Monday, August 31, 2009

the great SAHM vs. working mom debate

Nah, not really. I would rather talk about choices. When you have a child(or two or three), you know there are certain things you give up, well atleast for a few years. For most people, gone are those lazy weekends sleeping in, going out to dinner whenever you want without worrying about bedtime, the money spent on new clothes as opposed to diapers. I think what people nee dto also realize if that they have to give up having a choice sometimes and I think this is were the great SAHM vs. Working mom debate losses sight.
I am a SAHM because I simply cant afford daycare. Being in the non profit arena comes with a mixed bag. Helping your fellow man, building communities, helping to enrich the lives of others but it also means that monetary gains are well, how should I say this, not the greatest concern. We looked at daycares, I weighed the options and with two infants in daycare, it just didnt make sense financially. I am still mourning the fact that I had no choices in the matter. I would imagine the mom who works outside the home faced with a similar dilemmma would feel the same way. There is really no choice, that mom HAS to work. When we talked about having a baby, I never thought about this situation. Never imagined that being at home would be the only path that made financially sense for us.
Granted, there are plenty of multiple mamas who do work, and that is what makes the most sense for them.
I know this post is a bit rambling but its just something that I think people should stop and think about when the great debate comes up. The majority of moms are doing what is best for their families, whatever that is. Perhaps that SAHM would love to go back to work but the cost of daycare vs. her income make it impossible. Maybe that working mom would love to stay at home but she is the breadwinner. It is easy to judge when you just assume, but you know what they say about assuming :)
Before we tear each other down, we have to take a step back and realize that motherhood is not black and white, it has many shades of gray and that we should celebrate each other, not vilify each other for actions when perhaps there was no other choice in the matter.

Blog Giveaway! Halloween Korker headband!!

Since I am part of the multiples and more followers, I've edited my giveaway to sync up to their end of summer blog party! The giveaway will end at midnight on Thursday. For an extra chance to win the bow, link to my giveaway on your own blog! That will give you one extra chance.

Blog giveaways seem to be in the air, so I decided to try my hand at one. Sorry boys, this one is for the girls. I will be giving away one of my own halloween korker bow headbands. If you have multiples(twins or triplets) and have more than one girl, I will send you one for each girl. I dont wanna leave anyone out, but I will have to verify that you have more than one girl, Them are the rules kids.

Here is what you have to do. I am going to run this till midnight on THURSDAY. Become a follower of my blog and leave a comment in this post. I will use to pick a winner.
Link to my giveaway on your own blog and get one extra chance of winning. Make sure you post the link so I know.
Good luck!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Great Grocery Challenge-Day 1

Its been a long day with two busy busy busy toddlers. I did want to get in the habit of posting our daily menu.
Breakfast-Waffles from the partial box we have. Once the box is over, I think I will make a big batch of homemade ones.

Lunch-Homemade pizza YUMMOOOOO!

Dinner-I broke down and used the convenience food I bought. It was rather odd to just heat up already breaded chicken and to use powdered potatoes, but I will admit it did make dinner time easy. I had 3 custom orders for my craft business and also helping my husband with his business, so it was a busy day so the ease of dinner was nice. We had the Tyson chicken tenders from costco, mashed potatoes and some frozen veggies I had on hand.

So a pretty simple cooking day but no eating out, yay! Husband said he wants the tyson chicken fried but that isnt happening.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The great grocery challenge aka its hard out there for a foodie

Let me just say that I've been doing meal planning for months. It really does help out with stress and motivates me to find new recipes. That said, while it has helped with the budget a bit, I know there is more money I could save. I recently read this blog who did a pantry raid challenge and only spent $100 in groceries for one month. Now, I think its a great idea but there are some issues A) she skipped meals. Yeah, have me skip breakfast and you will have a very unhappy camper and B) she has a baby, so having snacks and meals for a child isnt an issue and C) did you read the lists of food she had on hand before the challenge??? Yeah I dont have all that food and I dont know many people that do.
I do think that the premise was a good one so I decided to do it with my own take.
I sat down on my computer and I typed out what food I already have on hand-
2lbs ground beef
partial box of waffles
5lbs potatoes
12 frozen chicken legs in a large pack
3lbs of frozen mixed veggies
large pack of chicken sausage
2 servings of ravioli
black beans
red beans
assorted pasta
canned corn
diced tomatoes
tomato sauce
taco shells
pot roast
whole grain bread
peanut butter
Hot dogs & buns

At costco today I spent $143 and got
5.5lbs beef stew meat
8 boxes of mashed potato mix(4 servings each box)
5lbs of onion
5lbs Tyson breaded chicken
Frozen shrimp
2 loafs of Italian bread
1 package of arnold's sandwich thins
Swiss cheese
3 DZ eggs
1.5 gallons of organic milk
5 heads of romaine lettuce
24 oz. Parmesan cheese
Chicken breasts
Tub of cookie dough(yeah, my excuse is that my husband spends way too much money buying himself snacks. The $8 for the tub is cheaper than his little trips to the nearest convenience mart)

