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mama day 2012.

[…I’m a week late in posting this — unfortunately my blog time has been cut in half!  But I’m hoping to update it at least once a week from here on out.]

You won’t usually see me in photos — let’s just say I’d prefer to stay behind the camera.  However, after Dhara was born, I started thinking that for posterity’s sake, I needed to be purposeful in being in the occasional family photo, like here and here.  Even though I dislike being in photos, I think it’s important that my children have photos of us together.  I want them to have photos of a young mama with her young kiddos.  There’s something beautiful about seeing a picture of your parents when they were young parents.  I want to make sure that in all the hustle and bustle of this life, my kids have a few pictures of me to look back on — even if it means only once or twice a year like Mother’s Day and Christmas.

Mother’s Day this year was pretty swell.  It started off on Saturday with Greg’s parents coming into town and cooking us an amazing meal of grilled barbeque and teriaki chicken, grilled steak, grilled pork tenderloin, beans, quinoa, cornbread, lemon meringue pie, cherry pie and a large bowl of delicious fruit.  What a blessing that was!  Thank you Dad and Mom, it meant so much to us!

On Sunday (Mother’s Day), we ended up staying home from church because the boys have been really fussy due to gas.  Greg let me get a few hours of rest while he watched the boys — a real treat since sleep is so hard to come by these days!  I was also given the gift of an awesome, awesome retro pistachio colored Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer.  And lastly, my darling husband and daughter got the garden ready for this year’s small crop — there was no way I could do it with the twins this year.

love how my little busy bee, dhara, is perched on the edge of the garden bed

[If we’re friends on Facebook, you may have noticed my love for Instagram.  Been using it everyday since I got the app a couple weeks ago — it’s such a great way to capture life everyday, because for the most part I don’t have a camera handy, but I do have a cell phone!  Love it!]

Mother’s Day got me thinking…  In the 4 years we’ve been married, we’ve been blessed with three children.  I always wanted kids, a large family even.  However I must say that child rearing is hard — the hardest thing I’ve ever done — and my kids are young, all two and under!  The challenges only get bigger from here on out.  Motherhood means laying my life down for them on a daily basis — not an easy task!  It takes discipline and selflessness.  And yet, there’s a joy that comes when I look at my children, even though I know life isn’t easy.  There’s a love that grows for them every single day.

I feel so blessed to be called a mother, and be given such a cool and out-of-this-world-rewarding job to care for these little treasures. [2011, 2010].

pregnancy, post birth + baby must haves.

There is always a word on the street — always people giving their opinion on what product is good and what you need for every season of your life.  I really appreciate recommendations and reviews because it helps me make a decision.  Well, the word on my street is that the following is my personal running list of must haves for pregnancy and post-birth.  I relied or am currently relying heavily upon all of them:

Pregnancy Must-Haves:

  • red raspberry tea or Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew – I purchased my organic tea in bulk from Bulk Herb Store — it’s something both Greg and I enjoy drinking before bedtime — here are the benefits of red raspberry tea
  • calcium pills
  • DHA pills
  • wheat germ
  • evening primrose oil
  • belly salve – I use Mama Bee Belly Butter
  • rice sock – handmade in my Bradley Method Class
  • yogurt – Greek yogurt especially is high in protein

Post-Birth Must-Haves:

for breastfeeding:

  • Mama’s Milk Tea – if you plan on breastfeeding, this is a tea that helps in the production of milk — purchased in bulk from Bulk Herb Store
  • oatmeal – oatmeal also helps in the production of milk
  • cloth breast pads – as a nursing mom, I went through so many disposable pads, that I ended up investing in cloth pads or you can make your own
  • Medela nursing stool – this is one of those items that worked out so well for me! it was sooo very helpful with nursing a baby!
  • Boppy nursing pillow – this time around I made sure to have 2 — one for home, and one for the car
  • breast pump
  • Maternity nursing bra – unlined, cotton, soft, so easy

for a comfortable baby:

