At the beginning of my first pregnancy, I had no idea what I was in store for. Excitement overtook me and all I could think about was the day I’d finally be holding my sweet baby in my arms. But by the second time I saw those two pink lines, I felt like a seasoned pro. I’d already experienced the sickness, cravings, spotting, mood swings, and weight gain, so bring it on! It was nothing I hadn’t already experienced before, or was it?
No matter if you’re on pregnancy #1 or #10, they’re all unique from the others. And let’s face it mamas, do we ever really know what to expect? That answer is definitely “no”, but I do know that a lot of us experience the same things during pregnancy. As a twin mama, I’m here to share some tips based on what I went through, in the hopes that it’ll be informative and helpful to some other expecting mamas of multiples out there.
We can't even believe that the words 'hostage take over' and 'ransom' are coming out of our lips. This has to be a bad dream spawned from watching too many Liam Neeson movies. But it is true...our shop Facebook Page was taken over by hackers who are demanding we pay up. They are ransoming our page admin access, which they removed from us. We have gone 48 hours without access to our page. We have contacted Facebook numerous times but have not heard back from them.
We contacted our local news station here in Nashville in hope that this will get Facebook's attention. Click HERE to see our story.
In the mean time do NOT interact with our Facebook page until further notice. Once we regain access again, we will let y'all know.
We apologize from the bottoms of our broken hearts about the things these hackers have been posting in our name. Thank you for sticking by us & being loyal to our business!
xoxo, Jen + Mel
I have birthday's for both of my girls coming up in May and so I've got birthday parties on my mind. This year my oldest is having a joint birthday party with one of her friends. And I think we'll just have our immediate family over to celebrate our baby. Over the past seven years we've had a variety of parties of varying sizes. Today I want to share what I've learned about them.
There Is No Right Party
There are some on the internet that get opinionated at those who they feel go "over the top" for birthday parties. And some feel that if you go too "low key" then you're doing your child a disservice. I say that you are the only one that knows how big is too big and how little is too little.
If your child loves doing crafts then it makes sense to have lots of activities at the party. If your child is uncomfortable in crowds then you wouldn't want to host a party for the entire neighborhood. If your child would rather get a larger gift or take a trip with you instead of a party, then by all means you should go that route.
And then, maybe the key ingredient in what kind of party you host is YOU. Maybe you have the gift of hospitality and love to host others in your home. Or maybe you're the opposite. No one should get a say in what kind of birthday party is right for your child other than you and your child. Although, children often have much grander plans than their parents can accommodate so don't feel bad about scaling their vision down to an acceptable limit!
Traditions Can Change
One year I put on my daughter's invitation "No Gifts Please." You would have thought that I had canceled her birthday rather than just asked for no gifts based on some of the reactions that I received. So, the next year we didn't specify. And this year my daughter and her friend have decided to collect toys for others. You can change your mind on what your birthday traditions are each year. You're never boxed in on traditions, especially when your children are young.
Still, traditions are a fun part of birthdays. I wake my children up on their birthday morning with the same song that my mom woke me up with on my birthday growing up. So try out some fun traditions like writing your child a letter each birthday or having the same breakfast each birthday morning. But don't be afraid that just because you did it once that it has to become a yearly tradition. Try different things until you find the tradition that you want to keep!
You Are Not Superwoman
Like my first point, you know what you're capable of and what you're not. And if it's not hand decorating a three tier cake then don't stress yourself out trying to make one! Know your strengths, time limitations, and funds available and then work within those constraints. If you love pictures and have the funds, hire a photographer so that you can enjoy the party and still have fantastic shots after the event is over. If you are the craft queen, then enjoy yourself while you hand tie the ribbons on the hand made garland. But don't do anything just because you think you "have" to. It's always acceptable to outsource tasks that aren't in your wheelhouse. In most cases, your child will never know and even if they did they definitely won't care.
I'd love to know what you think about birthday parties for children. And what your tips are for making the most of the occasion without overwhelming yourself! If you'd like, hop on Instagram and tag me in a comment on a picture you have posted about one of your children's birthday parties so I can marvel at your amazing-ness! You can find me at @talesofapeanut.