I spent $34 at Aldis and got-
Green peppers
Bread crumbs
Egg noodles
American cheese slices
Shredded Mozzarella cheese(2 packs)
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Cream of mushroom soup
Mojo Marinade(awesome for chicken)
Onion soup mix
Gravy mix
Light ranch dressing
Caesar dressing
Ice cream sandwiches
frozen monkey bread(have you had monkey bread? Mmmmm so good!)
Sweet & sour marinade

Now usually I am not one to buy mashed potato mix or already breaded chicken, but I am trying to fight against my downfall. What happens is that I am too tired to cook, or the twinsies are whining and I cant cook, or my husband says "ugh I am not in the mood for that" so we go out to eat or order a pizza, etc. If I have a few convience items on hand, I dont have an excuse.

My husband will still eat out for lunch but he is going to try and start brownbaging it 1-2x a week. he hates leftovers, I blame his mom because she totally indulged, and still does, his picky ways.

I plan on writing a daily post outlining what we ate that day. So no trips to the grocery store until October and we cant spend more than $200. If we need milk, I will send my husband so I can resist temptation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Solo roadtrip with twins.

For the past two months, we've had a trip to my hometown planned, 7 hours away from steelerland. We were going to use the trip as an opportunity to get some professional photos done of the girls. The photos were going to be shot in the park where I played as a wee lass, my mom & sister would be there, it was going to be great. Well a few days before our planned departure date, husband told me that he wouldnt be able to go because of a deadline for the new company. I wrestled with this, going back & forth between going and not going. I decided that I would go solo, just me and my little ladies.
The trip was great, we just got back yesterday. It was HOT for the photo shoot, which made for some sweaty and cranky girls. I am sure that Racheal got some great shots. I am still kicking myself in the butt for not packing any skirts or dresses, I had to wear pants for the photos, UGH jeans & heat do not mix well.
The trip was wonderful and I got to see some of my best friends and of course my family.
A solo roadtrip with twins is possible. Here are some tips, or things that I did that worked well for us.

1. Be flexible & take your time. I factored in a whole day to drive there and another day to drive back. I was able to take my time and stop when the girls needed a break.

2. Pack a picnic-I packed snacks and fruit in a cooler as well as a picnic blanket. We were able to stop and we have a picnic and let the girls play and stretch their legs.

3. Take the scenic route- I had two options. 1 was a turnpike with large rest stops with lots of amenities but the exits are further apart. The other option meant small rest areas without restaurants but more exits. I chose the 2nd option. The small rest areas meant green space that could be used for picnics or to take the girls for a walk in the stroller. Some stops were downright pretty, with scenic overlooks and lots of pretty flowers and trees.

4. Bring toys & books- At one stop, I pulled out some blocks that I had packed for the girls. They were able to play in the back of the van while I got lunch ready. I also had books and small toys, like a play phone, that the girls could play with while in their seats.

5. Timing is everything- I left at 5am on my way there and 7am on my way home. The girls usually sleep to 7-8am so leaving at 5am I was hoping that I would get a few hours with some sleeping babies. It worked this time. I was able to drive 3 hours before they woke up and needed to eat. On the way home, they didnt sleep as much but I fed them before we left so they were in a good mood. Think about your child and their sleeping pattern. Perhaps leaving at night would be the best option for you. That is what we did when they were 4 months old and went on a roadtrip. We left at bedtime and the girls just slept except for a nursing session.
I doubt I would do the same thing now because the girls are older and more aware of their surroundings.
Traffic is also something to consider. Leaving at 5am meant I would avoid rush hour in my hometown. My girls hate traffic almost as much as I do and usually scream when stuck in it.

6. By any means necessary. With this I mean, try any trick necessary to get through the trip. While I didnt use a portable DVD player, that doesnt me I would be opposed to one. If 15 minutes of elmo will calm down your child and help you concentrate on driving, then go for it.

7. Dont jeopardize safety- If your child is crying/screaming and distracting you while driving, PULL OVER! Safety is the most important thing. This ties back to #1. If you take your time, you will have the time and flexibity to stop when you need to.

I hope this helps.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How many angels does God need...