  • pacifier – I know some moms have a problem with pacifiers, but this was so helpful at calming baby and putting her to sleep — after 4-5 months she weaned herself off it
  • warm mist humidifier – great for fall + winter months when babies’ noses get too dry
  • Aden + Anais OR Luna Lullaby Blankets – these are GREAT swaddle blankets; now that I’ve been using these, the typical sized receiving blankets seem worthless to me — for some reason I’ve noticed the Target brand of Aden + Anais are made of a better quality than the regular Aden + Anais blankets
  • kimono onsies + tops – love my kimono onsies from Kate Quinn Organics and Nature Baby
  • changing table – as a recommendation from my cousin, I got my Pottery Barn changing table off Craigslist — I LOVE it!  It’s been my most used and loved baby must-have
  • changing pad covers – along with a changing table, I LOVE my quilted covers from Land of Nod — I would never go back to any other cover!
  • a soft, smooth diaper rash ointment – cooling – Burt’s Bees Diaper Ointment
  • pre-bath oil – Burt’s Bees Apricot Oil or jojoba oil
  • baby sling and/or baby carrier – we love the Ergo carrier

What is something that you recommend as a must-have for pregnant women, new mommies, or baby?  I would love to hear!

35 weeks pregnant with twins.

Only a few more weeks before we see 2 of everything — for the rest of our lives.

Today marks my 35th week of pregnancy, and I can truly say I’m so ready to meet these little guys.  While I’m SUPER excited to be a mom of twin boys, I’m also intimidated at the thought of how my life will change taking care of two babies in addition to a toddler, and how I’ll ever love them as much as I love Dhara.  How can that much of me go around, and go around thoroughly?  I hear this is a question most moms wonder when pregnant with their second child.  But it’s truly a valid question, and one I am anxious to find the answer to.

As of now, I’m having to go into the city for monitoring and ultrasounds twice a week!  This weeks’ monitoring proved that one twin sleeps while the other takes the night watch — they aren’t usually awake together.  Position-wise, Baby A is breech, and Baby B is transverse — if they decide to stay in these positions I am quite certainly a candidate for a c-section between 37-38 weeks.  I’m coming to terms with this if it’s what needs to happen, but I’m still praying for a miracle!

In other baby news…  We get the question quite often, “So have you picked out names???”  Sadly we have to tell those folks that the boys’ names are a secret until their birth — it’s more fun that way.  Though one thing you can be sure of is — our names don’t rhyme — no matter how much my grandma would like them to.  : )

My sweetie-pie grandma also tends to think twins should always dress identically.  I was initially super against this notion of dressing twins identically because I’m a real proponent of having one’s own identity and being your own person.  BUT, as I’ve shopped around for boys clothes these past few months I’ve found that I can’t just buy one really cute outfit because the other twin would need to look equally as cute.  : )  SOOO, on occasion you will find my twins wearing identical outfits or outfits that are identical but in different colors.  Speaking of boys clothes, I’ve finally discovered I love little boys in cardigans and I love stripes!  The options for cute boys clothes are so limited because most come adorned with little funny characters or cars, trucks, and dinosaurs.  Good thing there are still stripes!  And leather suspenders are definitely a plus.  ; )

Also, we are officially owners of a mini van!  Never wanted to be the mom driving a mini van — we wanted something more like a Suburban — but after driving the van for a few weeks now, I can vouch that it’s a very, very comfortable ride.  Plus, I can’t imagine toting 2 carseats back and forth from a Suburban — can you?

As these last couple weeks come to a close, I still have to wash baby clothes and cloth diapers, hang the swinging bassinet cradle, possibly find a king bed on craigslist, steam clean our bedroom carpet, and pack my bags.  Crazy that two will be joining us in no time at all…but oh so exciting!

modern baby bonnet.

Finally, a completed knitted project!  These days it seems like I start a project only to start a new one because my yarn gauge is completely off, or I realize I don’t like my yarn choice.  It really pays to get the correct yarn when knitting!  I tend to get yarn happy — which doesn’t always work.  Sad to say, but this is my first knit project of the year!  It hails from a book Gregory got me for Christmas a couple years back.  [He’s getting so much better at getting me things that I love!]  The book, Vintage Knits for Modern Babies by Hadley Fierlinger, is a lovely take on olden day patterns, but modified for modern babies.

I’ve never knit a hat before, so for this project I chose Hadley’s pattern for the Modern Baby Bonnet in size 0-3 months, also found via Ravelry, here.  It’s so cute! I knit the hat using straight needles and Artful Yarns Cliche in the color, natural linen.  I really like this yarn because it’s made up of a combination of cotton and linen.  It’s especially nice for a spring baby because of the cooling nature of cotton and linen.  Unfortunately, I think my hat falls under the 3-6 month category — it turned out a little bigger than 0-3 months.  But it’s ok, it will end up being a cute fall hat.

Overall it was a fun knit.  I’m happy to finally have made a hat — it’s not as complicated as I thought.  And how my fingers have missed the rhythm of knitting — it’s so therapeutic!  Now I’m off to figure out what to knit next!

