Coconut oil is my jam.

Adding fresh to the list of “hippy” mom things I’ve decided to undertake, I now…

Make my own baby wipes.

But before I get into that – let’s just talk about coconut oil for a minute. Who knew such a product would have 5,000 different uses? It’s like a miracle oil.

The forums are all abuzz about coconut oil so I decided to give it a try. We already had it in the house as my husband likes to cook with many different healthy oils. It comes as a solid lump, so I plunked the whole jar in a warm pot of water and waited for it to liquify. After a few minutes, I poured the oil into a small tupperware container that would make it easier to access when it hardened up again.

Then I got to work using it on my cloth diapers. Now, cloth diapers can’t tolerate your typical diaper rash creams. That was unfortunate, since I have 3 bottles of Desitin in my house. But they won’t come clean off a cloth diaper and would eventually create a barrier resulting in leaks. And the only way to solve that one is with dish soap and a toothbrush. No thanks. In an emergency, crazy-bad diaper rash situation (like the one I had last week), I still resort to Desitin since I’m new at this whole “natural” products game. My options were to throw down a liner on top of the diaper (fleece liners – I do that for every diaper anyway) and then wash the liner in normal laundry, throw out the liner, or use a disposable diaper.

Well part of the cause of B’s nasty rash was from sitting in acidic poop all night in a disposable diaper, trapping moisture like woah. So I wanted to use the hemp overnites for a while until it all cleared up. But after a few days of lots of air and Desitin, it wasn’t clearing up too much and I thought – let’s go back to coconut oil. I had been using it as a preventative measure and sort of as a natural replacement for Vaseline (again, can’t touch cloth diapers). Now, a week later, the rash is basically gone, and I’m applying coconut oil for both babies at almost every diaper change. This is GOOD stuff.

I’m also using it for dry skin on C’s legs and hands, chapped lips  – and cooking.

I’m still getting into the craze, but basically, anywhere you would use 1) oil, 2) vaseline, or 3) moisturizer, you can substitute it with coconut oil. For kids or adults. It’s thin and easily spreadable, and no grease stains whatsoever. I use the back of my nail to scrape a little out of the tupperware, and then put the chunk on a q-tip and apply. You know what’s in it, so no guessing there. It’s good for babies and their skin. One jar lasts a long time. I’m impressed!

Back to the wipes – the wipes we were using ran out. I busted out some old wipes we had on hand, and B got a rash from it. Clearly he has sensitive skin. Most wipes have a lot of chemicals in it, which, I’m not concerned about in terms of the long-term health of my kids, but I do think it could have an adverse effect on skin -too drying, allergic reactions, whatever. Plus, it’s a hassle to constantly have to buy more wipes.

I decided to make my own. These are disposable, not reusable. Good for some people, but I just can’t do it. Nasty. I’m using cheap paper towels (from Costco – working fine!); Bounty is generally recommended on the interwebs. I’m also using select-a-size – the perfect wipe size.

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These are my ingredients – tea tree oil was my big expense off Amazon, then the baby shampoo I already had and was using, the coconut oil I was already using (we still had a little left in the jar), paper towels and a container from the dollar store. Voila!

The recipe I’m using comes from Quad Mom Amber, so you can check her out there. I didn’t use any lavender or other oils as I didn’t have them  and don’t mind the smell of the tea tree oil, and instead of baby oil (it irritates the crap out of B’s skin – no surprise there) I’m using coconut oil. Otherwise I followed her recipe exactly. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to make start to finish.

To get the tube out of our paper towels, I poured the liquid on the bottom of the container first, then put the roll in, let it soak for a few minutes and it came right out. However, my over-sized roll from Costco was wider than I think is typical, so instead of the 5-10 minutes it would take for the liquid to completely absorb into the roll, it took more like 3-4 hours. I also had to add another 1/4 cup of water. I had a feeling the roll would dry out and would be a giant fail. Well, at the end of the week, we’ve still got some roll to spare, it’s not even close to dry – in fact the more wipes we use, the wetter they are. They smell clean, no mold or grossness (that’s the tea tree oil), no drippy mess, easy to come apart from the middle, like cleaning wipes – I love it! And CHEAP! That’s the biggest pro as far as I’m concerned.  And now I have wipes.

