Saturday, August 18, 2012

{Live and Learn}: Baby Registry

I am often asked by new expecting moms, 
"What were your favorite baby products that you registered for?"
This question always leads into more questions, and before I know it, I'm helping them register.  {Which is fine by me, because I LOVE helping expecting moms prepare as they anticipate the arrival of their sweet bundles of joy.} Plus, Babies R Us might be the most overwhelming store for expecting parents.  In fact, the first time McDaddy and I went to register, the only thing we put on our registry were car seats! So, for those expecting mamas and daddys out there,
here are a few of my favorite things:
(Moms of Multiples: I put an * by the items that you probably need more than one of.)

BIG Items:

  • * Infant Car Seat: Graco SnugRide 
  • Stroller: Graco Travel System Stroller (for Singletons) or Graco DuoGlider (for Twins)


  • Convertible Car Seat: Britax Marathon

  • * Graco Pack n' Play

  • Swing: Graco Silhouette Swing (We had one upstairs & one downstairs)

  • * Bouncer: Fisher Price Deluxe Infant to Toddler Rocker

  • Play Mat: Baby Einstein Activity Gym

  • ExerSaucer: Baby Einstein Activity Saucer

  • Pampers Diapers
  • Pampers or Kirkland Brand Wipes
  • Diaper Genie & LOTS of Refills: 1 for each changing location (upstairs/downstairs)
  • Diaper Cream: A+D Ointment and Desitin Cream
  • Carter's Lap Pads
  • Diaper Bag: I found that a book bag was MUCH easier to carry while also carrying a kiddo or two than a shoulder bag

  • Carter's Hooded Towels
  • Carter's Washcloths
  • Johnson & Johnson Tear Free Shampoo
  • Suave Detangling Spray
  • Bath Toy Storage: Boon Frog or Bug Pod 
  • Safety 1st No Tears Rinse Cup
  • Bath Sponge Cushion: We owned 2 baby bath tubs, but we found it SIGNIFICANTLY easier to bathe and clean up using the bath sponge cushion.

  • * Highchair: Fisher Price Space Saver
  • * Traveling High Chair/Booster: Fisher Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster
  • The First Years Sippy Cups (without the stopper inside)
  • Gerber Soft Bite Spoons
  • Gerber Graduates Forks & Spoons
  • The First Years Take & Toss Forks & Spoons
  • Plates & Bowls: Target dollar section are our favorites
  • "Top 100 Baby Food Purees" by Annabel Karmel
  • Baby Food and Breast Milk Trays (for freezing homemade food or pumped milk)
  • Boppy or My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: 1 for each feeding location (upstairs/downstairs)
  • Medela Pump in Style Double Breast Pump
  • Medela Freezing & Storage Set
  • Nursing Cover: Bebe au Lait Chateau
  • Gerber Burp Cloths
  • Bottle & Nipple Brush 
  • Munchkin Snack Catchers
  • Bibs: Carter's Teething Bibs
  • Bibs: Mullins Square Toddler Bibs
  • Scale: Health-O-Meter Grow with Me Baby and Toddler Scale: For all breastfeeding moms: this is a MUST especially if you have a preemie or a struggling eater.  1 oz of weight gained = 1 oz of breast milk consumed. It's easy to know how much a baby gets from a bottle, but nursing moms have no clue how much their babies are actually receiving.  Weighing before and after will tell you!

