DIY Salon Manicure

The other day at work, my friend noticed my nail polish and asked me if I got my nails done. I simply said, “nope, I did this earlier today.” “OH MY GOSH THEY LOOK LIKE SHELLAC!” She told me I should write a post on how I did my nails, so here we are. Thanks, Lindsey!

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You will need:

-base coat
-top coat
-bowl of warm, soapy water
-cuticle clippers
-oil of choice, I use vitamin E
-pure acetone polish remover
-nail buffer
-nail file
-nail clippers
-cotton pads or balls
-nail polish of choice

  1. Take off any existing nail polish you have on and soak your fingers for a few minutes in the soapy water. Take them out, dry them off, and clip your cuticles.
  2. Depending on your nail shape, you may or may not need to cut your nails. Do that at your discretion. I have wider nails and they tend to grow out kind of rigid, so I like to cut the very tips off of my nails to square them off. From there, file your nails making sure that the corners are rounded so you don’t get hang nails, get your nails caught on your clothing, scratch yourself, etc. Instead of filing the nail back and forth, try to file going in one direction. I read that tip in a magazine a long time ago. It’s supposed to reduce nail splitting and breakage.
  3. Once your nails are shaped the way you want them, rub your nails with your oil, and be sure to really focus on the cuticles. Good cuticles are key to longer lasting manicures.
  4. Let the oil set in for a couple of minutes, then buff your nails to smooth out lines and ridges. Polish always looks smoother when your nails are smooth. (Obviously) Go wash your hands to get the dead nail dust and any excess oil off of your nails.
  5. Take another cotton pad and go over all ten of your nails with polish remover again. THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST CRUCIAL STEP. If there is any oil residue on your fingers, forget applying polish because it will be chipping by the end of the day. When you take remover to the nails before painting them, you are prepping the nails and the polish will adhere to them better. That tip was in my May 2016 issue of InStyle.
  6. Going from pinky to pinky, paint each nail with one coat of base coat. Going pinky to pinky allows plenty of drying time between coats, and that is where a lot of us mess up when painting our nails. I used to apply the coats back to back and then my polish would look splotchy and would be thick and peely. Not a good look.
  7. Using the same technique, apply two coats of your nail polish color. PINKY TO PINKY each coat.
  8. Again, P2P, apply your top coat. Let everything dry.
  9. Nope. Not dry yet. Sit there for 10 minutes at least. For darker colors, I would sit there for 20.

Now, if you are a sloppy painter and you tend to get polish all over your cuticles and nail beds, I recommend going around the perimeter of your nails with a q tip coated in Vaseline. If you don’t want to do that, the next time you shower, right before you get out, peel the polish off of the cuticles and around the nails with your nails. The water helps it peel off.

The day after you paint your nails, massage your nails with the oil again, and two days after, go over your nails with another coat of top coat. This will really help your manicure (or pedicure, this goes for the toes, too!) last longer than your typical 2-3 days. The last four times I have painted my nails, I have gotten 5-7 days of wear out of my polish. I’m not even kidding. I took a picture for proof:

The photo on the right was taken 4 days after painting my nails. Check out the chipping. Hardly any.

 

 

making time for mental health

Imagine yourself holding a camera in front of you with your arms extended fully out. If you look at the screen, you see whatever you’re taking a photo of, but if you look beyond the screen, you see the WHOLE scenario. Daily, we see pictures of people living what we think is a picture perfect life, but pictures are only a tiny glimpse into their lives. Hardly do we see what is going on behind the scenes.

Two weeks ago, I admitted to Erik that I thought I had postpartum depression one morning before he left for work. I said, “I don’t think it’s very serious, I think I am just really exhausted, but I think I might be wading in the baby pool of postpartum depression.” He could see it in my face that I was in deep thought about something when he came in the living room after getting ready to leave. I was over it. I was tired of getting up in the middle of the night to nurse Olivia. I was tired of rocking Violet and Olivia to sleep every night. I was over pumping. I didn’t want to do laundry. I didn’t want to cook. I didn’t even want to make a sandwich. I was 100% mentally clocked out, and every time either of the girls cried, I cried. I was so exhausted, and I felt like if it wasn’t the girls crying, it was Roman getting into it with our next door neighbor’s dog and me having to stop whatever I was doing to go outside and corral him back in, or Rose barking at the back door to come in two minutes after begging to go outside while jumping up and down like a kangaroo until I got up to let her in. Everything was annoying me. I felt like I was one of those sticky, stretchy toys you get out of the 25 cent machine that had been played with too much. I lost my stick and stretch.

When Erik got home from work later that day, I went in our room to try to take a nap. While I was ‘napping,’ I was weighing the idea of making a doctor’s appointment to talk about this against the fact that I knew in the back of my mind that the symptoms I was recognizing within myself were grounds to prescribe me some kind of medicine and I didn’t want to become dependent on a medication that would change the chemical composition of my brain. What could I change to avoid being given medication at all?

