Friday, January 31, 2014

Women Who Serve: January Recap

Being a mom requires 100% of my energy at all hours of the day. I've found that I can get so caught up in my three sons happiness and comfort, that I forget to take care of me. In fact, there are days I forget to eat anything at all.  Some days when my husband walks in the door and gives me a kiss, I realize I haven't even brushed my teeth. Something has to change! When I stumbled upon the Service Collaboration, I knew I had to join in. This year is all about selfless service unto others. 

The theme for January is to Serve Yourself. 

I completely agree that this is the best place to start. In order for me to be the best mom I can be, I need to also remember ME. Easier said than done! I think sometimes when we think service project, it has to be some huge thing. It DOES NOT have to be that way. Money is tight right now with my husband in law school, so I had to get creative. I haven't been feeling very put together lately. I decided I needed a makeover, so I invited my most fashionable friend, Izzy Harris, into my closet. She had me try on things I would've never thought to pair up. I was AMAZED by the outcome! I now have a dozen "new" outfits to wear and am feeling confident. (pictures to come) 

I also came up with the "One night a week challenge." This is where I made it a priority to have at least one girls night a week, after the kids go to bed. Whether it was going to a friends house to watch The Bachelor, getting frozen yogurt at Sweet Frog, or seeing a movie at The Hoffman Center. I cannot tell you how much it made a difference in my week. It had been so long since I'd eaten frozen yogurt that I'd actually forgotten how delicious it could be. My friend and I sampled half a dozen flavors to make sure we made the right choice. It was in that moment that I realized I hadn't eaten frozen yogurt without a little person asking for a bite in years. I didn't have to rush. No, in fact, I ate slowly and savored every flavor of my Sweet Frog cake batter and red velvet frozen yogurt with a smorgasbord of toppings. Oh the little things...

Taking the time to serve myself has shown me that I matter. In order for me to be present in my other relationships, I must be present in my own. E' vero!


click here for free printable 

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Sidekick

Little Joey is my everything. Before he was born, I yearned for a baby. I never imagined I'd be blessed to have this imaginative and creative little creature. He makes life interesting. He has brought me more joy in these three short years, than I'd had in the 29 prior to his birth. I am the luckiest mommy there ever was. He fills my day with laughter and love. The more present I am in our relationship, the happier he is. Putting down my phone, and getting on the ground to play, makes for a great afternoon. His favorite thing to do is tell me stories, and my favorite thing to do is listen to them. I just sit and take in his imagination. When he's describing his adventure, his eyes get really focused and his face is ever so expressive. He comes alive! He makes a sword out of whatever is in his little hand. Joey has discovered his baby brothers are great playmates. He is very protective of them. He warns me if he thinks they're in danger. My favorite Joeyism was last week when he went up stairs to grab a book from his room. On his way up the stairs, he shouted, "Mom, I gotta go up stairs for two minutes, will you please watch the babies!" I die! This boy is out-of-this-world! In the mornings, I can't wait for him to wake up so we can spend the day together. Joey no longer takes a nap, so he is literally my sidekick. He is the Robin to my Batman, except he calls me "Super Woman." Thank you son, you are my everything.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

DC in the Winter

Winter on the east coast is depressing. We have spent more days inside in January than I'd hoped. Despite the frigid temps, we finally enjoyed a day in the district. We visited the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. There's something so intriguing to me about modern art. I often wonder what in the world the artists were thinking when they created the piece. Modern art really intrigues me. Perhaps, because the interpretation is left up to me. Some what like life. 

I wasn't sure how the kids would do at a modern art museum. Joey enjoyed looking at something different for a change. Although, I think he'd forgotten what it was like to be out of the house because he had more melt downs than usual. The babies were just happy to be in their stroller and out on the town. 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Having Twins

In the last few months I've come to realize how profoundly different my life is.

On Saturday, May 12th, at 6:15pm, my husband and I found out we were expecting twins. I'll never forget the rush of emotion I felt in that very moment. It felt like my heart was actually going to explode! In the days and months ahead, I sought out advice on how to best prepare for their arrival. I initially spoke to friends with multiples. These were their responses:

Having twins is...
"SO much fun," "hard work," "complicated," "a nightmare," "a blessing."

