It seems like just yesterday that we brought these little five and a half pound cuties, home, from the hospital. Overwhelmed, with so much emotion, love, joy, and fear, and miraculously, we all survived. We pretended we knew what we were doing and those precious little babies have turned into funny little people.
Four years have flown by in the blink of an eye, and today, the girls had their annual well visit check-up. My mind was blown when I realized their next check-up will be their kindergarten physical. How is this even possible? Please stop growing, now.
When our names were called, the girls lined up (thank you, preschool), and followed their nurse through the door and to the nurse’s station. According to our physical, Katelyn measured 41″ and Chelsea measured 40.5″, but I’m pretty sure Katelyn may have snuck up on some tippy toes for that measurement. She was probably practicing for future Knott’s Berry Farm visits (sierra sidewinder, here we come)!
The appointment ended with the girls’ final immunizations (aside from the flu shot) needed until they enter 7th grade (woohoo)! They were so big and brave, they didn’t even cry. Instead, they looked at the nurse with puppy dog eyes and calmly said “Ouch. That hurt.”
The nurse gave them each a new book and a high five and all was right again! Chelsea even asked me if we could go to the dentist next. Who are these kids?
One great check-up. Two healthy kids…. who must have two amazing parents. Cheers!
Ever since the girls were born, I frequently found myself excited for the next big step. When they were babies, I couldn’t wait for them to sit up and crawl. Then, I couldn’t wait for them to walk, and at 11 months, they took their first steps. I was so excited for them to talk and interact, that I couldn’t wait for them to get bigger, so we could play a game of Candyland or toss a ball.
You always hear the phrase, “Cherish every moment,” or “They grow up too fast,” but living hundreds or thousands of miles away from family, I rarely had any help, so I always thought, if they get older, it must get easier, or at least I hoped.
Now that they are almost 3.5, I finally look back at the days where they were babies, and I miss the sweet stages of those cute little diapered butts. The times when you could set them on the couch and know, they were not moving anywhere. The times that naps were still present and no one screamed back or tried to be defiant. No one fought or pulled any hair. There were no tantrums on aisle 3 and crying was typically silenced with a bottle, binky, or diaper change.
Raising twins is hard, especially with no family close by. My hat goes off to all of the amazing women who do it every day. I have never had more struggles or challenges, or been pushed to my limits, more than I have since becoming a mom. On the flip side, I have also never experienced more joy, more love, or more fulfillment, then I have as a mother to those girls.
Today, my “next big thing” was bunk beds. Was it too early? Probably. But, the toddler beds seemed to be getting smaller and bunk beds seemed to be a logical solution for two girls who shared a small bedroom. So, today, while the girls were at preschool, the magic happened.
We said goodbye to the toddler beds.
Daddy built the bunk beds while the girls were at preschool.
They were pretty excited to find the beds when they came home!
Daddy gave them the safety talk.
….And the new beds were awesome!
Story-time before bed was extra special.
Night one is almost in the books for our transition to bunk beds. Once they finally settled down from the excitement, they were fast asleep. As of right now, Chelsea took the top bunk and Katelyn was content with the bottom. I’m sure this will change down the road, but I’m happy that there was no fighting about who was going to sleep on the top bunk.
It’s bitter-sweet to see the girls in bunk beds, because they still look so little, and of course in my eyes, they are always going to be my babies, but they love it!
For now, I need to remember to stop rushing them to grow up and enjoy the moment. As hard as some moments may be, I know, I will miss these days, just as much I miss them being little babies.
Cherish every moment. They grow up too fast. It’s finally starting to hit home.
Twelve months ago, I was not a runner, not even close! In fact, I hated thinking about running. I loved to sprint, fast, but for 100, 200 yards, maybe. I loved to run around the bases in a softball game or do sprints for a warm-up. Anything beyond that, was just not for me.
One year ago, today, I completed my first “official” run, by joining an 8-week run club. That night, I ran 1 mile around the track. Little did I know, that mile, would be the start to an amazing, positive, change in my life.
I never thought I would ever complete a half marathon. I had no endurance and honestly, no desire to even try. I had myself convinced, that I was a sprinter, therefore, I could not run long distance, but last October, my mentality changed.
I set a New Year’s resolution, for 2013, that I was going to be Fit for 30. It was the year, I turned the big 3-0, and I worked hard, to get in the best shape of my life. I felt that I completed my goal when my 30th birthday arrived last October, but something was still missing. I got in shape, but I still couldn’t run. I was finally ready to stop saying, “I can’t,” and start believing in myself.
It was never easy. I made mistakes. I learned from them. I sustained injuries. I set my alarm for 5 a.m. runs. I had runs that were good and runs that brought me to tears. Most importantly, no matter what, I never quit.
I’ve learned a lot of things about myself since I started running (13.1 Milestone: Lessons Learned), but I think one of the most important ones is to have a positive attitude, not just in running, but in life. I had convinced myself that I was not good enough to run long distance and that I would never have the endurance to run a half marathon. The reality was, I just never had the desire or the patience to prove myself wrong.
I learned how powerful your mind really is and how much control your mind and your attitude have over your body. If I hit the road with a negative attitude, my run is horrible, every time.
I learned that 90% of your race, is your mental state that day. Of course, training is important, and your body needs to be properly trained, fueled, and hydrated to go the distance, but it’s just as important to train your mind, along with your body. When your body runs out of steam, your mind needs to tell your legs to keep moving.
If you told me one year ago, I would run a half marathon, I would have laughed out loud and told you, you were crazy, because I can’t run.
