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What do I need if I’m Pregnant with Twins?

12 May

Four years ago, my doctor informed me that my baby number 8 was actually baby number 8 AND baby number 9.  I was a pretty experienced mommy, but I knew twins would be different.  I scoured the internet for information on what I would need.  Most mommy bloggers of twins had different life situations than I had.  Their twins were usually their first and second babies, or they had a toddler and twins.  I don’t think I found a single blog by mothers who already had 7 babies and then had twins.  (These women are much too busy to blog.)  These mommy bloggers all also seemed to be able to afford the deluxe, premium versions of everything from strollers to diaper bags.  That was definitely not me.

I do want to remember what I learned and what turned out to be useful for me.  So if you just found out that you are going to be a Mother of Multiples and you have a real life budget, here are the things that were the best things I bought.  I got my money’s worth out of all of them.  (P.S. None of these links are affiliate links because Missouri and Amazon do not get along–these are just sincerely the things that saved my sanity.)

#1–I ordered this brace when I was 30 weeks along. I should have ordered it at 25 weeks. It really helped reduce how much back pain I had while standing to cook dinner. (by 27 weeks, I only stood up to cook dinner. The rest of the time I sat on the couch watching Dora with Baby Bean.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GO2Q8ZS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_uXjKBbDMJKPS7
#2–I bought this pillow for nursing two babies at once. It was great for just holding them too. My twins turned out to be terrible at eating, so I only used it for about 3 1/2 months before I faced reality and switched to full formula and bottles. There are lots of twin mommy blogs out there of super women who exclusively breast fed or exclusively pumped and bottle fed their twins for a whole year, so I’m not saying it is impossible. But don’t judge yourself if your unique situation doesn’t work out that way. ❤ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PC3KVYA/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B00PC3KVYA&pd_rd_w=8Juyu&pf_rd_p=8a8f3917-7900-4ce8-ad90-adf0d53c0985&pd_rd_wg=u7f2F&pf_rd_r=MEGBRY09717XZEJ270CD&pd_rd_r=3602a5a3-752a-11e9-ad11-c3d8451968d7
#3–If it turns out that you partially or fully bottle feed your babies, you will be super glad to have these “hands-free” bottles. The part that goes in the baby’s mouth is like a pacifier that hooks to the bottle on a long tube. This way, no one has to hold the weight of the bottle. It’s awesome. Also, the babies swallow less air with these, so if your babies have colic or gastric re-flux, they help with that too. I can’t tell you how many nights at 1 in the morning I was attempting to nurse a baby with one arm, hold the breast pump on the other side, and had the other baby in a bouncy chair and was propping a bottle for him with my foot. These fix that. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001V9KPBI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_KcjKBb38QRQHE
#4–Speaking of bouncy chairs….when I had only one baby, these seemed like useless space hogs. But My twins were in their bouncy chairs so much. Bouncy chairs or swings…either is fine, but you need two! They can double as high chairs for a long time as well.
#5–I got a backpack diaper bag because I knew both hands would be busy with the babies. That was a good call. You don’t want a shoulder bag that is going to slip down your arm onto a baby or make you lopsided. You’ll be juggling too much anyway. This is the one I got, and I loved it, but there are many many options out there. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FCJB5NQ/ref=twister_B00MQNDH5E?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
A lot of twin moms recommend the JuJuBe diaper bags. They look amazing and expensive.
#6–This stroller is light weight, sturdy, and works with most car seats, so you don’t have to buy two new car seats (if you don’t want to) This thing was my work horse for many months–as long as you bring the babies into church in their car seats, you’ll be glad you have it. Baby Trend Universal Double Snap-N-Go Stroller Frame https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008U4MKU6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_o5iKBbZ9D8K2W
#7–Start making a list now of things that people can do for you. Lots of people will ask if they can help, and you’re going to be so tired and overwhelmed that you’ll go blank, and you won’t know what you can tell them to do. So make a list now of things you’re willing to let people help you with– like running a load of laundry through your washer, or sweeping your floor, or washing baby bottles, or feeding your goats etc. The thing that someone did for me that helped me the most was to come once or twice a week and take away my preschoolers for the afternoon (Banana Cream Pie was 3 and Baby Bean was 18 months old.) For those few hours I could take care of the twins or take a nap and not have to worry about what crazy messy thing Baby Bean might be getting into.
#8–I made lots of casseroles and freezer meals so that dinner would be easier after the babies were born. By 25 weeks I had 30 meals in the freezer.  I didn’t make more because after that, I was in too much pain to stand for long enough to put extra meals together.  (see #1)  After the babies were born, we also ate a lot of dinosaur chicken nuggets, freezer pizza, taquitos, and popcorn–everyone survived just fine 😉
You can do this, Mamma! Heavenly Father will grant you the strength and wisdom you need when you need it ❤ He is sending these beautiful babies to you because you are the perfect mommy for them. They will love you as you are.
Don’t let yourself think that you have to do things a certain way.
Every time you get frustrated, ask yourself–What is driving me crazy?
How can I make that process simpler or make it go more smoothly?
What expectations do I have that aren’t really true and I need to let go of them?
(example: “good moms do X so I have to do X also.” or If my kids are unhappy, I’m failing.”)
❤ Glowworm