I wasn't sure who to believe. I had a feeling it would be like throwing Daniel in with the Lions. When we were able to bring our babies home, I was right about one thing: I had no clue what I was doing. I thought because I'd already had a baby, I was "prepared." I was wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for twin life. Life as we knew it would never be the same. It was redefined that day. Twin life is like a roller coaster. There are days when I feel if I were any happier my cheeks would fall off; however, there are other days when all the blood rushes to my head and I feel like I'm hanging up-side-down. 

The truth is...

Having twins is SO much fun, but it's hard work. Taking care of them is complicated and can feel like a nightmare. But, watching them grow is a blessing. I feel just like Daniel. Those lions could eat me up, but my life is spared as I watch over them with love and care. Che gioia!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bed rest, unrest


FAQ's while I was on bed rest...

1) Will my pregnant belly burst at the seams? I stuck out so far forward with twins that my skin did split. Even though I incessantly coated my tummy in Palmer's Cocoa Butter, I still got stretch marks. The marks shrunk down after a few months, but they're still there. It's a daily reminder to me of the miracle of life. 

2) Will I need to buy two of everything? We saved all of our two year old's baby gear. We did end up having to purchase one more of everything. So, if the twins came first, then yes, we would've had to buy two of everything. 

3) Will I be able to have a VBAC? It was always my plan, but baby B had a different plan. He was breech. I didn't have a choice. This is still a touchy subject for me. Argh! 

4) Will I be able to nurse two babies? This was my biggest fear. I tandem nursed for a while, but my babies were such different nursers with high needs that I ended up having to nurse them separately. They were bottle fed and breast fed. Their pediatrician had me add calories to my pumped milk in a bottle. I learned that breast milk is approximately 15-18 calories per serving. Adding a teaspoon of Similac Neosure, made my milk 22 calories per serving. That might not sound like a lot, but it did make a difference in the twins weight gain. 

5) Will the babies be on the SAME sleep schedule? In the beginning, my babies were not on the same sleep schedule. During the day, it was great. I could feed one while the other slept, and by the time his feeding was done, it was time to feed brother. Nighttime was a different story. We fed both twins at the same time. When one woke up, we would wake the other. We were trying to maximize our sleep. My kind husband would heat up my milk for one, and I would nurse the other. Bless his heart! I would've NEVER made it without him. 

6) Will I get sleep? If you added up the 30 minutes here and 40 minutes there, I would sleep on average three hours per night for the first six months. My body adjusted and I was able to survive this way without being exhausted. At the time, I felt sleep was a distant memory. It was like remembering the first time you had great pizza. You know you loved it, but can't really place it. 

7) Will I ever leave the house? Our babies were preemie and born in the winter. We were doomed to the indoors until spring. I do remember finally being able to leave the house. It was a glorious day! In the beginning, I wouldn't leave the house without my husband. As all mommies know, it is a process to actually get out the door. It took an hour to get the babies and all of their "stuff" ready for an outing. It wasn't until the babies were 10 months old that I ventured out with all three of my kids by myself. Now we make it a point to get out of the house 3-4 days a week. I attribute the success of our outings to our City Select baby jogger Stroller.

8) Will my 2 year old feel left out? Initially my 2 year old felt very left out. Rightfully so. A friend of mine put it into perspective for me. She said, "How would you feel if your husband brought home a younger, cuter wife?" Before the twins, he was literally a perfect child. After they came home, he would throw a temper tantrum at the drop of a hat. I quickly learned that Joey would need an outlet for his anger and anxiety. I realized that his anger and frustration was valid. Instead of hitting his baby brother, I would tell him to go into his room and get angry at his pillow instead. We didn't exhort to "thinking time" or harsher punishments for the first 6 weeks they were home. Once we were back into somewhat of a "normal" routine, we made it clear that baby brothers weren't going anywhere. That didn't stop him from asking if we could take them back to hospital. Or better yet, "mom, put them in the basement with the dogs." My husband and I did our best to set time apart each day to spend with him. By the time he turned 3, he was a full fledged protective older brother.

9) Will I be able to give enough one-on-one time to each baby? Some days I hold one baby more than the other. I think it's completely normal for one baby to feel needy while the other is happy. When both babies need mommy at the same time, especially when they were newborn, I would take a deep breath and pray that I could give them what they needed. Now I get down on the floor and let them crawl all over the top of me.

