Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

My Grandparents and my Aunt D. are visiting from Michigan -- they arrived yesterday and are staying a week.  They got to meet the twins for the first time, and enjoy Bean in full talking/dancing/running/singing mode.  We've been having a blast, from playing baseball to eating cake to going to preschool.  These kiddos are so loved!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Getting in gear

The very lovely Keri (aka mamatopooperjack) has asked for a list of baby gear and whether I recommend new, used, or borrowed, as she herself is the lucky mama of a toddler and she's expecting twins.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive collection of things you need for twins.  I am writing this as and for someone who already has one small child when the blessed multiples arrive -- someone who knows what a "sleep sack" is and has already realized that, while it may be adorable, your baby doesn't really need his own bathrobe.  I suggest checking out the "Beginners Tips, Twin Must-Haves, & Hospital Bag List" post on for a more detailed list.  And of course this is only my opinion, which is often completely wrong anyway, so I'm not even sure you should be reading this at all.  Proceed at your own risk.

Car seats - new.  I am weird about car seats... or maybe just lazy. Instead of trying to figure out if a used car seat is safe, I'd rather purchase a new one from a reputable brand and not worry about it. I just dropped $150 on a third Britax Roundabout because all the boys will be in those soon, but I think it's worth it.  (We got the other two at our showers, thank you generous family members!)  However, I did break this new-only rule with one of our infant car seats.  My wonderful friend Kim gave us a Graco SnugRide that her nephew had outgrown.  It was purchased around the same time we were getting the SnugRide for Bean back in late 2007 -- the fabrics coordinate with each other, in fact -- and I trusted her that it had never been in an accident.  Coming from a friend, we gratefully accepted it (thanks again Kim!), and the twins currently ride around town in both recycled SnugRides.  Otherwise, I personally would have purchased another new one instead of buying used from someone I don't know.

Stroller - used. The majority of mamas will be pushing their twinfants in a double frame snap 'n go stroller. There are other strollers that accommodate two infant seats, but to be honest I have no idea which ones. I suggest getting this item used, since you only need it for the early months anyway. Then you can resell it again if it's still in good condition.  As far as post-infancy double strollers, see my stroller posts: one and two.

Crib - used.  Imagine this: it's noon and you have two exhausted 6-month-olds and a ravenous toddler (growth spurt!).  Unless you are Magical Queen of the Tandem Babywearing Mamas, you can't simultaneously sooth the infants to sleep while making a grilled cheese sandwich.  You'll probably nurse the younger two and if they are still awake after that, you'll need to set them in their cribs to attend to the toddler's needs.  You won't need two cribs the first day, or even the first month -- but you will soon enough.  Many mamas have their twins share a crib for a while, but one of our twins is so active that he would constantly disturb his brother. We actually now have them in separate rooms completely so they won't wake each other.  When you buy a used crib, you have a similar challenge as with car seats to ensure it is safe, except for one key point: cribs are much less likely to have been in auto accidents.  I would steer clear of all drop-side cribs due to the massive recall, and with any crib, contact the manufacturer before making a purchase to make sure that your model has not been recalled.

Co-sleeper - borrow.  I was lucky enough to have a friend offer her Arm's Reach Co-sleeper to use when the twins were first born.  They slept cozy and swaddled next to each other beside our bed, which made nursing more convenient at night.  Having double the weight, they outgrew it twice as fast, of course.  If you decide to use one, free is the way to go, if possible.

High chair - new.  This, of course, is only if you like high chairs in the first place.  Many mamas aren't, they opt to go right into the booster seat instead.  Already having a kiddo, you know whether you are a HCP (High Chair Person) or not.  Personally, I am, and the thought of getting a used high chair with some unknown kid's food crusted all over it just grosses me out.  So new it is!

