Since I was a little girl I have dreamt of the day I would become a mother and that dream came true TIMES TWO when I found out I was pregnant with twins in January of 2016. I thankfully had a very healthy pregnancy and my dreams became my reality about 39 weeks later on the evening of September 7th, 2016 when Alder and Rowan safely came into the world! These two have brought us joy every single day since we first met. This year has been the best and sleepiest year of my life and I don't quite have the words to elaborate on that just yet. So for now, pictures from their Happy Campers first birthday party is what you will get! It was truly such a beautiful day. Our city had been filled with smoke and ash falling from the sky due to wildfires in the gorge all week long while my family visited us. However, on the morning of their party day, the sky was blue, there was a cool breeze, and there was no smoke or ash to be found. I was seriously thankful for that because I was worried/stressed all week that it might not happen like I've dreamt it. Our families and friends in Oregon were there to celebrate our precious Alder and Rowan's first year of life and we are very thankful for that. The details of the party were captured beautifully by my sweet friend Abby Tohline and thank goodness because it was all a little blurry and I wasn't able to enjoy the hard work put in as much as I would have liked. It felt like a wedding all over again, setting up, talking to everyone, cake smash, etc. etc. Despite lack of sitting down, it was beautiful and perfect in every way. I cannot believe how quickly a whole year has gone by, maybe because I am having the time of my life and maybe because the days kind of blur together, maybe both. I will cherish these images forever and ever and I hope you enjoy!
If you are expecting twins, have recently had twins, or are buying a baby shower gift for someone expecting twins, I 100% recommend these few items. Some of them are honestly pretty spendy, but I have to say are COMPLETELY WORTH IT! Like, I don't know what I would have done without these things sort of worth it. Save up, get a group to all pitch in, look on craigslist! I have been asked on numerous occasions what our must have items are for raising twin babies, day to day routines, what to register for, etc. I've been asked by twin moms, dads, and even parents who are just curious what the multiple vs. singleton life is all about and what all it entails. I'm here to share with you my most "prized possessions" that helped us survive the first 6 months (and some still to this day at 8 months) of raising twin babies! We personally do not purchase a ton of things for the boys unless they are seen as a necessity in our eyes. Don't get me wrong, we definitely have moments of "look how cute (and impractical) this baby hat is or these cute (and impractical) baby shoes are!" But, overall we try to keep a tight baby budget because, well, two babies.
*doodles by ya girl, @pursuingpie*
Alrighty, onto the LIST !
1. TWIN-Z PILLOW
Okay, this pillow has saved our lives so many times! I never used it to nurse, partly because I just plain didn't think to at the time and partly because I had an awesome double nursing pillow which I'll share with you in just a second. I give major credit to the twin-z pillow for my ability to stay home by myself with twin newborns. I would place the pillow onto the ottoman of our rocking chair set and then place each baby into their little nooks. Then, I would strap on my nursing pillow, again, I'll be sharing that later in the list. Once that was situated I would place each baby on either side and begin to nurse. Really, it was incredibly manageable - with big thanks to the twin-z pillow!!! Who knew a pillow could change someones life? I sure do and so do you now!
2. DOCK-A-TOT (S)
Next up are the dock-a-tots! Again, a pillow-y product that is a complete game (and life) changer. We got these a few months into everything and I only wish we would have had them from the very start. Since I stay home by myself with the boys everyday and do freelance art projects on the side, I needed TIME. Don't we all? Well, when it was time for the boys to nap, I would put them in their dock-a-tots, give them their paci, and they would fall asleep within minutes. MINUTES!!! They obviously can't tell me how they're feeling or why the heck the docks work so well, but I like to think it's because they feel cuddled in them. The pillow sides keep them snug where they feel protected and comforted, that's what I think anyways. Whatever the reason, they truly do work wonders! On the floor, on the bed with me, in their cribs *with supervision, they work! These were also very handy when we were traveling on our move across the country. We would put them on the floor next to the bed in the hotel and they would sleep the whole night through every single time. Magical pillow-y goodness!
3. MAMAROO (S)
The MamaRoo's! The ones who held and rocked my babies when I needed to do laundry or when I needed to take a nap or when I needed to just sit down and breathe. We were gifted these from someone who got them for a very discounted price. You will definitely want one of these full price or half price! Check Craigslist if you want/need/have to people! I have heard from several other moms that their baby never slept in them, but I am here to say that my twins both slept like little champions in them. We would often times have them stay put in them for naps during the days and occasionally at night when we just needed an hour of sleep ourselves! They worked wonders and we are just now getting to the point where they aren't content in them for nearly any length of time. That's crawling/pulling themselves up on everything in sight for ya.
4. "MYBRESTFRIEND" NURSING PILLOW
Okay, a very silly name, but this is the real deal. I would take this along with the twin-z when we went to my parents house or a friends house! It was the only way I could manage. I didn't get out super often in the beginning, though I tried to at least once or twice a week. Let's face it, people think nursing one baby in public is "inappropriate" *to be clear, I think it's perfectly natural and normal to modestly feed your baby in public*, but just think about nursing TWO babies in public! Ha! There was no point in trying nursing bras really.. I was tandem feeding them so the shirt off/bra off combo was the most efficient way to go - which meant staying home for feedings was a much more practical and efficient way of doing this (EVERY 2-3 HOURS).
