Friday, November 4, 2011

Beep Beep...1 year comin' through!

I have to admit that I am pretty emotional just thinking about the twins 1st birthday coming up next month.  I can't believe that this year has already passed us by and I wonder where the time went.  Of course I know that most of the time I have been in a constant state of "zombie" with all the sleep deprivation, effort to make sure I am not screwing up my kids' development, and worry over the normal first time mom things.  But when I look back over the past year, I see many blessings.

We went from spitting up to growing up in the blink of an eye.  Just when I was getting the hang of double feedings in the middle of the night and juggling two helpless infants, they started sleeping through the night.  Just when I began to enjoy laying them on their backs on the play mat and making silly faces in an effort to evoke those precious giggles, they learned to roll over and away from me.  Just when I was so happy that they could now sit on their own and I could place a few toys in front of them and they would be content for an hour, they learned to crawl away and get into everything else.  Just when they started eating my homemade baby food (which I was so proud of), they demanded food that was easy to pick up with their hands (showing me just how independent they were becoming).  And just when I thought I had mastered the art of containing mobile twins in the "baby corral," they learned how to climb out and escape.  Yes this past year has blown by and has been marked by great milestones that seem to only have lasted but a moment in time. 

I am constantly humbled by the amount of love that I have for these precious beings and it makes me understand just how much our Maker and Creator loves me and my children.  I love the fact that each of my children is completely unique.  And I love watching them develop into their own person.  When I take them on an outing with me (which let's admit it, is rare because of the enormous amount of energy it takes to haul two infants around), I almost always have one or two people come up and ask me the general twin questions: "Are they twins?" "Are they identical?" "Is it a boy and a girl?" And while my answer is "yes they are  boy/girl twins," they are definitely not identical. 

I love the calm nature and contentment that Knox demonstrates.  He has always been the "easy" one from birth.  He continues to amaze me at his gentleness.  My favorite thing to do with him is sit him on my lap and sing to him, while he plays with me hair.  He doesn't pull it or play rough with it, but rather, he runs his fingers through it.  He lets his sister sit on him, take things away from him, and bang toys on his head without even a cry (which is something that we are in the process of disciplining for).  While he is calm and sweet, he is total boy, full of grunts, growls, and curiosity for adventure.  This past year watching him develop has been so amazing to me.  When he was born, he weighed all of 4lbs 14 oz.  He was the smaller of the two and, well...he gave Kris and I quite a scare.  He was born nearly lifeless.  Yes, he was breathing and his heart was beating, but he wouldn't move or cry.  When lifting his arm of leg, it would fall back down completely lifeless.  I never heard my son cry until the next day when he was ready to eat.  We were told that this was normal of B/G twins and not to worry, but as a parent, you can't help but think that there is something wrong.  With much prayer, Knox was absolutely healthy.  He came around and showed me that while he may have been passive at birth, he is a fighter and a lover.  Which I am sure will make for good husband material one day in the far FAR future!

Kaitlyn has been developing into a very strong willed little girl who definitely knows what she wants.  I like that about her.  She is full of life and energy and can never sit still.  From the moment that she learned to move, she hasn't stopped moving.  She explores everything and isn't really afraid of anything.  I began singing a song to her when she was still an immobile infant that goes "Katie Bear, Katie Bear, I love you.  Katie Bear, Katie Bear, I love you.  I love you in the morning and in the afternoon.  I love you in the evening and underneath the moon."  Sung to the skidamirinkidinkidkink song.  She absolutely loves it.  She revels in the fact that I am singing especially to HER.  She lights up and it is one of my most favorite things to do with her.  She is so much like me that it is scary.  She is a total girl who loves to see herself in the mirror and be adorned with love and affection.  She loves to be doted on and loved on.  Her favorite thing is when daddy strokes her face lightly.  And I have to admit that it is one of my favorite things that Kris does to me!  She is the more assertive of the two and is always in Knox's space and business.  When she was born, she was 5 lbs 9 oz and was the bigger twin.  She came out of the womb screaming and hasn't really stopped using her vocal chords since.  We secretly think that she likes to hear herself.  She is a joy and a handful all at the same time and I think we will never have dull moments around here because of her.

Watching them grow individually is great, but watching them grow together is something that not many moms get to experience and I am so blessed and grateful that I was given the opportunity.  They truly have a bond between them that I am in awe of.  They are not calm and content unless the other is somewhere nearby and they are most comfortable holding hands or touching each other in some way.  I love watching their love for each other as friends and siblings emerges.  And I am proud to be able to say that I am a super TWIN MOM!

While this past year has blown my mind, I am sure that this next year will be so much fun filled with first words and first steps.  I am so happy that I trusted the Lord to direct my decision to stay home with them because the time goes by so fast and I haven't had to miss one milestone or special moment that I can't ever get back.  While I may complain from time to time that it is very overwhelming (which trust me...IT IS), it is so very much worth every exhausting day, sleep deprived night, and tearful moments.  I can't wait for the next exhausting year!!!

Happy 1st Birthday (in less than a month) to my wonderful, beautiful, amazing gifts from God...Knox Dereck and Kaitlyn Donna.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trip to CA with twins: One month out

Today is exactly one month to the date that Kris and I will embark on our most challenging twin parent adventure thus far.  We are flying to CA with the twins to meet my extended family and celebrate an early Thanksgiving.  I am extremely excited for my family to meet my husband and twins for the first time.  However, me being the extreme Type A person that I am, my planning brain has already kicked into full gear (think lots of lists). 

