Mission Motherhood

Fuss free bedtime: twin edition

I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a profile that I follow: Twinsandmoretwins. This user has two sets of twins about a year apart and she compares sleep patterns for her older set vs her younger set of twins. I totally relate to her methods with her youngest set of twins who learned to self soothe at an early age without cry-it-out methods.

1. Maintain a solid bedtime and nap time routine

We are blessed with mild tempered twins who are pretty easy sleepers. They are currently 17 months old and we’ve had a pretty solid bedtime routine for the last 6-7 months. We have dinner at 6:00pm, bath immediately after dinner every other night, sippy cup of milk at 7:00pm, jammies at 7:30pm, teeth brushed and in their cribs by 8:00pm. They are typically asleep within 5 minutes and generally sleep until 7:30-8:00am.

2. Allow them to fall asleep without needing snuggles

I think what really helped us was leaving them to fall asleep on their own as newborns. Before our twins were born my husband and I decided that we needed to be strategic with our snuggles. The idea of either one of us being alone with them and not being able to get them to sleep was stressful. If we used snuggles to get the babies to sleep they would be reliant on being held in order to fall asleep. This was our strategy as newborns: We’d feed then diaper and while they were still milk drowsy we’d lay them down in their bassinet or pack n play.

We still snuggled our babies… the good Lord knows I love my baby snuggles (and daddy is just as guilty of loving his snuggles). We just didn’t snuggle them to sleep. When they looked like they might be getting close to falling asleep we’d lay them down. They started sleeping 6-7 hour stretches around 10 weeks but the 4 month sleep regression ended that. They were 10 months old before they were consistently sleeping through the night again. But when they were getting up in the night, they got what they needed (binky, gas drops, water, Tylenol) and laid back down.

3. Avoid getting to the overtired stage by watching for signs of tiredness

I think since they’ve put themselves to sleep for such a long time it has helped them to recognize when they are tired and ready to rest. I will ask if they are ready to lay down, take a nap, or go to bed and they run towards their bedroom. I try to avoid getting to the point where they are overtired so I check in with them and ask if they want to lay down when they start showing signs of tiredness.

These are the signs I watch for in our toddlers:

  • Yawns
  • Eye rubbing
  • Irritability towards each other
  • Desire for snuggles
  • Climbing up on the couch just to sit
  • Laying on the floor
  • Standing at the baby gate closest to their room
  • Getting slap happy and giggly
  • Asking for binkies (because they only have them in bed – until I ditch my fear of bedtime without binkies)
  • Finding a quiet spot to read books

4. Learn the cues of your children and follow their lead

I keep thinking they will eventually stop wanting to take two naps a day, but for now they still very much ask for two naps. They have one at 11am and one at 3:30pm and sleep about 1-1.5 each nap.

Every child is different… their personalities, their communication. The twins are drastically different and they’ve never been away from each other. Just because these methods have worked for our family, doesn’t mean they’ll work for everyone. I think the biggest advice I could give is to listen to your child. Use their body language or changes in behavior as a form of communication. If you can recognize these changes it is so much easier to anticipate their needs before things escalate to utter frustration on behalf of your child who doesn’t know how to express their needs and frustration on behalf of parents who don’t know what the child needs.

What methods and bedtime routines have worked for you? What signs and signals do you watch for?

Mission Motherhood

I can wear a baby, but my shoes have to come off?

Navigating airport security is a bit of a cluster with little ones. Since Christmas will soon be here and many of you may be traveling I thought I’d share my perspective on flying with babies. My family recently took a week long trip to Orlando, Florida with our 11 month old twins. This was our first experience flying with them and I have learned a lot about how to make the process easier.

