Category: Twin Tuesday

5 ways to survive your first winter with twins! – Twin Tuesday

Today, we are officially over halfway through January and so begins the time of the year that I slowly start to lose my mind from being inside all the time. πŸ˜‰Β  December is always full of fun with Christmas activities and seasonal temperatures but January, February and most of March (if you are in the Midwest like we are) can be tortuous. This year we have already had a bunch of windchill warnings and have another one issued for tonight, which makes getting out of the house to do anything with young children very difficult! They are too little to understand why they have to keep their hats and mittens on at all times and cannot express to you if they are cold or what body part may be exposed to the temperatures. As they get older, it gets much better but those first few years can be really difficult! Especially when you have twins!

When our twins were born premature in late September, before we were discharged the NICU doctors recommended to me that we keep them away from people and at home as much as possible during the next few months. It was daunting to think about the winter ahead stuck in the house all the time!

Today’s Twin Tuesday is all about how to survive your twin’s first winter. Because that first one is HARD. If you can survive the first one, you can do anything momma. Here are 5 things we did to make it through the winter with our infant twins.

 

Accept the realities

Our oldest son was born in January, so I didn’t have to go back to work until spring. We snuggled in and barely left the house his first few months of life. Since we didn’t have any other small children at home, we were all able to stay healthy during the traditional cold and virus season. Fast-forward to December right before he turned one and all 3 of us caught every single cold and virus that went through his day care. We were sick all the time his first real winter. I was super concerned and mentioned it to our pediatrician who said “Oh yes. A baby’s first winter, they get sick all the time. Don’t worry. It builds immunity.” And that was that. The same was true with our second baby’s first winter but I knew what to expect and didn’t sweat it.

I was more concerned though when we brought our premie twins home who had a much less mature immune system than our older two did facing their first winter. Our pediatrician warned me that we had to accept the reality that with two other children at home the odds of them not getting sick at all were slim. She told us to expect common colds but to call her if they had a fever or had trouble breathing.

Basically, we did our best. We kept the older boys away from them when they had a cold. We washed our hands like crazy and we limited visitors (and made them wash their hands too!). I was breastfeeding on demand and I felt comforted that would help them fight whatever they were exposed to also. They each got a small cold or two but nothing that concerned us or that I hadn’t expected.

Expect that your twins will probably get sick. Do the best you can to limit their exposure to germs and follow the advice of your pediatrician when they do. Try to appreciate that anything they do get will increase their immunity and hopefully make all future cold and virus seasons easier on all of you!

 

Find some inside activities outside your house

When the cold winter days seemed endless, I would sometimes pack up the babies and go walking at the mall before it opened to shoppers. It was pretty dead early in the morning so there wasn’t anyone wanting to touch the babies or get close to their faces (as strangers feel they need to do). Josh and I would also on the weekends sometimes take everyone to a local indoor Sports Complex on off hours just to get everyone out of the house. The older boys would watch whatever high school sport was being played while I walked around with the babies in the stroller. Again, no crowds so no people trying to stop me and get a look at the babies.

 

I loved using these car seat covers instead of having to dress the babies in thick coats inside their car seats. I would dress them normally in long sleeves, pants and a hat with a lightweight blanket and this cover. In the car and at our destination, I would unzip the sides of the cover so they didn’t get too warm. I was amazed at how nice and warm it kept them!

 

Attempt to get out without the babies

I know it’s hard, but attempting to get out of the house without the babies is extra important during the winter months of being constantly stuck inside. I find that if I’m not conscious of getting out of the house (even now!) it can really get me down. Mental health is so important with brand new babies and it’s difficult to be stuck inside without sunshine or interaction all day. You could plan for your significant other to keep the babies for a bit while you meet a friend, go grocery shopping, grab a book from the library or run some errands! It makes such a huge difference.

 

Enjoy the drive

When my twins were infants, the car was kind of our happy place. Sometimes they would nap, sometimes they wouldn’t but they were almost always quiet. We would go for drives in the winter for a change of scenery. I would listen to the radio or a podcast and sometimes I would stop for coffee at a drive-through. A drive for 30 minutes of the day did wonders for my outlook on being stuck inside!

 

Find a routine inside your home

I’ve always been a person who thrives on routine and I found when we were stuck inside that was even more the case. When we couldn’t leave the house, it helped to have a routine of even moving rooms of the house at the same time every day. For example, maybe we would start the day doing tummy time in the family room for awhile, then move upstairs while they played with a few toys in their bouncers and I folded laundry, then read books in the kitchen as I got lunch ready, etc. It seemed like so much work to move them from room to room but it gave us a purpose for our day and something to do. I still do a version of this with our two year old twins during the winter!

 

Don’t forget. You will make it through this too and it’s okay to count down the days until spring!

 

You can find more Twin Tuesday posts here!

