ABC’s

In case you need some entertainment this chilly evening, this should do the trick.

So glad Garen caught this. Future superstars, right?!?

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Mommy Review Monday: ezpz Happy Mat – One-piece silicone placemat + plate

DISCLOSURE: Due to the recent iPhone update my i’s are now malfunctioning. I️ am NOT going back through to fix. I’m too frustrated. Sorry folks.

It’s borderline Migraine Monday instead of Mommy Review Monday so this will be a sort one today so I can get off to bed. I should apologize to those who get actual migraines because I️ realize my headache isn’t really a migraine since I️ can manage to look at the screen.

I’ll thank the black beans all over the floor and the screaming toddlers for the tension headache. With that said, I’ll move onto our review of the day, the ezpz Happy Mat, without which there would’ve been many more beans on the floor.

Pros:

  • Cost. $24.99 may seem like a lot but if you use I️t every meal, I️t pays for itself pretty quickly.
  • Hardiness. It’s made of silicone so you know it’s tough. And unlike your friends’ fake boobs, these don’t have to be hand-washed. You can stick them in the lower rack of your dishwasher time after time.
  • Dividers. Since so many kids are funny about not mixing foods, this is a great feature.
  • Protection. The full placemats give your table the armor it needs against banging silverware and/or sippy cups.
  • Stay-put-ness. I️ realize that’s a made up word but you get the point. No pates thrown across the room. As I️ said earlier, had we served black beans on a regular plate, they would’ve been everywhere. This plate-mat stayed in place throughout Clara’s mid-dinner temper tantrum.

Cons

  • Fit on High Chair Trays. They don’t fit on high chair trays. I️ know that’s not really what they’re made for so I️ really have a hard time declaring that a con but I️ do want to make sure no one assumes they’ll work that way. They do make a smaller version, the Mini Mat but it still may or may not work on your high chair tray.
  • Only Stick on Hard, Level Surfaces. Again, this seems common sense but they don’t stick or suction themselves down to fabric tablecloths or very unlevel surface. They’re still nice to use to protect your nice fabric tablecloth but there is the chance they could still move. We used a nylon table cloth at Halloween though and it still worked pretty well.

All together, these Happy Mats are what the brand name explains, ezpz. They’re a great gift idea, especially paired with these bibs. I’d buy another. In fact, I may buy another set for when one set is dirty. I’m not sure if that’s lazy or smart.

Happy Monday!!!

Tips for First Haircuts for Two Year Old Twins

Yesterday Clara and Kate got their first hair cut. As you can see below, their hair is quite different. Clara’s is brown, longer, has a hint of curl, and is a bit thinner. Kate’s is blondish, shorter, straight as a board, and a little thicker.

We needed to clean up Kate’s mullet (for a good laugh listen to The Ballet of Eddie Mullet) and Clara’s stringy-ness. So off to the mall we went since I trust the team at Regis with their hair. I honestly didn’t plan this more than a day out because I knew I’d find an excuse to not do it. Just call me the queen of procrastination.

Garen was out of town so I was going at it alone. Every once in a while I get the urge to do things with them like this by myself just to prove to myself that I’m capable. Sad? Maybe…

But I did get a few tips to share out of the experience for first haircuts with twins at two years old. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Go somewhere they know you. This may sound trivial but the whole team at Regis knows me and my family, so they welcomed them in, which made the girls feel special. It did cost more than I typically would want to spend on a kids haircut but it’s better than having a freaked out kiddo.
  • See if they’ll give you a free chair for one of the girls to sit in and watch close by while the other gets her hair done.
  • Let them observe someone else getting their hair cut first so they can know what to expect.
  • Get them excited about it before you go.
  • Take toys like a drawing pad and little stuffed animals. We let the girls take their backpacks that have a couple of diapers and wipes each, small Sesame Street characters, and a chalkboard set from Aunt Haley, plus a snack catcher of Cheerios. Of that, I’d reconsider the Cheerios, which ended up going everywhere at some point. I’d probably do pretzels or veggie sticks.
  • Let them hold a comb or spray water bottle. This worked well to keep them occupied during the actual haircuts.
  • When the hairdresser needs them to look down to get the back of their hair, tell them to look at their belly button.
  • Make sure they’re high enough to see the mirror. They like to watch themselves.
  • Decide ahead of time if you want to keep a lock of their hair or not. If so, bring something to keep them in separately and label them ahead of time to make it easy.
  • I’ve seen a lot of friends who hold their kids if they’re too scared. This could be an option to consider the first time, although it does make it more difficult for the hairdresser.

My girls did great. It was actually way easier than I anticipated. Here’s a few photos from the experience. So serious always!Clara enjoyed lounging around until her turn!Kate enjoyed snacking too. This is the best we could do to get them both to look at the camera. Imagine that. You can see that now Kate has a bob instead of a mullet and Clara has bangs.

