Twin Parent Checklist

*articles may contain affiliate links* We’ve put together a Twin Parent Checklist – our take on the “essentials” for twin parents as you navigate through the first years as twin parents. If you’re a twin parent, check it out and tell us what you’d add!

twin-parent-checklist

Twin Parent Checklist

Despite the look of the girls in the photo, they have totally rocked their first years (almost THREE) of life, challenging everything we thought we knew about parenting based on our older two. We’re no experts but have come up with a list that can be helpful if you’re navigating this twin parenthood thing for the first (or second) time.

Things You’ll Want Two of:

  • Cribs (we love mini cribs)
  • Playpens (get one with a double bassinet)
  • High Chairs
  • Toddler Beds
  • Car Seats (and an extra set of bases for infant seats)
  • Bumbo Chair
  • Ring Sling Baby Carrier
  • Coats
  • Car Seat Covers (if you live in a cold area)

 

Things You’ll Need One of:

 

Go Big (get multiples):

  • Crib Sheets
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Training Pants
  • Footed Pajamas
  • Swaddle Blankets and/or Sleep Sacks
  • Onesies

Check out a more detailed post about some of these items or a list of things for the PARENTS of newborns!

Get the downloadable version here –> Twin Parent Checklist

10 Gift Ideas for Parents of Newborns

I share this list of “10 Gift Ideas for Parents of Newborns” not to beg for any of these gifts, but to share some really thoughtful things people have done for us as we welcomed the twins. Ok, ok. There are a few things on the list that we haven’t received but it’s my passive side listing some of the things I could use help with when I keep telling people there’s nothing I need except for prayers. To be honest, I am doing too much and it’s impeding my healing process (my incision had to be reopened in order to heal). It is my pride, and I need to suck it up and realize people are really out there that care. If you are looking for gifts for parents of Newborns, hopefully this list will inspire you. If you feel strongly about helping me out, browse the list and throw an offer at me. I’m not about to get on my knees and beg anyone to help me put away my laundry…but I will publicly admit I just keep having Greg wash the same three outfits over and over and over…so there’s that.

gifts newborn parents

Dinner…or breakfast (fresh baked bagels are a HIT here), or lunch, or coffee from Mom’s favorite coffee shop (I’d pay for a Starbucks skinny iced peppermint mocha vanilla latte {hold the peppermint mocha because it can deplete milk supply} or iced right now). Gift cards for local delivery places (sadly, I only know of pizza in our town). Bonus points for freezer crock pot meals. More bonus points for home cooked meals ready to eat with no heating or takeout delivered fresh and ready. (Easter dinner was on the table the day we came home and I was SO thankful. I’ve also remembered how much I heart soup and salad.) Dinner at the hospital is another bonus…sadly, I had to turn this down due to diet monitoring for the girls’ weight and my iron levels, so ask ahead before bringing one’s favorite college meal (Mad Mex was honestly offered to us, you know that was hard to turn down) to the hospital. Can’t do a whole meal? I scarfed down a nice cupcake or 2 along the way, too!

Newborn Photo Session Our hospital offers professional newborn shots, including a package of digital shots with the rights to print / share the photos. Consider a gift card for this if applicable (Bella Baby is the Magee photographer) or pick your / the parents’ fave local photographer and schedule them for a session. (I’ve been told 48 hours to 10 days old is ideal. I totally missed the boat on an at home session and am admittedly bummed out because I have no photos of all 6 of us in the squishy, comfortable stage I really wanted to remember…and no cheesy posed cheesecloth and headband shots like I wanted.)

Birth Announcements or Thank You Notes A gift card to an online retailer who does photo cards would be an awesome gift…even better if you help Mom create the birth announcement or if the site offers to ship for her. Thank you notes, in my mind, should be personalized as often as possible, but I think new parents get a pass on this one. I personally wrote all of ours so far…but could use some more cards (or a ride to the store), addressing help, stamps, and/or a trip to the post office. Trying to remember it all and thank in a timely fashion is tough!

A Phone Call or Visit This is powerful. I specifically remember calls from one of my aunts after all three births. (This most recent one included a 2nd call to support me through a tough time with the hospital staff.) She probably doesn’t know it, but she was the only caller I had on the hospital phone with the twins’ stay and integral in lifting my spirits at JUST THE RIGHT MOMENT after all three births. Our realtor (and friend) called us to congratulate us – some people are incredible at making the simplest actions mean the most. We had lots of precious visits from family and friends, all just the right length, during our hopsital stays, too. And visits at home have kept my sanity (especially with Greg going back to work) and helped with some of my other suggestions below.

Grocery Shopping I didn’t think this one out before delivery, but our first grocery trip was going to be a daunting task. Two carts, each with a twin in a car seat. No way. Thankfully, I gave my list to a cousin and she handled the task then helped Greg put it all away. Huge time and energy saver. Maybe your local grocer has online ordering with curbside pickup — offer to help make the order and do the pickup. Even better if there’s a delivery service near you!