 

6 tips to help you through your baby’s time in the NICU – Twin Tuesday

About a month ago, I included my feelings on World Prematurity Day in my November WUW post. Looking at those pictures brought back so many memories of that time in our lives and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! Today the older boys and I made some Christmas cards to send to families with babies currently in the NICU. I know firsthand how isolating it can feel when life goes on around you but you feel just stuck and helpless. These families and sweet babies are in my prayers this holiday season.

 

 

Thinking so much these past few weeks about our experience after our twins were born gave me today’s Twin Tuesday post. I’m going to share the things we learned while we were there that helped us get through our experience in the NICU. While our babies were only there for a short time in comparison to babies born much earlier, I hope that the things we learned will help other mommas facing a similar situation. Please know that you are NOT alone. This is part of my Twin Tuesday series but whether you have one baby or two or more, this is for you!

 

 

It’s okay to not be okay.

I woke up the morning before our babies were born at 35w4d with no signs of labor, assuming that they were in the same optimal position they had been in to try a vaginal birth. I went to work just like always and around 11:00, I just started feeling weird. I worked at a hospital so I walked over to labor and delivery just in case. Our babies were born via c-section and whisked away from me for emergency medical care accompanied by my husband by 2:25pm. I was so completely unprepared for every moment of that almost 3 1/2 hours.

Now, coming down from post-partum twin hormones is NO joke paired with struggling to come to terms with an unexpected c-section and the fact that my babies were not with me. I spent the first few days in pretty much constant tears. My twins were my third and fourth babies so I knew how to be a mom and I knew what to do after my babies were born. But this situation was so far out of my control, I literally just didn’t know what to do. It was really, really hard.

It wasn’t until weeks later after our babies were home that I was talking to one of my neighbors and she innocently asked how I was doing with everything. I said I was doing “just fine!” through tears. (Lies. ALL lies.) She said “It’s okay to grieve the birth experience you thought you would have. It’s okay.” And I realized then that’s exactly what it was.

I was so sad that the birth my doctor and I had hoped for went out the window with no warning. I was so sad that I wasn’t able to be the first one to hold my babies after they were born. I was so sad that I didn’t get to place them on my chest and look at their tiny fingers. Yes, I was unbelievably grateful for the immediate care they received. Those doctors literally saved their lives. But it was okay to grieve the loss of the birth and the days following that I had hoped for. If you have those feelings too – it’s okay to grieve that loss.

 

Ask questions!

When members of your health care team are in the room, ask your questions! If they say something you don’t understand, ask. If you don’t know what one of the monitors or machines do, ask! It’s incredibly intimidating to walk into a room full of machines helping your baby but understanding what they each did helped me feel better.

I became overwhelmed with all the different stats they would collect and possible problems they would find on a daily basis. We found it so helpful to be in the room when the healthcare team came around for rounds so that we could hear the report and know what questions to ask.Β  I became close with one of the residents on our team and asked her to explain what each thing meant and what that potential problem or success would mean for us. It helped me process what was going on and feel more involved in their care.

Mom as much as you can

For the first few days when I would visit Reid, I mostly sat in a chair and watched him. It was such a weird feeling to have to ask someone else for permission to hold your own child. One of the night nurses asked me if I wanted to change his diaper but I was nervous about all the cords and monitors. She taught me how to move everything properly and how to hold him when I wanted to. She said that as nurses they love when parents get involved and honestly, I didn’t know I could! From then on, I changed his diaper whenever we were there, Josh or I tried to be there for every feeding and I cuddled him every chance I got.

I immediately started feeling like his mother again doing those simple tasks to care for him. It helped us bond and helped my mindset so much. Certainly it depends what level NICU your child is at but ask the nurses what you can do to help. Ask them to teach you!

 

Take care of yourself

I know this one is hard. I sucked at it. Try to remember to take care of yourself too. Drink water. Eat something that isn’t donuts. Take a breath for a few minutes. Rest when you can – especially if you’ve had a c-section. Your healthcare team is there for you. Trust them to take care of your babies when you leave the hospital or try to get some rest. Our hospital had a phone number that we could call to check on our babies or tell them that we would be there for the next feeding. Ask if your hospital has something like that.

You have babies to take care of but you can’t do it running on empty all the time. You’re a better momma and better able to handle this emotional situation when you take care of yourself too.

 

Take advantage of family programs

Our NICU offered a lounge for parents with good snacks, couches and a tv. They had signs for support groups, free meals and they would give you a free pass for the parking garage. We didn’t know about some of these things until Reid was almost discharged so ASK! If your hospital offers some of these things, don’t be afraid to use them. In these difficult situations, every tiny helping hand makes a difference.

 

Allow other people in

Having your brand new baby in the NICU can be all consuming and no one really understands what it is like until faced with that situation. I found it exhausting to explain the details to anyone what was going on so I just didn’t. I thought it would be easier but in the end it was actually incredibly isolating. By not letting anyone in on what was going on, I had to bear the burden and stress alone.

