Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Twin Tuesday!

For this Twin Tuesday, I thought I would share the twins' birth story.

On Sunday July 27, 2014 I was just about 37 weeks pregnant and I felt awful. I can't really explain it, I just felt sick (although I can't say I was ever feeling really great at that point, being so extremely pregnant with twins in the end of July was pretty much guaranteeing I was always feeling kind of crummy!) All I wanted to do all day was lay down. I could barely eat, barely move, barely walk. It's safe to say I was pretty miserable and was very ready to have these babies out! My husband was great and doted on me all day; always making sure I had a drink, making sure the air was cool enough, making sure I had enough pillows. I had never gone into labor before (I was induced with my daughter), so I didn't really know the signs. I had a doctor appointment the next day along with a non stress test at the hospital so I figured we would know what was going on then! I woke up Monday feeling a little better but still very crampy and nauseous. I got ready and went to my NST. While I was there a nurse checked me after I explained to her how I was feeling and I was 2cm dilated! However, 2cm isn't really anything to get too excited about so she told me I could be in labor but we will have to wait and see. After she checked me things really kicked into high gear. I was cramping badly and felt so sick. I needed to kill some time before my appointment at my doctor's office so I went to JoAnne fabrics and also to WalMart to pick up some things I needed. It was so hard walking around these stores but I did it and made it to the doctors office. While I was sitting waiting to be called back I all of a sudden broke out into a sweat and I got an extremely sharp pain in the middle of my lower back. It was as if I was being stabbed. I could have started crying right then and there from the pain. That's the moment I knew. That second I was SURE I was in labor. They called me back and I told the doctor all that was going on, she checked me and I was know 4cm dilated! She smiled, hugged me and said "Congratulations, you're in labor! Let's go have those boys!" I was so excited and so nervous at the same time. I thought to myself "This is it! You're about to have two more children!" That thought hit me like a ton of bricks. It all got so real that I was going to have two tiny babies to care for. I got out of the office and into my car and drove to the hospital. When I walked to the desk to check in I said to the woman "Hi, my name is Kelly and I'm in labor!" She looked like she could have passed out. She said to me "How did you get here? Are you alone?" I told her yes I was alone and that I had driven myself (my husband was working and was on his way to meet me). She asked if I wanted a wheelchair, I told her I was fine and could walk to the labor and delivery unit by myself. I got up there and they hooked me up to the machines and it was go time! Except it wasn't. Turns out, these tiny boys of mine were very stubborn. I stalled at 6cms. I tried EVERYTHING. I walked. I changed positions. I walked some more. Nothing. My doctor is excellent and knew how badly I wanted a natural delivery and let me wait overnight to see if I progressed some more. 7:00 a.m. rolled around and unfortunately there was no more progress. My doctor advised me he thought the best option at this point was a C-section. I'm not going to lie, there were tears and lots of them. I was so upset, but I wanted what was best for my boys. On July 29th, 2014 at 8:41 in the morning Adam James was born. I heard his little cry and was overjoyed. They held him up but I couldn't see him over the drape. I panicked and looked to my husbands face for reassurance and he said to me "Kell, he's perfect." I had no time to react because at 8:42 Collin Richard was born. I was able to see him, he was so cute and tiny. I was so relieved it was all over and my boys were here!
They took the boys to do their assessment and got me all cleaned up and over to the recovery room. I was waiting for my sweet boys for what seemed to be forever. Finally they brought Collin to me. I bawled when I saw him. He was so perfect. His little nose was no bigger than a tiny jelly bean. He had beautiful deep blue eyes. Talk about love at first sight! I tried to nurse him but he was having trouble breathing so they took him back to the nursery and brought me Adam. Love at first sight again! It was incredible. He looked so different than his brother (which I was so relieved about because I had reoccurring nightmares where I wasn't able to tell them apart!). He was a little smaller than Collin but not much. He had a full head of the softest hair I had ever felt. His little hands grabbed for me and my heart swelled. I then tried to nurse him but the same thing happened, he was having trouble breathing and they took him too. I was crushed. I couldn't believe I waited all this time to see them, to hold them, to love them, and then they were gone. I was so mad. None of this was according to plan. I wanted my babies and wanted to get out of that bed and go to them, but at that point I still had some recovering to do and had to just wait it out. That was one of the most awful times in my life.
Finally I was moved over to my room and of course I wanted to see my babies. I said to the nurse I need to see them, and to please get me a wheel chair. She was worried that it was too soon for me to get up and that I wouldn't be steady enough on my feet. I said to her "Listen, I am going to see my sons, with or without your help". I think she could tell how serious I was and brought a wheelchair for me. I got into it with no problem and my husband wheeled me over to the special care nursery. Both Adam and Collin were hooked up to CPAP machines due to their lung immaturity, other than that they were doing ok. I spent the rest of the day with them in the nursery. On Wednesday they were both doing ok, but Adam was doing slightly better than Collin. They took off Adam's CPAP and told me if he continued doing as well as he was he would be able to be discharged into the regular nursery. I was thrilled, but still worried for my little Coll. I went back to my room to pump and get something to eat and while I was there the doctor came in and informed me Collin needed a chest tube. I felt like I got punched in the stomach. I was so worried for him and still couldn't believe all of this was happening. They inserted the tube, Collin started to improve and Adam continued doing well. On Thursday morning Adam was discharged to the regular nursery. I was SO excited. I kept him with me all day, dressed him in the first little outfit I got for them and snuggled him non stop. I stayed with Collin and made sure he knew his Mommy was there with him. He's such a little fighter that he ended up pulling out his own chest tube, however they did an X-Ray and it showed his lung had healed and he no longer needed it so a new one did not need to be reinserted. I can't tell you how many times I thanked God that day.
We were able to stay in the hospital a few more days even thought Adam and I were discharged. The nurses and doctors were so great and knew I wanted to be there for Collin so they kept us for as long as they could. Adam and I were discharged on Sunday August 3rd and home we went, leaving Collin at the hospital. I can't even begin to explain the emotions I felt. I was SO happy to have Adam home and have him be healthy but I was also so worried about Collin and HATED having to leave him. I know it wasn't the case but I felt like I was abandoning him. He continued to improve and on Tuesday August 6th he was ready to come home with us. He passed his car seat test with flying colors and was doing perfectly. When we drove out of that hospital with both of our boys and our daughter in the car I felt like a million bucks. I was ecstatic to start our life as a family of five!

