Early to Rise 

It wasn’t going well; the whole – wake up to the sound of my twins on the monitor then hit the ground running – thing. I’d been thinking about about waking up earlier for a while to sneak in some me-time/prep-time, but it’s not easy when you have twin toddlers and you just.want.your.sleeeeep. Right?!

Continue reading Early to Rise 

Happy Birthday, Henry & Emily!

Exactly one year ago today, Sean and I set our alarm clocks for a 4:30 a.m. wake up call. I was being induced for labor that day! I was 37.5 weeks along, officially “past due” (37 weeks is considered full term for twins), and the babies were both estimated to be healthy weights + facing head-down.

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Henry & Emily!

Yays for the Day

Wednesday, May 30

6am wakeup call greeted by my 2 soon-to-be 1 year olds smiling ear-to-ear as I walked in the nursery. “Gooooooood MOOORNIIING!” I said, arms outstretched with a gigantic smile.

Continue reading Yays for the Day

The Next Step

The days of my two little bugs walking independently, running, and cartwheeling through life are seemingly minutes away. Both Henry and Emily surprise me and Sean daily at how quickly their balance improves, how fearless they are, and how joyful they become with every new discovery. It’s truly an honor to watch these two souls grow.

Continue reading The Next Step

Henry & Emily: 10 Months

We’re in DOUBLE DIGIT months now! I can’t believe that in 8-ish weeks they’ll turn one year old. I put together another fun Flipgram of the past month! Wanna see?! Here’s their 9 month recap:

Continue reading Henry & Emily: 10 Months

Henry & Emily: 9 Months!

The past 9 months have been a crazy beautiful whirlwind…but especially the past month. This whole mobile baby thing? And two at once? Wooooaaah, y’all. These two are keeping me & Sean on our toes and they’re not even walking yet! We’re in for a wild ride, but we’re loving it. Every minute. Like…crazy IN LOVE with these two!

Continue reading Henry & Emily: 9 Months!

My Blog’s 2017

Last week I wrote about my personal goals for 2017 in the post, My 2017. It felt so good to acknowledge what I want to work on, then write about it to help stay accountable this year. So, I thought I’d keep this goal-party goin’ strong by doing the same for my blog!

This blog is such a special place for me and I really hope for you too. As a “new mom”… “twin mom”… &”stay-at-home mom” this has been a much needed outlet for me to stay reflective…and sane ;). Time moves SO fast and this helps me keep a memory of all the good stuff in writing.

So…what’s next?! For my blog’s 2017, here are my 4 goals:

  1. yay-for-the-day-newlieMore: on choosing joy

    • My “Yay for the Day” posts are more for me than anything, but I’ve heard from many of you that you appreciate reading them too. I’m SO happy to hear that! This practice of keeping a log of only the joyful, yay-worthy things that happened each day is just plain good for the soul. So, my goal? I just wanna write more of these each month. MANY more. Simple as that. Life is too short! Choosing joy is a beautiful and important mentality, but it takes daily exercises like these to keep it up.
  2. img_5733New: product reviews

    • Bottles, strollers, diaper bags, clothes, formula, activity centers, high chairs, play yards….oh my gosh it never endsssss! I remember Sean and I walking into Buy Buy Baby for the first time. It was SO overwhelming. We just followed the nice sales person around the store like little lost puppies, overwhelmed in a scary new world. 478 different types of high chairs, 8,381 different types of bottles, etc. Crazy. But…we made it 7 months! Know that I know a thing or two about the newborn and early infant stage, I would love to review the products that any of you want advice on.
      • Any specific advice you need for the 0-6 month age? Let me know! I’ll add it to the que 😉
  3. img_7638New: excursion reviews

    • From date nights, to airplane rides, to those spur of the moment “get me the heck outta the house” excursions with the twins, I’d love to review and share my experiences. I’m strongly swayed by other people’s opinion of a place or experience before heading anywhere (thanks, Yelp!), and figure this is a good way to do the same for any of you who could benefit from it.
  4. New: videos

