The Second Try-Mester

Everyone says a twin pregnancy will leave you with your head in the toilet for 9 months. I got off easy with a few short weeks of nausea and only 2 days of yacking up everything, but my toenails during my first trimester. Then you’re told it becomes damn near impossible to cover the ever expanding belly, but I had maxi dresses and tunics that worked for awhile. Then…comes the second try-mester!

The reason I’m calling it the try-mester is because it was three months of trying for normalcy. It’s no secret that we tried FOR.EV.VER to get pregnant with our bambinos, so trust that we feel incredibly grateful and blessed. This is written with love and humor, I am not complaining, nor will I ever complain about my blessings!

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And I though this was big?!

First, I TRIED to pretend that my non-maternity clothes would actually work through the second tri of a twin pregnancy. HA! Nothing short of a circus tent would cover this lump after week 14. My maxi dresses became midi dresses, my tunics became midriff tees and even my cardigans started to resemble the David Spade jacket worn by Chris Farley in Tommy Boy (“fat guy in a little coat”). I haven’t gained weight anywhere but my belly, but it’s THAT big! LOL

Second, I TRIED to maintain my usual go-go-go schedule. I had a couple of trips planned that I decided to follow through with that left me with achy feet, broken back, and sleeping for a solid week upon return. I was still working out 4-5 times a week watching twin babies on the weekends, a toddler twice a week, still running Whole Heart and ALL that entails, and counseling clients 7-10 hours a week. The difference in this and life pre-pregnancy? To keep up with this required floradix daily, two iron supplements, and a 3 hr weekly iron infusion. Without that iron I felt like cinder blocks were attached to my feet and I was sleeping 12-15 hrs a day!!!

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Third, I TRIED my friend’s advice (who had a singleton by the way) of, “Don’t eat like you’re pregnant” to keep weight gain under control. Ha! Yeah, that works for ladies with one baby, but with twins, the nutrition requirements are outrageous and eating “normally” leaves you feeling like a teenage anorexic. I require some sort of food every 1-2 hrs and although I normally choose healthy items, there were several nights I found myself up at 3am inhaling a bowl of cereal and guzzling 1/2 gallon of organic orange juice. Sometimes eating felt like I was just poking the bear and a cup of yogurt made me want an apple, which left me wanting a scoop of almond butter, causing a need for a babybel cheese which led to a handful of grapes.

Fourth, I TRIED to work out normally and just watch my heart rate, but it’s easy to forget you’re carrying an extra 20lbs. So, doing lunges with 10lbs in each hand like I used to do was a favorite pasttime. With 20lbs in my belly, lunges in general were enough and adding weight required channeling my inner ironman. Running was considered safe after my first tri, but my doctor warned me it wouldn’t feel good. She was right! Imagine placing two round 10lb dumbbells in a phanny pack and then running. Uphill, downhill, it doesn’t matter. Running was no longer an option and in fact I still get weird looks even when I’m walking. Passersby are worried if they make eye contact I’ll squat and drop a baby on the sidewalk and they’ll be responsible for helping me, lol. The only thing I can still do and feel halfway normal doing it is zumba.

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Lastly, I’ve TRIED sleeping normally. Doctors say to avoid sleeping on your back after 20 weeks, but I found out that it’s no unsafe for baby, only unsafe for mom and even then your body will tell you if you need to flip over. So, being a lifelong back sleeper I tried to keep it up. After about 2 minutes on my back I can actually hear the blood trying to get to my head and it feels like an elephant is stepping through my stomach and onto my spine. So, I flip to the left side, which makes the back spasms on my right side flare up. So, I flip to the right side, but soon enough, my lower back hurts. So, I move to the middle of the bed and start all over again.

What’s really scary is that twin moms say the second trimester should be a breeze, and it’s the third that’s really tough. Really? If the second was a breeze, I’m terrified moving into the third. I’m 26 weeks now, with a belly measuring 34 weeks. My boots don’t fit, my clothes don’t fit…you’re likely to find me in a bathrobe and slippers from now until Feb 2, which can’t come fast enough. But, believe it or not, I still love being pregnant! I love feeling my boys living inside me. I love eating and drinking and instantly feeling them thrive from it. I love watching my belly grow and feeling blessed that I CAN actually create, and sustain life, with my body.

