m a quitter – always have been, probably always will be.  I worry about how to teach my children not to be quitters when I’m a quitter myself.  Before we had the twins I was researching ways to save money.  Things like breastfeeding, making my own baby foods and cloth diapering were easy ways to cut costs, or so I thought.

Breastfeeding never happened for me.  Not because it couldn’t, but because when my early babes had troubles just learning to drink from a bottle, I didn’t want to selfishly add in learning to drink from my body to their plates.  Maybe that was selfish because part of me thought it would get them home sooner if they only had to master one task, maybe it was unselfish of me because they only had to master one task.  See?  My internal struggle is already showing.  I pumped diligently at the beginning, knowing that any breastmilk I could give them would help.  I hated pumping.  I hated being tied down for at least 30 minutes, but I did it.  I remember going to the NICU to visit the babes and I would pump as I would bottle feed one of them, or just hold both of them.  Pumping empty handed was a luxury.  Once the babes came home, it was much more difficult to pump every 3 hours for 30 minutes because twins y’all.  My supply started to dwindle.  I tried teas and fenugreek, a beer a day, trying to drink more water.  Nothing helped.  The babies started drinking higher volumes, I started making less breastmilk and after 6 months, I called it quits.  It was to the point where I’d pump enough to give one of them a full bottle of breastmilk a day.  I was ready to stop, but I felt and still feel guilty.  That one bottle every other day for each baby could still be helpful, right?  Did I give up too easily?

My most recent failure is cloth diapers.  I did some research, but admittedly not enough.  I decided on BumGenius 4.0 diapers.  They’re a pocket diaper with a microfleece insert.  They have snaps to make the diapers smaller or bigger, tighter or looser.   They worked fairly well for 8 months.  We did buy the BumGenius newborn diapers as well and used those for the first few months.  All of the sudden though, I’d put the diapers on the babies and the first time they peed, the diapers would leak around the leg hole area.  I tried tightening the diapers, loosening the diapers, making them smaller, making them bigger.  I tried adding an extra insert, taking the extra insert away and using a hemp doubler to help with absorbency.  I tried stripping the diapers and drying them in the dryer.  They were still leaking.  Perhaps it’s the microfleece, perhaps it’s the amount of use they’re getting with double the babies to diaper.  Whatever the cause, it was making me C.R.A.Z.Y.  It may sound a little silly but I was getting so angry, blood-boiling angry at these damn diapers.  So I quit.  I bought two bulk size cases of Target brand diapers online and got a $20 gift card and two packs of Target overnight diapers.  Then I went to Target and to my surprise they had the bulk boxes so I bought two boxes of the next size up to get another $20 gift card.  So I now have 444 size 3 diapers that will arrive this week, 444 (minus what we’ve used over the last 3 days) of size 4 diapers, which are really big on the babes but are doing the trick for now.  Plus 172 overnight diapers.  But I’m feeling guilty, really guilty.  We made an $1100 investment in cloth, plus $30 in hemp doublers and I’m just putting those to the side and spending money that we shouldn’t need to spend on disposables.  Did I give up too quickly?

I recently had a doctor’s appointment to get my flu shot at a new doctor’s office.  I told her I was feeling overwhelmed because I can’t seem to get anything done around the house other than taking care of the babies.  She told me things I already know, like ‘you have two babies’ and ‘you need to reduce your stress and get better sleep’.  But I know there are mommies out their with multiple children who get other things done around the house.  Why can’t I do that?  I feel guilty. I feel like a bad wife because my husband works all day, comes home and washes dishes, makes dinner or both.  He hasn’t complained.  This is all self-imposed guilt.

So you see, my internal mommy wars are causing me more heartache than I imagined.  I’m loosing sleep, I’m feeling guilty, I’m beating myself up.  All because I’m not living up the vision I had in my head of what kind of mom I’d be before actually having kids.  I’m quitting things because they were causing me stress, but quitting has caused it’s own stress.

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