Update!  Below is a photo of Rohan wearing the bonnet!  Added October 13, 2012.  It’s so wonderful to know that he’s one of the babies in my belly in the first picture of this post!

baby gear hopefuls.

Over the last two years that I’ve been a mama, I’ve become a pretty big fan of baby products.  With a bazillion products out there, I love researching and finding things that make life easier, is comfortable for baby, and of course, look nice at the same time.  Sometimes I get really optimistic about a product only to find it’s not worth the money.  But then sometimes I end up loving a product so much that I just can’t say enough about it.

As the day of the twins draws closer, I’ve been on the search for some specific items that we’ll be needing.  I’ve compiled a short list of 5 products that I’m really excited to begin using, and I’m hoping to do a review on each one once I’ve used them for a bit.  I love reading/watching product reviews, so hopefully my findings may be helpful to someone.  Yay or nay — we’ll see!  Here’s my list:

Bumbleride Indie Twin:

I never thought I’d be the one with the double stroller!  So when we found out we were having twins, I began the search for the dreaded beast of a double stroller that would be good for our lifestyle.  First and foremost, I want a side by side stroller.  I don’t like having one child not being able to see past the other child’s head.  Some other things that I needed in a stroller — the ability to accommodate 2 car seats simultaneously, a BIG basket for storing diaper bag/misc items, seats that fully recline, narrow enough to fit through doorways, a cup holder for moi, and a stroller that looks more modern than the outdated double strollers out there.

The Indie Twin fulfilled all my requirements — EXCEPT the price tag ($700) — so began our search on Craigslist.  We ended up driving to New Jersey to purchase a brand new Indie Twin from a mom of twins for a much better price than retail. Sweet deal.  I love Craigslist!  She ended up being soooo nice.  She included additional accessories that wouldn’t normally come with the stroller.  This is one of those purchases that I’m feeling really optimistic about — so I pray that this stroller be good to us!  Thanks to Papa and Granmummy (my grandparents) who gifted this to us!

Hanging Cradle/Swing:

I initially registered for a Papasan Swing even though the very thought of it in my room irritated me.  While it may work great, it’s an awkward piece of equipment, and really not that pretty!  But I figured with two little babies to take care of, I would be in need of something to entertain/console one baby if I’m busy with the other baby, and vice versa.

After seeing the Papasan Swing, my mom wasn’t too enthused either.  She recommended a bassinet swing — which is what she used for her own three kids. She thinks it’s better for baby to lay flat, rather than lay in a semi-sitting position. Unfortunately, these types of swings have been taken off the market for some reason — there are not many like the one she used.  So we searched high and low and came across various hanging baby cradles/hammocks — a product used all around the world except in the USA!  I wonder why?

Anyway, my mom and I settled on this one from Nordic Bliss, a shop based out of England.  The young couple who own the shop are Scandinavian and love all things from the Nordic countries, so they started a shop that sells house wares and textiles from all over Scandinavia.  This particular hanging cradle hangs from the ceiling and swings — our bedroom ceiling is about 13 feet high, so this should be interesting.  Plus, I think it’s the most adorable thing ever!  Thanks to my awesome mom who purchased this cradle as a gift to the twins!  Thanks Mommy!

Lulu Wrap:

I love baby wearing.  I remember the first time I wore a baby — my cousin’s eldest daughter, Anna.  We were at the mall on a shopping excursion and wearing a baby just felt right.

Here is a post on the various slings/carriers I used with Dhara.  I ended up selling my Maya Wrap and Puj Sling on Craigslist because I wanted to try a stretch wrap.  I went with the Lulu Wrap — which is most similar to the Moby Wrap.  Here is a video demonstrating one, among many, holding methods with the Lulu.  I messaged the stay-at-home mama/designer, Elle Rowley, asking her how the Lulu is different from the Moby, and she said it’s “less bulky, lighter weight, more breathable, they come in nicer colors, no tacky labeling, and are handmade!”  I think the handmade sold me.  : )

I’m still on the search for a woven wrap — my most favorite being the Ellevill Zara Wrap (here and here) and the Didymos Wrap — but ouch, those price tags are scary!  But aren’t they beautiful?!

Puj Tub:

From the makers of the Puj Sling, here is the Puj Tub!  I’m really excited to use this tub for some reason.  I just remember bathing Dhara in the basic plastic tub we got when she was an infant and it being an uncomfortable experience for her.  The Puj Tub looks so comfy.  Here is a video demonstration of the Puj Tub in action.  Looks like a cozy bathing experience to me!

