Friday, August 22, 2014

TGI-Featured Friday: Caroline @ Do It All Working Mom



Hi there! I'm Caroline from Do It All Working Mom, where I blog about recipes, gardening, kids and so much more.

I am so happy to guest post on Jessica's blog today. I'm a big fan of her blog and find her to be very inspiring.

Today I will be sharing with you how I'm able to do it all as a working mom. I was interviewed last week by Dr. Portia Jackson of Working Motherhood for a podcast on successful working moms and that's what inspired me to write this post.

The most important thing for me when trying to fit family, work and blogging in the same day is PLANNING, PLANNING, PLANNING. Planning is key, you can never plan to much, anyway that's what I think. I use a very simple weekly planner that I quickly put together. You can find it HERE. It's very basic but it works really good for me.  With this planner, I plan my meals, my appointments, the kids activities, chores, everything relating to the family and home. This way I never forget anything. I know exactly what needs to be done every day. I use a separate calendar for work, and for blogging, I use a Blog Binder that you can find HERE. Now with all this planning, the only thing left to do is take ACTION, because of course nothing gets done with no ACTION!

Another thing that is really helping me as a working mom is that I have the privilege of working from home 4 days a week. So I only have to go in the office 1 day per week. That is awesome! I save 1:30 hour each day by not having to get ready in the morning and drive in to work and back from work.

I also chose a shift that fits my busy life! I start work at 5:00 AM and I finish at 13:30 PM. So when I finish work. I have 1:30 hour to myself before the kids get home from school. Do you have any idea what I can get done in 1:30 hour when I'm alone in the house??? It's crazy!!! I get more things done during that 1:30 hour then I do during the weekend!!! I'm serious!!! During that time I either do housework, blog, cook, garden or run errands. Depending on what I have planned on my weekly planner. I really like the convenience of my job, it helps me and my family so much. Just being home in the morning to kiss my kids when they leave for school and being home when the bus drops them off in the afternoon is priceless!

No matter how busy you are and all the things you have on that To Do List, it's very important to spend time with your kids. Even if it's just 10 minutes. I'm not talking about doing homework or eating dinner, I'm talking about bonding time with them. Every night before bed, I read my kids a bedtime story. After the story, I spend 5-10 minutes with each of them and we talk about their day and how they feel. After that I put them to bed and kiss them goodnight. Life with kids can sometimes be crazy, it's not always easy and it's far from being perfect, but I wouldn't change my life for anything in the world. My kids are my priority!

In all that craziness, don't forget to take time for yourself and time with your husband.  My husband and I have our little Friday night routine where we put the kids to bed early and we have a nice supper together. We catch up on our week and talk about our plans for the weekend. 

So now you know how I Do It All.

Hope you enjoyed reading my post. Thank you so much Jessica for letting me share this with your readers.



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Caroline, thank you so much for sharing. I love reading your blog and you seriously talk to and are knowledgeable on so many topics, one would think, well, you must not have any kids! But you do and I am probably not alone in saying, I'm impressed. Thanks for giving us the in on how you do, Do It All. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Guest Author on Bluntmoms.com

You know those stories you want to share but kind of actually don't want to share because it's a little too personal but it was kind of a big deal to you... Well, I had one of those and shared my story with bluntmoms.com because, well, that's what they are all about. I literally wrote the post, submitted it into the form, sat looking at the form scared for a second because someone may actually read it, blacked out, hit submit and ran away. Today, bluntmoms.com posted the story. I feel thankful and honored to be a guest author (a Wannabee BLUNT as they call it) on their site. Personal and all, I am pretty excited about it. Not because I think the post is overwhelmingly awesome, but, because I was nervous about it and did it anyway. We should all do something that is a little scary and challenging everyday. Because it's awesome. Even if it doesn't work.

Go check it out if you should feel so inclined. I love the site and the many authors that submit to it. They are honest, funny, ironic, you name it... always a great read in there.

BLUNTMOMS.COM
MASTITIS AND TWINS - FABULOUS

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Essential Twin Baby Products For The First Month

Last week, the twins turned one month old. I, obviously have been living in an infant time warp. The days are no longer separate chunks of time broken up by evenings of rest, but, more like one long day that is dominated by feedings, diaper changes and sporadic naps. Sprinkled with walks, dr. appointments, meals and an occasional glass of wine. The necessities, of course.