With B’s sensitive skin, I’m always trying to find products that don’t bother him. So far, I’m finding that scents and chemicals do irritate his skin, and I’ve absolutely NO problems with coconut oil for any use, and now, baby wipes too.

So hooray for simple at-home methods that feed into my laziness and are good for the skin!

Maybe I should make my own cleaning wipes too as we go through a million a week….is that crossing the line?

Time and Money Savers

My blog has a new name! Some days, I feel almost silly blogging, as if it’s a little odd to be projecting information about my children on the internet. At the same time, I thoroughly enjoy reading the blogs of others and I do daily, especially those in a similar position as I am. I look forward to pictures, tips, and developmental leaps my kids will go through in the future. And when I think about that, it makes me want to blog more, so that maybe I can be of help to someone out there with twins.

If you do have twins and you’ve just found me, I want to point you in the direction of a few other blogs I read about twins/multiples. Check them out – it’s well worth it!

Journey to the Finish Line

Tales of a Twin Mombie

I’m Polycystic Inside

Four to Adore

And those are just a few!

So as a new mom of multiple babies, I have been lucky enough to take the entire year off from my job. What that means, though, is that we’re on a tight budget. Tighter than what we have been spending on those nights when we’re exhausted and really – who wants to cook? But now that we’ve kind of taken a big hit to our savings, it’s really time to make some smart money choices. I continue to try and find ways to save money, so I welcome other ideas!

FEEDING –

Costco (Kirkland) brand formula:  B was getting constipated on the type of formula they were given in the NICU, Similac. When he was a newborn he really struggled to poop and he cried…and it was terrible. Anyway, we were given medication to give him for it, but by chance, one day I stopped in Costco and read, ingredient for ingredient, what was in the Kirkland brand vs. Similac. The only difference was the lack of soy in the former. It was also double the amount for the same price. That giant can of 36 ounces is around $17, which is really a steal. It ended up being great in another way, as it completely stopped B’s constipation. The switch was made. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed and I couldn’t – so at least we found a cheap formula that works for our babies. However, our pediatrician throws free cans of Similac our way every time we go there, so I continue to put one scoop in our mixture when I make the meals. Not enough to constipate B, but enough to be using free formula.

As a time saver for making formula, I prepare it in a full-sized Nalgene water bottle I donated to the cause. Where I once used to make one Nalgene bottle full every 36 hours, I now make it twice a day. But I guess that’s to be expected. Anyway, I fill it up with 28 ounces of water and 14 scoops of formula. Once made, I pour it into the day’s bottles and stick them all in the fridge. For warming, I simply put the bottles in solo cups and fill with hot water. They warm in about five minutes. Now, with these big bottles they drink (B’s bedtime bottle is 10 ounces, C’s is 8), I sometimes need to refill the solo cup a second time. A bottle warmer would’ve probably been easier, but this is cheap! As for the Nalgene bottle, I found it a major time saver in those early days, rather than making bottle by bottle for every meal.

DIAPERING –

As you know, I’ve just made the switch to cloth diapers about a month ago and I’m hooked. I understand it’s not for everyone and that’s fine, but I feel that this has been a money saver for sure. I have 24 daytime cloth diapers in rotation, and the twins at almost 7 months go through about 15-16 diapers every day and a half. Somehow, I’m managing just fine to do laundry every 36 hours. I also just switched to a nighttime cloth diaper because C was leaking watery poop every morning all over her pj’s. Yes, this girl poops at night, every night, and I don’t know how to break the cycle. By the 5th night of leaks, I decided it’s time to try a different material than a disposable, which we were using at night to get rid of them. The Pooter hemp diaper with a Blueberry PUL cover was perfect – no leaks last night, a comfy kid in a diaper for 13 hours. I only have 4 of these diapers but in the long run, again, I do think it’s a money saver.