    • I’m cringing a little as I write this one. This is one of those things that I want to do…but I also don’t want to do. Know what I mean? I typically don’t like being filmed and totally freeze up when it comes to talking to a camera, but when I was pregnant and on bed rest, ALL I did was search for videos of product reviews, real life motherhood dilemmas and recommendations, and a big one: what it’s like to be a twin mom for a day. I owe it to myself and any mama friends out there who are searching for the same things and maybe need a friendly face (not just a post) to help them through it. Fun times ahead! 😉

 

Thank you for following along all these years, friends! It means the world. Stay tuned 🙂

Big hugs,

Katherine

Fit Camp! {from home}

Since Henry & Emily are gonna be crawling, walking, and running all over creation soon, keeping fitness a priority this year is so important to me. Mama Kath’s gotta keep up!

picmonkey-photoI go to StudiOne Tulsa once a week for their bootcamp class and I recently learned about their 12 week fit camp that I can sign up for and do from home. This is PERFECT for me! Having 3 home workouts a week sent to me from Coach Sprenkel (co-owner of StudiOne Tulsa) is exactly what I need. It fits right in line with my goals for 2017 (My 2017)!

Anyone wanna join meeee? I hope you will! I’d love to have more friends do this with me along the way. I plan on posting frequent updates on Instagram (@OK.Kath) and once a month on the blog to stay accountable. Here are the details:

What:

Fit Camp (remotely) through StudiOne Tulsa

How:

3 days of strength circuits are sent to participants each week. Circuits are less than 30 minutes and they can be broken up into 3 smaller circuits throughout the day. There’s even a Facebook community group that we get to join to help stay motivated!

$75 covers all 12 weeks. Otherwise, all you need are dumbbells/weights (I’m usin’ my babies!), a mat, and something to step on & off.

Where:

Wherever I want! Living room, nursery, backyard/park (weather-willing). If you’re thinking of doing it (yay!!!) you don’t have to be in the Tulsa area. Anyone can sign up. East coast, west coast, midwest friends: y’all should seriously do this with me!

When:

It starts on Monday, Jan 16 & lasts for 12 weeks. This is the best way to make sure my goals won’t be just a Jan/Feb thing. This sets the tone for the entire year, and by the time Spring running races roll around – I’ll be ready!

Who:

Register by emailing Coach Jessica Sprenkel at: fitness@studionetulsa.com

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Comment below or message me on IG/FB if you’re thinking about joining me. The more friends doing this with me the better!

I’m so pumped 🙂

Big hugs,

Katherine

 

Cheers, 2016!

It’s crazy that a brand new year is almost here. This has truly been the wildest year of my life. The most beautiful, mentally exhausting, physically demanding, emotionally draining year…but also, hands down the happiest year of my life.

Funny how that works. A year of challenges unlike any others you’ve faced…all to bring you to a place of happiness you’ve never known before.

I’ve re-learned how to trust, how much my mind and body are capable of, how unbelievably powerful faith is, how to remain patient, and how much good there is in the world.

I couldn’t be happier to celebrate 2016 and welcome 2017 at home with my hubby, our sleeping babies, a glass (or more…) of wine, chinese takeout, t.v. movies, and text updates from my family and my besties.

And yes…Sean is absolutely wearing Henry’s tuxedo bib in this picture. You’re welcome. 😉

To our sweet Henry & Emily who are sleeping away upstairs: we only hope that we make you as happy every day as you make us.

2017 – you’re up 😉

Big hugs,

Katherine

Henry & Emily: 6 months

Six months?! It feels like just a few days ago we were bringing them home from the hospital. Then – they were too tiny to hold up their preciously fragile heads and still reeling from their wild new surroundings. Now – they’re babbling, giggling, wiggling, smiling, verge-of mobile little people!

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Sean and I are truly amazed by their growth, development, and contagious joy. This morning I took them to their 6 month pediatrician check up and they’re growing beautifully!

