Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

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I hope with all the hustle and bustle you take a moment to remember what Christmas is all about.

I am so excited to spend our first Christmas as a family of 6, this year adding two very healthy baby girls. Making new memories and seeing the older two enjoying themselves. I love getting to see everyone and relaxing while watching all the youngster’s have fun.

I didn’t get to send out a Christmas card this year, it just wasn’t in the budget. So this will have to do ya’ll!

Here were our out-takes, it only took 5 tries.

Take 1:

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Take 2:

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Take 3:

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Take 4:

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 {Can you believe, this was our FIRST family picture since the twinnies were born? 9 months later. Sad. But true.}

Merry Christmas to All!! And to All a Good Night!!! Ho Ho Ho!

Children are like Sharks in Blood Infested Water

The title of this post may sound confusing, but if you are a parent of any kind… I know you know what I’m talking about.

Let me tell you a story. I have a weakness for Reese’s. I’m not much of a candy or dessert person, but oooooh those Reese’s… they get me every time. A week or so ago, during daycare, I found one in my kiddos’s Halloween Candy bucket {don’t judge me. You know you do it too.}, so I snuck it into the front pocket of my sweatshirt to save for a later time. I can’t eat it in front of them because then I would have to explain how I am the only one to get one, they don’t get candy right now, blah, blah, blah. None of which would make much sense to a 2 to 4 year old.

So while they were watching something on tv, I snuck into the laundry room to open my peanut butter milk chocolatey snack… waiting to be devoured by me. And suddenly I hear 8 little feet running towards the laundry room.

“MOM! What are you doing?!”

“Marissa!! Where are you?!”

“ISSA! Ah you?!”

So before I could even tear the wrapper, I was shoving it back into my sweatshirt.

5 minutes later… They had just headed down the stairs to the playroom. Perfect time. Brought out my Reese’s and was in the process of ripping the plastic and the basement door swings open.

“MOM!!! I bumped my head!!”

Followed by another tiny person. “I fell on my bottom!”

Okay, okay… shoved the dumb thing back in. But took a mental note it had to be eaten soon, because the wrapper was now ripped open.

A few moments later, they were back downstairs. Okay good. They should be fine for a few minutes.

I hurried up and took it out and started working at where the rip was. I could see the chocolate and my mouth was watering. I could already taste it as I chewed the edge first… then I eat the….

“MOM!! I am soooo thirsty!”

“Me too. I’m thirsty too.”

“Me too! Me too!”

What? I didn’t even hear the basement door open! I must have seriously been daydreaming about this damn Reese’s.

They decided they wanted to watch tv again. Fine… no biggie. But I’m going to the bathroom this time. Wahahaha.

I don’t even need to go. I just put the lid down and sit down. By this point, the chocolate has melted just enough it’s starting to get on my finger tips.  I finally got the Reese’s out of the wrapper. I’m looking for the brown wrapper that cups the Reese’s when the bathroom door flys open, hitting me square on the knee bone.

While I’m holding my breath, hunched over because clearly squeezing your knee and breathing in and out helps the pain go away… I use my other hand to put that damn treat back into my sweatshirt. AGAIN!

“Mom, what are you doing in here? Why are your pants on? Why are you just sitting on the toilet?”

Eh. The curiosity of a 4 year old. So.. I make my way back to the living room. I’ll just get to this damn thing later. At this point, I’m just contemplating eating it in front of them. And making them watch me eat the gloriousness they call Reese’s. But I’m not. I’m nice…. and  decide to wait it out.

I sit down on the couch and my daughter jumps into my lap. Landing directly onto the reese’s in my sweatshirt pocket. Then proceeds to wiggle all over… And I just close my eyes. I just picture my amazing treat smushed into a tiny billion pieces in my sweatshirt… what it really looks like at it’s present state.

That’s it. I head to the bathroom and LOCK IT! Take that all you tiny people! Try to get to me now!!!

I pull out my poor, poor, pitiful snack. And it is smushed. And let me tell you something. Since I can remember, I eat my Reese’s a certain way. Every time. I nibble off the zig zag edge. If there is only one Reese’s, I usually eat it from there. But if there are two, then I use my teeth to peel off the chocolate top. It usually comes off in a little sheet. Repeat the process for the second one. Then I put the two peanut butter sides together… so it’s like a milk chocolate and peanut butter sandwich. Like a double cheeseburger.

Well… when it’s smushed flat, there’s no removing that zig zag edge…. or peeling off the top chocolate layer. Or no double cheeseburger.

I just, instead, placed the peanut butter pancake in my mouth.. and ate it as a whole. It was a strange… strange feeling.

Now do you know what I mean? Literally, they are like sharks that got that sense of blood somewhere in the water. And then go crazy. And that blood, my tipsy friends, was my Reese’s.

They also turn into sharks when I’m trying to read a book and have a half hour to myself. When I”m trying to take a nice warm bath.

