www.mytwinladybugs.com expired earlier this year

Monday, August 22, 2016

My custom domain name www.mytwinladybugs.com expired, and I decided not to renew.  I found that I was unable to keep up with the blog as I pursue my phd.  Unfortunately, I did not catch my posts that I created while using the custom domain prior to the expiration date.  Now, I am unable to access a number of posts :(  Currently, the only ones I can give you are the ones I created on blogger, prior to purchasing a custom domain name.

I apologize for inconveniencing anyone that has come to this site looking for old posts---I seriously lack the technological skills necessary to reactivate those posts, if that's even possible.

All the best,
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Potty Training Twins: Tips and Tricks I Learned Along The Way

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Having two sick little girls is no fun! We even ended up with a trip to the hospital! Luckily, they are finally feeling better and I can get back to writing on my blog again!

The girls have been using the potty for a couple of months now. Yippee!

When I was starting to potty train, I noticed there wasn't a ton of info. out there about potty training twins.  I know a few of my moms of multiples friends have had to do double training since one twin was ready before the other.  But my girls always want to be doing the same thing at the same time.  So training one than the other wasn't an option for us.

Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed at the task of training two at the same time. Where do I even begin?  I thought about when I was teaching and how I would teach a new concept to my students.  Since I feel better armed with a plan, I came up with my own "lesson" plan for potty training...

1.) Pre-Assess- I searched online for potty training readiness cues.  Here are a sample of questions I found on www.mayoclinic.org...
  • Does your child seem interested in the potty chair or toilet, or in wearing underwear?
  • Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
  • Does your child tell you through words, facial expressions or posture when he or she needs to go?
  • Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day?
  • Does your child complain about wet or dirty diapers?
  • Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
  • Can your child sit on and rise from a potty chair?
Since the girls were showing signs for over half of these questions, I decide to move forward by

2.) Building their background knowledge of how to use a potty

  • A few months before the girls turned two, I purchased two potties and left them in the living room so they could explore. We talked constantly about using the potty.  They were eager to watch others model how to go potty on the toilet.  I also started reading potty books.  Some of their favorites were... 

images from amazon.com

I even checked out a few DVDs from the library for the girls to watch.  Once upon a Potty For Girls and Elmo's Potty Time were both big hits.  As long as I made using the potty look exciting, fun, and easy the girls were ready to give it a try.

3.) Gather Remaining Supplies
Since we have three main living areas in our house, I decided to  purchase enough potties to have one on each floor so I wouldn't have to remember to carry them up and downstairs.  I quickly learned that each girl would need her own potty (there's no holding it to wait for an unoccupied potty), so I ended up purchasing another set to keep on the first floor.  Here are some of our favorite potty training essentials...
From top left-
Bjorn Potty (solid, non skid, easy to clean)
Fisher price Froggy Potty (inexpensive, easy to clean, lightweight, easy to throw in back of car)
Mayfair Nextstep Child/Adult Built in Potty Seat (looks good in powder room, magnetic closure is very tight so won't fall but too tough for my girls to open alone)
Baby Bjorn Toilet Trainer (easy to remove and clean, non slip, good to take on overnight trips)
Potette Plus Portable Potty (full size, folds flat, easy to carry in diaper bag while running errands, non slip, durable)
Britax Seatsaver Waterproof Liner (EZ dry fabric, machine washable, fits most carseats)
Kandoo Flushable Toddler Wipes
Minnie underwear (girls chose their favorite:)