When the twins came home from the hospital, I quickly realized that carting two infants, room to room, was not going to be easy. So, hubby and I began to scope out our baby equipment. We did not need every swing, bouncy seat and baby chair setup right off the bat. So we began to pick and choose which pieces would be the most beneficial during this first month.

We experimented with a few key products and strategically placed them throughout the house to maximize our limited space, free up our hands and attempt to avoid looking like an extension of Babies R Us.

So, before I forget, and move on to concentrating on month two, I wanted to share the baby products and equipment that we couldn't live without, this first month. I linked to the products that I personally use and love but you could switch it up based on your personal preferences!

Breaking The Momma Mold: Essential Twin Baby Products For The First Month

YOUR BEDROOM and / or THE NURSERY

Twin Cradle or Bassinet
Our double cradle was handmade and given as a gift. It was built wide enough to fit the twins and it sits next to our bed. Its so easy to just roll over and pick up the babies to feed throughout the night. I love that they share the space because I feel like they are comforted by each other.

There are a lot of options out there for twin cradles and bedside bassinets. I definitely recommend going this route if your babies are going to take occupancy in your bedroom for the first few months.

Breaking The Momma Mold: Essential Twin Baby Products For The First Month
Twin Cradle

The Twin Z Pillow & Cover
This pillow is obnoxiously large but it is amazing. It's a nursing, feeding and twin support pillow. You can nurse two at the same time by lifting the center and utilizing it as a back rest or you can set each baby up in each pocket and bottle feed them. They can also just chill in the pockets and / or be setup to enjoy some tummy time. It takes up a lot of space but I love it.

Breaking The Momma Mold: Essential Twin Baby Products For The First Month
Double feeding in the Twin Z Pillow

2, WubbaNub Pacifiers
Under supervision, these pacifiers take a little more effort to fall out of the babies mouth. Because of the cute doll at the end of the pacifier, they don't pop out of the mouth as easily and roll away to never be found again.

Philips Avent Bpa Free Soothie Pacifier, 0-3 Months  (or another pacifier of preference)

The Bedside Table Baby Station
I set what used to be my nightstand into a mini baby changing station. I found it difficult to move the babies to their nursery (or another room) every time they were going to eat in the night like I did with Big Sister. So, I put a receiving blanket on top of the night stand and layered it with a bottle warmer and the breast pump (hooked up and ready to go). The top drawer consists of infant diapers, wipes, diaper cream, spit up towels and extra pacifiers.

CHANGING TABLE & BEDTIME PREP

Newborn Longsleeve Mitten Cuff Onesies

2, Miracle Blanket Baby Swaddles
There are a lot of swaddle choices out there, however, I swear by these. I have had good luck with Big Sister and now the twins.

Breaking The Momma Mold: Essential Twin Baby Products For The First Month
Miracle Blanket Baby Swaddles

Preemie & Infant Diapers, Wipes
Just start collecting infant diapers when you find out your are having twins...

Diaper Cream
I love Boudreaux's Butt Paste. At the first sign of diaper rash, I apply it and it begins to resolve after one application.

Receiving Blankets
These are great to have around. They can be used as a burp cloth, blanket / swaddle, stroller blanket, nursing cover... I have two with me at all times.

BABY EQUIPMENT

The Graco Pack 'N Play
We had a Pack 'N Play available to us from our first. Graco now makes a Twin Bassinet Pack n' Play that may be useful. I like laying the twins together vs. in their own bassinet so if you have a preference that would be the difference between the two.

Portable Changing Station
We hang this from our Pack 'N Play. The Pack 'N Play has side pockets that are fully stocked with diapers and wipes so we are not running up and down the stairs to the changing table on each change. Although, it would be great exercise for the postpartum body.

2, Fisher-Price Rock n' Play Sleepers
These can travel all over your house. Living room, kitchen, back deck... Even to the beach and anywhere you may visit (friends and family's homes)! Big Sister slept in hers every night, however, the twins are doing great laying flat on their backs so we didn't need to bring out the big dog for bedtime.