Cloth Diaper Prep We will be going to cloth once the girls we more “normal” (non runny newborn) movements. Our fluff stash is a mix of new and used cloth, and I opted to wait to prep until they were born. Not sure what I was waiting for, but the day is coming soon when we will switch and I have about 60 diapers that need love. If cloth diapers are your thing and a loved one is going this route, offer to help. Not doing cloth? Bring a pack of diapers (know this the size or bring a size 2 or wipes) when you visit. This takes care of a few awesome gifts at once (no store trip, diapers, and a visit).

Rides to Appointments Most new moms can’t drive themselves for 2 weeks (I will be much longer at this point), and many dads don’t get the time off. Both mom and baby likely will gave appointments in the weeks following coming home and may need a ride or company…or a.stop for a favorite coffee or milkshake. Personally, I’ve been glad Greg can go with me because my appointments haven’t been fun; however, now that he’s back to work, my schedule is going to be harder to manage. Bonus if you score a pedicure appointment for mom post doctor visit.

Big Kid Care and Attention We forgot that our first trip to the rodeo of having another kid was when Arianna was 2 and was easily entertained (distracted) by Yo Gabba Gabba, a nap, or Cheerios. I’ve tried hard to explain why 6 and 4 year olds cannot lift babies from the crib and carry them downstairs or why mama needs to be attached to them for 10+ hours a day right now or that poop doesn’t smell like roses or that mom really just needs to get her wound care in peace (glad to get all THAT out). Nothing works. Bribing with jelly beans quit working and now both big kids drag their butts across the carpet like a dog who has pooped somewhere inside anytime we tell them “no” or that they need to listen and focus on a task or activity we’ve given and just be a kid. Having someone to help play with them, bring them a distracting toy, or get them off the bus when the line at the pharmacy is out of control are super gifts to parents of newborns who also have older kids.

A Shower Sprinkling baby with new gifts is always super (I think all babies deserve something new), but that’s not the kind of shower I am talking about here. When you are attached to your newborn for 10 hours a day and sleeping when you can, showering takes low priority. Offer to come hold baby while mom gets clean. Don’t interrupt to tell her you think baby is hungry, either. If mom is breastfeeding, she knows. Give her 40 minutes to herself and you rock that ‘lil one through the tears. Mom needs to feel clean and fresh, too.

Help at Home This gift could be a bit long, but helpful help at our home looks like: Putting baby in the crib when mom shouldn’t be doing the stairs and you are leaving for the night after your visit. Helping fold and put away mounds of baby laundry (or mom’s if you are close and ok with seeing remnants of 10 types of bodily fluid — this is why we live in sports bras, if lucky, and yoga pants for all.of maternity leave). Plant the potted plants that were gifted before they die or blow away in a storm / throw out the dead flowers that were gorgeous 3 weeks before. Walk the dogs (or catch them when they bail ship and try to take your big kid with them on their escape). Wash the salt off the car (great big kid distraction is the drive through an automatic car wash) or if it is winter, shovel the sidewalk/driveway. Dishes, they build up so fast. Positive affirmations (can be done over the phone or social media quite easily). Understanding mom and dad and family are going through a big life event and need their schedule and needs respected (meaning long/overnight visits may not be welcomed quite yet)…or maybe they do need some overnight help (either in person or via text/social media to stay up during feeds). Sorting mail and being sure bills are paid on time (I may have done most of our April bill payments the night before having the girls…but may have forgot to pay the cell bill…oops). Making sure mom is staying hydrated (bring a cool big cup with a lid or a case of bottled water). A walking partner…even if the walk is slow and less than a block. Prayers. Offer something you know you’d want done when mom says “there’s nothing”…because there is likely something her mom brain is forgetting.

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Looking back at this list, I have to admit our village is pretty awesome at delivering the things we need most at the times we most need them. Thank you, village, for your help in our third round of new parenthood!

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Ok, bonus. Get the parents swaddles for their newborns. Baby will sleep better which means Mama and Daddy sleep better. And there are SO MANY ways they can be used, too!

Toys of the Year 2013 (From FamilyFun Magazine)

Disclosure: FamilyFun Magazine asked me to share their Toys of the Year with my readers. Because I know how hard it is to find the “just right” gifts for the holidays, I thought this would be a good fit with my blog. I did not receive product in exchange and am sharing the info from them with you.

FamilyFun magazine has announced its 22nd annual Toy of the Year (T.O.Y.) Award winners, which were tested and picked by families across the U.S.

“Our awards stand out because real families put some of the most unique products to the test in an actual home environment, so you can be sure the toys meet the high standards of fellow parents—and their kids,” said Ann Hallock, Editor-in-chief, FamilyFun. “This year’s winners include the very best of what’s new in children’s play across art, tech, learning, pretend play, crafts, games, and more.”