In labor!

Hubby fast asleep! ;)

Ready for the OR!

They're here! Adam James and Collin Richard <3


Adam James <3

Collin Richard <3

Sweet baby Adam is free of tubes!

Mommy and Adam snuggles

Adam in his first outfit

Ashley meeting Adam!

Adam and I on our way home

Brothers <3

On our way with BOTH babies! 

Bill with his sons

Home <3

XOXO- Kelly

Friday, June 19, 2015

Boardwalk Trip

A few weekends ago, one of our best friends invited us to go for a day trip to the boardwalk. Now, let me just say, I LOVE the boardwalk. Ever since I was a little girl it has been one of my most favorite past times of summer. I love the games, the food, the rides, the atmosphere, everything! Having kids and being able to take them is the absolute best. Seeing everything through their eyes and getting to experience it all again with them is incredible.
I had never been to Keansburg, NJ before but my good friend Maria has been going her whole life. Bill had done some work around there and said he thought it would be a fun thing to do with the kids. We had such a great time! It was really family oriented and not too crowded at all which was super nice when having to push around a huge double stroller. They had a ton of rides that were small enough for Ashley to go on and she had a blast. The ride controllers were really nice and since the kids had wristbands they allowed them to go on the rides as many times in a row as they wanted!
Bill LOVES to play boardwalk games and Ashley was so excited that her Daddy won her a frog from the Frog Bog game and quickly named her Lily. She loves it so much and hasn't put it down since she got it.

Ash waving to her brothers!

Ashley with Xan, Emmagrace up front!

Ash and Collin

Adam and Ashley

My sweet little Adam

Ashley and her frog Lily, right after Daddy won her!

We had a great day, and can't wait to go back!

XOXO- Kelly

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Twin Tuesday!