Baby monitor - borrow.  You may have seen our baby monitor farm in a previous post.  It just kinda evolved.  We are blessed in the fact that Bean does not get out of his bed on his own when he wakes up, even though he is physically able.  But the way our house is laid out, we still need a monitor to hear him call for us.  Then we have the twins in their respective cribs: Nix in the nursery, and Gax in our bedroom.  We tried to go without additional monitors for weeks, but it wasn't working for us at all.  One of my friends offered her old monitor, which is much appreciated.  Then I did end up going to Walfarts and getting a cheap one for $14.  Hopefully you won't need three like we do, but if you do, perhaps a friend or family member has one they are not using.  (Or if you are feeling high-tech like Jen, you can purchase a video monitor with multiple transmitters. I'm just not that cool.)

Changing table - used.  With three kiddos in diapers, one of the best decisions we made was to have multiple changing stations around the house.  We have two upstairs (one on our dresser for nighttime changes, and one on Bean's dresser), and a friend graciously offered her changing table to put in our playroom.  You could be depressed about the number of butts you'll wipe during the day, or you can just embrace it.

Diaper bag - new.  I read a lot of reviews on various web sites before choosing the one I did.  It's not particularly cute, but with three small children, it's function over form at this point. (This is the same reason I drive a minivan.)  This diaper bag is industrial-sized and matches everything, including a manly husband.  Done.

Nursing pillows - new.  Definitely get a twin nursing pillow for tandem breastfeeding your newborns.  I didn't use mine all that long for the purpose of tandem feeding, but now it helps to have pillows scattered throughout the house.  Again, you already know if you are a Boppy Mama, and I definitely am. (I used ours a ton all the way up until Bean weaned at 18 months.)  So I have the old Boppy in the twins' room by the glider-rocker, a new Boppy downstairs by a second glider-rocker, and the twin nursing pillow next to my bed for night feeding them separately.  I'm already hauling babies all around the house, I don't need to haul a bunch of junk with me too.  I'm a broken record: convenience is the key to survival.

Glider-rocker - used.  I've heard a few mamas say they never use their glider-rocker, and I don't know your personal feeling, but I am completely in love with mine.  We bought a really nice one when Bean was born and I have absolutely no regrets.  Right now it's in the family room, where I nurse most of the time.  But I am doing so much feeding both upstairs and down, we wanted an extra one for the nursery.  (Me, for the convenience -- and DH because then I'll be less likely to wake him at night while breastfeeding in bed.)  I would have loved to get a fancy one, but dropping another $500+ bucks was not an option, so we spent a much smaller sum on Craigslist.  I can tell that it's not top-of-the-line when I'm in it, but it looks nice and does the job just fine.

Clothes - new & used.  Because the twins are both fountains of spit-up where Bean was not, we definitely need at least twice the clothes.  They have more wardrobe changes in a day than Lady Gaga, and I have to do laundry every other day.  (The suggestion of putting them in bibs to protect clothing would be helpful if their puke didn't projectile past any futile attempts to keep their outfits clean.)  We got a lot of donations from friends, which was awesome, and there's a nice resale shop near our house.  Of course we do buy some new, because it's not hard to find inexpensive new baby clothes these days.  Besides, you'll want some cute matchy-matchy stuff, too.  Even if you swear you won't... you will.

Swing/jumperoo/Bumbo/bouncy seat/exersaucer - used, if needed.  You probably already have a collection of these "activity/entertainment" items collecting dust in your garage or closet.  And you probably won't need any more than you have, despite there being two infants this time around.  If your twins are anything like mine, they don't like the same things AT. ALL.  Nix loves laying on the mat and trying to pull the hanging toys into his mouth.  Gax spends hours in the jumperoo building thigh muscles of steel.  If both of your kiddos like the same thing, you can rotate them, or decide down the line to buy another one from Craigslist.  What I would recommend, though, is having these type of items scattered throughout your house for -- say it with me! -- convenience.  We have a swing in our bathroom for when I'm getting ready in the morning and need to stash a babe, and a bouncy seat that floats around the second floor as needed.  And of course, something by the kitchen table so you can eat your (already cold) meal as quickly as possible.

Baby carrier - used.  Okay, you knew this was coming.  I do plan on writing a whole post on baby carriers, because (if it's even possible) I am more obsessed with them now than when I just had Bean.  So for now, I'll keep it simple: get a Moby Wrap.  You won't be using it long because it's too stretchy for a heavy baby, so if you don't already have one, find one at a resale shop, or Craigslist, or borrow/buy from a friend.  Soon you will have more babies than you can shake a stick at, and it's helpful to wrap one up every now and then.  I hate to use the term "hands free," because your hands will be full even when you are babywearing.  But every little bit helps.