Things to keep in your carry on bags:

  • Change of clothes for mom and dad – if a baby has a blow out while they’re in your lap, you’ll need a change of clothes too. 
  • 2 extra outfits per baby
  • Extra pacifiers 
  • Snacks – we used the 3 compartment formula holders for a variety of snacks (gold fish, corn Chex and Cheerios) 
  • Empty baby bottles and extra bottles of water (Make sure you take them out of your bag and put them in a separate bin when going through security. Tell them you have water for babies and they will allow you to take it through after testing the outside of the bottle.)
  • Sippy cups if your babes are drinking water – it’s easy to get dehydrated while traveling. 
  • Books and small toys – preferably something they haven’t read or played with in a while. 
  • Changing pad for airport bathroom diaper changes. 
  • Gas drops. Our girl has a tendency to get gassy and squeals about it. So for the sake of the other passengers keep some on hand if your babes are prone to belly bubbles. 
  • Tylenol in case of unexpected teething pain. 

Tips and tricks for navigating the airport:

  • Have your travel partner or a family member drop you off curb side rather than parking in long term parking. My husband dropped us curbside and then took our car to long term parking and rode the shuttle to the terminal. It was easier for him to ride alone than it would be for us all to lug babies and luggage onto a shuttle bus. 
  • Take a stroller that will hold your infant carrier car seats (if you’re going to have to travel with car seats). We took the Baby Trend Snap n Go for easy airport transport and rented a double jogger stroller at our destination. 
  • Take wearable baby carriers. We used the Ergobaby carriers. As you near security strap those babies to your chest. Security will want the car seats and stroller to go through the x-ray machine so it’s easier to already have the babies out of the stroller when you get to that point. 
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off because getting shoes on and off while baby wearing can be annoying. 
  • Put the babies back in their car seats/stroller while navigating to your gate. 
  • When you get to your gate, make bottles up and have them ready for takeoff because it’s is obnoxiously cramped on the plane to try to hold onto a baby and fix a bottle. We wanted our babies to have bottles for take of to aide with releasing pressure and easing ear popping. 
  • As soon as your flight starts boarding, get the babies back in their wearable carriers. Put your stroller and car seats into their “GATE CHECK” bags
  • Board as early as they let you. (We flew Southwest which we loved, but we didn’t check in ahead of time because we assumed we could board first with family boarding. With Southwest families board after zone A boards. If we checked in ahead of time we may have had the opportunity to load in group A.)
  • Sit accross from the aisle from one another or in front of/behind each other (depending on the size of airplane). We were on a 757 and they have 3 seas together on either side of the aisle. There are only 4 oxygen masks for the 3 chair groupings so they won’t let you have 2 lap children in the same row.
  • Keep your diaper bag with toys, snacks and bottles between your feet. 

Happy traveling, Mommas! Stay calm and go with the flow. Things can go awry even when you’re prepared. Although it still helps to be mentally prepared! 

Mission Motherhood

Are they twins? 


Moms of multiples everywhere can totally relate.  Generally about everywhere we go we get some sort of comment or question  from about 5-10 different people. Here are some that I’ve heard recently and my silent sarcastic quips I’d like to throw at poeple:

  • Are they twins? Well, I bought a double stroller and thought I’d bring the baby I found in the parking lot because shopping with 2 infants seems like a lot more fun. 
  • Do they run in your family? No, do you generally ask new moms about their genetic history?
  • You have your hands full. Not as full as my heart. 
  • Better you than me. If you have the heart to say this, you don’t have the heart for twins. So it probably is better. 
  • Do you breast feed two at a time? I don’t ask you what you do with your boobs, don’t ask me what I do with mine.
  • How did you find out you were having twins? Modern medicine. 
  • What was your response? What would your response be?
  • Did you want twins? Uhh, I wanted children so I guess the answer is yes. 
  • How far along were you before you delivered? 35 weeks (ok – no sarcasm here)
  • Did you have them naturally? When you say naturally do you mean – did they come from my vagina vs surgical methods? Did I use drugs or essential oils? 
  • Are they both yours? Actually, this one is mine and that one is my husbands. It’s been rough on our marriage to raise his lovechild, but we’re trying to make it work. 
  • How close in age are they? Approximately 8 min. 
  • I don’t know how you do it. Some of us are capable of putting on big girl panties and getting shit done. 
  • You have two babies there. Uhhh, thank you?!
  • Oh, two boys? Yeah, I make one wear pink so I can tell them apart. 
  • General comments about their differences (this one has dark hair and that one has light hair, this one is bigger than that one). Thank you for describing the physical appearance of my children to me. 
  • I’ve always wanted twins. I would be an awesome twin mom! Yeah… maybe. 
  • Do they have different personalities? Do your children have different personalities? You don’t have children? Do you and your siblings have different personalities?
  • Do they nap at the same time? Only if God wills me to take care of the rest of our household. 
  • A boy and a girl… so one and done huh? As if this is the perfectly magical combination of children that everyone strives for so why would I ever dream of having another?

