Julie of Smiling Watermelons

The featured blogger of the week is Julie of Smiling Watermelons! Julie is the proud MoM of 17 month old twins Talia and Jordan.

Why did you start your blog?

I started blogging as a way to keep both my parents and my in-laws in voles in my pregnancy since they both lived far away, my parents a few states per and my in laws in Israel.

Were you surprised to discover you were carrying twins?

Surprised is a nice was of putting how I felt when I found out I was having twins. I was in shock and horrified. I was scared of having a baby, especially since I barely had time to think about it before I found out I was pregnant. I just didn’t know how we would handle two babies physically and financially. But, it didn’t take long, maybe two weeks before I was thrilled and proud of the opportunity to be a mom of multiples.

What was your pregnancy like?

My pregnancy was a hard one. I think the worse mom feels the better baby does. I felt awful. Morning sickness in the first trimester and by month 6 I was pretty uncomfortable. But when the carpal tunnel, pupps, and sinitus set in I was ready to be done.

What has been your biggest accomplishment these past 17 months?

Aside from raising two smart, beautiful, fun little people my biggest accomplishment would be changing out the blinds in my house for sheers. I know it’s not moving a mountain or anything but I love the way the sheets soften the light in our house and I did it all my self, removed the old, made and hung the new.

What is your best advice for a new parent of multiples?

My favorite advise to give to moms of multiples is to tell them that when they feel sad that they can hold both babies when they need to be held it’s ok, they will be ok and will have so much fun just a few months down the road being a twin.

What question or questions do you have for the families in the community?

As my girls get older I find my self with more questions related to general toddler development rather than twin development, but then there are the concerns about separating them at school or even during free time between my husband and I.

Be sure to leave your answer in the comment section and then head over to Smiling Watermelons to leave some bloggy love!

Sarah of OMG There’s Three

The featured blogger this week is Sarah of OMG There’s Three! Sarah is the proud MoM of two-year-old triplets, Andy, Ben and Cassie.

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What made you decide to start a blog?

I stated my blog during my last IVF cycle. It was a way for me to work through my feelings, knowing it was going to be my last regardless of the outcome. When I found out I was not just pregnant, but pregnant with triplets, my blog became a way to keep my family updated. Once the word got out, I was fielding 6-10 emails a day from various family members, so keeping the blog was easier. They really are the reason I’m still going. Whenever I go too long between posts the emails start flooding in.

Trio Six Months

Based on the title of your blog, I can only assume finding out you were having triplets was a shock, how did you tell everyone?

It started about 15 mins after I found out and took all of a week to travel around my world.

As soon as I got a positive pregnancy test, a co-worker of mine began teasing me that I was going to have triplets (“With beta’s like that, it’s gotta be triplets”). The day I found out I actually was having triplets, my aunt and I left the doctor’s office and went to a restaurant for some lunch. Sitting there waiting on my order, staring into space in complete shock, I get a text message “So, how are the triplets?” My first thought “How does she know already?” It took me a second to realize she still thought she was joking. I don’t remember the exact text back, but it was something like “I think I hate you! Why did you wish triplets on me?” It took much convincing and a snapshot of the ultrasound before she believed I wasn’t the one joking. She told the other girls eating lunch with her, and all were sworn to secrecy.

I called my sisters later that day. One of my sisters was out to dinner with some friends and was so shocked, she stood up and announced to the whole place “My sister’s having triplets!” The grapevine started working its magic.

I called my Dad a day or two later. He’s a worrier and wasn’t too thrilled about the whole single mom by choice thing, so I needed a little time to sit with the idea before I told him. I ended up telling him when I did because I found a triple stroller on Craigslist that I needed him to check out.

The rest of my world found out a week later. My first appointment with my OB took longer than I expected, so I went in to my boss’s office to explain where I had been, why it had taken so long and let him know I’d probably have a number of appointments in the near future. My co-worker couldn’t stand keeping the secret any longer, so she caught me as I left his office and drug me and my ultrasounds around the office telling everyone in her path.

That night, I emailed the rest of my family and announced it on Facebook the next day. The grapevine was in full force at that point, so for a lot of people I was just confirming rumors.

What was your pregnancy like?

Eventfully uneventful. The actual pregnancy part went very smooth. All the horrible things they warned me about either never happened or were very mild. I ended up on modified bed rest at 25 weeks primarily because driving to work was becoming difficult (the whole belly behind the steering wheel thing), and my office chair had become a torture device. The most eventful part was falling and breaking my ankle at 27 weeks. Crunches and huge, pregnant belly don’t mix. I think it was God’s way of telling me to slow down. The babies arrived at 34 weeks 4 days via planned C-Section on my Dad’s birthday! I think I earned favorite daughter status that day; no birthday present could ever compete.