Meals.  I am not sure how I would eat if my Mom didn't live with us.  I'm guessing I would be rocking the Cap'n Crunch several times a day.  When the twins were newborns, a friend of mine offered to go shopping and make meals for us to store in our freezer (I paid the grocery bill).  That was really helpful.  Another busy friend said that she uses a make-and-take-dinner place to provide meals for her family, another option for you.  Also, when I was on bedrest and then into the first weeks of the twins lives, my friends provided three months of dinners for us 2-3 times a week, coordinated through the Lotsa Helping Hands web site.  What a blessing!  Whatever you do, remember you'll be constantly starving when you nurse twins, plus this time you'll have a toddler to think about after bringing home your babies, so you'll want some sort of plan in place -- even if it's gathering the menus of local restaurants that deliver.

And one of the most important things, which unfortunately you can't buy or borrow, is getting yourself mentally prepared for twins. It's time to adjust your expectations for yourself as a mother.  Remember having one teeny tiny human with enormous needs, attached to you 24/7?  Now you'll have two, plus a medium tiny human with constant needs as well.  You won't -- no, you can't -- be the same mother to the twins that you were for your singleton.  I like to think that there's a balance.  Although I can't give of myself as much to the twins as I could to Bean, I am giving them each other.  Yep, they'll thank me later.  I'm pretty sure.  Maybe.  It's possible.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions on something I missed!


Sunday, September 19, 2010


- My sons are growing up. Nix has a second tooth (adds a new level of challenge to nursing -- yeouch!), Bean has ditched his binkie (except at naptime/bedtime, for now), and Gax is a marine biologist (he communicates with whales by screeching). These three amazing boys fill my heart every day, even as they kick my butt. I love them so much.

- One of my sorority sisters, Andrea, is in town for work this week from Cleveland. It was fabulous to see her today, and traumatic to count the years since we graduated from college. I am the Worst Host of the Century for taking her to the mall near the airport for our reunion. DH was horrified -- "She's visiting Seattle and you took her to eat at the food court?!" I didn't have the guts to tell him we spent the rest of the time in the Family Lounge so I could nurse the twins and change diapers. Anyway, I appreciate Andrea putting up with us, and for teaching us what Zanybandz are. Mine glow in the dark, do yours?

- My parents *finally* had an offer accepted on a new house; the inspection is on Wednesday, and if all goes well they'll close next month. It's about 8 minutes away in the town next door. I am happy for them and sad for me. Oh glorious shower, how I will miss you! Deodorant, you're up, buddy. Good luck to both of us.

- Our co-op preschool started last week. Bean rocked his first day, I'm so proud of the little man he is becoming. The twins did well in their class also, getting a jump start on academics by drooling on toys and napping in their car seats. Money well spent there. Last year I had the super important job of being Co-chairperson of the Board. Now I am just the snack coordinator of the Yellow Class. Yet this strikes me as way more important.

- Still not sleeping better. Last night I was up with the twins every hour until 1 am, then every 2 hours until 7 am. They weren't nursing every time, but they still needed soothing. I know they are only this young once, and I don't want to wish this time away. But I'm wishing this time away.

- My Grandparents and Aunt/Godmother D. are coming to visit from Michigan in a week and a half. We are sooooo excited for them to meet the twins and see big boy Bean in person instead of on the webcam. I just hope the kids don't have the same effect on them that they had on my parents, because we are running out of bedrooms.

- I've read many great posts lately, but two in particular I wanted to share with you. The first is twinfants+toddler mama Jamie's post on the top ten things she's learned as a mom of multiples. I didn't see "where to hide when three small people scream for you at the same time" mentioned, but it's an excellent list nevertheless. The second is Lisa's craft project that she did with her two adorable boys. I am going to attempt to make one for my Mom's birthday next month -- or maybe Lisa will make one for me because she's awesome like that and she knows I'm exhausted and our kids are the same ages so no one will know the difference anyway. Hint hint.

