An Uncomplicated Life Blog: 2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018

4th Month Bumpdate Twin Pregnancy

Details on the 4th month of pregnancy with twins

I'm actually in my last week of the 4th month of pregnancy with these twins. Time is FLYING with this twin pregnancy! Honestly, in my opinion, your first pregnancy drags on and on and on, and then all subsequent pregnancies are over within a blink of an eye - and I'm a gal who doesn't necessarily enjoy being pregnant! Even when I'm not knocked up, I LOVE reading other people's bumpdates, provided they're real and honest. None of that "it's all rainbows and butterflies" BS, I'm talking what pregnancy is actually like for that mother. In that spirit, I'm going to share with you monthly updates on what it's really, truly like to be pregnant with twins. I'll likely have some commentary on how a pregnancy with multiples compares with a singleton too. I'm talking cravings, "backacne" and all the questions you "shouldn't ask a pregnant woman" will be answered here! So hold on tight and let's discuss what a real twin pregnancy is like (at the 4 month mark) shall we?

16 week bump

Weeks gestation: 17 weeks today!

Cravings: I'm not really a food craving type of person... I've mentioned this in other bumpdates from my pregnancy with Otto, but I'm not an emotional or hormonal eater. I will say that a friend had a margarita and I took a sip and it was about the BEST TASTING THING I've ever had, ever... Which is awesome because margs and pregnancy go so well together. Kidding, jokes people. Guess I'll have to see if a margarita tastes as good once the babies are here earth side with us.

Aversions: None. Literally none. I just love all food right now, even stuff I don't typically eat. Meat, veggies, fruit, pancakes, yogurt, all of it, I love all food. (FYI, non-pregnant Paige rarely eats fruit and can't even stand the smell of yogurt, unless it's tzatkiki, which is delicious and should be eaten with nearly every meal.)

Weight gain: 5 pounds. I lost several during the first trimester and then didn't gain anything until week 15. Typically, I gain most my weight in the third trimester (gained 24 pounds total with Henry and 19 with Otto) but I've been told to up my eating game because with twins, you basically have no room in your stomach in the third trimester. So I've been going out of my way to eat more as best I can, while I still can! Massive weight gain scares the crap out of me because I know how hard it is to lose, but I also know that if I don't gain at least 30 pounds (or more) with these twins they'll be underweight and more likely to need NICU time. More tacos for meeeeeeee!

17 week bump

Workouts: I'm maintaining 4x a week, and did all through my first trimester too, even when I was feeling like garbage. For me, working out is when I feel my best. It was some of the only moments when I didn't feel nauseous in the first trimester, and it's currently when I feel my most energetic now in my second. I know at some point I'm going to have to transition to prenatal yoga and more stretching-type workouts as my tummy will simply be too huge for regular workouts, but I'm currently enjoying hot yoga, barre and Pilates classes. All low impact and great for pregnant women.

I can't lie though; it's definitely getting harder to do non-pregnancy specific workout (i.e. vinyasa flow yoga vs. prenatal yoga) and I'm already doing most moves with prenatal modifications. For comparison, I didn't modify anything until my third trimester with my singleton pregnancies. That's a tad frightening!

Symptoms: I was on around the clock nausea meds for my first trimester! I was max'ing out the dose, every single day for those three months. Then in the second trimester I weaned to the lowest dose in a day... Now I just have them and take them as needed, which isn't terribly often. Maybe a few times a week. I was and still am horribly constipated. Yup. Sure am! I have to take two kinds of iron, so that's not helping that situation at all. If one more person tells me to just "eat more fiber and drink more water, that will help!" I'm going to knock their front teeth out. My body has slowed down digestion so that every last molecule of nutrition goes to these babies, THAT is why I'm not pooping. Let's move on.

15 week bump

My breasts are SUPER, EXTREMELY sore. Before I found out about this twin situation, I thought for sure I was having a girl because the boob situation was so different than my boy pregnancies! Joke's on me, I'm having twins and those are twin pregnancy boobs I was feeling. Take the tenderness you have with a singleton and times it by 10. I'm not kidding, that's what your boobs feel like when you're pregnant with twins! My energy still isn't back to full force yet, and I have to sit or lay down often in the afternoons (mornings are great - those are my powerhouse hours!). I'm laying on a couch for good by 7:30pm and in bed most nights by 9pm. But hell, that's me when I'm not pregnant too. 

Besides barfing, not pooping, vein-y sore breasts and feeling tired all afternoon/evening, I'm feeling good! Henry was BY FAR my hardest pregnancy. He was even harder than this twin pregnancy. Since my bar was set so low with my first pregnancy, this twin stuff isn't terrible (yet)! On to the fifth month I go.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

I made this carrot cake recipe in cupcake form for Henry's birthday. The cake plus the cream cheese frosting is the perfect combination and my favorite carrot cake recipe to date!

Carrot cake is one of those funny things that a person either loooooooves or hates. Very few people are like, "meh" about it. I'm in the love category, as long as it's made correctly! People who load it up like a fruitcake with pineapple, large chunks of carrots and walnuts and raisins? Get out of here, that's nasty! That's just my opinion though, so if that's your jam, you can totally add it to this recipe. I won't judge you. I'm giving you the "base model" as it were, and you can add your fave additions or leave it as-is. This, my friends, is the BEST carrot cake recipe I've had in my 33 years on earth.