5. THE DRIVE-THRU
Okay, so you can't really purchase this one.. But seriously. Just getting everyone ready and out the door is a workout in itself. Then, getting everyone to the car from the door. Then driving somewhere and unloading and reloading and going from the car to the door and back inside again? I wasn't always up for that, so a drive thru and a 30 minute drive with the windows down was plenty enjoyable for me. If motherhood has taught me anything, which its taught me a lot, I've learned to appreciate the little things in life so much more. The Starbucks drive-thru became my best friend. I used to be like, "eh, starbucks" but here I am loving starbucks with all my heart. Bless you starbucks drive-thru. Matter of fact, bless any and all drive-thrus!
There you have it!
My "secret" weapons.
I want to share a few other items that really helped me and are still really helping me through my days!
+ DOUBLE STROLLER +
This link is showing you the price for the stroller base itself, the adapters, and two big kid seats included!
I personally have the City Select baby jogger with the double adapters and absolutely love it! The stroller base itself isn't too heavy for what were my girlish weak arms (they've since become very strong) and the easy unfold and refold and loading and unloading, all so seamless. I needed something I could rely on to make my life a little easier when getting out and about on my own throughout the weekdays. I knew if I could just get out the door and in the car, the rest would be easy, thanks to the stroller + carseat combo! Well, you know, "easy". Anyways, I highly recommend a stroller that is front to back, not side to side. We fit through some tight spaces in our limo of a stroller! The rubber wheels turn smoothly and I've even gone for a jog with the stroller!
+ BUMBO (S) +
These have been super handy helping the boys sit up on their own and now worrying about them falling backwards or off to the side. They truly stay content sitting in them. We have the ones with the tray that hooks on, and it's a game changer from the standard Bumbo! We used/use these for feedings - like, sit them on the floor, on the table, on the counter, etc. (*with supervision). We've also purchased some suction cup toys that just stick right onto the trays and they will be entertained for literally HOURS. Okay, so not always hours. But it sure felt like hours in baby time.
+ WALKER (S)/BOUNCER (S) +
These have also been super handy in helping the boys gain leg strength and encouraging them to walk. They are 8 months now, but they have shown interest in getting around by foot, just haven't quite connected those pieces yet. They have been crawling everywhere and pulling themselves up on everything, its just a matter of time! And I think our walkers are to thank! Any walker would do the trick I think, but we personally have the cheapest ones from Target by Baby Einstein!
+ THE HAPPINESS PLANNER +
I am a big time planner type of person and I knew even after babies, I needed to have systems, goals, reminders, etc. Well, I stumbled upon the happiness planner online one day and ordered it immediately. I had been in the market for a planner and this is not just your average planner. This planner is keeping me focused and changing my life to be honest with you. Or at least, I'm letting it change my life. We have the power over our choices and I'm so thankful I made the jump to get this! There is a happiness roadmap inside that starts things off with a powerful bang! I can attest to my happiness levels being higher than I ever imagined they would be as a mom, let alone as being a twin mom. There are bad days, but there are mostly good days and I think a lot of thanks to this planner encouraging me and helping me stay on track!
*this is is no way a sponsored post, I genuinely want to share with you in hopes of peace of mind, and maybe even a nap!*
Okay, I'm done rambling! Sending lots of love to you mama's out there!
Can't wait to hear what you think of these products if you have them already or when you try them out!
Whether you have twins, or you have one baby, or you have five kids, I'd also love to hear if you have any products you loved/love using for motherhood survival!
As a twin mama, I have to take advantage of any and every window of time that BOTH boys are napping to get things that I have to and that I want to get done. Muffins aren't by any means a have to but they sure felt important on Monday morning. I haven't felt particularly inspired to cook or bake lately because, well, you know. If I haven't had time to shower, why would I think 'I should BAKE!' I'm cracking myself up over here.. Anyways, I actually baked some muffins and they were easy as well as tasty! I found a recipe online but customized it to what I had on hand and what I wanted in general. Seriously, I wouldn't recommend a recipe if I couldn't myself have time to make it or enjoy it.
S T R A W B E R R Y B A N A N A M U F F I N S
I N G R E D I E N T S : D I R E C T I O N S :
- 2 cups gluten free flour 1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. In a medium sized bowl,
*with xantham gum included mix flour, baking soda, and salt together.
- 1 teaspoon baking soda 2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and oil. Add eggs and mashed
- 1/8 teaspoon salt banana and mix again. Add flour mixture until combined. Stir in pecans
- 1 cup coconut sugar and strawberries until evenly distributed.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil 3. Grease a muffin tin and fill to top. Bake for 25 minutes.
- 1/4 cup water 4. Eat as many as your heart desires!