I have done my homework.  I read multiple blogs about flying with twins under one year of age.  Of which, many scared the dadgum pee out of me.  I read the FSA website guidelines on security with infants.  I read the airline guideline about flying with infants.  And after all that reading, I sat there...a bit frazzled and overwhelmed.  But after collecting myself and reminding myself that I am a strong woman, I proceeded to list making. 

No joke, I have made 5 lists.  1) The "diaper bag" list (one diaper bag per child - each with its own list).  2) The "Checked Baggage" list.  3) The "Carry On" bag list, complete with "his" "hers" and "theirs." (each with its own list).  4) The "What can we absolutely NOT forget" list (including pacifiers, favorite books, cameras, video recorders, etc...).  5) The "In Case of Emergency" list, complete with diaper explosion tools, throw up incident preparation, and fussy baby aversion (benedryl/tylenol).

To minimize our juggling abilities and provide for a sane trip, we have decided to only take the bare essentials.  Thankfully for us, we are staying with my aunt, who is a grandma of 3 children under the age of 3 so her house is adequately equipped with all the baby goodies (pack-n-plays, car seats, double stroller, formula, diapers, and wipes).   So, all we really need to bring are the items needed for a smooth flight.  I have never blown through a box of Ziplock gallon sized bags so quickly in my life.  Those things are a twin mom dream. 

A few tips that I learned from fellow twin mom travelers:
1)  Bring a spare change of clothes for babies AND adults for the plane ride.  You never know when puke or poop will wind up on ya!
2)  Bring plastic rings (you know the kind that loop together and hang off of the car seat).  This way, once you board, you can pull out the toys and attach them to the plastic rings.  Then attach the rings to the tray table so that you aren't digging and searching on the ground for the beloved toy and avoid a tantrum.
3)  Backpacks and wearable baby carriers make for a hands free walk through the airport.
4)  Forget the cute wipe case or the convenient travel wipe case....bring a stack of wipes in a Ziplock bag.  One diaper explosion alone will exhaust all wipes from a travel wipe case.  Be prepared for at least 2 diaper explosions.
5)  Be patient and channel your inner twin mom super powers of juggling, multi-tasking, and just plain awesomeness.

I'm looking forward to figuring out and mastering my packing abilities.  I'm sure that my Type A-ness will shine in all its glory when trying to fit 4 individuals clothing into ONE large suitcase.  <sigh> Long gone are the days of having a whole suitcase for my shoes and matching accessories.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You know you are a twin mom when...

In the past week I have had 3 different people tell me that I should write a book of my parenting "experiences" with twins.  I have to laugh at that thought because the book would be so crazy that I don't think most would believe it to be true.  So I have, instead, come up with a list of things that truly have made an impression in my "first time mom" brain.

You know you are a twin mom when:

1)  You literally feel like a paralyzed cow when trying to nurse your babies at the same time.  With no hands to move the babies around, nursing sometimes required a helping hand. (super embarrassing when it's not your husband).

2)  Your babies cry while you and your husband place bets on which child it is that is crying.  And then within minutes, both babies are crying. 

3)  Both babies are crying and needing your attention and you can't hold both at the same time so, looking at them, you have to choose which one to comfort first.  Only to be followed by your own tears because you chose one over the other and have to sit there and listen to the child left behind cry.

4)  You ask yourself, "did I just feed you, or the other baby?"  Only to be followed by the next question, "did I just change your diaper or the other baby?"  Talk about being delirious!

5)  You have mastered the art of juggling.....babies that is!  And the question "which one do you want to feed/hold/bathe/change?" becomes common language.

6)  While chasing after one crawling baby, your pants are being pulled down by the other baby.  Yes, this actually happened.

7)  You witness a food fight more often than not.  Which didn't start as a food fight, or resemble a food fight, but ended up everywhere and on everything.

8)  You are constantly asked "Are they twins?"  And think to yourself...."here's your sign!"  Followed with "are they identical?"  To which you think, "Come on....really....are your eyes working properly?"

9)  When there aren't enough hands to go around, you will use anything to hold a bottle....including your foot.

10) You find yourself flinging babies up onto you like you are flipping pancakes.

11)  You hear the words "I don't know how you do it."  And think "I'm not quite sure either..." 

12)  You secretly envy all pregnant women who are only carrying one child, or a mom who only has one infant, and think to baby would be a piece of cake!

13)  You have to go grocery shopping, and have to bring the kids, but both baby carriers won't fit in the cart, so you strap one to you and put the other in the cart.  And while you are shopping, people stare at you like you are from Mars.

14)  You have a completely new appreciation for the phrase "silence is golden."

15)  Best of all, you get to witness the most special bond between two siblings that you could ever imagine.  Watching them hold hands, laugh at each other, talk to each other and love on each other.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Circle of Blessings

I grew up in the Catholic Church, and every Sunday my parents let me put the offering in the plate.  I thought I was big stuff putting that envelope in the plate.  It felt good to me to be able to participate at church.  I didn't know what it meant or what was in the envelope, but I liked feeling important and a part of something, and I knew that it was for Jesus.

Isn't it funny how our young and innocent minds work.  I was just excited to put an envelope in a plate because I knew that it was a gift to Jesus!  Well, now in my adult years, I have a much better understanding of what the offering is for and why we are called to do it.  It means something more to me now and I enjoy it for different reasons, but one reason remains the same...because it is for the Kingdom of Jesus.