When Luke was released to come home and was having trouble gaining weight, my doctor talked about him being readmitted to the hospital. I reached a total breaking point and called my mom to unload. It helped me so much that I started calling her multiple times a day when we would have updates. It’s not like she could really do anything to make the situation better but just knowing someone else was thinking about us and praying for the specific problem changed everything for me.

Let people in. Lean on your spouse and support system and try to talk about how you are feeling. They can’t completely understand but having people in your corner makes a big difference.

That’s Twin Tuesday for today! There is so many things on my prayer list these days, but those strong NICU mama bears are sure towards the top.

 

For more Twin Tuesday topics, check out:

How to live life with newborn twins

How to include older siblings when you have infant twins

Preparing for your twins

 

Best Twin Mom Gift Ideas – Gift Guide

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to see my full disclosure statement.

 

Happy Twin Tuesday! In honor of Black Friday this week, I thought I would put together a Gift Guide for Twin Moms! All of these are perfect for new or experienced twin mamas in the trenches!

 

Enesco Legacy of Love Twins Figurine – My mother-in-law got me a figurine similar to this one the Christmas after my twins were born. It touched me so much and is still one of my very favorite things I own. This is one is so beautiful and a thoughtful gift for any twin mama.

 

Twin Mom Shirt – I love cute funny t-shirts that make you give you that ‘trying but not trying’ type of look. These adorable choices are my picks!

 

Starbucks Coffee Sampler Gift Basket – I have yet to meet a twin mom who doesn’t use coffee as her superpower! This is a perfect fun gift for an exhausted, coffee loving momma!

 

Twin Mom Fuel Travel Coffee Mug – I love this adorable coffee mug from SweetPSisters on Etsy. Cute and full of glitter. I don’t think I need to say more. πŸ˜‰

 

Jesus Calling – Raising twins is one of life’s greatest blessings, but it’s also sometimes difficult and exhausting. I love Jesus Calling as a daily devotional for encouragement and reminders of gratitude in the every day. Twin moms in the trenches don’t have a lot of time that is their own during the day but these daily devotionals are the perfect length for a few stolen moments of quiet.

 

Peas in a Pod Necklace – This necklace from NYMetals on Etsy is a sweet reminder of our two ‘peas in a pod’! I love how this is small enough and totally neutral to wear with anything!

 

Because Twins Wine Glass -I’m not sure this one even needs an explanation. πŸ˜‰ Pair this with a bottle of your favorite wine and you have the perfect gift!

 

Chenille Throw BlanketΒ  – It’s so easy as a mother to forget to find time for self care! This cozy blanket is a perfect gift for a twin mom when she finds a few minutes at the end of the day to curl up with a good book or tv show and finally relax!

 

If you’re shopping for a mom expecting twins, check out my twin tuesday post: 10 Twin Pregnancy Must-Haves!

Find all my Twin Tuesday posts here!

 

 

Twin Tuesday – Finding Time with your Spouse

 

Happy Twin Tuesday everyone!

 

 

I’ve talked a lot about how to take care of yourself with newborn twins and how to include older siblings. This week’s topic is all about finding (actually more like making) time with your spouse. It’s so easy in the chaos of life with twins or young children to put our relationships on the back burner and focus on surviving. Josh and I have definitely struggled during different seasons of life with our children to find time for each other.

I wrote a post for Twiniversity last week on 5 Simple Ways to Keep the Spark Alive in Your Marriage. I wrote this post from our perspective of having twins but it absolutely applies to any couple in the trenches of raising children in any number ;). I hope you will go read it and come back here and let me know other ways that work for you to keep your marriage strong!

 

Popular Twin Tuesday Posts:

The Best Children’s Books About Twins

What you actually need two of when expecting twins

How to make birthdays unique and special for twins

 

Keep up with us on Instagram here!

 

10 Favorite Meals to Bring to New Moms

Inside: Want to bring a meal to a new mom but don’t know what to bring? This post has you covered. Read on to find 10 easy, delicious and satisfying meal ideas that new parents and older siblings will love!

 

Happy Tuesday everyone! We survived Monday so already the week is looking up. πŸ˜‰

 

 

This week’s Twin Tuesday is a collection of some of my favorite meals to bring to new moms. After our twins were born, we were so grateful to our neighbors and friends who showered us with meals the first couple of weeks we were home from the hospital. I really don’t know what I would have done without them, I was barely holding it together with two newborns just back from the NICU.

Josh and I could have survived on take out and cold cereal but our older boys needed the stability of warm, family dinners when everything else was crazy. (I mentioned this and other tips in my post on how to help your older kids transition to life with two brand new babies.) Knowing how much of a comfort it was to us to not have to worry about dinner, I love to bring meals to friends who have just had babies.

 

 

I’ve put together a list of 10 of my favorite meals to bring to new moms. They are all easy to put together and delicious, so you won’t go wrong with any of these choices!

