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birthday weekend.

I can’t believe I’m 30.  A part of me doesn’t want to be 30 — I really enjoy the 20’s, but I guess I’m just going to have to wait and see what the 30’s are all about.

A few of my cousins and I celebrated birthdays this month, so we decided to take a group trip to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania and rent a house together.  It’s amazing to see all the little kiddos between all of us — and with three more on the way!  We pretty much relaxed, played games (pictionary + mafia), drank lots of chai (thanks gigin!), gave gifts, had a cozy dinner, the boys went skiing while the gals chatted it up back at the house.  It was nice to see lots of snow since we haven’t seen any this year in Maryland.  Plus, it was the first time ever that Dhara got to play in the snow — she naturally loved it!  It was definitely a hoot trying to get all the kids together for a picture in the snow.

dhara and lucas bubble bathing

a cozy dinner of chili, cornbread and roasted potatoes at a long farmhouse table

the gang

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my diaper bag dilemma.

I’ve been on the search for a new diaper bag.  For my 30th birthday a couple weeks ago, my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and could you believe I asked him for “a really nice diaper bag?”  : )

For the past two years I’ve been toting around a Vera Bradley diaper bag — I like it alot, but I’m ready for a change.  I want something a little more “city,” as I’d like to call it. Something a little more stylish and not diaper-bag-like.  I’d prefer a nice leather bag, but of course that’s not practical considering I’d be carrying around bottles, food, and a wet bag of soiled cloth diapers.  So the search for the perfect undiaper bag has been pretty hard!  Someone seriously needs to get on the ball and make better looking diaper bags, because I must say that most diaper bags out there are so darn unattractive.  So I recruited my best friend, Gifty, to help me on the diaper bag search.  It took a while, but we narrowed down the options to 3 bags.  All of them being backpack type options because I honestly think a backpack would be the most convenient for toting around twins and a 2 year old.  I’m really torn between what to choose.  What would you choose?

SYM Charlie Diaper Bag – I love that this looks like a travel bag of sorts.  It’s got leather handles and even turns into a backpack.  I contacted SYM’s Catherine Choi, the designer of this bag, and she said she knows mothers of twins who use this bag and it totally works if you aren’t a person who carries alot.  I’m just not sure if it would hold enough for three kids.  But I overall love the look, and the fact that it’s a full fledged diaper bag that doesn’t look dorky.

Infusion Rucksack Bag – I LOVE that this is just a normal bag — it’s not a diaper bag.  I especially love rucksacks: a backpack in it’s simplest form.  This bag is so classy looking for a simple backpack/rucksack, in my opinion.  The only thing is that this bag isn’t lined inside, so accidental spills could ruin it.  I also contacted Infusion’s Abby Meadow, the designer of this rucksack, and she mentioned that there are moms who use this bag as a diaper bag and love it.  Overall, love it’s simplicity.

Okkatots Diaper Bag – This is NOT my ideal bag, but I included it in my top 3 because it’s so darn roomy.  This backpack honestly seems like the most ideal bag to carry 3 kids worth of items, and in a completely organized manner.  Look at all those compartments!  If I choose this bag, it would be functionality over fashion for sure!  In the end, I’m not opposed to choosing a bag for its functionality because it would probably pose as the easiest/most convenient solution, but then again, a girl’s gotta have a nice bag, right?  ; )

cloth diapering twins.

Call me crazy, but I’m determined to do it!  I honestly hate buying disposable diapers.  It irks me to the core.  However, we do on occasion buy disposables for outings and nighttime use, but Dhara mostly lives in her clothies — which I love. But the thought of cloth diapering 2 babies is daunting — good thing there are parents of multiples who do it!  Like here, and here.  Oh, and here.

source

So what does my newborn stash look like?  Simple, all prefolds and covers!  I feel like they grow so quick in the initial stages that it’s more affordable to just go with prefolds.  Thank goodness Greg has been so open to cloth from the beginning (with Dhara)!  Now I just need to get my mom and sister on board — they will also be changing diapers since there are more bums to go around.  Good thing cloth is super cute — I’m excited to see these two little guys’ bums wrapped in cloth.

Our Newborn Stash:

36 newborn Indian prefolds from GMD / $24 dozen (purchased for Dhara)

10-12 workhorse fitted newborn diapers from GMD / $4.95 each

4 snappi fasteners / $3.95 each (purchased for Dhara)

2 Thirsties x-small covers / $11.50 each

3 Weehuggers size 1 covers / $16 each (on sale)

2 Imse Vimse Organic Fox Fibre newborn covers / $15 each (on sale)

disposable liners

Baby Bum Drops wipes solution / $12 (makes 50 cups)

cloth wipes / $9.95 dozen (purchased for Dhara)

2 handmade wet bags

diaper sprayer / $44.95 (if Greg doesn’t decide to make it himself)

It might look like alot, but some of these items were purchased for Dhara when she was a baby, and newer items can be used for future babies.  So there you go, cloth diapering 2 babies for the first couple months and more — I’ll let you know if this really works!  : )  Oh, and if any of you cloth diapering moms have any advice or recommendations, please feel free to chime in!

twin update + birthing options.