The magazine has families across the country review more than 300 contenders, narrowing the list for the T.O.Y. Awards down to thirty. These toys have demonstrated outstanding play value and fun factor – along with innovation, durability, and safety.

FamilyFun is featuring the toys in their November issue, and sharing the top 10 with myself and other bloggers. You can check out the full list by picking up the November issue of FamilyFun magazine in print or on the iPad.

Top 10 FamilyFun T.O.Y. Award Winners for 2013:

 

  1. Zoomer – He sits. He stays. He barks, rolls over, and plays dead. This lovable robotic pup got top honors this year for doing just about everything a real dog does, right down to requiring a bit of training to follow commands. Expressive LED eyes and realistic body movements make this spotted wonder nothing short of fetching. Spin Master Ltd.; $99.99; Ages 5 and up

Zoomer 1

 

  1. John Deere Monster Treads Radio Control Tractor – This revved-up tractor careens over anything in its path, when it’s not backing up, popping wheelies, or spinning in circles, all on supersized, bouncy wheels. Tomy; $99.99; Ages 6 and up

 

  1. Hot Wheels Carcade – This fast and furious game allows players to send race cars around a pinball machine–like speedway. The goal (and the fun): crashing vehicles through lit-up targets, up a ramp and into a hoop, all while trying to score major points in 60 seconds. Mattel; $79.99; Ages 5 and up

 

  1. FurReal Friends Cuddles – Meet Cuddles, an animatronic plush playmate who is programmed with more than 100 different responses. She squeals and blinks, swivels and sighs, and even drinks from a banana bottle. Hasbro; $79.99; Ages 4 to 10

Cuddles 4

 

  1. Battroborg – This modern take on ‘You-Knocked-My-Block-Off’ uses the handheld, Wii remote–style controllers to have a boxing match between two robots. Players punch their arms in the air and see the same movement played out by the mini ’bots. Tomy; $79.99; Ages 6 and up

 

  1. Air-Stream Machines – Science and play intersect in this kit themed around the power of air. Learn about mass, airflow, and pressure through the construction of ten air-powered gadgets, including a hovercraft, basketball launcher, and batting machine. Thames & Kosmos; $69.95; Ages 8 and up

 

  1. R.V. Seeing You Camper – Featuring a comfy, foldaway bed and cozy kitchenette, the easy-rolling, 20-inch-tall camper for the Our Generation line of dolls is a real trip. It’s big enough that multiple kids can play with it together. Battat; $59.99; Ages 3 to 10

RV Camper 7

 

  1. B-Daman Crossfire Break Bomber Battlefield – In this 2-player, rapid-fire game, (a companion to the anime TV series) opponents face off with humanoid launchers and send marbles flying, trying to be the first to blast three red bricks into enemy territory. Hasbro; $29.99; Ages 6 and up

 

  1. Pom-Pom Puppies – It doesn’t get much cuter than a Chihuahua made out of pom-poms. That is, until you see the dozen other poufy canines kids can fashion from this DIY yarn kit. Klutz; $19.99; Ages 8 and up

 

  1. 2-in-1 Shop & Cook – Kids can go from shopper to chef with this clever combo. Fill up the grocery cart with play food, then flip down the sides to cook the feast. Both incarnations make dinner prep deliciously fun with sing-along music and interactive learning prompts. VTech; $49.99; Ages 3 to 5

Kitchen 10

 

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About FamilyFun Magazine

Reaching an audience of more than 4 million, FamilyFun magazine gives parents ideas and inspiration needed to create unforgettable family moments. Part of Meredith Corporation’s Parents Network of brands, FamilyFun is a trusted expert on family cooking, vacations, celebrations, play, creative projects and learning — the full spectrum of fun that enriches the precious time families share. Written for parents with children 3 to 12, FamilyFun is unique in the marketplace, delivering real ideas for — and from — real families.

To learn more about FamilyFun, please visit familyfunmag.comFacebook.com/familyfunPinterest.com/familyfunmag, or follow @familyfun on Twitter.

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Information in this blog post was provided via press release from FamilyFun.

Wow, Angry Birds Towel!

My mom seriously is the best shopper I know. She always finds really cool stuff and spoils the kids.

For Easter, the kids got great pillows–a duck and a monkey–that made me jealous. And since the kids are growing up super fast and outgrowing their hooded beach towels (which they’ll need when swimming in Virginia!) and Mr. Evan demands to wrap in a towel for what feels like hours after a bath, she got them new, bigger hooded towels.

Arianna’s princess towel is the perfect shade of pink and a the perfect size. Evan’s is perfect for him. It’s Angry Birds (one of his favorite apps). It’s cuddly like a blanket. It’s black so he won’t see any specs of dirt that might jump on it (he’s super OCD). And even more perfect? It was found in the kids 3-12 section, but it’s massive. He loves this because it means lots of snuggles. And when I say massive, I have to put it in perspective…

IMG_7646 (Copy)

Since the kids won’t let me steal their awesome pillows, maybe I’ll just steal this towel! 😉