Love Yourself

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I've been thinking a lot about when we will have our next baby and how that pregnancy will differ from the first one.  For starters, I've been trying to imagine myself half as huge as I was and it's proving to be harder than I thought.  Hvaing twins was my only preganacy experience.  And it's far from normal.  I think of what I'll do differently during my pregnancy and am anxious about how the birth will go (read the birth story a few posts back if you've forgotten that drama llama).  It's been on my mind lately.  And as the babies near their first birthday, I've been looking at what kind of mother I am, how I feel about myself and how I can better myself, for them.

I've wanted to post another progress post about mama's bodies and the changes we endure when entering motherhood.  I've struggled with how to come across.  There are always posts online of women who bounce back a few months after having a baby and share with the world their "secrets" or aka meal plans and exercise routines.  There are also posts of women who are brave enough to show their stretch marks, scars and their curvy stomachs as battle wounds.  I'm just going to be raw and honest and share my side of things.


I have never been one to be extremely self conscious by the way my body looks but I was always 'aware'.  I started working out my sophomore year of college after the freshman 15 hit me.  Before that, I always had dance and cheer to be my workouts and I was fortunate enough that that worked out for me.  Anyways, in college, I hit my flow and I began to look forward to workouts.  I just loved the way my body felt physically and mentally.  I kept up that flow and when I started dating Alex, it kept going.  We loved to workout together.  Especially through our engagement.  Knowing we had our honeymoon on the beach was motivation enough.  And not to mention wanting to look drop dead gorgeous in my wedding dress, obvi.  I guess I can throw in this beauty from 4-18-15...

BAM... What did I tell ya... drop dead.  Kidding, but really.. this day was a dream.  And I had to throw a throwback photo in here, it is Thursday after all.
We quickly fell into a routine and planned to keep it up even after we returned home from our honeymoon.  Little did we know, we were returning home as a family of 4 and not 2.  It became less about how I looked and more about being healthy for the growing lives inside me.  I continued to stay active throughout my pregnancy, although the first trimester was tough with morning, noon and evening sickness.  I kept it up until about October (I would have to look back at older blog posts to remember) but had to scale back because I just got too big.

I always had a plan to get back into shape quickly after the babies were born.  Breastfeeding helped, but as some of you remember, I only breastfed for about a month before I couldn't anymore.  Once I got into a more normal routine with the babies and recovered from my c-section, I was able to workout normally and was determined to make some changes to my mid-section.  For those of you who don't remember how B I G my belly got, here's a gentle reminder:

This was taken Dec. 18th.  Babies were born on the 30th. 
This was taken on Christmas Eve, just 4 days before they arrived!
Christmas Day (Dec. 25) at my Dad's.  Went into the hospital on the 28th...  Holy mama...
I had like 2 shirts that actually fit.  And don't even bring up pants.  Let's just say, I am so thankful for regular clothes now.   Anyways, my belly stretched.  To put it lightly.  I was measuring 47 weeks when I gave birth.  Now, I'm sure there are other mom's out there that were larger than I was, and all I can say is, you're a super woman.  And I have nothing but the utmost respect for you.  It's tough.  But 47 weeks!  Lord, I was as big and I hope I'll ever get again.

Since I stretched so much, I've got extra skin.  Sorry if that's gross, but it's true.  Everything on the inside went back to "normal" and for the most part the rest of my body is back to my pre baby weight but I've got some excess in the mid section.  I have been working my butt off with workouts, running, and the occasional yoga session in my personal yoga studio (aka, my basement) but there's no sign of that excess skin on my belly hitting the road.  I'm happy with where I'm at right now, apart with that.  It's an adjustment and something that will probably stay with me until after I'm done having babies.  I don't stress about it, and I am lucky to have a husband who verbally affirms me daily on my looks (thanks babe) but it is something that I've never had to deal with and now it's on my radar. 

I wanted to touch a little more, like I did last week, on social media and the appearance of people online.  The internet can be both brilliant and evil at the same time.  This doesn't just apply to mothers, but to everyone.  It's no secret that you can edit and photoshop any photo and at a certain angle I could look like I wear a size 2, when in reality I haven't been a size 2 since like freshman year of high school.  I'm not saying I've photoshopped my pictures BUT I am saying that what you see on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc is not always how it is.  It's not reality.  I could take this picture:

and this one:

MINUTES apart from each other.  Nothing changed but the way I am standing and I'm sucking in on the first one.   But if one were posted and I listed a strict diet I was on or a workout regiment, someone might think, "If I do just that, I can look exactly like her."  I've been that girl.  I've seen posts online and wanted to look like those ripped, bikini ready women but over the years have learned that I am most happy when I do what is healthy and good for me and my family, not what works for others.  Just like every pregnancy is different and all babies are different, I think every mother's journey to self confidence is different.  Mine is just adjusting and changing, and will continue to do so through my next pregnancy and the next.