Henry (right) is at the 90th percentile for his height! He’s now rockin 28 inches tall and 18 pounds. Our super tall “little man” is SO STRONG, y’all. He’s also quick as lightning in his walker, and desperate to finally figure out how to crawl, walk, and let’s be real…he wants to RUN RUN RUN as soon as he can! He has his daddy’s engineer brain for sure. Give him a toy and he’ll study it for ever. His joy is everything; all I need to get through a day, a week, a year. I am completely in awe of how genuinely joyful Henry is. One head turn and a wide-open, toothless grin from him and your day will be made. Guaranteed.

Emily (left) rings in right on cue at the 40th percentile for her height. She’s 26 inches tall and 16 pounds. Way to go, little angel! This beautiful girl was super underweight for her very first week-old check up but has completely soared since that day. She is the cutest ‘lil chatty-mac-chatterson these days. “Emmy” loves to study our faces as we talk to her, then babble on her own…then squeal to the highest heavens. She loves a good toy, but she’s her mama’s daughter for sure when it comes to being more interested in people; a true people watcher. She’s more careful when she shows off her smile (which I kinda love about her too), but when you do make her smile….wooooo your heart will melt!

This has been the fastest, most joyful 6 months of my life. As we enter the “mobile babies” phase in the 2nd half of the year, I’m gonna hold on tight and get ready for that wild ride!

Big hugs,

Katherine

Stay thankful.

After a long day of nonstop newness, Henry & Emily had just drifted off to sleep in their roll-able hotel room cribs. I finally crawled onto the bed knowing that our traveling escapades from Oklahoma to Washington, D.C. were over. It felt like our little family of 4 had just completed a herculean task.

Sean ordered drinks and dinner to go from the restaurant downstairs. We were starving. A glass of white wine, a burger, and garlic fries for me! I sat in bed, took a sip of my wine, looked at our babies and then my sweet hubby, and we both sighed with relief. The journey was done.

It would be easy to feel defeated and even entitled to negativity after 2 tiring flights with our infant twins and over packed luggage. Henry’s wailing cries in the dark rental car garage mixed with that seemingly endless airport shuffle was all enough to drive a new parent mad. But suddenly there they were, sleeping peacefully as I sipped my wine and remembered that I am one very lucky lady. I also saw pure joy spread across Sean’s face as he took in the precious sight of his son & daughter. It was enough gratitude to bring a new mama to tears.

We made it.

In so many ways, we made it.

The hours and days that followed were everything that we had wished for. We were reunited with both of our families and close friends. We watched as they met, snuggled, and adored Henry & Emily for the first time. We got to see their own beautiful kiddos, catch up on life, and most importantly – laugh :).

10 days flew by. Suddenly it was time to return home to Oklahoma. Just two more flights.

On our way home our double stroller had to be checked at the gate and bypass our connecting flight, but our carriers were accidentally packed and checked too…

…awesome.

Luckily many kind strangers, one taxi ride through the Dallas airport, and two resilient babies later…we made it! If ever there was a time to trust humanity, it’s when you desperately need another pair of arms to hold your child. We were so thankful for the sweet strangers who offered to hold our bags and even our babies while we desperately tried to do it all. We let them!

Family, friends, strangers, and most of all – sweet Henry & Emily…

…thank you a million times.

We truly could not be more thankful for all that we have in our lives. After all, the journey (not the destination) is what keeps us thankful, isn’t it?

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, friends. Stay thankful, always.

Big hugs,

Katherine

Braving The Outside World

After I gave birth to Henry & Emily, I didn’t leave my hospital room for 3 days. It wasn’t out of fear or orders from my doctor, but because that one little room had everything I needed to nurture both my recovery and my daunting new mother-of-two tasks. I didn’t even miss the outside world!

Then…we came home.

As my strength grew back day by day, so did my desperate need to rejoin civilization. At that point I just wanted to feel human again. When you’re roughing those first few weeks and months of sleep deprivation, you crave even the slightest ounce of normalcy. I’ll never forget when I ventured into town on my first solo-outing since having the babies. Sean watched the twins for a couple of hours while I went out for a heavenly blended iced coffee and to get groceries. That was a magnificent couple of hours!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BGuZha9tOyf/?taken-by=ok.kath

 

Sadly though, getting out of the house regularly and on your own takes some serious coordination (and financial planning for a sitter/nanny without family nearby), so these past 5 months have taught me lots of great lessons on getting out of the house WITH the twins when Sean’s at work.

