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The year, 2013, is finally here. The year I turn the BIG, 3-0. I have made a New Year’s Resolution to get into the best shape of my life, and I knew that was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.
A year ago, I went to a mother of twins conference in Temecula, and I will never forget one of the guest speakers, a plastic surgeon, who was there to talk to moms about having a tummy tuck. He said that our tummy’s have stretched so far, our abs have detached, and all the exercise in the world will never get us back in our bikini. My jaw dropped. I guess my fate was already written, and I started to accept the body I had.
After having twins, I knew my body would never be the same again. It was hard to find any me time, and I was brilliant at coming up with excuses to avoid my personal time, but I realized that was not healthy. Inside, I was depressed, that no matter how much work I did, I would never get my body back.
I battled the weight loss for a year and a half after having the girls. When I finally thought I was “acceptable,” I bought new clothes. After the holidays, and eating a lot of junk food, I came home only to find out that those same clothes were feeling snug.
Enough, was enough.
It was time to change. It was time to get healthy. It was time to prove that it can be done. I was not going to accept someone telling me, what I can and can not do. I decided that it was time to change.
This New Year’s rolled around, and I lost the excuses and I made the time. I started off doing Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD on January 5th. I remember week one, I thought I was going to keel over, but I pushed through the pain, and I remember the tears of joy rolling down my cheek when I powered through Day 7 of Week 4 like I was in the DVD. It was the most amazing feeling to complete.
In mid-January, I joined Stroller Strides of Irvine and Tustin, an hour-long stroller fitness program for moms. (see my blog post). This class literally changed my life. The support offered by the other moms gave me inspiration and motivation to continue working my butt off and I love that the class is offered 5 days a week. Since the girls come with me in the stroller, an excuse was not an option.
I have been doing Stroller Strides in the morning and when the girls go down for a nap, I have cycled in additional Jillian Michaels DVD’s, sometimes doing two a day. I finally turned on the treadmill and started using it for more then just a place to throw laundry. I optimize my time and when the girls go down for a nap, I workout.
Working out gives me the energy I was missing. It’s not just about being healthy, it’s about being happy, and right now, I have never felt better.
A couple of weeks ago, I found a Groupon for 10 Kickboxing classes at the 1-2 Punch Family Martial Arts & Fitness Center. I went to my first class last week, put on my boxing gloves, and began the most intense 60 minute workout I have ever experienced. it was amazing! Three months ago, I would’ve been face down on the floor, but now, it is the most exhilarating, fun workout, I have ever tried. I am hooked!
I have six months left until I turn the big 3-0, and in the past 3 months, I have lost 20 pounds and 2-3 dress sizes. Today, I bought a bikini. The bikini that the plastic surgeon said I would never be in again.
Although, I don’t have the “perfect” stomach, and still have some extra skin or beauty stretch marks, I am in better shape now than I ever was before.
It’s been an amazing journey, and a journey that I never want to end. Fit for 30 is just the beginning, it’s time to be fit for life.
In 21 days, my babies will be 1 year old! I cannot even fathom that concept. I remember the first three months, when everyone used to tell me, enjoy it, time will fly by and all I wanted to do was cry. The first three months were very rough and emotional and a lot of work, and at the time, I could not wait for them to walk.
Here I am, 11 months later, with two girls who have just begun to take their first steps and I know walking is just a few steps away (pun intended). Honestly, I am in awe. These past few months have completely flown by and I realize everyone was right!
Once we hit six months, it seemed like we were hitting milestones left and right and before I knew it, my girls were already taking steps away from me. It surely is bitter sweet.
Katelyn’s First Recorded Steps:
Chelsea’s First Recorded Steps:
As always, I always get comments from everyone and their sister, when it comes to my babies on how I should feel. Some people say, “Don’t let them walk,” or “Once they walk, it’s all over,” or “Looks like you’re in trouble now.” As with all comments, I have learned to take them with a grain of salt, because I could not be more excited that the girls are on their way to walking on their own.
Up until now, going to the park, or Disneyland, or shopping, the girls have always been confined to the stroller. Call me crazy, but I do want them to get out and have the opportunity to explore and play. I could not be more excited.
