Archive for January 2014

My Twin Ladybugs Birthday Party: Ladybug Party Hat Craft

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I wanted to have a craft at the girls' party to keep the older cousins busy, but one that the little ones could put together with a little assistance.  I came across these similar cute ladybug hats at KidParties123.com.  
Genevieve's Ladybug Hat 
Ladybug Hat made and worn by Cousin (she opted for a heart mouth in place of the yarn:)
Craft Materials:
  • 12”x18”Red craft foam sheets (cut into 3" strips)
  • Black “sticky-backed” craft foam
  • Small foam heart stickers
  • Black dot stickers (I ordered mine on amazon)
  • Black Marker (for writing name on the back)
  • Wiggle Eyes
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Yarn or string for the mouth
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Glue dots or Elmer's glue 
  • Black ribbon (to tie the sides together)
I was able to pick up the supplies I needed at Michael's. (Except for the black dots- see above)

I spent a little time one evening before the party cutting the foam, ribbon, and yarn.  I also punched the holes and tied the ribbon to the red foam.  The day of the party I had all the supplies sorted and set out in little bins and baskets.  My sister sat down at the craft table to lend a helping hand, but the kids did great!   

For very easy to follow assembly instructions, click on this link KidParties123.com

Be sure to check back for more ladybug party goodies!  

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My Twin Ladybugs Birthday Party- Birthday outfits

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Last week my baby girls turned 2! I can hardly believe how fast time is flying!  
We celebrated this weekend, at our house, with a ladybug birthday party.
I wanted to share the girls' birthday outfits.  

 I ordered these adorable shirts from etsy shop, Textile Transitions.   Paired with a jean skirt and leggings- super cute:)
I also got these cute bows from etsy shop, SweetestBugBows.  I couldn't beat the price at only $3 a bow. It's a little tough to see, but the ladybugs are sparkly.  


 I hope to get some cute portraits taken in their birthday outfits next weekend, but for now this was the best picture I had of the two of them. 

Check back for more ladybug birthday posts soon!

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Stuck Inside Toddler Day Fun: 3-D Snowman Painting

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stuck inside on another freezing cold day!!!  Perfect time for a snowman craft. 

  1.  I cut out snowman shapes from white construction paper
  2. Next, I mixed together shaving cream ( I used Barbasol-it's really foamy and works great for this activity) and  Elmer's Glue. I don't have exact measurements, but I put a glob of shaving cream on a paper plate and then added a good amount of glue, mixing until it formed a puffy, sticky consistency. 
  3. The girls painted the shaving cream glue mixture onto the snowman cutouts (see above).    
  4. We let the snowman dry overnight. 
  5. Finally, I added some googly eyes, a carrot nose, and drew on a mouth using a black marker. 
Cute, easy, and fun!  My kind of project.

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Breastfeeding Twins- Can I Do It? Tips I Learned Along The Way

Monday, January 6, 2014

My sleeping beauties-after a nursing session
A big topic among expecting moms in my multiples club is that of breastfeeding.  The questions are usually the same. Can I do it?  How do I do it?  What do I need? I wanted to share my own personal experience.  But reader beware:  I'm not a lactation specialist or even a breastfeeding guru...I'm just a mom of twins.  This is not a tale of joyful bliss or perfection!

My Story

When I was pregnant I was determined that I would nurse the girls through their first year of life.  I knew the benefits of breast milk- often called "liquid gold"-the antibodies, nutrients, proteins, immune defenses...Oh my! How could I not want that for my babies? Coupled with the high cost of formula for feeding two, I had made my decision months before my girls were born.

But then reality set in...

After 3 months of constant challenges, I changed my original plan from one year of breastfeeding to 6 months.  My mantra was... Just get through it.  I literally counted down the days.

But then surprisingly, the 6 month mark came and went. I would constantly move my self-imposed ending date back one more month at a time.  Despite my own difficulties, I wanted the girls to get all the benefits of breast milk.   Sheer determination kept me going.   I made it to 11 months, but it wasn't easy for me!  I had over a dozen cases of blocked ducts, a bad case of mastitis that required a trip to the hospital and antibiotics, and I constantly fought a low milk supply.  It's the low supply that did me in at the end.  Not to mention the trials of feeding two crying/SCREAMING babies at one time.   Oh yeah.. and then when teeth came in, the biting began.  Things were far from perfect.

When I was in the midst of all my nursing woes,  I enjoyed talking with other moms of multiples about their experiences.  I think those conversations helped to give me the courage to continue. Some moms, like my friend with triplets, had no problems nursing (other than getting into the groove of nursing three babies). She could even pump and freeze tons of milk.  Amazing!  But, still MANY more who had planned to nurse, weren't able to nurse at all.  For reasons like the stress of having babies in the NICU, surgery complications, finicky eaters, milk supply issues, and just the overall stress of nursing more than one baby taking it's toll on a new mom.  Then, there are also a lot of moms like me, the ones who nursed for as long as they could, but faced a number of challenges.
From all of these conversations, I learned that I needed to relax!  To enjoy spending time feeding my little ones, and that every day I was able to nurse was one more day that my girls were benefiting from breast milk.

That being said, I wanted to share some useful tools that helped me through my nursing experience.

Can I do it?

Yes, you can! If you want to try nursing your twins, then go for it. My first piece of advice... prepare yourself before the babies are born! 

I was fortunate that the hospital where I delivered my girls offered a breastfeeding class that I went to while pregnant. They also have a nationally recognized lactation team that would visit me in the hospital providing instruction and answering questions.

