Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Self

Here is my favorite photo of me (with the boys).

I'm holding them both at once. Well, one is in a Moby wrap but I'm still holding them both. 

These are the kinds of things you do with twins. Things you don't have to worry about with one baby.

What do I do if both babies are crying AND I need to make bottles/get something done? What do I do when both babies are hungry and crying at the same time? How do I love them equally and find the greatness in each of them? Do I dress them alike? What if one is better at something than the other? If one gets sick, will the other?

These are just a small portion of the thoughts that go through the head of a twin mother every day. Probably in only half of my day. And those are only thoughts about babies. I have about 2.2 million other thoughts and worries about everything else during the day.

I've innovated lots of different ideas in my twin mamahood. I've fed two boys at once. I've breast AND bottle fed. I've cloth AND disposable diapered. I've co-slept with my boys AND put them in their own beds. I've slept in AND been awake for the majority of a night. 

With twins, bath time lasts an hour. Feeding takes twice as long. I change double the diapers. I wash twice the amount of clothes. I hear twice the cries, twice the giggles, see twice the smiles, get double the kisses and hugs and GIVE double the love.

This picture makes me think, "I'm a mother of twins and DAMN, I'M GOOD". 

To enter your SELF picture visit The Paper Mama:
The Paper Mama

babies in our room

The boys still sleep in our room. They first slept in a co-sleeper next to our bed. Then we got a crib and put them both in the crib at the end of the bed. Now they're both at the end of our bed, Julian in the crib, Isaiah in the co-sleeper which is now converted into play-pen of sorts. We're saving up a little extra cash to get Isaiah a crib, too. 

I'm really debating on putting the boys in their own room. They're getting closer to sleeping through the night. Julian is closest I think. He has been sleeping until around 6-7 for the past week. Isaiah still wakes up at least once, but a couple times has slept until early morning. I feel a little better about moving them now that they sleep longer at night. I wouldn't be making as many trips to their room if they're sleeping longer. 

  1. I will get my bedroom to myself again. I can lay in bed and read at night, which is something I've really missed doing before bed.
  2. I wake up at almost every little noise the boys make. Some nights they squirm a lot, and I end up awake.
  3. I've read if you're going to move your kids to their own room or do any kind of "sleep training" between 6-7 months is a good time because separation anxiety is low at that time.
  4. I finally can decorate and build a bedroom for my babies, something I haven't been able to do yet.
  5. And we'll have a concentrated area of all of their things instead of everything in all rooms of our apartment.

  1. I'm sad they have to leave me. There's something comforting about having them in the bedroom so close.
  2. It's easier to help them if they cry if they're right across from us.
  3. I don't want them to be scared or go through any separation anxiety if they don't have to. I do however, feel better that they have each other. So at least they won't be alone in the room. 
  4. Their bedroom is on the opposite side of the apartment. So far away!

This is our apartment layout (the text is backwards because I had to reverse the pic..but you get the point). But as you can see, the boys' room is on the left...the complete opposite side of the apartment.

When I asked Chikezie about it, he really just wants them in our room because he thinks it's easier to take care of them at night if they're there. Which is true. But maybe they'll sleep better without us making noise in the room too? I've heard of people moving their kids and they sleep amazing once they have their own room. 

I think maybe if I just do it and get it over with maybe it won't be as bad as I'm building it up to be. I just know that I'm starting my training program for the marathon in a couple weeks and I'm going to need some quality sleep. 

So what do you guys think I should do?
What did you do with your kids?

Good Morning from the Dudes!

Good Morning from the Dudes!

I love how Julian pretty much just lays there playing with his toes. 

And Isaiah is grabbing everything he can, eating his hands, sucking on everything, babbling. 

Two babies born back to back. Two completely different personalities. 

Everyone is starting to think they're identical. But I can still see differences. Maybe that's because I'm their mama. What do you guys think?

Oh, and if you haven't yet, 
We seriously need every vote we can get.

And if you vote and would like to be in a drawing to win one of my custom flower hair clips, 

Happy last day of August!

Weekend Project

Saturday I had the best morning to myself. The boys were super fussy all morning (I think teething) and I needed to get out of the house.

So I got me a Redbull and headed to the fabric store!

I left with a bunch of stuff and jammed out to the oldies all the way home. I'm sure people were looking at me like I was batty. (Because of course, my car is the center of the universe when I'm in it and obviously everyone wants to look in to see me.)