Yoga pants have become my best friend.  With my new job situation, I've been staying home with the babies during the day and my uniform is pretty much workout clothes.  Certain yoga pants can help make stomachs appear flatter.  They also are COMFORTABLE A.F. people!  Why wouldn't you want to wear them every day??  Except scrubs--- those are pretty comfy too-- shout out to my CVOR gals.  One of my favorite pairs of yoga pants came from Lulu Lemon... and yes they were expensive BUT I wear them all the time and the band comes really high, enough to hold that tummy in.  Great buy... and would HIGHLY recommend investing in some.

As I near the end of this post, few things to keep in mind:

1.  If you're a mama, and have struggled with your body postpartum,  you are not alone.  I would be willing to bet that the majority of mothers out there experienced, or are experiencing, the same feelings, emotions and attitudes towards their changing bodies.  What you've done, and are doing, is bringing  LIFE  into this beautiful world.  You created a human (or in some cases humans) and sustained them through your body, and that my friend, is incredible beyond words.

2.  If someone were to ask me if I could change anything about my journey and my body, I would honestly say no.  I don't feel comfortable wearing a string bikini to the public pool yet, but there will be a day.  Trust me.  But honestly there are some super cute one pieces out there and I'm gonna flaunt them!

3.  Support each other on this journey of life.  Be honest with yourself and others.  Be real and raw about issues, insecurities, be vulnerable.  That's the only way we will get closer to people and be about to move past the idea that beauty is a size 2.  It comes in many shapes, sizes and colors and I'm proud to be part of a world that is turning to that mentality.  I've still got faith.  It's a beautiful world.

Have a great weekend readers.  Much love,


A few pics to love on before you go...


Thursday, October 20, 2016

A decent family photo!  Thank goodness for binki's...
Warms.  My.  Heart.
This past weekend we took the babies to Kansas City Pumpkin Patch and we had a great time.  It's definitely intended for older kids (with all the activities) but Alex and I so enjoyed taking the babies around, people watching and picking out our pumpkins.  We even saw another set of boy/girl twins that were only a few weeks younger than Bennett and Em.  Whenever I see another mama of twins, or multiples, out and about, I can't help but want to walk right up to them and say, "Girl, I understand how hard it is to do normal things with twice the baby- but you're rocking it and keep doing what you're doing."

Bennett loved the pumpkins and even tasted them.  I know B, I'm a pumpkin fan too (pumpkin spice, pumpkin bread, you know, all the basic fall things...)

T h i n g s   T o   C o m e...
We are coming up on the end of 2016 and fast.  The twins birthday party will be here before we know it.  And this is my favorite time of year, and favorite holidays all in a row (and in that order): Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I can't wait to celebrate them with Bennett and Emmy.  They are my favorite humans, along with Alex, and to share in the best time of the year with them gives me nothing but joy.

That being said, I need to remember to live in the moment, be present and live.  Too often I have found myself looking ahead more often than living in the now and enjoying my babies today.  I have said, "Oh, if I can just get to the weekend..." or "once they turn one..." and I'm vowing to stop this.  Time is flying and my babies won't ever be this age again.

Right at the end of the day... Emmy was about done with it all.
Trying to get a family picture where everyone is looking is proving to be rather difficult lately. 


I won't post anything political as we near this election, because frankly my heart hurts for all the hatred I've see on the Internet, TV and social media and this is a blog about being a mama, how great babies are and to watch the growth of my family.  I just ask for everyone to respect and love all lives now, election day, and every day after.   


This week is a short blog week.  Working on something special for next week.  Really exposing some truths...

Thanks for reading!
Lauren, E&B
Emmy girl in her new blush jeggings from her Grandma West :)  Stylin' baby girl.
Bennett, in his new PJ's courtesy of their "Auntie" Kimberly :)
Fall walks with the squad.  Note Emmy's coat... used to be mine #vintage 
We upgraded to a family car!  Proud new owners...

Mama to Mama

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sorry for the day delay in getting my post up!  I've had a very busy past few days and Thursday crept up on me faster than usual.  

Becoming a mother has literally changed every aspect of my life, and for the better.  I've become a more patient person, I'm learning to listen more and talk less, give up my food for the babies (they literally want everything I eat, so I always share) and I'm learning that their needs come first.  I'll admit that on that last one, I am learning.  It doesn't just magically happen once you have a baby, although it may seem like that.  It's a learning process and it takes practice.  There is a line there however, you have to put their needs first but remember that they need a healthy mama to take care of them.  So I am constantly reminding myself that I need to eat all my meals, get some exercise in and be able to have a little time alone with my husband.

