Twin Tips

Awhile ago on my Instagram I had posted that since having twins I have learned SO much about two babies, life and myself. It is amazing to think that this is a continuous learning experience and that it really has just begun. So here are the answers to your questions:

DSC_0901In the first 3 months, how many diapers have you used for the twins? 

So I actually kept track the first month, we went through 640 diapers (not including our eldest son). Thats ALOT of diapers and ALOT of time spent changing them! I know the next two months were not as much, but I would estimate we used about 300 for month two and 300 for month three, so all in all I would say about 1240. Kinda crazy, right?!

How much sleep do you get at night?

Sometimes it varies! For the last five months, the longest stretch of sleep I have gotten at a time was four hours, but sometimes as little as an hour and a half. When one gets up to feed I wake the other one up. Sometimes I fall asleep feeding in the chair and have NO IDEA how much time passes. Yeah Im like a walking testimony that sleep is essentially irrelevant. KIDDING, a nap is on the TOP of my Christmas list.

How do you get your grocery shopping done? 

So, I VERY vividly remember my first trip out with these three rascals. I went to Aldi in Monticello, which was my first mistake (I’ve never been to this one before) when the twins were about three months old. I fed them right before I went in the store and thought, perfect, they will probably sleep. Well they sure didn’t do that. In fact my eldest had about one hour nap, so he was kinda upset to be awoken to go into the grocery store. Needless to say all three screamed almost the whole trip and I had many curious glances, but hey I was there to get groceries same as anyone else! This AMAZING lady helped me unload my cart and told me “You go grocery shopping again, YOU GO MOMMA.”

So we got the grocery shop done, and now we usually time it for when dad is home and can come!

P.S. I looked pretty awesome pushing my semi of a stroller and pulling a cart behind me, took up most of the aisle!

Do you think you’ll remember these days?

Sadly no, it is SUCH A BLUR! These boys seem so big and we have moved twice since they have been born. I can hardly remember when they were newborns, but I am thankful for all the photos I have taken over the course of these months.

What was your reaction when you found out you were having twins?

The moment was actually pretty comical. So, my hubby never came to an ultrasound with our firstborn because he was in school and couldn’t miss. I wanted him to come to one because I think they are rather cool. The week before going to the appointment I had been telling him that I have a feeling about this pregnancy, that something is off, either there isn’t a baby or maybe there is two! He brushed it off (trust me I’m kind of a worry wart!). And so we are at the appointment and the Dr did the ultrasound and we were all there, and she scanned and she said ok here is what I am seeing, and she says “There are two babies!” I looked at my husband and said “I TOLD YOU SO!”

So the first reaction was that, followed by elation, wonder, worry and doubts! But since that moment it has been a non-stop amazing filled journey.

Do you strictly nurse? And are you able to do both at once? Do you keep them on the same nap schedule?

I have strictly nursed, once had to supplement for a few days when I got the flu and lost my milk cause I couldn’t eat anything. They started on oatmeal about a month ago to give them a little more fill. I have nursed them a handful of times at the same time, but I need to be home in the comfort because I can’t bother with a cover. Now the rocking chair prob wouldn’t fit us all to position them. They mostly take naps at the same time during the days and get laid down at nighttime together.

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How often does my hair get washed? 

Probably about every third day, it not top on the priority list..LOL

It has been fun to swap stories with other twin moms and one mom summed it up pretty good. “Being the mom of twins is an exhaustive and wonderful existence.”

I think the biggest difference that I have noticed is that I feel that I don’t get to just hold my babies very often. By this I mean usually if I am holding them they are eating or getting changed, because the house still needs to get taken care of and life goes on.

It has been nothing short of a miracle to have healthy twins and to watch them grow and learn from them. I am looking forward to all the moments to come of raising these precious boys and I am so thankful that I was chosen to be mom to these two precious boys.

Small Business Spotlight: Stitches by Giddy

Location: Etsy (Since 2016), based out of Longview, Washington. Visit her shop here.

Product: Wide array of pillowcases, headbands and baby items.

Time: Is 3-5 days

For her Instagram page, click here.