Breaking The Momma Mold: Essential Twin Baby Products For The First Month
Fisher-Price Rock n' Play Sleepers
TRAVEL


Baby Trend Universal Double Snap-N-Go Stroller Frame

2, 4-11lb. Car Seats & Bases
Important Note: Twins have a tendency to be born prematurely and weigh less than the typical full-term baby. In our case, our twins went into the Special Care Nursery for 6 days. In order to leave the hospital, the twins were required to do a car seat test. We had previously purchased two car seats, however, did not realize that we would need to re-purchase two more that were for 4 pound babies and up. I did not realize that a majority of car seats were 5 pound and up. So we now have 4 car seats because we took the first ones out of the box, set them up and had them in the car ready to go.

You may want to consider purchasing (or at least opening) immediately after the babies are born so you know exactly what you need. This was never even a consideration for us when prepping our equipment so it was a huge (and expensive) learning curve.

Diaper Bag

BREAST & BOTTLE FEEDING
I use Medela bottles for no particular reason than I started with them with Big Sister. I really like them for this stage because they fit on the pump falanges and I like the fact that they are plastic and I can heat the bottles up in warm water without the milk seeping through like it does with the glass bottles.

80ml / 2.5 Ounce Bottles
These are great for the first 3-weeks to a month. Our twins slowly increased to 3 ounces of milk per serving so we gradually began using the 5 ounce bottles and filling it with 3 ounces of breast milk.

5 Ounce Bottles

8 Ounce Bottles
As your milk supply increases you may want to use the 8 ounce bottles for pumping. That way you do not have to switch out bottles half-way through...

Similac Infant Nipples

Breastmilk Storage Bags

Hospital Grade Breast Pump
Important Note: Your insurance my cover a pump rental or purchase so be sure to look into that option before spending the money!

MISC.

Wine
'Nough. Said. Time it right and take a momma time out.

So, what were you're favorite baby products and equipment? Leave it in the comments and share the wealth!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blog Tour: Hop On The Breaking Momma Train

Breaking The Momma Mold: Blog Tour
The day we welcomed our twin baby girls into the world I took a moment later in the day to play around on my phone (obviously) and scan my email. (No, giving birth doesn't take away the desire to play with your smart phone... Especially when you have so many new pictures to go through and admire!) Anyway, I was given a heads up that I was being featured on Just A Touch Of Crazy's Blog Tour and was pretty excited about it. Being able to do something about it at the moment was another story. However, 3 weeks late and all, here I am! Half asleep, red-eyed and rearing to go because I want to keep this tour going! (It's probably too late, but I'm not too worried about it.)

Leilani and Emily write over at Just A Touch of Crazy.  It is one of my favorite blogs to follow because they are both totally sweet, amazing mom's and they share some really great stories about both of their momhood experiences and kidventures.  Some stories, I literally laugh out loud at so I hope you take the time to visit them. 

So the question of the day is (drum roll please) what the heck is a Blog Tour!? Let me tell you...

I'll be answering 4 questions about the "behind the scenes" of Breaking The Momma Mold, then I will share with you some of my other favorite blogs for you to stop by and visit.  Hopefully you will treat yourself and check them out. :P

So let the tour begin...

1. What am I working on? Blogging wise, this. I have no post plans ever, they are off the cuff and I hope for the best... I have also been working on a group called Mom It Up! with 4 other really great momma bloggers. It's a Facebook group focused on raising healthy and happy kids and families. Our mission is have other moms, caregivers, mommy bloggers (everyone) join our conversation. Share your related posts, insights, tips, personal stories and more. Topics vary from pregnancy, raising children of all ages, healthy recipes and a variety of ways to maintain a healthy dose of mommy sanity. We happily discuss our successes and yes, failures. We hold no shame. That’s reality, right? So feel free to stop by and join the discussion.

Outside of blogging I have devoted all of my time to learning how to keep twins alive and a 2-year old happy while she undergoes all of this change. There is a very fine line of maintaining happiness in a person that just a few short weeks ago received ALL of the attention. It takes .3 seconds for her to switch from skipping and dancing to all out tantrum mode. It's pleasant. Really.