- The new fall TV season start this week. I am super excited but nervous that I will get so behind on watching them that my DVR will reach max capacity AND THEN WHAT WILL I DO?! Yes, this does keep me up worrying at night.

What shows are going to keep you up worrying about your DVR this fall?


Friday, September 17, 2010

Blogoversary giveaway winner...

Congratulations Denise! The universe wanted you to win, as RANDOM.ORG generated the number 15.

To everyone else, thanks for entering and have a wonderful weekend. Go buy yourself some chocolate anyway, you deserve it!


Monday, September 13, 2010

The sleep update

My life these days is consumed with little more than the twins' sleeping habits. During the day, I am constantly focused on who is awake or asleep, and for how long, and strategize how to make those things happen at the same time for two babies. At night, I stare at the clock with bleary resignation and wonder what numbers will be flashing when the next baby cries.

It's exhausting, in every way possible.

I will say we seem to be moving in the right direction. Slowly.

The every-2-hour night feedings have stretched to 3-3.5 hours from our efforts. However, they are still waking in between and often require soothing, so I'm not really getting much more shut-eye. For example, last night:

6:30 pm - Gax to sleep
6:50 pm - Nix to sleep (over-tired?)
7:30 pm - Nix cries, 3 failed attempts to sooth him, brief cry-it-out
9:00 pm - Gax cries, I feed him then get Nix and feed him (dreamfeed)
10:00 pm - DH and I go to bed
11:20 pm - Nix cries, my Dad sooths him (of course I'm in bed awake during this)
1:15 am - Gax cries, I feed him then get Nix to feed him (diapers changed)
3:30 am - Gax cries, DH sooths him (again, I'm awake for this too)
4:30 am - Nix cries, I feed him then get Gax to feed him
7 am - Gax wakes up for the day, let the fun begin

Fun, right? No wonder I'm completely useless right now.

During the day, I decided to first focus on getting Gax to be a better (longer) napper before trying to coordinate him and Nix. That worked by following Dr. Weissbluth's advice of keeping Gax in the crib for one hour, even if he only naps for 30 minutes. I discovered that Gax would fuss/cry half-heartedly for about 5 minutes and then go back to sleep. It's been a few days, and now he'll just talk for a few minutes before snoozing again. Awesome! And he's happier these days because of it, too. So now Gax naps better, but we are still far from being on a regular schedule for both twins.

Did I mention I'm exhausted? Encouraged, but exhausted.

I haven't taken a ton of pictures lately because it seems all I'm doing is trying to coordinate naps, but I'll leave you with a few I was able to snap. (And don't forget to enter my third blogoversary giveaway!)

"Wait 'till they get a load of my blog. First post: How to leverage cuteness to derail sleep training. Ha ha!"

This seems a bit inefficient. At least my Mom labeled them.

I can't mention how long this many diapers lasts in our household, because it makes me weep. Costco loves us. One day, sweet cloth, I'll be back!

We recently had the entire main level of our house torn up for painting and new floor installation. (Pictures coming soon.) It was a disaster, but fortunately we kept the TV plugged in so the kids were entertained. More good parenting!

Happiness, thy name is jumperoo.

"Umm, Mom? Is this really necessary? It's only September."

Gax enjoys a Grandma hug.

Bumpa has all the cuteness he can carry.

The observer and the performer: a look into the next 18 years.

Sometimes there's nothing left to do but dance.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Three is a magic number: blogoversary & giveaway

Today, this blog turns three. Three is a magic number: it is how many children I have, the amount of years we struggled to conceive them, and the times I call DH during the day to ask when he's coming home from work.

It's impossible not to think about all the changes that have happened in three years. In September 2007, I was pregnant with Bean and we lived in St. Louis. In September 2008, we were raising a 6-month-old Bean in Seattle, and I was finally getting into the groove of motherhood. And last year in September 2009, I was coming to terms with a new twin pregnancy. Now look at us: a happy, if overwhelmed, family of five seven (can't forget to count my parents!).

