Happy Birthday, Dad!

Yes, another birthday! My dad turns 47 today! 
(He and my mom are 10 days apart in the same year...crazy huh!?)

My dad is one of the goofiest guys I know. He's always laughing and is constantly telling me he'll never grow up. Here's to feeling young forever!

Happy birthday, Dad! 

how to hem your jeans {with the original hem}

How many times have you bought jeans just because they fit your butt so well but they were way too long? And you just designated them as your "heel jeans" because that's the only thing you can wear them with? But you have babies and never wear heels anymore? Oh just me? Ok. 

Well in any case, I recently bought some nice Gap jeans that fit me just right, except in the length. I'm 5'9" and many of my jeans are still too long (thanks to a long torso). The short length jeans are too short, regular length jeans are too long. 

I used my sewing skills to hem these babies up. You can do it too, you know. Sewing machine or not!

What you'll need:
Jeans. (duh)
measuring tape
sewing machine (although you could totally do this by hand, too.)

With the jeans on, fold up the bottoms to the length you'd like. Make sure to be wearing shoes you normally wear so you jeans the appropriate length with shoes on. Take your time on this step because you don't want to completely hem your jeans and then realize they're still too long.

With your jeans off, measure how much you've folded up from the bottom of the hem to the fold. 

Divide the measurement from the previous step in half and pin the jeans at that measurement. I folded mine up almost 2 inches, so I pinned them at about 3/4 inch all the way around. I use the tape measure at each pin to ensure I've pinned up evenly all the way around. Repeat with both legs. 

With a zipper foot, sew along the bottom of the original hem line completely around the pant leg. It's a pretty tight fit when you get to the side seems, I had to raise my foot a couple of times so it could get over the thick seems. Repeat this for both legs.

The sewing is done, now turn the folded edges in and press the fold on both the inside and outside. You can also do a couple stitches by hand on the sides if you hemmed up more than a couple of inches, to keep the fold in place. 

That's it!

You can also use this method for you kids' pants that are too long. The hem can be easily removed once they grow into the length. 

Happy hemming, friends!

our longest Christmas ever.

Well, we made it to Iowa. We're here staying with my mom and enjoying our vacation. If you were following me on Twitter or Instagram, you kind of know what has been going on. If not, I'll catch you up.

On Christmas we planned to fly out of LAX to Sioux Falls, SD and then my mom was going to pick us up and we'd drive the 2 hrs to my hometown. We checked in at LAX and waited for our flight to leave at 3:20pm (to arrive in Sioux Falls at 8:30pm). Well, we boarded the plane and sat there for two hours while they tried to fix some "electrical problems". Meanwhile, the boys were fussy and squirmy, there were a few epic meltdowns and I was about in tears when they told us we had to get off the plane.

After we de-boarded the plane we were told they had to fly in a rescue plane from Phoenix and it wouldn't arrive until 8:30 pm. So, we had no choice but to wait at the airport until then. We had two super tired, whiney, clingy boys...and we were exhausted too. They didn't want daddy, only mama, so I spent the majority of the 4 hours in the airport with one boy in the carrier and the other on my hip. 

We boarded the plane for the 2nd time at 9pm and discovered that it was the exact same plane we'd been on before. They'd made us switch gates to try to trick us into thinking it was a new flight. The boys slept (after a final meltdown on the plane) for the majority of the trip, only to melt down (I mean red face screaming) once again on the descent. 

When the plane stopped in the terminal, we'd all stood up and got ready to de-board only to be told to sit back down because they had to back the plane up manually because they pulled too far in. This process took another 20 minutes. All while babies were screaming.

We arrived in Sioux Falls at 2am, exhausted and grumpy that our Christmas was pooped on. I'm so thankful my mom and Dan (her fiance) rented a hotel room for us all to stay in. The boys had some trouble falling asleep there so we didn't really get to sleep until around 4am. 

Longest day ever.

And the next day we drove 2 hours home. 

The customer service on our flight (with Allegiant) was horrible and the entire experience just sucked. But I did learn one thing about myself during this situation that the boys have taught me over the past 21 months; I am an extremely patient person. And I'm thankful and proud of this realization and the patience I had to keep it all together when I really just wanted to plug my ears and sit in the corner and cry. Especially when the boys were screaming and needing me and only me.

All of that is over and done with and now we're having an awesome time with my family. It's good to be home. 

Happy Birthday, Siblings!

Happy Birthday Josh!

Happy Birthday Bryce!
(one of the only ones I could find with him making a semi-normal face lol)

Happy Birthday Kristen!

