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

 

Henry & Emily: 7 Months

 

Our little miracles are 7 months old already! Can you believe it!?

 

Emily

We are completely head over heels in love with our little princess! Her phrase of the month is “dadadadDADADAdada!” Needless to say, Dada (a.k.a. Sean) is especially excited. She lights up the room with her smile and giggles…and those CHEEKS!

Henry

 

Watch out, y’all…our little man is on the verge of mobile and he’s about to become the cutest little tornado the world has ever seen! He keeps us on our toes constantly, and Sean has discovered that this is pay-back for when he was a “little man” himself. Thanks, Sean ;). His joy and appreciation for a good snuggle just melts our hearts.

They’re currently working on sitting up on their own and they’re trying desperately to crawl (not yet, but soon!). They love trying new solids, but mama isn’t exactly loving when they try to feed themselves ;). They also LOVE The Little Gym, and we’re on a mission to go once a week this winter to meet new friends and learn new tricks!

But the most precious thing of all? Henry and Emily’s bond. Nothing prepared us for how special this bond is. We saw glimpses of how special their twin-bond is early on, but as they grow so does their sweet friendship.

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Happy 7 months, sweetiepies. We love you so much.

Big hugs,

Katherine

My 2017

Well hello there, 2017. You sound so fancy! “Twentyyy…seventeeeeen

I love facing a new year filled with goals. As this little blog of mine is all about my new adventures, I’m pretty stoked to share my goals for the year with you. So, in no particular order, here they are:

  1. Sit Up.

    • I mean it. My posture has always been inconsistent over the years unless I’m exercising or posing for a picture. And lately, twin-motherhood has brought my “slouch status” down to a whole new level as I slump down to play with and talk to my sweeties. Sean lights up when I have good posture. He’s told me that both my confidence and joy radiate when I simply remember to sit up straight. It’s both a reminder and incentive to stay poised not just for him, but for myself! Bring on the poise, 2017 😉
  2. Seven Workouts.

    • Whether it’s cycling, running, walking, going to the Studio for a workout, or carrying my twins around the house as they increasingly grow and become mobile babies…I must keep up my fitness consistently for my own good. My health and energy levels depend on it. As I’ve said before in other posts: I am my best self when I make exercise a priority. With that in mind, I’ve listed my favorite ways to exercise below. I could care less when I do which activity, or how often I do each one…I’ve just gotta keep moving and stay consistent.
      • SPINNING (we have an old stationary spinning bike at home…now I just need a good app to keep me motivated. Any recs for a good spinning app?!
      • RUNNING
      • WALKING
      • 1 class @ StudiOne Tulsa
    • My goal is to fit in a total of SEVEN 30+ minute workouts each week. It’s TOTALLY doable in 20-30 minute intervals, and I can even do 6 of them with my babies nearby or in their double stroller! No excuses. If I could fit in those workouts in Henry & Emily’s first 6 months, I can absolutely do this in the next 12! Let’s do this.
  3. Declutter.

    • It’s true what they say about how too much stuff adds to your stress level. I feel like I am constantly thinking, “We have too much stuff.” I find myself shifting things from one area to the next rather than taking the time to look at that item and say, “Do we as a family need this? Will we truly benefit from this? Could someone else find joy from this?” Time to start paying attention, re-organizing, and heading in a decluttered direction for our sweet little home. I’m also eager to watch this documentary that my sister recently shared. Apparently it’s hot on the que these days for lots of aspiring minimalists: http://minimalismfilm.com. In no ways do I see our family being complete minimalists, but I adore the de-cluttered direction it could lead us in.
  4. Speak Up.

    • “Do you need any help?” – I’ve been asked this more times over the past 7 months than I could ever recall. Now, pre-mama Kath would have smiled and said, “Oh no thank you!”, and carried on my merry little way. But if ever there was a time to quiet my pride and look up to whomever offers help when I desperately need it…motherhood is that time. That awful silent perfectionist in me is learning to shut it down and let others help. This is a journey. It took me a long time to simply acknowledge how hard this can be, but I’m getting there! It helps me let people in, take a deep breath, and build my trust stronger than ever. I’m learning to speak up and ask for help when I truly need it. Is it just me…or is this hard for lots of us?
  5. Give Back.

    • Visit a nursing home. Donate items from my decluttered home. Help a community recover from a natural disaster (plenty of them out here in Oklahoma during tornado season, unfortunately). Those are just a few examples, but I look forward to keeping more of an open mind this year and notice how I can help. I feel so fortunate to have all that I do, and I know in my heart that the best way to say “thank you” for my many blessings is to give back.

So there we have it: My 2017. It’s written down…therefore I’m officially accountable, right?! 😉

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When I can, I’ll be sure to update y’all on my progress on these 5 things. Meanwhile…what are your resolutions?! Are any of my 5 ones that you’ve added to your list too? Any advice? Comment below!