I made these for Henry's birthday, because he's crazy about cupcakes. Even if it's cake, he calls it a cupcake. If you watched my Instagram Stories from early April, you saw that I attempted a recipe using carrots from our garden and hand grated the dang carrots. Well that recipe didn't come out as moist (I know, that word is kinda gross) as I wanted, and also wasn't "spice cakey" enough, so this is the recipe I changed after a few attempts at it. The cream cheese frosting I NAILED right away, and kept it the same.

Oh, and I used everyone's advice, and pulled out my food processor to grate the carrots instead of doing it by hand. That was a lifesaver! Thanks guys.

Hands down, the coolest part about this recipe is that we used carrots we grew from our garden. The day before I made them, Henry and Otto helped me harvest all the carrots. They loved pulling them from the dirt and seeing what color the carrot would be, how big it was, and how funny it looked (if it was oddly shaped or covered in more roots than the last one, etc.) I even got them to eat some of the carrots cooked, albeit covered in butter and a tad of brown sugar. I think their connection to growing them and then harvesting them gave the boys enough interest in trying them, because I haven't been able to get them to eat carrots before!

Even if you don't have your own veggie garden, this recipe will be delicious with carrots you buy at the store. Don't use the pre-peeled, ready to eat carrots - they soak those in sugar to make them sweeter to eat, and it will make this recipe too sweet. Instead, buy regular carrots and peel them yourself, then pop them in the food processor. No food processor? You're crazy and should get one ASAP, but barring that, get the pre-shredded bag at the grocery store and run a knife over them to make them a tad smaller. The large chunks of preshredded carrot won't cook enough in the time it takes to bake the cupcakes, and you'll have raw carrots in your cake. Gross. 

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe
- 1.5 cups flour (not self rising flour!)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup raw sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely shredded carrots
- 2/3 cup melted salted butter
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup each of raisins, walnuts, pecans or other additions you care for in your carrot cake

For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 4oz package cream cheese
- 2 sticks salted butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour, spices, sugar and salt. Stir in the eggs, milk, vanilla, butter and carrots, mixing well. Add any optional ingredients. Grease cupcake pan (I'm not into wasteful liners - they're so unnecessary! Why put something on a cupcake that will only get immediately removed and thrown away?) and fill each cup slightly more than half full. 

Bake for about 17 minutes (depending on location, humidity level and elevation) or until golden brown on the edges. Place a cooling rack over the cupcake pan, and invert the cupcakes on the cooling rack to they can cool and you can use the pan for the remaining batter. Makes about 20-24 cupcakes.

For the frosting, let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature completely. In a medium sized bowl, add the room temp cream cheese, butter, vanilla and half the sugar. Mix until incorporated, then add remaining sugar. Mix well again. The frosting should be semi-sweet, and slightly tart from the cream cheese to balance the sweetness of the cupcake.

Frost the completely cooled cupcakes simply with a butter knife, or use the trick I did: Place the frosting in a Ziploc freezer bag. Cut a small corner off the end of the bag and push the frosting down and out of that corner. This makes it easy to frost the cupcakes and make fancy swirls or other designs!
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Enjoy! The cake part is sweet and balanced by the semi sweet, slightly tart frosting. I watched my husband put away three of these in one day, they're that good! Yes, this truly is the BEST carrot cake recipe.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Henry Turns 4

Happy birthday to the boy who first made me a mommy, my sweet Henry! This post is an ode to him, talking about all he's accomplished and all that is in his four trips around the sun

Happy birthday Henry (May 16 to be exact)! You're four years old now and so proud of it. You're honest to goodness THE sweetest child I've ever known - yes, even more so than your brother and even more so than the angelic little neighbor girls I used to babysit for in high school. You are turning out great, kid! Here's what you've been up to and how you changed this last year.

You're now fully potty trained! WHOOHOO! I was a tad worried for a while there... We have so many friends your exact age (seriously, all my girlfriends in Dallas had kids at the same time! As in, within months of each other) and you were the last one to be "trained." Maybe it's because I don't believe in "training" humans and therefore never forced you to do anything, never read a stupid book on the subject and never implemented the "weekend training" but I also never had to ride around with a kids toilet in my trunk and you only had ONE accident, ever. You now don't even need my help to go to the bathroom, which I have to tell you is pretty awesome.

You can ride a bike without training wheels! In fact, you could do this well before you were even 3 and a half. Balance bikes is where it's at, other moms! No training wheels ever, your kids just learn how to balance and ride. Anyway, you love going fast and beating your brother in races. Enjoy it now because he eats so much more than you, it's only a matter of time before he's bigger than you are...

You eat meat sometimes! You spent the first three years of your life spitting out any and all meat I attempted to feed you. I literally could only get you to eat dairy, hummus and fish as sources of protein. Now you'll eat chicken! Still no beef and you're on the fence about bacon, but you're trying new things, more so than you ever did before. It makes me so happy that you're willing to try!

You are my easiest child; my helper; my listener; my caring one. If I tell you no, you don't do it again. If I ask for help with something, you jump right in and help me. If your brother is being a handful, you help me calm him and entertain him. Your teachers absolutely ADORE you, and tell me on the side and "hush hush like" that you're their favorite student. You're a May baby and the trend in Texas is to hold back boys to the next school year (which I think is not only a load of crap, I think it's disservice to the child, but that's another post for another time) but you're so advanced both in your education and social skills, you only have one more year of preschool left before you're off to kindergarten. I'm going to savor this last year with having you with me most days of the week!