Holy drivers license, my brothers and sister are turning 16 today.  I can't believe they're so old! Watch out world, they can drive now. They are good people, my brothers and sister. They're going to do some great things in this world. 

Happy Birthday, Siblings! We love you!

presents for the dudes

Thought I'd share with you guys what the boys will be opening up tomorrow morning!

$5 Circo Infant/Toddler Boys Denim

Let's face it, I'm all about practical clothing for kids. The boys have 3 pairs of jeans (between the two of them) right now, all three thrifted Baby Gap and Quicksilver. They're good quality and all but they're just so tight around the waist. The dudes have some bellies. I love these cheap pants from Target, the elastic is perfect. 

What Christmas is complete without some socks and/or undies from your mom? You bet you're ass I'm wrapping these. And I'm going to be really excited about it when they open them. The more excited I am, the more excited they get about simple stuff like this. 

[from Santa...unwrapped!]
The boys are seriously obsessed with our vacuum. They say va-va over and over and run to the closet where I keep the vacuum whenever they think I'm going to vacuum. I was going to get them the fancy Fisher Price toy vacuums but they're like $30 each. When you have to buy two of everything, price becomes a factor. These vacuums are SO cute, and they light up and make a vacuum noise. That's all we need! 

2 Circo Wood Peg Puzzles (not this one)
They're super into puzzles these days, especially Julian. I couldn't find the ones I got on the Target website but they were like $3 each. Now they'll have a couple of new puzzles to add to their collection. These things seriously provide hours of entertainment at our house.

I only got one of these, mainly because it was $25 and I'm a cheap ass. My plan is to hide this until we get on the plane. I figure a new toy SHOULD keep them entertained on our flight. I wanted to get them something relatively small but still entertaining that would fit in the carry on easily. They already have THIS phone and I think this pad is a good step up from that. 

This is the other new-on-the-plane gift we got for our trip. It was only $15 and is a good alternative to the Leap Frog above. Hopefully the boys won't fight over one or the other (which happens a lot) and these will keep them entertained on the 3hr flight!

Santa will fill their stockings with goldfish and little squeaky dinosaurs. Oh, and some $2 foam swords I picked up at JoAnn's, mainly because I was picturing the boys sword fighting and it was hilarious.

All together we spent less than $100 total for the boy's gifts. I'm pretty proud of that. Every time they get new toys, we try to get some old toys off to Goodwill, and I'm sure we'll be brining home a ton of toys from grandparents over the next week. 

I can't wait to watch the boys open presents (and actually GET IT for the first time) and holy cows I can't wait to see their faces when they find those vacuums under the tree on Christmas morning. My dad found it particularly comical that I bought the vacuums from the girl's section at the store. Boys vacuum, too!!

What are your kids getting for Christmas??

red lipstick and pin up hair

I don't wear lipstick...ever. I don't even OWN lipstick, until now. I got a little whim to buy the brightest red lipstick I could find at Target the other night. I'm determined to wear it out. Maybe New Years Eve? I've always thought you had to be a certain kind of person to pull off red lipstick, when I've really discovered anybody can wear it, you just have to rock it once you have it on. 

Yesterday I had some fun while the boys were napping, playing with the lipstick and attempting a pin up style hair-do.  Who cares if I have about a million other things to do? It was kind of nice being a little selfish for a while.

This was the result:
Not too bad, right? I obviously didn't really comb down the fly-aways because I was just playing around. BUT... I really do like the lipstick. 
Here's the look with the back down instead of pinned up. 

And how totally old school does this look?!

I'll probably never wear my hair like this, well the bangs part anyways, but it was fun to try. My bangs are shorter and it was really hard to get them pinned into a roll like that. Stay tuned for some red lipstick adventures in my future! And if you don't have any or don't think you could pull it off, it never hurts to TRY. Just be careful not to overdo the rest of your makeup, red lips kind of need the spotlight.

HERE is a good video on a similar hair style using a bun in the back.

If you guys have any good tips or tricks on wearing red lipstick and or/ some cool 50's hairstyles-please share! 

tips on flying with kids

Flying with the boys has always been pretty tricky. We've flown back to Iowa twice since they've been born, and will be doing it again over the holidays. I wouldn't say I'm a pro by any means but in the 2 trips we've already taken, I've flown with them alone 3 of the 4 flights. I've learned a few things in this short time and want to share the things I know with all of you!