Well all hopped up on Redbull and feeling SUPER motivated, I started this little project:

And then a little of this:

And then it turned into this:

Doesn't it just make you sleepy looking at it? 

Babies don't need complex mobiles that make noise to entertain. They just need something to look at so they can peacefully and quietly slip off into dreamland.

This is totally going up in the Etsy store, what do you think?

Big Week

Ok troops. The next 10 days are going to be intense.

You see, I need your help.

Kerri McConnell of Kerri McConnell Photography decided to be amazingly thoughtful and giving and has hosted a "Pay It Forward" contest.

She's offering FREE wedding photography to one of 6 lucky couples. 

Chikezie and I are finalists!!

I'm so excited. But we haven't won anything, yet. The winners are decided on votes. And if there is ONE time I need your help. Now is the time.

Voting starts today and goes until September 2. You can vote once per person so it will really only require you one stop to the website and one comment.

And I have a little present for you guys to promote my upcoming Etsy shop: 
(Please leave a separate comment here for each of the things you do)

1. Become a follower of  Mama & The Dudes
2. Like Mama & The Dudes Facebook
3. Follow @MamaMandolin on Twitter
4. Tweet about voting for us for the contest.
5. Vote for us on Top Baby Blogs.
6. Write a blog post encouraging others to vote for us. (Counts as 2 entries)

I'll be giving away one of my flowers (as a hair clip/magnet/brooch) to a winner after this voting period is over. AND, if we win the photography give away, I have something a little bigger to give! 

So PLEASE do what you can to help us and at the very least, go to Kerri's site and read our story. If you don't know Chikezie and I, you might not know everything we've been through in the past year that I feel makes us so deserving of this awesome gift. 

Thanks in advance for everything:) Wish us luck!

In other news...

While I'm trying to get my Etsy shop up and running I have a few flower hair clips for SALE!

What's that? You'll take 5 each? 

You're too kind.

Here's what I got. I apologize for the picture quality. Give me a break already, I'm working on it.

(love you)

And because I'm too lazy to caption each one, they're all hair clip- felt flowers with button centers. $8 each. 
I also customize if you don't see what you're looking for.

And for all you football fans:
Iowa Hawkeye colors! I can customize for your team colors as well!

Let me know what you guys think or if you're interested in any of these! 

Hopefully my shop will be up by the beginning of the month-with more flowers, broaches, headbands, clips, and some of the onesies I've been working on!


Dear Everyone:

hardy har har. get it? I'm pointing to my eye? But I really mean "I"? I'm SO funny.

So I opened an email account linked to the blog.

I thought I forwarded everything from that address to my personal email account through gmail.

Turns out I'M AN IDIOT and did not.

So, I apologize to everyone who  has sent me emails over the past few months and I never responded.

I'm really not a huge beeotch. I'm just a moron. 

My goal is to reply to all of you by tomorrow. 

Please feel free to harass me as much as you like, throw your shoe at me or just boo me in general.

I know I have it coming.


The "Special" Mama

Fix-It Friday #68


Edit 1:

Edit 2:

Edit 3:

Halloween in August

So this lady who had twin boys gave us these Halloween costumes. 

Turns out we're going to outgrow them by Halloween....

So we had a little Halloween in August!

I couldn't chose because these are all so hilarious/stinking cute:
(Warning!! You may pass out from cuteness overload)

Classic hand on the shoulder pose.

Hmm...I wonder how much trouble we can get away with.

Isaiah's new thing-duck face.


My sweet little dudes with the sweet little curls.

We can't wait for REAL Halloween!!!

Mama Heart's Photo Challenge Week 4: Whoops!

Um, OMG. I suck. I literally was under the impression that today was Wednesday. For pretty much this whole day.
*smacks head*
So, this week's challenge will be a day shorter.
*crowd throws veggies at my face*

Mama Heart's Photo Challenge Week 4 theme: Whoops!
We've all done it. Taken a picture on accident or our camera was doing something funny and the picture turned out completely not like what we planned. But then you go back and look at that picture and think it looks kind of cool?

We've all had a "Whoops!" moment and have tons of pictures that haven't seen the light of day. Now it's time to bust them out!