4.)The "I Do" Portion Of This Lesson

  • Once I was sure the girls had a good understanding of HOW to use the potty we started to work on the WHEN.   I was ready to go all in with the Potty Training Bootcamp (also known as 3 Day Potty Training or Potty Training in a Weekend). 
  • We rolled up the throw rugs (I figured the hardwood floors would be easier to clean), let the girls run around without a diaper, and  I sat the girls on the potty every 15 minutes-30 minutes. It was exhausting!  Even with my husband home to help, we couldn't keep up with the accidents, and the running  the girls to the potty when an accident started to happen.   By day two, we were exhausted and the girls were stressed.  Not wanted what I wanted.   I told them how proud I was of their effort. I left everything set up, but we went back to diapers.  The  good thing that came from this attempt was the girls had practice of racing to the potty, peeing on the potty, and the experience of having an accident.  
5.) The "We do" Part
  • About 3 weeks after the botched potty training attempt.  I was running low on diapers.  I started counting down the number of diapers we had left in the house-sharing the amount with the girls- then I would remind them that when the diapers were all gone, they were going to use big girl undies and go pee-pee and poo-poo on the potty.  I was so nervous because I could tell that we were going to run out of diapers on a weekday when I would be home alone with the girls.  I was so worried about having a repeat of last time.  But it was nothing like last time! 
This time I let the girls take the lead, but was right there with them...
  • I put them in tight fitting pants with no undies (easier to absorb any accidents, and quicker to pull up and down)
  • I didn't set any timers and gave very few reminders  
  • We had a good amount of accidents the first day, less the second, and only 2 the third day.  By day 6, we were accident free.  
  • As soon as the girls said "Potty" I would scoop them up and run to the nearest potty (which I strategically would keep with in 5 feet of us at all times, even when playing on the deck or in the back yard)
  • I rewarded successes with cheers, hugs, and a skittle or a pick from the prize box. (I know "they" say rewarding a positive behavior with food is "bad". But really, it's the only time my girls get candy and if one skittle does the trick, I'm OK with that.  Plus, the more they go on the potty, the less they ask for or expect a skittle.  After 3 weeks, I think they may have remembered to ask for a skittle once every 10 times.)
  • When accidents happened, instead of saying, "That's ok" I used "You had an accident, but you will make it next time."  Still positive, but not dismissing the accident.  
  • I kept a roll of paper towels, the Swiffer mop, and Clorox wipes close by to clean up any messes.
  • I've talked about this before, but I'm not big on using reward charts.  No reason to make one feel less than the the other. However, I do use a "Poo Chart".  The girls get to put a stamp on it and on their hand when they do the deed in the potty! Seems to be working. 
  • After that first week, I took the girls to Babies R' Us to pick out a "Big Girl Prize" to celebrate all of their hard work.  They chose Minnie Mouse cups without straws because "it for big girls!" So cute! 
6.) The "You Do" Part- Fostering Independence 
  • We are still working on naptime and nighttime potty training.  For now we use pull ups.  I'm being a bit lazy here, but I was so tired of cleaning up accidents in the beds.  The girls keep a potty in their room, and most of the time they will get up and use it instead of the pull up. Building independence! 
  • Reward dry pull ups with cheers! 
  • My goal is to work on naptime training over the next month, and then nighttime sometime after that. (I'll let you know how it goes).
  • Running errands: I always throw one of the froggy potties in the back of the SUV before we leave the house.  It's nice to have the quick grab if needed. 
  • Public restrooms with twins is HARD and DISGUSTING! There is no easy way around it.  If we are too far from the car to use the froggy potty, I will use the potette plus on the toilet.  I try to use the largest stall in the restroom and have drilled in to their heads when you are waiting for your sister, you don't touch anything! I often give the waiting twin my keys or something to hold to keep them from exploring on their own.  I need to be better at insisting if one goes, then the other one tries. Inevitability, ten minutes after a visit to the restroom for one, the other decides she needs to go.
7.) Final Assessement
We still have accidents every now and then.  I think that's to be expected.  I'm just so happy to be saving a fortune each week by not buying diapers.  

Potty training twins at the same time is HARD! I often clock 30 flights of stairs on my Fitbit from running up and down to empty potties (no bathroom on the 2nd floor).  In the beginning, there will be back to back accidents or pee running down legs while you are racing to get the other one on the potty.  You will do more laundry then you thought possible, and there will be days when even then you still run out of clean Minnie Mouse underwear.  It may even take months until you get to sit down and eat dinner without the, "I have to go" cry interrupting you mid-bite.  But don't despair.  Know that there are others out there just like you and we all survive.  If you go into potty training knowing it will be tough, it will be a lot easier to laugh off the craziness and come out the other side with your sanity still in tact (more or less-I mean you are still a mom of multiples, lol).