During a 1 1/2 hour delay while sitting in a hot plane in LA. After waking up at 4 am. We're hardcore. 
Things we like to use:
  • Baby carrier. It's so much easier to have two free hands to deal with things. 
  • Detachable wheels for the convertible car seat. We use THIS ONE and detach the wheels before boarding the plane. They'll check them for you at the gate. When traveling with the boys on my own, I pull one boy in the seat/wheels and wear the other. 
  • Backpack instead of big bulky baby bag. One less thing to slide off of your shoulders.
  • Pacifier clip was helpful. Don't want to deal with a paci falling somewhere on the plane or in the airport.
  • Last Christmas we kept the boys in footie pj's all day. It was comfy for them and we didn't have to worry about taking shoes on and off.
Getting through security:
  • Baby has to come out of the car seat/carrier. So, be ready for quick unbuckling.
  • Baby food/ liquids all need to be out. They only let you have one bottle per baby, or enough for them to have just on the flight. I used to always pack extra powder formula and get a bottle of water before getting on the plane. 
  • Use a bag to cover your car seat and check it with your suitcase if you can. It's one less thing to drag through the airport. 
Before boarding:
  • Let your kids run (if they're big enough). Play with them/wear them out. Getting that energy out before you get on the plane helps. 
  • ASK FOR HELP. Especially if you're traveling alone or with twins. The airline has people that are there to help carry things onto the plane for you. 
  • Change diaper before getting on the plane. It lessens the chance you have to change while on the plane (depending on the length of the flight).
  • Make sure the things you'll use most are in the outside pockets of your bag, that way they are ready for quick grabbing and you don't have to dig in your bag while balancing baby in the crazy small airplane seats. 
Sleepy Julian on his first flight ever, Christmas day 2010.
On the plane:
  • Try sitting back toward the engine. The noise will help drown out whatever noises your kids may make. It might also help them fall asleep.
  • Have something for them to drink/eat during take off and landing for ear popping. My boys have never really had a problem with this. Isaiah fell asleep once during take off and I thought for sure he'd wake up crying but he was fine.
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks. My boys are happiest while eating. Every single flight, they've eaten all the snacks I brought. 
  • Bring a couple toys but don't over do it. In our case, the boys rarely played with what I brought. And were more entertained with the seat tray and reading materials they have. 
  • People have suggested using an ipad/iphone, etc. for in flight entertainment. We haven't tried that one yet but now that we both have good iphones we probably will. 
  • RELAX. I know it's easier said than done but if your kid is the screaming one, who cares. You can't control your kid's voice box. The flight will be over before you know it. 
On traveling with twins:
  • We fly through Allegiant Air mostly and they have general seating (unless you pay more). I always try to sit on the side of the plane with 3 seats and try to save a seat in the middle. It's nice having that extra room.
  • We had one of our parents buy a car seat to keep there and we travel with one of ours. Then we always have the one we need on the plane and don't have to worry about checking the other one. (When you travel alone with twins, you have one lap child and then have to purchase a seat/have car seat for the other child.)
  • Definitely ask for help. I've always been able to get a gate pass for someone to go through security with me. Chikezie was even able to get a gate pass at LAX to be at the gate to help us off the plane. THAT was awesome.
Bottom line, be prepared. I do as much as I can before we leave so I'm not caught off guard when we're at the airport. I try to carry/bring the least amount of things possible. The less I have to carry or bring with me, the more free hands I have to tend to the boys. 

Traveling with babies and toddlers seems really overwhelming and scary but you can't let that fear keep you locked in the house! I decided early on I wasn't going to be scared of doing things alone just because I had twins. You make it work, you get through it. 

If you guys have any questions or extra suggestions to add-please share! 

manners and sound effects

My boys are growing up.

Last night we took an impromptu family outing to the mall to return a winter coat Chikezie ordered that came in the wrong size. We've had to get ourselves all ready for the Iowa cold next week, winter coats? What are those? Anywho. I decided to carry a boy in the ergo around the mall (instead of both of them in umbrella strollers) because I really miss carrying them. I feel like they're growing so fast lately. I'm desperately trying to hold on to the little things. 

We stopped and had dinner at Rudy's and it was such a perfect little night. I want to remember the little details before I blink and they're all grown up. They loved the choo-choo that was going in circles on the ceiling. They sat in booster seats... like big kids. Julian kept a crumpled up napkin to his left and every so often would dab his mouth and put the napkin back in its spot. Isaiah grabbed a few sugar packets and pretended to pour it on his food making the "shhh-shhh" sound effects. 

Who are these big kids? Sound effects? Manners? It's too much. 


I just thought you guys needed to see this: my 21 month old boys obnoxiously fake burping and fake gagging themselves. Yes, that is Julian's butt crack hanging out of his diaper. Yes, Isaiah is drinking from one sippy cup stacked into another. Yes, they copy each other in literally everything they do. No, I did not teach them any of the following:

That is all.