In the past 12 months, I have completed 2 5K’s, 4 10K’s, 1 sprint triathlon, and 2 half marathons, and I will be running my 3rd half marathon on October 26th.
11/9/13 – Big A 5K 24:56 / 8:02
2/9/14 – iTRTathlon 5K 24:57 / 8:03
11/28/13 – Plymouth Rock N Run 10K – 54:49 / 8:50
12/14/13 – Troutman Sanders Santa Run 10K – 53:54 / 8:42
3/2/14 – Coaster Run 10K – 49:23 / 7:58
3/30/14 – PCRF Reaching For the Cure 10K 49:20 / 7:58
2/22/14 – Race on the Base – 5K 24:40 / 7:57, Bike 13.1 mi 48:17, Swim 5:41
5/26/14 – Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon – 2:03:23 / 9:25
8/31/14 – Disneyland Half Marathon – 1:56:37 / 8:54
It is almost overwhelming to look back at the last year and see, not just the accomplishments, but to see how much running has changed me as a person. I really believe it has given me a new outlook on life.
Running was something that once scared me, because I was so intimidated by it, but now running is a part of who I am.
I started my own Facebook page, Mission TwinPossible: The Twin Mama’s Journey, and I have learned that anything is possible with the right attitude, hard work, and dedication.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that age 2 is hard, but age 3 is harder. Since my girls were about to turn 3, the only sensible thing to do, to make life easier, would be to get a puppy!
Meet (Mama) Mia! She was born in mid-March and is an Australian Shepherd and Terrier Mix.
Okay, now to justify my crazy thinking, for all of you who are laughing right now. I grew up with two dogs, and having those dogs, was a huge part of my childhood, that I will cherish forever. They were part of my family, and I loved them so much!
I wanted the girls to have the same experience, and grow up with a furry best friend. There isn’t a day that goes by (sometimes an hour) that I don’t hear one of them say, “I love Mia so much!” or “She is the best dog ever!”
I’ve been asked, why would you get a dog, when you are still in the potty training phase with twins? Here’s my answer, after the initial phase of potty training, I am so de-sensitized from anything that comes out of a human or animal, I felt like now was a perfect time to potty train a puppy!
When tantrums are thrown or the witching hour is approaching, nothing is like a bigger breath of fresh air, then that adorable ball of fur, always by my side.
We adopted Mia through I.C.A.R.E. Dog Rescue. The entire litter of puppies was dumped off at a dog groomers, and a good friend of mine, was actually the foster Mom for Mama Mia and one of her brothers.
I.C.A.R.E. Dog Rescue is a non-profit, all-breed, no kill dog rescue. They rescue dogs at risk of being euthanized from shelters, as well as abandoned, abused, and stray dogs. They also rescue many dogs that have been surrendered by their owners, for various reasons. They are a 100% volunteer-run and supported organization, that cannot survive without the help of loving fosters, volunteers, and benefactors.
We finally had the chance to meet Mia at anI.C.A.R.E. adoption event, at a PetSmart in Lake Forest. My husband knew, the moment I held Mia in my arms, she was going to be joining our family that night. She is absolutely, the sweetest dog, I have ever met, and we are thrilled to add her as the newest member of our family!
If you wait for the perfect timing, you’ll wait forever. We have talked about getting a dog for quite a while but we never knew when that day would actually come. When we met Mia, at PetSmart, we just knew in our hearts, it was meant to be.
Today, my girls were scheduled for their first dental cleaning. Naturally, I was nervous.
The first dental visit, which was a quick visual inspection of their teeth, resulted in a long wait, lots of tears, and a frustrated mommy. I knew that was not going to be the dental office for us, so I was already dreading future dental visits with toddlers.
After a year slipped away, from that unpleasant experience, I realized it was time to schedule their first cleaning. I decided to go to my twin mommy’s and ask them for help in selecting the right dentist. I immediately had referrals coming in, and reassuringly, they were all for the same person, Dr. Tina Azin, in Rancho Santa Margarita.
These moms could not have been more right! Everything about this dental office was perfect! From the moment you walk in, you feel like you’re at a tropical beach. The staff greeted us right away and the girls headed straight into the Tiki Hut, where they found toys, and video games.
We signed in and were happy to find out they are a paper-free office, so a few digital signatures and we were ready to go! The girls were called back right away and were seen at the same time, which is fabulous when you have multiple children!
The girls climbed in their chairs and were excited about the “ride,” as the chair reclined backwards. What was even more exciting, was the fact that there were TV’s on the ceilings that were playing our all time favorite movie, Frozen! Katarina and Danny were the Registered Dental Assistants that did the cleanings, and they were awesome!
I was in shock. The girls laid back in their chairs, listened to Katarina and Danny, and had their teeth cleaned, flossed, followed by an application of fluoride, and they were 100% cooperative…the entire time! It was like watching a movie. Were these my kids?
After their cleaning, the girls received a goody bag, which to a toddler, was like receiving a pot of gold.
Next, Dr. Tina (Azin) came over for one final look. She counted Katelyn’s teeth and Kate was surprised to find out there were 20 in there! When it was time to count Chelsea’s teeth, Katelyn helped Dr. Tina count. She wanted to make sure sissy had 20 in her mouth too! (She did.)
Overall, the dental visit was amazing. The girls did great, the staff was wonderful, and they can’t wait to go back for their next check-up! Finding the right pediatric dentist is so important. Our girls felt so comfortable here, from the moment they walked in the door. We hope to continue visiting Dr. Azin’s office as long as possible!
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.