- 2 eggs *recipe makes about 16-18 muffins
- 3 mashed bananas
- 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Motherhood has felt natural and wonderful and tiring and logistically challenging, and is the best thing I've ever experienced.
I've been asked a lot of questions in regards to babies and motherhood and have quite frankly failed to answer them all, but I thought I'd write this post which answers majority of them. So, I'm going to share some bits and pieces of my memories thus far being a mama of twins and also what I have learned that has shaped me along the way. I hope it sparks your interest and I hope you feel welcome here, because you are!
Since I became a mama (6 months and some change ago), life around me has honestly felt more chaotic and overwhelming than my babies themselves. Of course we have had our moments of everyone is crying (literally everyone, all four of us) but truthfully, we have had moments of peace and joy 90% of the time. Our babies are heaven sent little angels and I am so thankful for their easy going personalities and especially that they have each other!
After I gave birth to my sweet boys, we were able to take Alder home with us and had to leave Rowan in the NICU for a week to nurture his eating skills. The first month was the most challenging for me, as I'm sure it is for many other mama's out there. I remember going up to the hospital to visit Rowan for the first time since going home with Alder, bringing our diaper bag, and realizing once we got there that we had forgotten to pack DIAPERS. Yeah, like I said, the first month was the hardest - physically and emotionally. You probably couldn't get me to remember my own birthday those first few weeks! It amazes me how many places a human mind can be in at once.
It took the first month for me to really start getting into my own rhythm and routines. Routines were and still are so important to me and have helped everything along the way. Within the second month I remember feeling more like myself again. I wouldn't say I ever felt especially lost or unknown, but I certainly can see how easily and deeply that could be felt during that sensitive season of life.
Getting out of the house whenever I could/can and even making it a high priority, has been extremely crucial in my overall health! Early on, I would get into this pattern of waking up, forgetting to eat breakfast, forgetting to drink water, never getting ready for the day, not showering as often as I could have, isolating myself with my babies at home out of convience and not napping when I finally got an opportunity. I was overworking myself and under nourishing myself which is harmful to a person's physical and emotional health. It certainly was for me.
*I've had a lot of questions about sleeping so I am here to answer them!*
We had the boys sleep in a bassinet next to our bed in the very beginning and throughout the first month. Pretty soon after month 2 came, we started having them sleep wherever they would.. the mamaroos, the bassinet, the double pillow, whatever worked. Time and time again, people always had and will always have their opinions, but you have to do whats best for you! That's what we've done, and it has worked well for us so far. We always made sure our babies were safe and healthy! That's our top priority alongside loving them with all our hearts. At about 3 and half months, we started having them sleep separately in their own cribs in the nursery - BEST DECISION! They have been adaptable little fellas so far which we are very grateful for. They have done so well being given a bit of space, independence, and being separate for sleeping at night. Since we started the crib sleeping, we've all been sleeping much better, surprisingly to me! Motherhood can be scary and I think the unknowns keep us from doing normal things like having your baby sleep in their own bed. We don't regret it one bit!
Around the same time in month 4, I started to fully embrace and enjoy everything that twin motherhood had to offer me. I of course had been loving it before this, but also feeling pressures from other people and allowing those pressures to almost steal my joy. Month 4 is when I ended my breastfeeding journey by choice and switched to formula and began introducing veggies not too long after. Nursing one baby sounds so ideal looking back and I do hope to experience that someday with a new baby Hancock but twins again would be incredible! Anyways, with nursing two babies you are practically required to be half naked which is not super convenient when you are out and about - hence the not going out and about much the first month or so. Once I began getting out, I would be on a strict schedule for "free time" to make sure and be home to nurse in time, but it was "free time" none the less. Every minute outside of our home and in the fresh air counted as gold at that point in time. I do sometimes wish I was still nursing the boys, not only for the nutritional benefits but also for the fact that it was free! But then again, I have felt happier, I have the happiest babies, and thats what matters most to me and my family. I strongly believe that you have to do what's best for YOU and YOUR health and YOUR happiness and YOUR babies and their health and happiness!
It has been pretty smooth sailing from 4 months to now (almost 7 months). The boys are thriving and growing and the sweetest. We take them everywhere with us, always have. Sometimes we'll even take them on date nights because they usually sleep through the whole thing. Alder is our thinker. He is typically content in just staring at the ceiling or his hands, and is always observing the world around him. He absolutely loves cuddles and tickles. Rowan is a little ham and also admires his hands daily. He is always smiling and it doesn't take much. He loves being on his tummy and sleeping on his tummy, always has. They both sleep through the night (9pm-8am usually) these days which is magically world changing. There are off nights of course, because babies. But for the most part, they are pretty consistent.
I wouldn't say "I know what I'm doing" or that I've "figured it out" because hello, I haven't! But I do trust my instincts and I know my babies. My story is mine and your story is yours. Just do the best you can every day and that is plenty!