And another blood moment? When I’m trying to eat. I will get my food gathered, get my drink ready, my silverware all set up. And as soon as I pick up my fork to stab a piece of food… one of the twins cry. And I hate eating while listening to them whine or cry. I like to eat in peace and enjoy my food. This is why I normally don’t get breakfast and lunch while running a daycare. I mean. I don’t want to eat anyway… right?

Every time Jason and I have a few minutes to smooch, Moose instantly pushes his 150 lb body in-between us while someone pulls at our shirts because they need something. It’s seriously a group effort around here.

When you’re going to the bathroom and you hear a loud crash. You know the kind. The kind that just does not sound good… no matter how hard you try to imagine it was just a stuffed animal?

I can almost guarantee when I think I have a few minutes to myself, I either hear “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!! I NEED YOU TO WIPE MY BUTT!” or they come running like bats outta hell.

But that’s just one of the many joys of children. Can you wait for the stories when my twins are walking…? OH, Lord help me and may the alcohol be plentiful.

My Kensli Mae is 4 Years Old!

How on earth did this child pop outta my huhu 4 years ago?????  Look at the difference 4 years makes

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It seems like just yesterday Jason was learning to change a little girls diaper for the first time…

All while I smiled from the hospital bed :)

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I’m not going to boggle you down with a ton of writing. This is more of a birthday post in pictures. She is so damn smart, too smart for her own good actually! She can be so sweet, caring, and giving. But she can also be extremely stubborn, too motherly, feisty, and of course sassy!

She is absolutely beautiful and Jason and I are going to have so much trouble with boys in the future. I can see it already… {I looks up to my dream cloud and there I am cleaning my cross bow when her first boyfriend shows up….}

She loves dress up, dolls, make up, and hair just as much as she loves being outside, playing in the rain, stomping in mud, and {trying to} play sports.

The shit that comes out of her mouth is hilarious! She is incredibly smart, great negotiator, and very witty. I feel like she’s mature beyond her years. She doesn’t seem like she is just turning four. She acts like she’s 6 at the very least. Everywhere we go, I hear “Oh, How beautiful! How old is she? 6? 7?” Nope. Almost four.

I love her so much, she is literally my world.

Happy Birthday to my very beautiful Kensli Mae!

He really enjoyed holding her and watching his movie! ha

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I know they aren’t perfect, but it’s my first time with a real photo shoot and than editing.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful 4 year old!

Photo Dump!

I feel like I am finally a free woman!

Our weekends {for the most part} are free again. My little bro got married on the 20th plus family was in town for that. This past weekend was Kensli’s 4th birthday party {bday post tomorrow!} and the Color-A-Thon fundraiser walk was yesterday.

I didn’t get many pictures of the wedding. Since I was a bridesmaid, my husband was the best man, and I also had to make sure the flower girl was dressed and ready to go {not to mention the twins…} my phone was tucked away for most of the happenings on the day before & wedding day. But here is what I did get!

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Mercedes, at Signatures in Altoona, was amazing! I will definitely go back to her! Well, she did Kensli’s nails and my up-do. I loved her!

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She was pulling the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ pose! Kinda….

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Then some photos from the day or so after… just too cute for words!

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A few from her birthday party! I was busy running around chit chatting, I didn’t get much of a chance to take pictures :(

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And last, but not least, the Color-A-Thon Fundraiser Walk for Jason’s Aunt’s school

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Now I’m ready to be free… Have weekends off here and there and can do fun things for my little family {or gigantic, depending on how you look at it} instead of everyone else.

Kensli’s Birthday Post is posting early tomorrow morning! Can’t wait for you all to see it, she’s changed so much.

Love and Toodle-o’s!

July 4th Weekend

Happy {late} Birthday America!

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How did you celebrate the most famous birthday of all? I tell you what, I need a day just to recover from the 3 day weekend… phew. But July 4th is my favorite holiday of all! No stress from purchasing presents for people and guessing what they really want that’s in your extremely small budget. No running to 8000 houses in a matter of two days. No figuring out how to fit the 100 new toys your children got into their already over-stuffed bedroom. Just fun, family, and fireworks. And alcohol.

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{Proof my twins aren’t always sleeping and smiles}

I love fireworks, always have. But what I love even more now, is watching my children watch the fireworks. And seeing their love for the show is as much as what mine is. I. Love. It.

Although, we had 3 late nights in a row. Literally, the kids were up tip at least midnight Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We finally got home Sunday around 8:30 and finally got to just sit down.

{And PS. Some of these pics are with my cell phone… so clearly not near as good of pictures. Buuuuut still cute enough to share :)}

It started Thursday night for us. My Grandma, Aunt Tammy, Uncle Todd, Jacob, and Jordan all stopped by at the daycare to come say hello since they were finally in town, and they wanted to see the twins for the first time! Well, they gave Kensli a new 4th of July dress and she was super stoked to wear it for fireworks! She looked so adorable.. like a little big person!

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We took the kids to Prairie Meadows to meet up with some friends and to watch the fireworks. We all had an amazing time. We got there about 7 pm, so we got to chill for a good 3 hours before the fireworks started. But it was worth it. Us adults got to chat and watch the babies while the big kids got to run around and do whatever big kids do.