My milk levels had severely plummeted because I had gone three nights in a row without pumping before going to bed, and I read that your milk production improves when you are well rested, and I also know from talking with the IBCLC that we hired to come take a look at Violet that your milk levels increase when you drink a lot of water and eat a healthier diet. The more I thought about how little sleep I was getting, the more I realized how deprived I was of other important nutrients, like water, wholesome food, and even sunshine. I couldn’t tell you the last time I went outside. I couldn’t even remember the last time I drank the recommended 8 glasses of water because my water consumption had been replaced with coffee, and my meals had been replaced with ready-to-eat food straight from the boxes in the pantry. How could I properly take care of Violet and Olivia when I wasn’t properly taking care of my own self? I told Erik the epiphany I had when I woke up. He agreed with me, and said he had been feeling like he could’ve been taking better care of himself, too.

I’ll be the first to admit that with two mobile babies, it is very challenging to get meals prepped and cooked, and sometimes it is a really tough choice between starting another episode of Frasier or going to bed at 9:00 p.m., but you have to make it work. I spend time during morning naps prepping food, and if the nap doesn’t go as planned, I put them in the kitchen with me in their activity seats and prep the food anyway, and I usually cook dinner right after they go to bed. It has only been upwards of a couple of weeks, but with these slight changes, I definitely feel an improvement in my mood and overall attitude in general, and my milk has increased as well.

Mom to mom, if you are at the point where you just want a few hours (or a whole weekend) to yourself, don’t feel guilty because of that. It is so important to make time for yourself because if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, we can’t properly care for others. There needs to be balance, and that’s something that has taken me way too long to comprehend. If you think you are dealing with PPD, or if you are experiencing any feelings that concern you, I suggest making an appointment to speak with your doctor. I personally did not feel like I was mentally at the point where I was ready to seek medical help, but if things change, I will absolutely speak with my OB.

 

 

 

Cloth Diapering 101 | On a budget

I’ve been interested in cloth diapering since my pregnancy. I spent what seemed to be hours on my phone, researching what materials I needed, how much, and how extensive the washing process was. Let me tell you this right now: I don’t have half the shit they say you need to be successful at it, and I am doing it with two babies. Here is how I made it work for our family on our service industry income.

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Excuse my poorly lit photo, but all I need is what you see on my paint-stained kitchen table. To wash, I use Tide original powder, wooden clothes pins to dry them, and a diaper-safe diaper rash balm. Coconut oil works just as well, which is why I included it in the photo. I used that before I got the diaper balm. Traditional zinc-based creams cause your diapers to lose absorbency by coating the natural fibers in the cotton. They essentially become water-repellent. I have a stack of 3 different types of diapers that I am going to go through in detail for you, and underneath the stack is a cotton prefold and Snappi. The rectangular things to the right are called inserts. They typically go inside pocket diapers, but can sit inside a cover. You’ll see what I mean when I get to the green diaper.

My FAVORITE Way to diaper: Prefolds + Covers

This is a cover with a snap closure.

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This is an unbleached organic cotton prefold. I have been using dandelion cotton brand since the girls were newborns. This is the second size I have purchased from them and I love how absorbent they are, and how affordable they are. The mint green rubber thing with teeth is called a Snappi, and that’s used to secure the diaper once you fold it to fit your baby. It’s much easier than pins.

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I’ll have a tutorial photo on how to fold this bad boy down at the bottom of the post, but this is how a prefold looks once folded and secured, just imagine a baby in it. It’s a literal cloth diaper.

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The cover goes on top of the prefold…

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And then you snap it to fit your baby. I really love this particular brand of covers because of the super adjustable waistline. Look on the left tab. The extra snaps make it easy to cloth diaper a newborn because it will fit their tiny body. This particular brand’s covers run about $10 on cloth diapering sites like kellyscloset.com and Nicki’s Diapers. I included the link to KC because I personally prefer to go through that website.

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Another feature I really like about this particular brand is the double gusseted legs. It’s like the wing of a pad. I have never had a blowout with a double gusseted cover.

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Close up of the brand name for you curious cats. img_6542

Another kind of cover is a Hook and Loop, or Aplix closure.

It’s a velcro closure at the waist, which in reality is a fool-proof fit, right? I didn’t mention this when I was talking about the chevron cover, but the hole-looking things on the botton of the diaper are called snap rises, and they adjust the size of your diaper rather than the waist. You can put this over a prefold just the same, or you can put an insert in the flaps at the top and bottom of the diaper like I did in the photo, and just put it on your baby like you would a disposable diaper. This way is definitely quicker than folding prefolds, but prefolds are cheaper. This is just another option for you. These run about $11 on KC. I forgot to take a picture of the logo. It’s the brand Wolbybug.

The last option is what seems to be everyone’s favorite way to diaper, but also the most expensive: Pocket Diapers + inserts.