I have also run across times of financial hardship, when I couldn't put as much in the "plate" as I would like to.  And because of my financial constraints, I give what I can.  This doesn't always mean money in the plate.  Sometimes, for me, it looks like giving people things that I have, which they can use.  And when I don't have any worldly possessions to give away, I give the most important thing to people.....time.   I give away my things and time to people who need them because that what God calls us to, even if I need that item too.  Someone may need something more than I away it goes. 

What has been revealed to me in the recent days, is that God LOVES this.  This has never come full circle for me before, like it has now.  I know he loves this because he shows me by lavishing me with other blessings in life.  I have recently been blessed by friends extending a helping hand with my kids, pampering me to a spa day, cooking me meals, and dropping off gifts for my children.  I also have received random gifts of diapers (at just the right time, I might add).  He blessed me with a work at home opportunity which brings in a little financial cushion each month.  It amazes me how God uses people in my life to bless me.  And I know that this is by no mistake.  By taking on the attitude of giving, which He calls us believers to, he continues the circle of giving and blessings.  How simple, yet so difficult for many of us to do.

I admit, sometimes it is hard to part with something that I need.  Or hard to give someone a little of my time, when I am so pressed for it.  But I am amazed at how the circle comes back around and blesses me even more in the end.  I am so thankful that my parents modeled this behavior for me in church every Sunday.  If not for them showing me this simple "giving" attitude, I might struggle more with this, and I might not be as blessed as I am now.  My husband always asks me "why do people like you so much?"  My answer is usually...."I don't know, but I know God loves me." 

Being obedient to our parents doesn't stop when we become adults.  I have to remember to be obedient to my Heavenly Father as well!  I am so blessed!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beautiful Blessings

Today I learned, from a good friend, of two infants that lost their lives at 17 months and 7 1/2 months old.  It wasn't a car accident or anything "preventable," both lost their young lives to health related issues.  Once I read their stories and the struggles that the family went through accompanied by the heartache of losing a young baby, my heart hurt and I immediately thought of my own precious children.

I can't imagine what life in those parents shoes must look like now having to go home without hearing the cry or voice of their innocent child, or the joy of seeing a smile creep across their face, or the excitement of watching a new developmental milestone achieved.  What an empty feeling they must have to endure now.

With my children reaching 7 1/2 months old, they are learning how to crawl, testing their boundaries and limits with mommy and daddy, and learning to vocalize their feelings.  My daughter is in a phase where she cries if she is not held when she wants to be held, or doted on when she feels it appropriate.  Her cries have, in all honesty, been driving me nuts.  The reason being is because I know that all her needs are met....hunger, diaper, sleep, love, affection, discipline and play time.  I stay at home with my children, so when they are awake, I feel it is my job to be active with them.  I don't deprive them of attention or of one on one time with mommy.  But with two infant children, I can't hold them constantly, and I don't want to create that habit.  I want my children to grow and learn to be independent.  So, I let her sit on the floor surrounded with fun toys to play with and cry, while I take on an attitude of frustration.  Until today.

When I learned of these children's stories and the heartbreak for the parents, I looked at my children playing on the floor and tears were dripping from my eyes.  And while my daughter decided to pull her crying stint yet again because she wanted me to pick her up, I smiled at her and delighted in her cries rather than assuming a frustrated attitude.  I realized how very lucky and blessed I am to be able to hear her crying.  When my son turned and looked at me because he finally learned how to army crawl to his favorite toy and was so proud of himself, and grinned at me with all four teeth showing while drool was falling from his gums, I began to bawl.

I was taken back to my 2 1/2 weeks stay in the hospital, when I was miserably pregnant with the twins and in pre-term labor for the duration of my stay.  I remember thinking to myself that my doctor was being cruel by delaying my labor as long as my body would hold out, while each day brought on more contractions.  I remember begging him to induce me at 34, 35 and 36 weeks.  I cried many days and nights knowing that my other friends who have had twins had all been induced or scheduled with a C-Section by these gestations.  I was thinking only of myself, but my doctor was 100% thinking of my unborn children. 

I finally was sent to the ER for an emergency C-Section at 36 weeks and 4 days.  That day was the best day for me because it meant that I didn't have to endure the pain of a twin pregnancy anymore.  My doctor would have liked to see me go to 37 weeks.  However, he warned my husband and I of the extreme possibility of our children needing time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), due to their premature birth.  I still was only thinking of me and the fact that I was soon going to be out of pain and no longer pregnant.  I thought, bad could it be to have children in the NICU.

As a blessing from the Lord, my doctor cared for my children better than I did during those couple weeks in the hospital.  If it were up to me, they would have been born at 34 weeks and put in the NICU.  Thankfully, my doctor knew better and so did the Lord above.  I gave birth to our twins and they did not have to spend one second in an incubator or the NICU.  They were healthy!  They were ready to go home before I was!  And to this day, the only serious health problem they have had is a few weeks of a common cold virus.  When I learned of the two infants who lost their battles due to serious health problems, I look at my children, raise my hands, fall to my knees and cry with joy to thank the Lord.

Now, I thank God for my blessings.  I thank Him for my doctor and the nurses who kept me sane.  I thank Him for my children (who really are His before they are mine anyway), I thank Him for the discernment He gives me as a parent/mother, and I thank Him above all for entrusting me with His beautiful creations. 

I cannot imagine life without either one of my children.  I cannot imagine even one second of not knowing their fate.  I have now turned my attitude of frustration into an attitude of humble thankfulness every time I hear my children cry.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is the grass really greener?