If you’re planning your kids’ or kiddos’ first haircuts, the above tips will likely help.

What other tips do you have? I can always use them for the next round!

Mommy Review Monday: Happy Healthy Parent Waterproof Silicone Bib

With my first two kids, I used Bumkins bibs and they’re great but I decided to try some the Happy Healthy Parent waterproof silicone bibs for the twins. 

Here’s what I like about them:

  • They come in a 2- pack with free shipping through Amazon Prime. 
  • The colors are cute: Clara’s is purple and Kate’s is pink. The other colors offered are red/blue and green/turquoise. 
  • They are thin enough to be very flexible and appear to be comfortable for the girls. 
  • They have adjustable closure that stays on, even when they yank on it. 
  • Cleaning them is a breeze. We actually stick ours in the dishwasher. The manufacturer’s description doesn’t say they are dishwasher safe but they’ve held up to being washed in the top rack of ours almost every night for the past few months without any signs of wear. 
  • They don’t take up much space if you travel with them. 
  • Catching stray food is made easier with the silicone pocket.
  • The price seems reasonable, at $18.97, since they’re so easy to use over and over again. 
  • They are free of BPA, Phthalate (not sure what this is but it was listed in the product description so it must be bad), Latex, and Lead. 
  • Happy Healthy baby is so confident in these that they offer a lifetime money back guarantee. I like that in a company. 

What could be improved:

  • The pink has stained a bit around the neck. I’m not worried about it enough to exchange them for that. In their defense, we eat a lot of carrots and sweet potatoes (and Kate is a messy eater) so it isn’t surprising that this would happen. Plus, we sometimes may not get them washed as fast as others may. 
  • This is really picky but if they could make one more adjustment to make them any smaller it would be nice. Clara is petite so she could’ve gone a notch smaller at first but it really wasn’t a huge issue and they’re perfect now. 

Garen and I both really like these. Enough that I’m about to buy a second set, just for the convenience of having some ready in the diaper bag. I’ll still buy the pink and purple, even if the pink stains a bit. 

Nursing Twins- Part 5: Nursing Two Older Babies

Clara and Kate are now 8 months old. It’s hard to believe….

Except for their nursing habits, which are much changed from the early days. Here’s what I’ve observed so far with nursing twins older than 6 months:

  • They have more trouble focusing. 
  • They still fit on the nursing pillow in the football hold for tandem nursing. It’s tight but it works. 

  • There is less room for them and one will sometimes grab the other. “You don’t need that eye, Kate” or “I love your hair, Clara. Let me grab a handful.”
  • They don’t nurse as long- probably 10-15 minutes max now. 
  • During the week they nurse at 6:00 AM, 6:00 PM, and before bed between 8:00- 9:00 PM. 
  • At work, I pump at lunch time to try to keep my supply up but it’s really getting old at this point, considering I only make about 8 oz. 
  • My milk supply is starting to slowly wind down. Part of this is that I’m losing weight, eating healthier. I doubt they’re getting much but I’m ok with it since they get plenty from their bottles during the day and have also started solids. (Check out my adventures of making my own baby food part 1 and part 2.) 
  • I’m working towards cutting out nursing and pumping during the day this month. I’ve got mixed feelings since I know that this are my last babies to nurse. 
  • Clara has two teeth and hasn’t bit me once. Kate has no teeth and has bit me twice. 
  • Occasionally, I get the pleasure of nursing one at a time. They don’t know what to do for a few seconds in the cradle position by themselves though. Then it clicks and they look up at me adoringly. I love the cuddles. It sure makes my decision to stop nursing them a hard one. 


Overall, I’m glad I’ve made it this far nursing twins and I’ve enjoyed the bonding but I also know it will be easier once we are finished. It’s always a challenge trying to balance priorities. I read a great post that helps with my “mommy guilt.” If you’re in a position like me maybe this all will help you. 

For more on nursing twins check out my other posts:

Mommy Review Monday: Ciao! Baby Portable High Chair 

My cousin, who also has twins, introduced us to these Ciao! Baby portable high chairs. I’ll be honest, at first I was skeptical because they’re about $60 and I just didn’t think it was worth that much times two. But we had two BBQs this weekend and we knew it was going to be a challenge feeding Clara and Kate without a huge hassle. With another BBQ this coming weekend and a road trip to Branson at the end of the month, we saw that we would quickly put them to good use. 

The girls loved them and everyone at the parties wanted one for their own kiddos. Here’s the review.

What I like about them:

  • You can order them from Amazon. We got free next day shipping with our Prime membership. 
  • They come in multiple colors. We chose black because they were cheapest and I knew they’d match with whatever they are wearing. (Yes, I’m that mom). Also, we can hand them down or sell them to parents of boys or girls when we are done with them. 
  • They fold up nicely and have a carrying case. They fit easily in the back of my car. 
  • The girls enjoyed playing in them and we didn’t have to worry about them having a place to sit. 
  • The straps to tighten them are in the back, making them easy to use. 
  • The tray wipes down easily and is plenty big. 