I decided every Tuesday I'm going to do a post about the twins; products I love for them, funny/cute things they do and say, outings we go on, things like that! If nothing else, it will be fun for me to look back on because everyday they are getting bigger and older and I already find myself looking back at newborn pictures of them and missing them as tiny babies! SO, here we go for our first TWIN TUESDAY!

Something that has been a huge lifesaver for us is the Delta 36x36 Play Yard.

For my shower, I put a regular pack and play on the registry. Once we got it, I quickly realized it wasn't going to work for us. Both babies didn't fit in it, and it was much too small for them to play in. We returned the pack and play and just by chance we saw this one. I was so excited, it was so big and looked like it would have just enough room. Sure enough, it worked out perfectly. We brought it with us to Disney World and both of the boys had plenty of room to sleep, the mattress was padded enough, and they were able to play together. I can't say enough great things about this play yard and would recommend any twin Momma to invest in it!

Here are my sweet boys, fast asleep in the Play Yard. My heart melts when I see them like this! 

During the day I try to make it a point to get the kids outside at least once.  The babies are 10 1/2 months now and are crawling everywhere. They are so curious and want to explore and see everything, as well as put everything in their mouths! So, just laying out a blanket and relaxing on the grass isn't really an option for us. We decided to get a Radio Flyer wagon and the boys LOVE it! Ashley loves it as well!

I pull them around the yard, take them for walks, and just enjoy the nice weather. They love sitting at a different angle as opposed to being in the stroller and Ashley really likes being able to hop in and out as she pleases. It has seat backs that fold down to be flatbed wagon or put up like in the picture to be seats. It also has little seat belts which are awesome to keep the kids safe and strapped in. I'm sure we're going to get a lot of use out of it this summer!

Yesterday, after a stroll around the yard we stopped to play with bubbles. It was the first time the boys had ever seen bubbles and they loved watching them and trying to grab them. It's so amazing to see the look on their face when they discover something new. It was a great afternoon, one I'm sure I'll remember forever.

XOXO- Kelly

Monday, June 8, 2015

Life, Babies and Back to Blogging!

I'M BACK! It's been a LONG couple years. Things got away from me, life got in the way and I stopped blogging. I'm making a conscious effort to start again. So, since I last posted a ton has happened. Ashley is now almost five!!! Five!!! Can you believe it? I certainly cannot. She is still such a spunky, happy little girl and brings so much joy to our lives. She loves princesses, dolls, dressing up and of course FROZEN! She will be starting kindergarten in the fall, which we are both not ready for. I'm going to miss my little partner in crime! Thank God we have the whole summer to prepare! In July 2014 we added two new members to our family, our twin boys, Adam and Collin! They are the best little boys anyone could ever ask for. They are a little over 10 months now and they amaze me every single day with how much they are learning, how quick they are growing, and what different little personalities they have. It's absolutely fascinating to witness and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be their mommy. Having them has absolutely been a roller coaster. So many times I have heard moms of twins say "the first six months are an absolute blur". I never really understood what that meant, but let me tell you, that statement is spot on. From the moment they were born we hit the ground running. They were born at 37 weeks and both needed some NICU time. Collin needed a little extra help so he stayed in a little longer. I had to leave the hospital with Adam while Collin stayed an extra two days. Walking out of the hospital without him was quite possibly one of the hardest things I've ever done, BUT, when we finally had both boys home the elation I felt was indescribable. Ashley was in preschool and with them being slightly premature, they started getting sick. In September (at 7 weeks) I had Collin in the hospital for a cold, he was fine and the hospital staff probably thought I was insane, but my philosophy was better safe than sorry.  December rolled around and I was so excited for the boys' first Christmas. We did so many fun Christmas activities; went on the Polar Express, visited Santa, went through the Ice Caverns (an adorable walk through attraction with decorated windows), went to a Frozen Ice Palace in a local mall. It was great and gearing up to be a great holiday. Unfortunately all my plans were dashed when on Christmas Eve Collin spiked a 102º temperature. Adam followed suit and they both ended up going to the hospital on Christmas day and were admitted for pneumonia. We spent the next week there and finally came home New Years Day. It was one of the most trying times in my life. Needless to say, it's been insane, but I wouldn't change it for the world.  I stopped working when I had them because going to work while having two tiny babies, breastfeeding them, having a four year old to take care of and sleep at some point in between all that proved to be much too difficult. I do miss my job, but being a stay-at-home mom is by far the best job I've ever had and I really, really love it. We are finally getting into a routine (only took me 10 months LOL) but things are honestly getting easier and I feel much more accomplished during my days. I find that getting out, even for something simple like to the food store for milk, really helps me feel like I got at least SOMETHING accomplished. So here we are, just enjoying summer, enjoying the boys being a little older so they can participate in some fun summer activities, and enjoying life. I can't wait to continue documenting our lives and my thoughts so down the road I can look back on it all. I hope you join me for the ride!