Let's face it, all moms work.  Whether you have chosen to work outside of the home or stay home, there is no luxury in either choice.  I have to admit, I used to be one of those women who thought that all of my stay at home mom friends were just a bunch of cry babies.  In my mind, they were living large by staying home.  They had a "cush" job, yet all I ever heard from them is how hard things were and how they never got anything done around the house...blah blah.  I wanted to scream at them and say, "ya, well cry me a river...I work an 8 hour job outside the home and then come home to try to get done what you have had all day to get done...housework!" 

Oh silly me!  Having jumped the fence to become a stay at home mom, I was convinced that my life would get easier.  I thought that I had landed the jackpot by finally convincing my husband that I needed to stay home.  Boy was I fooled by the seemingly green grass on this other side of the fence. 

My day starts the same as it did when I was working outside the home, but the course of the day consists of just as much work (sometimes even more challenging work) as when I was working outside the home.  I am up at 5am making bottles, changing diapers, giving baths and singing songs.  Sounds like fun huh?  It is surely more fun than dropping the kids off at daycare, rushing into the office, checking your email that flooded in overnight, and prepping for your day filled with meetings and agendas.  Hmmm...I am not sure about that.

In some ways, I long for the structure that my day had when I was working outside the home.  I miss the responsibility of conference calls, meetings, deadlines, and emails.  Mostly, I miss the adult interaction.  I miss the conversations with my co-workers about work related issues or sometimes non-work related issues.  Here is how I break this down....working outside the home is definitely a difficult job.  You sacrifice time with your kids, master the technique of multi-tasking, sometimes bring your stressful work home with you, have the pressures of deadlines and expectations and many other difficulties.  However, working at home (being a stay at home mom) is equally as difficult.  Instead of office related deadlines, my deadlines circle around my children.  What time they need a nap, how long to keep them awake and entertained, when to feed them, what to do when one or both have a melt down, and how to get the laundry and dishes done, dinner cooked and the house picked up before my husband gets home - these have become my daily deadlines.

Yes, I get to stay home and some days I don't ever get out of my pajamas.  I do have an hour to spare writing this blog because the kids are sleeping (but I am sacrificing time I could be using to clean the house).  I do get to spend time with my kids all day.  But I don't get a free minute for a coffee break, or a minute to run to the store after work before I pick the kids up from daycare, or time to hang out in a co-workers office for 5 minutes to just chat.  I don't get "kid-free" time and I definitely don't get paid for my hard work at home.  Throughout the whole day I have two children looking at me to entertain them, to be responsible for them, to ensure that they get the much needed structure that kids crave.  I feel like I am tethered to them all day and I don't get a break.  Some days I don't have time for a shower.  Some days I don't have time to even sit down and eat lunch.  In fact, some days the first meal I get to eat is dinner.  I love my children, but they can wear me out in a quick minute!

Moms everywhere do work, even if you stay at home.  I was under the impression that stay at home moms lived such an easy life compared to a mom who worked outside the home....until I became one myself.  The point of this is don't judge others, don't envy others, and don't assume that the grass is always greener until you have walked on their grass!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baby Food - Done at home, cheap and easy

Having twins has forced me to become super frugal these days.  I use double of everything!  Double diapers, wipes, formula, lotion and toiletries, and double the laundry!  So getting a bargain or a deal on any of these items is always at the forefront of my mind.  Now that I have moved the twins to a more constant schedule of solid foods in their diet, I decided to make my own baby food at home in an effort to save some more money on, yet again, the double cost of baby food.  Those little jars are expensive and I really don't know what is in them.  So I decided to feed my kids food that I know is pure and 100% what I think I am feeding them.

Many family members laughed at me and said something to the effect of "ya, call me when that works out for you!"  Well, I am the one laughing now, because I have found the cheapest, quickest, and easiest method that definitely "works for me."

Before doing this in bulk, I consulted with one of my good friends who is also a mom of multiples.  She gave me tips on how to freeze the blended food in ice cube trays for future use.  She is so smart!  So, here is how I began this successful process....

On a shopping trip to Sam's Club yesterday, I purchased a large bag of pears and apples.  Large meaning there were probably 15-20 pears and apples in each respective bag.  I started with the pears since I have already tested pears with my kids and know that they are not allergic to them.  So, I peeled them like I would peal a potato or a carrot.  Once peeled, I sliced them and cut out the middle and placed them in a pot of boiling water to poach.  I didn't cook them very long...maybe only 2 minutes max...just to get them soft enough in order to blend.  I didn't want to cook them too long as I wanted to keep the nutrients in the fruit.  I then rinsed in cold water.

The next step was to put them in my 11 cup Cuisinart blender.  This blender has been worth every penny!  I love it, I blend up everything in that thing...pasta sauce, salsa, marinade paste, and now baby food!  Anyway, I had so many pears that I had to do two rounds of blending.  So I placed approximately 10 halves in the blender for each round and blended until my heart was content.

Once blended, I poured the yummy pear puree into an ice tray.  Trust me, it was yummy...I ended up having a few spoonfuls!  Who said baby food had to taste yucky?  Only the processed kind in a jar does :-) 

I was able to fill up 3 ice trays full of this pear goodness!  I laid wax paper between the layers and popped them in the freezer.

Let's go back to the cheap factor of this whole process....the bag of pears was about $4.00 at Sam's Club.  For $4.00, I could have purchased 4-5 jars of processed Gerber or other brand baby food, which would have lasted me a whole 2 days...OR I would make it myself and fill up 3 ice trays to last me a whole month!  This is the exact reason why I went through the 30 minutes of trouble to make my own.  It definitely saved my pocketbook. 