10) Will my body ever go back to "normal?" I don't think my body will ever be the same as before I had twins. Getting in shape and feeling good about yourself are two different things. I am okay with the fact that my body is different. I had a friend once tell me to not be so hard on myself and realize the trauma my body has gone through. I've also heard that it takes 9 months to gain the weight, but with twins you get 18 months to lose it. haha!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Saturday's Warrior

When I was at BYU, Rebecca Tate was a roommate of mine. She played Emily in a mormon flick called Saturday's Warrior. I remember getting calls at our apartment asking if THEE Rebecca Tate lived there. I can't say how many Saturday nights out she had with guys who wanted to date Emily from Saturday's Warrior, but it was a lot. Saturdays have come along way since then...

Saturday and I have a love hate relationship.

I look forward to finally getting time with my spouse, running errands with the family, and doing something fun together in the city. I know, once my feet hit the floor, its going to be go go go. So, I take a deep breath and give myself a pep talk. My husbands idea of a Saturday is rightfully different than mine. After a long week of being a 1L, he loves making a huge breakfast and then relaxing with the kids. I understand why he feels this way. But, it doesn't make it any easier for me.

Needless to say, Saturday never quite turns out the way I planned. Va bene!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

How much am I worth?

Thank you 

I recently left my beloved 8 year career as a high school history teacher, to become a stay-at-home-mom. I had an immense amount of anxiety when I made this transition. 

Questions that I couldn't help but ask...

1) Will I feel fulfilled?
2) Will I go crazy?
3) Will I be able to make my kids happy?
4) Will I be bored? 
5) Will I get sick of my kids?
6) Will I ever live up to the stigma of being a great "house wife?"
7) Will I lose my identity?
8) Will I resent my husband?
9) Will I stop getting ready in the morning?
10) Will I fail?

After 6 months of being a stay-at-home-mom, these are my honest answers:

1) Yes, I feel fulfilled by serving my kids every day. My three boys have given me more satisfaction in the last six months, than I was ever able to get from other peoples children. Don't get me wrong, my career was all that I ever imagined it could be. I LOVED being a classroom teacher, and I will go back some day. But, having Joey, Luca, and Matteo as my only students, I feel an enormous sense of responsibility for their well being. They are undoubtably the best students I've ever had. 

2) Yes, I have gone crazy! There are great days, and there are crazy days! My husband is in law school, and home only for a late dinner and bed time. Which is more than some husbands, so I feel grateful. But, I have on occasion, when he has walked in the door, given him a kiss and said, "tag you're it!" and left to go see a movie by myself, go on a drive, or go shopping. I have never felt guilty about needing some ME time. In fact, my husband is really good about watching the kids at least a couple times a month, while I have "girl time." 

3) I think I make them happy. There are days I feel like I am a super star and that I can do no wrong in my kids eyes. And then there are days where I think they look at me like I am their worst enemy. This is usually made apparent in my three year old when he wakes up in the morning. Sometimes I'll hear him on the monitor calling out for me longingly with excitement to see me, and other mornings, I can hear him screaming like a t-rex, "mommy, I don't want you today, I want daddy! WHERE IS DADDY?!" 

4) NO, I have never felt bored. I know this might sound strange, but I have really enjoyed not having deadlines. In the work place, I loved the rush of a high stress environment with seemingly unachievable expectations. Now, I love the quiet time I get, before the kids get up, where I can just sit and be still. I've also been able to pick up hobbies and have the time to do them. It's great!

5) Haha, No! I really did think that I'd loath the sound of my kids crying, complaining, fighting, and whining. I actually think it's awesome. Years of eating in the teachers lounge, gave me the tools I needed in order to survive all of that and not poke my own eyes out. I love my crazy kiddos. 

6) NO! I will never live up to the AMAZING mommies out there...and that's ok! I do love to peruse blogs, pinterest, and instagram. You moms inspire me every day to be better, but I have come to the realization that I will never be what you are. I am satisfied just being me. 

7) Yes & No. My identity has been redefined. I am no longer an AP World History teacher, Government teacher, cheerleader & songleader coach, working 70-80 hours a week. Instead, I work 168 hours a week as Joey, Luca, & Matteo's mommy. 

8) NO! I do no resent my husband. This one gets me excited because I was SO wrong. Being a stay-at-home-mom has given me the time I needed to see my husband in ways I never had. I see Paul now for all of his attributions to the family, rather than what he wasn't able to check off my list before as a working mom. My husband works tirelessly as a student, spouse, father, and son. He is all that I am not. 

