Win a Gift Card Towards a Baby Jogger Stroller

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I'm the type of person who just loves being pregnant. Maybe not so much in the third trimester with twins (oy, uncomfortable!) but overall I enjoy it. Possibly one of my favorite things is being able to wear a bikini and not having anyone expecting me to have abs of steel. However once the baby is born it's time to get rid of my muffin top stat! Baby jogger strollers have been crucial for allowing me to get back into shape post pregnancy.

One of the reasons why I value a good baby jogger stroller so much is because running is an easy way to get back into pre-baby shape. It's free,  you can do it anywhere, and baby can come with you! Plus any form of exercise can ward off post-partum depression.

When I had Blair I used the BOB baby jogger stroller practically every day. It came with me on vacations too. Now that I have twins I plan on using my double BOB to get back in shape. There are a ton of great workouts you can do while pushing a stroller...check out a good one HERE.

Next week marks 6 weeks post-pregnancy and as long as the doctor gives me the thumbs up I plan on hitting the trail. Hopefully the twins enjoy it as much as I do! And if not...too bad so sad. Mama needs to sweat for thirty minutes (at least!). Pairing some exercise with healthy recipes should get me out of my maternity pants in no time. ;) Oh, and here's a crazy fact...I lost 45 pounds in a week after having the twins! I still have about 10 pounds to go (more would be better). But I'll take it!

To enter to win a $50 gift card tell me in the comments below what your favorite baby jogger stroller is. You must comment to enter and a winner will be chosen at random in the next week! This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate.

Just Born Sparkle Collection

Friday, September 23, 2016

I am a complete sucker for coordinating outfits and now that I have twins I'm always thinking of ways that they can match. When Just Born sent them matching pajamas from their new Sparkle Collection I was thrilled! Now the twins can even match in their sleep!

Just Born is there for all of baby’s “firsts” and the special moments in between. The Sparkle Collection offers a variety of fashion-forward items with a touch of sparkle for new moms and moms-to-be, perfect for baby showers, gift registry sign-ups and a nursery refresh that make everyday moments and milestones sparkle even brighter with baby.

The new collection will be available at Buy Buy Baby stores and online. 

Having cozy jammies helps the twins sleep better at night...and paired with a good bedtime routine of a bath, book, essential oils (cedarwood and lavender in the diffuser) and boobs makes them pretty happy. ;) You can read more about our sleep training method a few posts back. After this week is done I'll be writing a grand finale post about our BabyWise experience with twins. 

Thank you to Just Born for sending us these jammies! I'm sure the twins will sleep through the night now. ;) 

Sweetheart-n-Sunshine Linens

Thursday, September 22, 2016

One of the joys of having a baby (or babies!) is picking out all the darling accessories. Sweetheart-n-Sunshine sent us the most adorable blankets and Boppy covers. She specializes in handmade nursery linens and more. I LOVE all the cute prints that she offers. Here is what I picked out...

Cutest little Boppy covers! I love how one side is a soft minky fabric. 
I just love how stretchy and soft these jersey knit swaddles are.
Make sure you check out her Instagram account too! @sweetheartnsunshine Happy shopping!

Baby Wise Twins Day Two

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

So I ended the last BW post with the beginning of night #2. We put them down after breast feeding and they went right down. They had a four hour run and then the rest were some three hour stretches. (yay!)

At night I swaddle them in their swaddle pods and put them down in their rock-n-play cradles. I have a sound machine, night light, and I diffuse cedarwood and lavender. I also put "gentlebaby" essential oil blend on their feet. Their room also has black out curtains and we keep the temperature pretty cool.

The following day we attempted the dreaded naps again. Cal woke at 6:30 am and Evie slept till 9 so I hung out with Cal till she woke. After they nursed together I laid them down and they were at it again. M and I let them cry for ten minutes at a time and then go in and soothe them and lay them back down. Once they start fussing we start the clock at 10 minutes. We would do this until it was time for them to nurse again (about an hour or hour and a half). It is freaking exhausting and frustrating going upstairs every ten minutes to soothe them. But I also know that putting in work now will mean more enjoyable babies (and parents) later!