FROM ME, TO YOU:
I just want all the mama's out there to know that you are loved, you are doing the most important job in the world, you are brave and strong and smart! It is okay to have a bad day, but it doesn't mean you have a bad life! You're allowed to have a great experience and you're allowed to share it with others. I think it's important that first time mama's know the good side of things too and that it isn't always difficult. I think it's equally important to know that there will be hard times. Like, really hard. The best thing I have done and that I think you can too, is believe in yourself and your abilities to care for your babies! Drink water every day, don't forget to eat food, go outside even for 30 minutes a day with your baby(ies), and remember to smile!!! If you have a healthy baby, that itself is such a blessing that is often over looked by the crying and sleepless nights and tired bodies and endless thoughts flooding our busy brains! And even if you just get out of bed and brush your teeth and that's literally all you accomplish in one day (aside from keeping tiny humans alive of course)- it's entirely enough, and GOOD JOB!
*Stay tuned for a blog post in the next few days with lots and lots of pictures!
There's only so much time in a day for a mama to get these things together!
Being a mom..
Whew! Those three words alone bring out all kinds of feelings don't they?
LET'S JUST JUMP RIGHT INTO IT, SHALL WE?
In the last few months I have come to a realization. I realized that keeping your pre-mom identity (who you are to your very core; your dreams, your talents, your interests) separate from your new title "mom" is very important and also a p r o c e s s .
I need to be EVERYTHING to EVERYONE.
I have to do EVERYTHING I've ever wanted to do in life RIGHT THIS SECOND.
I want people to know that I (can) do more in life than change diapers.
But I know that being a mom is the most important job to be done!
I need to SLOW DOWN and take it ONE DAY AT A TIME.
But I want to be doing my artistic pursuits full time.
I am so blessed and I am CONTENT.
I shouldn't post so much of my babies on social media.
But I love my babies so dang much that I can't help but post them!
These are all feelings and thoughts I have on a regular basis if I'm being 100% transparent with you.
And, truthfully, the list could go on...
Social media can be an incredible tool used to connect with others, grow your business, etc. but lets get really real. Sometimes, if we let it, it can be a mind trap, a heart wrecker, and a playground for comparison. Key words: IF. WE. LET. IT. That is completely in our own control. Though, while we are scrolling through image after image, it can sometimes feel like its surely someone else's fault for these feelings that arise in us.
These social platforms are all about sharing and posting your life - well, my life is (mostly) twin baby boys right now. Before I let petty insecurities flood my mind and heart, I typically feel quite confident, happy, and purposeful in the life I am living everyday. Having twin baby boys IS a dream and it's my reality. Yes, I would enjoy pursuing my creative endeavors full time right about now, but then I remember that I am pursuing the most important endeavor of all, motherhood. I wanted a baby, and instead, I got TWO! Double the work and double the reward! For every two dirty diapers I change, there are two smiling, warm, snuggly boys who love me unconditionally and think I'm hilarious (for now).
I absolutely without a doubt LOVE being a mom. Specifically to my two little bundles of joy. Truly, they are insanely joyful.
Alright you guys, please stick with me through some very raw honesty coming from the depths of my SOUL.
I see these moms on Instagram, who are often many years older than I am and with children much older than my own, and I think "my gosh I need to get my act together" along with other dramatic, ridiculous things.
Then I'll see girls who aren't moms, but are killing it at their dreams right now; design, photography, blogging, etc. and I think "I wish I was doing creative things that I love doing like they are"..
But you know what? Good for them! Good for them for living their life and their dreams. I admire them! I really do! But when I'm having an insecure moment, I envy them.
Comparison has to END.
It takes away the joy of right now.
Recently, I let comparison take some joy away from my motherhood. Not completely, but definitely a huge chunk of it was missing. I was bogged down by feeling inadequate. Who the heck was I trying to impress? Who has that much power over me that I would lose my joy for MY motherhood for? The answer? No one. No one has that power over me. I freely and willingly gave away my joy to others and put unrealistic expectations on myself. Subconsciously, yes. Nonetheless, it was given. I don't intend on returning to that low place and thankfully I have a husband who cares for my heart in ways I don't even know I need and friends who love me enough to consistently encourage me.
Overall, I really love my life. I have learned that I don't want or need to hide it. When it comes down to it, I wouldn't rather be doing anything else right now. I enjoy the mess that is motherhood and I have plenty of time to hop on that "being a mom AND running a successful side biz" train.
I want to share a few things that I learned to an intense degree that helped me out of the insecurity and inadequacy feelings.
I want to share incase you too have felt even just one of the feelings I've covered in this post.
Tell YOUR story.
Hold on tight to YOUR joy.
YOU are YOU, and that is unique!
No one is you, and that is your power! (quote by Dave Grohl)
So yes, if and when you take look on my blog or on my Instagram (@pursuingpie), you can be certain to find endless pictures of my heart, my dream, and my daily life pursuit -- Alder and Rowan.
I would like to start by saying how awesome and wonderful I truly believe big ambitions and lofty goals are. So awesome and wonderful in fact that in the midst of motherhood and being a regular human during the busy holiday season, I tried so hard (last minute) to muster up ambitions and goals for 2017.
