Thursday, April 18, 2013

9 Baby Items That are Great for Newborn Twins!

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links
What are some baby items that you absolutely LOVE?  Is there anything you didn’t think you needed, but now you can’t live without?  What helps you the most?  What was the weirdest, yet coolest thing you received or bought? 

Yeah, yeah, we have the girls so we already have lots and lots and lots of baby stuff. But I’m just wondering if there is something really neat/helpful/awesome out there that we just don’t know about because we don’t have it, or have never heard of it, or just thought we didn’t need it.  I don’t want to miss out on anything!  And since Will just arrived, I figured we could make a fresh start with him, or even find something great for the girls!  So leave a comment here or send me a message and please let me know about your favorite baby items.

Here are 9 of the items that I LOVED, especially in regards to twins, but they would also be great for a single baby too!  Please remember that the following is just my own opinion, some might agree while others disagree with the products that I LOVED!

1. Fisher-Price Newborn Rock n' Play Sleeper – We only had 1 of these, but it was fabulous!  This was where Charlotte spent most of her time as a newborn.  In the early months, I couldn’t figure out how to tandem feed (feed both girls at the same time), so Charlotte would hang out in the Rock-N-Play while I fed Violet.  It was portable; I could move it anywhere and everywhere!  Typically I had it right in front of me, with Charlotte facing me.  I would rock her with my foot while I was feeding Violet and she would nap in it.  I would move the sleeper into the kitchen and a baby would hang out in it while I was loading the dishwasher.  It was just a great “baby holder.”
Charlotte in the rock-n-play sleeper

2. Arm's Reach Ideal Arc Original Co-Sleeper Bedside Bassinet – We used this as our bassinet.  It was our intent to use it in the co-sleeper function, but after having a C-section, we ended up just using it in the free-standing bassinet form.  I loved it because the weight limit was high enough that it could hold both girls, so we only needed 1 bassinet!  They slept in this together until they were 3 months old, when we finally transitioned them into their cribs.  Plus, we continue to get use out of it because it also functions as a full size pack-n-play when you take the bassinet hardware out.  So we use it as a travel bed for one of the girls when we visit our in-laws in Illinois (we bought another pack-n-play for the other baby to sleep in).
The girls in the Arms Reach co-sleeper/bassinet on our first day home from the hospital (and me passed out next to them  :-))

3. Medela Symphony Breast Pump – This is specific for twins/multiples only… I honestly feel like having a hospital grade pump was one of the main reasons I was able to keep up with feeding the girls, plus pumping extra to freeze and store for as long as I did.  I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but if you are having/have twins and are looking for a pump, I suggest renting one from the hospital (or where ever else you can rent them from).  I calculated our cost for renting, and I was able to rent the pump for about 7 months at the same price as purchasing a pump from the store.  With Will, I will be using a Medala Pump-in-Style, so we’ll see how the suction power compares on that!J
4. Jumperoo – Are you kidding me?? Whoever invented this contraption was a genius!  We had the Fisher Price Rainforest jumperoo, but I think any freestanding jumperoo would work.  This entertained the girls for long stretches of time (like up to 30 minutes!)!  We only had 1, so the other baby would be in our exersaucer (which we also had only 1), but they would do great in them.  Violet could bounce forever!  They would play in these while I ate breakfast or lunch, or while I was trying to get anything else done.  I can’t wait to see how Will enjoys the jumperoo someday!
Violet in the exersaucer and Charlotte in the jumperoo

5. Swaddles – Something small that I think is a ‘must-have’ is some type of swaddle that Velcro or zips shut.  It makes swaddling so much easier. You don’t have to master any special technique to get the perfect baby burrito!  You just put the baby in, fasten some Velcro, and BOOM, they are all cozy and snug!  It was great in the middle of the night when you are too tired to think.  Plus, my girls were never able to “break out” of them. We had the SwaddleMe Velcro and the Summer Infant Newborn SwaddlePod Our girls were able to fit in them until they were just over 3 months old.  After that, we decided to stop swaddling, but for the first 3 months, these were a life-saver!
Charlotte and Violet in their SwaddlePods

6. Vasaline/Petroleum Jelly – Ok, weird, I know!  But it seems like newborns have a poopy diaper every single time.  I wanted to make sure their buns were protected, but I though creams like Desitin were a little too much for their newborn bottoms.  So, we globbed on Vaseline (petroleum jelly) at every diaper change.  Not only did it protect them from wetness and keep their buns from getting chapped, but it made yucky messes easier to wipe off.  I also keep a separate tub labeled “Face”, to use on their nose when it is running all the time and we are wiping it so much it gets raw.  Their cheeks also occasionally get chapped from who knows what, so I’ll swipe it on their cheeks every once in a while too.

