Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Duds

So, you can attribute the severe lack of posts to the brand new 'do this here blog just got. I have been working ALL. SUMMER. LONG. on this design and I can't believe I finally finished it! Take a look around [especially my brand spankin' new design site!] and tell me what you think!

And to all of my extremely patient design clients, THANK YOU for allowing me to get this up and running. I promise, this blog was never worked on during "business hours." Only during time I set aside specifically for me-time, to keep me from going crazy. :) I have spent the past 3 years making everyone else look good and I thought it was only fair that I spent a few hours sprucing up around my little space on the web. [Which hadn't been touched since 2009!] I also streamlined the design order process. Hopefully this will help corral all answers, clarify rates, and outline expectations for a much smoother custom design experience.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

{Sweet Little Details} 2012-07-22

  • Nash had a bite of oatmeal this morning. Gray is still skeptical of spoons. Lol. #

  • Little gray is teething. :( poor dude is so sad. Nash had sympathy pains yesterday but is more himself today. #

  • Listened to grammy put Nash to sleep tonight with her quiet and very detailed rendition of the three bears. I love being a mom. #

{Sweet Little Details} 2012-07-22

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Conception Day!

1 year ago today, Cameron and I completed our IVF cycle. We wouldn't find out we were pregnant for a couple more weeks, but this was the beginning of Nash and Gray's little lives. Cam surprised me with this video this morning:

The following is from my journal, July 19th 2011

Yesterday, the clinic asked me to take a pregnancy test to make sure the HCG Trigger shot was given correctly and that it was in my system. It was so weird to take a pregnancy test and know it would come up positive.

I've never seen that little pink line before! Hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll have a real one.

This morning at 6:30 we checked in for our egg retrieval. I was nervous that something would go wrong with my follicles or that some had ruptured or that my estrogen levels would continue to rise and we'd have to cancel the cycle or something, but it all went so smoothly. After this week, I was really looking forward to some medically induced sleep. It felt so good to just have a day to relax and not worry about anything.

We went into the exam room we were in for the last ultrasound. It was nice to be in a familiar place. It didn't seem so cold to me and definitely helped me relax. On the table were all the vials and tubes for the treatment. There were 24 of them. It felt good to know the doctor had high hopes for my body!

In all honesty, the hardest part of any medical procedure for me is getting the IV put in. Luckily, our anesthesiologist was an all star. I barely even felt the needle. I was really grateful I was allowed to keep my bracelet on. Cam got it for me for Mother's Day this past May. It says "Eventually" on it. I love it. It has been such a great source of strength to me. They had Cam kiss me and head out to the waiting room. I fell asleep about 10 seconds later.

When I woke up, the anesthesiologist walked me into the recovery room and told me that Cam should be in in a minute. I was grateful to have the chance to pray for him. The best part of my day by far, though, was when Cam came through the door to my recovery room. He gave me a kiss on the forehead and held my hand. The sweetest moments in marriage come when you are given the opportunity to conquer something together. It's moments like that recovery room conversation that make me so grateful for this trial. We talked for about 15 minutes and then our brilliant Dr. walked in.

"We were able to get 35 eggs."
*Jaws drop*
"You're kidding me!?"
"Not in the least. And we normally expect about 60% to fertilize, so hopefully that means 15-20 will make it to the next step."

We are floored. On the way home from the clinic,  Cam stopped to pick up my favorite breakfast from my favorite breakfast stop, Kneaders. They have some killer croissant sandwiches and smoothies. Yum! We got home and Cam helped me up the stairs to bed. He read me a chapter from Harry Potter and we cuddled up for an hour or two of deep sleep. The rest of today has been full of watching TV and eating food. What a glorious day to celebrate.

We couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How Real Men Make Dinner

I promise it is not my goal to make you all have a huge crush on Cameron. However, I can completely understand if that's what happens after this post. Husband of the year.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

{Sweet Little Details} 2012-07-15

  • Trying to wean the swaddle. . . It's not going well. #

  • @dustingtaylor it's too hot to keep it up. Little gray got a heat rash. :( a couple long nights and hopefully it's better #

  • New at Blog Site Design: Pound the Pavement for Parenthood #

  • Got my wedding ring cleaned today. The worker gave me a free bottle of cleaner too because I had twins. :) love when that happens. #

  • Looks brand new again. :) #

  • Put the boys in separate cribs tonight. Gray flipped a full 90 degrees. Looks like he's been waiting for a little extra space. :) #

  • We find out if we get to rent this house we want in texas around 2 or 3 today. . . Praying hard! #