Here are my whoops photos:

 I didn't do any editing to this photo, I was trying to take a picture of our cat Pocket and I and my flash did something funky! 

So I took another picture to see if this would happen again...
It did it again!

But then that was it, everything went back to normal. Weird!

If this is your first time entering - check out the rules here.

And don't forget to link up!
(get your button on the right side panel)
oh and before you guys get busy, how about a little vote action? You know I heart you all so much.

WOW Photo Challenge Winners!

This week's winner was picked by my sister-in-law, Answer, who picked the winner by the picture that literally made her say "Wow" out loud.

Here is her choice:

Congrats to Emily @ Just the 2 of us

This really is crazy! (And sad) I hope everyone was OK. 

But nonetheless- I must admit I said "Wow" when I saw this picture as well! So congrats Emily! 

Here are the rest of the top 5 and in no particular order:

These were ALL awesome entries for a difficult topic this week! Great job and thanks to everyone who took the CHALLENGE and entered :)

I had plans to give you guys buttons but...well, I suck and can't figure out the HTML problems to save my life. If anyone knows how to post HTML code (and the box for the code) directly on to a post without it converting please tell me so I don't send myself to the loony bin trying to figure it out.

A Day at the Aquarium

Yesterday, Answer and I took The Dudes to The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. I was a little nervous about driving all the way up there, but I love my Garmin...and having it makes me feel like a more confident driver, especially in areas of high traffic.

We made it up there safe and ended up having a great day! I've learned now that I have kids, I really care about if they're having a good time more than myself. I know they're babies and probably didn't give a crap where we were but we now have the pictures and memories of being somewhere. I love building these memories even if they're too small to remember right now.

Here are some pictures from our day:

The first thing we did was look at the fishies. The bright colored fish were easy for them to see and it was fun watching their big eyes follow the fish back and forth.

On our way to the next exhibit, it was dark in this main atrium and they were playing some movie about whales. At the end there was a very loud splashing noise and Isaiah was terrified. He screamed right away and my heart was breaking! I've only seen him that scared a couple of times so it was hard for Mama to handle. 

So I picked him up and held him for awhile :) 

We walked through lots of exhibits and the boys especially liked the fish that moved fast. 

But the people were really what was most entertaining:

Then we stopped in a dark hallway by the giant crabs and ate lunch. 

The Dudes were stoked:

Afterward we walked through the tunnel with the seals and sea lions.

Julian spazzed out. He LOVED watching the sea lions swimming around us!

We ended the day outside where it was time for Mama and Answer to experience the sea life.

Answer tried to get a picture of me touching a sting ray but this is as close as I could get:

But afterward I was brave enough to touch a starfish, sea slug and anemone. The sea slug was DISGUSTING. Slimy, cold and mushy. BLECH I get the heebie-geebies just talking about it.

But after our little adventure with the more tame sea life, Answer was brave enough to touch the sting ray.
(she's swam with them before so I think she's already had a little practice!)

We had a great day and I'm glad most of the aquarium exhibits were inside-we've been having record heat here in the OC and needed something cool inside to do. 

The only sucky part of the day was driving home in rush hour traffic with a sleepy/crying Julian in the back seat.  But we made it home safe and happy! 

Long Beach is beautiful and I hope Chikezie and I can take The Dudes back to do some more exploring!

Yellow House Photo Challenge: Trees

This week's theme is trees. I LOVE trees. I have a TON of pictures of/with trees. 

So here are a few of my favorites.

And here is my entry:

Don't Forget!

Don't forget to enter your photo into this week's photo challenge-it ends tomorrow night!
I know this week was a more challenging theme but we've got 10 great entries so far with many different interpretations of WOW.
Click here for more details on the challenge and to enter!

And, while you're at it. Have you done your weekly good deed?

(Help a mama out and give me a vote!)

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Auntie and the Beach

We had such a good weekend.

Aunt Answer is here for the week!
We're so excited we get to hang out with her for the whole week.

And yesterday, we took her to the Pacific Ocean for the first time. We took her to our favorite beach and pier in San Clemente. She snapped this super cute family pic:
Please don't mind my frizzed out beach hair or the small Italian chef behind us.

Please focus on my hilarious children. Julian was eating his typical 3 fingers, staring at the seagulls flying around everywhere.
Isaiah is blowing a world record size spit bubble. 

:) Life is good.