Frankly, you were my most unpleasant, most challenging pregnancy. I got a 180 different birth with you than I had hoped for (planned for a natural birth with midwives at a birth center; got an emergency c section with a preterm baby). I was SO unprepared for you! I was plagued with postpartum depression when you were an infant too. Then sometime around 9-10 months, I emerged from the PPD darkness and we clicked. We had a rough start, but ever since then, you've been the BEST baby, the BEST toddler and soon to be, the BEST child!

A face full of food remnants and he's still a handsome boy!

Most moms complain about their toddlers at some point. I can honestly say I've never, not once, complained about you. You are an absolute joy to be around. I look forward to times when we get to have "mommy-Henry days" where it's just you and I running errands because I LOVE having you with me! You've never thrown a tantrum in public (and at home, I think you've thrown two in your whole life) and strangers actually stop me to comment on what a wonderful, well behaved and polite child you are - and of course mention your insanely handsome good looks. The ease of caring for you and the joy you bring me is what made me want to have more children.

Now if we could just get Otto to be less like me and more like you... Kidding! Kinda.

Happy 4th birthday, my sweet, handsome, kind, compassionate, rule-following son. The world needs more people like you in it! My world would not be complete without you in it. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

DIY Refrigerator Freshener

Spring and summer means more fresh fruits and veggies in our fridges... Which can be smelly! Use this do it yourself freshener to keep your fridge smelling clean

It's our last full week of school here in Dallas, and that means summer break is right around the corner! For most people that means a slower pace and lots of vacations, but for me in my current season of life it means a FASTER pace with kids home nonstop - toddler aged kids that need help with everything and regularly scheduled activities and who don't know the meaning of sleeping in, either... Anyway, what it usually means for all of us is an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies are readily available and in season! Which is awesome, but if you've ever left some fresh broccoli sit a tad too long in your veggie drawer, you know how rank that can make your refrigerator (and even your whole kitchen) smell. This is a super simple DIY you can use all spring and summer long to keep your fridge de-stinkified despite it being full of fragrant produce.

There's really two great ways to go about this DIY refrigerator freshener. First, you can get a small mason jar and poke holes in a cute pattern on the top lid to release the ingredients. Or, you can keep the mason jar ring and toss the flat lid part, and sub in a cute piece of fabric. Both work equally well; the fabric is easier if you have some laying around but the cut in design makes this more of a fun arts and crafts style project (perhaps you're looking for something to do with your kids at home, eh?!)

DIY Refrigerator Freshener
- small mason jar
- small piece of square or circle cut fabric OR long sewing needle/small sharp knife to cut design into mason jar lid
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 10 drop lemon essential oil

Place baking soda in  mason jar. Add the essential oil drops, and shake the jar to evenly distribute the oil amongst the baking soda. I used my hand to cover the top of the jar so that I could vigorously shake the oil into the baking soda. If you're using the fabric, place the center of the fabric over the middle of the mason jar and secure with the screw on ring. If you're using the lid like I did, cut enough holes the top for the baking soda and essential oil to circulate your refrigerator.

Place one or two in your fridge. I did one on the top shelf, and one on the bottom shelf, closest to the produce drawer. Once or twice a week, give the jar(s) a shake to expose new baking soda to the air. This will keep it working longer! Every six weeks or so, empty the baking soda into the trash and start over with fresh soda and fresh essential oil. This would also be great with orange, grapefruit, bergamot, or lime essential oil - or a combo of them! Citrus oils are great for freshening a room and for cleaning.

Check out this spring breeze room freshening spray and DIY garbage disposal cleaners you can make with citrus essential oils too!

Spring and summer is a great time for eating tons of fruits and veggies. Everything is in season and most produce comes down in price because so much of it is grown locally (and the bulk of it from being in season drives down prices, too.) But it can make your refrigerator smell a tad funky. Especially if you let it sit for too long! Use this DIY refrigerator freshener to keep your fridge and kitchen smelling great.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Woodland Themed Baby Shower

This woodland themed baby shower is gender neutral and perfect for spring or summer baby showers

It feels like I've been all over the United States in the last two months! Have you checked my InstaStories? I've been posting all the eats (since, you know, I can no longer drink...) in all the cities I've been to recently. One of which was Boston. I flew out there a few weeks ago to host my sister's baby shower, which was such an honor and a privilege to do as she and her hubby welcome their first baby (a boy! So many boy grand babies for our mom!) It was a coed shower, so they didn't want it too traditional. We came up with a "camp theme" where the cuteness was in the details. A woodland themed baby shower is perfect for either gender and perfect for spring and summer babies! Read on for party planning inspiration.

Make your own trail mix bar with woodland creatures (mimicking a forest)
Of course, after I boarded the flight, I realized I had forgotten my DSLR camera. I'm such a bad blogger when it comes to taking photos! Included are some snaps from my iPhone X because I can't get a grip on real photography it seems. Struggles!

My sister and her husband aren't traditional people, as I mentioned. As we discussed party planning, she made it clear she didn't want things in blue. She didn't want traditional decorations or dumb games. Which is perfect, because I find those things tacky too. Their goal was a low key brunch party where friends could come and hang out, wish them well, eat some cake, and boom, baby shower complete. Of course I searched Pinterest for some cute, nontraditional, more gender neutral theme ideas and came across some cute outdoor/woodland/fairy/little critter photos that inspired my "woodland" theme.

