Airplanes and Art Party (Boy/Girl Twin Birthday Party theme)

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Nicholas and Ava at their 2nd birthday photo shoot

Choosing a theme

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When I first started planning for Nicholas and Ava’s second birthday party, what I really wanted was to find a theme that celebrated each of their individual interests. I knew from the beginning that I had to incorporate airplanes because Nicholas loves airplanes more than I’ve ever seen anyone love anything. Ava never had one specific thing that she obsessed over like that but she does absolutely love drawing and painting, she could do it for hours. So I looked online at some themes but for twin boys and girls I didn’t see anything that really fit their interests. So eventually I decided on an Airplanes party combined with an Art party and after that it was just about finding little ways to incorporate both things. I ordered my invitation off of Etsy and customized it to say “Let your creativity ZOOM, Nicholas and Ava are turning 2!” This could also work for a 4 year old’s party by changing it to “Let your creativity SOAR, _ and _ are turning 4!”

The decorations

The day of the party it was very windy outside so keeping the decorations up was a little difficult but it still turned out cute. I love the idea of displaying pictures as a decoration because everyone gets to see a little glimpse of the past year and all that has happened. I saw on Pinterest a little “time flies” banner with an airplane and pictures and I thought that was cute and to incorporate the Art theme I made a separate banner beside that one that said “When You’re Having FUN” and we displayed some of the babies artwork from the past year.

For the balloons we just ordered some Disney’s Airplanes balloons and then blew up some regular colorful ones. We had little airplane table dividers and I just used plastic buckets and crayons as the other dividers. To cut down on expenses with plates, napkins, and cups, we always just buy some of the themed stuff and then fill in what we need to with regular colorful stuff.

The entertainment

Nick made some easy DIY easels out of cardboard for the party. We got a roll of canvas paper on Amazon and a bunch of plastic paint palettes, paint brushes, and washable paint. The kids really had fun with this, it was inexpensive and everyone got a nice souvenir  to take home with them. Prepare for a little messy ness but if it’s an outdoor party everyone can just wash up with the hose!

Dessert

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For the dessert at the party we did cupcakes instead of cake. It made it easier to do two different kinds, Nicholas had orange and blue cupcakes with printable airplane toppers (I forgot to take a picture of them 😦) and for Ava’s we did plain buttercream cupcakes and then let the kids decorate their own. We put different toppings like sprinkles, m&m’s, chocolate chips and more in the little paint palette sections and then put the cupcakes on top. We also made paint brushes out of rice krispy treats, white chocolate, and food coloring (PINTEREST again!).

I wanted to share this party theme because I know how difficult it can be to find birthday themes for twins and finding a theme for boy/girl twins can be that much harder. A birthday party should be a way for everyone to see who your little ones are becoming but it should also be fun for them, and that’s not always the easiest thing to do. Hopefully this is one more option out there for all you mommas who are racking your brains trying to find a birthday theme that can relate to both genders and all ages. Enjoy your little ones and have a good day!

Traveling Twinfants and Twoddlers (Pictures!)

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Sweet silence fills the Hyundai as we cruise onto the George Washington bridge and it’s smooth sailing to Boston- who said traveling with 2 month old twins was hard? Wait, why are we stopping? (Simultaneous baby screaming ensues)

Nick and I have been traveling long distances since we met because we lived 600 miles apart. For us, driving 10 hours has become standard procedure, but traveling with two babies is a whole other ballgame. When the babies were a little less than two months old, Nick got a job interview in Boston which is 4 hours away from us. We decided to make it into a little family trip as kind of a test run for when we go to visit my family. It was an amazing trip and so much fun, but as you can see by the intro to this blog post, it wasn’t without difficulty.

The trip did go surprisingly well after the traffic and the screaming subsided. We got lucky enough to stumble upon a beautiful little park in Connecticut and I had plenty of privacy to breastfeed (which is not always the case) and we got out and stretched our legs and ate our lunch. Having two babies in the hotel room was the hardest part. Luckily at the time we were still co-sleeping so they just slept in bed with us but we were terrified every time they cried in the middle of the night that they were disturbing people. Their boppy pillows were their perfect little sleeping spot and didn’t take up much room in the car. We also got to take them swimming for the first time and see some beautiful views.