Love to hear from you about your potty training experiences. Especially any tips for for nighttime training.

Happy Potty Training!
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Potties in the driveway, a cat on the loose, and a feline Adkins diet?...Just Another Day With The Twins

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A true story...
The day started out normal enough.  Loaded up the girls and our cat in the car. Dropped off the girls at my parents' house, and took the cat to the vet for her annual check up.  But that's where the normal part ended.

Our cat, Camden, is an eight year old calico and she weighs almost 20 pounds!  She is ridiculously fat! She has been on a "diet" for the past two years, but apparently it's not working. She is a VERY lazy cat. Her ideal day would probably be spent curled up in my lap while I hand fed her cat treats and brushed her fur.  If only I could find some little ankle weights and a mini treadmill then maybe we wouldn't have this problem. So anyway, this morning we saw a new vet at our clinic.  First, she gave me the guilt trip for having a fat cat. Of course I can see she is obese, and no I don't want her to get diabetes. So what can I do?  She suggested we try a feline Adkins style diet. Seriously?  I laughed when she suggested it. I thought is was a joke. Nope!.  The diet consists of weaning her completely off of dry food and feeding her canned cat food that is high in protein and fat. Who knew? 

After we finish up at the vet, I help Camden squeeze back into her cat carrier, (she really is fat).  We go pick up the girls and head back home.

Once home, I begin the process of unloading the four of us and all of our stuff by taking Juliette out from her carseat behind me. She walks into the garage towards the inside door.   I open up the back of our SUV on my way around the car to get Genevieve to remind myself to take out the potties I had brought to my parents'.  The girls are in the throes of potty training.    Just as I set Genevieve down, I see Juliette running back towards the car with a trail of pee following behind her as she's shouting," MAMA!".  I grab a potty from the back, throw it down on the driveway, as she yanks down her pants to finish.  Her pants, shoes, and socks are now soaking wet. All of which I begin to remove.  

Meanwhile Genevieve has run to the inside door and is crying, anxious to get inside.  "Strange she is in such a hurry to get inside", the fleeting thought passes.  Whatever, I'll let her in and then finish cleaning up Juliette.  I let her in only to have her quickly emerge running back outside and shouting, "Potties are missing!"   This can only mean one thing, GET THE OTHER POTTY! I grab it from  the trunk just as she pulls her pants down!

Juliette, still sitting on the potty,  is having a fit that she needs clean pink pants now! God forbid she wait the 15 steps it takes to get in the house.  No, she needs pink pants, here, in the middle of the freakin' driveway! I'm trying to find the extra pants in the bag I packed for Nona's house when I see Genevieve bringing me her potty.  Pee is sloshing over the edge. But she is beaming,. Grinning ear to ear!  "Mama, I tinkled! I so proud!"

That's when I hear a tiny, whiny meow.  I look up through the open rear door and see two yellow eyes staring at me.  The cat has managed to escape from her carrier and is standing on the center console ready to jump. At this point I also realize that I have left the rear passenger side door open and she is about to make an immediate exit. She is an indoor cat and despite her rather obtuse size, she would be completely useless in the wild. Ignoring the screaming child, and the sloshing pee, I hurl myself through the opened rear door, over the top of the back seat, and attempt to trap the cat with my body. Miraculously, I manage to wedge her in-between the seats, the floor, and me.  She is trying to pancake herself to slide out from under me.  Good luck with that, fat cat!  I am literally hanging upside down,  trying to get my left foot unstuck from in-between the back seats and the ceiling.  I grab her by the scruff (luckily there is a lot of excess to grab),  pull her close, and unwedge my foot so we can both safely exit the vehicle.  Fortunately, the crying has ceased because the girls are staring at the spectacle I created.  Although I can't say for certain whether in awe or in fear for me... or the cat.

I get the cat inside, carry Juliette in, sans pants (one point for mama), and Genevieve follows us in.  Luckily, I don't have to worry about the spilled pee or the trail Juliette created earlier, because sweet Genevieve has used her favorite pink blanket to wipe everything up off the driveway and the dirty garage floor! Oh well, I've already got laundry to do today!

I literally let out a sigh of relief when I close the door behind me.