Happy New Year, friends! I’m SO excited for what this year will hold!

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

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas week, friends! I hope this post finds y’all pouring a glass (or 3) of something fun, putting your feet up, and finding a moment for some well deserved rest.
Meanwhile, here are our Christmas photos! Boy are we grateful for our two little miracles. Even amidst the “work” it takes to raise two tiny humans at once, there is no question that this has truly been the best year of our lives because of them. We have so much to be thankful for.
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This Christmas, I wish you and your family:

  • the kind of uncontrollable laughter that makes your abs burn and tears well up.
  • yummy food that makes you care less about calories and more about how it brought you all together.
  • a walk or run outside in the fresh air on Christmas day.
  • a strong sense of home, no matter where you spend the day.
  • a much needed life-chat that makes you say to 2017 “Bring. It. ON.”
  • a happy heart. One that’s contagious 🙂

Big hugs,

Katherine

Yay for the Day

Thursday, December 15

Up just before 6 to the sounds of sweet but hungry babies and realized that they slept nearly 12 hours last night! Happy mama! Chugged their bottles like champs. Sean tag-teamed in to play with them for a bit while I got myself sorted for the day. Heard him talking to them from downstairs. I just love how much he loves them.

Made my 1st cup of coffee. Hmmmm, I adore my coffee. The taste, the smell, the cozy warmth…all of it. Wrapped 2 presents while Christmas music played and Henry & Emily meandered about in their walkers. Thought of how special our time in the NC mountains will be with my family next week. Sean told H & E a hilarious made-up story and I couldn’t stop laughing 🙂

Bottle feeding while I watched a House Hunters episode. This one was in TULSA! Ahhh! Cute couple who were totally down for a reno project. Found their hidden gem. Love them!

Played in the nursery. Emmy rolled around in every direction she could on the floor. Little lady’s on the move! Henry tried out a few new sounds which were adorable….and very funny.

Spilled crumbled feta cheese ALL over the kitchen floor but Henry thought it was hilarious and Stella (our lab) joyfully cleaned it up for me. Ventured out of the house with H & E to buy Sean’s Christmas present. Sweet store clerks carried it to my car for me. Babies kept sleeping in their car seats so I got to tidy up to the sounds of their soft snores and precious breathing. Heart melted. Kept sleeping so I moved them to the bathroom so that I could sneak in a shower. WIN!

Sean’s work holiday party! Los Cabos. Babies came along and were admired in their Christmas pj’s. Enjoyed a sangria margarita. So delicious! Nice people. Good to get out as a family.

Great day.

Easy Shepard’s Pie

I was having one of those evenings where the babies were see-sawing between mildly entertained and fussy, but I also really wanted to cook something yummy. I had ground beef and carrots in the fridge, onions and seasonings in the pantry. I didn’t feel like pasta, especially because my homemade Alfredo sauce the night before was an epic fail. But suddenly, I looked in one of my cabinets and spotted this handsome devil to the right.

Now, before you get all judgy, I’ll have you know that instant mashed potatoes are freakin delicious. They give you that whipped texture without all the added work. For a mom of twins who doesn’t have very much free time for cooking – that’s everything.

I took a glance at a few recipe combinations before making it my own. I knew that Shepard’s Pie with ground beef would be pretty straight forward, but the gravy-like mixture needed to be good. Rachel Ray has a great base for this (Rachel Ray’s Shepard’s Pie), but I made lots of changes and ultimately created…THIS:

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound (ish) – Ground Beef
  • 1 – medium/large Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 – medium Carrots, diced
  • 1 cup – Frozen Peas
  • ½ teaspoon – Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 cloves – Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons – Butter
  • “a pinch” – Celery Salt
  • “to taste” – Regular Salt
  • 2 tablespoons – All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup – Beef Broth
  • 2 ½ teaspoons – Worcestershire Sauce

…and for the Mashed Potatoes :

  • one 8 oz “Family Size” package – Instant Mashed Potatoes (quick & easy for the win! I ADORE the garlic kind)
    • OR two of the normal sized 4 oz packages will do just fine
  • 4 cups of water

Step 1

Brown the ground beef in a pan. Drain the excess fat, then return it to the pan.

Step 2

Add in your chopped onions, diced carrots, peas, red pepper flakes, pinch of celery salt, regular salt (to taste) and minced garlic to the cooked ground beef and stir together. Cover and let it all heat together at medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3

Meanwhile…gotta get yo gravy goin’! In a separate pan, whisk together the beef broth, flour,Worcestershire sauce and butter over medium high heat. Bring just to a boil while stirring continuously, then remove it from the heat and add the gravy to your ground beef mixture. Let this sit without heat while you jump into step 4. Also – now’s a good time to turn on your oven’s broiler to low heat.