  • New at Cloth Diapering Twins: Part 1 {The Making Of} #

  • Lol. Latest roadtrip game, speaking like our gps system. Hilarious. #

{Sweet Little Details} 2012-07-15

  • Trying to wean the swaddle. . . It's not going well. #

  • @dustingtaylor it's too hot to keep it up. Little gray got a heat rash. :( a couple long nights and hopefully it's better #

  • New at Blog Site Design: Pound the Pavement for Parenthood #

  • Got my wedding ring cleaned today. The worker gave me a free bottle of cleaner too because I had twins. :) love when that happens. #

  • Looks brand new again. :) #

  • Put the boys in separate cribs tonight. Gray flipped a full 90 degrees. Looks like he's been waiting for a little extra space. :) #

  • We find out if we get to rent this house we want in texas around 2 or 3 today. . . Praying hard! #

  • New at Cloth Diapering Twins: Part 1 {The Making Of} #

  • Lol. Latest roadtrip game, speaking like our gps system. Hilarious. #

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cloth Diapering Twins: Part 1 {The Making Of}

Once we found out we were expecting twins, I knew things were going to get expensive fast. I was neighbors with this super great girl at the time who had bravely entered the world of cloth diapering all on her own. If I hadn't been able to see how easy it was first hand, and ask her all my questions, I don't know that I would have been able to commit to cloth. I'm really grateful for her, because man this has saved us some money! To date, we have spent $30 on disposable diapers, and $170 on my cloth diaper stash. From what I researched online, you can count on spending roughly $2,500 on disposable diapers per kid from newborn to potty trained. That was $5,000 for us. ouch. and no thank you.

I joined a cloth diaper sewing group on babycenter and started researching. And it was like drinking out of a firehose. I probably read and re-read and clicked on new articles and re-read those and downloaded free patterns and tried to remember what kinds of fabric was good for what and what all the slang and acronyms meant and then I closed my eyes because my head hurt. And this went on for a couple of months.

Finally, I got stubborn and a pen. And I started writing things that I found out down. I got organized. It was go time. In my head, I figured that I am the kind of person that makes it work. I am not going to be selling these, they just have to work for us. Here's what happened:

  1. Pick type of diaper. I had seen Dani use Pocket Diapers and Covers with Prefolds. So that's what I was planning on doing. They looked easy enough. And apparently the other types of diapers take forever to dry. She sold me. I'm making a decision. Decision made. (+10 if you can name the reference.)

  2. All of the patterns that are off by minuscule measurements? Just pick one! The only things that really mattered to me was that it could be used for both pocket diapers and covers and that it was a 'one-size' pattern, meaning it would fit my boys from newborn to potty trained. I ended up using this one. [Not an affiliate link. I just like the pattern.]

  3. Figure out how many you need, bare minimum. For my two boys, I needed 16 pockets and 6 covers, and I was committing to laundry every evening.

  4. Figure out fabric. I knew I wanted cute diapers, and I wanted them cheap. My pocket diapers are made up of 3 layers, inner, outer, and hidden PUL. Inners are made of 'stay dry' fabrics, so they help keep your baby's bum dry. I used navy blue and dark brown suedecloth and white knit for my inners. PUL is poly-urethane laminate. And I searched discount PUL and found off-white PUL for $4.99 a yard. This is where I found it, but it was on clearance so the price is a little higher. Either way, it sure beats $15.99 at Jo-Anns. [And the women in my cloth diaper sewing group sure have issues with Jo-Anns PUL quality...] I ordered 9 yards, enough to make my 22 diapers and a wet bag. They sent me probably double that, because I did my measurements to scale in a photoshop doc and laid out my diaper shapes on the fabric and I have a mondo roll left. Maybe I'll give some away in a giveaway? thoughts? Anyhow, the outers, if you do hidden PUL can be made out of whatever you'd like. I bought cotton because it has the cutest prints. For a date, Cam took me up to a specialty fabric shop in this cute little place. He gave me a hard time about needed cute diapers, but before I had gone down the first aisle, he had 4 picked out. So I made some pirate diapers. [We bought a fat quarter of each fabric, OR 1/2 yard if we wanted two of the same. Don't just buy a 1/4 yard though! It will be too skinny to cut out the diaper shape.] I like when Cam's encouraging. Covers are made of 2 layers of PUL, but I didn't want 6 off-white covers so I bought 6 pieces of PUL in little packs from Jo-Anns with a 50% off coupon. They work like a dream and I don't know what my friends in the sewing group are talking about. Maybe they got a bad batch?

  5. Figuring out how to actually sew the diapers was another story. I finally found this video tutorial and it cleared everything right up. Bless this woman.