There is a bonus to this deal....not only did I fill up 3 ice trays, but I had two large containers left over fresh food for the next couple days!

With this being such a next project is the apples and bananas! 

The bananas obviously don't need to be softened, and actually I may be able to mash them up manually without using the Cuisinart.  I am so happy with the outcome of this process that I strongly would recommend to all my friends with babies or babies on the way (yes, I have many friends who caught baby fever) to use this method.  It will save you $$$ and give you peace of mind knowing that you are feeding your little one exactly what you think you are feeding them.  100% pure fruit/veggies. 

Bon Appetit little ones :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The twins: 6 months

Whew....that was me taking a deep breath in and out as I sit down to write this blog.  Being a mom is exhausting.  I just want to put that right out there.  Being a mom of twins is super exhausting!  My world has been changing so fast, as are the babies.  I am ever evolving into a mom, which is very exciting, sometimes scary, and downright underrated.  It occurred to me recently, how much sacrifice my own mother endured to raise my brother and I.  I never knew self sacrifice like I now know it and I suppose that I never appreciated my mom for all she did for me until now.

Lately, I am running in circles trying to keep everyone happy...especially my wonderful husband who works so hard for us.  From 5am - midnight I am on the ground running.  No, not in the literal sense, though sometimes it feels like it. 

My little Kaitlyn is turning into a high maintenance little girl already.  I am not sure how to curb this attitude that she is getting, and I'm not sure that I am supposed to.  This very well could be me paying for my raising.   She is the most beautiful little version of me.  She is mild mannered, until she gets upset, for which she pitches a full fledged temper tantrum filled with the pouty bottom lip action and all.  I have no idea where or how she learned this, but it is pretty comical to watch her pout out her bottom lip, puff up her cheeks and well up with tears.  I have decided to ignore her when she does this, as to not promote it or draw attention to what she is doing.  Hopefully she will learn that such behavior doesn't get her what she wants, which is more of my attention. 

She is so observant - always surveying the room and the situation until she fills satisfied that she knows exactly what is going on.  She is also ahead of her time, which I know is a trait that comes from me.  She is very vocal and loves to hear her own voice.  Her little laugh just melts my heart and brings me so much joy.  At 4 1/2 months, my little stinker started teething!  I couldn't believe it....but it was true.  She sprouted her first tooth at 5 months and is working on the second one.  Her sheer determination to do what is beyond her chronological capability has allowed her to begin crawling.  Yes, the little angel is on her hands and knees just determined to get somewhere.  It is fun to watch her as she rocks back and forth and gets her knees moving, but hasn't quite figured out her hand placement.  Oh Lord help me when that day comes!  Overall, miss Katie Bear, Katie Bug, Sweet Pea, Kate D, is a joy!  She is a spitting image of me (except she has the most gorgeous blue eyes) and I love her with my whole heart.

Mr. Knox is a firecracker.  His temperament is so mild and he is generally happy most of the day.  He is a spitting image of his daddy and uses his eyebrows just like Kris.  It is hilarious to watch the faces he makes and see Kris through him.  He is a ticklish little thing and I take advantage of every second I can get my hands on him.  He cracks up at everything....even when I undress him.  He thinks that it is funny to watch mommy change his diaper, especially when it is a poopy one.  He just laughs and laughs as I gag and gag!  He is a professional roller, and by that I mean he has learned how to move himself across the room just by rolling.  He has no interest in trying to crawl or scoot....but he loves it when I stand him up on his feet!  He smiles and laughs as if he is doing something big by standing up on my lap.  He thrusts his little hips in a swivel motion and just smiles!  Kris likes to rap to him and Knox just eats it up.  He loves it when his daddy holds him, talks to him or plays with him.  There are no teeth for Knox yet, but I think this is normal.  Kaitlyn is just a little ahead of the curve.  He is my little man and I just adore him!

Overall, my kids are happy and healthy!  I couldn't ask for more.  I am tired and blessed....and on most days I would die to just be able to have 5 minutes to myself doing nothing but sitting in the bubble bath, or standing in a hot shower.  Being a twin mom is a journey, for which God has equipped me.  I believe that all my trials and struggles up till now have developed a strength in me that has allowed me to handle two babies at one time.  At times, I want to throw my hands up and ask "why God, why twins?  couldn't we have started off with one first?" but then I look at my life and I see so much joy that both of my children bring into my life and my marriage and I know that God knew about the plans He had for me all along!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's Cookin' - Shrimp Linguine

I can't begin to count how many times I have been asked for this recipe, but I have never given it out until now.  This is one of my mom's creations that she served while entertaining guests.  It is super healthy, light and perfect for summer.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!  Bon Appetit :)

Shrimp Linguine
Recipe yields approximately 4-6 servings.  Cook time = 15-18 minutes.

-  1 box Linguine pasta - for a healthy flare, choose a whole grain pasta.
-  5 Large Roma Tomatoes, diced
-  1 whole head of garlic, crushed or minced
-  1/2 cup Fresh basil - chopped
-  1/2 cup Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped (make sure it is the flat Italian Parsley and not the regular course parsley)
-  1-2 lbs of uncooked large shrimp, de-veined and peeled
-  1 cup of dry white wine (I use a cheap chardonnay)
-  1 Tbs olive oil
-  2 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes

Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or regular salt) to season the water.  Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions.