Step 4

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Add the 8 oz package (or the two 4 oz packages) of powdered mashed potatoes and quickly stir it all together until it’s smooth. Within seconds you have gorgeous delicious garlicky mashed potatoes. Sooooooo easyyyy!

Step 5

In a casserole dish, layer the ground beef mixture first, then top it off with the mashed potatoes. Be sure to cover the ground beef completely with the mashed potatoes so that the ground beef mixture won’t bubble over and ruin the pristine potatoey topping. Pop that dish in the oven and broil it on low until it’s juuuust golden brown on the top. Let it cool a bit before serving, garnish with a little parsley on top, then serve it up!

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This dish is a total hit since the first night I made it. Some nights I made it without carrots, sometimes without peas. It’s super adjustable depending on what you have in stock. Hope y’all enjoy a slice, or 3, on an upcoming cold winter night! Be sure to comment/share if you give it a try. I’d love to see pics of your “pie”!

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

Yay for the Day

4:15 a.m. feeding, requested by cute Henry. I woke up sweet Emily to stay synced. Adored how sloth-like she was before totally downing her bottle like a champ. Neck hugs from both after diaper changes. “Night-night time” I whispered softly. I crawled back in bed around 5:00 a.m. Both up again at 7:00 a.m. Sweet boy hugged my side as I held him while making coffee. Added some honey and milk. Hmmmm, I adore my coffee. Sweet Emmy played quietly in her walker. She practiced turning the pages to “Goodnight Moon”.

My heart melts constantly for those two.

Watched as H & E looked in awe at our tree as I plugged in the lights. They are so amazed by our Christmas tree. We got it yesterday. Reminds me of how brand new everything is to them. Watched an episode of House Hunters during their bottle feeding. Cute colonial move-in-ready house for the win! Diaper changes led to putting them each in cute matching Christmas onesies. Photo op! Play-mat time by the tree. Emmy’s chit chat and constant curiosity. Henry’s energy and explosive smile.

Sean’s up! He took on a feeding while I make eggs & grits, my favorite. Sean showed me photography tips. Christmas music played in the background on Pandora.

Sean told me to go enjoy some “me time” which is everything to me. I love him so much. Threw my hair in a messy bun, boots + leggings + a LulaRoe top on. Zipped over to Starbucks in Owasso while listening to my favorite station “99.5 Big Country” on the radio. Elderly man behind me in line at Starbucks told me that his cell phone is difficult to navigate. I sympathized with him and he smiled with relief. I don’t really think cell phones are difficult to navigate…I just wanted to see him smile :). We told each other to have a great day.

Overcast sky turned to a really beautiful one. Did a few bloggyblog things as I sip my iced coffee with vanilla syrup (no classic for me!) and 2% milk. Answered some emails. Christmas music played throughout the store. Caught myself singing along quietly. I thought about how motherhood has made me care less about what other people think. I absolutely love that :).

Groceries then back home. Sean was watching football with the babies :).

Football doesn’t count when it comes to kids watching too much T.V.!

…he reminded me. I smiled and gave him a smooch. Bring on the football! He made us Triscuit nachos while I jumped in for the next bottle feeding.

Christmas cards ordered! Last feeding of the night. Downed their bottles and tried pureed peas. Henry was a fan. Emily…hilariously was not. Nursery room nighttime snuggles as a fam.

Glass of white wine. Quiet living room. Looked at our tree, candles, and sleeping lab.

Great day.

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!

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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

Yay for the Day

2:30am awoke and thought it was time for a bottle feeding, but sweet Emmy was just babbling in her sleep. Smiled and went back to sleep to the sound of “ahhdududu. Blabuuuu. BBbbbbaaah….”

Emily was ready for a 5am bottle feeding so I woke up Henry (gotta keep them synced!) and sweet boy just nestled into my nook. Both H & E held a finger/arm of mine while feeding. Huge smiles mid-diaper change in the dim lit nursery. Slow danced as I snuggled with each. One last snuggle before back to bed. 6am – crawled back in bed…I ADORE crawling back in bed 🙂

7am – both are stirring and I love the confidence of knowing that bottles are ready in the fridge. 1st sip of coffee…”hmmmmm.” Hubby helps with H & E. Bottle feeding while watching the news. Some decent things. Focusing on the good: Veterans Day. Heartfelt gratitude. Teared up as they shared this:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/military-fathers-goodnight-kiss-promise-43464186

Have been off of Facebook and Instagram for 48 hours and counting. Loving the break.

Group-text check in with the besties: one has a sweet outfit for work, one’s on her way to a weekend wedding, one is sick but heading home for some needed rest.

Read books to H & E. Watched as they played in their walkers as I cleaned up and prepared more formula and bottles. Heart melted as I glanced over and saw them discovering things.