I was able to find all the small figurines on sale at Michael's and loaded up! Then got some faux moss/grass for that I figured could be used to serve hot or cold food, potted grass, real moss and pine cones for decorations, and just because this was indeed a baby shower, some onesies with twine and old school wooden clothes pins for a simple onesie banner for their fire place.

Since it was a brunch shower, we kept the menu simple with quiche, carrot cake cupcakes, fruit trays, a make your own trail mix bar and coffee and a mimosa bar. The make your own trail mix bar also served as a "center piece" of the decorations as it highlighted some of the woodland/hiking/camping feel of the shower. Not only was this a cute way to theme some of the food, but it also worked for people with food allergies - everything was separated and labeled so guests could create their own blend to their tastes and preferences. Win-win!

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Baby showers don't have to be that awkward party that nobody is super excited to go to! Modernize the theme and make it fun - no need for diaper cakes and baby shower games if you don't want to. This woodland themed baby shower is perfect for either gender baby, and great for coed showers, too. You can keep the decorations simple like I did if you're working with a small space, or go over the top and add birch branches and hanging, gauzy fabric that mimics a tent. It's easy to customize this modern, fun baby shower theme.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Ways To Make Potty Training Easier

Potty training can be a messy process. Use these tips to make it more manageable!

This post is sponsored by SC Johnson®. All opinions are my own. #ExtendTheClean

Potty training is funny business. Everyone has an opinion on how to do it, which books to read, when to do it, and so on. Just like any other parenting advice, I find that the people who dish the strongest opinions on how something should (or shouldn't) be done are usually always WRONG, and the flexible ones who offer suggestions but note that it might not work are usually giving the best tips. Each child is different with different needs and their birth order is different, so expect each child that you teach to use the toilet to be a different experience! That said, I've got two boys learning to use the potty. Here's what I'm doing to make the process easier on everyone.

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1) Wait for indicators that THEY are ready
I totally get feeling pressure from family or friends that your child "should" be potty trained by now. Or perhaps you're sick of diapers and YOU want them to be trained. But, in my experience, the best thing to do is wait for indicators that the child is ready him/herself. Can they tell you that they need to go to the bathroom? Can they take their pants off themselves? Can they reach the toilet without help of an adult (step stools are great for this!)? Are they aware when they've wet their diaper and ask to be changed? These are a few things you'll want them to master BEFORE attempting to potty train.

2) Keep the toilet clean
As I mentioned...I've got two boys. That can and DOES make for a messy toilet situation. I love my boys, but the urine... I digress. Scrubbing Bubbles® Fresh Gel Toilet Cleaning Stamps might be one of the coolest products I've come across to help me keep the toilet clean and fresh in between cleans. It literally works like a stamp that I put inside the bowl and lasts for up to 12 days, delivering a fresh scent to the bowl as the water circulates after a flush. My boys can practice their aim while my toilet stays fresh without any additional work from me! Then when I need to do an all-out scrub clean, I use Scrubbing Bubbles® Bubbly Bleach Gel Toilet Bowl Cleaner. This cleaner foams and whitens my toilet bowl and leaves a great citrus scent behind! A scent that's needed, ahem, in a house full of boys. Neither of these products ever touches your skin so it's easy to keep your toilet clean and fresh without making your hands icky. And both are available at Walmart, so it's easy to get and cost effective.

3) Find the humor in the situation
One of the funniest, best parts of potty training so far is the praise and applause for a job well done. On their end, by boys look so proud when they've successfully used the toilet. On my end, it's hysterical to have them clap for me and say, "Yay Mommy!" when I've used the restroom in front of them. Yes...even in public. Two little voices in the stall saying, "Yay, Mommy went potty! Good job Mommy, good job!" makes other people using the restroom laugh, too. Take the pressure off you and them, relax and have as much fun as you can with it!

Mommin' ain’t easy, and neither is potty training. I highly suggest waiting until your child shows that he or she is ready for the task - that will make the whole process easier on everyone. Use products that help keep your toilet bowl clean so that cleanups are less work for you! Scrubbing Bubbles® Fresh Gel Toilet Cleaning Stamps are a great way to keep it clean, and you don't even have to touch the cleaner! Their Scrubbing Bubbles® Bubbly Bleach Gel cleaner is great for deep cleans and keeping your bowl nice and white. Finally, give yourself some grace and allow yourself to laugh at the funny moment! They'll be plenty of them, trust me.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

BIG News! The Shock Of A Lifetime

Yes, this is what you think it is. Surprise! We're having TWINS

Believe me when I tell you that nobody was more surprised than I was to find out... We're expecting TWINS! Naturally conceived fraternal twins. Odds of that happening are 12 in 1000. Hubs and I were on board for ONE more baby, then calling it a day with family planning. Looks like we accidentally bought the two-for-one special and will be cashing in that coupon this fall. Here's a bit more on what it's like finding out you're having surprise twins, from a mom who already knows what having an infant is like.

The baby announcement winner!

We had been trying for a few months for our third baby. I'm not one to take a pregnancy test early, so I took it when I was a few days late. It popped up positive right away! Of course, Otto and Henry were with me (mom's never pee alone...) and they both saw it and I told them there was a baby inside mommy. Both Henry and Otto immediately wanted baby's inside them, too. It was presh.