  • Baby Monitor: Sony 900 MHz BabyCall Monitors
  • Conair Infant Sound Machine: One of the greatest sleeping suggestions that was given to me by a mom of triplets - cranking up the sound machine while babies sleep to block out any noise going on elsewhere in the house.  We prefer the "Ocean" setting as the "White Noise" setting drives me a little batty.  I have found that the "Ocean" or "White Noise" sounds are the most soothly to an infant.  All four McMinis still sleep with their "Oceans" at night.  
  • Fitted Crib Sheets: (2 sets per crib)
  • Sheet Savers: (2 sets per crib) It's my absolute favorite item.  It's a sheet with a built in waterproof backing.  Imagine trying to change a crib sheet in the middle of the night if a baby has an accident or gets sick... not fun!  The sheet savers are a single sheet that lay on top of the fitted sheet and snap onto the railings of the crib. You just unsnap and take it off without having to take off the bumper, pull out the mattress, and strip it down. Seriously, brilliant!
  • Carter's Receiving Blankets
  • "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD: Seriously, one of the best investments we made - especially for McDaddy.  The video is presented by a doctor that provides five things that you can do to calm a baby; he calls them the five S's.  Swaddling is one of the S's.  In my opinion, it's worth purchasing the Carter's receiving blankets over other brands, because they are rectangular (opposed to square) and larger than the other brands which makes swaddling a million times easier. 

  • Thermometer: Braun Ear Thermometer (LOVE LOVE LOVE!) I can take the McMinis' temp while they are sleeping within seconds and without waking them up. 
  • Safety 1st Nail Clippers for Manicure Mondays 
  • Safety 1st Perfect Fit Gates
  • Moby Wrap Baby Carrier
  • C.R. Gibson Loose Leaf Baby Memory Book: There are several different styles of baby memory books these days.  This collection of baby books are my FAVORITE because they are actually a binder that you can add more pages or keepsakes to (and remove pages that don't apply to you.)
  • Lovies: Angel Dear Blankies
  • * Eddie Bauer Car Seat Protector
  • * Eddie Bauer Car Mirror
  • Johnson & Johnson's Safety Swabs (Q-Tips)
  • Oral-B Training Toothpaste
  • Oral-B Infant Toothbrush
I'm sure I have left something off the list, so if you have a question about a certain item or would like to share your favorite baby items, please feel free to leave a comment below.  :)

**Please note, there are hundreds of baby items out there and more than one way or method to take care of your baby.  These are just some things that have been helpful to us.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

{McMini Life}: Road Trip!

I disappeared from the blogging world due to all the summer fun we've been packing into the last 12 weeks.  I cannot believe that summer is officially coming to an end, and next week, McONE and McTWO start school!  I'm working on all kinds of fun after school activities for the McMinis that I can't wait to share!  Until then, check out one of my favorite road trip projects from this summer:

"I Spy..." Scavenger Hunt

We spent several hours in the car traveling across several states.  In preparation for the long car trips, I packed activities for McONE and McTWO to make the long trip more manageable.  My favorite activity came from  She created the CUTEST activities for car trips. While the McMinis aren't old enough for all of her wonderful ideas, I did fall in LOVE with this one.

I made 2 sets of the "I Spy..." scavenger hunt; one for McONE and one for McTWO.  They spent hours "spying" the items on the sheet and cheered every time they found one and covered it with the "Tic Tac Tokens".  

Here's how I adapted her free "I Spy... Bingo" PDF into a magnetic game for McONE and McTWO.  
1) Print the free "I Spy... Bingo" PDF
2) Laminate
3) Attach to a cookie sheet (I found this one at the Dollar store) with hot glue or double sided tape
4) Download "Tic Tac Tokens"
5) Insert as a picture into your favorite word processor & resize to 1" tall
6) Copy and paste the image until you have at least 25 tokens (I printed 30 in case we lost some!)
7) Laminate "Tic Tac Tokens"
8) Cut & attach to magnets (I bought business card sheet magnets & cut to size)
9) ENJOY!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

{McMini Life}: McMiniville

 Last winter, we spent a great deal of time in our basement playroom.  Consequently, I spent a fair amount of time picking up toys off the playroom floor.  

When we first set up the playroom, I grouped several Ikea Trofast shelves together like this:
Ikea created a brilliant design with these shelves.  The shelving unit contains several grooves that allow their plastic Trofast storage boxes to slide right into the shelving unit.  It makes it easy to pull out a specific activity bucket and play with the contents {anywhere in the playroom}.  Most importantly, it creates an easy organization system that allows for easy clean-up.