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Imagine Baby diapers run about $13 a piece.

It snaps closed like the other diapers, but this diaper is lined with fleece and has an actual pocket to stick an insert in. I have an insert that came with the diaper sticking out so you can get an idea of how it goes in the diaper. It’s pretty self explanatory.

If you refer back to the first photo, there were 3 rectangular inserts. Let’s get a close up:

inserts

The top insert is a microfiber insert. Any time you buy a pocket diaper, it’ll usually come with a microfiber insert to stuff it with. They’re the bulkiest out of the 3 and the least absorbent. In the middle is a bamboo/cotton blend insert. Slightly more absorbent, and at a decent price point. The least bulky of the 3. The bottom is my favorite: a hemp/cotton blend. Hemp inserts are the most absorbent and the most expensive. If you stick around to read the rest of this, I’ll tell you how I got the things in my stash for a discounted price. Never ever put a microfiber insert directly ON your baby’s skin. Stuff the pocket with it ONLY. Bamboo and hemp can touch your baby’s skin directly with no harm.

Washing:

This is how I wash my diapers. It took me about two weeks to get a solid washing routine down and working efficiently.

  1. Make sure all of your snaps are undone and all of your inserts are pulled out of the pockets so everything gets washed properly. Throw everything- inserts, covers, pockets, even the pail liner (I haven’t mentioned it yet, don’t worry. You haven’t missed anything.) in the wash. DO NOT ADD DETERGENT. Do a COOL rinse cycle.
  2. Once the rinse cycle is completed, add your detergent. Like I mentioned before, I use original Tide powder. It’s the leading preference of detergents by cloth diapering parents everywhere. Don’t try to get fancy and use DIY detergent because you don’t want all of the ‘harsh chemicals.’ Would you rather your diapers be clean, or would you rather them be free of harsh chemicals and full of germs and stink? Yeah, didn’t think so. Do a HOT heavy duty wash.
  3. Most people said to just do another cool rinse cycle and the diapers would be fine, but I found that wasn’t enough to get the detergent out of my prefolds because Violet kept getting rashes on her tush. I do a regular wash cycle with cool water. It works just fine for me.
  4. When your washing is done, take your pocket diapers and your covers out and set them aside. Do not dry them in the dryer. (You can, I did in the beginning, but keep in mind that with every dryer cycle, your elastics are losing their bounce and are wearing down faster than if you air-dried them.) That’s what the clothes pins are for. You need to have a place to hang your diapers to dry. I ran a piece of twine from one side of my laundry room to the other and dry them in there, but if you have a clothes line, that’s all you need. *if you have staining, you can hang them outside and let the sun bleach them out when you pull them out of the washing machine*
  5. Put your inserts and prefolds in the dryer. Don’t use the highest heat setting, use a medium heat setting. Sometimes for them to get completely dry, I have to run my dryer twice.

My girls are eating baby food now, so their poops have done a complete 180 and are smelly and disgusting. Tons of people say to invest in a diaper sprayer that attaches to your toilet. You know what I do? I spray mine with the water hose outside in my backyard. It works wonderfully and guess what? I didn’t spend $45 on the sprayer, so I can take that money and buy stuff to add to my diaper stash. 

Where do you put the diapers in between washes? Tons of people suggest a diaper pail specifically, but I personally keep a wicker hamper that closes lined with a planet wise pail liner and toss them in there. The smell is contained just fine. Just make sure you spray the poop out of the diapers before putting them in the pail or else it will literally smell like shit.

How many diapers do you need? That depends on what system you are going with. Are you doing prefolds and covers or pocket diapers? Covers can be worn over multiple prefolds in one day unless your baby gets poop on it, or you have a leak and it gets soaked. I can get away with using 4-6 diapers per cover. A good prefold to cover ratio is 2:1. Pocket diapers are essentially one time use diapers, so track how many times you change your baby’s diaper and add 3-4 more just in case. If you change your baby’s diaper 8 times a day and are washing every day, you can probably get away with 12 diapers. If you want to go two days without washing, you need about 20 diapers or so.

Don’t go more than 3 days without washing because by then your pee diapers start to smell like ammonia and it’s hard to get that smell out, and don’t wait until you’re on your last diaper to start washing them.

 

My Personal Stash:

*I got 20 inserts and 17 pockets from a lady on craigslist for $40. I soaked the diapers and inserts in a bleach + water mixture that I looked up online to disinfect them, washed them 3 times, dried the pockets in the sun to solar bleach them and remove further staining, then washed another 3 times until the bleach smell was gone. Don’t be a snooty Trudy and snub your nose at buying used diapers. If you don’t have money and want to get started, this is a good way to go. Think about it. What kind of people cloth diaper? Generally the ones that care about their babies and the environment and whether or not their kitchen and bathroom cleaner is all natural or not. You’re not going to get a disease from buying used diapers.