My most favorite from a recent trip to a local second hand store involved a few gray haired ladies wearing loud floral prints:
“Are they twins? Let me get a look. Oh they must be identical.”

Me: Actually they are boy and girl twins so there’s no way they’re identical.

“Oh, but they look just the same. They both have blue eyes.”

I have no hate for those who are fascinated by the idea of carrying, birthing, and caring for two babies… but golly, it amazes me how much people lose all social filters when they spot twins. I will always put on my happy face and respond kindly, but that doesn’t mean I won’t come up with more ridiculous and sarcastic responses that will never come out of my mouth (of which I get to share with you).

What weird questions have people asked you mommas?

Mom Must-Haves

Twin Essentials for the 1st year

When I found out we were having twins I was so overwhelmed with the amount of things that we would need.  If you are a soon to be twin mom and you’re looking for ideas for your registry, you’ve come to the right place. Here is my list of essential items:

  • 2 Cribs – we bought ours second hand and spent $300 which was a huge savings
  • 4 waterproof mattress covers
  • 6 sets of sheets – My grandma and aunt made cute sheets for me because I couldn’t find any gender neutral sheets that I liked in store.  Here is a “how to“.
  • 2 car seats (obviously) – We loved our Britax B-Safe 35 infant carriers which we are still using at 1 year old.
  • 2 days worth of bottles (approximately 16) – We loved the Avent classics, but don’t buy new nipples until you know your babes are ready for the next step. We bought size 3 nipples and we will be done with bottles before they ever use the size 3 nipples.
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Spectra S2 breast pump – this is hands down the best investment I made for our babies
  • Handsfree pumping bra
  • Bulb syringe – I tried the Nose Freida too, but I found the bulb syringes to work best for me
  • The First Years Lanolin Free Nipple Butter – This was in a gift basket I received and it was by far my favorite nipple cream. It was silky smooth making it easier to spread than thicker lanolin creams I had tried.
  • Insulated lunch bag for packing bottles
  • Back pack – a diaper bag just wasn’t cutting it after 3 months.
  • Portable changing pad for the back pack
  • Changing table – I didn’t think I’d need one but after the first week of changing endless diapers my back needed the relief of a changing table. We bought a used one off of Facebook Marketplace for $25.
  • 2 high chair/booster combos
  • 2 Summer Infant travel high chairs
  • 2 Chicco Lullago travel bassinets – we absolutely loved these and used them until our twins were 6 months old
  • 2 waterproof bassinet mattress covers
  • 4 bassinet sheets
  • 4 Swaddle Me swaddlers – worked great for the early months
  • 4 Halo Sleep sacks – loved using these after the babes started rolling
  • 6 plush bath towels – we were gifted the small hooded baby towels which worked great but knowing how quickly they outgrow them it may be easier to start with standard towels that are exceptionally soft
  • Diaper Genie and refills
  • 12 Terry cloth bibs and burp rags – these were great to use when they were itty bitty for bottle feeds.  They often dribbled from their mouth or spit up so it was nice to have an absorbent bib. Family members made mine but here is a “how to“.
  • 2 silicone bibs
  • 2 extra laundry baskets with wheels (because you don’t want to lift anything late in your pregnancy or soon after birth)
  • Postpartum belly support band
  • 10-12 outfits per child and 8-10 sets of pajamas in each size
  • Aquaphor
  • Triple Paste
  • Gas Drops
  • Calming Lavender Baby Lotion
  • Baby bath tub
  • Summer Infant Dual Video Monitor
  • Summer Infant Portable Playard– we love spending time outdoors so this was awesome to have. I could work in my flower beds and let the babes hang out and play. It was also great for our camping trips.
  • 1 push behind walker
  • 1 activity table
  • 1 exersaucer (we bought ours used for $35)
  • 2 play mats
  • 2 auto Rock n Play
  • 2 Pack n Play (we bought ours used for <$20 each)
  • 2 Boppy pillows
  • Double Baby Trend Snap N Go stroller
  • Double Baby Jogger City Mini GT
  • Double umbrella stroller (bought used for <$15)
  • Canvas storage baskets – we have 8 and use every one of them
  • Leather rocker recliners – we decided to forgo your typical rocker glider for the nursery because they share a nursery which means we didn’t rock the upset baby in the nursery while the other was sleeping in there. We just bought rocker recliners for our living room instead. Leather is essential for cleaning up spit up and spilled milk.
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save diaper and formula subscriptions
  • Photographer package – I would’ve saved so much money and avoided annoyances if I would’ve just signed a contract with a photographer who did newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month photos.
  • DSLR Digital Camera