I love setting goals and accomplishing them! Who doesn't?!
Sometimes when the Happy New Year-ing comes around it winds up being more like Happy-uncertain-excited-hopeful-confused-not quite ready- New Year-ing; AND THAT'S OKAY.
One more time all together --- AND THAT'S OKAY!
It's okay to not feel every single (or even just one for that matter) positive emotion on days intended for celebration. Time is quick and slow and sneaky all at once and sometimes things happen so fast you don't have time to process anything going on around you or in your life. AND THAT'S OKAY TOO.
I woke up on January 1st, 2017 (yesterday.. lol) and realized I had no set goal, no set word, no groceries, and 5 loads of dirty laundry with my name on them. I realized I had LITERALLY 3 shirts that truly fit me and then the rest of my clothing (6 trash bags full) either didn't fit or were 8 years old. I realized, again, that we hadn't saved up the amount of money we kept saying we would all year long. I realized my twin babies turn 4 months old in a week. I realized a LOT in a matter of the 30 minutes. All of which were on the negative end of the spectrum and I kept piling one thing on top of the next until I quickly started spiraling downhill. I wound up in a state of "I don't even know who I am or what I'm doing with my life" and it didn't feel good. Tears upon tears upon tears to ring in my New Year. I despised the fact that my New Year, with so much to be thankful for, was being spent crying and feeling lost. This of course only made the tears flow faster. How did this happen? What was going on? Where do I go from here?
After calming down a bit, I was able to realize something on the POSITIVE spectrum what was this >> that I do in fact have a pretty good idea of who I am and what I'm doing with my life. I just don't have all the details figured out yet and again,
I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.
I am a creative entrepenuer who loves cats, puzzles, and cooking.
I am honest, sometimes indecisive, and am often referred to as "funny".
I feel a lot of feelings.
I could either continue adding onto the heaping pile of emotional junk
I could look to the One who so simply and gracefully can turn it all around
I physically bowed my head and held my face in my hands.
I started a list of thankfulness out loud.
- I have a Savior who loves me EVEN like this
- I am breathing and healthy
- I have a kind, loving husband
- I have two beautiful, healthy babies
- I have a home that I love
- I have food to eat
- I have a family who cares for me
- I have friends to hug
On and on the list went.
Thankfulness is a big fat positive smack in the face isn't it?
I was struggling to be okay with not having my whole plan all together and ready to go on January FIRST. Sounds completely silly now of course. A bit of discussing and planning has happened since then (as much as can be had in 24 hours). My husband and I came up with a few things we want to implement for our New Year both individually and together as a couple.
His word is develop.
My word is balance.
We want to grow closer to the Lord and to each other.
We got a pair of books for Christmas titled "31 Creative Ways to Love and Encourage Him & Her" by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke - One Month to a More Life Giving Relationship. So, we will be going through these books each morning for the next 31 days (remembering it's okay that it winds up falling on February 1st instead of January 31st for my OCD heart's sake). We started day one this morning and it's already shaping up to be a great decision!
Most of all, we want to be disciplined, reliable, trustworthy, and especially thankful people.
For Jesus, for ourselves, and for our children.
We know that the better we take care of ourselves, the better we can care for those around us.
Whether you start today, tomorrow, or December 31st of this year on whatever goals you come up with, the point is that you start.
Happy (2 day old) New Year everyone!
Being a mom is no joke -- being a twin mom is double the no joke! Whew, I'm out of breath and a little sweaty as I type this. (FYI for all my readers: there will be honesty, transparency, sarcasm, and a large amount of twin baby, cat, and food pictures in my blog posts, so if you prefer a sugar coated fairytale that doesn't involve any of those things, you won't have much luck finding it here.) Back to the whole motherhood thing.. In moments of pure frustration and exhaustion, which I had several of today, I take a deep breath (often following a good ol' fashioned shout) and remind myself of how lucky I truly am. I grew TWO human beings inside of my body for 38 weeks and 2 days with zero complications, birthed them naturally with zero complications, and they have been thriving each and every day since then (Rowan did have an 8 day stay in the NICU learning how to eat because of, well, just read my previous post!). That right there is what has helped me get through the toughest moments so far in these past 2ish months. That, along with my incredible husband, family, friends, and my very best friend, COFFEE! When I think back to when I first found out I was pregnant (January 19th), to finding out there were TWO babies growing in there (February something rather), to the whole pregnancy (the 38 weeks and 2 days I mentioned earlier), to the day of their births (September 7th), to now, I get all kinds of weepy feelings.
I have been asked by several people what I feel is the best part about being a twin mom and the hardest part about being a twin mom. So, I figure sharing my answers here will be good so not only everyone can read the answers here, but I'll be able to look back and remember for myself because mom brain is REAL. Anyways, here they are:
The best part in my experience with motherhood so far is simply that I get to have, hold, love, and care for TWO little humans that are made up of me and my favorite human, Jesse. I adore their sweet baby coos, their gummy smirks, and their big, bright eyes.