About a month after the Boston trip we set off for West Virginia to see my family who couldn’t wait to see the babies. That trip is about 450 miles and the GPS says its about 8 and a half hours away. That time always expands a little bit no matter what, even Nick and I have to stop and get gas or food or use the restroom, but we usually still make it in about 9 hours. Now what I’m about to tell you might freak you out if you’re about to take twin babies on a trip but don’t be discouraged just be prepared, with the babies the trip takes us about 12 hours. Give yourself plenty of time if you’re making a trip with a baby, one or two, I’m sure either way you will have enough to worry about without staring at your watch the entire time.

Since then we’ve made the trip about 6 times and the babies have gotten much more used to it. Some things have gotten harder now that they’re a little older and some things have gotten easier. I have a couple basic tips for traveling with twin infants or twin toddlers:

IMG_3862.jpgPlanning: For our Boston trip, I made 10 different lists with 3 pages each and probably close to 200 items that were an absolute necessity, and I started planning a month ahead of time. DON’T try to plan a month ahead of time, 99% of the things you need to take can’t be packed until the day before. You should plan ahead as best you can but you have to balance that out with a healthy understanding that you will probably forget a few things and everything will be okay. Double check that you have enough diapers and wipes for diaper changing and for sanitizing slightly unsanitary rest stops on the trip. Pack one bag specifically for “trip needs” so you don’t have to go digging through your luggage every time the babies want a new toy to play with. And the biggest thing with traveling with babies is go with the flow. Enjoy it because before you know it you’ll be back home again and everything will have gone fine and you’ll wonder why you were so worried in the first place.

 

Food: If you’re breastfeeding ESPECIALLY with twins, make sure you have something to cover up the windows and windshield of the car. On long stretches of highway often times there’s not a lot of options for pulling over so you might end up in a crowded gas station and you want to make yourself and your baby as comfortable as possible during the feedings. Nick and I had a good system going where he would change one baby and get out and let them stretch their legs while I nursed the other one and that made it a little easier to keep covered up. Also what helped a ton was bringing the pump in the front seat and plugging it into the little car charger so I could pump on the drive and then we could bottle feed the babes when they got hungry. Once you’re feeding the babies solids, make sure to pack lots of extra food. Don’t forget to pack food for you and any other traveling companions too, hungry passengers make for grumpy passengers and no one needs that. If you’re going to stop somewhere for dinner make sure to google it ahead of time so you don’t end up on a long stretch of highway searching for somewhere to eat.

IMG_2324_2Entertainment: The first long trips we made I was mostly scrunched up in the back between two car seats doing anything possible to keep the babies from crying. It’s gotten better but for the most part I am still their main source of entertainment. When they were really little it was just handing them rattles and toys to chew on, now it’s singing and making funny faces. The best thing for all of us I’ve found is just trying to enjoy the trip itself. If a place along the way looks interesting, we stop and check it out. That has gotten easier now that the babies are bigger they enjoy getting out at the rest stops and seeing the views and the people. Inevitably though at some point in the trip usually before dinner time, we are all out of ideas and just doing our best to get through.

My final thought that I leave you with (before I leave you with some pretty dang adorable pictures) is that the key to traveling with babies, as is the key to life, is to be positive and make the most of every moment. Roll with the punches, stop to smell the roses, even if it takes you 12 hours instead of 9, that’s okay. There are lots of different reasons for traveling but I hope yours are good and that you’re traveling to somewhere beautiful or to be with beautiful people. Now here’s a couple (or a bunch) of pictures to help explain why we are crazy enough to lock ourselves in a car for 12 hours with twin babies!

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Enjoy your journey ♥

How do you get your patience back?

Truly, all my moms out there, what is your secret? You know that moment when you know you’re just out of patience and the next time something breaks or your kids dump the garbage can out, you’re afraid you’re going to explode? How do you get back that Monday morning patience you have after a nice long weekend with your hubby helping you, if it’s totally gone by Wednesday?

Fortunately it does come back eventually and you can come out from hiding under the covers and laugh at the peanut butter that your daughter is smearing all over her legs. I’m just curious to know, what do you guys do when you need to restart your patience? 

“The Gift Wrap and the Jewel”

The new year brings hope, new beginnings, and resolutions, but every where you look everyone is telling you how to act different, look different, feel different, be different, and no one is telling you that it’s okay to be who you are. Your hair and your skin and your whole body will only last so long, but your soul and your heart will live forever. I am all for eating healthier and exercising more but make sure you aren’t looking in the mirror and constantly criticizing yourself and thinking about the things you want to change because as fun as it might be to get a new haircut or lose a couple pounds, in the end it will never be what matters the most. Instead, make a resolution to be happier, kinder, more patient, more loving and more forgiving of others and of yourself. These are the things that will polish the jewel inside and matter forever.