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And the fireworks were soooo awesome! It was an excellent show. Kensli sat in my lap during the light show and just was in awe. I had more fun watching her than the fireworks… and fireworks are my favorite. After each firework, she would scream “This is so cool!” or “Mom, that was butiful!” or “Mommy, I love that one”.

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She did not want to take the above picture. Can you tell?

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Even the twins watched! Boy were they wide eyed as they listened to the Booms and giant bright lights! It was too cute. And of course, hanging with my best bud and her fam is always a treat. Living 45 minutes apart makes it some-what difficult to get together. And she works nights and weekends and daycare during the week. With 4 children. A very busy family. So I take advantage of any oppurtunity  that presents itself that we all can hang together.

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It took an hour to get out of the damn place though. Eh. Traffic sucks. And of course, on the side of the building we were parked at, they decided to have one ways only. But of course, had no signs, no traffic conductors, no cones, no nothing to let drivers know that. So it was just chaotic.  However, we did make it home at midnight….

And you can see how much fun they had:

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Friday was the bomb digity! My Aunt Pam and Uncle Scott have a July 4th party every year. And we go every year. Because it’s awesome sauce!  Uncle Todd, Aunt Tammy, Jacob, and Jordan all come into town, and my whole Campbell’s side of the family get’s together.

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All my family Jessica and Brett’s family on the other side also are there! {We all grew up together and just consider each other cousins. I even call their Grandma J ‘Grandma’.} Everyone loves getting together and just wants to have fun and holy cow is fun had by all. And food. Fun and food. And alcohol. Fun, food, and alcohol.

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I absolutely adore this picture.

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Soo close…. {cough::cough.. Brett!}

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There we go! Aren’t we a good lookin’ bunch??

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Then we decided to push our luck… and this was the best we got. But hey, this here group is amazing, and what you see here is us. Take it or leave it friends!

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There is always a giant slip ‘n slide, baseball, water balloon games, and squirt guns. Water usually gets everywhere. But it’s cool. There are only a few rules. A) Don’t hit great grandma’s. {This was made by a great-grandma} B) Don’t hit anyone holding a baby C) No water in the house. Seems pretty fair right? Fair and simple. Easy for kids to remember… including the drunk big kids.

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Jason and I {and the kids} stayed there with Scott and Pam’s kids Brett and Jess, along with their significant others Emily and Nate. As people started high tailin’ it outta there… we all kept the party going. But don’t worry… I’m sure we were super entertaining… {Sorry Aunt Pam and Uncle Scott}

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Ha! I wasn’t going to put that last one in there, but it cracks me up every time I look at it… and it’s my blog. So. Sorry Jess and Nate :) Love you both!

Nate was determined to do some fire crackers and Broden was right there with him. They were like two kids waking up on Christmas Day. Hilarious!

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This would have been so excellent if it weren’t blurry… but I loved it enough, I decided to post it anyway!

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The kids were out as soon as we got in the car. I believe we left about 10:30-11ish. So by the time we got home and kids in bed; it turned into another midnight night. But so worth it.

Saturday, we all kinda slumped around and did nothing. Until about 3. Then we started getting around to head to Kelley and Jared’s in Indianola. Us girls got food ready and took care of the tiny humans. While the men took the two boys {Broden and her son Trenton} fishing about a mile or so away. Trenton was the only one catching anything until…. Until Broden caught a giant snapping turtle!! Saaaaay whaaaaa! How scary! Can you imagine going in to lift the ‘fish’ out of the water and then HOLY SHIT!!!!!!! Something just snapped at you!!!!!!

Then they came home, we all ate some delicious steak and veggies, and started a bonfire! Seriously. We had a bonfire in July. And we were cold and sitting close to the flames. Since when are bonfires comfortable in July? Oh well, I love bonfires so it was glorious! I was extremely tired from the two nights before, and mix that with a little bit of alcohol and I may have fallen asleep at the fire.

Sunday morning, the Campbell’s had a wedding shower for my brother’s fiancé, Megan. It worked out perfect because everyone was in town! It was so nice! And I loved hearing about everyone’s first kiss :) {You can only imagine all the juicy details with all those first kisses}

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After the shower, Jessica and I decided to go for some cheese dip and Margs… and just chit chat and bullshit. It was long over due! {Seriously, we need to get together more often Jessica!} But it was soooo much fun! And turns out… a waiter that used to work at Jason’s and I’s mexican restaurant here in town, now works at the one Jess took me too… ya. He asked immediately “Pitcher of margaritas?”

… Damn it…  {Hang head in shame} “Yes please.”

Then Sunday evening we headed over to my Grandma Campbell’s to say good-bye to the Rastello family and order pizza. I hate saying good-bye to them… I really wish they lived closer to us or just here in Iowa would be fantastic! But it sure makes it fun catching up and seeing them when they are here. We try to make every second count!

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And that’s a wrap on my weekend! I hope you had an eventful and super fun 3 day weekend!

Love and Toodle’os!

Happy Anniversary to my Handsome Husband!

Today marks our two year anniversary!

