Friday, November 21, 2014

What I Believe

For those who are curious, I'd like to share my own personal, spiritual beliefs.  I hope that no matter what I believe and what you believe, that you can still find useful information and encouragement in the pages of this blog.  But I'm sharing so that others may find hope, if they need it, and because my beliefs do, so often, affect my parenting decisions, and are my source of strength on those days when I want to just lay down in the middle of the Duplos.  (Though I have been known to do that.) 

On a primary level...

I believe God exists, He created the world we live in, He created us, loves us, and is involved in our lives.
I believe humans are flawed.  No one is perfect.  But God is perfect.  Since He loves us, He provided a way for us to be together, a bridge between the flawed and perfection.
I believe that bridge is Jesus Christ.  Fully God, fully man, Jesus lived a perfect life. 
I believe Christ's death on the cross offered up that perfect life as a sacrifice for all of humanity's sins, so that we need not suffer permanent consequences for those sins.
I believe that three days after his death, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is alive now.
I believe that Christ's resurrection means that sin does not win, death does not win, and God is all-powerful.

"For God so loved the world, that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16

On a secondary level...

I believe parenting is hard.
I believe parenting multiples can be harder, easier, worse, and better than parenting any other grouping of children one might have.  Depends on the day. 
I believe we are all doing the best we can.
I believe we should share what we know and encourage one another in this hard, and worthy, work.

"All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin."  -Lord Byron

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Brief Bio

I grew up in Wisconsin.  It's a beautiful place...

I  moved to Texas to attend the University of Texas at Austin.  After college I met my husband at church.  While dating, he took a job in California, and after we married I moved out to our first apartment together in Pasadena.

I taught kindergarten in Austin for 3 years, and in Los Angeles for 3 years.  Another job change for my husband took us back to Texas, and after a year in Houston, we settled down again in the Dallas area.  It’s in my DNA to have low energy, and I’m definitely not a morning person.  Then I had twins.  

It was a total shock.  And it’s been shocking ever since.  This blog is my attempt to help other parents of twins, or even parents of singletons, with advice and encouragement.  We all need it!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Twin Z Nursing Pillow

Immediate disclaimer:  I've never used the Twin Z Pillow!  Also, I don't benefit monetarily from suggesting this particular product.  However, I know how important a good nursing pillow can be, so I've done some research on the Twin Z (and mentioned it previously in my post More Tips For Feeding Two Babies.)  I do know some other twin mommas who've used it.  If you're trying to figure out what, if any, nursing pillow to use with your babies, maybe the information I've found can help you make your decision.  (I had the My Brest Friend double nursing pillow, and did have some issues with it, though I know other women who loved it.)   

Image courtesy of Twin Z Company

According to the company that sells them, the Twin Z Pillow has 6 uses:
  1. Breastfeeding and bottle feeding
  2. Tummy time
  3. Support for mom or babies
  4. Propping infants with reflux
  5. Pregnancy pillow
  6. Toddler pillow 
Twin Z Pillow has provided the following pictures to demonstrate how the pillow can be used.  As you can see, nursing and bottle feeding can be done for both babies at once while still supporting your back, and without having to juggle a separate pillow behind you.  This is really important, after a C-section, and for long term back health.  The pillow is roughly shaped like the number 3, so you would pull up on the middle section to create your back support.  Later on, the pillow can be used as a tummy time prop, and as a prop while babies learn to sit on their own.  Also, infants with reflux can lay on it while still being slightly elevated.

Image courtesy of Twin Z Company

Image courtesy of Twin Z Company

Below is a link to a video showing how to use this pillow, courtesy of Twin Z Company:

The Twin Z pillow can also be used during pregnancy.  As you can see in the first picture below, the element I wish I had had in a pillow while expecting is the middle portion: even though my belly got quite large, it grow outward, and when I laid on my side I felt the uncomfortable pressure as the baby bump was pulled down by gravity.  I always had to use a small, flatter pillow to slightly prop up the bump even when side-lying.  And in the second photo you can see how comfy and handy the pillow would be during bed rest, or any other time!

Image courtesy of Twin Z Company

Image courtesy of Twin Z Company

A friend of mine who used the pillow from day one, and loved it, was kind enough to share pictures of her twin daughters using it.  Look at these Valentine's Day cuties!  With or without a blanket draped over it, the pillow can be used as a comfy spot to lay the babies even when not feeding.  In the second photo, the girls are a little older, and then the pillow becomes a handy tummy time device.  Now they are 10 months old, and their mother says they still use it every day to lay on, eat on, or climb on!    

Please leave a comment if you've used this product!

Monday, November 3, 2014

They're Home, Now What?

