Two Under Two Tuesday: Week 2

Another week under our belt and feeling a little more confident juggling two kids. Although yesterday I got served up a big old slice of humble pie. It was my first day solo parenting. I was feeling pretty smug about our day. I managed a shower, wrangling both kids to Hudson’s music class, I made dinner and even cookies with Hudson for an afternoon activity. Everyone was alive and happy when Matt arrived home = miracle in my book. During dinner Hudson was particularly whine-y and was picking at his food. We figured he was getting a little annoyed since I was feeding Harper instead of eating dinner with him. Matt took him upstairs to play and get some alone time. Five minutes later – cue the shouts from the bedroom: “he just threw up!”. He seems to have such a sensitive stomach. He’s had a few incidents like this in last few months. No fever, he just throws up and then boom, back to normal. So we spent the rest of our evening on puke patrol instead of congratulating ourselves with a well done first day.

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Lessons Learned:

Get out of the house! This was huge for me when Hudson was little and still rings true. All dire situations seem a bit more manageable after a little fresh air. I’ve taken them both to the park in our sweet ride and scheduled Hudson’s mommy and me classes and playdates to keep us busy and out of the house in the mornings. Bonus: everyone has a better nap!

Breastfeeding is easier…and harder. I feel so much more confident feeding Harper since I already had over 13 months of experience under my belt (err, bra?). It’s just been frustrating since I know how to breastfeed but she still learning. I had forgotten that newborn feedings can take up to an hour and apparently both of my babies are lazy eaters in the beginning. I have to strip her down and keep her awake to get in a full feeding. I’m trying to remember my own advice, the first six weeks are the hardest and then you’re smooth sailing!

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Mom Hack: Maybe I’m the last one to this stupid-easy trick but I just added a changing station downstairs (by changing station, I mean a little box of wipes, diapers and changing pad shoved next to the couch). It’s been life changing. No running up the stairs with one baby while the other is left to their own devices. Hudson feels super important tossing Harper’s diapers in the trash and the subsequent squirt of antibacterial gel.

This week I’m really trying to get our schedules worked out so everyone is a happy camper. I’m pretty sure that means me getting up earlier (boo!) but I think we’re on the right track!

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Two Under Two Tuesdays: Week 1

Howdy from the two under two trenches! We are home with our newest bundle and settling into our (new!) routine.

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The first question our friends and family ask (after they ask if Harper is a good sleeper- uh, sort of?) is how big brother Hudson is adjusting. Another baby mama blogger has two little ladies under two and does a weekly recap and I just couldn’t help but jump on the bandwagon. So here we go…

Lessons Learned:

Take it slow with introducing baby to big brother. Hudson came to visit us in the hospital. He was proud as a peacock wearing his big brother shirt and loving all the attention from the nurses. He sort of freaked when he got to our room to say hello. I think he was overwhelmed with the hospital bed and equipment and the crying baby. He started crying when Harper started crying. Which was equal parts adorable and terrifying, thinking of the days ahead with double the tears. So pace yourselves! There is plenty of time for these two to become besties.

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Get help! Seriously. Every book, blog post and veteran mom will tell you, you’re going to need help. Hudson hasn’t really been acting out or mean to Harper but her nursing sessions take up to 40 minutes and that is a LONG time for a toddler to entertain himself. My Mom flew out a few days after we got home from the hospital and has been a lifesaver. She took him to all of his classes, out on walks and generally kept him entertained while I fed the baby (all.day.long).

Just go with the flow. We waffled back and forth on getting a second crib or a bassinet or just a pack and play to deal with the sleeping situation. We settled on a little cradle and were all prepared to have Harper sleep there from night one. Girlfriend had other ideas. For whatever reason, she hates the cradle so we stuck her in the Rock and Play and she’s been sleeping like a champ (she gives us 3.5-4 hour stretches of sleep at night). Our motto is, “I’m sure it will be fine”.