Today, we are starting to take steps consistently from one spot to another around the house and it’s only a matter of time before we are walking in style. This is one milestone that is highly anticipated by many parents, and for me, it is definitely welcome.
Let’s go for a stroll!
Every mother has an opinion on sleep training and the best way to get their baby to sleep. There are plenty of books on how to teach your baby to self-soothe themselves to sleep and how imperative it is that you do not rock them to sleep for too long.
Well, I rocked my girls to sleep for almost 9 months, and they are the happiest, most loving babies I have ever seen! After 9 months, I decided they were finally old enough to begin to teach themselves how to go to sleep on their own.
I was never a fan of “crying it out,” for babies under six months old. I just feel that when they are so young, babies do not understand how to “teach” themselves to go to sleep, and I did not want them to cry to the point of exhaustion. If they were crying, it was because they needed me and I did not want them to feel like I was abandoning them.
Newborns cry for a reason, because they need something, and sometimes that need is just to be held. A newborn baby is not old enough to understand cause and effect, and at such an early age, they are not crying to manipulate their caregiver.
It is just my personal opinion, that I could not let my baby cry themselves to sleep for at least the first six months. It tore my heart out to hear my baby cry and I always wanted them to trust that I would be there, whenever they needed me. Now that they are older, and are beginning to understand cause and effect, I am ready to let them go to sleep on their own.
As always, the twin factor definitely makes things interesting. If we had just one baby, we may have stopped rocking them to sleep around 6 months, but I was always hesitant because when one baby cries, the other baby cries, and that raises another question, should we separate them into two rooms so they do not wake each other up, or do we let them get used to their sister crying? We decided to keep them together in the same room when we finally decided to stop rocking them to sleep, and it was a great decision for us!
So, yes, for the first 9 months of their lives, we rocked them to sleep for every nap and every bedtime, and I do not regret that choice at all. Of course, I had some people tell me that rocking them was the wrong thing to do, but for me, I still believe it was the right thing for us. Every family has to do what is right for them and their own family. As with everything in parenting, what works for one family, may not work for anther.
A few weeks ago, we decided they were old enough to understand that once they were in their crib, it was time to sleep. The first couple of days were the hardest, and the first night was the absolute worst, because I have never let my babies cry without consoling them.
The first night, the girls cried for about 12 minutes total until they finally fell asleep. We did go in their room during that time to rub their back and give them a hug and reassure them that it was okay. Each night, thereafter, for the next couple of days, the time drastically decreased, and now when we put them in their crib, they usually go right to sleep with little or no fuss at all.
I’m sure we could’ve had the same outcome of the girls falling asleep on their own, if we attempted “sleep training” months ago, but I was just not ready to do it nor did I believe it was the right thing to do during the first few months of their lives.
Honestly, staring down at my little girls, asleep in my arms each night, was an incredible feeling. I loved rocking my girls to sleep and I am so glad that I will always have those memories to cherish.
As with every parenting decision you make, whether it be breastfeeding, sleeping habits, pacifiers, routines, homemade food, etc, someone will think (and probably tell you) that you are doing it absolutely wrong.
I am still learning to take all of these opinions with a grain of salt, and no, it is not always easy. As a stay-at-home Mommy, I always want to make sure I am doing what is best for my babies. But knowing that there are people out there, who think I am doing everything wrong, or even watching other Mommies handle things with ease that I am in constant stress about, can be very overwhelming at times.
My most recent struggle is the transition to solid foods. The girls are nine months old and the internet tells me that they should be able to handle most any food now. Well, we are not there yet.
Both girls had a very bad gag reflex to the point that anything that was not puree, would make them throw up. I could prepare a thicker puree or offer oatmeal and everything was fine, but chunks, small pieces of food, small bits in a puree, all would lead to a meal disaster. I was beginning to think the girls would be eating puree foods in college, and then I wondered, could this be my fault?
After a lot of patience and spending 3 hours a day in our high chairs, the girls have made big advancements over the last two weeks. They have graduated to mashed potatoes, cheese, yogurt, deli meat, bananas, avocado, bread, pancakes, and oh yes, Gerber Puffs. I think they would live on Gerber Puffs if I let them.