You can never forget the day you bring your baby, or multiple babies, home from the hospital.  With multiples especially, you sometimes end up taking one baby before the others are ready to leave the NICU (and juuuuuust in case the dear reader isn't sure, that stands for neonatal intensive care unit), in which case, you build up a routine at home gradually.  But we were fortunate:  our boys were born at 34.5 weeks (yes, I count those few days as a half week, because with premature babies, even days can make a difference!), only had to spend 10 days in the NICU, and got to come home on the same day. 

Our first family photo at home!  

Hopefully, the nurses at the hospital at which you have your babies, or your midwife or doctor at home,  will give you some helpful pointers before setting you loose.  We had to sit down for almost an hour of baby-care points, that we frantically tried to remember later, before we were allowed to tuck the boys into their car seats and be on our way.

That first ride home is tremendously exciting and terrifying!  We're going home!  They are coming to their first home for the first time!  With us!  We have kids!  Drive slow.  I can't drive any slower.  Is he still breathing?!  What sound did that other one just make?!  Pull over!  No!  They're fine!

We arrived home around 5 p.m. that day.  Just enough time to take pictures, settle the boys in the pack-and-play for a little bit while we scarfed down dinner, unpack all the items from the hospital, shower, feed and change the babies, and then hunker down in the bedroom for the first round of that silly thing called "trying to get your babies to sleep at night while feeding them seemingly round the clock."  (This link will take you to the page with all of my posts regarding Sleep.)

I'm smiling...but I don't know what to do next.

You may have other young children, and I hope your experience with them will give you some knowledge and wisdom we lacked as first-time parents, but maybe you aren't sure how to juggle all the different needs at home now.  Maybe these ARE your first children and you're feeling uncertain.  Either way, take a breath, you can do this!  Just take it one step at a time.  SUCH a cliche, but still true.  (See my post on "Do The Next Thing.")

The First Day/Night Home:
  • Figure out a way to unload the car and bring everybody/everything inside without leaving either baby alone in the car at any point.  
  • Take pictures!  Share with others.  
  • Quickly sort through the items from the hospital and your things at home to make sure you have everything you need for the next 24 hours: diapers, wipes, place to put dirty diapers, formula, bottles, filtered water, breast pump, milk storage bags, nipple shields, extra changes of clothes/PJs for babies, thermometer (hopefully you won't need that yet!), baby logs, just whatever you've determined you need.  Have it all right next to where you'll be that night, at hand, so you don't have to think about it later.  
  • Figure out where babies will sleep and let them get a little accustomed to it.  
  • At first, try following the feeding schedule or rhythm you had in the hospital.  Some babies need to be fed every 2 or 3 hours.  
  • Feed yourself, preferably a hearty, healthy meal that'll last you.  
  • If there are more than 2 adults, take turns showering.  You don't know when you'll get the chance next.  If you are the only adult at home, it's okay to leave the babies in their crib, bouncy seats, etc, while you shower.  It really is okay!  If they cry a little, they cry a little.  You do what you have to do.  
  • If you have other children at home, or dogs, feed them too!  You'll have to do some juggling that first evening to make sure everyone has their basic needs met.  
  • Decide beforehand what you want the bedtime routine for your children to be, and try to start that very night!  It may sound silly to have it for newborns, but getting into the habit of doing the same things in the same order every night will not only help your kids, but it will help you, too.  It will ensure you don't forget things, and give you more confidence as you figure out how to care for your babies.
  • Then, throughout the wee hours...good luck!  I'm praying for you.  Try to jot notes on what happens, even during the night. 

In our notes, we wrote down which baby was in which color, just in case.  But of course, those outfits may not last the night.  

The First Full Day Home:
  • You'll be utterly exhausted.  But you'll have to get up at some point to feed babies, feed yourself, and feed other people in your house.  If at all possible, plan out your meals for a few days at a time, before the twins are born, so you can have quick, healthy, easy foods on hand and you don't have to think about it as much.  
  • Continue taking notes on the babies' habits throughout the day.  These notes will help you establish routines and schedules later, and can answer questions the pediatrician may have.  You can also refer back to them when you have questions.  AND they'll be handy when filling in those baby books...when your kids turn...3.  (Here's an example of the kind of note system we used.)
  • TRY to squeeze naps for yourself into the day when the babies sleep.  I know there are always dishes to wash, calls to make, etc., but if you don't nap at least once during the day, you'll soon be running on empty and possibly be a danger to others in your sleep-deprivation.
  • If you haven't already done so, schedule the next check-ups for you and your babies.  

Newborns are actually very sleepy.  Whenever they do happen to sleep, enjoy it.  Sleep yourself, get something done, or steal a precious moment.  Here, grandma revels in the peace.  For now.  