Whether you have 1, 2, or 6 little ones (like my mom hero, Danielle Busby, mom of quints and a 5 year old!) you’ve got to get out of the house with those little ones for your sanity. Here are 6 things that I’ve found helpful when braving the outside world. Hope they help many of you out there whether you’re on maternity leave or a stay-at-home mom/dad:

Walk every day.

First and foremost – wait to go for walks until your doctor/midwife gives you the “okay” to do so. Much of the first few months postpartum was my mind saying “Let’s goooo!” but my body saying “Let’s not!!!” Listen to your body. Take it nice and slow. Exercise routines will come, but baby steps for now.

That said – when you ARE ready, walks are like gold. You’ll breathe in and out some much needed fresh air, you see other people going about their day, and if you’re lucky…your baby/babies will fall asleep in the stroller. Walks have instantly settled the fussiest of hours for my twins, so we’ve made it an afternoon staple to walk at least around the block a few times. Meanwhile, you get to enjoy fresh air and a workout all in one! WIN! If your neighborhood isn’t necessarily walking-friendly, research nearby parks and running paths.

To my fellow Owasso-area mamas: here are my favorite go-to stroller friendly paths when I need a change of pace from my neighborhood loop!

Centennial Park – it’s a beautiful park in between a few neighborhoods. My hubby often joins us on weekends and plays frisbee golf with our lab while the twins and I do laps!

Skiatook’s Osage Trail – smoothest and straightest path I’ve found yet. It’s my favorite place to jog with the stroller. The only draw back is that it’s a 20+ minute drive out there. Worth it on a beautiful day though!

River Walk – if you’re down for the half hour drive, the Route 66 River Walk is excellent and has recently been renovated. I love how some parts of the path branch off for cyclists vs walkers. Makes me less paranoid about bicycle-stroller fiascos!

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One stop shop.

If you have a long list of things to get that can’t all be found in a grocery store, try aiming your focus on a one-stop-shop type of place instead. I’m all about Target these days. I can get groceries, clothes for the whole family, dog treats for our lab, and stock up on the long list of baby things (diapers, formula, wipes, etc.) that we constantly need. Also…Targets have a Starbucks…..it’s practically heaven.

Or, find a good outdoor mall that has a grocery store along with other shops you’ll need next door. The less car-stroller-car-stroller dances you can to do, the better.

If you have just one baby, you can usually put the car seat into the shopping cart without any problem. If you have multiples…haah…different story! I’ve found that attaching big carabiners to either side of your stroller works wonders! I simply hook on the hand-held baskets on either side so that I can load up small sized groceries in one, and other items in the other. I might look ridiculous with a double stroller AND two side baskets…but I’m used to being a spectacle when I go out with twins! Just try not to make too much eye contact with people and keep on strollin’ ;). When I get to the checkout counter, all I have to do is unhook the baskets, then re-hook the bagged items once I’m all checked out. Works like a charm.

Ask for & accept help.

When I meander around Target or the grocery store with my double stroller, I pretty much give up on toting around big, heavy items. If I know in advance what large items I’ll need, I’ll find a store clerk and ask sweetly if they wouldn’t mind taking those big items to guest services and reserving it under my name for my check out. This way I don’t have to use my babies’ stroller as an awkward shopping cart! Winnn!

Most stores, if they’re considerate, will notice my purchases at the checkout AND my two babies and ask if I need help getting these things to the car.

“You’re so sweet to ask! YES! I would LOVE your help!”, I joyfully reply. I get the help I need, they feel good for helping…everyone wins!

If they don’t offer…ask. You’re a paying customer; the least they could do is have someone waiting for you at the store’s front door and help load it into your trunk.

Timing is everything.

“When’s the next feeding?” is a constant question I ask myself. If I plan to leave the house that day, I’ve gotta be on my game when it comes to timing. As soon as those sweet babies are fed, burped, and changed into dry diapers, I’m all “OK! GO! GO! GOOOOOO!” I’ve got roughly 3 hours until the next feeding, so I’d like to be back home before then.