The hardest part in my experience with motherhood so far is that I have TWO LITTLE HUMANS! *insert a chuckle or two here* All of the cries, the feedings, the diaper changes, the exhaustion, the frustration, etc. etc. etc. (everything of course times two).
I'll take this next little bit to tell you about the tiredness I feel because doesn't it just feel better having someone else know how you're feeling? Once you get it out in the open, it's like you're not alone in it anymore.
So yeah, I'm tired. It's a type of tired I've never experienced before in my life.
It's a "I'm so tired and need a nap but know I won't get one unless Jesse is home to help with the babies and I haven't showered in 5 days and I can't tell if its me or the babies that smell worse and I want to eat because I'm hungry but that would mean I have to do the dishes but I also need to fold the laundry that I had to rewash two times because I forgot about it two times" kind of tired. This tired I feel is different from the rest I've felt because this tired is more worth it thanI have felt before. There is dedication, sweat, tears, love, and most of all, purpose, behind this tired -- double the purpose at that!
While I'm on this whole 'sharing twin mothering' thing, I want to share an experience of mine from the other day.
Last week, I was at Target with my babies in the stroller just minding my business and buying things I don't need. Up walked a lady and she exclaimed "wow! twins? I bet you wish you had one instead!" Wow. Wow. Wow. All I could think to say was *insert silence here*. I was speechless. Incase you don't know me well, it takes a LOT to make me speechless. I usually have something to say, and if not, I am pretty quick on my feet to come up with something. I had nothing. In that moment, every single challenge that twin mothering brings, VANISHED. What I did have were feelings and memories that began flooding my mind and heart. Double the love, double the cute, and double the reward. The smiles, the coos, their warm squishy bodies wrapped in my arms. I had no words. As much as I wished I had something witty to say in return, I had no words to say. I quickly became very okay with that because I knew that I had more than words could ever tell that person, or anyone else for that matter. I had an overwhelming amount of feelings and memories all stored up to keep me warm forever and ever - and this is just the beginning! Isn't that what we hold onto most in life anyways? The feelings and the memories? That's what I'm holding onto.
Whether you are a mother of one, two, three, four, etc. I just want to take a second to say GOOD FREAKING JOB! It's a difficult task keeping humans alive and well all day every day while maintaining your own basic needs let alone any wants. So please give yourself a gigantic pat on the back and eat an extra donut with an extra large cup of coffee tomorrow morning! PLEASE!?
Many people have asked for details and since there is much much more than just saying "I had two babies" I thought it might be easier to just put it all down in one place for people to view as they please. I added a few photos from that first fresh day.
Enjoy and please feel free to leave comments below!
All I wanted was to be 100% prepared, birth two babies naturally, heal quickly, take an adorable picture of them together immediately, and bring them home with us from the hospital living happily ever after!
"Is that too much to ask for/expect?!" - me
Well, no one can ever realistically be 100% prepared - duh. I did indeed birth two babies naturally and heal rather quickly. However, I did not get to take that immediate picture of them together like I wanted or get to bring both babies home with us from the hospital (as soon as I envisioned anyway). We are indeed though, living happily ever after going on almost a month now with our two perfect boys!!!!!!!
Truth be told, it has been going 100% times smoother and "easier" (I use this term loosely obviously) than I imagined it going these past 9 months of pregnancy. That's not to say there weren't daily challenges physically and emotionally the following days after birth and still to this day. I want to say that mothering YOUR babies that YOU grew in YOUR belly for 9 months (or however long they decided to stay in there) comes much more naturally than one might think. I for one was worried that I wouldn't know what to do or how to handle them. Thankfully, they have been little angel babies for the most part making it a nicer transition for mama than I expected. I know it isn't realistic to think even for a second that it will last forever, but one can hope. Hehe.
I know 5 twin moms personally and I know of 5 or so twin moms through social media. Of the 10 of them, the range of deliveries went from 31 weeks to 37 weeks and 1 day - majority of which had their babies week 35. Some had identical and some had fraternal. Some had girls, some had boys, and some had one of each. Some had natural births and some had c-sections. Some had an epidural and some did not. Some are in their 20's and some are in their 30's. Some exclusively breastfeed, some exclusively bottle feed with breastmilk and/or formula, and some do a bit of both. Some had NICU stays and some did not. Each of their stories is beautiful and unique to them, just like mine is to me! I had in my head all of these ideas and thoughts and feelings of how things would go for me, but we all know no one can really truly know exactly how things will go. I for sure thought I would deliver these babies somewhere in the 31-37 week time frame just like all of those other twin moms I mentioned before. Each week that came within that time frame, I would think "This is going to be the week! This is it!" But no, my boys just kept hanging out and showed no signs of coming early, which was a very good thing, but also I was very pregnant and ready to have them on the outside!!! My doctor waits until 38 weeks with twins before inducing - a lot of doctors won't go past 37 weeks. Reasons being for safety and health of course. Anyways, I got to 37 weeks and the boys were still perfectly healthy as they had been the whole pregnancy and perfectly comfortable. Together, our dr and us decided to induce at 38 weeks if they hadn't come on their own by then. Well, we wound up waiting until 38 weeks and 2 days due to a holiday weekend and just plain convenience.