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Are we there yet? Oh, no it’s almost over! I’m ready to be done. But, wait, I’m not ready yet. LOL. The curse of being a gemini!

Stay gold, 

That Girl

Potty Training 101

I’ve been asked about potty taining in my parenting classes, my counseling center, and on my facebook fan page. Potty training is a developmental task that moms either approach with confidence and gusto, or total fear. The fear is of causing trauma or shame regarding normal bodily functions, or perhaps fearing the many messy (disgusting) accidents. I’ll do my best to address the fears, offer some real word tips, and give you a plan for tackling potty training head on.

First, remember these rules of thumb.

  1. Do NOT use pull ups

This only confuses kids because it’s similar to a diaper which allows them to have accidents without wetting their pants. “But…I don’t want them to wet their pants?” Well, you do when you’re potty training because how else will they know what it feels like. It’s wet, cold, and uncomfortable.

2. Keep several changes of clothes for the child (and for you) on hand

You never know if you might be holding your child when they “forget” to tell you they need to go and it’s not all over you. Be it wet or solid, you’ll wish you had a stash of clothes because it won’t happen at the house. It’ll happen on your way to a birthday party or business lunch, lol.

3. Remember, they will fail

When they were learning to talk you couldn’t hear anything but gaga-goo-goo. When they were learning to sleep, they fell asleep in their soup, but rarely in their crib. When they were learning to walk, they bumped into walls, and fell over backwards. You never shamed them for these actions because you knew there was a learning process taking place. You were there with empathy, love, and patience. Utilize those same skills for potty training.

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When do we start?

This is a matter of parental preference. Some camps believe the earlier you start, the easier it is, but other camps say to wait until they show signs of readiness. Signs of readiness may be:

  • Following you into the bathroom and watching curiously
  • Walking to a corner and crouching/hiding while they poop
  • Saying words like pee, potty, poo
  • Can sit quietly 1-2 minutes
  • Has regular bowel movements and urinating habits

Around 15-18 months I suggest the following methods to introduce the idea:

Potty training stories

You can make your own books about the potty using photos of your house restrooms, Target bathrooms, little gym, etc. inluding all the potties they are familar with. There’s great potty stories online or at the bookstore too if you’re not feeling creative.

Baby Signing Time

Youtube offers videos by babySigningTime on potty specific language. Watch these videos with your child, practice the signs and use the signs. When you need to go, use the signs. Same goes for your spouse. Use the signs for wet, potty, poopoo, etc when changing baby’s diaper.

Let your child In

Allow your child in the bathroom with you from time to time. “I feel tight right here (point to your bladder area). I need to go potty. I don’t want wet pants. Follow me”. While you’re using the restroom, talk things through. “I sit on the potty and relax my body. It feels good to potty in the toilet….” When they see you enjoying this, being clean, feeling relaxed, they’ll soon learn to follow suit.

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18-24m It’s Go Time!

Once you feel your child is ready, choose a weekend or a few days when you’re able to commit full time and energy to potty training. No, you don’t have to be hermits, but don’t choose a time when you’re traveling or have several back to back obligations.

Take your child to the store, prior to beginning training, to choose underwear they like and tell them it’s time to start using the potty!

Day 1:

When your child wakes up in the morning, they’ll be wet. This is zero hour. Change them and put them in underwear. Make a big deal about the underwear.

Go about your daily routine, but have an alarm set for yourself (real, or hypothetical) and place your child over the potty every 20-30 minutes.

If they tinkle or poop in the potty, they get a happy dance or mini celebration and an M&M or small candy they enjoy.

If your child typically poops right after a meal, keep that in mind and don’t take them off the potty until they pooped. Be prepared to be in there awhile with favorite storybooks, playdoh, or other quiet activities they can do while they’re waiting. Pooping in the potty means a BIG time celebration. In fact, call mommy or daddy at work, facetime grandma, and any other person that’s special to them when this happens.

Keep a log of their patterns.

Day 2:

Repeat the same routine as day 1, but try to stretch potty times to every 30 minutes.