My advice is take advantage of any lactation support while in the hospital!  If your hospital doesn't have a lactation consultant check out http://www.gbmc.org/lactationservices.  They offer online and telephone support to all breastfeeding moms.

I also spent time searching the web for videos and blogs on nursing twins.  One of my favorites on tandem feeding was http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wPsO8o9G4s.  I'm a visual learner and this mom really helped me get a grasp on the logistics of nursing two babies.

How do I do it?

After I got the hang of nursing one baby at a time, probably around 2-3 weeks.  I moved onto the tandem shuffle (the video link above was my starting point).

The amount of stuff I needed to support nursing was crazy, so until the girls could sit up on their own I would feed them in 1 of 3 places.  I would either sit on my bed with my back against the headboard, the day bed in the guest room (also had a nice hard back), or on the sofa.
I would have a tall glass of water nearby, something to read or watch on TV, and a basket containing necessities such as nipple shields (we had to use these for about 3 months to help with latching), lanolin, tissues, snacks for me, breast pads, and burp clothes. 

I started using the My Breast Friend Twins Plus Nursing Pillow.  It just didn't working for me. I had trouble with the height of the pillow and the back.  So, I switched to the Double Blessings EZ 2 Nurse Twins Pillow.  I would have each girl on either side of me in their bouncy seat or a boppy. I would sit cross legged with the nursing pillow wrapped around me.  Crossing my legs allowed for extra support when the girls were tiny and needed a little lift.  One large pillow under each side of the nursing pillow for added support and one or two more bed pillow behind my back. I would carefully pick up one baby lay her down on top of the nursing pillow with her head towards my front and her legs under my arm, then position the second the same way.  Latch one, latch two and nurse.

Until the girls had better control of their necks, burping was a challenge.  If you are lucky enough to have an extra set of hands, this is where that would be helpful. But if not, I found that sitting the girls (one at a time) up on the nursing pillow with their chin supported in one hand, my other hand patting/rubbing her back worked for me.  I couldn't bring one up over my shoulder and still nurse the second.

When we were finished, I would transfer one to her bouncy seat or boppy, then the other.  In the beginning, the girls would often fall asleep when nursing.  When I was by myself, I wasn't able to transfer a sleeping baby without waking her or her sister.  So, that's why I had my i-pad, a book, or the TV near by to keep me entertained.  Although, often I would just sleep right there with them.

A few tools of the trade...

  • Nipple shields-  I used Medela Nipple shields to help the girls with latching.  My lactation consultant at the hospital recommended them.  I didn't have any trouble transitioning the girls away from the shields.  I just kept trying to not use them at each feeding, until one day J didn't need one and then a few weeks later, G didn't need to use it. 
  • Home visit from a lactation consultant- Can be pricey, but super helpful when I was trying to tandem feed on my own.  She also helped to fit me with better nursing bras and taught me more efficient ways to use my pump. 
  • http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/mastitis/-  This page was my go to when trying to solve the problem of blocked ducts and prevent mastitis.   Blocked ducts are SOOOOOO painful!
  • Lecithin- Under the advise of my lactation consultant, I would take about 3600mg of Lecithin daily to help with blocked ducts.  Just wish I would have started taking this sooner.  http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/lecithin/
I know there is so much that goes into nursing twins.  I would be glad to try and help answer any questions.   
Thanks for visiting!  Let's talk again soon:) 
Christina 

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Start the New Year Learning: Letter Recognition Ideas You CAN Do at Home-1

Thursday, January 2, 2014

This month I thought we would start off the new year by focusing on little ways to incorporate learning into your child's day.  (I guess that's the teacher in me!)

Focus On Letter Recognition 

Daily Letter Board: (ages 1 - preschool)

Find a place in your home where your child will see the letter of the day every day, multiple times throughout the day.  Repetition and constant exposure are key!
For us that's in our playroom.  
I used painters tape to attach a large piece of paper and some boarder to the wall. On the paper I attached 3 strips of magnetic tape to hold the cards. Nothing too fancy here!


I wrote the uppercase and lowercase letters on large index cards. ABC flashcards would work well, too.

To prevent overwhelming the girls, I like to introduce new concepts in baby steps.  For a few months, we  focused on uppercase letters only. After the girls had a good handle of the letters, I began to add 1-2 word cards to the board.  These cards were from the dollar bins at Target last spring.  But, you can find pictures anywhere from flashcards (like the ones I have) to pictures from magazines that you cut out. My girls especially like when I use photos of family and friends.    

I make a big deal about changing the letter of the day by coming up with a silly cheer to pep up the girls.  Then in the same excited voice I go over the letter, it's phonetic sound, and the word cards that start with today's letter.  Sesame street uses a cute song to share letters and sounds.  I just change the song to fit today's word and letter.  Here's a you tube video that shows the song.  It's not the best quality, but you can at least see what I'm talking about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0OkjutIKSE

Sharing your excitement for learning is contagious!

Throughout the day, I constantly look for ways to bring the letter of the day board back into focus.  As we put on our shoes to go outside, "What's the letter of the day?"  As we go upstairs to eat lunch, "What's the letter of the day?"  You get it.  Repetition, repetition, repetition.

My girls developed a natural curiosity of letters at an early age.  I want to nurture their interests and help to develop their talents, so that's why we started learning letters so early.  But, if your 1 year  old isn't interested in letters right now, then try again later.  Find what your child enjoys and go with it!  

I plan to share more activities with you soon, so be sure to check back!
Thanks for visiting:) 

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