We were getting super frustrated because one would fall asleep and then wake the other one up and vice versa. So we finally caved and said, "Forget this." And we moved them into separate rooms (for nap time). We had a successful nap with them separated and then a not successful nap. It didn't seem like the separate room thing made a giant difference. We decided that these poor babes were trying to learn so much at one time... sleeping in their own room, sleeping in their own beds, self soothing, sleeping for longer lengths of time, and learning to sleep through each others cries etc. Because of this we decided to take out one factor...the waking each other up issue and thought we would just work on putting them in the same room later.

Fast forward to later in the day when I noticed that Cal fell asleep doing tummy time. I know that everything now-a-days is "Back is Best" but my baby was sleeping happily so I marched him up to his crib and laid him down on his tummy. Success! He slept for an hour and a half! I was glued to that monitor like a hawk!

Once they can reliably go to sleep without crying like mad then we will move them back into the same room. And I actually think that will be soon. I can't wait to tell you about day 3... I think I discovered something that is a game changer!

Baby Wise with Twins Day 1

Monday, September 19, 2016

This twin thing is no freaking joke. And if you haven't had the challenge blessing of having twins then you truly can't understand one hundred percent. I literally have a post-it with a handful of twin moms that I know written down on it so I can text them for reinforcement ha ha.

We did Baby Wise with Blair and were super successful with her sleeping habits. You can read about our experience HERE. And what a joke...I thought sleep training ONE was hard...HA! Sleep training twins is insane.

Actually it's not totally insane. The nights are going way better than the days. Before we started BW the twins were waking up every two hours (read I get one hour of sleep). They were sleeping all sorts of horrible ways...sometimes on us in bed, on us in the recliner, on us in the ergo, on their nursing pillow while strapped around me...basically anywhere that wasn't near us didn't work because they would cry.

M and I decided we couldn't live like this, or sleep like this for that matter. We started BW with Blair at about 7 weeks. This time around we weren't about to wait that long. The twins were 4 weeks and 4 days when we moved them into their room.

On Friday night we nursed them and put them down in their rock-n-plays expecting the worst. I was thinking of all the things I was going to do overnight while we were up. Painting my nails, showering, filling out their baby books, watching tv etc. We put them down at 11pm (late, I know) because B had a soccer game and then we ate dinner and that was just the next  available time we could put them down in their cycle.
Ready for her first soccer practice! She kept saying, "I love soccer ball, Mom!" I nursed in the car while watching her. ;) 

And ready for her first soccer game. She was SO offended that someone touched her while playing so she stood a good portion with her arms crossed over her chest. M is the assistant coach and wears Cal in a front pack while on the field. This is life!

Much to our surprise they actually went to sleep in their beds!!! Granted they were still waking up every two hours we still considered it a success because THEY WERE IN THEIR OWN BEDS in their own room!
Tummy time is exhausting! 

The next day we worked on their naps in their own room. No success. It was seriously such an exhausting day and M and I were so frustrated because it seemed that one would go down only to have the other one wake up and wake the other one up. We were letting them cry for 10 minutes then going in to soothe them and lay them back down. Finally after two failed nap cycles they fell asleep after nursing at 3pm and we just put them in their beds and they napped for 2 hours!

Say goodbye to sleeping with Mama. For the record that is my shoulder btw. ;) 

Unfortunately this is not the goal. With BW you want them to eat, play, and then sleep. But because they hadn't napped all day we let them sleep. Baby steps! Plus we had to look at the positives...they were napping in their own bed and not on us in an Ergo. Winning.
Wake time in their boppies in the front yard. 

We attempted another failed nap and then the next cycle was bed time. Easy. Nurse them and then watch them sleep. ;)

Getting their naps down is also crucial for Blair. The poor girl has been put on the back burner while we try to figure life out. I try to set up play dates for her as often as possible and am glad she gets to go to preschool every day but she needs Mommy and Daddy time too still. Here she is at McDonald's with me and her grandparents. Just look at that smile!

Stay tuned to see what happens in day two! This is riveting stuff, I know. Har har.

Oh, and just for fun this is a picture of M when he was first born. I see Calvin...don't you?!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I wanted to take some time and write a post about why we chose the names Everly Grace and Calvin Noah for our twins. There's meaning behind each name and I think it's important to document why we chose them. 