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It was such a fabulous wedding! We got married at the Lake of the Ozarks and it was one of the greatest weddings I have ever attended… and maybe I’m biased :)

It was suuuuuuper hot that day. I believe someone told me it was 107 degrees and the wedding lady said it was the first time in history there wasn’t a breeze. But regardless, everyone was champs and we had a glorious time.

We’ve actually been together 8 years next month… almost a decade!

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He actually surprised me Saturday night with a date night! Just us two. He had my parents all lined up to come watch the girls about 5 and we took off. It was such a wonderful night. And so needed…

We started with the Olive Garden because we had some gift cards we finally got to use!

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Then we headed downtown for the Arts Festival. I love the arts festival. Once we walked around that once, we met up with my cousin Jessica and her boyfriend, Nate. We seriously love them! Two of my favorite people ever! We always have a great time and just spend the entire night laughing. Seriously. All of us together = AWESOME SAUCE!

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Anyway, once we got together with them, we decided to hit up a bar with pool and play a couple times. And can I say, I totally rocked the first game? Surprised all of us… even me!

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{Haha! This one cracks me up! Sorry guys…}

Afterwards, it was time to head home to relieve the padres.

It’s been quite the ride with this handsome man. Who knew we’d end up with 4 children, 2 dogs, and purchasing the perfect house to hold us all. I love this man more than words could say. I don’t know if anyone {other than my parents} could put up with my random moodiness, my crazy ideas, my creative side that requires stuff everywhere, my lack of cooking skills, and my random thoughts of the day the way he does. He is my other half and makes me whole.

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I love you Jason Paul, and here’s to many more years!

What a Fun Weekend!!

Did you guys have a fun weekend? We sure did! Well… the girls and I did.

The boys had to work. A lot… Ha! They helped my dad grout the tile in his new kitchen and they worked on the playground for the afternoon. {Both of are huge projects, can’t wait to show you the finished picture!}

The most work I had to do was push a stroller and sport a sunburn.

But it was well worth it. We had so much fun!

Friday was really just a chill night. We went to bed by 10:30 I believe. Booooooring.

But Saturday I decided to take the girls to the Rose Festival in State Center. It wasn’t really the plan, and honestly I decided on a whim. Because… I was going to take 3 girls to a parade by myself. That sounds like a lot of work. But I was meeting up with some friends. So I knew I wasn’t going to be alone. I was also excited to get in some adult time with the neighbs Adam and Amanda, and friends Tom and Laura whom we met through the neighbs. They are all so much fun, and we have a blast every time we get to hang out. I was really craving some adult time, so after Tom and Amanda told me we should come, I ended up wanting to go.

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Looking through my phone in the bright sunlight, it looked like everyone was looking at me and smiling. Clearly… Laura was the only one ready. Gwen was a tired girl, Amanda was trying to get her to smile… and Kensli… Well Kensli was just getting her bag ready for the candy. {That bag was a huge deal before we left the house. She wasn’t letting me leave until she knew that there was a plastic bag in the diaper bag.}

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This picture cracks me up! Tom looks crazy, I look weird, and Kensli looks annoyed.

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After the parade {which I have never been to a parade that had that much candy! They were making it rain candy!}, we walked around the carnival. I had no clue it was such a huge weekend event! I didn’t bring cash because I thought it was just a parade… and that’s all I thought it was. That’s all my husband made it sound like. I thought he would know, he lived there growing up! But no. This is a huge deal.

Well anyways, we walked around, let the kids ride a carny ride that didn’t look or sound like it was going to crash and burn to the ground and we ended at the playground where I met up with Jason’s mom and a couple of my nieces.

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Before we left we got some snow cones that tasted amazing!! Mmmmm  It’d been awhile since I had tropical sno. And it still tastes just as good as I remember!

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Isn’t she beautiful?

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On the 7 minute ride back to my mother-in-law’s house, I look in my review mirror and see this:

 

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I think she had fun.

 

Sunday, we woke up knowing our house had to be clean.. but I just wasn’t ready to do that quite yet. So I talked the hubs into taking us to Mexican ~ YUM! And we definitely had some margs… and some fun. Kensli was getting kinda fussy, but not until the end. She did good for the most part though.

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She was trying to show me how she could smile so big… but it looked more like she was going to burst into tears or was constipated…

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Jason was not wearing a hat, I promise. Just a pot that was behind him that ended up being placed perfectly during the picture :)

After a few margs, we came home and cleaned the house. Not so fun… but it needed done. And it looked nice. Gets done a whole lot faster when the whole family pitches in!

Did you do anything exciting? Or worth while? Or did you spend the weekend working like the boys did? Booooooo

Well, until next time!

Love and toodle-os!