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Day 3:

Similar to day 1 and 2, but try to stretch to stretch potty time further. Most kids that are eating and drinking throughout the day can’t go much longer than 45 minutes to an hour (or 1.5 hour at the very most) before needing a potty break.

Naps might require a diaper or a wet mat until your child is fully trained, but have them go potty right before a nap and right after.

Remember to stay positive, stay excited, and demonstrate patience and understanding. Also, once you’ve decided to start, there’s no going back! That’s just too damn confusing for kids. “Am I ready or not, mom, make up your mind!”

Good luck!

That Girl

Buckaroo Organics: Yee Haw, It’s About Time!

Hot new product alert! While strolling through (okay, jogging through) the ABC Kids Expo this year in Vegas, a rustic chic booth caught my eye. The ambiance was what initially drew me in, the product is what captured my interest, and the founders were what encouraged my passion. A husband wife team, Lindsey & Brad Herron, has created a line of organic, simple and safe products for your wee ones known as…

The mama bear, Lindsey, peeked my interest because similar to myelf she’s a faux hippie. She’s chic, hip, and charismatic, but won’t compromise her health or the health of her family for what’s trendy. You know what used to be trendy? Dreft “baby detergent”, filled with pthalates, BPAs, parfumes, fragrances, artificial ingredients, and other health killers. You know what’s trendy now? Soapberry Suds by Buckaroo Organics!

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100% USDA Certified Organic Soapberries, also known as soapnuts. The soapberry not only cleans, but also possesses natural fabric softening capabilities. The saponin contained in the husk of the natural berry is our active ingredient for wranglin’ tough dirt and hard to treat stains and is gentle on delicate fabrics. And…it’ safe for cloth diapers! What what!!!!

They’ve also created a diaper balm, respiratory rub, bath bombs, stretch mark lotion…all organic, simple, and safe!

Their Family Journey

“As parents, we are constantly searching for health conscious ways of raising our family. From food choices to products, we try to select things that will benefit all of us and our health. We struggled to find products that weren’t full of harsh chemicals. Products that could actually heal skin issues and were safe for babies. It was slim pickings on the shelves. So we went to work. Luckily, Brad is a brilliant chemical engineer and together we have created products with clean, organic, easy-to-read ingredient labels that boost the immune system instead of polluting it and your house in the process.

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Our skin is our largest organ and can absorb so many things we put on it, everyday. Delicate, new baby skin is even more susceptible. Helping our body’s natural response to heal is the goal. Utilizing organic ingredients and eco-friendly packaging is the process. Sharing Organic, Simple, and Safe products moms and dads can feel confident about, is our mission. Cleaner living, better health, and a happy environment!

We believe we have been called to action and actions speak louder than words. We are making a change in skincare and everyday home products. Everything we do is based out of our deep rooted love for both people and the environment. Our mission is to provide products that are intentional. Products designed to prevent, heal and soothe skin irritation.” (buckaroo-organics.com)

Organic, Simple and Safe for the whole family™.

ORGANIC: Ingredients that contain no toxins and no synthetic chemicals. We utilize certified organic and all natural ingredients.

SIMPLE: Simple ingredients with labels that are easy to understand, nothing more and nothing less than what is required.
SAFE: Carefully crafted products that are researched, designed and tested to be gentle and effective for families and the environment

Try the Rootin’ Tootin Botton Balm, the Ropin & Ridin Respiratory Rub, the Mother Hen Body Butter, or the classic Soapberry Suds detergent!

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All of these products are now available at ShopWholeHeart.com!

The Orbit Baby 360 is My Jam

Yes, it’s pricey. Yes, it’s a “luxury item”. Yes, it’s the ONLY stroller on the market that has even the potential of making a twin mom’s life a wee bit easier. No, I will NOT settle for anything less. 

It may sound totally bratty, but I have no intentions of using any stroller other than the Orbit Baby 360 G3 Travel System for my twins. This stroller is my jam and any mom with twins, or expecting twins, will feel the same way once they discover the amazeballs features.