I had my fourth ultrasound this week at 26 weeks / 4 days.  It’s always a relief to see that the babies are growing healthy and strong.  They move around alot these days too — to the point where I can see my tummy jump in various spots.  I don’t remember Dhara having as much movement in utero.  The perintologist, a chatterbox for sure, said I most probably would not go past 38 weeks, but could go as early as 36 weeks!  Ahhh, that feels so soon!  The following ultrasound photos are from 23 weeks gestation.  Here are the most recent stats:

baby A: 23 weeks – 1.9 pounds / 26 weeks – 2.4 pounds, 149 beats/min

baby B: 23 weeks – 1.9 pounds / 26 weeks – 2.7 pounds, 145 beats/min

Back in mid August 2011, when we first found out we were pregnant with our second (at that point in our minds it was a singleton), we decided we’d like to look into birthing at a local birthing center.  So we drove an hour to the closest birthing center — a cute, old, white house — and took the tour.  While it seemed like a nice option, we felt that birthing at home would be a similar option, if not a better option.  I didn’t feel inclined to birth on their queen sized beds for some reason — it was a very clean facility, but just imagine sheets from the 70’s.  Although their birthing tub seemed more up my alley for a water birth — dim lights and a calm atmosphere.  But we still concluded that the birth center was not for us.  We really like the idea of a home birth, but not in my parents house!  …Maybe one of these days we’ll have my home water birth if God grants me my dream of a cozy old farmhouse or victorian cottage that Greg could fix up.

Now that we’re having two bambinos, the both of us seem to be the most comfortable birthing in a hospital.  There just seems to be too many risk factors involved.  One being that Baby A be in the head down position to have a normal birth and avoid a c-section.  The other reason being that Dhara had a high case of jaundice, and there is a chance that these babies could too; although we are praying that they don’t, because it’s really hard on our hearts and their little bodies.

Overall, everything is going great, and there are no complications, thank the good Lord!  We are getting our room ready for two little ones to join us, although I’m still not sure what we’re going to do with Dhara since she still sleeps in our bed.  We finally found a double stroller we love, and started a little pile of boy clothes — although, I must say, boy shopping is no fun.  No, not at all!

more dollies.

A couple years ago, I tried my hand at my first Black Apple Doll for Baby Shreya. Here are a few more Black Apple Dolls I’ve been working on.  I still like the idea of a blank cloth face, so I didn’t paint on features.  I also incorporated more block printed Indian fabrics for a more ethnic folk look.  These little dollies were delivered to a house with 3 young girlies and a mama who loves handmade.

flashback.

…to this past summer 2011.  I came across photos of Dhara and her little cousins peach picking, so I had to post them!  Makes me excited for warmer weather and fresh fruit from the farm for homemade cobblers, buckles and tea cakes.

lucas and his mama

kayla and her mama

yummy yummy peaches perfect for peach cobbler

theater clouds.

Now that I’m all caught up with blog posts, I’m excited to blog about all things baby related — sewing + knitting projects, thoughts/ideas, baby products.  Almost 2.5 months to go before they arrive, and so much to do!  I still have a couple photo sessions to finish editing, and a basement to finish cleaning, but I’m so eager to tackle the long list of projects I have in mind, figure out which cloth diapers I want to use for newborns, decide on a woven/stretchy wrap, pick a piece of artwork for the boys, etc.

Before Dhara was born, I knew I wanted to get her something special that she could hold onto as she grew.  And being that I’m an undercover independent/local art enthusiast, we decided on this piece for Dhara.  It now hangs above her crib in a vintage styled frame.  I think the same would only be appropriate for these two boys on the way.  I want something adventurous, boyishly whimsical, something artistic and that sparks the imagination.  I finally narrowed down my search to Theater Clouds by Elly Mackay.  Her stuff is amazing and so appropriate for children, especially her boy prints — I didn’t want anything cheesy.  I honestly think it’s easier to choose for a girl!  But we are leaning towards these two prints by Elly — one for each boy:

He Found The Rarest Of Thistles By His Rock In The Woods

and “In His World, He Was King

the following single print came in as a close second, but then meant both boys would somehow have to share their print, “Side By Side

I love Elly’s creative process.  Small Magazine says about her work, “The themes are dream-like with references to childhood and storybooks half remembered and half forgotten.”  She creates her images by painting on yupo paper and cutting it into layers and setting it up in a miniature theater.  She plays with lights and filters to create atmosphere and then takes photos of the scene.  Way cool.  Plus I just love the fact that Elly grew up in an old church in the country!

december recap, part III: dhara’s 2nd birthday.