 

 

Kicking Fat’s Ass is Back

Hey folks! How was your weekend? Mine was awesome. Full of family. Seriously.. I feel bad for all of you who don’t get to experience my family. They are amazing and all of them know how to have a good time. I come by my party’in skills honestly :)

We had my Grandma Heaberlin’s birthday party at my house on Friday, and my entire mom’s side came. Saturday, my cousins, Jess and Brett came over with their boyfriend/girlfriend, Nate and Emily. Seriously… that was the most fun I had in a looong time. I can always count on them to have a good time. We all laughed and laughed… told jokes, played games, bullshitted, it was awesome. And just what I needed. I don’t get to see them often enough. {Maybe that’s a good thing~ I tend to be worthless the day following hanging out with them} We got some good pictures of Jess, but I’m highly doubting she wants them on here :) But I laughed for a good 5 minutes while browsing them.

Sunday was a lot of recovering from Saturday and then my Grandpa Campbell’s birthday party at their house. {Seriously.. I think I can hang with the youngsters until I have to recover… then I realize I am definitely closer to age 30 than 21. Definitely.} So we got to see most everyone from my dad’s side Sunday.

Kensli and I had fun in the sprinkler. And by we, I mean she, and I sat on a lawn chair and watched. Like I said, there wasn’t much action for me on Sunday… But I had a lot of fun watching her! I love how she entertains herself and can use her imagination when she’s playing alone. Especially outside. She can really get creative!

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Anyways.

Well, I am excited to announce that Kicking Fat’s Ass is back! Time to lose my excess baggage that I received from being pregnant with the twins. How a woman’s body can stretch and stretch to accommodate a tiny human, or humans, is amazing… but damaging. Especially in my case. I had two human beings and 4 gallons of fluid in there… let me tell you. That can F a mama’s body up!

Last day before the Twinners arrive!

Seriously.. look at that!!! I look at that now and I’m in shock. It was normal for me at the time and I didn’t think much of it. But now… now, looking at this picture, I just shake my head in disbelief.

And all of that had to go somewhere… and it just hangs out. Seriously it’s gross. So it’s time. It’s time to kick some fat’s ass!!

I literally have been waiting for this for awhile! I am so excited to start fitting into my clothes again. I have a bridesmaid dress to also fit into {which I’m soooo close, but just not quite there} Brett, my cuz I mentioned earlier, is this giant workout buff dude, so he’s helping me with my goals and workouts.

My first goal… my first goal is…. drumroll please…

19 lbs by the end of this month.  I wanted it a short enough period that I would have to work hard to get to my goal, but long enough to still be possible.

How am I going to get there? Well. That’s a good question.

First plan of attack, I will be riding my bike in the morning, 3 or 4 days a week. The twins get up about 5 or so, and it takes about an hour to feed them. So, I thought, after they are done eating, I could go for a 45 minute bike ride {childless} before the  day & daycare starts. Jason and I alternate nights on who gets up to feed them, so literally, every other day, I will be out in the morning.

I also got P90x from Brett that I’m going to do during nap time on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. I’m starting with the 30 minute video. I don’t know if you know this, but my life is filled with kids, 24/7… squeezing in a half hour will be hard enough, let alone the hour version of P90x! But give me time folks, give me time.

My second goal & exercise is the dreaded treadmill. I honestly hate it, but, I thought if I had a goal for running, it would help me get somewhere. I really want to run a 5k in my life. Actually run, ya know, like, not walk any of it?! And then move up from there.  I want to enjoy running, and I think I just need to feel some sort of accomplishment with it. So on my off days with the bike, I’ll be doing the Couch to 5k training. It may sound like a really novice exercise… but this is for someone who has never been able to run the mile! I know… I know. It’s sad. I wasn’t lying when I said I was never a runner. But maybe this will change that. I have to start somewhere.

{Anyone else watch NFL highlights on ESPN while running and pretend you’re the star in the clip to gain adrenaline and intensity? No… just me… okay.}

Brett also gave me a shoulder, legs, chest, and arm workout a few years ago that I will need to squeeze in some how. I am probably going to have to do it just after daycare ends. Once Jason is home to help with our kids that is. I need to fit the weights in. That’s my favorite anyway! I feel so tough lifting my 20 lb weight… haha! {I see you macho men rolling your eyeballs}

I also have a punching bag and a giant tire I plan on flipping. I need to come up with an actual schedule. Not sure how I’m going to fit all that in, but it is going to happen.

I know that’s an extreme amount of gear and exercise listed… but extreme situations call for extreme measures.

Seriously.. I’m an extreme situation. I’m done with this excess weight once and for all. Now that we are done having babies, I don’t have to worry about doing this all over again. Everyone keeps telling me “you just had twins and 4 gallons of extra fluid, you have an excuse” Which maybe the case, but do you know how hard it is to look in the mirror? That excuse doesn’t make it any easier to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes {even though I was extremely over weight before I got preggo}. I just need to change.

The other part I struggle with is food. I am not one who can eat the same thing over and over. Which I know many can… I cannot. I literally get to a point I can’t even chew the food up. It’s weird. So, if you have any great, SIMPLE, healthy meals, fill me in! Especially crock pot meals; those are easy to throw everything in during daycare and forget about.

If you think you have a great recipe, please leave it in the comments below! I would love to try it out!!  Just remember, I do not have hours to spend on a meal. I get off at 5:30, and usually have to feed the twins about that time, so by the time that’s done, it’s 6:30, and then I can start supper, unless Jason got home earlier and can get it started. But he’s been getting home later and later. So, as you can see, time is not on our side.