Trio at Zoo

What is your best piece of advice for a new mother of triplets?

Take every bit of advise with a gain of salt. What works for one family, may not work for yours. What works for a singleton may not (probably won’t) work for multiples. You have to figure it out as you go along. Micro-organizing works for some, while flying by the seat of your pants (my personal style) works best for others. I know families that have charted every bottle and BM from birth to three years, while I took a must more relaxed approach. If they’re hungry – feed them. If they’re dirty – change them. If they’re tired – sleep them. We do have a routine, but it came about naturally and my kids are pretty flexible when it come to change.

What are some of your favorite activities to do with your kids?

I love getting out of the house and goofing off with the kids. We try to get out and do something every weekend. Our go-to outings include the zoo, the children’s museum, the aquarium or window shopping. I love searching the internet for new things to do. We’ve gone to farm shows, car shows, kite festivals, street fairs, air shows, events at the library – anything to get out of the house. A few months back a gentleman commented on how bald my stroller tires are becoming. I took it as a compliment – those were well earned miles of fun!

Trio in the Snow

What question or questions do you have for the other families in the community?

My kids have turned into such picky eaters. If it doesn’t contain noodles, it probably won’t be eaten. As and a Mom who didn’t eat noodles for 22 years (due to a traumatic noddle experience in kindergarten) – this is pure torture! I’d love for them to eat more veggies, but at this point I’d settle for a meal without noodles. Any tips for dealing with picky toddlers?

Be sure to leave your answer to Sarah’s question in the comment section and then head over to OMG There’s Three to leave some bloggy love!

Katie of The Zawislaks

The featured blogger of the week is Katie of The Zawislaks! Katie is the proud MoM of 8 month old twins Noah and Molly.

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What made you decide to start a blog?

I wanted a way to document my journey through infertility. I didn’t know how many courses of treatment we would need, but I knew that I wanted a way to keep track of it all…the appointments, the drugs, the emotions.

What was your road to parenthood like? Do you have any advice for families in a similar situation?

My road to pregnancy was relatively short, as far as infertility goes. “Luckily” (I use that term loosely, as no one who struggles with infertility is lucky!) we knew going in that we’d have trouble getting pregnant, so I didn’t have to go through the agony of charting, temping, peeing on sticks every month and seeing only one line. The flip side, though, is spending age 18-30 wondering if I’d ever be able to have kids! My pregnancy was fairly uneventful as far as twin pregnancies go. I would recommend anyone seeing an RE or other fertility specialist do their research, not only on their doctor, but also on the procedures and drugs. And if you’re lucky enough to be pregnant with multiples, read up on that too! Take care of yourself. It’s not easy gestating twins or more. And finally: take any advice from a singleton parent with a grain of salt.

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What was your pregnancy like?

“Boring” according to my MFM! :) I carried the babies to 35w6d. I credit my husband for a lot of the success, because he really made me stick to my high protein diet and took good care of me. I hated it at the time! I loved being pregnant. I’m only 5 feet tall, so I started showing pretty early, and by the end, I was the biggest pregnant woman I had ever seen. I loved it though (until the end when I was too swollen to be comfortable)

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What is your best tip for a new parent of twins?

Accept any and all help that is offered to you. People would come over and offer to watch the babies while I took a nap, but I rarely took them up on it. Nap when you can. Naps are glorious. And love your babies for the two unique individuals that they are. Lots of people want to lump multiples together, or compare them to each other etc. My babies are like night and day!

What question or questions do you have for the other families in the community?

When will people stop asking me if my son and daughter are identical?!?

 Be sure to leave your answer to Katie’s question in the comment section and then head over to The Zawislaks to leave some bloggy love!

Elizabeth of Bear Creek Honey

The featured blogger of the week is Elizabeth of Bear Creek Honey! Elizabeth is the proud MoM of 4 month old twins Grace and Leo.

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What made you decide to start a blog?