I just heard about this poem today, but it was posted on YouTube in August last year by a 92 year old woman, Wanda B. Goines, and I thought it was so beautiful I just wanted to share it with all of you. It is called “The Gift Wrap and the Jewel”.

“I looked in the mirror and what did I see, but a little old lady peering back at me. With bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair, and I asked my reflection, how did you get there? You once were straight and vigorous and now you’re stooped and weak. When I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique. My reflection’s eyes twinkled as she solemnly replied, you’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside. A living gem and precious of unimagined worth. Unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth. The years that spoil your gift wrap with other things more cruel, should purify and strengthen and polish up that jewel. So focus your attention on the inside, not the out, on being kinder, wiser, more content, and more devout. Then when your gift wrap is stripped away, your jewel will be set free to radiate God’s glory throughout eternity.”

Warrior Princess

First of all, this whole blog post was inspired by a scene I saw today in one of my favorite TV shows, Reign. I actually uploaded a video of it to YouTube specifically so you all could see it too. Short disclaimer here, this video will not be professional quality, I just took a video of my TV and then posted it right afterwards so hopefully that doesn’t bother you too much, it’s only a minute long so try to bear with me. You don’t have to know anything about the show to appreciate the clip but a brief explanation is that the girl in the scene is Princess Claude and she was just forced to marry a man she didn’t know to gain money for her family. Take a look at what happens next:

Now I don’t know about everyone else in the world, but I thought this scene was AWESOME. I actually can’t stop thinking about it and every time I do, I feel inspired all over again. The scene was perfectly set up and the whole concept of it literally combines all of my favorite things; princesses, renaissance fashion, and women kicking butt. It isn’t just that though, it made me think about how everyone has the power to write their own story. We’ve all seen that situation time and time again on TV or on the news or heard about it from people we know, and it doesn’t usually end that way. So much so that I bet if you weren’t seeing the video for the first time in a blog post titled Warrior Princess, you would’ve been really surprised to see Princess Claude stand up and kick that guy’s butt.

What I realized is, you don’t have to respond to difficult situations in the way most people do. Your story doesn’t have to follow a specific plot line, if you don’t like what’s happening to you, change it. If the first ten things that happen in your day make you feel like you must have been a terrible person in your past life to deserve it all, just take a breath. Stay down for a second and think about all the reasons you have to fight and all the reasons why you deserve better than what you’re getting and then get up and write your ending the way you want it to be written. Nothing can make you feel worthless without your permission and you always have control over at least one thing, your attitude. Your attitude whether it be optimistic or pessimistic, courageous or cowardly, it is never out of your control. Everything else around you can fall apart and sometimes we have no say in it whatsoever, but what makes a princess a princess is that she holds her head high and never forgets who she is, even if everyone else does. I know that every single one of us has a warrior princess inside and I find it extremely comforting to know that no one can ever take that away from us. Have a good day mommas and don’t forget to write your story however you want it to be written.

 

 

The Overzealous mom

If you’re wondering what overzealous means, or maybe I’m the only one who was unsure, don’t count on google to be too helpful. The definition of overzealous when I looked it up was: too zealous. So I was like okay call me crazy but I’m not positive exactly what zealous means so I looked for that and found something super helpful: full of, characterized, or due to, zeal. At this point I had to assume that everyone else in the world knew what these words meant but I finally found a definition that used a broader spectrum of adjectives to describe overzealous to me. It defined overzealous as ardently active, devoted, or diligent. Synonyms were enthusiastic, eager, intense, passionate, and warm. Now, I am not always these things, I do tend to be a bit over enthusiastic most of the time but some days more than others.

This morning I woke up feeling actually awake for the first time in a long time. I think we actually went to sleep at 11:30 last night and this morning Nick overslept for work so we didn’t wake up until 7:30. That’s 8 hours of sleep folks! I know we should go to bed earlier every night but night time is really the only time we have to get things done so usually were up until midnight or a little after.  Anyways, I woke up feeling very active so I had an idea to let the babies help me make a smoothie. This seemed like a full proof plan to me at the time, measure out the ingredients  let the babies dump them in and then we’ll all say cheers and drink our delicious healthy smoothies together. Let me be clear, this is not what happened.