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Productivity as a Homemaker

5 Mar

I was listening to a podcast and the speaker was talking sort of on a “seize the day/make every moment count” theme. I was getting more and more stressed out listening to her. That particular stressful feeling of “I’m wasting my life and all my time and I’m not being productive” used to bother me all the time, but hasn’t recently, and I paused the podcast to think about why. I realized that

-in the past, I read so many efficiency and productivity books and was trying to be productive, but they were all business oriented so my housework didn’t seem productive to me. Those books all talked about goals and promotions and “getting to the next level”. Home making doesn’t really have promotions and levels. You can’t often make a S.M.A.R.T. goal for housework–because there is no end date. House work repeats over and over. There is no promotion to a new level where I suddenly don’t need to wash dishes any more. Because of this, I didn’t view housework as “productive”. Housework was the stuff I had get over with so that I could go do something productive. Since it never ended, my frustration was almost constant.

-A few years ago I decided to stop trying to be “productive” because it was getting in the way of me being able to love and care for my family. I was making everyone miserable trying to rush through housework. If a child spilled something or made a mess, I would totally lose my temper because I saw it as a setback to my goal of “getting done.”

I chose to accept what must be done and strive simply to do it well. No longer would I speak of housework as drudgery or complain of the Sisyphean mountains of laundry and dishes. Instead I reminded myself each day that my job as mother is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, make a clean and tidy place for my children to grow in, minister to the sick, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. These are things that Jesus did while he was on the earth. They cannot be drudgery, no matter how often they repeat.

-This choice brought me a large measure of peace. Spills and messes are inevitable in a family of 11. I don’t lose my temper anymore because spills aren’t setbacks. They are just spills. I’m happy doing what I can do each day.

As I thought about what the podcast speaker was saying, I realized that no one has ever said house work wasn’t productive. That was just a logic hole in my own head. When I “gave up on productivity,” what I actually did was to let go of my narrow definition of productivity and accept the work set before me. I’m so much more productive now that my focus is on what is essential and not on an unrealistic view of what I ought to be doing.

So you Have a New Baby and You Want to Know How to Get Dinner on the Table?

11 Dec

First of all, I present as a gift, my rule of thumb for time management after welcoming a new baby into your home.

Rule of Thumb:

Baby is 0-3 months old = you will get nothing done aside from feeding and diapering baby. Your family will survive on Cheerios, peanut butter sandwiches, ramen noodles, and popcorn. It’s fine. Order pizza as often as possible 😉 it’s good for moral.

Baby is 3-6 months old: you can accomplish 1-2 other tasks per day besides caring for the baby and toddler. This could be dinner, some cleaning, or laundry, but not all 3. Your toddler will watch much TV regardless of which task you choose. I recommend “Little Baby Bum”…

Baby is 6 plus months old: on good days you can accomplish 3-4 tasks. On bad days—zero.

If you have Twins:  basically double the length of each stage— maybe triple depending on how many other children you have and what their ages are.

Twins 0-6 months: feeding the twins is all you will accomplish.

When your twins have survived for 6 months, you will suddenly one day lift your head, take a breath, and realize that the outside world is still going on. You will probably be able to add one non-baby task per day at this point if your twins are formula fed and can hold their own bottles.

Now that you have realistic expectations, I’ll tell you the next most important thing.

The first key to being consistent at getting meals on the table is your attitude.  You need to recognize how important a part of your Mom job it is.  For years, I thought I had the best attitude about being a mother.  I “knew how important” it was to be a mom.  My day-to-day thought process did not reflect this, though.  Day in and day out, I viewed the work I did in my home as never ending drudgery, and I rushed through it hoping to have time to get to “something important” and time to do the “fun things I wanted to do.”

I am embarrassed to tell you how many years it took me to realize the truth that would set me free from daily frustration and misery.  I realized that feeding my family, clothing my family, and keeping our home clean WERE the important things I needed to do each day.  These chores were not the necessary evils of motherhood.   These chores were the most important daily service I could render to my husband and children and, by extension, the best service I could render to God.   Once I figured this out, I still needed to change my attitude so that I could rejoice in those daily tasks.  Reading this little pamphlet called Rejoicing in Repetition changed my attitude.  It is worth every penny!!