We got three hats made by StitchesbyGiddy in the mail. I requested matching ones for the twins, black with a white stripe and a solid black one for our big boy. I usually pick neutrals as it gives you so many options with different outfits. Our big boy LOVED his hat, begging me to put it back on if it fell off.

The hats were not too heavy, could be worn around the house and especially nice for weather like this, the coming of winter.

Pros:

-These hats are amazingly soft, so beautifully gentle for babies heads.

-There are light and thin, perfect to wear on a semi-warm fall day, but also could be worn underneath a warmer hat.

-The fabric is light and airy, so it does not create a mark on the babies head.

-Can be folded up small to fit in a small pocket, or tucked into a smaller space.

-VERY reasonably priced.

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Cons:

-The material does slip down a little (the size may of been a little large) causing a slight (YIKES) panic attack on the twins as they do not like anything covering their eyes.

We were really impressed with the softness and light feeling of the GiddyBands. They would make a perfect stocking stuffer or gift.

Sidenote: Would you like to send a product for a review? Email me at lhaataja10@gmail.com.

Our Angel Oliver Robert

Words seem so inadequate for some of the events and happenings that cross our paths. Sometimes the beauty of photographs fail to capture those raw feelings that we experience so strongly and long before fading off till they are just barely there.

Six months ago on the 14th of March our brother (my hubby’s brother) and his wife were given a son, twelve weeks early just a small one pound and thirteen ounces. He only came for 14 minutes, a short 14 minutes his heart beat before God swept down and took him in his arms to bring this sweet angel to heaven.

Our hearts beat hollow, raw and ragged as we held this angel in our arms, trying to imagine how we would already have to say goodbye when we were just starting to say hello. Our minds couldn’t wrap around the notion that our brother and his wife in their 20s already were bearing this arduous and difficult trial so early on.

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At the time I was five months pregnant, with two healthy babies already wiggling and kicking around, feeling guilty that they couldn’t keep their love here on Earth, that they had to give them up so soon and how unfair it all seemed and still does.

But we have so much comfort that in those few months he spent in his momma’s belly and those fourteen minutes here on earth he didn’t know pain or hardships, only the purest, unconditional and life-changing love from his mother, father and big sister. There is something so amazingly healing and whole to think of a child’s life composed of whispers and hugs of love and the readings of books and the sweet melodies of songs. A life of peace for our angel, and it is only through these thoughts that we are slowly able to keep moving, knowing that he has landed into Heaven, so precious, so perfect.

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Dear Oliver,

We ALL miss you, but your momma, dad and sister most of all. Your photos grace the table in the living room, a magnet on the fridge. And your tiny footprints and handprints sit about the table, a forever reminder of your sweet soul. Somedays are better than others, and sometimes we ache so much for one more turn to hold you, to visit you and to dream of your future. The other day we went out to the cemetery, I am ashamed to say I have not seen your headstone yet. I brought out the twins to see you and we met your momma, dad and sister there. Your stone is beautiful with “Forever in our Hearts” written on, such a simple phrase but oh such meaning it has. We sent four lanterns to you in Heaven, we MISS you, we LOVE you, keep watching over us and thank you for teaching us so much about life in your short time you were here. You and the twins would of been the same age, got muddy at Grandpa’s Farm together and played tractors and cars. You would of gone to school same time, gotten your drivers license just months apart and graduated together. So many togethers to think about and so many happenings you will be missed. But, my dear I am betting that Heaven is wonderful and that you are enjoying Great Grandma and Grandpa Haataja. Although I know there is nothing more you would want then to hear your momma and dad cooing at you, your sister playing mother hen to you and to play with Grandma and Grandpa and your cousins. 

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Your memory lives on my dear sweet boy, when we feel the breeze rustle the falling leaves of the season and we hear the sweet melody of it, we know you are there letting us know you are home and reminding us that we will see you again someday.

We love you sweet boy,

Aunt Linds

*Some of the photos were taken by Becky Wikman and Tiffany Haataja

Family Photos 2017

So, as much as I love taking pictures, family pictures are not my favorite. Everyone gets dressed up in starchy clothes and doesn’t cooperate. However, now with three kiddos I cannot take the photos and be in them at the same time.