In a large skillet (preferably stainless steel) warm the olive oil over medium heat.  At the same time that you add the pasta to the boiling water, you will also add the garlic, shrimp, and crushed red pepper flakes to the heated oil in the skillet.  Both the pasta and the shrimp should be cooking at the same time now.

Once the shrimp is pink on both sides, add the wine to the shrimp and increase the heat to medium high to bring the wine to a boil.  After 2-3 minutes, reduce the heat to low.

Your pasta should be close to being done.  Add the tomatoes, Basil, and Parsley to the skillet and simmer on a low heat setting.  Check the pasta and remove and drain once it is Al Dente.   Transfer pasta to a large, warmed pasta bowl.  Make sure pasta is drained well and is not dripping wet (this will ensure that the shrimp sauce sticks well to the pasta).  Add the shrimp mixture to the pasta, toss well, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

A few good side dishes:
- A spring salad
- Grilled asparagus
- Steamed artichokes

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Crochet Mania

Being a stay at home mom is a wonderful feeling for me.  I am in control of how our children are raised and I couldn't be happier!  However, I have sacrificed a huge part of our household income to be able to do this.  Because I consider myself a "crafty" person, I am in the process of amping up my crochet line in an effort to sell these items at a local craft fair.  If I am successful, I will then try to promote my items at local boutiques.  I am hoping for a great success!

In the meantime, there is yarn all over my living room and many unfinished pieces lying about.  LOL, as if the baby stuff wasn't enough to take over our small home, I had to go add yarn!  Thank goodness my husband is understanding. 

Pic of the finished products will be posted soon!  Think headbands, flowers, pacifier clips, bows, custom hats, and other "frilly" items!  I better get to work :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Being Thrifty in the Home

So lately I have been asked "how are you going to survive on just Kris' salary?"  I know, he is a teacher and we all know that teachers are underpaid, and my accounting career was far more lucrative than his.  However, staying home with my kids was of utmost importance to me, so I took a look at our finances and figured out how to make more of our expendable cash.  Here's what I came up with!

While grocery shopping the other day, I took a stroll down the cleaning isle.  I am a clean freak and like things sanitized and clean.  Now clutter is another story...clutter happens in my house and I can't seem to get my hands around that, but I do know that everything is sanitized and clean!  With me being so type A about this subject, I obviously invest in wonderful yet expensive cleaning products.  One of my ultimate favorites is Soft Scrub.  I can use this everywhere, in the kitchen, bathrooms, baseboards, outdoors, car tires, etc....however, Soft Scrub is expensive!  Another one of my addictions is Lysol antibacterial wipes.  Again, I can use these everywhere, but they are very expensive.  Also, I love to "go green" where I can, and we all know that most "green" products are more expensive than the non green ones.  When totaling up all the cleaning products that I use monthly, I spend close to $40!  To some $40 is a toss in the bucket.  But to me, now living on my husband's teacher salary, $40 is a month worth of formula for my kids.  So this made me reconsider other options.

My grandmother is a very smart woman!  When she was here for the birth of the twins, she let me in on a secret.  A vinegar secret!  She diluted vinegar with water to make a cleaning agent for my windows and mirrors.  Let me tell you, this works better than any Windex product made!!!  No streaks and absolute shine!!!  So it got me wondering, what else can vinegar do?  I did some vinegar research and learned that vinegar is actually a natural disinfectant.  Yes, I said natural...meaning GREEN!  This is the cheapest "green" cleaner I have encountered.  It is $1.00 at most stores and diluted down with water, this bottle lasts me 3-6 months!  When mixed with bleach, vinegar turns into a super antibacterial fighter.  It is the perfect way to disinfect my kitchen yet clean my wooden chopping boards.  It is also safe for the kids!  I mop with it, clean toilets, mirrors, windows, countertops, baseboards, door knobs, the fridge, stovetop, etc.  This is the best thing since sliced bread.  I think I just eliminated or seriously squashed my $40 monthly expense on cleaning products!!!!  Want more proof...check out  Another great website which explains many uses for vinegar is

Now we all know that there are certain expenses that cannot be eliminated, such as groceries, laundry detergent, dish washing soap and so forth.  For these items, I use  This is an awesome website where deals are shown when coupled with coupons.  There are also links on her website to print coupons to your printer.  I saved $150 last month while grocery shopping for all the regular items that I normally buy.  $150 is an electricity bill, half a car payment, a cell phone bill, another 2 months of formula or groceries!!!!

When thinking back to my childhood, my mom stayed home with us.  I loved having her pick me up from school and coming home to help her cook dinner.  I never remember going to get a mother daughter mani/pedi, or going to the mall...but I do remember the sweet time I spent with her in the home and around the home.  Today's woman has become super charged with a career and a "do it all" mentality.  There is nothing wrong with this - I used to be the same way before children entered my life.  But, with kids in the picture, the "do it all" superwoman mentality that I was living sure did place a huge sacrifice on time with my kids.  I had to line up my priorities and sacrifice other things rather than time with my kids.  I had to sacrifice financially.  I gave up a car (yes we went down to 1 car for the family), I gave up a well paid career, I gave up name brand items for store or generic brands, I gave up my monthly mani/pedi's and getting my hair done, and I gave up my shopping addiction.  I never realized how many things I used to spend money on that didn't add any value to my life.  I just bought things to "have" them.  Well, all these "things" are getting ready for a yard sale and I am purging my life of the excess to fill up my life with the abundance of time for my family!  No more take out meals, no more rushing around, no more stressed out mom/wife.  I am going "old school" and doing it grandma style!  Her generation had it right!!!