I’m going to need support. This is going to be so difficult. I’m going to have hard times, and plateaus, and not-so-proud moments. But I’m done throwing in the towel and giving up. This is the beginning of a new me. The start of something awesome! I just have to keep at it.

Anyone else have weight loss goals for this summer? Or any at all? Come on and join me from looking like this:

The tummy flap... Wanna tummy flap fight?

To This:

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Haha! :)totally got this.

Toodle-o’s and Loves!

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend. Ours was filled with relaxation, friends, and fam.

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But I hope you didn’t forget that Memorial Day Weekend isn’t about getting sloshed and your backyard BBQ’s.

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It’s about the men and women who have and still do serve for the United States Armed Forces. For those who gave their lives for our freedom. For those who gave up everything. It’s a day to respect their bravery and sacrifice for the nation.

It was originally called Decoration Day after the Civil War. Then, later the name was changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day. Just a tad bit of American history for you :)

Please take some time out of your busy day to remember and think of all of them. And think about them often. It doesn’t just have to be during the dedicated holiday. :)

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

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{Not sure why this didn’t post yesterday… like it was supposed to… so I apologize it’s a day late!}

 

14 Lessons Learned from One Mama to Another

There are quite a few things that I wish someone would have filled me in on when I was pregnant for the first time and preparing for my gorgeous babe Kensli. But as most parents, we have to learn things the hard way. Which isn’t a bad thing. But… why work through all that if I can give you some advice to shed some days off of that lesson?

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After having three children and running a daycare for over a year, I have learned a few tricks of the trade. Some tips for just after birth, some for later on in life. Some are just about cheaper items I have found that are just as good as the big name brands. Some are not so pleasant. Some are difficult to follow through with, and some test your patience. Either way, I just thought I would put a list together to help new or old parents who are having a hard time.

By no way does this mean “It’s the bible, follow this list!” But more so what Jason and I have learned and has helped us. So please, don’t email me with hate mail because I’m slowly killing my children or you don’t agree with some of my tactics. If you don’t like it, stop reading and change the URL.

1) Target Brand Diapers and Walmart Brand Wipes. Through my daycare, I was lucky enough to see all sorts of different wipes and diapers come into my home without having to personally buy them myself. All my parents have to bring their own diapers, and one package of wipes, per child, per month. And I personally love Huggies and Pampers for diapers and Huggies for wipes. However, that shit is expensive!!! Of course it is, it’s the name brand crap. Well, have no fear! Target Diapers are very comparable!! They hold just as much if not more than the name brands, the sticky stuff lasts longer and feels like a better grip. And they don’t disintegrate like Luvs {don’t even get me started on that pitiful brand} Parent’s Choice wipes (purple box) are super cheap and awesome!! They are not flimsy and actually stay in your hand as you wipe. They are exactly like Huggies wipes. Love them!

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2) Food. This is probably something a lot of parents are very strict about… but we’re not. Unfortunately, I couldn’t breast feed…. I wanted to, but was only producing half of one child’s feeding, and I had two babies to feed. Even with Kensli… I couldn’t do it, although with her, I didn’t try as hard. This time, however, I tried, and I tried, and I tried. Formula was going to stretch us thin financially, and I really wanted to be able to provide for my children in that special way. And I couldn’t. And it was hard to finally just throw in the towel. But that’s for another post. This is for formula fed babes. Put one more ounce of formula in the bottle then they are eating. Whatever they don’t drink, put back in the fridge and use within 24 hours. This way, you know they are filling their little bellies completely, and once they are ready to move up in quantities, you’ll know… and are prepared that very moment. It avoids learning the hard way. Wondering why they are now only sleeping 1 ½ – 2 hours, instead of the 3-4 they were just doing last week. And wondering about this deb ogle for a week straight. You’ll notice immediately there’s less and less formula left in the bottle, know to up the quantity an ounce, and they will continue to be a happy babe for 3-4 hours.

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3) Speaking of quantities of food, here is a little tip for you. Their soft spot on top of their head indicates if a baby is getting enough food or not. If the skin is sunken into the soft spot, they are dehydrated. If the skin is level with the soft spot, they are perfect, and if it’s swollen over the soft spot, they’re getting too much food. More than they can handle. My pediatrician informed me of that, and it makes total sense now that I think of it.

4) If you know you are going somewhere for a while, or have newborn pictures coming up. Bathe and then feed your child before you go. It. Wipes. Them. Out. And they are out for hours. Wanna go to Applebee’s? Perfect! You don’t have to be there by a certain time, so bath them and feed them and you’ll have a dinner without a peep! Really, don’t be afraid to get out there with your babies~ it’s good for them to grow up going out in public. It teaches them how to act when they are out in society as they grow.