First of all, my children who never eat any random fruits I put in front of them, started chowing down on the frozen mangos and raspberries like they were candy. That was okay because they’re good for them but I was slightly concerned about them choking or something because they were too hard but they melted in their mouths and they were fine. But then they didn’t really want to put their new favorite snacks into the food processor so I had to do that part. Except after I put it all in and mixed it up it was too thick to pour as a drink, I added some water and it was still too thick to pour so whatever I just spooned it into their cute little cups thinking they could use a spoon. Definitely not. Basically our entire carpet right now is stained red raspberry because they spilled those smoothies every place you can think. On the ottoman, on the couch, on the floor, on themselves. Then, I said okay well just forget it if you’re not going to drink them then I’m going to so this can all just be over with, and I went to take a drink and it was pretty thick so I just kept tilting it back thinking I mean it has to come out sometime right? Yes, on that I was actually correct. Half the cup plopped out onto my face and the babies just stared at me and I just bursted out laughing. In trying to show them how not to spill a smoothie I actually realized its really very easy to spill your smoothie. I gave Nicholas a big kiss that got smoothie all over his face and then gave Ava a paper towel and she helped to clean me up.

Then I gave them milk and cheerios and sat down to write this. Even though I was laughing at the end, I’m still left with a bunch of red stains on the carpet and a bunch of dirty dishes that all could’ve been avoided if I just hadn’t tried to do something fun with them. I always feel this way after something like this happens, I get out the finger paints thinking they’ll be so happy and after 5 minutes I’m running away from them in fear covered in paint, or all the other times I’ve been a little overzealous and regretted it afterwards. The thing is, as many times as I do stuff like this and regret it afterwards, I keep doing it. I guess that’s just who I am but every once and a while one of my ideas works out and then it’s all worth it. And either way, successful or not, it’s always an adventure and always a funny memory. I’ve got to go pick up a bunch of cheerios off the ground and decide which baby had which toy first, so wish me luck with the rest of my day, and I wish you all good luck with yours (:

 

The Beginning

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Hello to (probably nobody yet). My name is Brooke, and I am 22 with 18 month old boy girl twins. I’m not sure how you usually start these things but I figure it’s easier to steer a moving ship so here I am. I want to blog because our situation is pretty unique and I think it could benefit people to see that you can be happy and healthy even if you haven’t got everything figured out yet.

I met my Fiancé, Nick, online about 3 and a half years ago and we were living over 600 miles apart at the time. We Skyped back and forth for a year until he finally drove out to see me. And that’s basically all she wrote. I fell head over heels in love with him and I moved to be with him for the Summer and never ended up going back. Truth be told we wanted to get married just a couple months after dating, and most people might think that’s crazy but when you know you know. Since getting married would’ve seemed crazy to most people we decided having a baby would show everyone we were serious. Now I admit, we were definitely young and lovestruck and crazy at that point. But to this day that has still been the best decision I’ve ever made. So I got pregnant, and then a few days after I found out I was pregnant, we found out it was twins. We were shocked, a little scared, but mostly we were just really excited and happy. Our families were extremely supportive because they could all see how much we loved each other and how excited we were.

We planned on moving out of Nick’s parents house when I got pregnant, but once we found out it was twins and everyone said how much help we would need when we first had them, it just made more sense to stay. Plus we fixed up the basement so that it feels like a nice little apartment and we have a nursery for the babies, a room for ourselves and a big living area. So truthfully we have been very blessed to be here, but currently we are working on moving out. The only problem with living down here is that there’s no bathroom, and not much of a kitchen. We have done a lot that allows me to do some cooking though. We have a nice fridge, a microwave, an electric skillet, a crockpot, and a toaster oven. Oh and a Keurig for coffee, have to have that.

So, my blog will be a lot about just every day life with the twins, but also a big focus of mine lately has been healthier, cleaner eating. It’s not easy especially without having a full kitchen down here but I am trying. Before I moved here I was living on a basic teenagers diet of skipping meals, fast food, and ramen noodles. So now I’m trying to adjust my taste buds to like fresh fruits and vegetables and all that good stuff. Basically before I turn my first blog post into a novel, I’m just going to say that some times I will blog about food, sometimes about the babies, and sometimes just about life. I hope people will like this blog and I hope it helps someone someday. Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this.