On one particular day, I decided that it would probably be easier to clean up the playroom if I changed the set-up.  Instead of having all of the toy storage in one location of the room, I moved them around to create centers.  

Creating centers quickly cranked up my creative juices and "centers" quickly turned into a "village"!

Welcome to McMiniville!!

The Market:

Canvas grocery bags

The Deli:

The Kitchen:

The Repair Shop:

The Lumber Yard:
Collection of building blocks

The Train Depot:
Collection of trains {including McOne & McTwo's beloved Thomas!}

The Garage:
Collection of cars and trucks

The Post Office:

Coming soon: {Oh, Pinterest} posts on how we created several aspects of McMiniville including the awnings, the post office, and much more!!

{Live and Learn}: T is for Tub

With four little McMinis, I not only struggled with preventing battle wounds, I also struggled with keeping track of the last time each kiddo had a bath.  I know.  Sounds terrible.  

When McThree and McFour were teeny tiny, bathing them once a day was too much for their delicate skin.  So, I created T is for Tub days!  Tuesday, Thursday, and SaTurday are the only three days of the week that contain the letter "t".  Conveniently enough, they are also spaced out every other day of the week!

{Live and Learn}: Manicure Monday

When McThree and McFour were teeny tiny, I lost track of tasks such as the trimming of my children's nails.  Granted, I was quickly reminded that this task had been neglected when one of the McMinis' fingernails scratched any piece of exposed flesh, but I needed a way to remind myself to complete this task before I was left with battle wounds.   The solution: Manicure Mondays.

It's difficult not to sing "It's just another manic Monday..." while trimming 80 little nails.

{Filterless People}: Hobby Lobby

When McOne and McTwo were around 9 months old, we went on an adventure to Hobby Lobby.  While standing at the fabric counter, I encountered the following conversation with an employee:

Employee: {Pointing to the boys}, are they yours?
Me: Yes ma'am.
Employee: How old are they?
Me: 9 months old.
Employee: Oh, they're twins?
Me: Yes ma'am.
Employee: I told my husband if we had twins we were going to treat them like a litter of puppies; we'd keep the best and get rid of the rest.
Me: {Starring in disbelief}

Meanwhile, another customer walks up with her two elementary age children.

Employee: Having two at a time sure must be the best form of birth control. 
Daughter of other customer: Mommy, what is birth control?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

McThree and McFour

When McOne and McTwo were almost 20 months old, I found out I was pregnant again.  McDaddy and I talked early on about wanting to have four children.  We even discussed the possibility of having three biological children and then adopting.  Little did we know that I apparently only reproduce in multiples. 

This time around, McOne and McTwo did all of the announcing.  Just like the first pregnancy, McDaddy jumped up and down, danced around the house, and cried tears of joy when he saw McOne and McTwo sporting “Big Brother”shirts. 

I had a gut feeling that I was pregnant with twins, again, but I didn’t let anyone know.  McDaddy joined me for the ultrasound where we were greeted by the same sweet ultrasound tech that announced that McOne and McTwo were twins.  I couldn’t help but think that maybe she would announce that “Nugget” was actually twins, too.  She asked about McOne and McTwo as we started the scan, but the banter quickly halted. We all stared in silence at the screen. McDaddy and I saw what seemed like millions of ultrasounds with McOne and McTwo, and while we have never been trained in reading the scans, we are pretty skilled in this area now.  We all saw it: two sweet little baby blobs.  McDaddy was the first to speak: “There’s two of them.  Like one, two.”  After the shock wore off, McDaddy was excited again to be welcoming McThree and McFour.  I was ecstatic!!  Twins have a very unique bond.  I believed it before we had McOne and McTwo, but I had watched the two of them become inseparable.  I had witnessed two brothers become best friends.  It’s amazing to watch, and honestly, I worried that a singleton baby might feel left out of the special bond.  Not only had God heard my deepest desire of having twins, He blessed us with two sets of them!  I feel like the luckiest lady in the world. 