I am finally starting to feel good that they are eating a little bit more food in addition to the purees, but we are definitely not on the page of, “they can eat anything,” yet.
So, the next dilemma begins, we are still eating very soft food because I am very paranoid about choking, and now I need to be creative and find time to prepare 3 meals a day. No, I am not organized enough to have a freezer full of food that I can just pull out, but maybe one day.
People often tell me to just feed them what I’m eating, but between bad timing and sometimes forgetting that I need to feed myself too, it has not been working out that way.
I know that, in time, I will figure this out, but right now, I am completely overwhelmed with meal times. Not to mention, I am spending an insane amount of my day in the kitchen between preparing meals, three 1-hour meal times, and cleaning up, I think I may just sleep in there too.
I remember being overwhelmed when I was first by myself and I had to figure out how to feed both girls a bottle at the same time but I figured it out. Then I was stressed that they were not eating solids when they “were supposed too,” so at 5.5 months we began eating oatmeal. I had to figure out how to feed them purees at the same time and that was even harder, and twice as time consuming, but I figured it out.
Now, I feel like they are “supposed” to be eating more finger foods, and I am very stressed out about what and how much, and this is 3 times more time-consuming, but I am hoping this is just another challenge that I will figure out too.
So, I may not be doing the “right” thing in other’s opinions, when it comes to figuring out the whole solids situation, and yes, I do stress about it way too much, but I am just trying to figure this challenge out too.
I think the important thing to remember is, they will not be eating purees in college. (I hope).
As a mother of multiples, it is expected to get a lot of extra attention when I am out in public.
While it is expected, it is also redundant and gets annoying. People flock to me left and right. I feel like I’m walking around with a six-foot monkey on my head.
The comments really began when I was pregnant. At 6-7 months pregnant, many people began to comment that I must be due any day now. Well, thank you for reminding me how gigantic I am, I almost forgot that I was pregnant. When I told people that I was having twins, some people followed up with, “I’m sorry.” Really?
It is a fact that I cannot go anywhere with the girls without people stopping me to ask the same questions or make the same comments. I understand that people are fascinated by twins, but sometimes people have no filter, and sometimes the comments and questions can get annoying and frustrating because I hear them so many times.
Here are the Top 10 remarks that I receive at almost every public appearance.
- “Are they twins?”
- Really? What tipped you off? They are usually wearing the same outfit, sitting in identical car seats in a double stroller. Yes, they are twins. Ok, a better response, OMG? What? NO, they are actually triplets. I may have lost one! Then, run in the other direction.
- “You’ve got your hands full.”
- They usually look at me like they are sorry for me. Don’t be sorry, I would not want it any other way. However, If you could open the door for me, that’d be great.
- “Do twins run in your family?” or “Are they natural?”
- Since we are getting personal, Hi, my name is Hollie, nice to meet you. I guess this is a sneaky way to ask, did you have IVF? Not that it is any of your business, but no.
- “Double Trouble.”
- This comment just offends me. Thank you for your opinion, but I feel very lucky to have twins and NO, my girls are not trouble.
- “Better you then me.”
- Absolutely, I could not agree with you more.
- “How do you tell them apart?”
- Okay, they are fraternal twins. They are sisters who happened to be born at the same time. They are two completely different people. How do you tell your children apart?
- “Do they have different personalities?”
- No, they even blink at the same time. Of course they have two different personalities, they are two different people.
- “Who is older?” or “I can tell which one is older.”
- Really, they are four minutes apart and you can tell me with certainty which baby is older? (Usually, they are wrong anyway) Plus, at 240 seconds, does it really matter who is older?
- “Did you know you were having twins?”
- This is the 21st century, and we do have ultrasound machines. I was not on the TLC show, “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.” I was fully aware that there were two babies growing inside of me.
- “Guess you are done having kids!”
- Thank you for offering to plan ahead for my future. I am glad that you think that families should have no more than 2 children, but I think I’ll keep that decision between my husband and I.
Okay, I am feeling a lot better after getting the “Twin Mommy Vent” out of the way and that was only the Top 10! Maybe I can do a follow up with the Top 20 later.