Now that your expectations and attitude are squared away, I’ll tell you my favorite way to get dinner done for the family. I’ve tried all the ideas: 30 minute meals, freezer meals, make ahead meals, crock-pot meals.  My favorite for ease of preparation and freshness of the food is doing a prep day once a week.

I started with a plan where someone else did the thinking for me: Five Dinners in One Hour. I began with the $2 trial plan. She gives you recipes, a grocery list, and instructions for how to do all the prep work for 5 dinners in about an hour on one day. Her meals are pretty traditional meat and potatoes type meals, but with lots of good veggies, and she had several meatless meals, which is very nice.

It was life changing for me even though my pep takes more like 2 hours since I’m prepping meals for 11 people.

Try Five Dinners Here

Fair Warning: kitchen must be clean and groceries bought. The prep time doesn’t count shopping or cleaning the kitchen. So I usually shop and clean on Friday and then prep on Saturday.

Seriously, this method is so much quicker and fresher tasting than making freezer meals (been there, tried that). Even on the weeks that I don’t do full prep, just taking time to wash and chop all the veggies makes getting food on the table 100% easier.

Another planning and preparation method I love is Mystie Winkler’s Simplified Dinner plan.  Family meals are a big deal, and if you want to learn how to make your meal preparation and planning go more smoothly and take as little brain space as possible, then this Simplified Dinner ebook is the thing you need.

You can do this, Momma!  God gave you this baby (babies) and He will give you the Grace and energy and wisdom to accomplish this mission.

❤️ Glowworm

Recap:

1. Get your Expectations Real!

2. Read Rejoicing in Repetition

3. Check out Five Dinners in One Hour

4. Check out Simplified Dinner

 

This post contains affiliate links.  That means that if you make a purchase from one of the links in this post, I will be paid a small commission.  I only recommend products and services that I use and love.  Thank you.

A craft stash is for

5 Oct

When you decide at noon that the girls coming to your 10-year-old’s birthday party at 4pm that day need a party favor to take home.

Then you get out the piece of blue fleece left over from making a pillow for cousin Emily last year,

the ribbon from a box of lace that a sweet granny at church gave you when she decided to reduce her stash,

the fiber fill stuffing your friend gave you when it was left over from reupholstering a chair,

googley-eyes left over from a preschool project,

And E6000 glue because glue.

Enlist the help of your minions, and less than 2 hours later, you have blue cuteness.

Just enough time to clean-up the house…or catch a nap before eight 10-year-olds descend upon you en masse.

Algebra and Life (and the secret to successful home school math)