The first two weeks were great. So great, I actually understood why some women like being pregnant. I was sleeping like a baby, my skin looked great because I wasn't drinking alcohol, my clothes still fit and I was rocking my yoga classes. Then seven weeks hit, and I started to have more nausea and lower energy. Then eight week hit and I was ALWAYS exhausted, felt like I had been kicked in the head by a horse, nauseous and vomiting and my boobs were ON FIRE. This wasn't my first pregnancy, so I was a little curious about why my boobs hurt so much. Typically, they're the most affected in your first pregnancy, then it's not as noticeable for every pregnancy after that. 

It was so weird, I googled "odds of having twins" and "risk factors for twins." The only ones I had were that I'm Caucasian (white and black ladies have the highest rates of twins) and I'm tall (they're more common in tall people, I guess.) I'm not over 35, I'm not obese or even remotely close to overweight, and I knew of nobody in either of our families who had natural twins.

At 8.5 weeks I had my first appointment. Typical stuff - questions, exam, pregnancy test. I'm high risk because Henry was preterm, and I've always had a dating sonogram at my first appointment.  I asked my midwife (they're the ones that do pregnancy confirmation appointments at my OB's office) if I was getting a sono, and she said I wasn't scheduled for one, but that my OB happened to be in the office that day, so she'd ask her if she could fit me in. My OB said sure, we'll take a peek real quick! I waited 45 minutes and then went in for the sono.

An outtake. It was the WINDIEST DAY and Otto was scared of the big balloons flying in his face!

I saw it before she even said anything. Since this aint my first rodeo, I know what I'm looking at when it comes to ultrasounds. For a second, my brain let me think, "no no no, she just slid over the same baby twice as she maneuvered the ultrasound wand to get a better look! That was the same baby I saw twice." Then I looked from the sono screen to my OB's face. Oh no. That was indeed two. She and I both saw it and knew it.

"Gurrrrrrlllll, you are having twins!!" She said.

She made sure they were both in their own sacs and had their own placentas (they do, and that means they're fraternal) and low and behold, they were measuring AHEAD of my dates. Baby A had a heartbeat in the high 150's and Baby B in the high 160's (I'd tell you the exact number if I could remember... I was honestly blacking out from the shock of twins). "I'm going to have to get a good shot of both babies, otherwise your husband won't believe you!" she said to me.

I couldn't even feel my toes as I made my next prenatal appointment. The receptionist asked me if I was ok. "Nope. I just found out I'm having twins." "Oh lawwwwd, you bout to be busy!" she replied. 

I made it to my car before I burst into tears and completely. lost. my. $hit. Who do you call when you're losing your $hit? Your mom. I'm 33 years old and when things get hard my first call is STILL always to my mama and somehow my mom always answers when I'm desperate. Even if she's at work or overseas or it's 2am. (It's like we were connected at some point or something ;)) "MOM!!" I gasped between sobs. She knew I had my first appointment that day, and was expecting a call from me sometime. "Oh God, what's wrong?" She thought I had lost the baby. "I'm having TWINNNNSSSS!" 

"Oh my God! You poor thing!" she replied. I was so thankful my mom got it. Had I heard an immediate happy response and some horse$hit about "double the blessing" I'd have gone absolutely postal. "Don't worry honey, we'll figure this out! It's going to be ok." She told me.

My husband? Yeah, my OB was right. He didn't believe me until I showed him the picture. He really thought I was trying to play a big old joke on him!

In the following weeks that rounded out my first trimester, I told my closest friends (most of whom are moms themselves), my nanny, and some random people at the grocery store I frequent. ALL of them, thankfully, had the right response. "Holy $hit, I'm FREAKING OUT for you! You are so screwed! Oh. my. god. Ahhhhh how could this have happened?!"

Guys. That right there is the RIGHT response. That response tells me you know EXACTLY how hard motherhood is, EXACTLY how much work a singleton newborn is, EXACTLY how hard being 9 months pregnant with one baby is and EXACTLY how terrifying having twins really is... In addition to already having two toddlers at home. I do not want to hear anything about "blessings" or "double the fun" - that's for people who have their heads up their a$$es and live in a dream world. I don't like fake people who don't join me in reality. 

I don't know why my card was drawn for natural twins, but it was. It was not, in anyway shape or form, remotely close to what I ever wanted. Ever. But, it's what's happening. So I can either be a buzzkill about it or get on board with it! I'm setting my expectations extremely low in hopes that reality beats them, and it doesn't turn out *quite* as bad as I'm imagining life with twins to be.

Otto got his number right in this shot, Henry was choking himself and my hair was horrifically windblown. Awesome.

To end on the bright side, since my first two are only 19 months apart, we already have two cribs and a fancy double stroller. I upgraded to a three row SUV exactly a year ago, and everyone will fit in the car. We have a large enough house to still ahve a guest room. And thank the Good Lord and Baby Jesus, we're well enough off that I can hire some additional help for those first trying, challenging months. I've already got a night nurse lined up for a new nights a week! 

Emotionally speaking, I knew my husband wanted to be done at baby three and make that a permanent decision. I wasn't even willing to entertain that conversation. I thought, let's just have this third baby and see how our family feels... He was pretty stern on being done. That didn't sit well with me. Now that I know there's two, I can tell you that these twins will absolutely complete our family, and that hubs and I are on the same page for family planning! Potential disagreement avoided. I was also not big on an odd number, thinking this baby would be left out because Otto and Henry are such good friends. Don't need to worry about that now, everyone has a playmate!