Streamlined:

Most double strollers are WIDE and built horizontal, not vertical. The Orbit Baby design is streamlined so it takes up the same amount of space on the sidewalk, going through doorways, and while shopping, as a single stroller. Have you ever watched a mom using a BOB or a double City Mini try to get through the door at the mall? She’s got a better chance of sprouting wings and flying through the door than she does of getting through without assistance.

Rotation:

The seats on the Orbit Baby 360 rotate 360 degrees (hence the “360”). Why is this amazing for a twin mom? Because, as infants, both babies can be rear facing and maintain eye contact with mom to avoid external stimulation (which can be very overwhelming to newborns). Or, babies can be facing one another once they’re old enough to desire interaction with their twin. Third, they could be both facing outward when they’re ready to observe the world and passersby. Or, lastly, they can be turned to face the table when you stop at a cafe, or restaurant, and you prefer not to wrestle them both into a shaky (and likely dirty) high chair or wake them up from the first decent nap they’ve had in days. Winning!

No need to buy extra seats!

The seats for the Orbit Baby 360 stroller are the carseats! Simply load babies into the carseat, snap into the base of the car, and drive to your destination. When you get there, take the carseat from the base and snap into the stroller. Ta-da, you’re ready to go! Not only is this a money saver, but it’s also a space saver. The only thing in your trunk now is the frame; not a big, bulky, gargantuan double stroller.

One Handed Fold

I’ve been a nanny for enough families, and been out and about with enough mom friends, to know that opening and closing most strollers can be a huge pain in the ass! “Hold this button with your left hand, push this part in and pull up with your right hand. Use your knee to push in while standing on your head and rocking side to side reciting the alphabet”. Sound familiar? That’s how I feel sometimes when a friend is telling me how to use her stroller. The Orbit Baby 360 has a simple one handed fold. Again…easiest for twin moms!

  • Great turning radius!
  • Quadshock suspension!
  • Papazzi shield!
  • Cupholders!
  • Great under carriage storage!
  • Chic design!
  • Quality fabric!

I love the Orbit Baby 360 G3 Travel System and can’t wait to shop around the city I heart with my two boys in tow! Get yours now!

My Rustic Glam Nursery

I used to work for this lady who wanted me to help her design her nursery. I was SO excited! Her baby girl was so precious and their budget was way above average. But, once we got started, I realized she already knew what “theme” she was going with and it was NOT an easy theme to be inspired by. Her colors were brown, sage green, and butter yellow and the theme was Winnie the Pooh circa 1926.

Now, I’m a HUGE A.A. Milne fan and I could design a kickass “Pooh” nursery with modern elements, but the color scheme she’d chosen had me turning up my nose and going, “blech!”

So, I started thinking about my own nursery. Even back then I knew I wouldn’t be going with:

  • pastels
  • cartoon characters
  • Disney
  • multiple primary colors

Those things just aren’t my style. Now that I’m expecting twin boys, I know exactlly what I’m going to do! My nursery for the boys will be serene, modern, rustic, and a bit glam. The decor will reflect my hopes for them…curiosity, sense of adventure, love, and imagination.

Twins-Nursery-InspirationFirst: The walls will be painted a VOC free (nontoxic) version of Grey Owl by Benjamin Moore. Not only is this color gender neutral, but it’s calming without being cold. This is the kind of neutral everything goes with!

I’m a huge fan of pecan plank flooring. It’s definitely not the most high end ($.79 sq ft), but it’s rustic, tough looking, but soft to the touch. My husband owns a construction company and will have his guys use the extra spongy underlament, which makes the floor feel almost as soft as a floor at a day care of children’s gym! Carpet is HIGHLY toxic and holds allergens, mold, and other nasty stuff in it so that’s a no-go for my nursery.

Originally I had wanted the Stokke Sleepi circular cribs in white, but this Scoot crib by Babyletto will save us about $1000 so…I decided the harsh rectangles could be dealt with since it has modern lines and footing. Plus, I kinda love the two tone.

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I’m using the white Hemnes dresser from Ikea, but adding modern, gold drawer pulls! I’d love to paint it or distress it, but I’m not that talented unfortunately. I’ll put my slate grey, or vanilla white, Keekaroo Peanut changer atop this with my moroccan mirror on the wall above and I’ll store all diapering supplies in the top two drawers (I hate clutter!)