If you see a Mommy of Multiples the next time you are out, just take a minute to think about this post. I’m sure she will appreciate it.
Milestones are an important part of your child’s development and a huge celebration for the parents when they see their baby sit up all by themselves, or roll over for the first time.
Sometimes, parents can get caught up in milestones, and I admit that I am guilty of this offense. One important rule to remember in parenthood is not to compare your baby to other babies because all babies develop at their own pace.
While this is a good rule to follow, sometimes it is hard to remember.
Of course, every parent wants their baby to excel. You can go online and read pages of literature, blogs, or forums on when your baby should sit up or crawl or get their first tooth. If that date passes by and your baby has not reached that milestone, you can really feel discouraged.
Yes, this happens to me, a lot. I know the importance of never comparing babies, but I do attend a lot of classes, play groups, and meet-ups, and I see a multitude of babies that are the same age as mine or younger, who have hit important milestones weeks or months before my girls will.
Never compare your babies to other babies. I understand the concept, but I still get a sick feeling in my stomach when I feel like my girls are behind the curve.
They do not go to day care or have a nanny. They are with me 24 hours a day, so I feel like their ability to hit their milestones on target, falls completely on my shoulders. If they don’t crawl what they are supposed to crawl, or walk when they are supposed to walk, I must be doing something wrong.
So many thoughts race through my head as I sit in a class and watch a baby who is 8 weeks younger then my girls crawl by me. Is there something I should be doing differently? The guilt piles on.
My girls are my world and we absolutely love play time! When we are home and they are not sleeping or eating, we are almost always on the floor playing! In fact, I probably have the most content, happy babies in the world, and for that, I am truly blessed.
The girls will be eight months next Friday. They are not crawlers, although Katelyn is starting to skooch. They can sit up by themselves if you put them in that position and they are more than content sitting and playing in one spot for a while.
When they are around other babies, they turn into observers and just like to sit and watch. My girls are just extremely mellow babies and simply do not have the desire to move around from one place to the next, just yet.
I’m sure when I look back in a few years; I will be counting my blessings that I had two amazing babies who were just content and happy, simply playing in one spot.
It is hard to watch babies who are younger than yours hit their milestones weeks or months before your baby does, but I know it is important to not let that make you feel guilty. I know that is something I need to work on.
It finally happened. The girls are on a schedule.
For the past couple of months, I have made plans to meet up with new moms (of singles and multiples) and the question is always asked, “What time do your babies eat and what time do your babies nap?” The question is always posed so we can figure out what time to meet up, preferably after a feeding.
I realized, I could not answer this question and felt like I was one of the only moms who really had no idea. Every day was different. Some days the girls were eating around the same time, but usually not. Naps were often at opposite times, feedings were sometimes 30-60 minutes apart and I was never getting a break.
After talking with several new moms, and three new moms of twins, I realized, I was making my life a lot more stressful and did not even realize it.
It was time to at least get one thing in order, feedings. Before Thursday evening, feedings were all over the place. Sometimes the girls would cry an hour after they just ate, only to eat one more ounce. It was chaotic and I was feeding babies around the clock and it was non-stop. I was always exhausted.
After four months, I saw the light and this Momma has a new plan, which surprisingly has been a fairly easy adjustment for the girls. It all started Thursday night with a 6 p.m. bath, 6:30 p.m. feeding, and 7:00 p.m. bedtime.
Normally, the girls wake up twice at night, but something must’ve been in the bath water Thursday night because they only woke up once!
Friday morning came. My husband left for work at 6a.m. and today was the true test to see if I could get my life on schedule. Miraculously, both girls woke up at 6:30 a.m. and so it began, the first feeding. My day went like this:
<6:00 p.m. BATH>
<7:00 p.m. BED>
One nighttime feeding (between 1 a.m.-4 a.m.)
Having both girls eat at the same time was outstanding. Coincidentally, it led into napping at the same time, which meant, Mommy got a break. We followed the schedule again today and it was a success!
I used to be extremely stressed out running errands because it seemed like someone was always hungry. I never knew what a good time was to meet a friend because one girl was eating and one was sleeping. I feel like I was missing out on a lot of things because I was worried about leaving the house.