To answer the question that I have been getting lately, "how are you going to survive on Kris' salary?", my answer is simple....I'm simplifying my life and frugalizing (one of my own word creations) my expenses.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Conversation with my Mother

It is March!  I cannot believe that the time has flown by and we are creeping up on spring.  As a child I used to love the spring time.  I think there was something about the smell in the air, the feeling of being outside and playing in the sun, or maybe it was that I really looked forward to my favorite holiday, Easter.  Spring time always brings me back to the happiness of my childhood.

However, spring time has a new memory for me.  One that is not so nostalgic and happy.  Rather than looking forward to Spring, I actually have grown to dread it.  On March 26th it will be 4 years since the tragic murder of my mother.  To some, 4 years may seem like a long time.  To me, 4 years seems like yesterday.  While I have healed from the event and have dealt with most of the pain inflicted from this tragedy, there is a small piece that I haven't been able to deal with.  I suppose complete healing takes time, which is why 4 years doesn't seem that long to me.

Now, when the weather starts to change to Spring and the flower blossoms put forth that wonderful aroma into the air, my mind is taken back in time to 4 years ago when my life got flipped upside down.  I try to talk to my mother as if she were still here, and I recall special moments that her and I shared, but I don't think I have ever really told her all that I have been longing to tell her.  And this change of weather sure has pulled at my heart to tell her.  Sometimes I feel silly talking out loud to her.  It feels as if I am talking to myself.  I decided that on the eve of the 4 year anniversary of her passing, that I would write a letter.


Have I ever told you how beautiful I think you were?  My home is now surrounded by pictures of you and everyday I pass by your smiling face.  When I see those pictures I think to myself, wow I had a beautiful mother.  Mom, you weren't just beautiful on the outside though, you really had a heart of gold.  It pains me that it took me this long to see that.  It reveals my shortcomings as a daughter that I could not spend more happy times with you and enjoy your company, but rather I chose to spend most of our time together butting heads with you.  I suppose this is typical mother-daughter relationship behavior.  But I know that you were longing for a relationship with me just as much as I was with you.  I see now the kind of person that you were, and I so desperately miss that in my life.

I feel like I am floundering around now, without a motherly voice to help guide me through the obstacles of life.  I need you here now more than I ever did before.  But I look at your smiling face hanging on my wall and can hear your voice telling me all your silly little phrases.  "They can't take your birthday away Sissy."  "It is what it is Sis, just keep going on."  "Wow you got a two-fer."  And so on...  It makes me feel better knowing that I can still recall the sound of your voice.  I was worried I would forget it.

I hope you were looking down on the birth of your grandchildren.  It was quite a day!  When I saw Kaitlyn for the first time, I saw your face!  Isn't that weird?!?!  She doesn't act anything like you though, she is much more temperamental like me.  Knox has your demeanor.  He is just a happy baby that always smiles even when he is filling up his britches.  I wish you could hold them and help me take care of them.  I know you would love it.  I can picture you holding two babies at one time with your face lit up like a Christmas tree.  I hope that you can see them now, and I hope that you can watch over them for me whenever I can't.  I guess that is the good thing about you not being on this earth anymore.  You can watch from above now!

Sometimes I see angels surrounding me.  I get glimmers of light and translucent images that pass by me.  I hope they are you! 

Mom, I want you to know that you did not deserve the kind of death that you experienced.  Nobody deserves that!  I am sure you know, but I did everything in my power to find you as quickly as I could.  I want you to know that I made it a goal that you were honored in a manner that you would find pleasing.  I also know that you would want me to make peace with dad because that is the kind of person that you are.  You wouldn't want me to live a life full of anger and hatred.  I have forgiven him and made peace with him, but will never have a relationship with him.  He is serving his time here on earth for what he inflicted on you.

As this 4th year anniversary of your passing quickly approaches I realize that my life has changed a lot in 4 years.  I found my prince charming, married him, and had twins.  This is a lot of change and I begin to realize that life has moved on, even though I feel like I am stuck in a time warp.  I miss you mom.  I miss our long talks on the phone.  I miss your encouragement and support.  I miss your positive attitude and smiling face and your ability to make everything feel better when you are around.  I miss the bad times too, strangely enough!  But I really miss having you here!  I am sure things are much better where you are now and I can't wait to see you again!

Love your daughter!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Smile of a Child

I have been feeling really down lately.  Maybe it is the drastic change in the weather.  Yesterday was a nice 70 degree sunshiney day and today is -2 degrees with the windchill and snow and ice cover the ground.  It really is true what they say about Texas weather, "it will change in the blink of an eye". 

So today, I am sitting in my cozy living room with a warm fire in the fireplace enjoying my babies.  As I sit there and stare off into the flames of the fire I contemplate the fire that is burning in my heart.  Over the past couple years I have let my relationship with Christ slip.  As Christians, I think we all do this from time to time.  But this time has gone on too long and I find my mind and heart drifting to the things of this world rather than the heavenly things that matter, such as relationships and serving others.  This fire in our fireplace reminds me of the fire in my heart to be closer to my Heavenly Father.  I want to spend some time and feel close to Him like I once was.  So I have decided to make it a priority in my life, rather than something that is on my to-do list.