9) Yes, I will admit, I do not get myself as dolled up as I used to. I need to work on this. 2014 is the year to recommit to being my best self. Updates later...

10) Yes, I will fail and I do fail, nearly every day. However, my kids are so resilient and forgiving. They love me no matter what. They have taught me that it's ok to make mistakes and not have a clue what I'm doing. As long as I get back up and try again. I have embraced the fact that there will be days that we go to museums and experience DC the way it was meant to be seen, and then there are days we don't even get out of our pajamas. 

My new role as a stay-at-home-mom is everything I thought it wouldn't be. E' perfetto.

Friday, January 17, 2014

25 must-haves for all mommies & mommy to be's!

I get stopped every time I brave the outdoors. Strangers first say, "Boy, you sure have your hands full!" Followed by, "What brand of stroller do you have?" and more questions about the items we tote around town.

Here is a list of the must have's for mommies and mommy to be's, from birth to toddler...

1) City select baby jogger with scooter (fits one to three kids)
2) Dr. Browns baby bottles (best for alleviating air bubbles)
3) Medela Pump in Style (I've tried over a dozen different pumps, this is the best)
4) Huggies diapers and wipes (best absorbent)
5) Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag (super durable)
6) Nuk Orthodontic Pacifiers (ok for teeth)
7) Chicco Keyfit 30 car seats (so easy to get in and out of car)
8) Aden + Anais swaddle (safe for baby)
9) Boba baby wraps (acts like the womb for baby)
10) Munchkin wipe warmer (baby's appreciate this!)
11) Aquaphor diaper rash cream (i use it for everything)
12) Cloud B sleep sheep (trust me, this works, and you can take it anywhere)
13) Vulli Sophie the giraffe teething toy (works great)
14) Aveeno baby wash and shampoo (so soft and gentle)
15) Boppy cuddle pillow (for you & baby)
16) Babybjorn baby carrier (so you can get out and have fun)
17) Bright Starts InGenuity baby swing and bouncy (life saver)
18) Angelcare bath support chair (can be used outside the bath to help with reflux)
19) Sassy on the go formula dispenser (can be used for many things!)
20) Manhattan Toy wooden balls toy (keeps baby happy & healthy)
21) OXO Tot on-the-go wipes dispenser (for convenience and ease)
22) Playtex spill proof sippy cup with straw (can be thrown 1,000 times and not break! Seriously!)
23) Stride Rite infant and toddler shoes (because they come in wide)
24) Aden + Anais sleeping bag (essential when baby can start to roll over)
25) Bumbo floor seat (makes baby feel independent)

Not everyone will agree with every item on this list, but these items have been essential in our family. The best advice I can give you is to not over buy. Just get the essentials!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reunited and it feels so good!


A new friend recently asked me what makes my best friend my best friend? I love questions that make me think deeply about the answer. I have been blessed to have many great friends my entire life. I have never felt lonely or isolated. But one day, the stars aligned, and I was blessed to meet my very best friend. I think she is my best friend because we have similar cultural backgrounds that make us loyal by nature. When I met her, there was an immediate connection. She asks meaningful questions and genuinely wants to hear the answer. She is an incredible listener. She is always true to herself. She knows when there is something wrong, even if I don't want to admit it. She never tells me something nice just because she thinks it's what I want to hear. She is real, she cannot lie. She cares about my well being, my family, my marriage, and my happiness. She sees things in me, that I didn't even know I had. She makes it a point to always make me feel loved. She has never made me feel bad for making mistakes. Though we are not blood relatives, my best friend is much more than a friend... She is my sister.

What makes your best friend your best friend?

I am so glad that we were able to see each other last weekend in NYC.


I thought for sure she had figured out that I was going to surprise her in NYC. Truth is... she had no idea! I loved her reaction. She was genuinely surprised!

If you're ever in NYC, you must eat at La Mela off of Mulberry Street in Little Italy. 

S'mores on a rainy day... why not?!

The cannoli at Caffe Roma were worth every penny!

 Times Square is just magical. 

 Would've loved to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center..maybe next time!

We looked for Jimmy Fallon. He didn't get the message that we were in town I guess...

 Our husbands are the best!

Until next time Cynthia...