2. How does my work differ from others of it's genre? I am not totally sure how I differ from the other momma bloggers besides that they are probably more organized that I am... I have my own dynamics and experiences to share, (momma of one to three), I don't know how to cook but I enjoy good, healthy food and I love wine. My hubby is the cook and I can follow him around the kitchen with my glass of wine and three babies to trail and chop things here and there. I trial and error in terms of trying to successfully raise three kids and I try very hard to have fun with it. I don't stray far from who I am. I don't try to be super mom, I don't try to be something I'm not and I don't rely on books. (for good or for bad) If my college girlfriend or an old childhood friend came over and watched me do my mom thing she would recognize the approach. It's not out of my personal ordinary of how I would attempt to conquer something. I just approach motherhood as I would any other challenge in my life. And now I document it. Because it's fun to do that.

3. Why do I write / create what I do? I started to blog when some bigger life changes began to transpire. Typically, I am a person to keep to myself but I had a change of heart. I felt like I had something to share and wanted to share it. It felt scary at first but I found I enjoy writing, I enjoy writing about what is happening in my life right now and sharing it. I also enjoy the relationships with others that my writing brings on. I found blogging to be a fun world to explore and I quickly became addicted. There is so much more to it than just writing good content. (I mean, that's always number one and key but... beyond that their is so much more to do!!) It can really keep you consumed and busy. It has totally become a guilty pleasure that I try to sneak in as often as I can. These days there is not a lot of time to do so but I still somehow find it. I also love the connections that blogging creates between people all over the world. It doesn't matter who you are or where you live someone else has either experienced or is experiencing what you are doing and a connection can be made.

4. How does your writing / creating process work? I wish I had something really interesting and inspiring regarding "my process" but the truth is I have absolutely no process. I really depend on life in general to inspire what I write about and I really have to feel passionate about it to even be able to write about it. Occasionally I will have a panic week where I have been inspired by nothing. Usually, my last minute, procrastination brings something to mind... At least I always hope. To be honest, since the twins have been born, the lack of sleep has been followed by a lack of inspiration and motivation but I keep my mind open to ideas and once inspired I will jot it down and get it going again!

OK, the train is about to take off and send you to your next destination!  Thanks for letting me share some behind the scenes info at Breaking The Momma Mold. You may have noticed that their is no method behind this madness besides the actual madness. 

And next stops on the blog tour are:

Caroline Barnes @ Do It All Working Mom
I love Caroline. She seriously is the do it all working mom and she has some great advice, recipes, tips, reviews, stories on well, everything. She also enjoys wine and really good food, which makes Caroline a girl after my own heart.

Carrie Spence @ Sweet & Savory Spence
Carrie is amazing in the kitchen and an absolute inspiration. All of her recipes are recreated with a more healthful twist in mind. She always provides recipes that you would feel awesome about making for your whole fam.

Tiffany Hunter @ Shhh, I Have a Baby
Tiffany is a new mom that blogs about the realities of pregnancy and raising a baby.  Everything really that the books don't cover. So pretty much the really useful stuff new moms (and experienced) want to hear about.

Anna @ Fitfunner
Anna is on a mission to advocate health for kids. She provides food / health related children's app reviews that I find extremely helpful because I don't have to do the leg work and can find new games for my 2-year old to play that are enjoyable and educational. She also challenges existing health issues and it's really interesting (sometimes alarming) to follow. Anna has created a game that gives you the tools to help your kids live a healthier life. You can take a tour or sign up to play here.

Happy touring! Choo choo! (When in Rome...)





Sunday, July 13, 2014

What You Remember (and Forget) When Raising Infants


While the babies have been sleeping I opened the computer many times this week.  I go to write a post but end up just staring blankly at a word doc with absolutely nothing coming to mind. It's like my head is too full in order to organize my thoughts, or the complete opposite. It's absolutely empty. Tired and empty. In all likelihood it's probably the latter.