I grew up in ND and I moved to NE and got married. I started blogging after my husband and I moved into our farmhouse and started renovating it. My family in ND wanted to keep up with what was going on, so I decided to start blogging so I could update one place and many people could look at it. I wanted to get serious about blogging when I found out I was pregnant with twins because I LOVED reading other blogs about twins and twin pregnancies. I really couldn’t get enough. I kind of slacked on updating about the pregnancy, but now that the Grace and Leo are here, I’ve been updating it more. I want the blog to be a source of hope to those who are pregnant with twins and those who have just brought theirs home from the hospital. I want to be honest about how hard twins are, but that it DOES get better and more manageable.

Were you surprised to discover you were pregnant with twins?

We were completely surprised. I knew I was pregnant early on because we had been trying for awhile and I finally felt some churnings down there that I hadn’t felt before. Churnings is the best way I can describe it. Things were happening. I took a test, it was positive, so I called my doctor and he had me come in for an ultrasound at 6 weeks. The ultrasound technician was quiet and I couldn’t see the screen. I was worried that maybe I had miscarried. Then she said “What would you say if I told you that you are pregnant with twins?” I looked at my husband and we said “Really?!” And then all we could do was laugh. We tried for well over a year to get pregnant and I was worried that it wasn’t ever going to happen, and then we find out we’re having 2 babies?! After I got over the shock, reality kind of sank in. I kept thinking “Two babies? What am I going to do with two babies?”

In the beginning I got really anxious thinking about the pregnancy and what 2 babies would mean. It wasn’t what I had in mind and I started to feel guilty that I was dreading having 2 of them. But then I read a book that made me feel a little bit better about the feelings I was having. The book said that when women think about having babies, they don’t usually think about having twins. Their future usually involves having 1 baby, waiting a few years, and then having another one and so on. All that one-on-one bonding time with your little one. So when you get the news that you’re having more than one, all those dreams kind of go out the window. And it’s OK to grieve those dreams. It’s OK to be a little sad that it will never be just you and your one baby learning about being a mom and taking care of your little one. It’s perfectly normal to feel scared and anxious. But then you start to feel the kicks from 2 babies, and start to imagine life with both of them and everything just kind of falls into place. I can’t imagine not having both Grace and Leo. Actually, I can imagine it, and life would be a little less chaotic with just the one, but I don’t want to imagine just having one of them. They’ve been such a blessing.

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You mentioned that you had to overcome a lot to breastfeed your twins. Do you have any tips for other families that are struggling?

We’ve had a lot of issues breastfeeding. The babies were born at 36 weeks, and while that’s not ridiculously early, they were both on the smaller side. Grace was 4 lbs 7 oz and Leo was 6 lbs 3 oz. They were both jaundiced and everything put together made for 2 very tired and very lazy babies. I think Leo would have been able to breastfeed somewhat from the beginning if he had had more time on the breast and if I had known what I was doing. But it’s hard to give your undivided attention when you have 2 babies to take care of. Grace on the other hand wouldn’t open her mouth to eat. In the beginning she latched, but she got tired really fast and she just needed to gain strength. So I pumped and bottle fed them. We still worked on latch though, and by 5 weeks Leo finally figured out latching. So I would bottle feed Grace on my lap and I would breastfeed Leo. But Leo mostly hung out at the breast and after awhile I would take him off and he would still be hungry. So I would have to bottle feed him. It would have been easier in the beginning if I had been able to feed them separately, but they always woke up at the same time to eat. I couldn’t give Leo the attention he needed to get more efficient. Grace finally figure out latching at 8 weeks, but then 2 weeks later we all got sick and when she started to get better, she had forgotten everything we had learned. We started over from square one. First she learned to open her mouth, then she learned to take more of the breast into her mouth, then she learned how to suck, and then finally she got it all working together. We’ve made it past lazy eating, flow preference, and milk supply issues. We had so many frustrating feeding sessions and lots of tears, but now that they’re eating better it’s so worth it.

Here’s where we are right now: They both breastfeed, but they never take complete meals in one sitting.What I used to do it breastfeed them until they pulled off, and then I would immediately get bottles and start pumping. But that never gave them the opportunity to try and get more from the breast. So what my lactation consultant suggested is get a scale, feed them each session until they pull off and then let them play for 20 min to 1/2 an hour, put them back on, and repeat. Weigh them in between and keep track of how much they’re taking and keep feeding them until they get enough, which for us us usually around 3 1/2 to 4 oz. It works for us, most of the time. Sometimes they get too frustrated and hungry to eat like that so I’ll bottle feed them the rest of their meal and pump. Anytime I have to supplement them I pump, that way I can keep my supply up. It’s exhausting just typing that out, but it’s worth it. They’re 4 months old now and I figured if they do exclusively breastfeed sometime soon, all that hard work will have been worth it because breastfeeding them is SO much easier than pumping and bottle feeding them. And if they never exclusively breastfeed? Well then I can say that I did everything I could to make it happen and it just didn’t happen

I just want people to know that it is possible to breastfeed, even if you get off to a rocky start. They may never be exclusively breastfed, but that’s ok. It’s hard work, but it is possible.

