Around the time that Henry & Emily began taking their first steps, I realized it was time to tackle a few new steps of my own. That was both the plan and promise I made to myself after delivering my two cutiepies; “Baby steps, before Babies’ Steps“. So once it was time to take “The Next Step” for my fitness goals I registered for the 2017 Route 66 Half-Marathon!
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?!
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.
For those of you who follow this blog from time to time, I’m a day late on this special list! Sorry ’bout that. I was just having too much fun on my birthday yesterday. I ate chocolate cake for breakfast. I snuggled with my family. I laughed a ton. I met The Pioneer Woman’s daughter, Paige. I met sweet strangers from all over Oklahoma who also came to visit “The Mercantile” in Pawhuska. I bought myself a pair of earrings, far too much coffee, and a t-shirt. I sipped wine and laughed at dinner with my sweet hubby, my favorite person, while devouring sushi at Akira Sushi here in Owasso. I was also left SO grateful from the love and well wishes that poured out from my sweet friends and family all day.
It was a perfect birthday. My heart is so full.
Now, in full “Kath fashion”, I’m sharing a list of the beautiful and random things I adore. The rules are that the list matches my age, so 33 things. Order doesn’t matter. Just things that make me happy. It’s that simple. Things that make me smile just as I did in this happy picture to the right, the day my besties visited Tulsa (photo cred to my girl & fellow mama, Christine Joiner!). I just feel like this photo screams “It’s my BIRTHDAY!”
Here we go:
- Popcorn popped over the stove
- The first cup of coffee in the morning
- The comfort of family and friends
- A fire in the fire pit, blanket on my lap, glass of wine, and lots of laughter
- A slow drive through the countryside
- Sipping white wine outside in the summer watching the sunset
- Sipping red wine inside in the winter watching a movie…or reality t.v.
- Henry’s jovial spirit bursting from his wide open smile
- Emily’s gorgeous face, especially the way her eyes light up when she smiles
- Sean’s incredible love for our family
- Remembering that my happiness is my choice
- When Stella falls asleep on my lap
- Chamomile tea before bed
- Anything on HGTV
- Seeing my running pace drop each week
- How having “me time” makes me a better mama
- The relief of a changing season
- Date nights with my hubby (my favorite person)
- Making both Henry and Emily laugh at the same time
- How Henry loves to give hugs
- How Emily squeals with joy and smiles when I get right up in her face
- Steak. Medium rare.
- Bacon and coffee on a Saturday/Sunday morning
- Hearing anyone say, “It’s my birthday!”
- When you can tell that someone is 100% focused on your conversation
- Perseverance and hard work for something you really want
- The power of positive reflection
- A chocolate milkshake & fries tossed in Old Bay
- Old classics on vinyl playing on a rainy day
- Having time for a shower (fellow mamas will especially understand this one)
You’re up! What are your favorite things? Make a list! Feel free to share a few in the comments below. Consider it a belated bday present for me!
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!
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!
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.
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 ;).
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:
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.
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.
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!