 

A couple extra tips I learned from being on the other side:

  1. Bring your meal in a disposable foil container. It’s easy to reheat in the same container AND that exhausted new mama does not have to worry about washing and returning your container.
  2. Bring an easy and fresh side to go with the main dish. When we were running back and forth to the NICU and finally when both our babies got home, I truly had not even seen a fruit or vegetable in weeks. It sounds terrible, but our lives were in total chaos so we lived off hospital food and granola bars in true survival mode. A couple of our sweet neighbors brought over meals with bagged salad, carrots and dip and a fruit salad. I swear, those fresh fruits and veggies were a complete lifesaver for us and our older kids.
  3. If your meal needs condiments, bring it with just in case they don’t have it!
  4. Make something that can be easily be stuck in the freezer and reheated if they have a full fridge or dinner plans.
  5. Do NOT try to stay or get in to see those babies (or baby). I was so,so grateful for meals that people brought but I have to say that people that also wanted to come in to see my babies that had just gotten home from the NICU (while I was nursing and trying to hold everything together) was so stressful. Drop off your meal, offer congratulations and mention that you would love to come visit once things have settled down.

 

Click the link or photo below to find each of the delicious recipes!

 

1.) This Easy Taco Casserole from Eating on a Dime is a huge hit in our family. Whenever I make this to take to someone, I always make one for our family too! I usually bring a bag of tortilla chips and a small jar of salsa with this one.

 

2) I’ve made these Chicken Parmesan Sliders from Homemade Interest several times and have always had a great response. Plus, this is seriously the easiest recipe listed here! Assemble in a foil container, bake and deliver!

 

3) Another family favorite of ours, this Lazy Girl’s Ravioli Lasagna from Iowa Girl Eats is easy to put together and looks like you did way more work than you actually did!

 

4) I’ve already raved about this one but this Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese from Brown Eyed Baker is the ultimate comfort food to bring to a new mom. Who doesn’t love a steaming pan of Mac and Cheese? Any older siblings would love this choice too!

 

5) Chicken Spaghetti is one of my go-to meals to make because this delicious recipe from Lauren’s Latest can be made in the crock pot! I usually cook it all day in the crock pot and then right before I leave to deliver it, I add in the cooked pasta and dump it into a foil pan. Easy!

 

 

6) Soup is another great choice! I love bringing soup in the cooler months with a side of rolls. Chili and potato are some of my favorites to bring because they are so filling!

 

 

7) Spaghetti Pie from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. This one is a bit more work than some of the others, so when I bring this one I always make a double batch so we can have it for dinner too. It’s my oldest son’s favorite!

 

 

8) Barbequed chicken or pork with buns is an easy cook in the crock pot all day meal to bring. There are so many good recipes out there but I’m partial to this one from Mix and Match Mama. It never fails!

 

 

9) I feel like anything with tator tots is ultimate comfort food. This Taco Tater Tot Casserole from Spend With Pennies is a classic favorite and perfect to bring in a 9 x 13 foil pan!

 

 

10) Finally, meatballs and sauce for meatball subs (paired with mozzarella cheese and buns) or a pan of sloppy joe meat (and buns) with a fresh side is a perfect and easy meal to pack up and bring!

 

 

Any of these choices are a delicious and satisfying meal that takes at least one thing off a new moms to-do list in those first weeks of sleep-deprived overwhelm. Don’t forget to pin this post for the next time someone you know has a baby!

 

Train Second Birthday Party- Twin Tuesday

(This post contains some affiliate links. Click here to see my full disclosure.)

 

This Twin Tuesday is the final week of my Twin Birthday Series! (Check out weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4.)

 

Last weekend, we celebrated Reid and Luke turning TWO with a train themed second birthday party.Β  We had to have their party on a Sunday morning after Church because of the older boy’s sports schedules the rest of the weekend. Josh and I were laughing a little because that’s kind of the story of your life when you are the third and fourth child. You just go with the flow. πŸ˜‰ They get some awesome big brothers out of the deal though so they are pretty okay with this arrangement.

 

 

The boys have recently become obsessed with all things trains so we thought that would be the perfect theme for their birthday! I designed the party invitation in Photoshop using Kevin and Amanda’s adorable font Teacher’s Pet. I purchased this train graphic set from Vivera Design on Etsy and used it on the invitation and throughout the party.

 

 

I designed a couple signs to hang over the dessert table in Photoshop (but you could do something similar in PicMonkey or another free program). I uploaded them to Walgreens and had them printed side by side on their 2 x 8 banner. I found a real departure sign and copied the aesthetic with basic shapes. And filled in some themed trains/destinations of course. I love how it came out!

 

 

Usually, I focus a lot on the food for my kids parties. I know people take time out of their day (and some travel!) to come and celebrate so I absolutely want them to leave with a full belly. Given that this was on a Sunday morning this time though, I decided to focus my energy more on desserts. The older boys helped me make caramel apples the night before. We drizzled some with white and milk chocolate and left some plain for the caramel apple purists. I bought a bunch of apple cinnamon churros and put them in these popcorn bags (that I cut in half so they were a more manageable portion) from Amazon.