As for a time saving tip – well, when you cloth diaper, it does take a little more time especially in the beginning. Obviously throwing out a disposable is pretty darn quick. But unless I have a poop diaper, it’s just as quick. For those nasty diapers (we use BumGenius Freetimes) – my time saving cloth diaper trick is to use a fleece liner. I save a ton of time cleaning a small liner rather than a big diaper.

My next money saving trick to try is to make my own wipes. I know, it sounds very earthy-crunchy, and when I first read the words “homemade wipes” – I assumed that meant you reused them. And that’s a thing – and good for you, if you can stomach it. But when there’s a gross diaper, I do not want to wash the wipes. I want to throw them away. However, wipes aren’t too cheap either, especially when you use so many a day on multiple bums. That’s why, when my current stash runs out, I’m going to give this a try – making homemade, throw-them-away wipes. Here’s where I found out about this:

http://fourtoadore.com/2013/04/30/diaper-doozies/

FEEDING the adults –

I’m not a chef. I’m about the worst housewife ever. My husband always (jokingly?) tries to convince me to wear heels and a cute apron as I make some delicious meal from scratch  as he walks through the door but let’s face it, I’m in sweatpants on the daily and ready to whip up a mean turkey sandwich. But that has been changing as I’ve decided to embrace my temporary stay-at-home-mom gig. I can’t exactly expect my husband to come home and cook dinner after a full day of work.  When he gets home, we only have about an hour before the babies go to bed, so I’m not going to spend it “cooking”. Instead, I’m doing freeze ahead meals. Holy cow – how did I not do this my entire adult life? It’s my favorite type of cooking – throw ingredients in a bag and freeze for future use! You need a crockpot though – on the day of the meal, dump the contents of the bag (thawed in the fridge first) into the crockpot and you’re good to go. Tonight we had crock pot gluten-free lasagna (which is only gluten-free because of the noodles, and you can’t even tell!) and it was delish. I’m also excited to try the southwest chicken meal I prepared the other day – I literally just dumped corn, salsa, black beans, and chicken into a bag with some salt and pepper. I’ll make some rice with it and stir in some cream cheese to make it creamy. I didn’t make any of this up – here are a few websites I got my recipes from:

http://www.thebusybudgetingmama.com/2013/01/freezer-crock-pot-meals-prep-day.html

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/09/slow-cooker-freezer-meals-make-8-meals.html

This is a crazy time saver for me. I spent maybe an hour over the weekend “cooking” by throwing ingredients into bags. Now I have the whole week’s worth of dinner – done. SO easy. Because of this, it’s probably a money saver in that we won’t be darting out to Chipotle or Panera’s because we’re too tired to cook.

One of the biggest money savers we’ve been lucky enough to have is to simply borrow and steal (not…literally of course, except for that one time…). I once claimed I wouldn’t have too much “baby plastic” in my house – babies don’t NEED a lot of toys. Ha! No, they don’t NEED them to survive, but at the same time, it’s very helpful and fun for them, and a lifesaver for me. We didn’t have the money to buy all the gadgets the babies use but were lucky enough to either borrow items or be given them used, for free. Out of the two jumpers, two “super seats” (Bumbo’s but with a tray with toys – also a booster seat), two bouncers, two exersaucers, two swings, two floor mats, two boppy’s and two high chairs – (I can’t believe I’m admitting to having all of these things) I only bought one floor mat (the Kick n Play Piano) and one jumper ($15 gently used from Once Upon a Child). Everything else was a gift or a loan.  The fact is, with multiple babies, I can’t hold them all day. And I would absolutely LOVE to do that – carrying around a snuggly baby is one of my favorite things. But they’re heavy. And B kicks while C rubs her face all over my shoulders. It would be almost dangerous to even try. So that means they need to be put down, and if one baby is upset and I need to tend to them, that other baby needs to be content with something other than me. That’s where this plastic comes in.