At 15 weeks, we found out that “Nugget” and “Small Fry” were a boy and a girl!  This time around, I managed to sneak four ribbons into my purse before the appointment: two “It’s a Boy!” and two “It’s a Girl!”  Dearest friends and family members received the following text just moments after we found out the genders of McThree and McFour. 

One round of kidney stones later and some at home bed-rest, we welcomed McThree and McFour into the world at almost 35 weeks gestation.  Again, my heart overflowed with joy as I heard my sweet babies first cries and I laid eyes on their sweet little bodies.  What a blessed mama I am. 

McOne and McTwo

After a few years of marriage, McDaddy and I were ready to add a little one to the mix.  I’ll never forget the moment I found out I was pregnant for the first time.  Tears of joy streamed down my face as I stared at a pink plus sign.  My brain immediately began racing to a creative way to tell McDaddy.  That evening, McDaddy jumped up and down, danced around the house, and cried tears of joy when he found a sweet “My Daddy Loves Me” onsie and Willow Tree “New Daddy” sculpture. 

Fast forward a few weeks, we anxiously sat in the ultrasound room to see our sweet “Peanut” for the first time.  The ultrasound tech was very excited for us and animatedly chatted about the procedure and what she was looking for while she started the scan.  She quickly became quiet when she revealed not one, but two tiny little baby blobs on the screen.  She paused for a moment.  I am, by no means, an expert at reading ultrasounds, but I was fairly confident that I saw two babies.  The ultrasound tech and I made eye contact.  She’s either very skilled at reading minds, or it was written all over my face and in the depth of my eyes.  She nodded her head before announcing, “You’re having twins!”  It was like finding out your pregnant all over again.  At first, you question reality almost daring someone to pinch you.  For me, it was the Lord granting the very deepest desire of my heart.  Not only was I going to be a mom, but I was going to be the mom of twins.  Since we were already calling our little one “Peanut”, McDaddy lovingly named our baby B “Goober”.

At 14 weeks, we found out that “Peanut” and “Goober” were boys!  One round of kidney stones, four weeks of hospitalized bed-rest, and one false labor later, McOne and McTwo entered the world at 35 weeks gestation.  I will never forget how distinctively different their cries were, how delicate their little bodies were, and how full my heart felt to have two little boys to call mine.  

{Confession One}: I LOVE Twins!

Since I was a little girl, I knew my heart longed to be married to a wonderful man.  My heart also longed to be a mama of children, more specifically, a mama of twins.  I remember praying for twins when I was a little girl.  For Christmas one year, Santa brought me Mattel Magic Nursery TRIPLETS!  I was in heaven!  Seriously, those baby dolls went with me EVERYWHERE.  If I only knew… 

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will grant you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

Monday, February 27, 2012

Welcome to McMiniville!

For several years, I’ve considered creating a blog to capture the crazy adventure that is raising two sets of twins.  People often ask, “How do you do it?”  To that, I don’t ever have a great answer.  I love my life.  I love my husband. I love our children.  Are some days tough?  Absolutely.  But I find absolute joy in being a wife and mom.  I’ve learned a few tricks that have made life easier.  I’ve found ways to laugh in moments where complete chaos breaks loose.  I’ve found ways to let my creative juices go CrAzY!  And most importantly, I continually find corners of my heart that I never knew existed filled with overwhelming joy from my sweet family.

Since this blog has been in production {within my brain} for several years, there are five basic themes that seem to be pretty consistent in my life:
  •  {Live and Learn}: Tricks that I’ve learned along the way {sometimes even the hard way} that have simplified my life.
  • {Filterless People}: Funny experiences with strangers.
  • {Confessions}: Funny experiences that happen with my children.  Often, these are experiences that I SWORE would never happen. Never.Say.Never.
  • {Oh, Pinterest}: DIY Pinterest worthy projects.
  • {McMini Life}: Life as a McMini. Everything from McMini chores to fun activities.   
Thanks for joining me on the crazy adventure that is life. I pray that this blog may be helpful to other moms that are trying to make the most of being a wife and a mom.