I'm still getting over the shock of our big news. I'm still trying to get excited about the thought of having two infants at once. How will I breastfeed TWO?! How will I baby wear TWO?! Will I ever sleep again?! I don't have enough hands for this! I could go on and on... But, it's happening. Before I had kids, I always thought I'd have four of them. After I had one and realized how much work they are, I thought, yeah, two or three would be great, more than that is a hard pass! Well, looks like prebaby Paige was right about some things, because four kiddos (age 4 and under no less!) it will be. What a shock of a lifetime guys.

Monday, April 30, 2018

4 Tips For Sunburn Relief

Summer is full of fun... And sunburn! Use these tips and tricks for fast sunburn relief 

Nobody was more surprised than me when on a 70 degree day on April 19 in Texas, I sat outside for lunch with a friend for an hour and twenty minutes and later that night found myself sunburned. In April. After an hour in the sun! I was blessed with olive skin that rarely ever burns (I've had fewer than 10 sunburns in my entire life, and I worked at an outdoor community pool from high school through college!) I'm the skin tone that gets a beautiful tan in the summer. I was shocked that an hour outside in April could do this to me! Yet, my skin hadn't seen sunlight since the previous September and I've gotten really good about covering my skin when I'm in the sun (nothing like aging to get you thinking about wrinkle prevention!) I remembered a tip from my old pool working days that the other gals used to do, and added some of my modern knowledge of essential oils to get my sunburn some relief in under 24 hours. Yup, and I have photos to prove it! Here's how you can get sunburn relief too.

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As we were lunching outside, I could feel that my skin was getting too much sun. I don't know if everyone gets that sensation, but for me I can feel a burn coming on long before it's an actual burn. I should have moved to the shade. By the time I was driving home, I knew for sure I had gotten too much sun on my face and my left shoulder, arm and left side of my chest that was exposed from my shirt. That leads me to tip one:

1) Immediately apply sunscreen to the areas that have received too much sun
This was the tip from my lifeguard days that the girls with fair skin taught me. It doesn't matter if you're not going out in the sun again, it doesn't matter if you just took a shower. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to your assumed burn areas immediately. The sooner you get it on there, the better your results. I use an all natural, mineral based sunscreen but it works with conventional brands too. For the next 24-48 hours, use sunscreen like a lotion on your burned areas.

Day 1: sunburn on my left side, especially chest and shoulder, side of nose and left arm

2) Use calming essential oils known for skin benefits
I used lavender, a natural calming agent, and frankincense, known for increasing cell growth/turnover combined with a moisturizing vegetable based oil. That could be the V6 oil shown or coconut oil, grape seed oil, or any other veggie-based carrier oil of choice. I did about 2-3 drops of each oil to one pump of the carrier oil and it was enough to cover my burned area. I alternated between applying my sunscreen and this blend for 48 hours

The products I actually used on my sunburn

3) Drink more water than normal
Sun burns dehydrate you from the inside out! Not only do you need to moisturize the heck out of the burned skin, you need to hydrate internally too. I normally drink 65-80oz of water a day and after this incident, I aimed for 100 so that I could be sure I was hydrated properly. Skimping on water can lead/contribute to sun poisoning if you got a particularly bad burn! Skip dehydrating cocktails and have a night of water if you're on vacation so that you can be sure to have a great remainder of your trip. And be sure to cover your burn when you're out in the sun so you don't do more damage!

Exactly 24 hours after the first picture was taken

4) Take an anti-inflammatory for painful sunburns
If it hurts to lie down, sit down, take a shower or is keeping you awake at night, take an anti-inflammatory OTC drug like Advil or Ibuprofen. Not only do these help with pain levels, they reduce swelling and inflammation to the burn site, unlike other pain meds. As always, consult your doctor before taking any drug, OTC or not. Some drugs interact with others, so if you're on prescriptions, be extra cautious and check with your doctor.

48 hours after the first picture was taken. The burn has completely transitioned to tan.
Obviously, everyone's results will vary based on skin type and severity of the burn. Mine was not severe, and I have olive skin that tans easily, so my burn was easy to treat. Your skin and your burn will be different. These are just the things that I did, that I've learned over the years, and that help me recover from too much sun. If you went and got yourself a serious sunburn, please get off the internet and call your doctor!

I haven't been out in the sun since my lunch date, but it served as a great reminder that even olive toned gals like me are susceptible to sunburns, especially as we head into the first nice few days/months of the summer season. The beginning of the summer season is especially important to cover up and use sunscreen to avoid burning skin that's been hiding all winter long. If you do get a burn, even a mild one, use these tips for sunburn relief. They take the sting out of a burn and turn it into a tan more quickly than doing nothing at all!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Why Are Moms So Guilt Ridden Over Leaving Their Kids?

It's en vogue to complain about motherhood and finish it with, "but I wouldn't have it any other way!" and when a mom gets a night away, she makes a point of expressing her guilt at leaving. Well, I call bulls**t. 