I linked KC earlier and I really suggest going through that site to buy your covers and diapers. If you buy 6 or more (I think it’s 6) diapers, you get them at a discounted price. You get reward dollars for shopping through them, and you get free gifts when you spend x amount of money. When I got my first order, they were advertising a free pocket diaper when you spent $119 which isn’t a lot at all considering a box of diapers ranges $25-$40 depending on where you go. Boxes of diapers lasted us about 5-6 days so you can only imagine the money we are saving.

Kelly’s closet sells inserts and prefolds as well, but I personally prefer going through amazon for that. The links I used are to the exact products I use for diapering and love them!

Absolutely none of this is sponsored, all of this is what I do and what works for me. Do your own research to make sure you’re comfortable with your choices, but hopefully this was enough to get your started.

BONUS: How to fold a prefold

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Have the top of the prefold lined up with your baby’s belly button. Fold each of the sides in toward the middle, then again once more. Bring it up between the legs, making sure that it’s snug around the inside of the thighs. Bring the left corner behind your baby over the middle, then do the same with the right like you would a disposable. Holding it in place and using a snappi, snag the teeth on the left tab to the prefold and then stretch it over and snag the teeth on the right tab, then bring the middle tab down and snag it. You can roll the cotton around the thighs inward to make it a little tighter if you need to. Adjust the rises on the cover to fit your baby’s height, then snap the tabs in the middle to fit snugly around the waist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s to you, ladies!

If being a mom has taught me anything, it’s that playing the mother role is hard work. Not physically hard, but mentally. You’re constantly on demand (especially if you’re breastfeeding), you’re constantly being watched, you’re constantly being asked to share your food, you can’t take a shit or shower in peace… do I need to continue? Because I can. 

I wanted to do something a little different on my blog for mother’s day because well, sometimes you just need to hear how amazing you are, and all of you definitely are amazing women and mothers. At least these people in your life seem to think so:

“We met when we were only children, and through all sorts of adversities, we now have a child of our own. While managing to keep our marriage strong, you have helped him blossom into a kind and wicked smart young man. I know there are days when your energy is low and Parker doesn’t want to listen, or I am acting selfish, you feel like you are’t as appreciated as you should be. Katie, you are the glue that holds our house together and keeps it running smoothly. You are amazing and I hope you always know how thankful we are to have you as our queen.” -James

“Sarah, I’ve never met a person whose heart is so open to a child that isn’t theirs. You’ve stayed awake long hours of the night with her while she was sick, you’ve taught her things that have blown her mind, and you’ve truly loved her no matter what. Bella is the luckiest child in the world to have a woman as amazing as you.” -Justin

“Lindsey is a great mother in a lot of ways. Not only is she hardworking and dependable, but she is a great teacher to our daughter. What I love most about her role as a mother is that I always know our daughter is taken care of when I’m not around. She always puts her first and has great motherly instincts. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother to our child.” -Notice

“As a mother, Terrin is someone who brings warmth and comfort to our family, she adds value to both our son, and to her significant other. She can be tending to our child, while cooking for the family. She has maternal intuition, and the knowledge of an encyclopedia. She has the endurance of a marathon runner. She has an unconditional love for our son. I am the luckiest guy in the world and it doesn’t take a psychic to know that she means the world to our son.” -Esteban

“Chelly has exceeded my expectations as a Mother to Zayden. Her love and patience for Zayden is beyond words. She not only has shown her growth and strength as a great mother by living every moment of her life for her precious son but her faith in God has given her so much perseverance to be the best Mother and person that she can be.” – Carolina

Being a mother to a toddler can be trying, filling in as a motherly figure is completely at your discretion, taking on so many responsibilities can be overwhelming, and being a new mom is like riding all of the rides at Six Flags at the same time.

I wasn’t able to get in contact with someone to write something for the women below, but I wanted to include them in this post for my own reasons because they are admirable, too.

Martina, I have told you time and time again, but Karsyn is so lucky to have such a strong woman as a mother. God could not have given her a better role model to look up to and aspire to be. You make it look so effortless because you never let your stress outshine your personality. I am so proud of you and so are all of your friends.

Heather, KUDOS for how well you’re doing with your breastfeeding. You told me that you hoped you were as successful as I was… Pssh! GIRL! You are kicking ass! I admire how dedicated you are to it. You seem to really enjoy being motherhood and it fits you quite well. Enjoy your first mother’s day, beautiful!

Amber, your instagram photos tell me a story of what it’s really like to be a parent. Your pictures of Norah in tears, you taking a selfie because your hair looked good for what seemed to be the first time in ages, and capturing the first date you got to go on this weekend after giving birth to her. As another breastfeeding mama, I applaud you for keeping your sanity because EBF babies are SO demanding and I know it. You’re doing a great job. (PS- if Wes ever finds the message I sent asking for him to write something about you, it was for this post.)