Our first week with two kiddies has been pretty great, if not exhausting! Since I started this little post-a-thon a little late you get two posts today, get excited!

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Say Hello!

Harper Elizabeth Ahrens made her debut on January 14th at 9:30pm, one day after her due date. She weighed in at a trim 8 pounds, 9 ounces (a full pound less than her brother!) and is 19.25 inches long. We’re totally in love with her and have been settling in as a family of four.

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Big Brother Hudson is coming around and starting to show more interest in his sister. He loves pushing her baby swing and helping bring blankets and binkies to her.

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Follow along on my Instagram stream for an unreasonable amount of baby pictures.

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Printable Thank You Notes for Kids

I feel like we’ve just finally got our place back whipped back into shape from the whirlwind that was Christmas. It feels good to have a little more room in our living room (although, I miss the tree lit up at night). Hudson was a lucky, lucky boy this year and was spoiled with SO MANY presents from friends and family. See proof of this here.

Growing up both of our parents made sure we always wrote and said thank you for anything we were given. Of course this is something we wanted to pass down to our kids (although it’s turned me in to a bit of paper product hoarder!). I searched Pinterest and Etsy for kids thank you notes and didn’t find anything I loved. I really wanted Hudson to be involved in the thank you note writing.

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Since he’s yet to master his writing skills, I dictated his thanks and he added pizzazz to the front of the cards with the help of some new crayons. The project was definitely over his head in terms of understanding saying thank you but I really wanted to start a tradition and practice of it.

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The artiste adding just enough flair that says, “I really really love my new mega blocks!”

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I think kids even a little older than Hudson (maybe 2 or 3?) would really grasp the concept of the project. Anyway, I thought I’d make my template available for anyone who could use simple thank you notes for their kids.

Download it here!

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Mama Must Haves: Hospital Bag Edition

Now that I’ve rounded week 39 of this pregnancy I thought it was time to pack up our hospital bag. This time I’ve been more relaxed (sensing a theme with the second baby?) and haven’t even really thought about what I’ll be taking. Last time, we WAY over packed. We practically brought the whole nursery to the hospital. I was joking with my girlfriend the other day that I would probably be ok with just tossing a clean pair of undies in my purse on the way out the door. Here’s what I whittled our packing list down to this time.

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for mama // jammies, cosmetic bag, dry shampoo, hair ties, flip flops, boob butter

I packed so many outfits and what not the first time it was ridiculous. All you need is a comfy pair of PJs and nursing tank tops. Honestly, when you’re first getting the hang of nursing the hospital gowns are the easiest to manage. I’m also including some leggings and a cardigan for the ride home. Flip flops were a must for pacing the halls + shower stall. I also threw in some comfy (cheap!) socks (I threw them away afterward).

Don’t forget your makeup + dry shampoo. A shower after having a baby is amazing, drying your hair in a tiny hospital bathroom isn’t. Embrace the dry shampoo ladies! Sounds vain but there will be plenty of pictures!

ipad/iphone/camera + chargers! You’ll be taking tons of pics of your new bundle of joy. We also face-timed with all of our out-of-town family so it was essential to have all of our gadgets. I also thought it was nice to have internet access since it got a little boring just sitting in the room without any visitors.

for dad// shirt/PJ pants/bag

Dad doesn’t need a lot but a comfy pair of pants for sleeping after baby arrives is nice! We’re also packing this Hudson shirt for the ride home to pay homage to our first born (we know we’re cheesy). Matt was super sore from walking and giving me a 10 hour back massage so I’m throwing in some Tylenol this time. Snacks are also a nice addition since the hospital really only takes care of mom.

for baby// outfits/hat/carseat/hairbow/swaddles/binkie

You really don’t need to pack anything for baby, the hospital gives you everything from binkies to diapers. We’re taking a couple of cute going home outfits (a gal needs options!), a hat and hair accessories and some cute swaddle blankets for pictures.