What I don’t like about them:

  • They’re pretty pricey. I would say this is definitely a luxury item. We are going to make good use of them to justify the spend. 
  • They are a little hard to get them in and out of the straps. I think this will get easier as they get older. I’m not really sure how they could make it any better so I hesitate complaining. 

I give these a two thumbs up. I’ll probably buy these for shower gifts in the future. 

Nursing Twins- Part 4: Pumping for Two

I’ve almost made it 8 months nursing Clara and Kate. I also work a 40+ hour work week so there have been many hours sitting hooked up to a pump. 

  

Here are my tips and experiences with pumping, which work whether you’re pumping for one or two babies
:

  • Find out if you get a breastpump from your insurance and, if so, get it as soon as you can. They let me order it 2 months from my due date since I was having twins but usually allow for moms to order one month before. Don’t sweat it if you don’t remember to do this until after you come home though. One of my friends at work didn’t know about the free pump until 6 or more months into it and still qualified. 
  • Consider renting a hospital grade pump. I did this and it’s been great. It is more effective than the standard electric pump. I used my standard pump as my home and travel pump because I pump more during the week at work. Yes, it is a convenience to have two but it was worth it for me in time and milk production. You can likely rent this from your hospital or a medical supply. There are also online rental places. I just got mine from the hospital. They gave me a multi-month discount.
  • If you’re going back to work, start pumping and freezing that milk as soon as possible. I pumped after each nursing session for a couple of months. Because I pumped and stored so much milk the first two months, I had enough breastmilk stored so that the girls didn’t have to have formula until about 5 months when the stash ran out. It was hard though. And I had help. If I had been on my own there is NO way I would’ve been able to manage that much pumping. If I did it over again, I would probably only pump after the daytime feedings to give me more sleep. 
  • Freeze your milk in breastmilk storage bags NOT the storage bottles that come in your breastpump kit. You’ll likely end up with a lot of stored milk and having flat bags of frozen milk is a lot easier to store. Freezing and storing milk really is a post all of its own. Check out my post on breastmilk storage bags. 
  • Pumping into bottles and then pouring it into storage bags is easier than using bags that attach to the pump parts. You do have to wash the bottles but I keep them in my cooler bag so I don’t have to was them until night. They go in the dishwasher with everything else. 
  • Talk to your HR department or manager before you come back to work to find out about your pump room. You’ll want to know where it is and how to access it. 
  • My pump bag has everything I need in it, including my rented hospital grade pump. I use a large bag for this rather than the little pump bag that many pumps come in. I have a smaller tote that I bring bottles, breastpump accessories and cooler bag to and from work in daily (along with my lunch, snacks, and coffee). When I go to pump, I put my pump accessories, cooler bag, and laptop in my big pump bag before heading to the pumping room at work. 

  

  • Decide how you want to store your milk at work. For me, the easiet thing was to put it in my cooler bag that goes home with me every day. It saved me a trip to the break room to put it in the fridge and I didn’t have to worry about forgetting it there. 
  • I have never pumped enough when at work to meet the demands of my babies. I don’t worry about it too much since that doesn’t do anyone any good. You can mix formula with breastmilk. It’s not an either/or. With two, if you are supplementing, just make sure they both get equal amounts of your milk to spread the wealth. 
  • Set up a comfortable place to pump at home. For me, that meant pumping in my downstairs recliner. I had a side table that kept my pump and a glass of water to keep me hydrated. I kept myself entertained by checking Facebook and Pinterest and reading a few books. If only I had started blogging in those early days…
  • Being productive at work is very important to me so I don’t have to work when I get home. I took my laptop with me to the pump room to maximize my time. For some moms, this could affect your let-down so do what works for you. On days that this happened to me I opened my pictures and videos of my kiddos and it does help. 
  • If you travel a lot, get a car adapter to plug your pump into the car. This also was helpful when I was somewhere that didn’t have a good place for me to pump because I could go out to my car. 
  • Drink plenty of water and eat. I can absolutely tell the difference in my supply when I don’t. At first I drank Ensure because it was hard to find time to get as many calories as I needed to feed my babies. Believe it or not, it’s pretty tasty. There’s lots of recipes for “booby shakes” but I’ve never had time to make any of them. Maybe I should rephrase that. I’ve never taken the time. Either way, this might work for you but, if not, Ensure might’ve helpful. 

Pumping is hard work. You should be proud of yourself even if you only make it a few weeks. With that said, you also shouldn’t feel guilty when you decide to stop. The best thing for your baby is a happy, healthy mommy. 

For more on nursing twins check out my other posts:

What tips and advice do you have for pumping moms (of one or two)?