The First Week Home:
  • Get some fresh air!  Take a stroller walk if the weather is good, and if not, walk the mall.  If the babies aren't allowed in public yet, take a car ride.  Just do something so you don't start getting cabin fever.  Sadly, even trips to Target with the babies in the double Snap-n-Go were considered "outings" in those early days.  
  • Keep taking those notes and forming a daily and nightly routine.  After a few days you should be able to see patterns of when your babies are hungry, when they sleep the best, when they're the most fussy.  
  • Take more pictures!
  • Try to find a home for all those items I mentioned from the hospital, and for baby gifts or purchases.  If you don't find homes for things now, it just piles up, clutters up, and gets out of hand.  Do it this week so you won't be overwhelmed later.  
  • Try and spend some time with the other people in your house, so they won't feel neglected.  Even just a moment eating ice cream together in the living room can be special.  

The First Month Home:
  • Attend to any lingering phone calls or paperwork regarding the hospital, insurance, etc.
  • Write thank you notes for any baby gifts or help you've received. 
  • Decide if and how you want to send out baby announcements.  Facebook is fun and free, ha ha!  Or if your babies are born in the fall, you can do what we did and combine the announcement with your Christmas card.  
  • Decide if you want to do any photo sessions and plan.  I wish I had done a professional newborn photography session!  We were too sleep-deprived to research and plan that out, but now I realize how easy it is to take pictures of them when they're sleepy and can't move.
  • Start making plans, if necessary, for child care when you return to work.  

Your babies are home; congratulations!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

More Tips on Consignment & Garage Sales

This post may contain affiliate links.  Thank you for your support!

I just recently finished my local mothers-of-multiples club's consignment sale, and thought I would jot down some things before I forgot!  (Most clubs have semi-annual sales, one in the spring and one in the fall.)

Here's my table!  As you can see, I didn't have that many clothes to sell this time, so I could get away with hanging them off the edge of a basket, instead of doing the clothing rack route, which I address below.

If you're selling:

  • Keep seasons in mind.  If you're selling in the fall, it's true that you're probably trying to get rid of summer things, but most people will be shopping for winter gear.  
  • $100 in change is more than enough.  You'll need a couple twenties, some tens and fives, and $20 or more in ones.  The ones and fives are what you'll probably need most.  You may not even need this much change, but better than running out!  Bring a roll of quarters if you're selling things for less than a dollar.
  • Watch your items!  It saddens me to report that at this most recent sale, one mother had a very high-quality coat stolen from her rack.  It's easy to get into conversation with those around us, but be sure to keep one eye on your items.  If you leave your table/area to shop or go to the bathroom, take your money with you and be sure to have the person next to you help keep watch while you're gone.  
  • Racks and hangers.  If you have a lot of clothing to sell, they go faster when hung up, and this is easiest to do with a clothing rack.  Ikea has them for $13 ($10 for a rack without wheels).  At first I thought this would be a frivolous purchase, but the racks really do attract more customers.  Also, a friend of mine uses her rack for guest's clothing at her home, year-round, so if you have no actual guest-room closet, this is a good solution.
    Image from
     As for hangers, not all stores allow you to take the hangers with you when you buy clothes, so it's easy enough to get a pack, such as these from Amazon (Just don't be like me and forget to take the hangers back when selling the clothing!)                                                                                                                                                                 

  • Keep prices fair. When setting up the night before I took a lap around the room to get an idea of how other people price.  Then I had to adjust some of my things accordingly.  If you really want to just get rid of items, price them fairly.  If you need to make more money on things, go ahead and price it high and see what kind of offers you get.  Have a number in your head and stay firm.  (Perhaps something was more expensive, you bought it new yourself, or you never even had a chance to use something.)
  • Be realistic.  You won't sell everything.  You'll sell some things.

    Image from

    No, you won't make millions!  In my first sale I made $180, this time I made $160.  You could make more, you could make less, depending on what you're selling and how much traffic can be generated for the sale event.  
  • Remember you can sell elsewhere, too.  If you haven't tried it yet, consider joining Facebook pages for local sales, or perhaps your local multiples club has a classifieds page for members.  Also, a friend told me you can often sell larger things well on Ebay.  If you offer free shipping, then factor that in when setting a price.  Take as many pictures as possible, and note any and all flaws!  If you are overly critical of the product, then you can avoid the scenario of a customer complaining that it didn't meet expectations.  
  • Bags.  Bring plastic shopping bags for customers to carry around their purchases.  Most people won't remember to bring their own, and this will be an added, appreciated gesture.  

If you're shopping:
  • Bring cash!
  • Make a list.  Write down beforehand what you need, and then what you want.  If you're looking for big-ticket items, you may even want to look online to see retail value, so that you'll know what kind of deals you're getting.  Also, with a list, you're less likely to feel overwhelmed walking into a big venue, and more likely to stay focused and self-disciplined when it comes to spending!
  • You can negotiate.
  • Look first, buy second.  Circle the whole venue first, that way you can compare similar or even identical items.  

In case you missed it, I have another post on this subject here:  Preparing for a Consignment Sale.

Happy selling and happy shopping!such as these from Amazon.