What is your best advice to a new MoM or Dad of twins?

I have a few pieces of advice…

Find a lactation consultant. I can’t stress this enough. Nursing twins is no joke and you’ll need all the help you can get, especially if you’re a new mom. Find a consultant that you feel comfortable with and if you need to visit more than one until you find one that you like.

Just because you have twins doesn’t mean you can’t have the “normal” experiences you want. You can produce enough milk for 2, you can breastfeed 2. I’ve had people ask why I don’t just bottle feed them. They wonder why I pump instead of formula feed. I feel like pumping mothers don’t get the credit they deserve. Just because your baby isn’t breastfeeding doesn’t mean they can’t get the benefits of your breastmilk. Pumping milk for your child is a huge commitment. Don’t let people discourage you from doing what you think is right for you and your family. I hope more people start to realize that it isn’t just breastfeeding or formula feeding. There is another option.

Another piece of advice is people try to relate to you the best way they can.Sometimes people don’t realize how their stories affect pregnant women. If the only way they can relate to you is by telling you horror stories of their best friends-sisters-cousins-mail mans-wife getting pregnant with twins and delivering at 24 weeks due to preeclampsia, then so be it. It’s just their way of letting you know they know what you’re going through, even though they have absolutely no clue. People are going to come out of the wood works with all sorts of horror stories and ridiculous advice. I personally don’t want to hear how you were a twin and your twin sister died in utero, all while I’m 36 weeks pregnant and worried about anything and everything to do with my babies. When you hear these stories it just makes you more aware of how what you say affects other people. It’s a learning experience and I know the next time I want to share something with someone, I’ll think a little bit more on how my advice or story might affect that person.

What question, or questions, do you have for the other families in the community?

I want to know if and how other moms lost their pregnancy weight. I gained 60 lbs while pregnant and then dropped 45, but I’ve gained back 10 of those lbs. I’m terrified exercising is going to affect my milk supply, but I need to start exercising and eating healthier. How can I exercise and keep my milk supply intact?

Whew! I didn’t realize I would have so much to say! On my blog I go into more detail about what the first 4 months have been like. I hope that my stories can be an encouragement to other women out there.

Be sure to leave your answer to Elizabeth’s question in the comment section and then head over to Bear Creek Honey to leave some bloggy love!

How I Met My Valentine: Wendi and Jim

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I met the person that would become my best friend, husband and a great daddy around Halloween of 1999, and would have NEVER imagined at that time we would become husband and wife.

Jim had just started working for the same state agency that I worked for. He was busy studying for his new position so I quickly gave him a bag of Halloween Candy and wished him a very Happy Halloween….he did not say anything. I was shocked because most people as least say thank you or look up…but not him. Later that day when our boss asked me what I thought of the “new guy” I told him that he appeared to be a little stuck-up. The boss said, “Great, you are going to train him!!”

I started training him and found out that he was a great guy, easy to talk too and just a really, really nice person. I told one of my colleagues that I needed to meet someone like Jim who was just nice. I did not say I wanted to date Jim; or that I liked him.; Just that meeting someone like him would be a nice change from some of my other dating adventures. My colleague quickly told me, he has a girlfriend and I think they are serious.

Since he had a girlfriend and I had just gotten out of a rough relationship so we were just work friends. That got along really well. One day I had stopped by his office in the small town of Soda Springs, Idaho to drop off some papers and other supplies. His office door was closed so I just left them with the Secretaries and headed out. When I got back to my office there was an email from him telling me that I was very stuck-up because I had not even said, “hi”!! Little did he know that I was going to do everything in my power to show him how “un-stuck” up I was. So when I would be in the Soda Springs area I would make it a point to stop in and say hi or take a treat just so he could see that I was NOT stuck-up!!