As a child, my mom was the most important part of me, and now twentysomething years later, I am a mother myself and it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. From the scary first moments after the pregnancy test confirmed I was pregnant, to housing the girls in my uterus for 33 weeks, to finally bringing them home after two and a half weeks in the NICU and watching them thrive is beyond description. I could never express how special Violet and Olivia are to me. I hope each of you know how lucky your kids are to call you their mother.

Happy Mother’s Day, and for three of you, Happy FIRST Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

Let Them Be Little

As I stand in the middle of your room swaying side to side while humming with my cheek against your head so the vibrations in my voice calm you down, I inhale the scent of your hair and thank God for allowing me to spend this much time with you. I kiss your cheek while tears gently flow out of my eyes because I know there are women out there who aren’t as fortunate to have made it this far whether losing their babies in utero, during, or after birth. While saying a prayer for little ones lost, remember that time isn’t guaranteed and hold your babies closely. Don’t get mad or discouraged when they won’t go to sleep, won’t eat their vegetables, or refuse to take a shower. Let them be little.

top fifteen kitchen must haves

Whether you just moved in to your first place, you need a practical gift idea for that person you just don’t know what to get, or you are looking to add to your personal kitchen stash, this is exactly what you should be reading right now. All of the items listed are things I own myself and use religiously.

Vehicles:

  1. Cast Iron Skillet – You can sear the hell out of a steak, bake a pie, or turn it upside down and crisp a day old pizza crust back to perfection. Hands down, the most used pan in my kitchen. (P.S. If this is your first place and you happen to live alone or do not own a weapon, this doubles as one, okay? Be safe.)
  2. Dutch Oven – These can be pricey, but HEB carries them for around $30 which is the cheapest I have seen them, and that’s where mine is from. It’s made out of enameled cast iron and it’s heavy as hell, but it is the best pot for stews, soups, chilis, and braising. If someone asked me if I would get this over a crock pot, I would say, “You bet your ass I would.” You can get a pork shoulder fork tender in around 1.5-3 hours depending on how big it is.
  3. Baking Dishes in various sizes for casseroles, cakes, brownies, cobblers, etc.
  4. Cookie Sheets for roasting vegetables, baking the obvious cookie, or crisping bacon the mess free way in the oven.
  5. Mixing Bowls – I have two sets: one glass and one set of Cali Bowls that Erik got me for Christmas. I LOVE them because the sides are spill-proof.
  6. Wire Rack – used for cooling baked goods so the hot sheet pan doesn’t continue to cook them from underneath, but can also be used to cook bacon evenly in the oven by allowing circulation and the drippings to fall into the sheet pan underneath so it’s not sitting in the grease. (BONUS: Store the bacon drippings in a small glass mason jar in the fridge to use for later cooking or discard in the trash. NEVER put it down the drain!)

Utensils:

  1. Tongs – I use them for everything. Ev-er-y-thang. Get some with a gripped handle because solid metal can get HOT.
  2. Wooden Spoon – Doesn’t get too hot to touch, used for scraping up browned bits from your pans when deglazing them or stirring rouxs and sauces.
  3. Metal Whisk – I personally prefer metal. If you have metal mixing bowls maybe get a silicone whisk to avoid scratching.
  4. Chef Knife – The end all be all of knives. Seriously, forget about the knife block. This can slice, dice, carve, mince, chop- whatever you need it to do. If you want to be fancy, get a decent set of steak knives if you eat a lot of meat. If cooked properly though, you don’t really need a steak knife to begin with. I am not including a link for this because you need to find one that fits your hand comfortably. Everybody has a different preference. I personally use a 6″ but I have really small hands and am not comfortable using an 8″ knife. However, a burly man might feel like a 6″ knife is a paring knife in his hand so no. Go to Bed Bath & Beyond or a Sur La Table and test out holding the knives they have there to get a feel for something you’ll like.
  5. Microplane – aka a ‘zester.’ This is used to grate anything from garlic to make a paste, chocolate shavings, citrus, fresh nutmeg, and my personal favorite, Parmesan cheese over a fresh pasta dish. YUM.
  6. Measuring Cups + spoons – I have this stacked set from Joseph Joseph that I absolutely love. They snap together so they don’t take up ANY space in my utensil drawer and for the price? Pssh, please.
  7. Cutting Board – a sturdy wooden one is what I use, but I also clean it after every. single. use. and sanitize with fresh lemons after using raw meat which is quite a hassel. Again, Joseph Joseph has saved the day by having THIS bad boy on the market. I have been wanting it for a couple of years now after seeing it in my local Steinmart but failed to take advantage of the $25 discount. I can’t spend that much on a cutting board. I just can’t. Maybe as a gift?
  8. Fish Spatula – Specially made to get under delicate fish without it falling apart on the flip, this comes in handy for many other things for me including flipping burgers, transferring cookies to a wire cooling rack, but most importantly, getting under a cracked egg and flipping it without the yolk breaking. Step your egg game up and invest in one of these.
  9. Silicone Spatula – I use this for a multitude of things, but it’s really helpful when you need to scrape the sides of a pan, or the remains out of a bowl or skillet, and icing cakes. I have this exact one that tells me measurment conversions which comes in handy ALL OF THE TIME, but before you get discouraged about the price, I actually found mine at TJ Maxx (along with a lot of other things on this list) for about $4!