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This was Kensli getting a bath when she was just a wee little one

5) One place you don’t want to take them- Your bed! Don’t start it. Don’t even think it. At our house, our bed is my husband and I’s time. We don’t even let the dogs up there. In fact, Kensli wasn’t even allowed in our bed for months, then as she got older and understood more, we skimmed down to only when it was dark outside or if we, or one of us, were laying in bed relaxing. We didn’t want her to ever get the idea that she could sleep there. We bit the bullet and got out of bed to tend to our babies needs. Yeeees, even with the twins. I agree with the argument that it’s just easier, they fall asleep faster, which in turns mean you can go back to sleep. But, if you start that when they are young, it will continue until they’re 5. It’s incredibly hard to break once they are used to sleeping with mom and dad. Incredibly hard. So don’t ever start. Put the work and effort in when they are new, and you can sleep like a baby can be lazy later. They won’t know what they are missing if they never get the opportunity to know.

6) Skip the bassinet. No, I’m not kidding. We came home with the twins, and they started out in their cribs by themselves at 37 weeks gestational age. (They were 6 weeks early.) So trust me when I say, it can be done. We did the bassinet thing with Kensli, and I made it 6 days before I said F this. I couldn’t sleep. Every single sound I heard from her, I woke up making sure she wasn’t crawling and falling out of her bassinet and to ensure no one had broke in to kidnap her. I got no sleep. And for what? She couldn’t move. She couldn’t physically crawl, or rollover at that matter. And turns out, babies make a lot of noise when they sleep. So we weren’t making that same mistake twice. When the twins came home, they went straight to their cribs, in their own room. And I slept great that night. Aside from the hour I was up to feed them.

7) Keep your night routine different from your day routine. And stay consistant! Again, this is easy to fold and throw the cards in, but don’t. During the day, we cuddle, I feed them and play with them, they sleep in their swings without being swaddled, I talk to them, the lights are on, it’s noisy, and I love on them. Night time, on the contrary, I mean business. And that business is how fast I can get back to bed. I already have bottles with the water in them, that I made before going to bed, with the container of formula next to it. When I hear one is ready to eat, I get up, dump the appopriate formula in both bottles, get the wide awake one in position, and then go get the other and slide her next to the first one. I feed them, burp them, change them, and re-swaddle them tight and put them back down. I keep it dark in the room and only turn the hallway light on for a tiny bit of light to be able to see. They get swaddled at night time only. I do not talk to them. I don’t ooooo and ahhhh over them. It’s a slam, bam, thank you mom, type of situation. It helps them to grow up associating one routine for sleepy time and the other routine for wide awake time. And the more they realize night time is for sleep… the more they sleep. And the more they sleep, the more you sleep!! In fact, the twinnies have already slept thru the night twice… and their due date was 4 weeks ago. I say that’s pretty damn good. And it’s only going to get better!

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Ready for their first night home in their own cribs.

8) Schedules are so important. I can’t stress to you enough, keeping the same schedule makes your life sooooo much easier. This is another one that is easy to jump off that band wagon, but having 4 children and running a daycare, scheduling is what’s kept me sane. And trust me when I say, I don’t venture far from that schedule. Ask any of my daycare parents. They aren’t even there during the day, and they know. It helps babies and toddlers know what to expect. Which keeps them from wanting something and whining about it throughout the day, because they know they aren’t going to get it until X point in time. It also helps when leaving your kiddos with a sitter. It keeps that child reassured that everything is alright when the sitter follows the routine. Although all pediatricians differ on when it’s time to start a routine… I think 6-10 weeks after term date, is a pretty decent time to start. Will it be exact at that point? No. But at least starting is 3/4 of the battle. And as you mold them into the routine that fits both your needs and the child’s, you’ll notice a difference. A child’s sleeping and feeding habits become more consistent starting at about 6 weeks post due date and you might as well jump on that opportunity while they are opening the door for it. Now in no way am I telling you, “Don’t feed your baby if it’s not time!” If your child is rooting around and fussy, and you can clearly tell she’s hungry, give her a bottle! For crying out loud she’s growing like a little weed! And eventually, you’ll up her quantity and she’ll be back on her schedule. But you’ll figure all that out. It’s a trial and error, learn-as-you-go thing. Just keep at it!

9) Let your babies cry. Please, please, please calm down…. I don’t neglect any of my children. However, babies learn at a real young age, real young, that they can start to manipulate you. And it starts with seeing how fast you run to their aid when they cry. (The only time, I don’t recommend this, only because I don’t know these types of situations, is if you have an acid reflux or colicky baby) No one wants to think they were outsmarted by their 10 week old. But believe me, it happens. If you have fed them all they can take, change their diaper, burp them, make sure they are warm, and put in a safe place {such as their crib}, and they are still crying; that is them trying to manipulate you. Let them cry. They are fine. They have every need taken care of. And at this point, they are testing you. And if they are still crying after X amount of time, check their diaper to make sure nothing explosive happened in there. See if they are still rooting around or acting hungry. If either one of those options seem to be the issue, you know how to fix them. Yes, sometimes we parents want to snuggle- fine, I’m not saying you can never hold your baby! But try to pick them up when they are not crying. ‘Reward’ them for their content-ness with some snuggles. The problem is, as they grow, they start to put 2 and 2 together that if “I cry, they will come”. And it only gets worse from there. Well, I want more cheerios; if I cry, they will come. I want that forbidden item on the counter; if I cry, they will come. I don’t want to go to bed yet; if I cry, they will come. Then next thing you know, they are two, and you spend half your night rocking them to sleep. Hold your ground! You are the boss, not them. Teach them that as soon as they exit the womb.