I’m tossing back and forth between a silvery grey shag rug that I have (it’s HUGE) or two white lambskin rugs at the foot of their cribs. With twins it’s always wise to have alot of places to lay them down or set them, lol. I opted for a chair and a half (seen below) so I can rock both easier and also be able to fit the monstrous twin nursing pillow.

I’m hoping my sweet husband will help me make pallet bookshelves for the wall and hang drapes that block out light so I can raise healthy sleepers. Toyshelves will come later, but I’ll stick to grey, white, or natural fiber baskets for storing toys.

Last, but not least, the light! I heart this chandelier from Ikea and it’s only $99! Its glamorous, but not feminine, and modern, but not uber trendy.

Twin pregnancy is pretty tough physically and mentally, but as I enter the third tri I’m doing some serious nesting and I’m definitely ready to get the ball rolling on this nursery. I want it to be fresh, clean, stocked, and totally prepped when these babies make their debut! Follow along as I’ll be posting blogs and photos of the progress!

Stay gold!

“Cason’s Nursery” Photo credit: Jennifer McNeal projectnursery.com

Why I Do What I Do

People are often curious about why I do “so many things”. They wonder, “What’s the connection?” or “Why do you own a baby biz if you’re a counselor?” and my favorite, “What exactly do you do?”

The truth is, all the roles I fill are related. 

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When I was a sophomore in college I remember meeting with my guidance counselor and telling her I wanted to work with kids in the hospital as a counselor, but also take care of babies and maybe own my own center one day where I can support parents. Her response? “Whoa, slow down, you can’t do it all.”

“Ummm….yes I can. My mom said so!”

So, I do it all. When I started as a “counselor in hospitals”, I was actually considered a Child Life Specialist. I provided distraction during medical procedures, medical & trauma play, emotional support, diagnosis education, and developmental support for children in the hospital. I have worked in the ER, PICU, day surgery, and NICU, but spent most of my time on the oncology unit (pediatric cancer). While on this unit I learned alot about the correlation between the products we use at home, the clothing and toys kids use, and the things in our environment with childhood cancer. They’re inextricably linked! In fact, childhood cancer has risen more than 25% in the last decade. What do you think is responsible? Watching those kids suffer made me interested in learning more about environmental toxins, but also I started being more cautious about what I used myself, and what I would allow my children to be exposed to in the future.

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My time working in hospitals include ALOT of time educating and supporting parents, including discipline support. From there I started offering parenting classes and workshops around the city. I noticed many of the families I worked wih were coming to me with children who already had a history of behavioral issues and poor habits and I wanted to help parents avoid these issues by getting to them earlier. In fact, my interest in infant development, postnatal care, and prenatal care grew stronger because I felt if I could help parents develop their skills that early, then perhaps there wouldn’t be as many concerns later on. I wanted parents to learn how to provide the best care for their children from the very, very beginning.

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Then, as parents began asking me for recommendations for products that were healthy for their children (i.e. didn’t have the chemicals that would later lead to nuerological and behavioral issues) I realized I was sending parents to 10-12 different websites for nontoxic, innovative products so I thought, “Why not have all these products in one place?” ShopWholeHeart.com was born!

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Even though I was working with expectant moms, newborns, and parents of older children, I couldn’t ignore the fact that there were still children out there whose needs went beyond that of love & logic, setting limits, or positive discipline. There were still children who needed a therapeutic relationship and loving guidance for processing challenging life experiences. That’s why I continue to see clients as a Counselor and Play Therapist.

So, you see? All of my various roles are connected. There actually is a method to my madness!

The Connection:

Healthy prenatal care and support leads to a healthy baby. A loving fourth trimester (0-3m) combined with healthy sleep habits leads to rested, loving, happy, attentive parents. This leads to happy toddlerhoood where limits are set with love as a result of a strong parent-child relationship. This leads to a well adjusted child throughout childhood, which means, less children in need of long-term counseling. Uh oh, am I working myself out of a job? LOL

ThatGirl, ShopWholeHeart