Happy Birthday Mama!

Today is my Mama's birthday!

 She is absolutely crazy about her grandchildren (although she hardly looks old enough to be a grandma!)

She's raised 4 pretty awesome (and extremely good looking) children.

And we're all so happy for her and our soon to be step dad (step-Dan). 

Happy Birthday Mama Barb! 

what the holidays are about

Growing up, the holidays for me were mostly about family. Yeah, Santa came to our house and I got a gift from him but I was never really threatened to be good because of Santa or never really had the holidays be used against me as a way to get me to behave.  I don't want it to be like that with the boys either.

I remember my mom putting up boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations and listening to Christmas music on repeat all through December. I remember the cooking and baking, and feeling the anticipation of getting to see all of my aunts and uncles and cousins on Christmas. I remember being so excited to watch my parents open up the gifts I'd made them. 

I got one bigger gift from Santa, unwrapped and out of the box (straight out of his bag, you know) and a few knick-knacks in my stocking. Santa always gave smelly soaps to mom and razors and socks to dad. But the best gifts were ones straight from Mom and Dad. There's no better feeling than getting something from your parents, and feeling special that THEY got something just for you. And what was even better was watching them open the gifts I made. 

Now that we have children, it's our turn to start traditions with our children, and to teach them our own values. Santa will be part of our Christmas tradition but just as a side character. He'll bring a small gift for the boys no matter how they behave. They're good people and that's what counts. I want our focus to be on family, not on things. Looking back, I can hardly remember any really awesome presents I got but the majority of my holiday memories come with spending time with family every year. Staying up late playing games together, watching Christmas movies, food and laughter.  

The boys are little blank canvases and the values that Chikezie and I cherish will be instilled in the boys. For our family, the holidays will be about love.  

it's a privilege

Since I've gotten my iphone, I've found myself using my DSLR less and less. I'm really trying to make more of an effort lately to actually get out my camera and take some quality photos. The boys grow so fast, I really want to remember on capturing the details as they grow. 

Looking at these pictures makes me remember how lucky I am that I get to stay home with them. Some people (without kids) look at stay-at-home-moms as women who don't really have a choice, and that they HAVE to stay home with their kids. Or we're looked down on or felt bad for for not having a career outside the home. In reality, and in this economy, it's a privilege to be able to stay home with the boys. They're only little once, and I get to be home to watch every second. I'll have a professional career again someday but for now, this is my focus. 

When the boys are grown and I look back on my life, I'll always cherish these years that I was able to witness these little miracles learn about the world. 

3 ways to wear a hair bow (and not look like a baby)

Holiday party to go to but don't know what to do with le hair? No problem. Throw in a bow and go, yo. I used to think big bows were only for babies but they're not! You can wear them, too without looking like you need a bottle. 

I made this bow myself exactly like THIS tutorial (if you want to do it yourself). There's just enough room in the back of the bow to stick a bobby pin or to slide it on to a headband. So easy!

May I present to you:

I have curly hair, and I like it big. Here's the tutorial on how I get my hair curlier (and how you can pull some curl into your hair for this). This is after blow drying upside down with a diffuser:

Backcomb all around the crown. I backcomb about halfway up the chunk of hair (it'll go down, don't worry). 

Hairspray the crap out of it. Even flip upside down and hairspray.

STYLE 1: headband-bow combo
Use a thin, headband to push all your hair back. Slip a bow in next to the headband. Easy. Do more backcombing and hair spraying at the crown for some extra poof. Wear some pretty earrings. (I obviously forgot.) 

Style 2: bang twisty-twist
Part your hair to the side. Twist your bangs in toward your head (if you twist out it'll look weird). Bobby pin them in under your hair by pushing the pin toward your face. Add the bow. BOOM. Done.  

Style 3: half pulled back twisty twists
  • Loosely twist both front sections of your hair (in front of your ears) back to the middle of your head, leaving your bangs out.
  • Pin the bow where both twists meet in the back. This also helps camouflage those bobby pins. 
  • Then do the little twisty thing with your bangs again, pinning them up a little higher than your lower twist. 
  • I backcombed under bottom half after everything was pulled up. 
Bottom line on all three of these hair styles: BACKCOMB and HAIRSPRAY. The bigger the better, because after you walk out the door it'll all start to go down. And the awesome thing is, this works on both straight and curly hair, long and short. 

 If you have any questions on this please let me know! And if you try it yourself, I want to see pictures!