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.

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!

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.

31.3 Weeks and Counting

We are nearing the finish line of pregnancy and the starting line of plus three! These two sweet peanuts have become increasingly more active, and getting unsettled with the womb life. Big brother G has started paying more attention to the belly, patting it when he is standing near and lifting up my shirt to give kisses and hugs. He will often say baby and point to the belly, holding out his hands to touch it.

 

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Spring is finally here to stay (I hope). The early morning sunshine is a blessed change to all of those cloudy, moody days winter brought this year. Dandelions blanket the grass while birds chirp and hop tree to tree.

We made it to the flower farm the other day, I was so excited to bring our little man there. He was most interested in running the aisles and pulling the flower petals off the flowers. Isn’t his bonnet darling? It is an Emmifaye bonnet, check her out! This mustard yellow color is my FAVORITE, and I wish I looked this good in a floppy, linen bonnet. We finally found him a pair of cowboy boots, $5 at a garage sale, I sure was pumped. He loves them too, wears them everywhere. Often he even wears them in the house and marches around with them on for hours.

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Throughout our days here at home together, my little man so often takes my breath away. How could I be so lucky to be his momma? Although I have been a mom for almost two years the fierce, protective love that blossoms in my heart still knocks the wind out of me. So many days it seems like the challenges are many and the patience is thin, yet when he lifts those hands up the sky and says “mamma” or comes over for a hug and pat on the back, there is nothing more precious in the world or more exhilarating. And this makes me even more excited for these twins to arrive, thinking of all the future moments of sweetness, fierce love and that longing in your heart to bottle every blessed minute.

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My hubby just started his new job, still working overnight shifts. This will be quite an adjustment once the babies coming, for with our little man he was home at night. But we are ever so thankful for this new position, which gives him a better schedule and higher pay as well as better benefits.

In this season I often need to remind myself to take time for gratitude. For new opportunities, for all of our current blessings, for all that we have, for all of those we hold dear and all the gifts and dreams we have been blessed with.

 

 

 

Blessed

I’m not one for cliche sayings and quotes, in fact I avoid them. I instead look for naturally, flowing words that come from individuals. Ones that speak of hardships and struggles just beneath the surface.

But, (you knew this was coming) one I do like is “the best in life is the unexpected, because there were no expectations.”

I find this to be true in so many different facets of life, vacation, relationships and even a trip to the local library. By definition I am a planner. I love lists, love writing them, reading them, re-reading them and the best part, crossing off the items when I have accomplished them. What I am trying to get it is I love to plan, analyze, reconsider, plan some more, second guess myself and finally (sometimes) make a decision, and of course post-analyze the decision.

The only issue with this is that frankly, life just gets in my way! All to often I find myself staring a decision in the face and I cannot complete my process. Does this bug me? You bet it does! Does it mess with my head? You bet it does!

I have also found it to be very good for me, to experience spontaneous events, pointing me back into a whole new direction, with a chance to learn new knowledge, meet up with a new experience and in essence altering the course of my existence.

This was a good thought to keep in mind when my hubby, son and I went in for a prenatal visit at the end of December. At that point we were almost twelve weeks pregnant. And when I state that we were surprised and ecstatic to learn that we were having twins, it is quite the understatement.

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When I think back to the arrival of our son, much of the memories seem hazy, foggy, with little recollection of all events that took place. The part that I remember the most is this fierce love that claimed my whole being and this need to protect this tiny angel that suddenly became the most beautiful and important part of me.

I expect that this time it will be no different, but the mind-blowing part is that the love and protection will multiply enough for two sweet new babies. But, with the twins comes an increased risk for nearly everything, pre-term labor, gestational diabetes and complications during delivery. Despite all of this I am trying to take it easy and not worry.

For today, I am feeling blessed beyond what I deserve. With an amazing hubby who has taken on a second job, a sweet little toddler who reminds me to laugh at him moment after moment and two babies nestled in, growing bigger each day, with no complications for now, I honestly can say that I am beyond blessed. And for that, I am so grateful for.

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The Bigger Plan

A few years back, which some days feels like a lifetime ago, and others as though I could close my eyes and feel the day, I met your poppa. It was a hot summer day, with a cool breeze from the lake scattering the pine needles across the ground, catching in the blades of green grass that blanketed the earth. There are few simplicity’s that I remember about the day, I was attending a pre-confirmation camp, I was fifteen years old and I was more concerned with hanging out with my best friends than searching for a boyfriend.

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From sitting here writing this there is no profound happening nor bizarre coincidence about the day or even weekend. It was another ordinary weekend, yet one that started into another chapter in my life, one I had not written myself.

When I was fifteen I already knew (thought I did), where I was going with life. I had some interest in joining the Military, knew I would attend a four year college, enter into a career that would make me proud to work in as well as fulfilling and live in place I never had before.

Its sorta funny how I thought I knew everything that I wanted, and had a plan of how I was going to get from A to B to C, while making stops along the way. And looking back on relationships and the coming of you sweet baby, there are no truer words than: the best things that happen in life are the unexpected.

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Let me tell you little one, often throughout the course of your life you will have a plan, to do the dishes, scrub the floor, put off your chores till right before bed, get your homework done, go to college, marry your first love, build your own house or start up a business. However, there is a plan, Gods plan that is bigger than your plan.

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He knows, when you need an extra hug, when you need someone to accompany you on the journey, when you need a break, when you need a trail, which trial you need and at what point in your life you need blessings and which ones you do need.And so many times baby boy he gives us blessings for voids that we did not even know existed in our life.

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The bigger plan for you is truly miraculous and reassures your poppa and I that you will experience so many blessings in your life, just as we both have. As I look back just this afternoon when poppa was playing with you and chasing you around and you were squealing with delight, I sat poised watching the two of you play and all of the sudden was engulfed by your poppas sweet arms into a big hug and a kiss placed on top my head, I am so thankful, that he has a bigger plan for me.