Was there anything that made your stay or that you forgot and were cursing yourself for? I forgot a hair tie last time (who does that?!) and had to use an actual rubber band from the nurses station. Yeow!

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A Handmade Holiday: DIY toddler tent

I’m sure you have all seen the cute DIY toddler tents making the internet rounds. When I first saw them, I knew we had to make one for Hudson. He loves forts and crawling under things so I thought he would love it. Matt and I both contemplated just buying a premade version but they were going for $70 on Etsy all the way up to $200 at the Land of Nod. So DIY it was!

handmade holiday: DIY Toddler Tent

I used these three (1/2/3) tutorials as my main guides. Those tutorials cover the how-to pretty well. I’m not sure my building prowess could really give an additional insight on how to make one. We made our tent a little shallower to allow for smaller apartment quarters. That meant I had to hem the sheet, so keep that in mind!

I did sand, stain and seal the bejesus out of the frame before adding on my $5 Walmart sheet. I thought about using my handy freezer paper stencil trick to make the arrows but in the end decided to just wing it. I used the same gold paint from our DIY Advent Calendar.

handmade holiday: DIY Toddler Tent

I think it came out really cute and couldn’t wait to see Hudson’s face on Christmas morning! See below for his super impressed face (and our super classy TV fireplace).

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One thing we added that I really love are these LED fairy lights. I think it’s going to be the perfect place for hiding or book reading.

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So that’s what Santa’s dropped off at our place this year! I know it is so cliché but man I love the holidays even more now that we have kids. It is SO fun!

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Double Trouble Stroller

You may have seen that we’ve taken the official plunge into a family of four, the double stroller has arrived. A couple of people (and I mean literally, two) have asked what kind/why we bought the one we did. I aim to please my vast readership so here’s my rundown of all things double stroller. Which, unfortunately (fortunately?) I’ve done an exhaustive review of.

We went with the City Select Stroller with a double seat in Onyx. We bought the City Mini for Hudson and you know how much I love that stroller. I felt really good about buying again from the same company.

Price// Let’s just get down to the nuts and bolts here. Double strollers are ridiculously expensive. Even the lower end strollers are going to run you about $175-200. The City Select is usually around $650 on Amazon (that includes the second seat). I know. It’s a lot. BUT! I knew I wanted a really durable and well made stroller since I use it everyday. We still only have one car so that means I walk to the gym, the grocery store, lunch dates, etc. (can I get a bumper sticker that says ‘my other car is a stroller?’). Luckily Baby Jogger has a blow-out sale every year (they’re still on sale!) and the price was knocked down to $499 and that price included the second seat (usually about additional $175). My sister works at Buy Buy Baby and was able to score us an additional 30% off (if you don’t have a hook up, save your 20% off coupons!), so our grand total was $375 for the whole whammy. My best ever in-laws graciously gave us the stroller for a baby gift. So, yes, there was no out-of-pocket expense but hopefully what I’m getting across is waiting for a sale! Save your coupons! Don’t pay retail!

Tandem or Side by Side// As I’ve waxed on about the City Mini, you might be wondering, why didn’t she just go with that in a double? The City Mini Double only comes in a side by side configuration. This is actually how most doubles are set up (BOB/Bugaboo/Maclaren). Our sidewalks here are SO narrow that I knew the double would be a nightmare. Also, pushing it through the grocery stores would also be a struggle. I love the versatility of the City Select, it comes with 16 different configurations for the seats. See them all here. The other tandem strollers (Phil&Ted/UppaBaby) that we looked at all had what I call a jump seat. Basically, the second seat is under the original seat and much lower to the ground. I didn’t like that one kid never got to see anything but the back of a seat and it just seemed like it would cause problems/fights on who sat where as they get older.

Size// Size matters gals! At least when we’re talking about strollers. We drive a Hyundai Elantra and we needed that sucker to actually fit in our trunk. The City Select is no petite stroller but it folds down relatively small for a double and the seats detach. I will forever mourn the one-handed fold of the City Mini.