Henry’s new voice this week steals my attention. It’s stronger and louder than before. Emily gets licked in the face by Stella (our yellow lab). They adore each other.

Apples introduced! Henry’s thoughtful and adorably unsure about the pureed apples. Emily is in heaven! She even giggled and went “mmm!”. Heart melted. They briefly napped as I cooked up some seasoned chicken for the week.

Long afternoon stroller walk. Slight chill but balanced by the most beautiful sunshine. Stopped by a sweet older man who asked about the twins. He has a twin sister himself. Told me he was one of 10 kids. I praised his mother and he smiled. He told Stella she was a good looking dog. Thanked him. Told me to have a blessed day, and I wished him the same. Carried on our walk. Both babies asleep from the walk. Came back and tidied up until Henry awoke. Henry listened to a story while I held him. Emily slept for 15 more minutes. Love having one-on-one time with each of them.

Tummy time ambition. Snuggles after meltdowns. Tickling both in exchange for giggles.

Wrote long overdue thank you notes while they played and kicked in their pack & play. Back and forth babble.

Hubby watched both babies as I made dinner. I’m in love with making dinner uninterrupted. Poured a glass of red while dancing around the kitchen. Apple chicken sausage over seasoned, shredded brussel sprouts with sliced cherry tomatoes. Total hit.

Final feeding after 3 more books read. Where The Wild Things Are, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Emily listened beautifully. Henry tried 🙂

PJ’s and giggles. Family time in the nursery. I signed on to FB juuuust for a LuLaRoe live sale – couldn’t resist.

Great day.

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Chili + Cheesy Grits

The weather here in Oklahoma is finally getting chilly! I’m so excited to be slow-cookin my way into cooler weather these days. As my patience for reading through recipes gets slimmer (’cause……twins!) I find myself throwing ingredients together in a mad dash between entertaining and feeding two babies. Sometimes my ‘lil on-the-spot meal creations fail. But every once in awhile……they WIN!

I’ve got a winner for ya.

I’ve noticed that most people don’t put a base of some sort underneath their chili when it’s served. Well, my sweet southern belle of a mama raised me differently. Mom would typically cook up some white rice and use that as a base for the chili and it was deeee-lish! But recently I got the inspiration to use cheesy grits as a heavenly little platform instead.

Y’all.

Oh my gosh.

It was pure heaven.

I made this on Sunday afternoon, stored it in the fridge (where it only continued to grow more and more delicious), then by Monday afternoon I was ready for a hearty lunch. I came home from taking the twins with me to Target and they were still asleep in their car seats. WIN! I whipped up some grits, added freshly grated cheese, topped the dish with chili, then more cheese for the garnish, and then…The Hallelujah Chorus broke into song. It was delicious, hearty, and good for my tired mama soul. Do you have a tired soul these days? I highly recommend trying this recipe. Your soul and stomach will thank you.

Here’s the lineup:

For the chili…

  • 1 pound (or so) – Ground Beef
  • 1 – Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 13 cup – beer (whatever you have, but a full bodied beer is best!)
  • 2 cups – Marinara Sauce
  • 1 can – Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can – Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 can – Pinto Beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons – Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon – Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons – Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons – Italian Seasoning Mix
  • 2 teaspoons – Salt
  • 1teaspoon – Cayenne Pepper

6o9c9738For the grits…

  • 1cup – Quick Grits
  • 1 cup – Water
  • 1 tablespoon – Butter
  • 1cup – Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (mostly for the grits, the rest for the garnish)
  • Salt – to taste

Step 1

Combine all of the dry seasonings (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, italian seasoning mix, salt, and cayenne pepper) into a small dish, then set aside until Step 3.

Step 2

Cook the ground beef in a skillet so that it’s just browned. Drain the excess fat, then return the ground beef to the stove.

Step 3

Add dry seasonings to skillet, coating the browned ground beef. Be sure to turn the heat to low.

Step 4

Pour the seasoned ground beef into the slow cooker. Add the following: raw coarsely chopped yellow onions (I don’t recommend cooking the onions with the ground beef in step 2 because it gives a slight crunch to the chili – loved it!), drained pinto and kidney beans, diced tomatoes, beer, and marinara sauce. Stir well to combine all that gloriousness.

Step 5

Set it and forget it, y’all! Set it on high, and stir occasionally if you have time. 2 to 3 hours later your home will smell heavenly.

Step 6

Once the chili is ready you can get the instant grits going in a saucepan. First, boiling your 1 cup of water, then add the grits, salt (to your taste), and butter. Be sure to stir this well to avoid clumps. Then…the cheese! Stir the shredded cheese into your grits. Add enough cheese until it tastes just right for you.

Step 7

Layer the cheesy grits first, then the chili, then some more shredded cheese for garnish.

Enjoyyyy!

6o9c9774

 

6o9c9785

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.

~~~

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