Preface: I have had anxiety and been a worrier majority of my younger years and throughout my pregnancy it came back to haunt me a bit. I would fear things big and small. Every step of the way I was completely healthy, never a single issue and same went for the babies - perfect. I was proved wrong each and every time and the actual day of their birth was no different. Everything could not have been any smoother of a process and I am incredibly thankful for that.
We arrived to the hospital at 5:30AM on Wednesday, September 7th completely ecstatic and wide awake! I was induced at 6:30AM on the dot and my doctor came in 5 minutes later and broke my water to get things going. Contractions began shortly after and became more and more painful as time went on. I had signed up for an epidural - mostly in part because if I didn't get one and something did happen to go wrong and I needed an emergency c-section, then I would be put to sleep throughout the birth and I certainly didn't want that. Where if I got the epidural, they would be able to just add more to it (or something along those lines) and I wouldn't miss a thing except the pain. Haha. I kept contracting and progressing and I honestly had zero idea when to actually say IM READY FOR THE EPIDURAL! The nurses kept saying "just whenever you're ready" but heck, this was my first time doing this and I had no clue. I did know that I couldn't wait too long if I wanted to assure I would be able to be awake incase something did happen! Anyways, about 7 hours into labor I felt ready, so we went ahead with the epidural. It was seriously no big deal compared to what I had heard from other moms or read online. I was consumed with the pain of contractions while it was being put in my back so I didn't even notice. Shortly after, my legs felt warm and then numb from the waist down, just like you're supposed to. It was a relaxing next couple of hours. At about 2PM (I think) I started feeling pain in the right side of my pelvis and got the feeling back in my right leg. I was not super excited about that obviously. The nurses helped to get it all evened out and it was smooth sailing for the next hour or so. At about 5:30PM I felt sick to my stomach and threw up a few times. The nurses came in and said "that is sometimes a sign it's almost time!" They checked me and sure enough, I was a 9! Omg omg omg. I was getting so excited but also feeling incredibly exhausted physically and emotionally. Within the next 30 minutes or so I started feeling sick again and yep, I threw up a few more times. The nurses came in and said "I bet it's time to go!" They checked me and indeed I was a 10!!!!!! I remember saying "THATS THE HIGHEST NUMBER WE GO TO!!!!" I want to mention that Jesse, my mom, and my dad were all in the labor room throughout the day getting me juice and ice and keeping me company. They were awesome and I'm so glad they were there!
Jesse scrubbed up and they all wheeled me down the hall from the normal labor room (number 19 - my lucky number go figure) to the operating room! I couldn't believe it was actually time! I was about to FINALLY meet my babies! They had me deliver in the OR for safety purposes incase of an emergency. Thankfully, there was no such emergency. We got in the room, they put me on the operating table, and within a few minutes I had started pushing! The nurses got everything started while we waited on my doctor to arrive. Pushing is no joke! I felt like maybe my head was going to fly off of my body. The epidural started wearing off again in the same exact spot as before, so it was a little ouch as you can imagine or maybe not.. It didn't matter much to me at that point, I was focused and ready to meet my boys!!! I had pushed for maybe 10 or so minutes and the nurses stopped me because if I kept going even for a few minutes they said the baby might just come right out! WHAT?!?! I remember thinking "that was fast!" My doctor arrived just a few minutes later and again I started pushing. Just a few minutes later "baby A", now known as Alder Cannon Hancock, was pushed into the world! They put him on my chest immediately, gunk and all, and I loved him. I was shocked that he had such defined features and he was simply beautiful. I just couldn't believe my eyes! A minute later they took him to clean/check him. Suddenly it was time to push again! I began pushing with what strength I had left in me, and 8 minutes later, "baby B", now known as Rowan Gray Hancock, was pushed into the world as well! They did the same thing and put him on my chest immediately, and again, I loved him so much! Jesse stood with me the whole time and was extremely encouraging! Before the big day, he wasn't sure if he'd want to see it all or cut the cords, but in the moment he watched the whole thing and cut both cords loving every minute of it. They took Rowan to clean/check him. Apparently he had taken a breath a little too soon as fluid rushed over him and he swallowed some. (Not super rare apparently, so that was reassuring). He was taken to the NICU immediately to get it all out and taken care of. They put him on oxygen and that's the last I knew for a bit. They wheeled me back to my room with Alder following behind. We then all spent time holding and staring, holding and staring. I was happy and excited that I was done and finally had my boys out in the world with us! I was also incredibly emotional and sleepy and sore, so I napped. I did it! I made it! Wow. 12 hours of labor and pushing for a total of about 25 minutes with two babies brought into the world 8 minutes apart! Pregnancy and birth are truly a miracle and I will never forget my experience that day.