Quality// This stroller is built so well. It has a ton of storage in the lower basket, has a telescoping handle and rides really smoothly. I also love the large sunshades (which seems to be a Baby Jogger trademark). The only negative is that all of the accessories (drink holder/parent caddy/snack tray) are sold separately. I appreciate that you get to choose what to buy based on your needs but the extras add up quickly!

Bottom Line// We love the City Select for a double stroller! I’ve already taken it for a spin with Hudson solo and I think it’s going to be great for us. I am super happy with our decision and can’t wait to push both of our babies around town. Would I recommend it for a single? No, not really. It’s really bulky for a single stroller a doesn’t collapse as small as a conventional single stroller. So if you travel solo (like I do) you’re going to have to ask for help. That being said, my sister has it as a single and loves it. I think I was just spoiled by our City Mini which is always my hands down first recommendation for a great (single) stroller.

So congrats to you if you made it through this post! Any other stroller aficionados like to weigh in?

PS- no affiliate links were used, I just linked up for your ease. I’m nice like that.

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A Handmade Holiday: DIY felt fish game

I posted Hudson’s Christmas wish list a few days ago. He is getting most of those gifts but they’re coming from extended family (we are SO spoiled!). Earlier this year I was perusing Pinterest (obviously) and ran into two things I thought he would really love. A little A-frame fort and a fishing game. More on the fort in an upcoming post, let’s focus on the cute fish game! I will warn you right now though, this is a pretty time intensive project. Easy to make but tedious. AKA, don’t start this on Christmas Eve or you will hate yourself.

This is the pin that inspired our game. It provided a great fish template but the instructions were to print on paper and have the kids “fish” using attached paperclips. That seemed like more hand eye coordination than I had so I turned this into a felt + magnet game.

As you’ve all come to expect, directions to follow via iPhone.

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1// Print out the fish templates from here. We decided 10 fish was plenty so cut out 20 fish pieces. I also added stars/stripes/polka dots to my fish. Don’t be like me. It was a huge pain in the ass to top stitch around. I do think the additional decoration look cute but I would recommend doing simple shapes (think square, large circle, triangle).

2// Hot glue your shapes to the fish. Make sure to keep the glue away from the sides of the shape as you’ll top stitch around the border. I used a zig-zag stitch around all of my decoration. I think it makes it look a little more finished than just the glue. This is the part that takes THE LONGEST TIME EVER! So no in progress picture for you. Sorry.

3// Sew those fish right-sides together! I used the machine and was done really quickly. You could definitely hand stitch these if you don’t have a sewing machine though. I left the tail open for stuffing.

4// Hot glue your magnet to the fish. Please, please, please be sure to secure your magnets safely! Magnet ingestion is really dangerous for children.

5// Flip your fish right side out and stuff it with some poly-fill. Make sure they’re fluffy but not overly full (you want your magnet to be strong enough to pull them up! I used 1/3 of an 8 ounce poly-fil bag for all ten fish.

6// Close those tails up and top stitch around the fish. This may be overkill but I really wanted to make sure that the magnet couldn’t slip out of the fish if the glue gave out. I also think it gives the fish a more finished look.

7// Decorate your fishing pole. I just used some basic craft paint for stripes. The fishing line is twine with another magnet on the end, covered with some leftover ribbon.

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Boom! Cutest DIY fishing game ever, right? It definitely looks like it was crafted at home so I’m sure I’ll have no problem convincing Hudson that it was made at Santa’s workshop. Smile Again, a super easy (and cheap!) project but time consuming. But you know what they say about more time than money!

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Hudson’s Christmas List

With Christmas around the corner I thought I would put together a little toddler wish list. I always love seeing what is on other friends’ lists so here’s our best guess for a 17 month old!

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1// Hudson loves these blocks! His music teacher uses them each week to teach the kids about colors. He’s also really into building towers (and knocking them down!).