We decided to serve a lunch of Reid and Luke’s favorite things. I made this slow cooker mac and cheese which was perfect and easy for a crowd. We had fruit, a veggie tray and chips and dip. All favorites for our brand new two year olds.

 

 

I made blue and red frosted cupcakes for the guests and these cakes for our birthday boys. A separate cake for each of them of course! I followed this infographic on how to make the numbers from a two 8 inch rounds and an 8 inch square cake. I frosted them completely with white buttercream, laid broken up Hersey bars face down in the shape of a railroad track and piped on the black frosting to finish the track. I added a little bit of grass with green buttercream and my favorite grass icing tip. I found these mini trains on Amazon to set on top which were a huge hit with the birthday boys.

 

 

All the banners from the party I made at home with cardstock from Hobby Lobby. I’ve had some letter stencils that I bought years ago from Hobby Lobby that I continue to use for all their birthday banners. I cut out the cardstock with my paper cutter – I’ve had this one for almost 10 YEARS and absolutely love it. I think I’ve had to replace the blade only once. I used a foam roller with white paint over the stencil, let them dry, punched holes in them with this small rectangle punch and strung them up. (I love using that size punch to string banners. I think it looks cuter than the standard circle hole punch and the string almost completely covers the small holes.) Super easy and quick!

For the train cars, I also punched out one inch circles with this punch to glue on for wheels. The engines were from the Etsy graphic set I mentioned earlier that I blew up and cut out of cardstock.

 

I made these silly little railroad crossing signs out of posterboard, paper plates and a wooden dowel. We didn’t count on the wind that day so they took sort of a beating but they were a fun touch! Josh went to down with some colored duct tape he had for a little train crossing on the front sidewalk. I thought he did such a good job- it was so cute!

These little guys had the best day. I may or may not have had to bribe them with a cupcake to put on their hats and take a picture before guests arrived. I’m pretty sure it was worth it. πŸ˜‰

I made Reid and Luke’s birthday shirts by designing the graphic in Photoshop, printing on this iron-on paper and ironing onto $3 shirts from Hobby Lobby. Engineer hats are found here from Amazon and bandanas were .99 at Hobby Lobby. (With those prices, I obviously had to get one for everyone.)

 

Our third second birthday party is in the books! I loved the train theme because no characters were involved! What are some of your favorite birthday party themes for your kiddos? Be sure to pin these ideas for your next party!

 

Twin Birthday Series

Week 1: The best twin birthday party themes

Week 2: How to celebrate twin birthdays

Week 3: Two year old gift guide

Week 4: Two year old update

 

 

Twin Tuesday – Two Year Update

Happy Twin Tuesday everyone! It’s week 4 of my twin birthday series (you can check out week 1, week 2 and week 3!) and today I’m sharing a 2 year update of our sweet boys.They turn two in just a few days!

 

 

I can NOT believe it’s their birthday already and yet their 18 month update seems so long ago! Reading it again, I can’t believe how much they have changed.

Just in time for their birthday, Luke gave us a scare last week when he woke up in the middle of the night barely able to breathe. As a mom of four, I’m not easily concerned anymore but this was absolutely terrifying. He woke up screaming and gasping and we could not get him to inhale without shaking him to try. He was completely out of it and really struggling for air. We had to call an ambulance and spent several hours in the ER.

 

 

They diagnosed him with a sudden onset of croup and gave him steroids and a breathing treatment which helped him almost immediately. He had zero symptoms of a virus or cold before he went to sleep so croup did not even occur to me. It was one of the scariest moments of my motherhood and even just talking about it makes me shudder. We thank God for the wonderful paramedics, nurses and doctors who helped him and calmed my worried mama heart.

 

In less scary news, here are a few fun little facts about Luke or Reid or both as they turn TWO!

  • They really are the very best of friends. They play together from morning until night and wake each other up with jumping and smiles in the morning. It’s common for us to hear them playing and talking to each other during nap time or when they are supposed to be sleeping at night. πŸ˜‰

 

 

  • Up until a month or so ago, they weren’t talking very much but just recently their language has really picked up. They say all sorts of words and try to repeat the things we say. I took them to the Church nursery with me the other day and one of the ladies asked what their names were. They both looked at her and said “Reid!”. It was hysterical.

 

 

  • These two are always on the move. They dance whenever they hear music anywhere, even at Church. I’m not even sure they remember what walking is because they insist on running EVERYWHERE. And let me tell you, these two run (AND dance!) with their entire bodies.

 

 

  • The days of them eating anything I put in front of them are apparently behind us. They have become so picky lately which I hope is just a phase that we will move past. We already have enough healthy food battles with our four year old for a lifetime.

 

 

  • I absolutely love that as they are getting older, we are starting to see their individual personalities more and more. Luke is pretty dramatic, always loud, independent, SO funny and has quite the sweet but fiesty side of him we are just getting to see. πŸ˜‰ Reid is quiet, thoughtful, oh so very, very sweet, emotional, and loves to hug and cuddle.