Dhara’s second birthday party was a little shindig I planned for her with family on Christmas Eve.  She was so happy to be dolled up in a little green salvar adorned with sequins and jewels from her “Beane Aunty”, and delicate gold sandals on her small feet.  She was as cute as can be.  In addition to some catered food, my sister and I cooked up some tasties — we had singapore noodles, beef stir fry, a baked ham, homemade mac + cheese, samosas, broccoli salad, spinach balls, homemade spinach artichoke dip in a bread bowl, and homemade holiday bread.  For her birthday cake, we made Paula Dean’s Grandmother Paul’s Red Velvet Cake with coconut cream cheese frosting — I looove cakes from bakeries, but I’m really starting to love homemade birthday cakes because you can add your own special homely touches, like this (scroll up).

For Dhara’s birthday/Christmas gift, both of her grandmothers gifted her with a fantastic Montessori styled kitchen set from Palumba — if you haven’t checked out their site, it’s awesome!  It really would be my dream kitchen if I were Dhara’s age. It’s made of all natural, beautiful materials — no plastics!  And I love how it fosters an appreciation for the simple and beautiful, rather than the disposable and common.

We surprised her by having it ready to go — fully equipped with metal dinnerware from my mom’s trip to India (small cups, bowls, spoons), wooden food from all food groups (steak, banana, milk, bread, etc.), and a wooden cake from Grandma Smith. Dhara walked into the kitchen in the morning as we all relaxed on the couch waiting in anticipation to see her reaction to the kitchen set, but she walked right by it not seeing it at all!  We all laughed, and tried to get her attention on it, but it took her 5 whole minutes before she noticed the little wooden kitchen tucked under the bar. Her reaction was priceless — pure joy.

she walked into the kitchen with her morning face and ran straight for my lap

she finally sees the itty bitty kitchen

we all sing happy birthday to her, and she sings too as she holds a wooden cake

so happy!

helping zumie make her homemade red velvet birthday cake

the spread

exuberantly singing happy birthday with everyone!

not sure why she’s holding a pin cushion?

all three kids are ready to blow! hilarious.

(right) isaiah is highly pleased with his blow

after singing happy birthday, inspired by her daddy, dhara says to all her visitors, “thank you all for coming! love you!” and then indulges in a sweet piece of red velvet

isabel, dani, and dhara

dhara, seylah, and isaiah

opening gifts at midnight

december recap, part II: a smith birthday.

Dhara celebrated her 2nd birthday twice this past year.  Her first party was with the whole Smith clan at the Smith Christmas party — cousins, uncles, aunts, the whole shebang!  When the cake came out, Dhara began singing Happy Birthday to herself and everyone else joined in — it was hilarious.

dhara happily singing happy birthday to herself!

she loooves cake, just like her mama!

mom always does a lovely job wrapping gifts

a special moment when mom presents dhara with a special baby bracelet from her father — more on the story here

chatting with great uncle jack

these photos of dhara + her grandmother remind me of a scene out of the little town of heidelberg, germany. not to mention nutcrackers + matryoshka dolls too.

opening gifts

december recap: texas.

I knew the month of December would whiz by with all the holiday festivities going on.  The month started off with Greg’s parents taking us on a lovely trip to Wimberly, Texas. Once the twins are born, it’ll be difficult to go over there to visit Dhara’s bohemian great-grandmother, Granny Lanny.  So, we decided that it would be best to see her sooner rather than later.  The last time we went (last summer), Dhara was only 6.5 months old!

This time around we stayed in Uncle Phil’s amazing vacation home, Rim Rock Lodge, located in Texas hill country.  It was definitely a cozy Texas Christmas sitting by fires, chatting about the days when Granny Lanny was a little girl on her dad’s cotton farm, eating tasty vittles provided by the men from their hunting expeditions, and delicious kolaches provided by Aunt Teri, yum!!!  Dhara did get sick with an ear infection and fever for half of the trip, but nonetheless, it was a special time.

cozy warm fires

dhara spent alot of time “baking cakes” and cozying up w/ grandma + aunt beth

greg and another round of hunting

hunting, (l) dad shot a 10 point deer and (r) greg shot a 60 pound wild boar

our cozy room, equipped with a king bed — I think we’ll be needing one of these!

the ever sweet granny lanny

mom showing granny lanny a scrapbook she created documenting all of granny lanny’s handmade quilts through the years, and there were MANY of them!

dhara, beth, mom, aunt teri

she found a chair just her size!

aunt peggy and uncle phil

cousins: austin, greg, and drew

dhara loves her aunt beth

time with grandpa in hill country

grandpa smitty and dhara

dhara with grandpa and grandma

four generations of women

the end.