7. 8. 9. Snap-N-Go Stroller & Infant Car Seat & Infant Car Seat Cover - Ok, last but not least, is the combination of an infant car seat, a snap-n-go stroller, and a car seat cover (during cold weather).  I know it means having to buy more than one car seat, but I LOVED having an infant car seat (some call it a bucket seat, where you can carry it with baby in it, and it just snaps in and out of the car).  The girls would always fall asleep in the car, even on the short trip from daycare to home (or vice versa).  Having this type of car seat eliminated the need to wake them up from a peaceful slumber!  We would just carefully pop it out and set it inside and let them finish their nap.  This is also a reason for a Snap-N-Go stroller.  If the girls fell asleep on the way to our destination, we were able to attach the car seats to the stroller without having to wake them.   Of course, with a double Snap-N-Go, you become a spectacle with lots of gawkers, and it’s similar to pushing a bus, but oh well, it was worth it!  We used it for a long time (probably until they were about 10 months old) because it was how I transported the girls out of the daycare building and to our car.  They were just too big to carry both infant car seats at the same time.  And finally, the car seat covers we had were awesome.  The girls were born in December, so we had lots of cold weather they needed to be protected from.  I didn’t want to use a coat on them because then they can’t be buckled into the car seat safely, so we had the car seat cover that just wraps around the top of the seat (it doesn’t go under them, which also isn’t very safe).  Ours zipped open to get the girls in and out, and it had a little peep-hole for their faces.  The peep hole also had a flap that could Velcro shut over their faces while we were hustling in and out of buildings on cold days.  If only they could invent these things for convertible car seats, it would make me feel so much better than just putting a blanket on the girls now.
Our infant car seats with the covers on the snap-n-go stroller as we were leaving the hospital after they were born.

Ok, so those are just a few of the baby items that I LOVED and couldn’t live without.  I could probably come up with several more items, but then this post would become a novel!  J Again, this is all just my own opinion, so feel free to disagree or agree with me. 

As we begin the newborn phase again with Will, I’m very curious as to what else is out there that you LOVED.  Please please please share with me in a comment or a message.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links

UPDATE 3/25/14: Since having my 3rd child, my days have become more than just "life with twins."  So, I decided to move on over to a new blog!

Come check me out at!
My new blog deals with kids crafts and activities, mommy ups & downs, and what it's like to suddenly find myself as a 30-year-old widow with 3 kids under the age of 2.

So again, please stop by my new blog, and tell your friends too!

Thanks so much!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Finger Painting Fun

I work part-time, so I am home with the girls 2 days each week.  I absolutely LOVE having those days with them!  But most of our time is spent just playing with toys in the living room, and on a rare occasion, we might run a few errands.  I thought that they might be getting bored or restless just hanging out in the living room all the time...

So, I decided I'd try adding a structured activity to their days I spend with them.  It would be fun for babies, and fun for mommy!  Or so I thought...

Since they just turned 1, it's not like their motor skills are that great, so we couldn't really attempt to paste some googly eyes onto a toilet paper roll to make some kind of animal (or something like that...).  But finger painting sounded easy enough...

Our first attempt was based on an idea I found for "clean finger painting" on Pinterest.  Basically, you put a piece of paper into a large Ziploc bag with a few globs of paint, and let baby play.  And that's what we did.

I set up all the supplies, sat the girls in their high chairs, and let them get to work!

Violet gets to work on her Clean Finger painting project

Charlotte isn't really sure what to think about this Clean Finger painting project

Clean Finger Painting


As you can see, Violet seemed to enjoy the project. She liked to crinkle the Ziploc bag, and wave it all over the place. Her colors really spread nicely over the paper!


 Charlotte wasn't really sure what to think... I gave her a little more guidance by pushing her hands onto the paint and showing her how when her hands moved the paint would smear and the color would spread.  I'm not really sure if I was supposed to do that, or if I should have just let her figure it out on her own...

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of their finished art work!  Oh well, there's always next time...

Lessons learned from this project:
1) Don't use too much paint, it really soaks the paper and gets gloppy, which causes it to take a really long time to dry.
2) There has to be a better way of getting the art work out of the plastic bag without getting paint all over my hands... I just haven't figured it out yet. :-)
3) Don't forget to take picture of completed art work!

So, Clean Finger painting was a nice little change from our usual routine.  It gave the girls a "new toy" to play with, and it resulted in some great art work that we used as 'Thank You' cards for their birthday presents from my family.  But it only entertained the girls for a limited amount of time, maybe 5 minutes... And it probably took me that long just to get everything set up for them.

Since I felt like Clean Finger painting was boring, I figured we were ready for some real finger painting!  I also really wanted some cute home-made gifts from the girls for the Illinois side of the family.  So, I found this project on Pinterest, it's a Christmas tree with lights or ornaments. 

We could totally do that!  The girls just needed to paint a sheet of paper green, and then do some hand blobs of other colors randomly on the paper.  It couldn't get any easier!  Or so I thought...