It's a small little blog, but it means a lot to me and it makes me happy. To celebrate and thank everyone who has clicked on "Sunny in Seattle" to share support, advice, or empathy -- both in leaving comments or just in silent prayer -- I pulled together a little collection of treats from the Evergreen State (and surrounding) that I'm going to give away. Sorry international folk, I decided to limit this to the U.S. There are some perishables and I'm not sure how long it would take (or how expensive it would be) to ship to you. I recently ordered a couple of necklaces from a lady in Toronto via Etsy, and based on the postage date, they took a full month to arrive after getting caught up in customs. So in turn my gift was completely late for my brother's girlfriend's 30th birthday! But I digress.

I'm probably more excited about this giveaway than you are because my "love language" is Receiving Gifts, so this is my currency of affection. Unfortunately for my DH, this is the worst love language for your wife to have, for many obvious reasons. In this case, it would have saved him $35 plus shipping if it was Words of Affirmation. But it could be worse, if it was Physical Touch he'd have to spring for an airline ticket so I could give you a hug in person. Although I'm guessing if he got to pick my love language, that would be it. But again, I digress.

So here's what I have for you:

Chocolate Death Bar by Seattle's Favorite Gourmet Cookies & Dessert Co.

Falls Country Buttermilk Pancake Mix from Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls (the lodge featured in Twin Peaks)

"Mostly Sunny" All Natural Oatmeal with dried fruits from the Northwest, by Umpqua Oats

Smoked Salmon Chowder by Seabear Wild Salmon

"Rainy Day Roast" coffee, roasted in Seattle by Dustin Creach

Assorted cocktail chocolate from Seattle Chocolates (appletini, lemon drop, margarita, and mimosa)

Northwest Breakfast Tea by MarketSpice

All you have to do is leave me a comment below and tell me what local favorite (of any kind) that you would include in a gift from wherever you call home. And yes, you can still enter if you live here in Seattle -- tell me what I'm missing from my giveaway! I'm going to pick a winner at 12 noon Pacific Time on Friday, September 17 using RANDOM.ORG. Be sure to include your email address if it's not on your profile so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Favorite Things Friday (on a Monday)

I felt inspired to do a Favorite Things Friday post, so even though it's Monday, here are ten(ish) things that I'm loving these days.

1. Bean-B-Clean Baby Scalp Massaging Brush for Cradle Cap and Bella B Gone Cradle Cap Foaming Shampoo. Cradle cap is a common condition that causes scaly, crusty patches on an infant's head -- kinda like severe baby dandruff. Bean had it, and I tried in vain to get rid of it with vegetable oil and shampoo. The doctor assured me he would grow out of it, and he did, but it took forever. There may even be a couple of tiny patches still under Bean's hair today. The good news is that cradle cap is not itchy or otherwise annoying for the baby; but it is, however, annoying for the new mom who wants to take care of her perfect little one. Nix was spared from cradle cap, but my poor Gax had a pretty good case. This time I turned to the expert on all things -- Dr. -- for some new advice. I ended up buying this special brush and shampoo. I followed the directions diligently, and in just a few days, there was a HUGE improvement. Within two weeks I would say it was virtually gone. I mostly credit the brush, but I used the shampoo as well so I want to give that props too. Well done yet again, Well done.

2. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. If you have ever met my Mom or have seen her in pictures on my blog, you understand why I take her advice on skin care products immediately and without question. People often mistake her for my sister or the mother of the twins when we go out. She recently revamped my skin care regimen, and I am thrilled with the results. I wash my face only once a day now -- at bedtime -- and I use this deep cleansing oil. First of all, it's fun to use, because your face is dry when you start. Second, it conveniently takes off my eye make-up so I save a step (other than waterproof mascara, which I rarely wear these days anyway). And finally, my skin hasn't been this clear since I had a poster of Joey from New Kids On The Block on my bedroom wall. Love it!

3. Chez Jane Garlicky Garlic Spread. My parents discovered this recently at a local fair. We love garlic sumpthin' fierce in this house. Chez Jane has different flavors of this spread (like basil and chipotle) that are also good, but when it comes down to it, the more garlic the better. I love to spread this inside a grilled cheese sandwich, then I sprinkle garlic powder and parmesan cheese on the butter on the outside of the bread before grilling. Y-U-M!

