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?

Mom Must-Haves

Life hack: Non-Slip Toddler Booties

My 13 month old toddlers will NOT keep socks on. They pull them off by the toes of the socks and just giggle. It’s been so cold here and I hate them having bare toes, especially on our tiled kitchen floor. 


I bought some booties off of Amazon…. because I buy everything on Amazon. At the time that I purchased them the description said they had a non-slip sole. But the striped version that I bought didn’t have the non-slip bottoms. I complained in a review and they’ve since changed the description. I considered sending them back but they’re just too stinking cute. I came across a “life hack” option to use fabric paint on the bottom of toddler socks to add a non-slip texture. A lightbulb went off… the adorable booties can be saved!!! 

I had some 3D fabric paint on hand that I used for our Christmas stockings, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. The fabric paint cake from Hobby Lobby and I paid $1.29 for 1 fl. oz.  

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, 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! 

Mission Motherhood

DIY Party Flag Banner

Happy Sunday, friends!  Today is a day for rest, Jesus, and craft projects. 

My first-time-mom paranoia is heightened  as cold and flu season starts so we watched church on Facebook Live this morning.  The idea of sending the twins to church nursery when EVERYTHING goes in their mouths freaks me out. I love that our church offers the option to watch from home!  The kiddos were peacefully napping and I was in my pajamas… but still at church. 

After church I worked on the twins’ birthday party decor.  The will be 1 in 5 weeks and we’re putting together a barnyard birthday party. Today I worked on their bandana flag banner. It has been so easy to put together and super cheap.  

Supplies:

  • 10 Bandanas (I used these ones – but you could use any kind of fabric or even paper) 
  • Jute twine (you can also buy at any craft store)
  • Hot glue gun (and about 10-12 hot glue sticks to refill it)



Steps:

  • Cut your fabric into triangles. I cut mine 5 inches wide and 8 inches long. (I purposefully wanted scraps to make a high chair banners like the ones below)
  • Lay your jute twine out and run a bead of hot glue about a 1/4 inch from the top of your flag. 
  • Fold the top of your flag around the twine and press it into the hot glue. (Warning: its hot glue so don’t burn yourself)
  • Space them out as you like. I spaced mine 5 inches (the same width of the flag). I also saw some on Pinterest that had the flags right up next to each other with no spacing between. 
  • Cut a piece of cardboard into a rectangle and cut an inch long slit in one side. Slide the end of your twin into the slit and wrap your banner around the cardboard as you go (making sure your hot glue is completely cool and dry before your wrap). 

Final product


Tips:

  • You could do any kind of fabric or even paper to accommodate an endless amount of party decor themes… burlap, lace, scrapbook paper with letters to spell something out, you could even buy fabric scraps from your local fabric store for next to nothing… the possibilities are endless.  
  • Don’t stress about the fabric pattern or of the cuts aren’t perfect. When it’s hanging you won’t be able to see those imperfections. 

I’ll share more pictures when we have them hung at our barnyard parts in a month. Happy party planning!

Fearless Faith

Purpose

Does anyone really know what their life purpose is? Is it ever a stagnant purpose? 

I feel like I’ve always been hunting for my purpose, trying to find what fits, what makes a difference in the world. And today, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that our purpose changes. God uses us where he needs us when he needs us. There are seasons of our life where our purpose may be one thing and another season where that totally shifts. 

I started a bible study at my church a few weeks ago and today’s meeting is what helped me come to the realization that our purpose can shift.  At the beginning of the study I even wrote in one of the margins of the workbook, “where do I fit in the bigger picture?”  And today after our video lecture I got together in a small group with 2 other ladies and they helped me reach the conclusion that right now I am fulfilling my life’s purpose. 

Our study is based on the book “Who Turned Off My Brain?” by Dr. Caroline Leaf. And in this week’s video lecture she touched on the stress that we put our children under and how the stress hormones affect their organs, their growth hormones, and their ability to cope with stress later in life. She focuses on the needs of kids and how they just need to be played with, loved on and made to feel safe and secure. 

So when we were asked to get in groups I paired up with a couple of ladies sitting nearby – both in very different seasons of life from me and from each other.  One woman is a grandma and she spoke to our group about how hard it is to hear these things and look back and see all the things she had done wrong while raising her kids, all the ways she could’ve done better if only she would’ve known some of the information she is learning now. 

The other woman is a working mother of two children, ages 7 and 9. Her husband works two jobs and they have a small hobby farm with goats, chickens and ducks. She was in tears expressing to our group how she carries this guilt around because she doesn’t get to spend enough time with her kids. She works 3 days a week and her mother-in-law helps on those days but on the days she’s home she’s getting the kids to school, preparing snacks/dinner for when they get home, rushing them to karate and piano, fighting to get them to do homework, feeding them again since they ate dinner at 4:00, making sure they get showered, and into bed at a decent hour. She cried as she said, “my son asked me, ‘Mommy, why can’t you play with me? Please, Mommy, please.'” And she replies to her son, “Honey, I have to get ready for work too, or I have to get dinner ready, or I have to take care of the laundry.”

My eyes welled up with tears and I’m not quite sure if it was because I was so sad for her son to have to beg for her time, sad for her to not have the time or grateful to the point of tears that I get to be home with my twins. It was likely a combinaion of emotions. 

I believe that God makes us hear the things we need to hear. And I needed these ladies today. They gave me a perspective like never before. They helped me see that I am so blessed to be living my life’s purpose right now. I am playing with my babies daily, I am feeding them all of their meals, and I am surrounding them with love and security. Right now, they are my life’s purpose. They are the legacy we will leave behind. They are the disciples that will carry God’s love into the next generation. There is no better time than now for me to pouring into them as He intended me to.  There are so many days that I feel guilty for not being able to contribute financially to my family, but today I felt so at peace with where we are.  And in a world where so many want to ask, “when are you going back to work?” I am so satisfied to answer, “whenever it is time for me to go back”. God’s plan is higher than mine, and as long as He makes me feel like I’m right where I need to be…  I’ll be here… where He needs me most.