Rowan was in the NICU the whole time I was in the hospital (2 and half days in the hospital + 5 and half days of us at home). I was able to leave within 48 hours but I just didn't want to go home without both of my babies. Well, that wasn't going to happen and that had to be okay with me. I knew it was best for him. So on Saturday early afternoon, Jesse and I headed home with Alder to get this new life started! We visited Rowan in the NICU a couple times a day. Whew - exhausting but worth it. Rowan never had a single thing wrong with him besides not knowing how to swallow and suck preventing him from eating properly. They fed him through a tube his first day or so on the outside world, so he had to learn how to eat on his own. He had a set amount of milk he had to eat consistently for a 24 hour period in order to be ready to leave. They said it would just click in his brain since there was nothing else preventing him from doing so. IT HAPPENED! He did it!!!! We were so proud of him! 8 days total in the NICU and he got to come home! Longest 8 days of my life but every minute was worth having our two healthy babies home with us!
We are so blessed and we are so thankful. We were made specifically for these babies and these babies were made specifically for us. Jesse was the biggest help and just wonderful throughout my entire pregnancy, the whole day of birth, and now! My family has been incredible and has blessed us with many baby necessities. This is the life I have dreamed of and prayed for and here we are! I thank God for every smile and every cry and every poopy diaper and every bit of tiredness I feel.
A friend of mine found a beautiful backdrop on Pinterest and recreated it wonderfully in her own unique way. When I saw it, I knew I NEEDED one for myself and specific to my taste and style. My husband and I have slowly but surely been piecing together our new (since February.....) home and the bedroom walls somehow made last on the list. I've been needing a creative way to decorate the giant blank wall behind our bed. THIS WAS GOING TO BE EXACTLY WHAT I ENVISIONED FOR IT!
So, we set a date and made it happen!
I photographed the process and am extremely happy with the end product!
This project was simple, enjoyable, and rewarding.
( Ps. if you have kitty cats, they will certainly make the process cuter, but also a bit more challenging. )
YOU CAN FIND MY FRIEND AND ALL HER WONDERFULNESS ON INSTAGRAM @WORDSOFHALLELUJAH
- some sort of paper to use as the backer
(we used kraft on a roll)
- prints and papers of whatever you wish to display on your backdrop
(we used free printable off of Pinterest of greenery/florals, my hand lettered prints, and book pages)
(we used scotch and masking)
- scissors if you plan to trim edges or cut out anything
First, we rolled out kraft paper that we cut into four strips appropriately sized for our bedroom wall.
Then, we gathered the print outs of greenery/florals, the ripped out book/song book pages, and my hand lettered quotes and inspiration words and began trimming any excess edges.
Next, we used both scotch and masking tape to attach the prints and papers onto the brown kraft strips.
Lastly, it was complete and time to hang!
(you could easily tape the strips together, but we chose to hang them individually for now.)
NOW THAT THERE WAS SUCH A PRETTY BACKDROP BEHIND OUR BED, I DECIDED WHAT THE HECK, LET'S TAKE A FEW MATERNITY SHOTS! SO, MY SWEET + TALENTED HUSBAND TOOK A FEW FOR ME ON MONDAY MORNING BEFORE HE HEADED TO WORK.
( Here's 29 weeks for ya! )
AGAIN WITH THE "CATS CAN MAKE THINGS CUTER, BUT A BIT MORE CHALLENGING..."
MY FACE IN THE LAST IMAGE OF THE CAT SERIES SAYS IT ALL - LOL
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, spent time with loved ones, and ate some yummy foods.
As you could likely guess from the title of my blog, Pursuing Pie, I love pie. So, we of course made some over the weekend!
Our final baby shower is coming up this weekend so we needed to test out the recipes anyways - THEY ARE INCREDIBLE!
I documented the process and my sweet (AND PATIENT) husband helped too!
Enjoy the images and I hope you make some for yourselves because 1. they are simple and 2. they rule!
Apple Apple Pies
4 individual pies
Prep time : 15-20 minutes ( Depending on how many pictures you have to take between each step LOL )
Cook time: 20-25 minutes ( Depending on how gooey or crispy you like your pie crust )
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Slice the top off each of your apples and scoop out the insides. ( we used a knife and spoon which worked wonderfully )
3. In a bowl, mix the apple pie filling and cinnamon together and spoon the filling into each hollowed apple.
4. CLICK HERE for the how-to on the perfectly fit lattice toppers that we improvised for our apple apple pie toppers.
While you're at it, check out BUZZFEED'S post of more incredible food hacks that will blow your mind.
5. Repeat until every apple is covered.
6. Place the finished apples in a baking dish and fill with 1/4 in of water.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
7. Remove from baking dish and let cool.
8. Eat them all by yourself or share them with some friends!
I didn't even get any finished photos because I literally ate them as fast as humanly possible when they were finished baking.
Just imagine the last image with crispy golden brown lattice topped and a bit of apple filling oozing off the sides.
There you have it folks, Apple Apple Pies!
HI, I'M KENDALL
Living life in Portland, Oregon