4. Pretzel M&Ms. This one doesn't require much of an introduction. I am generally not a fan of pretzels. But shove them inside an M&M, and I'm all about it. I can polish off two giant bags in less than 48 hours. I dare you to beat that. GO!

5. Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation. I have been a loyal bareMinerals powder foundation user for years, but recently a friend of mine guilted me into going to a Mary Kay party with her. I bit back snarky remarks (except one, nobody's perfect) during the way-too-serious follow-along-with-the-products presentation, but I was pleasantly surprised by this foundation and actually purchased some. I haven't ditched my old stuff completely, but I love how quick and easy this goes on for a light yet smooth finish. Perfect for a busy mom on the go with just seconds to get ready in the morning. There, now I'm being too serious about it myself. When do I get the pink Caddy?

6. Godiva: Chocolate Lava Cake truffles and Dark Chocolate Banana Chocolixir. I couldn't decide which of these two to include for the Godiva entry, so I'm going with both. First, let me recommend that you join their rewards program, it is AWESOME. Every month you get a free truffle, among other benefits. This month, you must try their Chocolate Lava Cake truffle, part of their newest seasonal line. DH said it might be his favorite truffle EVER. I'm not willing to go that far, but it's delicious. As is their new Dark Chocolate Banana smoothie-type drink. I get it every time we are at the mall. DH and I see differently on this one -- he thinks the banana tastes too fake. But I'm the woman, who are you going to believe?

7. Keen Kids Coronado Hook & Loop shoes. Bean's summer sandals were so stinky that you could smell him across the room, and since the weather has turned crisp anyway, I decided it was time for some new fall shoes. I ordered these from Zappos on a Saturday night, and they arrived on our doorstep Monday afternoon. All with free shipping, to boot! They are just adorable on him, and super easy to slip on and off. Now he'll yell, "Mommy! Put on my Keens, please, I want to go outside!" Because nothing is cuter than a label-conscious two year old.

8. Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo. I never got a jumperoo for Bean because I've read questionable things about suspending children from their pelvis like that. (Hello Baby Bjorn...) Anyway, one fussy twin later and I couldn't hand over my $40 to Random Lady on Craigslist fast enough. Now Gax can literally spend an hour happily bouncing himself around in this thing -- often the only time he is content all day. We put him in it during our meals and we can actually eat. Not only that, but it's hilarious to watch him, hopefully I'll figure out how to post a &!$^! video soon so you can see it. I may be shelling out thousands of dollars to correct his body later, but for now, best $40 I've ever spent.

9. Lullaby: A Collection. When Bean was an infant and I was trying to develop a naptime routine, I desperately threw together a mix of smooth Sade songs and started playing those at every sleep time. Two years later and I'm still humming "This Is No Ordinary Love" when Bean goes to sleep. For the twins, I was determined to find something a bit more age appropriate. I again consulted the expert and found this CD that got rave reviews on The first time I listened to it, I was kinda like, meh, it's okay. But it quickly grew on me and I am really enjoying it now. Which is saying a lot considering between both twins I am serenaded with it for about eight going-to-sleep routines per day, plus however many return-to-sleeps in the middle of the night. Luckily there are very few lyrics (in English at least) so I don't end up singing "Lovers Rock" in my head as I try to then put myself back to sleep.

10. Davines Defining Relaxing Fluid. My hair is that tragic combination of being just wavy enough not to be straight and just straight enough not to be curly. It drove me mad for years until I fell in love with the straightening iron. When I was getting my hair cut recently, I asked my stylist for a product recommendation, and she gave me this. "It's so good," she insisted, "that you won't even need to use the straightening iron." I smiled politely and nodded in complete doubt. But she was right! Although the flat iron is still a favorite, I don't have to wear a baseball cap or pony tail outside the house if I don't have time to straighten my hair in the morning, because this does a great job. And their other products are good too -- I also have a mousse that's made for wizards. Not sure what makes it magic-friendly, but abracadabra, baby!

So what is making your life better/easier/prettier these days?