Things that pop into my head as I stare at this blank document is that, yes, I’m tired.  I’m hot.  I’m so hot.  I would use an exclamation point but it would be a lie.  Nothing comes out of my mouth with that much oomph these days. I have to pump a lot.  The twins need supplementation because they are so small and need to gain more weight.  Prepping food is like a ginormous production line. I want to tell you how cute they are and if I weren’t lacking so much motivation I would like to do multiple costume changes with them and admire their cuteness.  But that sounds like a lot of work.  So I don’t want to do that at all.  And did I mention that I’m hot? I love the couch. It’s my new best friend.  If I didn’t feel guilty I would stay in bed.  But that’s a bit much.  (I do really push it to the limit though...) I still have to take their hospital bracelets off their ankles because they are getting a bit fitted.  Oh, and I need to paint one of their nails so I make sure not to confuse them for life.  That would be traumatizing. 

I did forget about some of the more difficult memories of raising the twins big sister. I only really remember the more cute memories of her infancy. Being constantly over-tired, the brain-loss, the all nighters, the lack to be able to smile even though you feel fine were not the first memories that came to mind.  One memory that I always looked back on with big sister was rocking her as she lay on my chest during one of the middle of the night feedings.  It was so peaceful and we were both so content.  I loved that moment and when I thought back to infancy that is what came to mind.  There must be some law of infancy that only allows you to remember the amazing moments.  I mean let's be honest, if someone asked, "Who never wants to sleep again?" you wouldn't be jumping up and down yelling, "Me! Me! I never want to sleep again! I actually love no sleep and I'm really smart when I never sleep."  That just doesn't happen.  So I guess you forget and the great memories take over.  Not a bad thing.

But this really is what motherhood is all about. It only works because you created these little beings.  They are your own and you love them as soon as you lay eyes on them.  Even sooner.  When you find out you’re pregnant.  If that phenomenon didn’t occur this job wouldn’t work or even exist.  People would listen to the list of qualifications and run.  Far.  Away.  They would hop on the next plane and travel to an exotic, tropical island and enjoy a cocktail (or three) as they lay in the white sand, looking out at the perfect aqua marine water and say, “Phew, that was a close call.”

But being a mom doesn’t work like that. It is one of the few instances that you really don't care that you have become second, third, or fourth in line to worry about. You've got one job to do.  You gotta keep these little people alive, fed, clean, well rested... And as exhausted as I am to get up in the night and as my body fights against my eyes and says it cant do it, I scoop up the babies and begin to feed one. They knowingly look at me.  My touch and voice are familiar and comforting to them.  They feel soothed and content just to be with me.  And as simple as it sounds that makes it all worthwhile.

Ecard created by queenmelissa



Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Twins Have Arrived!


Breaking The Momma Mold: The Twins Have Arrived

 On June 27th, I delivered our two baby twin girls! My hubby and I had been awaiting this day excitedly and a tad fearfully.  After having been traumatized by our first (Big Sister) who made an appearance a half hour after arriving to the hospital, we constantly feared getting to the hospital, which was an hour away, in time.  I also refused to give natural childbirth times two this time around.  So getting admitted in time for an epidural was a non-negotiable requirement. 

Things seemed to go more smoothly than the first time.  Let me rephrase, I listened to my body a little better this time around.  I did the best I could to not enter the denial or the newby ‘is this labor, no it cant be… when clearly it is’ phase.

The night of the delivery it was straight to the point.  Water broke, we grabbed our bags, got in the car and off to the hospital we went.  Boom, hit major traffic due to a closed lane, called 911, drove through the breakdown lane with the Sargent on the phone (whom by the way is also a twin) and obstacle one was easily avoided. 

Next challenge, registration.  Ok, we were told several times its part of the process.  Contractions were coming quickly and I was only starting to mildly lose my tolerance for process but proceeded with what we were told to do.  Got through the registration with just a couple of contractions and off we went to what we hoped was Labor & Delivery. 

Nope.  The babies were getting hooked up to a heart monitor.  At that point I was thinking why bother?  They are just going to arrive on their own without doctor assistance at any moment now if we keep delaying getting the actual birthing of the babies process started.  This was the point at which hubby lost his cool.  I thought for a moment there was about to be a throw down between him and the nurse.  If that happened my plan was to hop out of the bed, rip off the heart monitors and go galloping down the hallway in my cute backless hospital gown in search for an anesthesiologist.  Or a drug lord.  Whomever I bumped into first. 