I used to double bottle feed (breast feed one, make him wait, breast feed the other, bottle feed them both) but now I do not. B usually goes first because he’s faster than C – but that means C is left hungry for a few minutes. I need something to keep her occupied – that’s where the bouncer or exersaucer comes into play. And vice versa. Or I’m changing a gross diaper – yes, one baby is left alone for a minute, in a safe place, while I tend to it. I need the plastic.

When the babies are both happy and living their little baby lives, I run a series of “centers”..not unlike what I do in my job. I try to have both babies doing the same activity at the same time, so I can give my attention to them both as I watch/play with them. So we’ll do the two jumpers for a little bit, then some floor/tummy time together. When I try to make myself lunch, I’ll put them in their chairs on the floor in the kitchen with some toys. Then we’ll have more floor time, some exersaucer time..you get the picture. We rotate “centers” all day. It’s a good time.

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I seem to be able to talk about what’s going well at home, but there are always new baby issues that crop up and I’m searching the web for advice. Today’s issue – how to get more than one baby to nap in the same room without waking the other. At night they sleep fine – if one cries, the other stirs maybe, but goes back to sleep. But during the day – wow. They can’t nap together right now, that’s where we’re at. I’m lucky enough to have space to separate them, and I do, but B is in a swing then, as both cribs are in the same room, and he’s really almost too big for a swing. So I’m going to need to do something about this. And teething – I know nothing about baby teeth. There’s biting, chomping, drooling, munching and some fussing…and no teeth. Not even white under the surface. Do they just – pop out super quick all of  a sudden? Or do they take a while to come in?

I go through these blogging spurts every once in a while, but I really do enjoy doing it, as I equally enjoy reading the blogs of others. Hopefully, I can keep up with it – there are always new baby adventures!

Twins – 30 Weeks

They will be, at least, on Sunday. I don’t blog much anymore – not because I can’t make the time at night but usually because I’m scouring the internet for advice on this or that random baby issue, rather than putting my own information out there. But I have noticed this blog getting a good amount of traffic, and I read many blogs myself of those with kids, so I thought an update might be in order. I did find that the majority of people’s searches that led to finding my blog have to do with infertility, charting, temping, implantation spotting…etc. What I remember about that dark time is the amount of questions I had – what does it mean when there’s spotting? What if there’s not? What if I’m 10 DPO and _____ happened? Oh no, I feel a pain! Oh no, I don’t feel a pain! I remember those questions being so exhausting, taking over my entire self. And so, if that’s where you’re at as you come across the majority of what this blog has been about so far, I feel you. It sucks. It sucks even more when it’s not exciting to pee on a stick anymore. When it’s something you dread, or maybe worse, you become numb to doing it at all. Hang in there.

I do have a baby blog, but I found that I’m connected more through this blog with others out there whose journey’s I’ve followed, which is why I tend to revert back here.

So my babies, Mr. B and Lil C, are changing so rapidly. It seems like it’s every day that something new happens, even small, and the following day was nothing like the day before it. Today’s small event was that the babies reached for a toy while on tummy time. In fact, I positioned them so that they both reached for the same toy, in the middle between them.  Yesterday’s event – Lil C finally figured out spoon-feeding. It means you have to open your mouth.  And now, hmm, she likes it – though she prefers if you give a loud “nom nom” sound as you airplane the spoon towards her. My days are like that. I’m extremely lucky, so lucky, to be staying home with them for as long as I have and as long as I will be. It’s not something I take for granted, and if I ever have more than a minute of “I really wish I could relax and take a baby break” – I remind myself that if I was at work (doing a job I do enjoy, by the way), someone else, someone my babies don’t really know, would be watching them and playing with them. While that day will be coming this summer, if I can avoid it now, I will. And so I seriously cherish every minute, even the moments of crying babies, poop explosions, and the spit-up that went right down my shirt today, all the way down my neck. And I couldn’t shower for another few hours. Just another perfect day.