With my first baby, I painfully poured over reviews to find the best stroller, bassinet, swaddle, and bath tub. I bought everything under the sun from all the major retailers. With my second baby I have really focused in on only a few things that you won’t find in any big box store…
1. Dockatot – this is at the top of my list for a number of reasons. My 1st reason being that sleeping through the night is not only good for everyone involved, it is imperative when you also have a toddler running around in the morning. I know that this maternity leave will be way different from the first and having a baby that sleeps will make everything so much easier…I also love the mobility of the Dockatot from room to room, a must-have quality for baby gear!
2. The Ollie Swaddle – I found out about this swaddle a little while after my first child turned 6 months and was no longer swaddling and I vowed that I would scoop this swaddle up for baby #2. I love that it is made of moisture wicking fabric to reduce the risk of overheating. The reviews tell all with this one – when it comes to babies sleeping for long stretches since birth or even though the night - parents swear by it.
3. The Puj Tub – I realized pretty quickly that having a toddler and newborn wasn’t going to be easy and I am pretty determined to still spend as much time with my toddler as I can so we have decided to combine bath time by bathing my toddler in the tub and the newborn in the sink using the amazing Puj Tub. Don’t be deceived by its looks – it is made from soft foam that cradles and comforts baby while allowing parents to stand (AMAZING!!!) during bath time.
4. Nursing Necklace – after a few months of breastfeeding, babies will start to claw and pinch at your neck and your face making nursing a daunting task. With Baby #2 I invested in some stylish nursing necklaces from The Vintage Honey Shop to give baby something to focus and grab onto while nursing and even babywearing (which I plan to do a lot of).
5. A Nursing Cover/Carseat Cover/Shopping Cart Cover/Scarf from Covered Goods – I cannot wait to use this one! The 4-in-1 versatility makes it an absolute must-have. I dread nursing in public and hope that the Covered Goods cover with the 360 degree coverage will make this task a little easier as I know it will be something I won’t be able to avoid with an active toddler running around.
6. Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock –I thought I would just want to be home during those first few months after having a baby but it was easy to get cabin fever and sometimes you just need to get out of the house. My favorite place to go other than for a walk in the stoller was a therapeutic trip to Target. Since you should never prop the infant carseat up on the shopping cart and putting the carseat in the shopping cart then leaves no space for much needed purchases – the Binxy Baby Hammock cradles the baby (or the carseat) making shopping with a newborn no longer a stressful outing.
Simplify, simplify, simplify is my motto for Baby #2. We don’t need a ton of different bassinets, strollers, and baby seats. Just a few key items to make life with a newborn and a toddler a little bit easier…
written by VHS contributor// Megan Vanderslice
Today's post comes from mommy blogger, Ali Jenkins, read her story about how she dealt with her baby's sensitive skin...
When my twins were born, I took one look at Lucas (my fair-skinned red head) and just knew that he was going to have sensitive skin like his mommy. I am about as pale as pale can get, and I grew up only able to use white soap. Anything containing any kind of dye broke me out severely. So, I was prepared with gentle body washes and laundry soaps before the boys were ever born.
Within a few weeks I started realizing that I was wrong. It wasn’t Lucas who was sensitive, it was Zachary, my tan baby. If milk, saliva, sweat, or anything else for that matter, sat on his skin too long (5-10 minutes), it was bad news. He would get a raw area wherever the fluid had been, then it would dry out and crack open. I felt so bad for my poor little guy. The pediatrician recommended a popular brand of body wash and lotion. I purchased both items and began using them immediately. Sadly, those didn’t work out so well, they actually made it worse. It didn’t take long to come to the realization that Zachary was dealt a pretty severe hand of eczema. This was new territory for me so everything I tried was trial and error. I googled and read countless articles, I tried many things that had been suggested. By the time the twins were around 10 months old, I was ready to pull my hair out. Yes, for 10 months I’d been fighting this and nothing seemed to work.