There's an old saying that goes something like 'when you do or buy something, you notice everyone else doing/buying the same thing too.' Obviously that's paraphrased because the original quote is far more clever, but you get the idea. Two weekends ago, I went to Nashville for a girlfriend's bachelorette, this weekend I'm headed to Boston to host my sister's baby shower and the weekend after that, we're headed to Richmond for a wedding. Lots of kid free weekends for me this spring! Which got me noticing... Moms sure do like to spew a lot of BS about guilt and their kids when they get a chance to get away. Let me explain.

I know I'm missing boccie ball backyard shenanigans when I leave my kids for a long weekend

Have you ever noticed how some moms go out of their way to tell the world on social media how hard it is to leave their kids when they actually get a weekend away. It always goes something like this: "Just got dropped off at the airport for my girls trip in Miami. Sobbed like crazy leaving these two little ones but thankfully it's only for a weekend! I feel so guilty leaving them. Mommy loves you!" Oooooooook. Let me tell you the f what. Buckle up kids, because I'm about to call out the fake mom guilt feelers.

First, you're not sobbing. You're dancing a jig. You're RUNNING into that airport and you're going to get a mimosa before your flight. Hell, you're probably getting two. You're immediately texting your girlfriends "I'M FREE B**CHES, HERE I COME!" You're not wallowing in a corner of the airport, sulking over the fact that you're finally getting a weekend away from your kids. And you're dang sure wishing it was longer than a weekend.

Throughout the weekend, you'll update social media with beautiful pictures of all the things you're up to - great food shots of amazing restaurants (that you'd never get to go to with your kids in tow), beach shots (where you're actually resting and sunbathing, something that never happens with your kids are along), and night out photos of you dressed up, makeup on, and feet strapped in heels (which you had to dust off because heels with kids is a death wish). All your friends are happy to see you getting some "me time." But they're also insanely annoyed by the fact that you qualify each photo with how much you're missing your family, which in reality, you haven't thought about all day. Or you did briefly, but you FaceTime'd them and got the scoop of what they're up to and what you're doing is dramatically more awesome. So why are you blasting social media with your made-up guilt?

I know I'm missing priceless faces when I leave for a weekend. That's ok. There's no shortage of personality in this family

Here's why: Because your guilt is REAL. But it's not guilt over missing your kids. It's guilt over showing the world that you miss who you were before you had kids and are THRILLED at the prospect of getting a weekend to be the non-mom version of yourself. The woman you knew before kids entered the picture and began dominating not only your life, but your very identity.

Once women become moms, they're just expected to give up everything for their kids. They're defined by being a mom. When you meet someone new, one of the first polite questions asked is, "Oh, do you have kids?" I'm always (yes, always!) asked if I have kids before I'm asked what I do for a living. My husband is always (yes, always!) asked what he does for a living before he's asked if he has kids. This issue is something that distinctly affects MOMS and rarely, if ever, affects dads. Which is why women are so annoying with displaying their "guilt" over leaving their families, something that's absent from any posts about guys' trips. When was the last time you saw a group of guys posing for a pic at hole 8 with a couple of beers in hand with a caption that reads, "Golfing with the boys! Perfect day for 18 holes, great beers, but man I wish the wife and kids were here! I miss them so much and can't wait to get home to them. I hope they're doing ok and know that daddy misses them!"

Yeah, never. You've never seen that because it's totally ok for men to get away, to not be defined by their role as a father. They can go on trips (work or personal) and tell everyone what an awesome time they're having with zero qualifiers regarding their family life. Women, on the other hand, feel the need to tell everyone that they're currently away but absolutely can't wait to get back to their life with kids. And I call BS on that.

I'm missing sweet moments they play well together but that's ok too, because there will be more sweet times and memories made

Women want and need to get away just as much as men do, and no - we don't always miss our kids. We don't think about them nonstop. We miss who we were before we had kids, an identity society made us ditch the moment a child entered our life. It's ok to get away and not have disclaimers or caveats about your family, moms! It's ok to say heck yes I got away, I ate great food and drank great coffee and slept through the night for once, and it was amazing. You should be able to say this without the fear of judgement!

Why are moms so guilt ridden over leaving their kids? It's not because they're actually guilt ridden over leaving their kids (and if they are, I hope they're working with an excellent therapist on their codependency!) It's because society judges a mom harshly when she escapes her mom role and focuses on herself. How about we all work together to change this judgement and let moms get out, get away and for the love of all that's holy, STOP the "oh I can't live without my kids" qualifiers on social media posts!

Monday, April 23, 2018

How To Use Essential Oils

A great resource on some of my best posts, tips and DIY's on how to use essential oils in your everyday life

I've written a whole slew of essential oils posts over the years. When I started writing about them years ago, a few friends were said, "Well that will be great for your blog, because oils are so trendy right now! Just make sure you have a backup for when they're no longer en vogue." To which I laughed. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years. They predate biblical times, and are actually referenced in the Bible itself. They are not new. They are not trendy. Instead, they're some of the building blocks of wellness. They're becoming popular again because people are sick, are sick of Big Pharma prices, are sick of taking pills to fix a symptom of a larger problem and are looking for simple ways to get and stay healthy. Enter essential oils! Ok cool - but just how exactly does one use them for a maintained healthy lifestyle? Here's how to use essential oils. I've rounded up some of my favorite and most viewed posts in one spot for a single resource as an intro on how to incorporate oils into your everyday life.
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First, the best thing to do is invest in a starter kit so you get a number of oils. Young Living has the premium starter kit which also sends a diffuser and gives you wholesale prices of all their oils and is a tremendous deal. DoTerra has something similar, although I'm not familiar with what they're called. Young Living and doTerra are the best essential oils you can buy, and are the ONLY ones safe for ingestion. Art Naturals is my favorite "affordable" non-MLM brand that requires no membership and is on Amazon. They have a basic starter kit and a larger one (I recommend the larger one, you get double the oils and a larger diffuser that's programmable!) I own both of the diffusers in the Art Naturals kits and they're fantastic. I actually prefer them over the expensive ones from Young Living!