I don’t know what it’s like having one baby, but with two, it really does get so much easier. I mean in a way it’s actually more exhausting – never sitting down, constantly bending over carrying some heavy weights – it’s like teaching, being on your feet nonstop! But I can put the babies down and go to the bathroom or make a sandwich. Now that they are sleep trained (mostly), I can put them down for a nap and not have to rush up there the first second someone squeaks. It really is easier.

The beginning of my pregnancy through the beginning of my twins’ lives was very much out of my control. Infertility, bedrest, preterm labor, C-section, NICU time, preemies…all out of my control. Not having enough of a supply to breastfeed my babies exclusively..mostly out of my control. I could’ve pumped more, I could’ve drank more tea, I could’ve put those babies on me around the clock and I didn’t. But I didn’t know what I was doing wrong and so in that way…it was out of my control. And those are all things I wish had been in my control. So NOW, now I get to make parenting decisions that are in my control, that make me be the parent I want to be, and that feels awesome. I feel like I’ve waited my whole life for this. Because of that, I’ve fully enjoyed in the last few weeks switching to cloth diapers, starting solids with my twins, and starting up baby sign language. It feels so good to make choices that I think are right for my babies. Being a stay at home mom right now suits me.

Cloth diapering could be an addiction. I don’t have that kind of money but it’s actually…kind of enjoyable. I switched because I was running out of disposables, and I had always wanted to CD, but wanted to use up what I had first. And to be honest, those first few months were such a blur, I felt helpless and I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have the brain power for a cloth diaper. But around 5 months, I felt like I had a good grip on everything. However, I was so used to disposables that I didn’t want some complicated thing you have to fold 8,000 ways and all of that. I wanted easy. So for daytime, I went with the BumGenius Freetime All-In-One. It’s just like a disposable – just snap and go. The snaps are adjustable, fitting babies up to 35 pounds, which for most kids will hold them all the way until potty training (except for Mr. B who is a whopping 21 pounds already). And my kids obviously share the diapers. If I ever have another child (not even going there right now), I will use these same diapers for them, and then I’ll sell them. I do a load of laundry every day and a half, which is just a rinse and then a wash, and I hang dry (but they can go in the dryer). They are dry by morning. It is so much easier than I thought it would be. As for poop clean up, I didn’t want to buy a sprayer, but I didn’t want poop all over my bathroom (which was my vision). I bought at walmart cheap fleece, cut it up into strips and lined each diaper with it. When the babies poop, I take the liner out, and the diaper is wet but not poopy, and I clean the liner in the toilet using rubber gloves. I don’t have to dip a giant diaper in there – just a thin piece of fleece which comes clean quick. No stains, no smells…piece of cake. And the colors of the diapers are addicting. I just purchased a nighttime diaper, the Pooter Hemp Fitted, but they haven’t come yet. So that’s CDing in a nutshell. Major money saver with more than one kid in diapers. My diaper trash can actually smells better than when I had disposables in there, if you can believe that. And by better, I mean you can’t smell anything at all, because it all gets rinsed out in the toilet. And for the most part – no diaper rash since I’ve switched.

Solids – so much fun. I make my own in our food processor because 1) it’s fun, 2) I’m in control of what’s in it, and 3) it’s super easy. So far, we have introduced peas, avocado, sweet potato, carrots, green beans and oatmeal. Butternut squash is on tap for this weekend, followed by the fruits. So far, the babies seem to like avocado, peas and green beans best. I assumed the sweet orange foods would be a hit, but they haven’t been as much. I skipped the rice, knowing Mr. B gets constipated easily, and went to oatmeal instead – and they both really like it. After I make a big batch in the food processor (not the oatmeal), I freeze them in ice cube trays and pop them out as needed. They thaw in a little plastic cup for a bit before eating and voila.