Life Factory Glass Bottles:

I’m such a sucker for glass bottles.  When I had Dhara, I purchased the Medela Glass Bottles — and while I loved the shape and make of them, they always leaked! I’ve heard rave reviews about Life Factory Bottles, so I found a great deal on them and invested in 8 bottles.  The nice thing about these bottles is that they are compatible with my Medela Breast Pump, they’re adorable, and lastly, they are made of a thermal shock resistant glass which prevents breakage when put in the freezer, to boiling water, to even falling on the ground.

whale softie rattle.

There’s something about handmade toys that just make you feel safe, and loved.  I wanted to make a couple handmade toys for the boys, but was searching for the right pattern — so I was overjoyed when I came across this adorable pattern.  I decided to make each of our little guys a whale softie.  The pattern doesn’t call for it, but I added a little bell inside each whale turning them into cloth rattles.  I used block printed fabrics and embroidered eyes onto the whales with red embroidery floss.  This is no doubt a quick and satisfying project!  Each whale only took about 30 minutes!

After I was done making them, Dhara wanted a little playtime with the whales — I watched as she showed the whales to her toy bear (which she lovingly named, “Fency”).  She goes on to say, “See Fency, mama made this.  Be gentle.”

handmade wet bags.

As I get farther along in my pregnancy I’m really feeling the urgency to make things.  For starters, I need a travel wet bag for when we cloth diaper outside of the home.   A wet bag is a convenient on-the-go-solution for storing soiled diapers and wet/dirty clothes because it’s lined with PUL (a baby safe vinyl) on the inside which keeps in moisture and stink, and also makes it safe to put right into your diaper bag.

So I dug into my secret stash of Kokka fabrics that I had purchased a year ago (I’d been saving this special stash for our next baby, or babies!), and chose prints for a couple wet bags.  I’m not the biggest fan of “baby prints” — I’m actually not a fan at all, but Kokka makes the most beautiful vintage prints that come off looking nostalgic of days gone by.  Like this one, titled Far, Far Away Snow White Meadow, or even this titled, Sunday Dress — so darn cute, I just love it!  The Japanese sure do have a handle on textiles and style.

Kokka fabrics are almost always a cotton/linen blend which give the fabric a more mature, modern and stylish look.  The linen fabrics I ended up choosing caught my eye with their vintage appeal — they reminded me of vintage flour sacks for some reason.  I ended up making two wet bags — the first being 12″x18″, and the second being 14″x18″.  Each bag can hold around 8-10 diapers.  I just might have to whip up a batch of these in block printed Indian fabrics for the Susie Mey shop!

30 weeks pregnant with twins.

Today, I am officially 30 weeks pregnant with our twin boys.  Twins are known to come earlier than singletons — which makes me wonder how much more time I have with my little family before our lives change forever.  I especially think about the time I have with Dhara.  She knows about her brothers, but she doesn’t really know what’s coming!  I pray she embraces the change!  Anyway, I’m hoping to make it to 37 weeks, at least.  Dhara arrived at 40 weeks on the dot!

These past couple weeks I’ve begun to feel more preggo.  I feel like a waddler.  I’m having more and more back/hip pain if I stand or walk around too much — shopping excursions with Dhara are becoming more difficult.  I usually like to save all my errands for one day of the week, but these days more than a couple hours on my feet means pain.  I feel pretty sore turning in bed, and getting in and out of bed must look pretty hilarious.  And every hour or so (maybe even more) my tummy tightens up like a basketball from a Braxton Hicks contraction — I don’t remember having them as often with Dhara.  I’m feeling a whole lot of movement — these guys are definitely trying to get comfortable in there, but it must hard due to the lack of space.  I do feel more movement than I feel kicks; although once in a while I’ll feel a strong kick which really takes me by surprise!  Even more recently I’ve begun to feel little hiccups which fondly remind me of Dhara, she used to get them all the time.

I still can’t believe there’s two of them in there.  I can’t wait to meet them, see what they look like — if they look the same or if they look different, if they look like Greg or look like me, kiss their little feet, snuggle close, give them soothing Indian oil massages, and tote them around in a comfy wrap.  So exciting!  Let’s hope they turn in the right direction come delivery time!  Next week I hope to post some of the baby sewing projects I’ve been working on — some cute stuff, stay tuned!

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!