Now that you've got your oils, you need to store them correctly. Of course I have a post on that! Here's the best way to store your oils. There's info on what light and heat conditions oils can take and methods in organizing them. This applies to ALL oils, high end or not!

Essential oils can literally be used in just about every facet of your life. I've grouped my posts into categories to make it easier to find what you're looking for. This is not an exhaustive list either - there are SO many more ways to use oils in your life! This is just what I've posted about (not even all of them in fact - search my blog if there's something you're curious about or send me a personal email!) If you have an essential oil skeptic in your life, make them one of the DIY gifts and bring them over to the enlightened side. I bet they'll LOVE the oily life once they get familiar with the products and oils!

Skincare/Personal care

Room Sprays

Diffuser blends 

Product Swap Outs 

DIY gifts

Thursday, April 19, 2018

My Worst Habits

Everyone has a series of bad habits. Here are some of my worst!

I'm a normal human being with a ton of annoying habits, just like you. Yeah, you read that right. I'm annoying. And so are you. Hopefully, you're aware of what habits you have that are totally annoying all the people around you who see you often or interact with you daily. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like when we're aware of what are annoying habits are, admit it and own it, they instantly become less annoying. At least, that's how I hope it works. That's definitely how it works in my own mind! In that spirit then, I'm going to divulge some of my worst habits. Enjoy! And uh, hope this makes me less annoying (looking at you, hubby and close friends who see me regularly!)

- It can take me hours to text back. And sometimes, I just never do.
Here's the thing: If I'm at my desk and see a text, I will reply instantly. If I have my phone and have a spare hand, I'll reply instantly. But if I see and and one of my kids acts out or I don't have a free hand or I'm driving, it will be HOURS before I remember that you texted me and HOURS before you get a return text. Even worse, if it clears from my phone as a notification (like I actually opened the text, with every intention of replying...) and I formed the reply in my head but never typed it or hit "send" then guess what? You're likely not ever going to get a response. Best case scenario it takes several days for me to respond. Dear friends and family, I am sooooo sorry about this habit! I blame having kids. 

- I wake up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, multiple times... And I don't flush.
I flush during the day, don't worry! But at night? Why? It's just pee and odds are I'm getting up again in a few hours to do it again anyway. I'll just do one big flush when I get up for good in the morning! I realize this might be gross to some, but why waste the water for night pees? I can't remember a time in my life where I slept through the night - I've always been a light sleeper who wakes multiple times - so to me, this is just some energy and cash savings. Sorry to gross you out.

- I have an extremely expressive face... That doesn't hold back judgement.
I'd love to tell you that I'm nonjudgmental and welcoming to all walks of life, but my face gives me away. One look at my face, and there's no doubt what I'm thinking. I don't even try to make these faces! They just happen. Kinda like some people have "resting b*tch face", I have "I'm judging your life choices harshly" face. Do something stupid that affects other people or use poor grammar, and I literally can't with you.

Imagine me pounding away on these keys... I'm doing it right now!

- I'm a loud typer. Reeeeeal loud.
I remember my sophomore year of college, my roommate and I got along fabulously. We were really well suited to live together, especially in a rather small dorm room. Except her pet peeve was loud typing. I, at the time, was totally unaware that I was a loud typer. Additionally, I had one of those old school desktop computers from the late 1990's with the extra plush keyboards that I'm sure made a ridiculous amount of noise even for the most quiet, efficient typer. Also additionally, I was a communications major and was ALWAYS writing papers. My poor roomie informed me of my bad habit, and I really tried to become a better typer... But to this day, I just HAMMER on my keyboard. Maybe it's because I'm passionate about what I'm writing, maybe it's because I try to write in the very few, short hours I have that are kid-free a week or maybe it's because I have long fingers and therefore more power to hammer on the keyboard, but the ironic thing is, sometimes I even annoy myself I get so loud typing!

Thankfully, I now have my own office space and can get away with being a loud typer. A loud typer with absolutely zero plans on attempting to change it.

- I rarely, if ever, empty the dishwasher.
The kitchen is absolutely my "realm" of the house. I do all the cooking (minus the pancakes my husband makes for the kids on Saturday mornings), all the baking, all the meal planning and grocery shopping, I wash the pots and pans, all of it - it's my spot in the house and I'm happy it's all mine. Except that damn dishwasher. Unloading it is the devil! I leave that for my husband. When he travels and I HAVE to do it, I save it for the last day before he gets back and just wash all our dishes by hand, that's how much I hate it.

And if you're wondering what my husband does in terms of housework, he does the laundry and pays our housekeeper :)

I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface of my worst habits with this post. There are undoubtedly many, many more. These were the first that came to mind! I'm sure if I sent out a poll to friends and family, I'd learn new ones that even I wasn't aware of. That'd be eye opening, wouldn't it? Hey look, we're all annoying and all have bad habits. If you can't change it, just accept it and own it, right?