My mind starts to wander for a split second, always moving ahead,  thinking about what I should make for lunch? When I hear, "Mama, pink pants!"  Oops!

What a morning!

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Can You Get Your Body Back After Having Twins?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I gained about 60 pounds when I was pregnant with the twins.  That's right 6-0! Sentenced to bed rest at the start of my third trimester,  I had to let go of my after dinner walks and pre-natal yoga classes. Nothing was more important to me than keeping those babies cooking for as long as possible!
After graduating college, I really took control of my life by eating healthy and working out most days. I constantly stayed current with exercise and dietary trends.  I worked hard to keep my body healthy!

But after having the girls, the task of getting back in shape when I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted seemed daunting.

How was I going to return to a healthy weight and feel better about my body?

Finally, two years later and back at my pre-pregnancy weight (give or take a few pounds), I wanted to share what's been working for me.

*I have to admit, I was sort of nervous writing this post, I definitely don't have a "perfect" body.  But, I am having  success losing the baby weight.  I thought maybe these tips might be useful in helping others to take back their bodies:) 

In the beginning...

The first few months after the girls were born, I didn't have much time to think, let alone to think about my body. Since I was nursing, I tried to make healthy choices about the food I ate.  I would also take the girls for walks around the neighborhood. I found that a little over half of the weight I gained came off. An added bonus of nursing twins:)

At the one year mark...

I was determined to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans.  Since I wasn't nursing anymore,  I knew I had to do more than just watch what I ate and take leisurely strolls. So I decided to... 

  • Sneak in exercise Pre-pregnancy I would find myself  at the gym for an hour or two after work.  How was I ever going to find time for that?  No way! Instead, I found ways to sneak in 10-20 minutes of exercise here and there. Pop in a DVD during naptime, do some triceps dips while out at the playground, or load the girls into the jogging stroller and go for a walk/jog.  Some of my favorite quick workout DVDs were exhale core fusion 30 Day sculpt (30 20-Minute workouts day-by-day plan), the 10 Minute Solution Rapid Results Pilates, and Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30 (each workout is about 35 minutes). I also downloaded the RunDouble C25K Pro app on my phone.  I liked having a scheduled planed for me (run 3 times a week for nine weeks), and the verbal reminders of when to walk and when to jog were helpful at motivating me to step up my leisurely strolls.   
  • Schedule workouts By simply writing down my workouts on the calendar, I found that I was more likely to stick with them.  I tried to do something active everyday. I wasn't running all the time or even able to spend a half hour on a DVD every day, but I figured even a 10 minute walk was better than nothing at all! I felt happy if I could squeeze in 2-3 longer workouts a week.  Of course chasing around the twins also helped keep me moving.  
  • My closet As a new stay at home mom, I didn't have the need (or the means) to spend a ton of money on a whole new wardrobe of clothes in larger sizes!  Seeing all of my pretty clothes hanging in the closet just waiting for me to lose weight was very motivating to me.  
  • Track what I eat I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on both my android phone and iPad (free on both).  I lost weight instantly, just by becoming aware of what I was putting into my mouth.   I was shocked at how much nibbling I was doing.  A leftover bite of the girls' PB sandwich here some cheddar bunnies there, it adds up quickly. The app lets you enter your goal weight and gives you suggestions on how many calories to consume based upon your activity level and desired weekly weight loss goal. You can sync the app between devices so it's easy to enter food at home or on the go.  I love the scanner feature that lets you zap a bar code and instantly enters the food into your daily chart.  You can also enter your workouts, and the more you workout the more calories are added back into your daily goal.  I have been known to squeeze in an extra 10 minutes of activity so I can add on a glass of wine at night:)  I don't track my food on the weekends.  I decided a few weeks ago to stop.  I still try to make good choices, but I don't stress if I want to enjoy a gelato with my girls or a nice dinner out.  
I remember the day I fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans! I was ecstatic! 

Now at the two year mark...