I decided that my hubby and I should take the boys on a trip up to Duluth to see Lake Superior and try to find a photographer who could take them there. And we found her, Greta Keranen Photography, based out of Menahga (this is about 2.5 hours north of the cities). Her Facebook page is here.

One part of family photos that I do like is color coordinating the outfits. I found BumsNRoses on Instagram (click here). She creates gorgeous clothes for babies. I decided on a blue and white stripe linen romper for the twins and a mustard yellow linen romper for our oldest.  I then found a mauve pink dress and shawl for me and my hubby was in jeans and a white button up. I like to dress up for family photos, but I also like to wear clothes that are “us.”

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We traveled up to Duluth and went a few miles north and found this gorgeous spot to pull off and take photos.

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The spot was incredible and G loved throwing rocks in the water, the day was absolutely gorgeous with the warm sun but a cool breeze, like a dream.

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They turned out absolutely beautiful and dream-like. Greta has amazing talent, she transforms an afternoon into beautiful memories. I am so glad we hired her and that we accomplished family photos this year!

Small Business Spotlight: KTJBABY

Location: Etsy (Since 2012), based out of Buffalo, New York. Visit her shop here.

Product: Organic bibs, burp cloths and vegan teethers

Time: Is 3-5 days

For her Instagram page, click here.

For her Facebook page, click here.

My latest battle with my 21 month old son is mealtime, Getting him to eat is not the issue, getting him to eat and not having him wear another set of dinner is. It gets in his hair, all over his shirt and pants and in the end it would have been better to just have “clothes are optional” all day. With three clothes changes every day, the laundry piles up so high, it may need to get hired out.

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And then this wonderful event occurred, the owner of KTJBaby, an Etsy shop contacted me to conduct a product review on her AMAZING bibs. She sent a baby bib for my oldest and two bandana bibs for the twins. I even got the pick out the colors of my bibs, olive green, grey and white with black raindrops on. I like to pick out colors that seem to go with everything, but it was hard to pick as there are many fun prints.

Pros:

-These bibs are made from organic, high quality cotton terry cloth.

-The baby bibs are BIG, which I love because they catch so much more food than smaller bibs. Theres nothing like putting on a bib and the shirt getting dirty anyways because the bib is too small.

-The solid colors are so vibrant and the patterns are modern/minimalistic.

-The snaps are plastic, and they are very easy to open and close. Sometimes I have had clothing or bibs that have snaps that are hard to open, but you won’t find that with these.

-Price is reasonable at $10 a bib.

 

Cons:

-My boys have big cheeks and hardly no necks so the bibs fit them a little snuggly with little extra room. They are 2.5 months so I think as they get older they may fit a little better.

-Since the bibs are thick they could tend to get warm (mostly in the summer months), however if using them for eating, as opposed to babies spitting up this seems irrelevant as a baby or toddler would wear them for a short period time.

But, overall my boys and I are extremely impressed with the bibs, the colors are awesome, as well as the size. If you are looking for a good gift or for your own children, I would highly recommend them.

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Sidenote: Would you like to send a product for a review? Email me at lhaataja10@gmail.com.

Small Business Spotlight: Artifact Uprising

 

I take so many pictures in a year and so many times they just end up going on my external hard-drive (yes I have crashed a computer because I did not back up all these photos and learned my lesson). I decided that I wanted to print them or at least have a hard copy so that I don’t have to look at them on the computer.

 

I created a yearbook on November and December of 2015 and the year of 2016. I wanted to print photos that share our life and different adventures we have had throughout the year. On a two page layout I used one page to journal a memory or write a letter to by family and on the other page photos.

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I went with a linen hard-cover book with the half-page dusk jacket (there is an option for a full page). The color I chose is a grey color. The smaller book choice has 52 pages which is what I went with.

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Pros:

-The linen hardcover is absolutely beautiful and it looks amazing sitting on the shelf. It has a much better look than a photo hardcover.

-The size of the book enables you to see photos even if they seem small when you are making it. This also lets you pick a smaller font size so that you can write more.

-The coloring of the photos seems to represent the true color as though they were in a regular printed form.