 

Things we got that we didn’t need

  • Wipe warmer
  • Bumbos – we used them for such a short period I’m not sure they are worth it
Mission Motherhood

What we’ve learned: our first year with twins

Today in our Facebook memories, I found a list of things that my husband and I learned in our first week as parents.  We felt totally clueless in that first week, still learning what cries mean… the trial and error or satisfying a fussy baby.  We’ve learned a lot in that one week and we learned so much more in the weeks to come.  Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.00.56 AM

Here is what we have learned in year one:

  • Becoming a Stay-at-Home-Mom was the best thing we could do for our marriage and our children. I don’t say this to discredit working moms. Working moms are the strongest women I know. I’m just not good at it… the pressure I put on myself at work and at home was just too much for me to deal with and still be productive in each of my roles as a supervisor, parent, and wife. My husband tells me I’m my worst critic and he may be right about that.
  • Getting out of the house can be therapeutic.  (Therapeutic in the way that sometimes a deep tissue massage can feel painful, but you always feel great a few hours later and it carries on into the next few days) Life with twins is hard.  Getting out to do the simplest things is so much more complicated when you have to get 2 babies out.  But getting out of the house and learning to navigate life in my new normal was therapeutic.  Was it easier to stay home… definitely… but it’s great to feel human and make a trip to Target.
  • People say the most ridiculous things to twin parents. My most favorite was from a young waitress at dinner the other night, “Have you thought about what you’re going to do for their senior pictures? There are so many cute things you’ll be able to do.” Uhhh…. we have about 17 years to think about it and we probably won’t make them do senior pictures together because they are indeed individuals.  (See my past blog for more ridiculousness)
  • Don’t expect all of those people who offered to help to show up.  I would say about 25% of those that offered to help were there to help.  So many family members came out of the woodwork when they found out we were pregnant with twins… but a small handful have been present.  I’m totally happy with this because the handful that are present are such significant people in our lives and will continue to be in the lives of our children.
  • Making 3 months of freezer meals was the best thing I did to prep for the babies. It was so nice to not have to pull dinner together or run to the grocery store to buy something to throw together.
  • Communication is important, but it may not be as important as sleep.  Our first six months of being parents was so challenging.  Neither one of us knew what we were doing and both of us were so prideful that when the other made recommendations of things to try we would typically just snap.  How dare you make a suggestion and insinuate that I don’t know what I’m doing!!! We are both perfectionists so hearing that we weren’t doing something right was difficult.  We stopped being so touchy when we started getting more sleep.
  • Pumping is hard.  I was an exclusive pumper and I wish I would’ve offered my babies breast milk for their first year of life.  I stopped pumping at 8 months. By the time they were mobile, it was more difficult to pump and I would have to get up 2-3 times during a 20 min pump session to get one baby off the other or keep them from getting into something. I felt like a brand new woman when I finished pumping and I felt like I gained so much more valuable time with my babes.
  • Unsolicited parenting advice will come at you from all angles. Be kind and take it with a grain of salt. You know what is best for your children and your family.
  • Month 0-3 is the absolute hardest. Things get easier in the 6th month and a whole lot more fun in the 8th month.  And for us, the sleeping through the night was a game changer at 10 months.
  • People are generous. So many people gave us baby things in the last year.  Friends that I haven’t seen since college messaged and asked if we needed clothes or baby items.  It was amazing.  We really didn’t have to buy hardly any clothes.
  • Buying second hand is the best! Babies use things for such short periods of time it seems so silly to spend the money on new items. But as a stay-at-home-mom, budgeting is important. We utilized a number of consignment sales in our area like Rhea Lana, Just Between Friends and Savers.
  • Prayer is an absolute necessity for me. Bringing some peace into what feels like a chaotic life is much needed. Praying did that for me.  When I would wake up anxious about why the kids didn’t get up for a bottle… and when I couldn’t go back to sleep because the kids would be up soon for a bottle anyway… I prayed. Prayed for my healthy babies, for peace, for restful sleep, for my husband, for milk production, and so many other things.
  • We can still do more than I ever thought we could.  I said this after our first week and I say it now… but now I say it to include the babes too.  They are little rock stars. Their pediatrician tells us that she never would’ve guess they were premature because they are excelling in so many ways. They do things daily that impress me. As a family we still do things that surprise some.