I let the babies play in their walkers as I make sure the stroller is packed in the car. I double check the diaper bag for diapers, wipes, 2 clean bottles, and pre-measured formula for mixing. I usually keep all of this in the diaper bag and only break it out if I have to, especially if the outing won’t get me home by the next feeding.

I strap each baby into their car seats, waddle them both to the car (so heavy these days!), do one last mental checklist (cell phone? purse? how much time to I have before the next feeding?) and off we go!

I’m not gonna lie, knowing how much time you have left is kind of a buzz kill when you’re joyfully strolling along, soaking in the outside world, but it’s so important for happy smiling babies when you’re out and about.

Timing is also important when it comes to where you’re going. I usually try to go anywhere public at a time when stores are the quietest. Otherwise you’re asking for trouble. Most people love babies, but babies don’t always love people. Makes sense to keep the public appearances to a minimum if you can to avoid strangers peaking their head into the stroller. It’s happened to me far too many times. I’m all for talking to people, but sometimes you’re on a schedule and you really don’t want to change the mood of a happy baby if you don’t have to.

When Sean and I have taken Henry & Emily with us to a restaurant, we go at weird times to eat…like 3, or 4pm. Don’t always rely on nap times to work when you’re taking them out to a restaurant. The new sights and sounds could just be enough to wind them up so it’s better to be sure that they’re fed, burped, and changed.

Think ahead.

If the twins are playing peacefully in their pack-and-play or walker, I start packing up before the next feeding. It makes the car pack up/home departure go SO much faster!

Once they’re in their stroller, I make sure they have two things: something to hold, and a pacifier on stand-by. Those two things are instant fussiness settlers if you get to that point! 😉

If you bottle feed, be sure to have your bottles ready to go in your fridge for your return home. Far too many times I’ve tried to do “just one more thing!” while I’m out and it’s gone past their feeding time a bit. Woah nelly…they were NOT happy. Far too many meltdowns have reminded me to think ahead before leaving!

Have a little faith.

If at first your outing feels like an epic fail…try try again, my dear! Have a little faith in yourself that your confidence will grow. Also have faith in your baby/babies that they’ll get used to going on more adventures.

I’ve learned that getting out of the house as a stay at home mom of twins doesn’t have to be daunting. I just have to be prepared. If there are meltdowns (and there will be) you’ve got this! Just stay calm, and remember that you’ll never have to see those strangers looking at your screaming baby ever again ;).

Big hugs!

Katherine

Henry & Emily: 5 months

Oh my gosh. How did they do it? How did they turn 5 months in the blink of an eye?! Sean and I are so in love with these two angels and thank God every day for them.

henryemily-5-months

Henry Update

Henry is an eternally happy little man. I forget, often, that he’s a baby because he really does look like a little man! He has this joyful, wide open, toothless smile that reminds us of all the good in the world.

He is very strong and is in the 90th percentile for his height! We’re convinced he would take off and run if he just knew how. This boy adores standing (with our help of course), gets a kick out of kicking for long periods of time, and has one heck of a grasp. Even when he is getting into mischief (e.g. pulling the mesh bumper off in his crib), he flashes me a smile so wide, and so proud, that my heart nearly explodes. Love that little man.

Emily Update

Emily is our sweet natured little doll face. At just 5 months old, she has this way of letting us know that she loves us right back. She is very observant. She adores books, especially “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and barely blinks when she is read to; sweet girl just soaks it all in!

As she grows, so does her ability to learn new vocal ranges and squeals. She often loves to look at her brother and strike up conversation. When we hold her she is very still; simply grateful for the snuggle. Love our little princess.

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Both Henry and Emily are now sleeping 9-12 hour stretches at night, so you can imagine how happy the entire Mason household is these days ;). We’ve started them both on solids which they adore! Along with their bottles, they enjoy a bit of oatmeal cereal in the morning, and this week they’re on pureed green beans before bedtime.