 

 

 

nursing: more than food

It’s 2:00 p.m. on the dot, and right as Olivia was dozing off in her swing, I took her out and put her in her crib. Violet went to sleep about an hour ago, but she completely skipped out on her morning nap. I have been writing posts as I experience things and think, “this would make a good post,” and today is one of those days.

I always thought ‘nursing strikes’ were a bunch of bologna, but I really think that Violet has been having one for the last few months. What was she protesting? Her disdain for me following shitty advice on my local La Leche League Facebook page and ultimately altering [lowering] my supply? The fact that mother nature visited me for the first time in her life and my milk levels were even more out of whack? I’ll never know, and she won’t remember by the time she’s talking to me, so I just have to adapt to her needs as well as I can. It’s partially empowering because I feel like super woman when she latches on and calms at the breast after refusing to nurse for almost three months, but it’s also mentally draining trying to get back in the groove of nursing both her and Olivia constantly during the day, especially now that they become distracted with one another if I tandem nurse. Olivia gauges Violet’s eyes and Violet pulls her hair. At eight months, it’s a real shit show.

Yesterday, Erik got up with the girls so I could sleep a little longer, but they were really whiny so I got up anyway. In my eight months of being a mom, yesterday was the first time I negatively thought, “damn, I’m a mom.” Out of nowhere it hit me: there is no escaping their cries. As soon as they wake up my day starts, and there is no packing up my stuff at the end of the day and going home. I am here with them for the majority of my time, minus the two five hour shifts I work a week. Within five minutes, they were teetering on that nerve that can’t snap because once it does, I become an emotional wreck. Violet’s whines turned into hysterical cries. That nerve snapped. My eyes big, I picked her up and tried to burp her because her stomach felt hard, but she kept throwing herself backward so I just put her in her crib because I didn’t want to accidentally drop her.

Watching her lie there while arching her back and crying, tears started flowing out of my own eyes. “Why am I upset with you?” I thought as I picked her back up to try again. She didn’t do anything wrong. Erik met me at her doorway and took her from me to burp her. He is much better at getting her gas out than I am. I sat in the chair in the living room crying, mad at myself for getting upset with Violet. The more I thought about my emotions, the more I realized that I wasn’t even upset with her. I was letting a rough morning determine my attitude for the rest of the day, and I was taking my frustration and blaming it on Violet.

This morning and afternoon were fairly similar. Olivia went down for her morning nap easily, but Violet cried when I put her down. I let her cry for a couple of minutes but when it didn’t subside, instead of getting mad, I took our shirts off and did skin to skin. She alternated between resting her head on my chest and nursing, but eventually calmed down and closed her eyes. “She is obviously going through something and needs me.” I thought, and that’s what I meant in the beginning of this post by adapting to her needs: breastfeeding is so much more than feeding. It is their comfort and solitude, and they are in this relationship because I wanted them to be. They were in the NICU for 17 days with bottles and pacifiers. I could have easily avoided nursing them altogether and continued exclusively pumping and bottle feeding them, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to breastfeed and asked their nurses and doctors every day when I would be able to try to. Now, out of nowhere, Violet is nursing more than ever after me making peace with the fact that she might have to be strictly bottle fed. At almost nine months, neither one of them are showing signs of wanting to wean any time soon.

I will be the first to admit that yes, it is draining, and yes, sometimes I do get annoyed with the constant clinging to me and the fact that I have two babies depending on me. Once they latch on though, the tension in their hands release, their breathing slows and turns into content cooing, oxytocin surges through my body and I am calm, too.

*disclaimer: I didn’t finish this post until 5:42 p.m. THAT is what having twins is like. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when I get back into school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hiring: night shift personnel

Bath time came a little earlier tonight with the intention of having the girls in bed by 8:00-8:15. They were cranky.

Erik left to go to a friend’s house as I was giving the girls a bath. Bath time looks a little something like this: each girl in the tub at the same time with about an inch and a half of water. Sometimes there are bubbles, sometimes there aren’t. I bathe each girl individually, let them splash around for a few seconds, and then let the water drain before getting them out, that way I can get them out one by one safely.


I put some Aquaphor on them as a barrier before their diapers, then socks, and then their sleepers. I put them in their boppy loungers that surprisingly still come in handy after all of this time, and I made their bottles. I withdrew .06 mL out of their gas drops and divided the dose between the two of them, and did the same thing with Tylenol. They’re teething. It sucks.

