Family

Our 2016 Fourth of July Recap

July 12, 2016



We had big plans for the Fourth of July this year. Okay, not really but we did plan to go to the parade, then visit family, and head off to the fireworks around 10 pm. (Ha! Funny. We literally did ONE of those things and that was visit family.)

We thought this year it would be easier to go to the parade and the fireworks with the twins but...we didn't even get there.

On the morning of the 4th, we woke up late so we never made it to the parade because it literally takes us a million hours to go anywhere. Well no big deal, we just figured the twins could nap in the afternoon before we went and visited family, so they did just that. They napped and we did the huge job of packing to leave for a few hours. (Seriously diapers, pull-ups, a bottle, milk for the babies, sippy's, extra clothes, nuks, wipes, stroller, pack n play, and that's just a few of the things)

Once they woke up we headed out and we had a blast getting out and so did they! We live in town and have no fence around our yard so it's actually kind of dangerous to take the two of them outside on your own. They can't be trusted to stay with you, so, they don't get out much unless we go for a walk and they sit in a wagon or stroller. They don't really get to run, but on the fourth, they did so much running and playing. We were visiting with family who had a great big yard and we didn't have to worry much. I loved every minute of not being a stressed out mess that one of them at any second could run out into the road if I took my eyes off them. There was a little bit of freedom and it felt great.

We had a wonderful meal that included brats, salads, treats, pop we all enjoyed ourselves. We got there at 2 pm and by 5ish (heavy on the ish) the twins were legit done with the entire trip. They were tired from running, playing, and being out in the sun and getting cranky. We decided to pack up and headed home in hopes of getting everyone to take a nap before the fireworks.

Little miss went right to sleep she hadn't napped all afternoon and the twins were just done for, beyond exhausted. They were actually overtired because they whined about laying down for a minute but then they were out.
It was 8:30 pm by the time got home, got everyone changed, and into their cribs for a little nap, and then we sat down. (this is where we made our mistake.)

After thinking about how much work it was going to take to get them packed up and down to the park to see the fireworks by 10pm we talked ourselves out of it and it didn't take long...we decided maybe next year!

I was tired, dad was tired and we rarely ever do anything this eventful so it was tiring. Plus we would of had to wake all three babies, get them all back in their car seats, pack the stroller, a pack n play, drive there find a parking spot (no easy task), walk a mile or so to the park (I could use the exercise but really who wants to do that!?), find a spot to sit, get set up, all for 15 min of fireworks and then pack up and head back and probably get stuck in traffic for an hour with three very cranky and tired babies so we decided against that oncoming disaster how bout no it sounded like a complete disaster so we said not this year and are hoping we get to make it next year. (What you think will we actually make it next year?)

Even though we were slightly disappointed about missing them we knew it was for the best and had a quiet (RELAXING) evening at home, grilled some brats, and watched a movie together. The older boys went with their best friend and got to go to the fireworks with them.
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Family

11 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Having 3 Under 2 - The First Three Months

July 11, 2016

Coffee IS Essential & Sleep Isn't an Option 

Where do I begin with this? I mean honestly, you will find out that you don't NEED as much sleep as you once thought you did to stay alive.

You will most likely drink several cups of coffee a day; morning, noon, and night, but rest assured this phase will end in 3-4 months and you will start feeling more rested. In the meantime refer back to the previous sentence or get someone to come to watch the kids while you take a little snooze.


Showers + Makeup are Almost Non-Existent 

That semi long five-minute shower you once used to enjoy, yeah it will no longer exist. (for the most part.) Unless you have someone there to watch the kids for a few minutes or dad is home. 

Otherwise, you can pretty much count taking a shower out of the equation and even if you do squeeze one in I can guarantee you will not get lucky enough to do your makeup or hair. Just make a point to shower and throw your hair in a bun once a day.


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Organization Is Key

Organization is so important. Seriously if things are organized it will make your life that much easier. I promise. If you are lucky and are reading this BEFORE your newest little one has arrived, go through and organize your entire life. 

Get a cleaning schedule in place and get used to it, get caught up on laundry and don't fall behind, planprep your meals before baby arrives (seriously I didn't and found myself wishing I did every night at dinner time.)  You will not have any energy left for cooking so prepare for this.

If you don't or can't do this; I highly suggest investing in a crockpot* if you don't yet have one. It will be your new best friend. (This is how I survived because I didn't prepare, and we still eat out of a crockpot a couple times a week.) 

Another alternative is to have family make some freezer meals and bring them over. Whatever you do prepare to not be cooking for at least 6 weeks if not longer. Life will be tough and you are going to be tired and cooking will be the last thing you want to do. 

Keep Your Expectations Low 

You will have all these expectations on how your house should look and when you should return to work, but don't shoot for the moon! Go with the flow, while still keeping some order if you can. 

Your house will probably turn into an absolute mess at times and sleep will be so much more important, so do that just sleep. You can catch up later on housework! Better yet see if there is a family member who can stop in and help.



Quick Tip:
Prioritize the most important things in your house that keep you sane. For us it's dishes and laundry we NEED to keep up with those two things or our entire lives just feel like chaos so those are the two things that I do every day no matter what, but even after little miss was born I will admit I struggled here, but I survived and my house is usually pretty decent.