Thankfully, it didn’t come down to that.  After the awkward moment with the nurse, yeah, even through contractions I felt the heat, the nurse came back whistling a different tune.  Finally, there was urgency.  Off to labor and delivery we went.

Long story short we were met by the anesthesiologist (Whom if you ever got an epidural I am sure I am not alone in saying I would marry this person.  This person that works magic, I love you anesthesiologist person… ) Anyway, after my honeymoon with the anesthesiologist ended, the babies were on their way. We rolled into the surgical room, Twin A happened to be positioned face up and we were on the brink of having to undergo a c-section.  The specialist said she was good to go naturally, no c-section needed.  The doctor called Twin A’s position ‘Sunny Side Up,’ coming into the world wide eyed and optimistic.  I thought that was cute.  Twin A may have felt differently, she looked like she got in a bar fight when I first met her.  Still, bar fight and all, adorable as ever.

Twin B was born 10 minutes later.  Like I said, it was a pretty quick and efficient delivery that resulted with two beautiful teeny tiny 4lb babies. Hubby and I were beside ourselves.

We are all so wrapped around this idea of process.  I think for a lot of different reasons.  Maybe, traumatized from the results of an event that lacked process… but maybe taking a day off from process and going by personable cues such as communication, expression of concern, body language wouldn’t hurt every once in awhile.

Oh, yeah… that nurse that my hubby almost entered the boxing ring with, yes her…  After the babies arrived hugged it out big time.  I think I even saw a tear or two from the both of them.  It was really cute. 

Also, I want to thank all of you for sending your love and prayers! They were heard and we are a happy and healthy family of five now.  And the beautiful adventure continues... 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tips To Surviving The Last Few Weeks of Your Twin Pregnancy - 36-38 Weeks


If I could I would be jumping up and down and clapping about having made it to the last stretch of carrying two growing babies at once. But for those of you that are at this point of your pregnancy know that jumping up and down, let alone lifting one leg in front of the other has become the new obstacle during this wonderful time. 

I am 37 ½ weeks pregnant with mono di twin girls.  My OB’s office is my second home and I am quickly learning that you haven’t lived through a twin pregnancy until you have reached these last few weeks. 

If you have been pregnant before with a singleton you may have remembered the 'nauseating first trimester,' "it’s a beautiful life, glowing,’ second trimester and the 'OK, I’m ready to have these babies... NOW,' uncomfortable third trimester. 

When pregnant with twins, the third trimester seems to revert back to the first trimester while tacking on a few additional challenges that comes along with bearing twins.   Nausea comes back full-throttle, hunger has never been so strong and the ability to move has decreased immensely. Your stomach is sizing up to be an unrecognizable being projecting off of your body and aches and pains are sprouting from, well, everywhere.    

So, welcome to the third trimester with twins!  Hello, ligament burning and stretching in the worst way, carpel tunnel, acid reflux, hot flashes nausea and continual braxton hix.  Goodbye lower back functionality, the ability to bend down and rely on your knees to get up, moving in general, lifting things and pretty much a full nights sleep due to having to use the bathroom on the hour, every hour.

But this is all OK, because for twins to make it this far is awesome news.  They are thriving and learning the functions that will help them live outside of the womb healthy and happily.  They are practicing the motions of using their lungs and they have reached a size that if they were born they could better understand how to nurse for the first time.  For that, bring on the extra pain and bed rest. I’ll take it!

So I thought I would compile a little list of ideas to make this, yes, exciting time, a little more comfortable and tolerable!


Use pillows. Pillows, pillows, pillows!  Its ironic but the most uncomfortable I have been has been lying down at night.  It’s like once your already loose body relaxes, it just gets a tad more painful when you try to move again.  So steal your hubby’s pillows, hoard every single one that you have lying around in closets and guest bedrooms.  Just surround your body in a cocoon of large, fluffy pillows and fill them in every crevice of your body.  Under your feet, knees, behind you back, on your sides.  Rolling over and getting your legs from one side to the other is painful! You basically have to lift one leg with your hands and manually move it, so give yourself that extra relief with the extra height from the support of the pillow.  Limiting the amount you have to move them to roll them over.  And you will need to roll over because the ligaments on your sides have also entered burning and weakness. Oh, the joys.