Baby Sign Language is my newest internet search. I’m really, really interested in it, though it seems like this passing fad right now. I love the idea that the babies can communicate with me and each other before they have the words to do so. I also would like to alleviate some of their fussing when they aren’t sure what’s going on. For example, Mr. B has lately burst into tears every time I put him down on the changing table. I don’t know what the deal is, but as soon as he realizes I’m just changing his diaper, he calms down. So, I introduced the sign “diaper”. Obviously, any sign I introduce right now means nothing to them because I’ve just started. But hopefully, if I’m consistent for a few months, not only will they understand what it means, but they might do it back to me. Until they start to get it, I’ve only introduced “diaper”, “eat”, “more” and “all done”. I don’t know who thinks I’m crazy more, the babies or those who come into my house and see my husband and I doing this but maybe someday, they’ll do it back.

And don’t get me wrong – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making different parenting choices. What I like best isn’t the choices that I’ve made, but the fact that I’m able to make the choices. I get to feed my babies what I want them to eat, and I get to prepare it the way I want to. I get to see what they do all day, and decide what toys they will play with. And I can carry them around the house (though usually not at the same time) with their heads on my shoulders and snuggle. I just REALLY, really like being a mom.  Not to get too sappy, because who needs that, but I knew all along that I wanted and needed to be a mom. Infertility got in the way, I wasn’t my finest self, I felt changed, I was cranky and miserable. But now, that hole that has really always been there, that I’ve tried filling with students, with travel, with..you name it, has been filled and I seriously just feel like a complete person. Totally fulfilled. And I’m SO lucky to be in this position.

Anyway. Mr. B is 21 pounds, as I said. 90% for weight, 50% for height, 97% for head size. Lil C is 17 pounds and certainly much more petite, but also with a big head (90%). But Lil C oddly has newborn sized feet. To me, her legs and feet aren’t really growing, but the rest of her body is. She’s very short, and like I said – those feet fit in newborn size shoes, size 0. But it’s hard to compare sometimes because B is a big boy. I don’t know who is more average. They are completely the stereotype of a boy and a girl, which is weird considering I’m not exactly a stereotype myself. Mr. B is extremely physical – he’s closer to crawling, he rolls more than C does (she really doesn’t yet) – he can’t. stop. moving. His legs need to be straightened, he wants to stand, he wants to fall to the ground, he wants to bounce. He jumps and jumps and jumps. He can do this for a long time, and he zones out, staring off into space. He babbles his consonants and chews on anything cloth but those feet always move. Lil C is the exact opposite. Her body is very calm. She will sit there (the first to sit, because B can’t stay calm long enough), lay there, be held, be carried around, but she needs to be talked to, she needs to see what you’re doing. She wants to watch you explain to her how to make a sandwich, or why the dogs are barking. She doesn’t talk as much, but she feels with her hands – she wants to hold your cup, your food, your shirt…she tries to grab the dogs’ ears. She sticks her hands out so the puppies can lick them, and then giggles hysterically. Whereas B laughs like crazy when the dogs fight, and roll around, and make a lot of noise.  B loves his lovey, and I didn’t realize at such a young age a baby could love an object that wasn’t a person. He doesn’t take a pacifier, doesn’t suck his thumb, so when it’s time for sleep, the lovey is where it’s at. C still takes her wubbanub, but mostly only for falling asleep.

Teeth must be coming soon, because they are both chomping on their hands non-stop, with more drool. I still don’t see any white yet though.

I still dream feed Lil C, as I’m preparing her bottle right now. 99% of the time, she sleeps through the rest of the night. B eats all the food in my house during the day, he doesn’t need any overnight.

So here they are:

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I’m completely in love. This must be what all the new parents talk about, and I’m just so lucky to be experiencing it.