I am sitting here writing with a very very heavy heart. A fellow MoM(mother of Multiples) lost one of her children today. Brooke had her triplets at 25 weeks and for the past 50+ days. the babies have been overcoming hurdle after hurdle until one thing stopped everyone in their tracks. Sweet little Annaleigh, who was just taken off the nasal cannula and was breathing room air, stopped gaining weight. her belly was swollen and was vomiting repeatly. A surgery consult showed that the culprit was NEC.
NEC stands for Necrotizing Enterolitis and it is primarily seen in micropreemies. Bacteria destroys the bowels from the inside out. It is devestating. Surgery revealed that Annaleigh's bowels were all destroyed and the only chance for recovery was a bowel transplant, which was slim to none.
In the span of a few days, Brooke and her husband prepared to say goodbye to Annaleigh. I cant even pretend to understand how they felt when they received that news.
At 4:30 today, Annaleigh stopped fighting. They were able to get a family picture with all three babies. My heart is broken for this family. I cant stop crying and staring at my own two miracles.

Being active in the online multiples community means I have seen my fair share of sad stories and I just want to know how many more angels does God need? I think he has enough and I am asking him now to just leave the babies alone. Babies belong on earth where they can be cuddled and loved by their families. Can we make a deal God?
Life is just so unfair. It is just so hard to wrap my head around and while I think I am a religious oerson, I cant explain this away using faith. I just cant. Some might say"well this is just one of life's mysteries, we dont know why God does this", at this point I am not buying that.
I know this is rambling, but like I told my husband, I am sick of God taking the babies away...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sleep training for twins

First, I want to say that I am trying not to judge. I am just speaking for what works for us. I've read a ton of books about this and I tried to make an informed decision for our girls. I think what is most important is that parents are informed in whatever sleep training method they choose. That means reading the books as opposed to googling for a brief synopsis.
After reading ferber, I could see when & why it would work but I knew it wasnt for us. My girls were flipping out from just being put in their cribs. I needed a method that would help them realize that their cribs were a safe place and that they would be okay.
I decided that The Good Night, Sleep Tight method was the best choice for us. Now, I am on the crunchy side of parenting and I am a very small minority in the multiples community. I just felt that the Sleeplady's methods were what jived with our parenting point of view and it seemed like common sense to me. I could comfort both girls by just being close to their cribs. With ferber, I would've been going in there every five minutes. I just dont see how it would work with twins when both babies are crying. I could see it working if you had a singleton or if just one of your multiples was having problems.
We started sleep training at 10 months. We also had to take time off because of obvious developmental milestones which impact their sleeping, such as teething or walking. I think it is really important for parents to realize that sleep is not a clear cut issue and that is the major problem I have with crying it out. Classic crying it out doesnt make exception for those developmental milestones and there are no guidelines of when to CIO depending on age, health, etc,etc. There are so many varibles that can impact sleep.
On the preemie front, my girls were not dismissed from the state early intervention. I am okay with this because it means they are getting the help they may need. I will say that I was surprised they still qualified. They are tested at their actual age vs. adjusted age and they should be doing things like going to get a toy if you tell them to, or helping with getting dressed by lifting up their arms. Those developmental acheivements never ever crossed my mind. Now that I know what they shoud be doing, I know what I should be working on. I can already see changes in the girls in the last two weeks.

and now for something completely different-
The fabulous Tobi is having a giveaway on here blog. She is giving away a beautiful blooming baby bouquet. I can attest to these bouquets. I got a kitchen one for my mom for Mother's day and she LOVED it. Actually it has been her dining room table centerpiece this whole summer.
Here is the link to the contest and good luck!

The Multiples...and more blog is having a giveaway of orglamix mineral makeup, eco friendly!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another giveaway

So the fabulous Tobi posted about a great fashion blog, which is written by the beautiful Chloe. Isnt it lovely when everyone is fabulous and beautiful?? Anywho, Chloe is doing a giveaway and here is the info-

She is giving away an adorable bracelet from the simply Vera line at Kohls. I puffy heart Kohls, do you?

Tada! New chair

I picked up this $20 from goodwill. I loved the size and the shape. I could totally see both my girls sitting on it together reading or sharing secrets for years to come.
I dont have a picture of the chair itself, think 1970s wood stain.
This is one of the cushions-
and here is the finished product-
Here is how I did it-I used no sand primer on the chair and then applied two coats of white paint. For the cushions, I did a no sew slipcover. It isnt the proper way but it works. I laid the fabric out and then folded it in, think hospital corners, and then used a high temp glue gun. For the back, I attached snaps. I will make proper slipcovers soon but I wanted something quickly. the fabric was $8 for 3 yards at ikea. I think it is such a fun chair.

Craft & Play all in the same space!

If you are a friend on facebook, you've already seen these pictures-
This room was suppose to be a formal living room, but a formal living room with two tots running around?? yeah whatever.
I wanted it to be pretty and functional. I still need to get new storage options for my craft items and add a few more decorative pieces-

My craft area-
The reading area-

Monday, August 10, 2009

Double stroller giveaway!

I know some friends who are in the market for a double stroller so I thought I would post this giveaway.
The bumbleride double strollers are awesome. If I didnt have my beloved valco, I would be all over it.
Good luck!
Check out the stroller specs here-