The House WILL be a mess for awhile

Don't stress over the house or at least try not to. I know I said that organization is key, but there is a happy medium. Realistically you probably won't be able to keep up ALL the time. Accept this as your new normal. Having a cleaning schedule in place before the baby arrives really will help tremendously to keep the mess under control as long as someone, even dad, can stick to it. 

Things started to get better for us at about 4.5 months. It may seem like an eternity but it's really not and one day you will be able to keep up again. 


Baby Wearing

If you haven't yet, get a Moby wrap* for your new baby. Babies love to be worn and will usually sleep the whole time they are. 

It will take a few times of wearing your baby and putting it on to get used to how tight you need to tie it and how to maneuver with a baby on you, but you will get it and become a pro at baby wearing. 

I was able to do chores, change the twins, make meals, and get the important things done when I wore little miss. It was kinda like being pregnant again but I could set the baby down once I needed a break from wearing her. 


Accept Help

Accept help and even seek out help! You need something don't be scared to ask. If someone offers to help you take it. You can only do so much and with three children under two with one or two of them being a newborn, you will need all the help you can get.

We had Amber our amazing sitter come in at least once a week for the first few months just so I could shower, eat or sleep. She was awesome and I loved seeing her face walk through my door. It was like a weight was lifted from me every time she left. I would feel refreshed and like I could once again take on the world. 

You would be surprised how much help it will be for someone to come just once every week for four hours and take care of the kids while you take care of yourself. 

Constant Crying & High Noise Levels

Oh, the crying. Some days will feel like you haven't heard peace and quite in weeks. You will feel like the noise level has been ten fold and it is never quite from sun up to sun down.Then every few hours in between when you are up with the new baby(ies). The sooner you accept this as your new life and don't stress over it the better. 

Remember you are doing the best you can to take care of three little people who ALL need you for what seems like ALL the time. If that means that someone has to cry while you change someone else or fix a meal for their sibling it's okay. They will survive it! It will happen just work as quickly as you can and then move onto the next child who has a need. I always prioritized the needs and whoever had the highest need was who I tended to first.

 Laundry Sucks

You will be buried in the laundry so getting a laundry system in place before the new baby arrives will do wonders for you. 

There is nothing worse than running around digging through baskets of clothes to find an outfit for your toddler, while the baby screams and you needed to be out the door like 20 minutes ago. 

If you get a system in place do your best to stick to it you will thank yourself when this doesn't happen because I did and it sucks. Whatever you do try to keep up with this. Whether that means dad is in charge of laundry or your older kids try to keep up with a laundry system so you don't fall behind. 

Running Errands & Getting Out

There is no efficient way to go anywhere, so just don't do it unless absolutely necessary or get help. I mean maybe if we had a singleton and then twins it would be easier since I would only have one mobile toddler and two babies who would stay wherever I set them down at. I would assume you would still have the problem of how to get two infant seats + a toddler in on your own, though. 

But for real, I'm five months into this and if they don't have carts I don't go with all the babies. It simply waits until Josh is home. Like all grocery shopping for the week is done on Sunday's when I know Josh doesn't have to work.

The doctor's office is the worst. They have absolutely no place to contain so many little people and when there is one of you and three of them there is no efficient way to handle it. Either don't go unless you have to and bring a stroller, get help, or get someone to sit with all or a couple of the younger kids while you go. (The best solution if possible).

Accept that life is going to be challenging for now...


Once you come to terms that life is going to be rough and there is no easy way around it, for now, you will find peace. I can't explain the peace you will find once you stop thinking my life should be like so and so or why can they do such and such. Chances are they don't have as many babies as you do so, therefore, your troubles are going to be nothing like so and so's.

You are simply getting through each day however you can. You will be survival mode those first few months so just go with it. Don't put to much pressure on yourself. Do what you can and know that soon you will be in a routine and have this mom to three under two things down like a pro! 



Family

Sleep Training Twins: How I Did It & All My Best Advice

June 27, 2016



The twins are now almost two! Wow, time is flying and it seems like just yesterday we brought these two amazing miracles home. I was just in complete awe that my body was capable of growing not just one but TWO little humans at one time.

Never in a million years would I have ever imagined I was going to be a twin mom. I also never imagined what being a twin mom really meant or how little sleep I would get in those first months. 



The first four weeks they were home I was like wow this is pretty easy! I mean wth does everyone make such a fuss about? Boy did I get a reality check after those first four weeks!


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Then they woke up, they started to notice the world. They no longer slept all day every day, and they didn't just fall right back to sleep after a bottle...they stayed awake (say what!?)...and they cried they cried a lot. 

I'm pretty sure some days all I heard was crying from sun up until sun down and every few hours in between. Especially baby k who not only had acid reflux but suffered from a milk allergy that we didn't know existed until he was around six weeks we just thought he was always super fussy. 

One question I always get asked whenever we go anywhere or when friends come over at naptime is how in the world do you get two to take a nap and sleep?! 