 

 

  • Reid wakes up everyday with a smile. I will sneak into his room to wake him up in the morning or after nap and even if his eyes are still closed, he smiles when he hears me talking. I LOVE it. It’s just the sweetest thing.

 

 

  • Luke so desperately want to be just like his big brothers. He wants to play with their toys and do what they are doing all the time. Whenever Caleb and Eli run off to play something new, they always have a “Me! Me!” following right behind them. πŸ˜‰

 

I always get emotional around my kid’s birthdays because these days are so special to me too! I have been extra emotional with Reid and Luke’s dayΒ  because I feel so incredibly blessed that God chose us to have these two beautiful babies. We have double the blessings and I will never let myself forget that.

 

 

Happy Birthday sweet boys. You have taught me so much about being a mother and also helped me find strength, patience and true, unconditional love that I didn’t know I was capable of. You, my loves, are two of the five best things in my life.

 

 

 

Next week, it’s the last week of my twin birthday series. I’m recapping our ‘Chugga Chugga Two Two’ second birthday party. You don’t want to miss it!

 

Twin Birthday Series

Week 1: Twin birthday party theme ideas

Week 2: How to make twins feel special and unique on their shared birthday

Week 3: Two year old gift guide

 

 

 

Twin Tuesday – Two year old gift guide!

(This post contains affiliate links. Click here to see my disclosure statement.)

 

Happy Twin Tuesday! It’s week 3 of my twin birthday series and today I put together a gift guide for 2 year olds. (Check out week 1 and week 2.) Of course, since it’s Twin Tuesday this guide is perfect for twins but also for singletons. These are some great gift ideas whether you are buying forΒ  1, 2 or 6 two year olds. πŸ˜‰

 

 

Our twins turn two in less than two weeks and are into very similar things right now. I talked in last week’s post about my husband’s twin birthday experience and how he always preferred to receive a smaller gift of his own on his birthday instead of one large shared gift with his brother. Especially at this age, I absolutely support getting twins two of the same thing or a variation of the same thing if it is something theyΒ  both love! Plus, it cuts down on the sibling squabbles!

 

My six year old got this easel for Christmas when he turned 2 and it continues to be one of our most played with toys. It has one side that is dry erase and the other side that is a chalkboard with storage underneath. All of our kids have drawn on it for fun and then practiced letters and numbers on it when they got older.

And take my advice on this! After many ruined shirts from traditional dry erase markers, buy these washable dry-erase markers to go with it! Two year olds just do not understand ‘the marker tips can write on things when not capped’ idea. The picture above is the one we have had for years and love but I don’t see it fulfilled through Amazon with prime shipping anymore (but it is through third party sellers). I also found this easel which looks very similar to ours and is available through Amazon with prime shipping!

 

We got our twins tricycles for Easter this past year when they were 18 months and they are only now actually starting to play with them. They scoot up and down the driveway a million times a day on them. Josh is trying to get them to work on pedaling but for right now, if they are happy scooting I’m happy! There are so many different color variations for these that I couldn’t even begin to link to them! Click the link above for the bike and scroll down the bottom of the listing for other colors!

 

We bought our oldest this car track when we moved to a new house when he was two. We wanted something that he would be content playing with a lot so we could unpack the millions of boxes. I truly am not exaggerating when I say that this track was played with that day and every single day since by at least one of our four boys. So clearly it is not only entertaining, but great quality and holds up! Plus it fits all our hot wheels cars that we already had!

 

I posted about these pop blocs we have before and our twins continue to love them! They just think it’s hilarious to mix and match the animal parts around. They are a great quiet toy for the car or for Church.

 

We just found this second set of pop blocks vehicles and got them right away. I do have to say though that this set is larger than the animals. Our twins still love them but in my opinion, they are too large to put in a backpack or diaper bag. These are more for us to play with at home rather than to bring to quietly occupy them when you are somewhere.

 

We had two of these bubble mowers for our older boys who loved them so much they wore out the bubble part of the mowers. We considered getting new ones for our twins but they could care less if the bubbles work! Luke loves to walk around with his ‘mow mow’ everywhere outside. There are days he wakes up in the morning and the first thing he says is ‘mow mow’. πŸ˜‰ These have been a huge hit for us even after we burned through the bubble motor!

 

My almost two-year-olds are obsessed with their older brothers markers and are constantly trying to get into their art supplies. We plan to get them these color wonder markers and coloring book so they can color too! We have tried to let them color with regular markers and the resulting marker on the face, hands, furniture was a bit much! I want to be able to let them have at it without having to keep asking them to be careful! These are perfect for little ones who want to be just like their older siblings!

 

Is there a two-year-old around who doesn’t love Elmo? I’ve never met one. When my family asked for birthday ideas for my twins this year, we said ‘anything Elmo!’ Really though! They are obsessed and dance around whenever Elmo sings on Sesame Street. This talking/singing Elmo will be a hit in our house!

