The featured blogger this week is Barbara of My Sweet Life (with Two Twinkies and a Cupcake). Barb is the proud MoM of 5 year old twins Jacob and Sarah, and 3 year old Adam. Barb has an amazing blog and I love reading about her adventures with her kiddos!

How did you react to the news that you were expecting twins?

I’m sure, like most people, it came as a big shock, mixed with joy and a lil bit of anxiety. We were so excited to be pregnant and at my first appointment at 12 weeks, the Dr decided to do an ultrasound to check to see how far along I was. I was pretty sure I knew how far along but I wasn’t going to turn down an US! I still wonder now if she guessed it was twins and wanted an US to confirm. The funny thing was, as I left work that afternoon, my friend teased me to let her know how the appointment went and “how many babies” are in there…She really laughed when I called her later and told her there were two!

You mentioned your kids have sensitive skin. What tips do you have for parents who have children with a similar condition?

Growing up, I dealt with eczema long into my teen years. With the twins, Sarah had eczema as a baby but it started to get better between 12 & 18 months. For her, keeping her skin moisturized and using a Hydro-cortisone solution from the Dr helped keep it under control. With Adam, our 3rd son, the eczema was much worse. His first big flare up was when he was about 6 months old and he had several patches including a big one on his leg. That spot didn’t seem to get better with anything the pediatrician gave us, so we went to a Dermatologist. That’s when we found out the eczema had gotten infected and he had MRSA. Between age 6 months and 2 years, it was a constant battle with his skin – frequent flare ups and repeated infections. We finally took Adam to a Pediatric Dermatologist at University of Michigan and they helped educate us on better skin care and gave us a good skin regimen for him including different prescribed ointments depending on how good or bad his skin was. They shared that hydration was the best thing for him so moisturizer is very important for him – lotion takes priority after bath time even before a diaper! Now that he’s a little older, he also has a prescription ointment (Elidel) that is more of a ‘preventative’ ointment for eczema and we’ve had really good results with that. He still gets flare ups now and then but his skin is SO much better than it used to be!

We’ve also dealt with MRSA a lot in our kids. All 3 of them have had it at one point or another and our Pediatrician says they are likely ‘carriers’ of the resistant staph. She again recognized they all have sensitive skin and that keeping their skin moisturized is our best bet because the more itchy their skin is, the more likely they are to scratch which leads to the chance of exposing them to infection.

You also mentioned to me that you working as a special education teacher has made your job as a parent easier, can you explain how?

I was a teacher for 6 years before I was a Mom. My students with Autism Spectrum Disorder have developmental delays so despite their ages, their abilities, emotions and behaviors are sometimes similar to that of my younger children. As a teacher, I’ve learned how to help kids communicate, how to handle emergencies, how to meet the needs of multiple kids at one time and how to manage a daily routine. Setting a routine with the twins as infants came pretty easy to me because my classroom lives on a steady, structured, routine. My son had some motor delays when he was younger and I was able to recognize that pretty early on and get him the help he needed.

How do you find time to train for a 5K and a 10 mile race?

Last summer was my starting point for any training. I had lost all my baby weight after each pregnancy but after I was done breast feeding Adam, all that baby weight came back. I hit my highest (non-pregnancy) weight ever last winter and finally did something about it last spring. I joined a gym when school got out in June and disciplined myself to get there at least 4-5 days week. Many days in the summer, I went after the kids were in bed. My husband helped encourage me and we did a lot of ‘dates’ on our bikes on the days the kids went to daycare. I’m driven by goals so first I set a goal to be able to run 1 mile without stopping. I did that for the first time in September. Next up was a 5K and I did that in October. I’m running a 4 mile race on St. Patrick’s Day and my BIG goal is to run a big 10 mile race in our city this August. Finding the time while I’m working isn’t easy. I only make it to the gym maybe 1-3 days a week now and only have about a 45 minute window between work and picking the kids up from daycare. That was where I found my time during the school year – I pushed the kids’ pick up time at daycare back by about an hour so I could get to the gym. I just try to push myself hard during that time. I know I’ll have more time again this summer once school is out and I am DETERMINED to run that 10 mile race this summer! I was always athletic growing up – basketball, volleyball, track…but never any running so this is a BIG change for me!

What are some of your favorite things to do as a family?

Movie nights at home are fun with popcorn and chocolate milk! The kids all enjoy puzzles so sometimes we’ll have puzzles spread out all over the living room floor. I asked my parents to get the twins a Museum pass this year for their birthday so we’ve been trying to get to our local Children’s museum when we can. We like to go to the park and go for walks when its nice out – I’m really trying to teach the kids how important it is to be active and healthy. My husband has a wonderful green thumb and the kids like to know what he has in the garden. We really like to visit our Farmer’s Market and a couple local attractions when its nice out.

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

Jacob and Sarah are in a Developmental Kdg class together this year but we plan to have them in separate Kdg classes next year. What did you do to help prepare your twins to be split up in different classrooms?