In May of 2000, I had gotten up early and had arrived in Soda Springs too attend a health fair and offer information about a variety of health issues related to infants and children. He arrived about an hour later and was right next to me at the health fair. He had a couple large piles of paper that needed to be folded into brochures so I just started helping him fold them and as the day went on we found that we had a lot in common. He no longer had a girlfriend, but I was seeing someone in Chicago and we were just seeing how things went. During the time I was dating the gentleman in Chicago I kept asking my mom, “How will I Know when I find the Right One?” She told me, “Wendi it will be like putting a glove on..it will be a perfect fit.”He had never been fly fishing so I told him that he should come along with my family the next weekend and I would help him learn to fly fish. As I left that day and headed back to our main office I can honestly say that I wanted to be his friend and just enjoy time together because he was a really nice guy. I would never in my “wildest dreams” imagine that Jim and I would become anything more than just friends. Once again when I arrived at the office and checked my email he had sent be an email with a heart on it and a message that said, “you are a sweetheart”!!

We got together the following weekend and he a great time talking with my family, laughing and just hanging out. Over Memorial Day in 2000 after going on a hike and me forgetting the water because he and I had stayed up all night talking by the camp fire…he asked me if he could kiss me and that was the beginning of a friendship that grew into love!! Throughout the next few months we NEVER called it dating we just spent all of our spare time together.

Around work we never told anyone but one night My boss came up to me as he was leaving and said, “Wendi..Jim is a great guy and you are great lady. Jim is the best guy you have ever dated and I can see you really care about him and he really cares about you”. When we announced our engagement everyone at work was SUPER excited!!!

We got engaged in August but waited to get married until April 28, 2001 because I wanted to finish my Master’s Degree and I had always dreamed of a wedding in the Spring. Our wedding day was one of the BEST DAY’S of my life!! My Dad told me as I was holding his arm waiting our turn to walk down the aisle, “the first time he saw Jim and I together that he was going to be the one I would marry, he just knew.”I thought I knew what love was that day..but I can honestly say that I love him more today than I did the day I married him. During the time I was dating the gentleman in Chicago I kept asking my mom, “How will I Know when I find the Right One?” She told me, “Wendi it will be like putting a glove on..it will be a perfect fit. It will also be someone who you can see with you when hard things occur, sickness, death etc.” My mom was absolutely correct!! As life has thrown twists, curves, happiness and sadness I feel truly blessed that I married my best friend!!

I also always tell people….”NEVER CALL SOMEONE STUCK UP….BECAUSE YOU MIGHT end up Marrying them!!!!

During the time I was dating the gentleman in Chicago I kept asking my mom, “How will I Know when I find the Right One?” She told me, “Wendi it will be like putting a glove on..it will be a perfect fit. It will also be someone who you can see with you when hard things occur, sickness, death etc.” My mom was absolutely correct when it is right it just fit’s..does it mean there are never challenges NO! But it is the person you want beside you.

How I Met My Valentine: Jennifer and Korey

messy 014In honor of  February being the month of love and because this blog is for my kiddos to read when they get bigger, I thought I’d share how I met my very own sweet Valentine!
Surprisingly, Korey and I grew up only a few miles away from each other, went to the same christian school, but never really knew each other until one fateful day at the lake…
In fact, if you’d like to know- it was there, at that same lake, with Korey that I had my first kiss…well, ok- it wasn’t technically with Korey, sadly, it was with his best friend, but Korey was there the whole time- kicking a bottle cap around on the ground and wishing it was him, instead of his friend I was kissing. (ok, I added that last part, but I like to think that’s what he was doing- not just wishing I would leave his friend alone) :)
After that fateful first kiss…we went our own ways for a few years, only to take up our friendship, again, after we hit high school. I was a year ahead of Korey in school, but that didn’t stop me from having a little crush on this cute guy who barely resembled that dorky, tight black jean and baseball cap wearing kid that I met in the park years earlier. I found reason after reason to put myself in his path, all to no avail. I asked him for rides to school, I was friends with his friends, I talked to him before church and plagued his family with invitations over to my parent’s house for dinner…but, never once did he ask me to a dance or out on a date…what a bummer!! Good thing I make a lasting impression (or maybe my persistence finally paid off) because a few years later, when we both were out of highschool- he got bored enough that he started calling his old friends to see what they were up to…apparently no one else was home but me and I’ve never been more thankful for my lack of a life and for my amazing ability to talk and talk and talk some more!! Korey must have been impressed with it, too, because less than 2 years later I finally convinced the man of my dreams to give me his last name!! :)
I love you, my sweet Valentine, and I’m incredibly thankful that you chose me to be your wife! It seems like so long since our first Valentine’s Day together…and even though our love, now, more closely resembles playdoh hearts than expensive jewelry and flashy nights out, I think it gets sweeter and sweeter with each passing year!