That brings me to the bulk of this post.  This past weekend, my mom took the babies overnight at her house!  I asked her to share a little about it.  It's been such an amazing thing seeing my parent's and Alex's parents become grandparents, as well as Alex's grandparents becoming great-grandparents.  I think it creates a whole new relationship between parents and adult children when those children become parents.  I have loved seeing those transformations happen.  The love I see from my parents and his towards our babies is just unreal and practically indescribable.

We went to another wedding this weekend and had a fun night out only to come home to a house without the babies.  It was the STRANGEST feeling coming home to an empty nursery.  Alex's and I enjoyed our time alone (and time to sleep in) but we missed the babies being so close to us.
With that, here's my Mom, Heidi.

The old cliché, the feelings felt when you become a Grandparent are not the same as being a parent and you will never feel those feelings until it happens, are so TRUE.  I remember my Mom driving all night from Wisconsin to Chicago just to be there to meet, hold and love her new born granddaughters. At the time, I was thrilled to have her there, but at the same time, could not completely understand the urgent desire and need. I totally understand that now.  My life was forever changed, at so many levels, when Bennett and Emily entered my world. It has been an amazing journey witnessing my daughter becoming a Mother and Alex becoming a Father, I am so proud of them both! 

My Mom (LaVonne) started a tradition with her young grandchildren when she lived on our farm in Wisconsin, she called it “Camp Grandma”.  My daughters, as well as all of their cousins treasured the time spent with her and all of the adventures she created for them.  She actually had t-shirts made for each one, such special memories which will always be treasured.  She referred to her grandchildren (and does to this day) as her “Sweethearts from Heaven”.  My goal in life is to be the incredible Grandma that my Mom has been.

My Sweethearts from Heaven (Bennett and Emily) spent their first “overnight” with me last Saturday night. I did not have special t-shirts, onesies or pajamas made for them.  I will save that for when they are a bit older and we have a much longer time together.  I adore these two little souls.  Each time I have the opportunity to see them I see the growth, the curiosity and the increasing communication. It is amazingly beautiful. They are twins, but very different individuals.  Emily is so proud of her clapping skills.  Bennett is a thinker and relishes in his quick crawling abilities.  They are both great eaters and amazing sleepers, they play hard during the day and enjoy their rest at night.  They both slept 11 hours that night!  I did check on them often, as you could imagine, rubbing their backs every once in a while to be sure they were still breathing.  I know that might seem dramatic, but it was real, it has been 25+ years since I had a baby sleeping in my home and in my care.  At one check, I did not have to rub their backs because I could hear them slightly snoring. 

I saved some of the toys, figurines and trinkets Lauren had when she was young.  After a good cleansing, Bennett and Emily were able to enjoy and explore their new “collections”.  That is what Lauren would call them when she was young, except she pronounced it “geletions”.  Note – save a few treasures from your children so your grandchildren can enjoy in future years.
Alex and Lauren could not wait to see them on Sunday morning, and the same was true for the babies, it was a joyous reunion for their blessed little family! 
I treasure every moment with these Angels and cannot wait to have them back to my home for another “Camp Grandma”.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts Lauren, much love!

Note: if you have an antique highchair without restraining devices, a simple belt will work.  Thank you Alex for helping me overcome this challenge. 

A big thank you to my mom for sharing on the blog.  I have loved having other's be able to share their experience with my babies as much as me.

Until next Thursday,
Lauren, E&B

PS: Emmy is almost walking!  She's been taking a few steps on her own... It's going to happen any day now!  Maybe in time for Halloween!

Our walks have been pretty chilly lately.  But we have still loved them!  I'm starting to realize I need warmer clothes and accessories for them.   

We went to Gap to find some winter hats and let me tell you- I had trouble picking just one out each... They have the CUTEST winter clothes for babies!  
They still love their wagon rides! 

Emmy girl selfies...
I love these two boogers more than words.

Picture Perfect Life

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A good picture is all about angle.  I'm no photographer, in fact I'm extremely uneducated when it comes to it and anything to do with lighting, frame, focus, etc.  All the crap you need to take a "good photo".  When we had the babies, I knew I wanted to document their lives, just as my mom documented all of ours.  I absolutely treasure all the old pictures, baby books, and film she has from our childhood.

In the beginning it wasn't hard.  The babies were peaceful, slept often and stayed in one place.  We purchased a nice camera in hopes to capture each moment with a beautiful lens.  We've been able to capture some pretty great moments with our Nikon but the accessibility of our phone cameras is hard to beat.  Let's face it, when a baby starts to take their first steps or starts mumbling their first words, your first action isn't going to be "run to the closet and get the good camera!"  You soak it in and if you can, you grab your phone (because it's always nearby) and snap away.