 

Or if you aren’t a big fan of talking toys, we got these Sesame Street figures for them for Christmas. They love them and play with them all the time. Perfect quieter toys. πŸ˜‰

 

There is not much I love more than a funny t-shirt – especially on a child. This shirt had me laughing out loud.. for real. It comes in several colors and is just so adorable.

 

This one is so cute and comes in a bunch of colors too. And it’s SO true… right?

 

I don’t know what it is about Mr. Potato Heads but they are always a hit! My boys love to stick random body parts in the wrong spots and laugh hysterically that poor Mr. Potato Head has a mouth on the top of his head. πŸ˜‰ Mr. Potato Head has come a long way from when we were little and now there are so many versions! They now have Star Wars, Toy Story, Super Hereos and a bunch more!

 

Fisher Price Toddler Set

 

Sesame Street Book Set

 

Sandra Boynton Board Book Set

 

I’ve definitely made no secret about my love of books for kids! Book sets are always a great gift idea for any age. There are so many great sets I couldn’t possibly list them all but these three are some of my favorites!

Or if you are buying for twins, check out my Best Books for Twins list! Any of those would be great choices too!

 

 

Hope this list helps you find the perfect gift for that two-year-old in your life! If you have another great gift idea, let me know in the comments!

 

Twin Birthday Party Series

Week 1: The Best Twin Birthday Party Ideas

Week 2: How to make birthdays special and unique for twins

 

 

Twin Tuesdays- How to make birthdays special and unique for twins

Happy Twin Tuesday! This is week 2 of my twin birthday series and today we are talking about how to make birthdays special for twins. (If you missed it, you can catch week 1 here.) As you can see from the graphic today, we have a special in-house expert on twin birthdays you get to hear from today – my husband. He’s a dad of twins and a twin himself!

 

 

In our house we celebrate birthdays big and our twins are no exception! The birthday person gets to choose how we spend our day, what they want to eat, and their birthday dessert. We always do what we can do make them feel special. I love my kids birthdays because they are also so special to me! I remember the joy I felt when I saw them, the immediate intense love I felt for them and (selfishly) the pride in myself for nourishing them and bringing them into the world (and keeping them alive ever since πŸ˜‰ ).

Twins have to share a lot of things in their life (including their birthdays!) but it’s my goal as their mother to never treat them as a ‘set of twins’. I never want to lose sight of the fact that they are two separate and unique children with their own likes and dislikes. We will always work to celebrate their birthdays in a way that makes both of them feel special as individuals.

Our twins will be celebrating their second birthday in a few weeks so I’ve only had a couple opportunities to work on putting these tips into action. Lucky for us, we have the privilege of my husband’s experience and knowledge on how he celebrated his birthday with his twin brother for thirty-some years. Today’s Twin Tuesday is going to switch it up a little bit and hand the reins to Mr. Loving Our Messy. πŸ˜‰

 

 

Josh offers advice on how he liked to celebrate his birthday with his twin brother and we share what 6 birthday traditions we will keep for our twins to make their birthdays as special for them as they are for our singletons.

 

 

1) Plan activities that each twin gets to choose. Growing up, my parents would let us each choose something fun to do on our birthday (or the weekend that followed). Sometimes we would agree on spending the whole day at a sporting event or a Fun World type place. Usually though we disagreed – shocking for siblings I know.Β  Eventually it became tradition that one of us would choose a morning activity and they other would choose an afternoon one. That way we both got to spend our day doing something that we wanted.

 

2) Two birthday cakes! My mom always, always made sure to get us our own birthday cakes with the theme/colors of our choice. Β We kind of took it for granted at the time and never thought about it. Now that I’ve seen how other families do joint birthdays, I realize what a great idea that was. It may seem silly and wasteful but as a person who had to share a birthday, this is a big deal! This is absolutely something we will continue with our twins just like our older boys have their own birthday cakes they choose.

 

(Side note from Amy: After seeing pictures from our twins first birthday, one of my friends mentioned that she always had to share a birthday party with her younger sister because they had birthdays in the same month. She said that she always hated birthday cake because her sister would choose chocolate cake and they only got one cake for the two of them. It wasn’t until she went to college that she got to choose her own birthday cake! Definitely a detail that all of us who don’t share a birthday take for granted!)

 

3) Sing twice!Β  Last year we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to each of our twins individually and plan to carry on that tradition every year (alternating who gets to go first). While it may seem insignificant, I can’t tell you the difference it makes to someone who always has to share their birthday to hear “Happy Birthday dear Josh” instead of “Happy Birthday dear Matt and Josh”.Β  Plus, then everyone gets to make their own birthday wish and blow out their own candles!

 

 

4) Get each twin their own gift.Β  Even while our twins are younger and basically liking the exact same things, I will always insist that they each receive their own gift(s) to open. There is nothing worse then having to share your birthday and also having to fight over who gets to open the gift addressed to both of you. We have given our twins larger shared gifts at Christmas time but I won’t ever do it for their birthdays. Our families are really good about that, but Amy and I both always mention that two smaller separate gifts would be better than a larger shared gift to any birthday guests who ask.