As I am deep in thought about my relationship with Christ, my children start to wake up from their nap and I find myself distracted from my thoughts and begin preparing bottles for feeding time.  I go through the motions with them...getting one diaper changed, then the other...propping them up on their pillows ready to eat and then begin feeding them.  My head is pouding due to the tension headache that has been nagging at me all day, but I try to focus on my beautiful children.  After they finish, I lay our daughter Kaitlyn back down for her nap and finish feeding our son Knox the rest of his bottle.

Knox has now learned how to smile.  Not just the small cracked smile, but the full faced, mouth wide open smile that would melt any mother's heart.  I realize that his eyes are locked right on mine and I start to flirt back with him...smiling and cooing at him.  He starts to laugh!!!  This is the first time I have seen either of my children laugh out loud.  My heart melted and I wanted to trap the moment in a bottle and keep it forever.  We went about this flirting business for a good 10 minutes.  Knox would smile at me and laugh and I would smile back and make little baby sounds at him.  Then I finally put him down for his nap.

This moment with my son made me remember God's word and how he wants us to be child-like in our faith.  In both my spiritual and personal life, I have become too overcome with earthly priorities and stress that I have forgotten to enjoy the sweet moments such as my son smiling.  I looked outside and said a prayer to my Father above that I would remember to be child-like in my faith with Him.  I know He would enjoy seeing me smile more often just as I enjoyed seeing my son smile today. 

Thank you Father for the simple joys in life.  Thank you for always providing what I need exactly when I need it.  I know that Your hands are all over my family and that You and Your angels are watching over my family.  I pray that You would continue to guide my heart to the places that You desire it.  That You would grow my children to have hearts that seek Yours.  Thank you for the simplicity of today and the beauty of the snow and fire.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

M.O.M. Obstacles

Call me crazy, but I underestimated this whole twin thing.  I am so blessed and very grateful for the opportunity to have two children at once.  God definitely provided me with the desires of my heart, and he did it quite efficiently!  However, everyday things are much more complicated now for this M.O.M. (Mom of Multiples).

For example, while pregnant I would see moms shopping with their infant.  They would put them in the front of the shopping cart in their carrier and fill up the cart with their groceries.  How sweet, I thought, to bring your baby with you.  Then I realized once my babies were born that grocery shopping would not be an option for me unless I had a babysitter or some serious help!  I mean where do you put 2 infant carriers in the grocery cart?!?!

I also cannot do the everyday quick errands like running into the post office or easy things like that with both babies.  This would require the stroller, which is an event taking the "baby expedition" out!

But today I learned a trick!  If I leave one baby with Nana and take the other with me, I can do all the fun things that most moms of single babies can do.  I effortlessly took Knox grocery shopping with me, carried him into the post office, and even stopped at a local cafe to grab lunch.  Yes it took a little bit more time, but it was a piece of cake compared to juggling two of them!  Any of my friends who have had singletons and want to tell me how hard it was/is can now find someone else to tell it to because I am convinced more than ever now that having one baby is easy breezy!!!  I am also convinced that people who have more than twins have been hand selected by God for an extremely special job.  One that I don't know I could handle. Thank goodness He only gives us what we can handle :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby I creating type "A" children?

I have to laugh at myself because I am an extreme type A personality.  Not only do I need order in my life, but I function best when running off of a schedule.  I mean, really who wouldn't?  The running joke in my house is "Are you going to create a spreadsheet for that"?  Yes, my husband thinks I am a little spreadsheet crazy, but I couldn't survive without knowing who, what, when, and where...most importantly, how much!  Sooooo, when we found out we were pregnant with TWINS you can guess what I immediately started doing.  Yep, finding a schedule and a routine that I could put the babies on.  I even have spreadsheets to capture what time they ate, how much they ate, how many hours they slept, how many wet diapers and how many dirty diapers they had in one day.  Yes I am that kind of Type A!!!!

Not everyone in my family or even many of my friends agree with our way of scheduling our children.  In fact many have said that we are too strict and have too many rules.  However, I would love to have the time to survey moms of multiples to see if any of them go without a scheduled routine.  I know I would not be able to survive!

For the past 7 weeks we have been following the methods of Baby Wise which teaches a stable 3 hour routine.  Wake, feed, sleep...repeat, every 3 hours.  At first I thought that it would never work.  The book boasts of babies being able to sleep 12 hours through the night at just 9-12 weeks of age!  I knew that was the goal but the past 7 weeks have been so challenging that at times I wanted to throw the book out the window and go with my own method.  But then I realized that I didn't have a method because I don't know what the heck I am doing!!!

With 2 babies it seems impossible to get them to sleep at the same time and to sleep through a whole nap cycle, let alone through the night.  But at 6 weeks I finally saw the fruit of our hard labor.  The twins finally slept 7 whole hours through the night.  It was amazing and I thought surely it was just that wouldn't happen again, we couldn't be that lucky!  But we are that lucky!!!!  Our babies are now sleeping 6-7 hours through the night, EVERY night!  I credit all our success to the Baby Wise methodology and every time a family member or friend sticks their nose up at our schedule, I just laugh to myself and think....they are just like their mommy....they need a schedule for everything including sleep!  Seeing my sweet sleeping children puts a smile on my face.

Yes I am creating type A children and I am proud of it.  I want them to be well developed, independent and happy children.  I am teaching them that mommy and daddy are the rule makers and when we lie them down for a nap, they take a fights about it.  I am teaching them that they don't need me to fall asleep...they can do it on their own and they can trust that I will be right there when they wake up.  I am using my God given talents and Type A personality and I am proud of it!