2// I thought this shape sorter puzzle looked fun. Our little friend loves to sit and figure out how things work. I mean, he also loves a good light up toy but I thought this would be a nice quiet time activity.

3// Bath toys! Hudson loves the tub and these looked like a fun addition to the bath.

4// We are finally coloring over here! I love it but have to watch him like a hawk as crayons are apparently quite delicious. I’m hoping these twist up ones discourage the gnawing. I also think these stackable ones are cute but am not sure our little shark can keep his teeth off them just yet.

5// More blocks! Matt and Hudson love making a good tower and these look like the perfect addition to their building.

6// What does a fox say? I thought this was adorable, Hudson could probably care less.

7// The classic Brio set. Matt and his brothers built an epic set of Brio trains throughout the years. Since that set is staying at grandma and grandpa’s house, Santa thought Hudson needed his own starter set.

We are trying to stick with classic, simple toys for Hudson. Hopefully ones that will last more than a year or two! I’m also busy making a couple of Santa gifts for him. I’ll share those soon (hopefully they aren’t epic failures). What is your go-to kid gift?

PS-no affiliate links used. Just spreading the Christmas joy.

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Get your Advent on

I hope everyone has recovered from their turkey coma! We had a nice little family Thanksgiving here! Lots of turkey and pie leftover for the rest of the week makes this large marge happy! Now that we’ve given thanks for all of our blessings, we have set our sights on the big show! Christmas!

We are staying put for a California Christmas with baby girl’s due date looming (please Lord, all I want for Christmas is a December baby). Both Matt and I are excited to start our family traditions here and one that we both grew up with is an Advent calendar. Matt’s family had a felt wall hanging that had little treats and toys tucked into it while my family had a calendar that you opened the doors each day for a little candy treat. I tried to incorporate both of these into our calendar and I tried to make it as easy (and cheap!) as possible. Behold, our easy DIY hanging advent calendar in 4 easy steps! Documented via iPhone for your squinting pleasure.

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1// I was inspired by this calendar but unfortunately I couldn’t print the numbers out on iron-on paper since we have a laser printer (I also wanted to keep the color palate a little simpler). So I printed and traced all of my numbers on to freezer paper. I followed the same method making these two shirts. This was tedious but really easy.

2// I used leftover goodie bags from Hudson’s birthday party for our calendar. Iron those numbers on tight!

3// Get your paint on! I used stencil brush + Martha Stewart’s metallic gold paint for our numbers. I picked he paint up at Home Depot for about $4 a long time ago. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it but knew it belonged in my crafting stash. I would recommend using a light touch on the paint and slipping some cardboard in between the bags to prevent bleed-through. I did two light coats, which in my humble crafting opinion is better than one gloppy thick coat. These dry very quickly. In fact, the painting was the quickest part of this whole craft.

4// Peel those freezer paper stickers off and enjoy your handiwork! I hung ours up with 3M hooks and some twine. Basically, just replacing our Thanksgiving banner. Let’s see how long those suckers last on the wall with grabby little toddler hands around!

DIY Advent Calendar

Each bag is hung with a mini red clothes pin. I found a pack of 25 for $1.99 at the Container Store.

DIY Advent Calendar

I really wanted to included the treats and activities part of advent + some toddler friendly scripture. I found this list of daily scriptures that I thought was perfect. I just re-typed them on cardstock (reusable!) and slipped them inside the envelopes.

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Then I got a little cray. This year Matt and I really want to make Christmas fun and special since it will be just our little family (and the last time we’ll be a family of 3!) here. I took some time earlier this month to print out a December calendar (it’s the TomKat Studio printable that I use for our monthly meal planning) and filled it up with our must-do Christmas activities and added some new things we wanted to try and daily treats/activities for Hudson and I to do during the day.

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On second glance, it looks like a little much and we know Hudson could really care less about what we do. We thought we’d take the opportunity to try out new things around town and decide what we wanted to make yearly family traditions. So hopefully I can blog about our fun this month leading up to Christmas!

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