19 Feb

Beginner Home school Math Mistakes
           I began homeschooling in August 2016 using Saxon math.  Cherry Pie in Algebra 2, Pumpkin Pie in 8/7, and Tamale Pie in 6/5, I had been given the textbooks my children needed (for free!), and I figured I should use what I had rather than spend money on dreamy manipulative heavy curriculum (MathUSee.)  The benefit to using Saxon was (aside from being able to start for free) that it is a respected curriculum.  So when friends and family members raised their eyebrows and worried that I was going to be one of those home school moms whose children just played and wasted time, I could say, “I’m using Saxon math,” and they all relaxed and got off my case.  However, I second guessed myself more than anyone realized.  I worried that I should buy a different program that might be better for my children.   I worried that the daily work was too repetitive and boring and took too much time.  I worried that Saxon was not helping my kids to see the real beauty that is in math.
            By October 2016, I could tell Cherry Pie was definitely struggling.  I thought a different program would be the solution for her.  I also realized she needed to review Algebra 1, which she had supposedly learned in 8th grade.  So I picked up a textbook called EZ Algebra at my favorite used curriculum store.  Each chapter was written in story form.  This would be fun and interesting, I hoped.  A textbook written in story form seemed to fit with what I understood “living books” were (Charlotte Mason method).  Reading how the characters solved their math problems might help her understand the “why” behind the math.  But many of the homework problems in the new book were tricky and made leaps beyond the instruction that were not intuitive for her or me.  If neither Cherry Pie nor I could figure out how to get the answer, we were sunk because the book didn’t have a solutions guide.  Also each chapter covered 4-5 concepts at once, which was too much new information all at once! I intended to work with her on every lesson, but I was new to home school and schooling 4 children in 4 different math levels plus keeping the 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and 1-year-old twins happy and out of mischief was a struggle. Most days, Cherry Pie was on her own for math.
I Learn the Secret to Successful Math Learning:
         After about 6 more weeks of still seeing her struggle, I pulled out the Saxon Math book again, Algebra 1 this time.  I went through a lesson with Cherry Pie. I get so excited about math when I’m teaching the lesson! It’s fun! I realized I have to teach her every day, or math is just not going to work for her or me.  I have to teach daily for me because I don’t know what’s going with her if I’m not directly teaching, and I need the review because I haven’t done much Algebra for 20 years.  Cherry Pie needs the direct instruction every day because she got none in 7th or 8th grade in public school.  She was given an assignment on a computer and told to ask her neighbor if she didn’t understand something.  She was left to flounder on her own for far too long.  I didn’t know this until later, but now that I know, I understand why she was so lost, and why math was so painful for her.
           As I was researching home school, I heard from many moms that they use math as the subject their children are expected to work independently on.  Many of the curriculum choices advertise that students can work through their programs independently.  But now that I’ve been home schooling for almost 2 years, I can say that my children struggled progress in math on their own.  When I began, I thought my 12-year-old and 11-year-old were moving through their Saxon math books by themselves okay, but that was because the concepts were almost all review for them. They weren’t learning anything new, and at the end of each month when I would finally remember to check up on their homework, I would discover that they had completed about 4 lessons for the entire month. (They should have been completing 3-4 lessons per week!)
           When I made the decision that I would work with each child each day for math no matter what, something magic happened. No one was bored with math any more, and everyone began to finish their math assignments in a reasonable amount of time.
Here is the big secret to schooling math: More important than which curriculum you choose is YOU, the teacher, working  one-on-one with your students each day.  I would even venture to say, that the curriculum you choose does not matter at all as long as you work with your children each day.  Choose one that is fun and interesting to you, or at least find one that does some of the thinking for you, because you won’t have time to write lesson plans for every day.  But do not think that the shiny curriculum you really want, but can’t afford, is the key and pine for it.  Because it really is not the answer.  You are the answer.  Even if you have your child work through Khan Academy online (which is free except for the cost of good internet speeds), the key to your child moving at a good pace through the math program is you being their with them for 20 minutes of their math time each day.
I discover that Saxon math is pretty cool, after all.     
           I discovered that in the Saxon book, each of the homework problems has a small number beside it that tells which lesson that concept was taught in.  So if neither Cherry Pie nor I can figure it out, I know where to go to review that concept.  Not only that, I can use those numbers to notice patterns in which problems Cherry Pie misses, and we can go back and review skills that she consistently makes mistakes on.
      Best of all, there is a letter from John Saxon to the students in the beginning of the book.  He says algebra isn’t difficult, it’s just different.  We have to learn to think differently in algebra.  He talked about not being discouraged about making mistakes–that everyone makes lots of mistakes. Mistakes don’t mean that we are bad at math and should give up. We practice each day to develop strategies that will help us avoid making mistakes in the future.
           That was a concept I needed, because once I understood that we were developing strategies, my mindset changed.   As we went through the lesson together, I was specifically paying attention to how the book showed to solve the equations–looking for strategies to help Cherry Pie.  I also payed attention to how I solved the equations.  What are my strategies that I developed all those years ago that are now so instinctive I hardly notice what I am doing?  I asked Cherry Pie to pay attention to how we solved the problems so she could find her own strategies.
        I should never have doubted Saxon.  I realized that he totally gets the beauty of algebra.  He just knows that algebra takes lots of practice.
      Maybe that’s a bit of an allegory for life.  We are here on the earth, trying to learn how to think and be like our Heavenly Father.  His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  We make tons of mistakes.  However, we aren’t supposed to be discouraged by our mistakes or quit or just decide that we are no good at life.  With the help of the master teacher, we continue to practice.  We develop strategies to avoid making those mistakes again. It’s going to take a lifetime of practice, and it can indeed be beautiful.
❤️ Glowworm

The Skooter Pies Discover Mud.

20 Apr

Skeeter


Spring has arrived, and on one balmy afternoon I let the twins outside, knowing they would find the mud puddles–even though they’d never played in puddles before.  It didn’t take long for them to find the puddles.

Baby Bean and Key Lime Pie (not pictured) joined in the dirty fun. I just sat on the porch and enjoyed watching their excitement and curiosity.

Skeeter likes to dip his head in the water

The downside is that they know about mud now, so they beeline it to the mud puddle every time they get outside.  (Which is pretty often because Skooter learned how to open doors. Curses.)

Zeek

It was still worth it.

Tasting the muddy driveway gravel.  They had to taste the mud several times. Seriously these boys have refused to taste so many delicious foods, like flan 🍮(!!), but the mud went right into their mouths–more than once!

A muddy bath to extend the fun. And there were little muddy bite marks in the soap when they got out of the tub.  Seriously, I don’t know why I bother cooking.


Muddy paw prints are clues that fun was had today.

In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.

Charlotte Mason

Bean Bag Stuffie 

16 Jun


I made this!

It’s the first time I’ve sewed anything since last October. 
It is stuffed full of all the princess dress ups.  
Storage and seating!  I’m so happy