My sweet girl announcing the arrival of her brothers!

They're here! Adam James and Collin Richard.

The three loves of my life <3

Our little family.

And then some pictures of us now!

Me and the hubby!

Ashley and her brothers! (Adam on the left Collin on the right)

Us!! <3<3

XOXO- Kelly

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ashley's 2nd Birthday

Hello All!

Ashley's 2nd Birthday party was Saturday, August 4th. It turned out absolutely perfect. The theme was Minnie Mouse & Zebra. Everyone who knows me, knows I love themes! I really ran with this one! Haha! Mostly everything for the party I made. I downloaded a program called Gimp, which is basically a free version of photoshop. It has so many features that I'll admit, I got a little overwhelmed at first. I found some AWESOME tutorials from Sara over at Becomingmarth.com. Here is a link to the tutorial: http://www.becomingmartha.com/2012/05/using-gimp-lesson-1.html. She was super helpful and even responded when I had some questions!
With the Gimp program I created cupcake toppers, a sign for the front door, labels for the goodie bags, and various other minnie heads and labels throughout the party. The program ended up being super easy to use and once I got the hang of it I was a crafting machine, churning out tons of things as soon as I thought them up!
Pinterest was really great to have for this party. Everything I made, was inspired from pinterest. A lot of things I kind of tweaked to make my "own", but initially it all came from there. So lets begin!

First things first, here is the invitation!

It was made by Julie from Jaybee baby. She is awesome and makes such nice things!

Here are some of the decorations:

We rented tables and chairs because we had about 50 people and the uniformed look of matching tables and chairs was important to me. The tents we actually bought with gift cards we had received from our housewarming party. The balloon topiaries were one of the first thing I pinned on pinterest. The only problem was the pin was just a picture, with no link or tutorial attached. I HATE it when that happens. So I searched and searched and found a video tutorial on youtube how to make balloon topiaries. Believe it or not they are super easy. The center is a wooden dowel wrapped with zebra duct tape. I bought floral foam which I was planning to glue to the bottom then stick the dowel in. My handy hubby had other ideas though! He actually drilled a small hole into the dowel and another small hole into the bottom of the buckets (WHICH, might I add, I found at Target for 10 cents each!!!!!!) So he put the screw through the bottom of the bucket and screwed the dowel onto it. It was nice and tight and the dowel stayed perfectly straight up. 

This banner was also made by Julie from Jaybee Baby designs. She has made my banners and invitations for the past 2 years and she does a great job. I love how this turned out.

Isn't this "Ashley" confetti awesome!? When I saw it I knew I had to get it. It looked great on the dessert table and was only about $2.99 from Party City!

These next pictures are of a sign I created with Gimp! I was inspired by sometime I saw on Pinterest. It was a link to an Etsy store and they were selling pretty much exactly this sign for $25.00! I KNEW I could make it and for obviously a lot less than 25 bucks! It came out perfectly and was a really cute addition.

Here are the cupcake toppers I made, again, using Gimp

And here is a sign I made for the table by our front door. It was nice to have something welcoming everyone into the house getting them in the Minnie spirit!!!! :)

Using Gimp was wayyyyy easier than I thought it would be and like I said, the tutorials I posted before were such a huge help. I couldn't have done what I did without them!

Onto the food tables:

This is the food table, before all of the food. My step brothers wonderful girlfriend is a ridiculously talented artist and drew out these Minnie heads for me. My super patient sister painted them! I love them and have them hanging up in Ashley's room now!