Even though I am pretty much at my pre-babies weight, my body is definitely not the same! Some parts are larger and some a little jigglier than they used to be.  But, the girls are getting older which means I am sleeping more than ever, and I finally have the energy to really take back my body!
Here are the changes I added...
  • Track my activity I love my fitbit.  I had an original one years ago, but it stopped logging activity correctly. My husband got me the new fitbit one as a mother's day gift, and I am loving it! Just attach it to your pants and it tracks your steps, floors, calories, and activity level throughout the day.  You can also sync it to the MyFitnessPal app so that it automatically inputs your calories burnt. On Monday,  I was so close to the 10,000 step mark I was walking in place after the girls went to bed just to add on steps.  Everything is displayed neatly for you to monitor on your computer, smartphone, or iPad.  You can even track your sleep!
  • Join a gym with childcare One of my struggles was finding time to workout.  The girls weren't too excited to sit in the jogging stroller for a half hour any more.  And I didn't want to lose all of naptime to workout.  So, I found a gym with a great childcare center.  Now I get an hour or two 2-3 times a week to workout alone or take group classes and the girls get to play with all of the "new" toys and teachers.  Win-win! 
  • Workout with friends Some days I don't feel like going to the gym, but knowing that I am meeting up with a friend helps me drag my butt out of the house.  I don't want to let her down by not showing up!   
  • Cut back the coffee creamer I love my coffee sweet.  But, once I started measuring and tracking my calories I realized I was adding close to a 1/4 cup of creamer. Yuck! I slowly weaned myself down one tablespoon at a time until I was using a much healthier amount. Every tablespoon I cut, I saved 35 calories. That was over 490 calories a week! 
  • Remember Slow and Steady wins the race The most important thing I learned during this whole  process was that the weight wasn't going to instantly fall off. I still have to continue to work hard and stay positive.  Building in a few incentives doesn't hurt either.  A pedicure when I've lost the next five pounds or a bubble bath after I worked out three days in a row can be just enough to keep me going! 
 I know I am far from having a perfect body, but I'll take this healthy one! 

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The Kind Of Mama I Want To Be

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

This Sunday I will be celebrating my 3rd Mother's Day!

When I was thinking about what type of Mother's Day post I wanted to write, I started thinking about how I would want my girls to remember me as their mother.  Someday in the future, when they sit back and reflect about their time growing up with me, what will they think and feel?

That line of thinking inspired me to write this post...

I Want To...

Be PRESENT.  Put down the cell phone and the iPad.  Not only show up, but PLAY and really LISTEN.

Be able to FIND HAPPY everyday and SHARE it.  Life is full of challenges and obstacles that make some days hard. But, looking for the little things that make you happy everyday makes even the worst days seem a little more bearable.  Sharing those small joys with my daughters every night before bed makes us smile.

Be SUPPORTIVE. I know I won't always like or agree with my daughters' choices.  However, I want to support their dreams and goals, even if they aren't my own.

Be a SHOULDER to both cry on and lean on.


Find ways to be CALM when I'm fuming inside.

Be PATIENT when I'm in a hurry, and they are not.


Be THANKFUL.  Let go of comparing myself to others and be grateful for everything I have at this very minute on this very day.

I am blessed with two sweet, beautiful daughters and I am so lucky to be their Mama.

Here's to being the Mama you can be!

Happy Mother's Day!
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Springtime Chicks

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The sun is shining and the weather is warm.  Springtime has arrived!

I thought to celebrate we would make springtime chicks:)

In order to make these chicks you will need:
Construction paper (white for body, yellow for wings, orange for beak and legs)
Glue stick
Black marker for eyes (or wiggle eyes would be cute)
Yellow paint
Different textures to use as paintbrushes (we used corks and q-tips)

Instead of using a paintbrush to paint our chicks, I thought it would be fun to try out some different textures. I chose corks and q-tips (mostly because they were the first things I saw when I opened up our craft area) but you could use a paintbrush or get really creative here with a variety of objects.
After painting, we let our chicks dry. Then the girls glued the pieces together and added two eyes using a black marker.

Yay, for Spring!  
Have fun making your own Springtime Chicks!

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Tips For Expecting and New Parents of Twins: Part III- They're here! Now what?

Monday, April 28, 2014

I hope you had a chance to check out
Tips for Expecting and New Parents of Twins:  Part 1 and Part 2.