 

5) Birthday kid gets to choose dinner x 2. In our family, the birthday kid gets to choose their favorite dinner and dessert to have on their birthday. We already know this year that Luke and Reid will choose different things for their favorite dinner and that’s okay with us. Pizza AND macaroni and cheese it is. Our older boys always get to choose and so will our twins!

 

 

6) Two kid parties for two groups of friends. When our twins are old enough, we will give them a choice to have two different parties for their friends. My brother and I were always put in separate classes at school so we each had our own set of friends. After a certain age, we always had two birthday parties every year – one for each of us. We attended the other’s party of course but it was great to be able to have our own party with our own friends!

 

Thanks to my husband for all the good insider scoop on sharing a birthday!

 

Are there any other ideas you have to celebrate your twins birthdays? Or any opinions from fellow twins out there?

 

You can check out week 1 of my Twin Birthday Series here – The Best Twin Birthday Party Themes!

And check out my Pinterest boards for what we are planning this year!

 

Twin Tuesday- Twin Birthday Party Ideas!

I can seriously hardly believe that my twins will turn TWO in less than a month! In honor of my sweet boys, I’m going to celebrate with a Twin Tuesday birthday series over the next few weeks.

 

 

There’s a lot of things I love about being a mom but one of my most favorite things is getting to use my creative side in planning their birthday parties! With four boys, I’m coming close to throwing every boy themed birthday party that exists but I’m still pretty determined not to repeat. We’ll see if I can actually stick to that.

I love planning their parties but I really love designing the invitations and making the decor, food and cake myself to keep them within our budget. I almost always skip expensive decor and paper products from party stores in favor of easy homemade decorations and solid color plates/napkins/cups that go with our theme (for .97 a package from Walmart!). Saving money in that area allows us use the money we saved from those things to hold the party at a fun location or rent an inflatable for our backyard if we have it at home.

I’m still undecided about what theme we will use for their second birthday next month. For this week’s Twin Tuesday, I put together a list of some of my picks for the best twin birthday party ideas. I was so inspired while putting this list together, I may just choose one of these for Luke and Reid’s party! Under the set of pictures for each theme, check out the photo credit links to all the amazing blogs for these ideas and many, many more! These party ideas are also great for a joint birthday celebration for siblings.

 

Two by Two – Noah’s Ark Party

Photo credits:

  1. Party Pretzel Rods – via Kara’s Party Ideas
  2. Noah’s Ark Centerpiece Printables – via Cake Crusaders Blog
  3. Ark Party Scene – via Kara’s Party Ideas
  4. Animal Cracker Popcorn Crunch – via Home Is Where the Boat Is
  5. Two by Two Party Invitation – via Little Laws Prints
  6. Flood Outside Signs – via Young Cooking

I love a good play on words and I think a ‘Two by Two’ theme is adorable for a twin birthday party- especially a second birthday! My twins are obsessed with animals lately so I know they would love this choice!

 

Tea for Two – Tea Party Theme

Photo credits:

  1. Tea for Two Dessert Table – via Mrs. Gore’s Diary
  2. Party Fruit Cups – via Our Happy Little Nest
  3. Tea for Two Party Scene – via Style Your Senses
  4. Tea for Two Invitation – via Prettiest Print Shop on Etsy
  5. Get fancy for tea time – via Thesitsgirls.com
  6. Tea pot centerpieces – via Little Bits of Us

 

Thing 1 and Thing 2 – Dr. Seuss Theme

Photo credits:

  1. Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 Dipped Strawberries – via This Worthey Life
  2. Thing 1 and Thing 2 DIY Party Hats – via Absolutely Loving My Life
  3. Dr. Seuss Party Scene – via Tiny Oranges
  4. Cat in the Hat Family Shirts – via CutesyTDesigns on Etsy
  5. Party Invitations – via Lunar Bear Designs on Etsy
  6. Birthday cake – via Blue Black Ink

 

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Theme

Photo credits:

  1. Mickey door sign – via Just A Little Party
  2. Minnie Birthday Banner – via Sugar Fresh
  3. Party Scene – via The Motley Moments
  4. Mickey/Minnie Invitations – via The Printable Occasion on Etsy
  5. Mickey and Minnie Cupcakes – via My Homemade Life
  6. Party Hats – via My Day Creations on Etsy

 

Baseball Team Theme

 

All the baseball ideas are from the first birthday party we threw for our twins. Check out this post for all the details! I love the sports theme ideas for parties! This past year we did baseball and soccer themed parties so I would only imagine that a football theme is in our near future.

 

All of these party ideas are so much fun for twins, joint sibling parties or even parties for one child! I’m excited to pick one and start planning! If you want to know if I chose one of these or something totally different, check out my Pinterest boards. πŸ˜‰ Happy party planning times two!

 

See more Twin Tuesday posts here

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