Here is Chelsea with one of the Minnies' she drew. I <3 her!

 The little zebra buckets for the utensils I got at Target and I love the accent they added. The hot pink and zebra just go so well, don't they!?

Here are the ears and goodie bags!!

I just loved these ears. I was worried how they would turn out, but when I was finished I was super impressed. Even my husband was like "Wow, those are so cute!" They took a lot of time to make, but were surprisingly easy! I bought headband at The Christmas Tree Shop. It was a pack of 6 for a dollar. I bought 4 packs and went to work. I wrapped each headband with black ribbon and secured it with hot glue. I bought some stiff foam from walmart and cut out circles and glued 2 circles together. Then, I cut out the ears from felt and hot glued the foam inside. I slipped the ears onto the headbands and secured them with some more hot glue. That was it for the Mickey ears. For the Minnie ones I bought some ribbon and made the bows! Everyone that came were great sports and 90 % of the adults wore them. It was so cool to see everyone wearing them!

The goodie bags were probably the easiest thing I did for this party. I must admit, I bought the actual bags from party city. We didn't have too many kids so I didn't mind spending the money on buying them at .79 cents a piece. Had we had more children, I probably would have come up with a more economical alternative. These bags matched perfectly, so I was happy with them. I used my trusty program Gimp and created the labels. Obviously I used Minnie for the girls and then I used Mickey for the the boys. I was able to download a Disney font and I typed each of the kids names on the bags. Here is an up close picture of one:

I just cut them out and hot glued them on. Voila! :)

Now for my Princess's outfit!! 
My Mom and husband did wonderfully for me for Christmas this year and along with a ton of other gifts chipped in and got me a Sewing/ Embroidery machine. I swear, I love that thing. I'm still getting the hang of sewing, but the embroidery I'm pretty good at. After paying a significant amount of money for several embroidered outfits for Ash, I thought to myself "I can do that!" I love being able to create things for her exactly to my liking and make them identical to my "vision". Her outfit was perfect. I did buy her skirt, because I really haven't learned how to sew like that yet and I felt tulle on a tutu would have been too hot for August. So here it is!

And here she is in it! It isn't the best picture, but have you tried to take a picture of a 2 year old at her own party? I was not able to make her be still all day! So this is the best I could get! :) (I had adorable light up Minnie shoes, but the little Miss refused to wear them! :) )

Now, onto the best part- the desserts!!!!

I really had a specific idea how I wanted the dessert table to be. I had seen many blogs and tons of things on pinterest and really wanted to do an extravagant table with multiple desserts. A friend I work with is extremely talented and baked Ashley's cake. She is so great and really listens to all my insane ideas. She is even receptive to me when I give her my own drawings! LOL! Every time she has made me a cake she has made is exactly how I imagined it. I love that about her! All the other desserts I made myself, and while it took A LOT of time, I loved how everything turned out and wouldn't have had it any other way!

First, here are the chocolate covered oreos. I got the tutorial from Pinterest (where else?). I changed a few things from the tutorial. Maria, the woman who made the tutorial and did an awesome job, made super cute bows from fondant. I didn't have enough time to do that, so I just tied some bows on the stick with ribbon. Also, she used marshmallows for the ears. I had some mini oreos at home so figured I would use those! I love how they turned out. I used candy melts to "glue" the ears on, it worked very well. I tried to use chocolate, but it was too soft. Also, instead of dipping the pops in the chocolate, I spooned the chocolate on. It was easier and I found when I dipped them, the ears would some of the time fall off. Spooning the chocolate gave me more control. (Tip- thin the chocolate out with shortening. It doesn't weigh as much on the pop and falls off much easier so you don't have a super thick coat of chocolate, also, the shortening makes the chocolate nice and shiny ;) ) Here is the original tutorial! http://lovesugarkisses.blogspot.com/2011/03/tutorial-minnie-oreo-pops.html