This is Part 3, and my final installment of the series.

The twins have finally arrived and you are all home.  Maybe enjoying a few blissful moments of quiet.

If you are at all like me, you are using those few moments of peace to search online for solutions or affirmations to your latest problems.  "Why won't she sleep?"  "Is all this crying normal?" "Why can't I nurse?" "Why won't my husband just throw on a load of baby laundry without me having to ask him?"

I've been where you are and trust me when I say, it gets easier!

But for now, I hope my final five tips will provide you with just a bit of reassurance that life with newborn twins may be overwhelming at times, but someday you will sit back and say, "Where did the time go?"

1. Swaddling is amazing:   When I was on bedrest I read so many baby books.  One of my favorites was Dr. Karp’s Happiest Baby on The Block.  I know I've written about him before in previous posts, but I seriously think he is a genius! The book also has a DVD version that I checked out from our local public library.  I’m a visual learner.  My husband and I would practice swaddling a giant teddy bear while watching the DVD.  Boy, was that helpful!  The tighter the swaddle the better for our little bugs.  When my girls were reaching that overtired starting to cry stage, we would tightly wrap them up and soon they would be drifting off to sleep.  
My sister, Melinda, had introduced us to the Halo sleep slack.  Boy were they helpful in keeping the girls swaddled.  In fact, the girls slept in a sleep sack (they make sleeveless ones for older babies) until they were almost 2 years old. 

2. Nursing twins isn't easyI wasn't skilled enough to tandem nurse until the girls were a couple of  months old.  So, as soon as one baby finished nursing I would immediately nurse the second.  My husband would take the little one who had finished eating and burp her.  Most of the times she would fall asleep when eating, so he would lay her in the co-sleeper set up next to our bed while I started feeding her sister. I was able to nurse the girls for 11 months, but it was hard for me.  I wrote a post describing some difficulties I encountered and how I went about fixing them.  See this previous post for more info. on nursing twins

3.  You might feel sad or blue:  I didn't know how hard the baby blues would hit me when  I came home from the hospital.  My hormones, and in turn emotions were running wild! I remember feeling happy one minute and then feeling frustrated and crying the next.  I was a mess.  I'm sure the sleep deprivation didn't help matters.  

I also didn't realize it would take a bit for me to develop a connection with my new babies.  I was expecting instantaneous attachment.  Like you see in the movies.  It took a little while to develop that mother-daughter bond. 

*If you feel that you can't shake your sadness be sure to talk to your doctor. You have two babies! That's hard for anyone! But, Post Partum Depression is real and your doctor can help you feel better:)

4. Communicate with your spouse: For the first time in nine years, I saw my husband struggling emotionally, too.  He was always the rock. The strong and dependable one, there to calm me down when I started to worry and fret.  Seeing him so anxious and stressed was new.  After a rather emotional breakdown-on my part- we shared our stresses and wow what a difference talking it out made for us.  He knew what I needed and I discovered what was bothering him. When you are both sleep deprived, emotional, and now a family of four (or more), forgetting about the two of you is easy to do.  I truly believe that setting aside a few minutes to talk/vent/share every day helped us get through those really tough times.  Even if it was 2:30 am and I was up feeding the girls, he was sitting in bed next to me ready to help. Making me see, I'm not alone! 

5. Join a local multiples club:  I am so thankful to have a large and active moms of multiples club in my area.  The club provided me with meals after the girls were born and a “Big Sister”, a mom of fraternal twins and a neighbor , who I adore.  She would visit me while I was on bed rest and then even after the girls came.  She offered advice and listened to my concerns.  Having a community of moms who know EXACTLY what I am going thorough helped me tremendously.  I volunteer on the board of my club now, and I am thankful I can payback the kindness of others.
Having friends and family of singletons is great, but sometimes you will need a bit more support from someone who's been there.  

Even if you don’t have a club near you, find support online.  There are great forums and bloggers out there to help.  

Of course, I would love to answer questions or help out, don’t be afraid to askJ

And I promise...It gets easier!  Don't forget to laugh and enjoy those babies! They grow so fast!

All you moms of multiples, I'd love to share any additional advice you may have so comment below! 

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