-Artifact Uprising periodically has sales and so I had my book done and shortly after the first of the year they sent out a 10% off coupon which I used. I think with shipping I paid right around $70. This may seem high for one book, but $70 for an entire year’s worth of photos is pretty cheap!

-Artifact Uprising is a small business based out of Colorado so you are supporting small, always a bonus!

 

Cons:

-The layout options for the book give 4 photos per page at most. In some of the pages I wished that there would have been more spots, say nine or even twelve so that more photos could fit on the page.

-You may fall in love and deplete your savings account to buy lots of photo books!

 

Overall I was extremely satisfied with Artifact Uprising and I am in the process of creating my yearbook for 2017. The only change I made was to upgrade it to 100 pages so that I could fit more photos and writing in this year.

Grandpa’s Farm: Children’s Book

 

In one of my previous blog posts I had written of adventures that I wanted to embark on this year of 2017. This year has brought many challenges and surprises.

I finally finished writing my book, Grandpa’s Farm. This is a self-published children’s book that was inspired by my eldest son’s love for his grandma and grandpa’s farm. Over the course of this past spring and summer my son has spent numerous hours on the farm, playing with the animals and working right alongside grandpa completing projects (well he might have been making more messes than helping).

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I sent my completed words to labeled. ak, a graphic designer who lives in the state of Alaska. I had hired the owner, Mara Parks on a previous occasion to create a logo. We were both excited to collaborate on this project together. She did an amazing job, brought everything I had envisioned into the illustrations of this book. Together we worked through completing the book and getting it uploaded for printing. I would recommend her again and again for any of your graphic designer needs including, illustrations and logos for your business.

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She has an Etsy page.

As well as an Instagram page.

After we completed the book I decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund a larger volume of book printings as well as the ability to buy ISBN numbers that are unique to my book. The campaign is currently underway, with 27 days left. If you donate $15 you have given the minimum amount to attain the bronze level. This means you will receive a softcover copy of the book. The next level or silver requires that you donate $30, giving you a hardcover copy. The top level or gold gives you a signed hardcover copy with a requirement of $50. You can access the campaign here.

This has been such a fun project for me to work on, and it is so extremely exciting to see it through to the end and to be able to print it. Check out the book and let me know what you think. Also please share this with anyone you think that may have an interest in it.

Our Twins have arrived!

I was so extremely blessed to carry our sweet wonderful twins till 36 weeks and 6 days. They were born on Friday, June 16th 2017 at 9:04 and 9:05 in the morning. They are two beautiful boys who we named Ira John and Orr Philip (middle names are their grandpas).

The pregnancy had been healthy and the birth went well, both boys came out screaming and were pink. However, we were not prepared for the seven day NICU stay that followed.

After they were born they were put on CPAP machines to help clear the fluid out of their lungs. They were able to breathe on their own but needed that little bit of extra help. That Friday the nurses focused on them getting their breathing more regulated. I was extremely nauseous and dizzy after the C-section but they were able to wheel me down in my bed so that I could do skin to skin with them for one whole hour.

The next day, Saturday they got off the CPAP machine and we started working on feeding. We got them on a schedule of eating every three hours, they mostly took my breastmilk from bottle, but we did try some nursing.

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It was hard and sad to not be able to have them in my room during my hospital stay. But, that hardest part was being discharged from the hospital and not being able to bring my babies home. I was discharged Monday and they stayed till Friday.

I spent most of the days at the hospital and the nights at home. My hubby was there a few days, my mother came a day and also my sister. I was so happy that I didn’t have to do it by myself.

Each day the boys seems to learn a little more and get stronger. They did need feeding tubes because they were getting so tired eating all on their own. They also had to go under the lights because of jaundice.

The days seems to slowly pass as we waited in anticipation for their discharge date. One week after they were born that day finally came! They are now home and we are enjoying them to the fullest!

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36 weeks

We have hit week 36! YAY! In these past few weeks I have been torn between getting as much ready for the arrival of the twins and spending the last fleeting moments with our little love. My mom has been awesome, sewing up matching outfits for the twins as well as hats and blankets. We also have been stocking up on diapers and wipes as well as food in the freezer.