Now, this schedule has helped me get my life back. It is so great knowing exactly what time the babies will eat and that I could plan my day around it. I was finally in charge again… okay, I am in charge for the first time! How could it take me four months to start this?
Special thank you to my new friend, Erin, mother of beautiful 5 month old twin girls, for showing me the light. I can finally say, “Yes, 10 a.m. sounds like a great time to meet up for coffee!”
Right now, my focus is on the feeding schedule, next we will work on consistent napping, and then we will focus on eliminating the night time feeding. Hello world… this Momma is back!
When I was pregnant, we spent hours in the nursery making it look beautiful for the girls’ arrival. (See Nursery Unveiled). We would sit in the glider in their room and read them stories while they were in the womb. We could not wait for them to come home and sleep in their crib.
Since nothing goes exactly according to plan once you have babies, the girls were 6.5 weeks old and still sleeping in our bedroom. Being so small, they have both had some problems with reflux and we were just more comfortable having them a few feet away.
Now that Daddy is going back to work next week, we decided that it was time to move the girls into their own room, which is just down the hall.
Tuesday night was a big night in our household because it was going to be the first night the girls would sleep in the crib in their own room. Of course this was also one of the nights the girls were on opposite feeding schedules, meaning we were up a lot more then we could have been.
We set up our video monitor – which for us is a must have. We have the Summer Infant Slim & Securehandheld monitor and we absolutely love it! The camera is positioned on the side of the crib so we can see both girls since they are in the same crib right now. The handheld monitor is on my nightstand so I can see and hear them all through the night.
The girls have been in their nursery for two nights now. Night one, the girls were eating at different times, which means Daddy and I took turns running to the nursery to feed. I was a little stressed because the girls were not right next to me and I found myself constantly staring at the monitor throughout the night.
Night two, was a great night because both girls ate at the same time (11pm, 2am, 4:30am, 7:30am) and I was a lot more comfortable with them being in there.
It was a big day for us too, because we get our bedroom back. No more pack n play, changing table, glider, or diapers in our room. The adult feel has returned and that is also important for my husband and I to have.
Moving the girls into their own room was a big deal, and we are so thankful that the transition has been a smooth one!
I recently found out about a wonderful class offered every Monday at Kaiser Irvine. The class is called “Thriving Into Motherhood.” It is an educational support program for new moms and their babies, from birth to one year old. Each class is $10 to attend and since it is privately run, you do not have to be a Kaiser member to attend.
I definitely wanted to check this class out! As much as I wanted to take both of my girls, they happened to be on different feeding schedules that morning, so I decided to head to the class with Chelsea (who we just fed) and give Daddy some quality time with Katelyn!
The class is for women only (and boys under 3 feet tall) which made it a very comfortable setting. There were probably 20 Mommys and their babies in the class. Nursing, diaper changes, cries, tummy time, and playing were all welcome. After seeing how the class was structured, I am definitely going to bring both my girls to the next one we attend!
Every week, a different topic is discussed and this week’s topic was “Infant Development and Milestones.” Since our girls are now 6.5 weeks old, here are some of the 0-3 milestones we discussed:
1 Baby will practice bringing their fist to their mouth
2 Baby can lift their head briefly while on their tummy
3 Your baby can turn toward sounds and follow you around with their eyes (newborns see 8-12 inches)
4 Socially, you can expect your baby to smile (not just when they are passing gas!)
5 Expect to hear your baby’s voice between 2-3 months when they begin to “coo”
Our girls appear to be track for these developmental milestones and we have already hit the first 2! They do turn towards sounds and follow things with their eyes sometimes, but since they are only 1.5 months old, we will give them more time to fully accomplish this one.
We are still waiting for that first smile… although we definitely get the daily “gas” smiles and adorable smiles in their sleep. It will be so amazing when they look up at us and smile for the first time because they want to! Hopefully in the next month or so, our girls will start to “coo” using their vowel signs.
When looking at each developmental stage, it is important to remember that they are based on an average age and every baby masters each stage when they are ready.
If you would like more information on the “Thriving Into Motherhood” classes, you can email the facilitator, Britton Lunde at firstname.lastname@example.org.