One morning, Zachary woke up and he was covered in red, raised bumps all over his entire body. His back felt like sandpaper. I took him to the pediatrician and was told he was on the tail end of a viral rash, but the reason it was so severe is that it had caused his eczema to flare. It was the worst case his doctor had ever seen. I decided then that enough was enough. I came home that day and tossed all of the baby wash and lotions we’d been using in the trash. I didn’t google anything, I just used my mother’s intuition. That evening I put Zachary in a luke warm bath and bathed him in MY Dove Sensitive Skin body wash, patted him dry, and coated him in a thick layer of Cerave lotion. I put his pajamas on him and put him to bed. The next morning his eczema had improved at least 70%! It continued to improve a little more each day, until it was completely gone about 3 days later. I couldn’t believe it had actually worked. It was a long shot, but I was willing to try anything at that point.
Both of my boys are belly sleepers, so when they are teething and drooling up a storm, sometimes they lay, a good portion of the night, in their own saliva (pretty gross huh?) What I found that worked on his little red, chapped cheeks, was none other than Vaseline. Your baby may look like a greasy mess all day, but it really creates a nice barrier and lets the skin heal nicely.
The boys are 18 months old now and Zachary has only had a couple of eczema flare ups since I changed up his bath time and lotion routine. I also only give him a bath every 4-5 days since baths are very drying to the skin.
I hope this helps any of you mamas out there that are about ready to pull your hair out too. It can be very frustrating trying to find something that works for your baby as they are all unique. I’ve learned sometimes it’s better to just follow your own intuition. Sometimes mother’s really do know best!
*I am not sponsored by any of these brands. This is just what worked for my baby
written by VHS contributor// Ali Jenkins
Liam was born May 29, 2014. A day that should have been over filled with joy had a slight air of overwhelming feelings. I was now responsible for this tiny little life. As I brushed aside those feelings of uncertainty, I assured myself this is normal. I just gave birth after thirty six hours of labor and my hormones were everywhere. Surely, every mother has these feelings after birth. Joyful but overwhelmed.
I remember laying in bed once we were home, closing my eyes only to then hear my my husband sneak in and say, "Liam won't stop crying I think you need to nurse him." As I sat up half awake nursing my baby I didn't feel that connection. I felt spaced out, detached and wondering what in the world I just got myself into. This sweet little soul knew nothing of the world and I was his everything. He nursed constantly. As a first time mom I knew nothing. I thought the disconnect with nursing was normal. I thought the shallow latch was normal. I just thought all the problems we had were normal.
Nursing was not easy for us. In short, Liam has a tongue tie. I never revised it because by the time I got to that point I just wanted a happy and content baby. I could capture moments in pictures but he cried. All. The. Time. In my eyes I was inadequate and he was never satisfied. I grew such an aversion to nursing in such a short time. I HATED it. It brought me such physical and emotional pain. I felt so ashamed. So alone. So beyond overwhelmed.
I realized my feelings surrounding my birth carried on for weeks and I didn't have the "baby blues" but that post partum depression was setting in and it wasn't going away. Our surrounding environment and circumstances at the time were less than ideal. We were living far away from our home, family and friends. It was a very lonely time I don't think I will ever forget.
I joined a group in Washington called Kitsap Hope Circle. It is a support group for pregnant and postpartum moms. http://www.kitsaphopecircle.org It was the best group I ever went to. I felt connected, safe and allowed to speak about things knowing I was free from judgement. I felt like I wasn't alone anymore.
When my husband and I decided to move back home to California I was sad and relived to be back home. I wasn't ready to leave my support group but I was ready to be home.
Fast forward and my son Liam will be two in May. I can say moving home was the right choice. Our lives have been more enriched since we moved back. We've had more opportunity and support than we would have if we stayed but I still to this day miss that group of women. They were empowering in helping break the silence of my postpartum depression. I can't say my PPD has completely subsided. I have many days where I feel alone, isolated and wondering how in the world do I raise this toddler to be an awesome human. In my journey I know I have more work to do. Speaking up and reaching out is the best way to bring light to PPD. I'm very honest about my birth, those early newborn days and my chapters in motherhood. It's how I bring light to my PPD. That tiny beautiful human you created loves you and it's okay if it takes time to love them back. I can say wholeheartedly my son has made me love deeper and aspire to be the best possible version of myself.
I pray love and light in the darkness. I promise you are never alone even in those moments when you feel you are. Don't suffer in silence.