Only after many very sleep deprived nights did I do something to try to encourage good sleeping habits. Because frankly sleep is something I need. Maybe not the 16hrs I thought I needed before the twins, but ya know 6hrs minimum was still needed for me to be a happy mom. Happy mom = happy family. I had reached a point when I thought there is no way any human can go on like I was. 

That's when I turned to good ol' google (oh Google you never let me down, you may be wrong from time to time but you always have an answer.) I started searching every possible way that I could encourage these babies to start sleeping. 


I had no choice with next to no help and Josh working all the time I just couldn't do it. It was almost physically impossible. There were so many nights that I would head to bed at 7pm (B-O-R-I-N-G) while Josh took the evening shift until around midnight , just so I could get one solid stretch of sleep. We pretty much had no relationship or life together for the first four months once the twins arrived.

At this point, we (I) was up at least every three hours to feed them and the amount of time it takes to feed, burp, and put two babies back to sleep was around 45min-1hr. On top of that I also pumped for 20 min each time they would eat for the first four weeks. Then I said the hell with that and we switched to formula. 

After turning to good ol’ Google I realized there was this thing called sleep training. I started to read up on several sleep training methods ( The Ferber Method*, Babywise*, 12 Hours of Sleep By 12 Weeks*, The No Cry Sleep Solution*, The Baby Sleep Solution*, The Baby Whisperer* ) I also happened to come across the baby sleep site  seriously this is an amazing site with lots of great reads on helping your baby sleep. 

I tried several different approaches that I had read about but eventually ended up mixing ideas and approaches from different books and articles I had read. 

Once I started, I quickly realized that I wasn't going to be able to use the same method for both babies. They had two completely different personalities. One was very laid back, but extremely cuddly and a lover (baby t). baby k not so much (he cried a lot, wanted to be held a lot, and in general seemed to be very high needs). 

We first started with the 12 hours of Sleep by 12 weeks* approach. I can't remember ALL the details but essentially you would get the babies eating at 4-hour intervals and taking a larger amount and making sure they were well fed during the day so they would be getting all the milk they needed during the day. Well, this did not work for us.

They would never wait the four hours and it really became much more stressful trying to get them into this routine than it was worth. I also did not want to try to "stretch" my baby's feedings. I thoroughly believe at that age a baby needs to eat when he needs to eat so I tossed that idea. 

I did, however, keep the idea of keeping them on a schedule and getting them into a bedtime routine. Every night we would play lullabies on the sound machine* while we gave them a bath. (Seriously hands down best investment and you can get one of these bad boys here*), put pajamas on, lotion if needed, and then give bottles in the rock n plays.

Side note, if I could go back I would have done this different and not done baths at bedtime and had something else in its place like reading a story. 

Reason being as they got older this process drug out and it was tough work committing to a bath EVERY evening especially when I was dead tired and they weren’t even dirty. 

I won't even mention how this was after I got pregnant with little miss and had a big ol' belly growing in front of me to work around as I bent over the tub. Yeah, I was not pleased with my decision to do this at that point.

Once the bedtime routine was done we tried the pick up and put down method since I wasn't to keen on letting them CIO. 

This worked wonders for Baby T. He caught on quick and was falling asleep on his own in no time. Baby K however not so much he was stubborn and wasn't going to go down without a fight. 

After about a week of this and realizing going in and picking him up settling him and laying him down was just making matters worse and upsetting him more when we laid him back down we moved to a version of CIO. 

We would lay him down and then let him fuss, but never let him get hysterical because then he wouldn't settle. We started out by going in every five minutes and gradually increasing the time we were gone but never exceeding 15 minutes (so long as he was only fussing) before we would go in and pat and shush him to settle him. After about two weeks Baby K was able to start falling asleep on his own. 

We still had some nights where it was rough, but for the most part, they were going to bed at 7pm and we could just put them in their cribs and they would fall asleep and stay asleep. 

At this point, they were sleeping until 11pm and would wake to eat and go right back to sleep, then again at 4am. They gradually decreased night feedings and Baby T slept through the whole night for 12 full hours by 7 months old! 

Baby K always woke for that one bottle around 4-5am until he was fourteen months old which honestly I didn't mind getting up and giving him one bottle a night. It wasn't interrupting my sleep to the point that I couldn't function the next day, so we I just went with it. I knew eventually he would drop that early feeding. 

A couple of times we tried to wean him from it simply because his pediatrician advised it, but it was way more work to stay up and go in and keep settling him every few minutes, listening to him cry, and I was once again getting no sleep. I tried a couple times and gave up an hour into it and never tried again. 

I know a lot of people ask whether or not to they should separate their twins during sleep training. We never did and you know what? One can wake up and cry and won't disturb the other because they are used to it even to this day at almost two. 

Yeah, it sucked in the beginning of the sleep training process, but let me tell you was so worth doing now that I look back. Every morning at 4-5am when Baby K would wake Baby T would sleep right through it. 

My experience after five kids is every baby is different and not every baby will sleep train the exact same way as another baby. Each one has their own unique personalities and needs when it comes to sleep training. One way may work for one but not another and that's okay you just have to make adjustments on how you go about it. 

What's your experience? Did you sleep train? What method did you use?

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