They’re champs. Best friends. We’re eternally grateful to be their parents.

Happy 5 months to Henry & Emily!

Big hugs,

Katherine

Baby Steps before Babies’ Steps

I ran a 5k (Tulsa Run) on Saturday! It was a big deal for me. Huge. It was the first time that I tackled a race, let alone 3.1 miles, in well over a year.

 

In my pre-preggo/pre-mama life I ran 5k’s, a couple of 10 mile races, a half marathon and 2 Ragnar races. I wasn’t a phenomenal runner by any means, but I loved the challenge and how it kept me healthy. I’m my best self when I keep moving and stay challenged. But for the past year my body barely remembered those days.

My twin pregnancy was a doozy. I was on modified bed rest for months and as the belly weight double-timed in its intensity, so did the stress on my joints. But here I am nearly 5 months later looking at my sweet bib from Saturday and I’m already getting pumped for another 5K in Owasso this weekend! I’m gonna be bold and say it:

I’m proud of myself!

I don’t think we say that about ourselves enough, especially when we’re often our own worst critic.

Why are those 4 words so hard to say?!

For me, I often set the bar way too high, then get frustrated and exhausted when I can’t reach it in record time. That’s basically how I’ve felt about this race until recently. I wanted to reach 3 miles in my training over a month ago but I just wasn’t there. I had to learn to pace my body slower than my mind wanted me to, especially with so few windows of time to fit in a run each week. Saturday’s 5K was incredibly slow for me, but as I was reminded before the race: everyone has their own goal. For me, I just have to remember to take baby steps…before my babies take their first steps!

“Baby Steps before Babies’ Steps” is my own reminder to keep exercising regularly as I have been, but not push myself too far too soon. When the day comes for Henry & Emily to take their first steps it will be a HUGE milestone. I’ll watch as they push their own boundaries and break out of their own comfort zones to put one foot after the other. We’re in this together, so from that point on I will feel ready to push the boundary on my own fitness goals, home workouts, longer runs, etc. I’m loving this plan so far!

It’s been painful, exhausting and challenging to get back to some sort of fitness routine but…I’m DOING it! I’ve got two precious babies, a supportive hubby, friends & family, the world’s best dog, a flight of stairs, double stroller walks, occasional weekly runs, an amazing sitter and an incredible weekly boot camp class with StudiOne Tulsa to thank for my renewed strength and progress. I’ve got this.

You know what else? I’ve got a pretty rad playlist. Here are a few of my favorites:

Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Demons – Imagine Dragons

Greenlight – Pitbull

I Bet My Life – Imagine Dragons

Renegades – X Ambassadors

Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya

Sugar – Maroon 5

Team – Lorde

And what about you?! What are you proud of? Time to celebrate yourself 🙂

Big hugs,

Katherine

The Nap Time Hustle

The twins fell asleep! Readdyyyyyyyy…..GO!

Laundry. Clean? Dirty? Whatever…throw it all in the wash.

Clean Clothes. Folding? ………maybe this afternoon? ………suuure…

Dishes. Yes. Do that now.

Bottles. Get the next two feedings ready in the fridge.

Floors. Hello, dog hair! I have to vacuum every day. EVERY DAY. Luckily the twins don’t wake up to the sound of the vacuum. Win!

Food. Yes. Goodness yes. Healthy? What time is it? Sure…I’ll probably eat something unhealthy later in the day so I might as well stick with healthy for now.

Water? Nah…COFFEE.

Diaper Bag. Leaving the house today? What’s the weather like. Oooo! Yes. We’re gonna do this. Diaper refill. Back up onesies. Back up bottles & formula. Woooo! Park walk or a trip to BuyBuyBaby…here we come!

Shower? What time is it? What day is it? Shower…or rest….shower…rest. Maybe shower tonight? Or the next nap time? Sure…

Rest. HGTV here I come!!!!!!!! Buying & Selling? Meh. Love it or List it? Nope. Fixer Upper? Joanna Gaines for President! I wish. Or maybe House Hunters? YESSS!

Something Intelligent? TED talk for our walk? Downloading!

Emily’s awake!