In all that I’ve learned in the last year, it is incredibly difficult to deal with the urge for more babies.  Looking back and reminiscing on what our last year has been like makes me want to experience it all over again.  But I guess I’ll wait for the emotions to pass before we try to make that decision just yet.

Mission Motherhood, Mom Must-Haves

Packing for a week long vacation with twins

I’ve been MIA for the last week and a half because we just spent the last week in Orlando, Florida.  Packing for this trip was super stressful. I could not figure out how I was possibly going to pack 7 days worth of stuff for two 11 month olds. I managed to get my husband and I’s clothes in one suitcase and the twins’ clothes in one suitcase.  We also took a small rolling carry on and a back pack. I’ve lived to tell the tale and here are my recommendations:

  • Pack 3-4 outfits in gallon sizes ziploc bags. Sit on the bags and zip while sitting on them. (It’s not an attractive process but it worked for me!)  I decided that when I do this in the future I will take extra gallon bags. Some bags were ripped while taking the clothes out of the bags. When packing to come home I tried to use the same bags but couldn’t get the air out of the bags because of rips in the bag. 
  • Buy diapers and formula when you arrive to your destination. We literally went to a Walmart directly after we picked up our rental car to get diapers, formula and food. But be mindful of how many diapers you are likely to use. I over estimated and ended up having to find space in my suitcase for about 35 diapers. I would prefer to have to make another Walmart run to buy more than have to lug them home. 
  • Pack high chairs! I know it sounds crazy, but we took these high chairs because we stayed in a condo and cooked a lot of our meals to save money.  There are places that rent high chairs but it’s expensive so I sacrificed some suitcase space and bought some inexpensive foldable high chairs. It maybe took up a third of the suitcase. 
  • If you have easy access to a washer and dryer only pack half of the weeks clothes. I took about 6 outfits for each kid and 4 pairs of PJs per kid. I did laundry in the middle of the week and it worked out great. If we didn’t have access to a washer I would’ve had to pack a lot more and likely would have had to check another bag. 
  • One piece outfits are ideal as it saves on packing space so take as many rompers as you can! 
    My babes in their rompers
  • Pack minimal toys! We took too many toys and they preferred playing with the diaper box, a laundry basket, water bottles… and exploring the condo. I found that the best way to contain them in the suitcase was to take an empty Huggies wipes box and put the toys in it. 
    Contains: 4 mini books, 7 little people farm animals, a teether, set of keys, small ball, bath book, and tiny Tupperware cup.
  • Pack n play sheets were essential. The condo we stayed in had pack n plays available but they didn’t have sheets (other than a standard flat hotel sheet). I took our own pack n play sheets and waterproof covers
  • Pool floaties are so worth fitting in. We have the floaties that fold together like those windshield covers that take 4 tries to fold up just perfectly. I was able to fit them into an outside pouch on the kids’ suitcase. 
  • Baby nail clippers. (How do baby finger nails grow so freaking fast?!) When packing baby toiletries don’t forget to throw the clippers in. We probably cut them twice a week or they get out of control and they scratch themselves and each other. 
  • Silicone bibs were a game changer. I bought these Ashtonbee silicone bibs specifically for this trip and I have no idea why I didn’t get these sooner. They are an easy clean up and roll up pretty small making them easy to pack. 
    Baby girl using her Ashtonbee silicone bib at Giordano’s before it was covered in lasagna.
  • Enough bottles and sippy cups per day is ideal. We took 8 bottles and 2 sippy cups. We packed ours in our carry on bags. 
  • Pack a diaper bag for each of the babies. We took one back pack (diaper bag) on the way to Florida. We ended up buying a second back pack there and flying home with a second diaper bag. A lot of planes have 3 seats on either side of the aisle but we weren’t guaranteed seats together (even though we flew Southwest and were able to board early). There aren’t enough oxygen masks for 3 adults and two babies in a row so we couldn’t sit in the same row. 
  • Take your baby carriers for the ease of  moving through the airport and security.  We used the Ergobaby carriers. This could be a blog all on its own, so stay tuned if you want to know the easiest way to twin through the airport. 
  • Buy car seat and stroller gate check bags to pack in your carry on. We got some very affordable car seat bags and a stroller bag off of Amazon. The Southwest counter could sell them for $15 each but there is no guarantee they have them at the ticket counter which means you could be risking the fabric on your car seats and stroller. 
  • Take a stroller that car seats can sit on. We used the double Baby Trend snap n go. It was helpful in the airport and getting the babies in and out of our 6th floor condo. We rented a double jogger in Orlando from a company close to our condo. There are a ton of stroller rental options in Orlando but call and book ahead for the cheapest deals. 
  • Don’t forget a second set of clothes in the carry on bag. We’ve all had experiences with those dreadful blow outs, which my husband and I like to call “shit-uations”. If a baby has a blow out while sitting in your lap, you’ll likely want a change of clothes for yourself too. 