Next, we have the Minnie cake pops. I got the tutorial from the original cake pop maker herself, Bakerella! The tutorial can be found here http://family.go.com/food/recipe-bakerella-866640-disney-bakerella-minnie-mouse-silhouette-cake-pops-t/. I also thinned the candy melts out with shortening to give them a more shiny look and also, make the coat of candy less thick. Bakerella says not to freeze the pops, however I found they turned out MUCH better after being in the freezer for about an hour. I would only take a few pops out at a time to work with and left the rest in the freezer. As soon as I was done working with them I would let them cool and put them in the fridge to cool the rest of the way. I found them to turn out the best doing it this way. For the stand, I purchased some styrofoam from Michael's and used some straight pins to pin coordinating ribbon on. Simple, but adorable! <3

The Rice Krispie treats were simple. I just followed to normal recipe and used a Mickey shaped cookie cutter and cut them out. I then used Wilton sparkle gel icing to draw on bows. The plate I got at Party City for $3.99!! I couldn't believe it was so cheap!

I just LOVE these cookies!! I used the same cookie cutter for these that I used for the Rice Krispie treats. I got the sugar cookie recipe and royal icing recipe from Marian at Sweetopia. She is so sweet and also, has answered when I have had questions. Here is her blog sweetopia.net. There are a ton of yummy recipes and like I said, she is so helpful and WILL answer you if you ask her a question! 

Now, we have the pretzels and Minnie candy apples!! The pretzels were sooooo easy. I dipped them in white candy melts, then put melted black candy melts in a squeeze bottle made for candy making that I purchased from Michael's. I read a post from Pinterest saying using a squeeze bottle to drizzle chocolate is the best and easiest way to do and boy, were they right! It was so easy to do and they turned out great. I love how they kind of look like zebra pretzels! I couldn't have asked them to turn out better! 

Those adorable Minnie candy apples almost didn't happen. It was something I had pinned and wanted to do from the beginning but honestly, they looked a little intimidating to me and I was nervous they would turn out looking terrible and I would have to scrap them after wasting time making them. At the last minute, I decided I REALLY wanted them and really felt they would add a super special touch to the dessert table, which, they did! Believe it or not, they were pretty easy to make too! Here is the tutorial I semi followed: http://pattycakesbakery.blogspot.com/2010/10/minnie-mouse-birthday-party.html. In this tutorial they dipped their apples in caramel first. I didn't do that. Like I said, I decided to these at the last minute (the night before the party) and didn't have the time to make homemade caramel. I just dipped them in chocolate and they turned out fabulous. In the tutorial they also used sanding sugar, which is thicker sugar, for the skirt. I searched and searched and couldn't find sanding sugar anywhere. I had some Wilton gel food coloring and sure enough, I was able to dye regular sugar! I just dumped some sugar in a ziploc bag and used a butter knife to put some of the gel color in the bag. I sealed it and smushed the sugar around and it turned to be this perfect pink color! I used toothpicks for the marshmallow ears because if not, the ears would fall right off as soon as I spooned the chocolate over them. The toothpicks made life so much easier. They are just adorable.

And last, but certainly not least...THE CAKE

Like I wrote before, a girl I work with made the cake. I made the bow on top and the ears. I LOVE this cake. It was exactly how I envisioned it! It was all funfetti cake (that is our all time favorite, mine and my husband's wedding cake was even funfetti!) The top layer had homemade whipped cream filling and the bottom had chocolate mousse. It was beyond delicious. The Minnie mouse cut outs you see on either side of the cake in the top picture I found on Pinterest. I downloaded them, printed them, cut them out and hot glued them on thin dowels and stuck them in the styrofoam. I really like how it all looks together! The cake stand I actually bought at Home Goods. It originally had a bright blue ribbon through it. I took that ribbon out and replaced it with the zebra ribbon, and made a coordination bow that I hot glued on. I glued it to the ribbon though, so I can take it off easily and replace it with any ribbon for any occasion!

Here are a few pictures of the table all together!

Here is my little angel looking at her dessert table!

Me showing my angel her cake!!

And here is my little 2 year old blowing out her candles!

And here are some party pics

Here is the 2 year old Princess with her Daddy <3

I can't believe my tiny Ashley is 2! We all had such a great time and the party turned out better than I could have ever imagined. Everyone had a great time. I am so happy to be able to share it with all of you! More soon!!

XOXO- Kelly