Olivia ate her bottle like a champ; Violet was refusing. I was getting aggravated. I picked her up to burp her. She burped twice. I tried feeding her again. She still didn’t want it. She was sucking on the bottle but she wasn’t actually working to get any milk out. I took the bottle away from her and went in the kitchen and cried. I picked Olivia up and burped her because at this point she was done eating. I put her in her crib and went back into the living room to tend to Violet. I sat down on the couch with her and attempted to nurse her. She surrendered so sweetly that it made me cry again. She just wanted me, not the bottle of formula. Anytime, Violet, anytime. She nursed herself to sleep.

8:40 p.m.- start washing dishes because girls went down peacefully.

10:40 p.m.- have cleaned kitchen, seperated laundry, washed bottles and pump parts, unloaded dishwasher, reloaded dishwasher, and am two glasses of wine deep. “Wahhhh!” My heart sank.

11:15 p.m.- text Erik and tell him Olivia had already woken up and gone back to sleep. I was going to go to bed. Told him to put the clothes in the dryer once he got home.

11:32 p.m.- I just turned the tv off to go to sleep. “Wahhhh!” You have got to be kidding me. I go back to get Olivia… Again. Nurse her, again. Put her back down, again. Get back in bed… Again.

12:11 a.m.- “Wahhhh!” I got her out and gave her a bottle. I know, it was weak of me. I need sleep. Put her back down. She stays quiet.

12:15 a.m.- I go check on Olivia to make sure she’s down, ready to fall back to sleep. She isn’t. She is playing with her giraffe. Whatever. She’s quiet.

12:30 or so- Check on Olivia one more time to see if she’s still awake. She isn’t.

I published that up there ^ last night before I finally got to go to sleep, but decided that it would be fun to include what happened from then on because it wasn’t happily-ever-after-everybody-sleeps-until-8:00 a.m. No, no, no… 

5:08 a.m.- I wake up in a panic because Erik isn’t in bed yet. “Oh god, is he even home?” I get up and to my relief, see him asleep on the couch. “Wake up, come to bed.” I tell him. He wakes up, tells me he was waiting on Olivia to wake up again, and follows me into the room.

5:12 a.m.- “Wahhhh!” I laugh and say to Erik, “Of course she waits until you get back in bed.” I get up and get her because 1. I needed to pump anyway and 2. Erik is working a double today.

5:47 a.m.- Get Olivia back to bed after nursing her, again… for what, the fourth time? Fifth? I am pretty freaking annoyed at this point. I sit up in bed. My motion was enough to wake Erik up. “What’s wrong?” He asked me. “I am wide awake. I am aggravated. I am hungry, but I don’t want to get up.” “Close your eyes.” He suggested. “No, I think I’m up for the day.” Erik convinced me to lie back down. We both heard Olivia screech, but she didn’t ever cry.

8:22 a.m.- Violet wakes up.

The only positive thing I have to say about my morning so far is that I have managed to keep them entertained until 10:45 a.m. or so when they got tired enough to take a nap. Erik reminded me to look at today as a fresh start, and to not dwell on my night. “Don’t worry about Violet not eating her bottle last night and don’t worry about Olivia not sleeping well. I’ll be home and take over tonight when I get home.” He even went as far as asking me if he wanted to see if he could find someone to take over his shift tonight so he could come home earlier. I told him no.

It is now 11:16 a.m. and I completely forgot that I made toast before editing and finishing this post. So while I have the time, I’m going to eat that and watch The Office.

*disclaimer: I would never, ever hire a night nanny. Cool if you want to or did, but that’s not my style.

 

 

 

 

 

communication is key

relationship

I don’t know if I am ready to write something like this and I really don’t know if I am ready for you guys to read something like this, but the more I saw it the more it bothered me and I want to address it. So, for my sixth post on my blog, I am going to go there. Like really GO there. Okay? Okay.

I was following a certain mom-themed Facebook page that is geared toward supporting breastfeeding mothers and normalizing breastfeeding in general. I am all about that. What I am NOT all about, are the various posts that were shared on that page justifying why it’s okay not to have sex after you have a child. Okay, wait, this post isn’t just about sex. Hear me out. The writers behind these posts would list ten, if not more, reasons why you might not want to have sex and for the most part, they are understandable reasons, but one that just made me go, “wait, no…” was that if you are a breastfeeding mother, by the time your significant other gets home, you may feel ‘touched out’ by your child and not want to be touched by somebody else. If that is something you deal with, I apologize, but I don’t agree. I don’t think your child needing you and your spouse showing you affection are in the same category. Honestly, after a day with the girls, as soon as Erik comes through that door I am like, “Yes! HUG ME. LOVE ME.”