Gallon bags of clothes across the top. High chairs across the bottom. Pack n play sheets and covers on top of high chairs. Huggies box o toys, handful of swim diapers and sippy cups in the middle.

Whew! That was a lot to digest! Thanks for hanging in there. Vacations with little ones can feel overwhelming but stay organized and don’t stress! If you have any questions about my methods I’m happy to help. If you have suggestions to add I’m excited to hear them… I’m certainly not an expert and love efficiency improvements! 

Fearless Faith

Finding beauty in chaos

Whew! Monday… what a day.  The day has felt quite chaotic but if we’re not trying to find beauty in the chaos we’re wasting our lives and failing to see God’s beautiful works. 


For example: 

The twins have slept through the night for the last week (mostly) but last night I was up 3 times… perhaps growth spurts or teething.  But, as of yesterday, the babes now call me Mama, our boy started taking a few steps at a time yesterday and our girl is standing on her own… so I’m willing to lose a little sleep for growth spurts. 

The dog has anal gland issues which calls for a vet. You’re out of your mind if you think I’m going to take 11 month old twins AND a dog to a vet’s office.  The beauty in anal glands, you ask? There is a mobile vet that can be here this afternoon to take care of her. 

Half of my kitchen is out of commission as we are half way through installing our backsplash. The backsplash is looking beautiful, the husband and I got to spend some quality time together yesterday putting it in, and I have a dishwasher that was installed over the weekend… so sacrificing half of my kitchen to have all of these beautiful things… WORTH IT! 

The guys who are supposed to install our gutters today (after waiting for 4 months of them) showed up with truck issues that will delay install for another day… but we have a roof over our heads. 

It’s laundry day. When I say laundry day, I mean I’ve gathered the week’s dirty laundry and have made piles in the laundry room that won’t be put away for another 3 days. But we have clothes to wear, and a washer and dryer to ease the laundry duties. 

I have been chicken-less since the spring when a nasty little fox got our flock. But today, a friend’s mom is giving me 6 of her chickens because they are moving soon and can’t keep them. 

Today, I challenge you to find the most annoying things about your Monday and share your beauties. ❤️ Embrace the chaos of motherhood.