One night this week, Alex and I went in to check on the babies (like we do almost every night before bed) and B was sleeping on his back!  Which is strange since he's been a stomach sleeper since he was about 3 months old.  Could not pass up this photo opportunity.
We also have the luxury (and I know most people wouldn't dare touch a sleeping baby) of picking them up and holding them after theyre asleep.  Some nights we will just go into the nursery, each take a baby and just squeeze on them.  They won't be small forever, so we are really taking full advantage of the time we have now.
But trying to take a good picture of the babies now has proven to almost be impossible.  They are both ON-THE-GO and there is no stopping them.  Even the Itsy Bitsy Spider song, which used to get them to sit still to take a picture, isn't effective anymore.  I used to be able to post so many more pictures and have more time to take them, but most of my time now is playing with them, chasing after them, taking them to the park and pictures is sometimes the last thing on my mind.

So with that... The following pictures...

Case in point... these are the majority of the pictures on my phone.  Blurry, one baby in and one baby out, eyes closed, etc.  The good ones I am able to capture, I almost always share to Instagram.  So when you see a good one, know that there were probably 15 others like the ones above.

Baby Books... This was something I knew I wanted to do from day one.  I had one, my sister had one and I even remember looking at my mom's!  Such a special thing to have and to pass down from generation to generation.  But I knew I couldn't do one, obviously.  They both needed their own.  I purchased these from Paper Source... Here's the link.  They have been PERFECT for twins.  They have a boy and a girl one with decor to fit them but the book itself is the same for both!  I have been able to keep up with them and so far haven't missed a moment!  I would HIGHLY recommend these books, even if you don't have twins.  They're super cute too!

On a somewhat related note, but also not, I feel the need to say, life isn't like the pictures you see on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.  I've struggled with that myself.  Knowing that reality isn't displayed as I see on my iphone. I follow bloggers and mama's that seem to mother effortlessly.  That seem to always be baking fresh loaves of bread, or snapping pictures of their children playing with two small blocks in the living room quietly.  I'm here to tell you, life just doesn't move like that in our house.  Yes, there are those moments of quiet and serenity where the babies play together and are content but more often than not, they are pulling on each other's clothes, hungry, or wanting attention.  I love my babies more than anything.  But life just isn't what the pictures portray.  Real talk on the blog today.


T w i n   U p d a t e...
Today was their 9 month check up at the doctor!  I took them by myself for the first time.  That was nerve racking.  Especially when I thought we didn't have shots, only to show up and find out they could get their flu shots.  I was also asked to fill out packets worth of information but hey, I survived.  We are home now and everything is great.

Bennett is weighing in at a whopping 21 lbs 1 oz and a lengthy 28.5 inches tall!  Emmy is weighing in at 18 lbs 10 oz and 27.5 inches tall.  They both are developing exceptionally and are right where they need to be.  I always feel a little vulnerable at their doctor's appointments.  Hoping I'm doing everything okay and praying that the doctor won't think something is wrong.  Of course that's my mind getting the best of me.  But our doctor is so great.  She gives tells me everything straight and has such a positive outlook for everything.

The babies are eating like crazy and loving food more each day.  We've been trying all kinds of new foods, some have been hits and some have ended up mostly on the floor.  I've been told to try foods with them multiple times before writing them off.  I've heard it helps with avoiding picky eaters.  Who knows.  Ask me in a few years how it worked.

Such.  A.  Beautiful.  Mess.


Sunday was my birthday!  The big 2-6.  Who am I kidding... I don't feel any different at all.  But saying goodbye to my 25th year of life was a little bittersweet.  It was the year I had my babies and the year that would change me as a person, forever.  Being closer to 30 doesn't bother me, as I think it bothers some.  I like the change in age and I'm eager to see what will happen in the next 365 days.

Alex always knows how to make me feel special on my birthday.  Each year he tops the year before.  I don't know where I would be without this guy.
This weekend we have another wedding.  Babies will have their first overnight at Grandma's and I'm sure they're going to have a blast!

Until next Thursday,
Lauren, E&B

B has been teething something fierce and those copper mugs were the perfect remedy.  I think he as more interested in what was in Daddy's mug though.  You're too young Bubba.  Much too young. 
Poor Em girl can't seem to be able to keep her socks on.  Anyone have sock brands that they like and that stay on pretty well?
Em and I practicing our selfie game.
Word of advice- put towels and plastic tupperware in the bottom drawers.  That way is they do open and get into them, it's harmless.
These hooligans love crawling all over the kitchen.  Baby-proofing was a MUST and I'm so glad we did it ahead of time.

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