After reading the articles, of course I read the comments. SO MANY WOMEN said they dealt with this problem and would go to say things like, “You want to turn me on? Take the baby and let me sleep.” Or, “After doing this this and this all day, the last thing I want to do is have sex.” One woman even said, “I haven’t had sex since I was seven months pregnant, and my daughter is over a year old now.” Hold on. Rewind. You mean to tell me that you and your husband haven’t had sex in a year and a half, give or take a month or two? I just don’t understand. These women make it sound like sex is an all night affair and I’m sorry, but put yourself in his shoes. Based on what I read: these men go to work during the day, come home at night to what sounds like defeated women who want absolutely nothing to do with them emotionally, yet they expect them to willingly take over the kids and household so they can have a break. I get it, I have days where I am in tears by the time Erik comes home. Honey, if you haven’t had sex in such an elapsed amount of time, it’s not going to take more than five minutes for you to finish. Put the kids in their crib with a toy they can’t choke on, and by God go in your room and get it on.

Those same women seemed to be the ones who would go on to complain that their significant others wouldn’t do this or didn’t do that, and they wished they would ____ and all I could think was, “then why don’t you tell them that instead of putting it on the internet for complete strangers (who are evidently in the same boat) to read and reply to?” It coincides with my post from yesterday. TALK TO THEM. COMMUNICATE. I always exit out of my browser thinking, “damn, how did I get so lucky?” You know how? Do you really want to know? Erik and I talk to each other. We are supportive of one another. If we get upset with one another, we address it like adults instead of bottling it up and exploding on each other like Mentos and soda. Erik and I get into little tiffs here and there, but we never ever get into screaming matches with each other. The result? A functional household.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am lucky, because I know that there are men and woman equally out there who just don’t understand how to put someone else’s needs before their own. Erik is a great man and an excellent father. Our relationship didn’t just happen like this over night, though. We definitely worked on it, and it took time to get here, and the girls definitely add stress to it sometimes, but that’s what this is about, and this is why I brought up the responses from the women on those articles. You, as the other half in a relationship, have to equally put forth effort for things to work, whether that be your husband cleaning up after dinner because you cooked, or taking the time to be intimate with one another, because if you both aren’t in it, you’re going to fall victim to resentment and nothing good comes from that.

*photo credit Merriam-Webster

 

 

 

get off the phone

Last night at work, I had a man sit down and ask for three menus. He ordered a Corona and then went to the restroom. When I got back to the table with his beer, his two young boys were at the table. I asked them what they wanted to drink. The first kid asked for a Dr. Pepper. The second boy didn’t say anything so I asked him again. “Same thing as him.” “A Dr. Pepper?” Just to clarify, you know. “Yes sir.” Neither of the boys had looked up from their phone during this conversation. Are you kidding me? I said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa…” They looked up and laughed and said sorry, and I wanted to suggest they get off their phones long enough for a drink order, but I refrained. Not my monkeys, not my circus.

I despise people that live on their phones. When I am driving to work on I-45, I see people on their phone. At red lights that turn green, I see cars at the front of the line holding up traffic because the drivers are on their phone. In public places like Walmart or Target, people text and walk without ever looking up to see what’s in front of them. I have been tempted to stop in front of them to see if they hit the stroller or not, but I don’t want to chance them falling onto the girls so I go around them. The one that really irks me though is when I am at work and I see families sitting at tables in silence because they’re all on the phone. I will never forget the look on this man’s face when he was with his daughter at a table of mine one night. During the entire dinner, she hardly looked up from her phone to talk to him. It broke my heart, and it looked like it broke his, too.

I feel like the internet has become this realm that people cross over into when they are on their phones. Liking, hash-tagging, retweeting, posting, pinning, or whatever else because at this point there are too many social media accounts to keep track of. More times than not, I see children under three years of age with an iPad or phone in front of them while they’re out to eat with their parents. You know what happens when their dinner is delivered? They throw fucking tantrums because they don’t want to stop watching whatever they are watching long enough to eat their dinner. I can’t stand it. That is not how I want Violet or Olivia growing up. If other children their age are already consumed with electronics and their parents aren’t limiting their time on them and stimulating them in other ways, it is going to be hard for them to make friends because the other children will have a harder time doing so. They won’t know how. The internet has replaced human interaction and it scares me.

I try to limit my time on the internet and there are days that I am more successful than others. However, I make sure I take the time to read to the girls at least once if not twice a day. Books. With spines and paper pages. Erik and I take them outside and let them watch Rose and Roman run around, or we load them up in the stroller and hit the block once or twice just to get out of the house. On the now very rare occasions that we go out to dinner, we stay off of our phones and we talk to one another, and when I cook dinner, we eat at the kitchen table. Oh, and we sure as hell don’t get on our phones under any circumstance when the girls are in the car with us.

We can’t prevent technology from advancing, but we can absolutely limit how much it affects our relationships and daily lives, and we certainly can control how our children spend their most important years of growth. So please, put down the phone, go outside, and get yourself a breath of fresh air. Any day spent living is a beautiful day.