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I have been having a lot of Braxton Hicks, weird for me because with the first pregnancy I had none. Each time one hits I think “is this it?” Last Monday babies weighed in at A: 5lbs and 7oz and Baby B at 6 lbs, so we are talking 11 lbs and 7 oz, THATS ALOT OF BABY! Our little man weighed 7 lbs 7 oz at birth, so have about one and a half of him! Sleeping has become really uncomfortable, sometimes I have to go out to the couch in the living room.

Our little man is excited for babies to come, often kissing my belly and inquiring after them. He will be going to stay up at Grandma and Grandpas farm for two weeks after they arrive. I know I will miss him so much already, but am excited for them to arrive too. I am craving holding a newborn, napping with them and their yummy smell.

We have four sets of names picked out, two boys and two girls. I think we are having boys, but hubby thinks they are girls, our little man doesn’t think they are either ;)! They have a corner of our room for now, may eventually move to their own room around 6 months or so.

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This past Sunday we enjoyed a lazy day at home. The rain brought big puddles, which Gil found to his amusement. It is so amazing to watch him, completely absorbed in tramping through the puddles, running from one end of the driveway to another, so innocent and fun. I know he is going to be an amazing big brother. My sweet hubby has been awesome, cooking dinner and doing the dishes, knowing that I am often too tired to get dinner on the table on my own.

Looking back this season of just us three was 19 months long, but it seemed to have passed so much shorter than that. I am so grateful for all of the trips we took, memories we had and the little moments that tug at my heart and cause tears in my eyes. I am ready for this next chapter, to welcome two more beautiful babies into this world, to feel my heart swell with more love and be reminded how simply miraculous life is.

 

9 Adventures of 2017

As I sit here I cannot believe that it already is June, or rather that half the year is gone! I wanted to take a look back on the first six months and think more about the six that will shortly follow. I have a list of nine adventures I wanted to embark on in 2017. 

Sometimes I really need to push myself to try new experiences and seek learning to stimulate my brain. I try to make goals from all different aspects, health & wellness, knowledge, creativity, financial and hobbies/personal interests.

Here are the nine on my list:

1.) Have healthy twins. Alright, so this one is kind of a cheat one since we found out in December we were expecting twins, but they are coming this year and chances are we won’t have them again. (Although you never know).

2.) Write a children’s book and self-publish it. I love writing and up until recently I had thought that I would rather write a novel than a children’s book. My son has changed this. Children really are the best teachers, and so I began to write a children’s book from my sons perspective. The text is currently being illustrated and hopefully will be going to be printed within the next month. To say I’m excited is an understatement!

3.) Graduate with a Bachelors. I finished this in May. I began my college degree in my third year of high school, so by high school graduation I was half way done. I took a year off because I did not know which degree I wanted to pursue. I ended up choosing Business Administration. I miss college, I really enjoy the challenge and stress of it. I am hoping to go back at some point to get my MBA.

4.) Run a half marathon. This has been on my list for a number of years and each time I have managed to find an excuse not to do it. This year is gonna be the year I do it.

5.) Find a good recipe and make delicious doughnuts. I have made them once before but they didn’t turn out to be anything amazing. If anyone has a recommendation for a recipe, I would LOVE to hear it.

6.) Grow fresh herbs. Early this year my mother had given me four rosemary plants that were nearly dead. I babied them for awhile but they never came back, so I ended up drying them and using them for cooking. They are the BEST thing that ever happened to potato fries and breakfast potatoes. So, this spring I bought four starts, peppermint, sweet mint, parsley and cilantro and they are growing out on my balcony. My favorite is the peppermint, it smells SO delicious. 

7.) Blog at least once a week. Although I love to write, I have not been the best about getting on here and writing a post. So, here’s to the rest of the year, and publishing at least one post per week.

8.) Go on a bike ride with my hubby. My husband just bought an older motorcycle. I have only been on one motorcycle ride in my life and it was a lot of fun. I am hoping we will go for our anniversary in August.

 

9.) Get a goat. I love goats, I think they are cute and they are fun to milk. I am hoping that towards the end of the year we move to a place where we could have a goat.