Avery has been a name that M and I both really loved for a long time. However, it really started to get popular and I wanted something a bit more unique (although of course now I'm hearing it more). Evelyn happens to be the first name of Matt's gramma AND happens to be the name of a pharmacist at Costco who sold me my infertility meds at one point. You can read the whole story about Evelyn HERE but basically she went through IVF too and was a great encouragement to me. I've wanted to go back to that Costco and tell her all about the ending to our IVF story but no one seems to know of her there... very strange.

So, because of these reasons we decided to go with a spin off of "Evelyn" and name our sweet girl Everly. We call her Evie for short. Her middle name, Grace, is mostly a given to why we decided that was fitting. In the midst of our struggle with infertility God and his redeeming grace always showed up. Whether it was the timing of him giving M a new job with infertility health coverage, to the way that he sustained BOTH of these babies from the very beginning...there was grace. 

We picked "Calvin" because of Matt's love of the comic "Calvin and Hobbes" (seriously) and because it was unique enough for me and I loved the nickname Cal. Originally when we thought we were having two boys their names were going to be Calvin and Cohen. I even purchased Pottery Barn Easter baskets, personalized of course, for each of them! They were on sale and you know I can't pass up a good sale! Everly just might have to use Cohen's basket next year for a good laugh. 

For Calvin we chose the middle name Noah because Noah was a man of great faith in the Bible. He obeyed God and built that ark in the middle of a heat wave. If that isn't great faith then I don't know what is! God was so faithful to us throughout our journey. I would think that he had forgotten about us and then he would show up in ways that only God could. He strengthened me on days when I thought I could no longer go on and when we were obedient to his plan for our family he was faithful. I realize that obedience doesn't always render a response from God (we obey because we love him) but in his grace God was faithful beyond my wildest dreams. 

These babies are truly miracles and I will never grow tired of telling their story. It is an incredible one and the details make it almost unbelievable. God continues to be faithful and his grace is new every morning. Even on mornings when we didn't sleep he strengthens us! And that is a miracle too. ;) 

Touchstone Ring

Saturday, September 3, 2016

In March Matt and I will be celebrating ten years of marriage. We knew that we wanted to re-set my engagement ring but that it would be more difficult to do in March than before the babies were born. So in August we sat down and chose a new setting and transferred all the diamonds from my old ring to my new setting.

In the process of doing this we decided that we wanted to have two new bands: one wedding band (that I'm waiting to wear till March) and one touchstone band.

While we were going through infertility one of my best friends would remind me of the Touchstone's in my life when I would get weary and lose hope. She used this phrase for times in my life that I could go back to and "touch" and remember God's faithfulness. She would remind me of all the good things that he had done for us throughout our journey. Some of my touchstone's

This new band is my new touchstone to remember how God was SO faithful and brought us through IVF in his perfect way and timing. We will have hard trials in the future (we're in one right now with the twins!) and this ring will be a constant reminder of how his plan is best and he is in complete control. It also reminds me of the ways he showed us grace and mercy through the heartache.

My band has nine diamonds and I've detailed nine ways he was faithful through our infertility journey (there are clearly more but for symbolic purposes I chose nine).

1. the family/friends/strangers who prayed for us
2. the timing of M getting a new job with health insurance that partially covered IVF
3. the financial support from my family
4. the way he led me to publicly share my story in order to encourage others and give my trial purpose
5. the way he brought strangers (like Evelyn from Costco) into my life who had already been through IVF
6. the fact that he brought Blair to us and sustained her through the NICU
7. the incredibly loving husband he provided me with
8. the way he gently reminded me when I found out only 2 embryos fertilized and was devastated, "Natalie, you only needed one, and I gave you two." This still gives me chills.
9. the timing of our refinance for our home that has now allowed us to pay for a nanny

God had complete control the whole time! And while I wavered and struggled to trust him he was never shaken. He has always been bigger and more powerful than our infertility and will continue to be through the rest of our trials in life.

I'm overwhelmed and humbled by his grace and mercy and have learned/matured in my faith an incredible amount. He showed me sin in my life that I never would have noticed had I not gone through this heartache and I'm thankful to have a new perspective on my struggles. I understand his love in ways I never would have and it makes me value my relationship with him exponentially above all else.

No matter my circumstances, God you are so good. I never thought I would say this but I am glad you chose me to have the burden of infertility. It has changed my life!