10) Do not hold them all the time. And I am speaking for every single Daycare provider out there. The two weeks before you go back to work, start working with them on being left alone. Start training them to be content with being by themselves. Because no provider loves listening to your baby cry the entire day because they just ‘need’ to be held for 10 hours. It will not happen. Your baby is not the only child in their care. And you are not the only parent paying for child care to have your child get special one on one attention. It will make life so much easier for both you and your provider if your child can hang out by themselves for longer than 20 minutes. As they grow, it also teaches them to play by themselves. Which means better imaginations for your future 3, 4, or 5+ year old. Nothing is more sweet, more precious, and more innocent than to watch your child pretend she is fighting off pirates on her couch-ship and trying not to fall into the alligator pillow’d infested carpet water.

11) Do not hold them every single time they fall asleep. Let them fall asleep in their crib or the swing on their own. Don’t hold them and rock them to fall asleep every time it’s time for a nap. Because guess what, they’ll require it 24/7 and your daycare provider’s skin will crawl every time you walk in the door. {Thankfully, I have not had to deal with that at my daycare. But even if I did, they wouldn’t be getting special treatment and they would learn real quick they have to fall asleep on their on.} Seriously… guess where you’ll be at night if your child depends on you to fall asleep, and for some reason that night, can’t fall asleep for hours. You won’t be in your own bed… that’s for damn sure.

12) Don’t depend on that damn paci. My daycare parents know how much I hate them. I would get so angry if a child grows to depend on them and then I couldn’t find one, and then listen to a child scream for hours on end because all they want is a damn paci. Not in my house hold. That does not happen. I, maybe unlike most, can listen to a child cry for a long while. And I will only insert a paci unless they truly need it or if they’re putting their thumb in their mouth. Naptime, I am more relaxed about. But if they are not sleeping, I’m pretty tough. I don’t let my kids get used to having it all day long. But I do replace a thumb with a paci, because it’s easier to break an object in a child’s mouth than a body part that’s attached to their hand! As your child gets older, it’s harder to break them of the paci, and not to mention it is horrible for their teeth! And once a certain age is reached, and they still have a paci, lets be honest, it’s for the parents at that point. It’s easier to shove that in there than listen to them cry. Be tough. I highly recommend throwing it out cold turkey, but I know a lot of parents like to keep it around for nap time. With Kensli, the paci’s and bottle’s were shipped out the day she turned one. She never saw them again… well, eventually she did when I started daycare. But I’m hoping you’re catching what I’m throwing. I didn’t bring them out if she was having a terrible tantrum, or just… would… not… fall… asleep…without… that… damn… paci. Too bad, so sad. We dealt with it. If you only give the paci when truly necessary, breaking them of the habit is a breeze. I’m seriously tempted to create a rule for the daycare: no paci after 18 or 24 months. But… I’m still playing around with the idea.

The only time I don’t follow that rule is with preemies. It actually helps and teaches them to suck, which helps with the bottle and/or breastfeeding. NICU nurses actually put them in every chance they got. And if you think about it, it makes sense.

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13) Let your kids get dirty. Just because she’s splashing around in a mud puddle doesn’t mean you need to rush her inside and bath her immediately. Let her continue to play outside. It doesn’t hurt them. And it actually builds their immune system to be much stronger. If you let your children be messy and dirty children, then their immune system learns how to attack bacteria, thus making it stronger. Didn’t you ever notice in high school growing up, that the same city kids were sick all the time, while the farmers kids never missed a day?

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14) Use ‘No’ as early as 6 months. I have read that babies can start to understand very simple words such as no, yes, their name, mom, and dad as early as 6 months old. Maybe that’s not true, but I wasn’t going to chance it. Obviously it’s nothing to freak out on your babe for if they do something wrong. But if she grabs your hair and pulls, kindly say “Kensli, no”. And as you say it, take her hand off your hair. Not only does it help her vocabulary, but it’s a good start to the process of ‘right and wrong’, and ‘I’m the boss, and you’re not’ lessons. It eventually teaches her in a non-abusive/screaming manner that pulling hair is a no-no.

As my pediatrician told me, as long as they are fed, diaper changed, and not dropped, you can’t go too wrong. You know your child better than any pediatrician, survey, or professional guideline out there.. Do what you feel is right. And just because you are supposed to do this at this time, doesn’t mean your child is ready for it at that time. Go with your gut. It’s usually right. And hang in there. You are doing great, even if you feel like you’re failing miserably. Hold your ground and I promise you, it’ll get easier.

I’m sure I’ll do a second part to this post as I think of more items.  So ya never know, you may see another post similar to this! Full of priceless information!