I stripped the girls down to their diapers, and again put them in their high chairs.  I'd learned from Pinterest that it is best to tape the paper to the tray so that it doesn't move around.  I just used a few pieces to tape down the corners.   I'd also learned to have lots of wipes on hand, so I had a bunch of wet paper towel ready to go for clean up.  Then, I put some green globs of paint on the paper and put the trays in front of the girls... That's when the fun started... :-)

Charlotte immediately began to eat the paint.  I guess I confused her because when they are in their high chairs, everything I put on the tray is food...  I doubt it tasted very good, and my reaction of grabbing her hand out of her mouth and telling her "No!" probably didn't help the situation.  I grabbed some of the wet paper towel (thank goodness I had that easily accessible!), and wiped her face and hands.  But she continued to cry, and kept trying to put the paint in her mouth...

Charlotte is not a fan of how finger paint tastes...

Violet, however, had no problems getting started.  She instantly began to smear and smack the paint around on her paper.  Of course, because the paper wasn't as big as the tray, she had a little trouble "staying inside the lines" and paint was everywhere...

Violet wondering why Charlotte is crying...

Violet loves to finger paint!

I ended up having to take Charlotte out of her seat to calm her down, and when I put her back in, I decided to try a different tactic.  I had purchased these little paint sponges from the dollar store, so I gave her one of those to try and paint with, so maybe she wouldn't eat the paint.  It helped... a little...  :-)

Using dollar store paint sponges to paint the "Christmas Tree"

I decided that they had enough green paint everywhere, and it was time to start the lights/ornaments part of the picture.  I put globs of the other colors on a paper plate, and dipped each girls hand into one color, in hopes that they would just smack their hand down in random spots to create the lights/ornaments.  That is NOT what happened.  The girls just smeared the paint all over their "Christmas Tree"...

That's when things started to get really messy.  Yikes!  I mean, I was prepared that there would be paint all over their hands and arms, maybe even their bodies... But I didn't really think about it getting in their hair, on their faces, up their noses, in their ears, and all over their high chairs!!!!  I don't know what I was thinking trying to tackle this project with just me and the girls!!!  Wet paper towel was not going to clean up this mess!!!

Charlotte getting messy...
It's still messy, even with a paint sponge... which they would drop off the tray, causing paint to get on the floor...

Violet adding lights and ornaments to her tree, and face, and body...

Messy Violet...

Charlotte eventually started enjoying finger painting!

Having fun finger painting!

"We need a bath!"
Violet at the end of the project...

Charlotte at the end of the project...

Well, Charlotte ended the project the same way she started!  At least she had a little fun in the middle! :-)

I finally decided that enough was enough.  Their "Christmas Trees" were complete.  Again, I forgot to take pictures of the final product...

I removed the trays from the high chairs and just looked at the girls.  Where was I going to start with this clean up?  I attempted to wipe off most of the paint with the wet paper towels, but I knew that just wasn't going to cut it.  So, I did the best I could with one baby, and set her off to play while I gave the other a quick bath. 

Giving each girl a bath is a serious workout, especially since I'm getting to be gigantic pregnant.  They squirm and wiggle and splash all over.  And just when the bath is done, it gets even worse trying to dry them off, put lotion on them, get a diaper on, and then clothes.  I pretty much have to chase them around with lotion on my hands and pray that they don't pee on the floor.  Then, once I have at least a diaper on one baby, I still have one more baby to bathe!  I can't bathe them both at the same time yet, I'm just not that coordinated, I'm too pregnant, and they are just way too wild in the tub.

Lessons learned from this project:
1) Wait for the first layer (Christmas tree) to dry before adding the lights/ornaments, otherwise, it all just smears together. 
2)  Have bath supplies prepared for clean-up.
3) Tape all 4 edges for the paper completely.  Violet ended up ripping her artwork because she could grab the edges that weren't taped and pull them up.
4) Put down a cloth of some sort beneath the work area so paint does not get on the floor.
5) Paint somewhere they don't usually eat, so they don't think it's food.
6) Don't forget to take picture of completed art work!
7) Maybe try this when there is another person around to help...

So, all in all, Real Finger painting was a lot more intense that Clean Finger painting! And it definitely consumed a lot more time, and was much more entertaining.  It was far from boring!  By the time everyone was all cleaned up, it was nap time for the babies but I was really the one who was exhausted!

At least now I know what to expect, so maybe next time it won't be so crazy... but 'next time' might not be for a while...  :-)

If anyone has any tips/tricks for a better way to finger paint, please let me know.  Also, if you have any ideas on fun activities I can do with the girls, feel free to share.  Thanks! :-)

UPDATE 3/25/14: Since having my 3rd child, my days have become more than just "life with twins."  So, I decided to move on over to a new blog!

Come check me out at!
My new blog deals with kids crafts and activities, mommy ups & downs, and what it's like to suddenly find myself as a 30-year-old widow with 3 kids under the age of 2.

So again, please stop by my new blog, and tell your friends too!

Thanks so much!