  6. I joined a co-op group on babycenter as well to score a good deal on snaps. I know you can make diapers with velcro, but people say they don't last as long, and that once your baby gets older he will be able to take them off. I don't want that. ha. So snaps were it for me. Through the co-op I was able to get 600 snaps for about $20. It's worth figuring out. I used another coupon to buy snap pliers from Jo-Anns. They work great. Cost me about $12. Because I went through a co-op though, it was going to take quite a while for them to get to me, and I didn't want to wait to start sewing the diapers until they arrived because I knew they wouldn't be done in time. So I sewed everything and added the snaps last. I asked around to see if it would be possible, and no one saw any problems with it.

When it came down to actually making the diapers, my mother, Cameron & I cut the pieces out over the Christmas holiday. It took a long time. I hate cutting things out and I couldn't hunch over the table with my belly, so it was really great to have such willing helpers. We traced the pattern piece with fabric markers and then could sit on the couch cutting away during a movie. And then the pieces sat in a bag in my living room. When I finally got the guts up to actually try to make one, I stared at the pieces for an hour and then took a nap. It's intimidating!

The next day, I was bound and determined to make one diaper. And it was so not bad. Figuring out how to make the pocket opening lay flat was the toughest part. But once the elastic around the back and legs ruffled up I was just beside myself. It took about an hour to make that first one, but then I was in business. The rest took about 35 minutes each to sew. I cranked out one after the other. And then I had a cute little stack. Once my snaps came in, I could sit on the couch and put them on the diapers. The snaps took for.e.ver to get on, but I wasn't sitting at the sewing table so it was alright. I would watch Cake Boss on netflix and just snap away. I would snap each diaper down to its very smallest size and put it in a pile for Cameron to admire when he came home.

It was a big job, but most places say to count on paying $400-500 for a cloth diaper stash. Mine [for the actual cloth diapers...not inserts] cost $120. I say that's worth it. And they're so much cuter!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Blog Site Design: Pound the Pavement for Parenthood

I am honored to have been a part of this project. This organization, Pound the Pavement for Parenthood, is the organization that changed our lives forever last summer. The founder and my good friend, Jill, wanted a new look for the site, so I designed their new logo [look close at the reflection...] and website. It's hosted on blogger, but once we get the URL changed, you'd never know. Hosting it on blogger just makes things really easy to update in the future. Coding it isn't the easiest, but I think the result is totally worth the time it took.

Pound the Pavement for Parenthood is the coolest non-profit. We found it last summer and attended a race for another couple trying to save money for IVF [they're expecting twins now, by the way!] Pound the Pavement helps organize the race and the couple comes out of it with a lot of support and funds for their treatment [or adoption!] and all us infertiles get to support each other and make friends with others in our same situation. Of the 4 couples we met at that race, there are now 6 babies either here or on the way. [2 sets of twins and 2 sweet little girls]. One of the best ways I found to cope with the depression that so often comes along with being infertile was to help others conquer it. This organization does just that. My involvement with PPP is far from over. I'm the webmaster and I'm on the selection committee for sponsored couples. I also intend to start up a race or two in Texas once we get down there. If you're interested in starting a race in your area or being sponsored in an existing location, check out the site! There's info or contact info for any questions you might have.

If you get the chance, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. There are exciting things happening and I know many of you could be considered for sponsorship. [You don't have to live in Utah!]

Sunday, July 8, 2012

{Sweet Little Details} 2012-07-08

{Sweet Little Details} 2012-07-08

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Dad & Me From A to Z

For Father's Day this year, I really wanted to do something really special for Cam. He is such an amazing dad to Nash & Gray. He does so much for them and for me and he loves every minute of it. Late at night, we talk about going to Texas. Almost every night he expresses how nervous he is to be so busy with school. He doesn't want to miss any part of their childhood. They are so important to him. However, providing for our family is also super important to him. School is a must. And it is demanding. And he will have early mornings and late nights. We won't get to see him near as much as we do right now. So I decided to make sure our boys get a healthy dose of their dad on the nights he won't be home before bedtime. This book was my solution:

I started by making a list of A through Z and writing out something specific to Cam and the boys for each one. I outlined the major things I knew I wanted to hit on: church, fun, family, bathtime, bedtime, etc. and double checked they were accounted for. Then, I created a very simple base template with one large space for a picture, one large letter and a short piece of text explaining the letter. The result was a simple, beautiful book that shows just how appreciated Cameron is. I am so pleased with how it turned out. It just makes me giddy. The boys love reading it. I love reading it. Cam loves reading it. And it's so wonderful to see pictures actually printed and simple, short details of their lives right now.

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If there's enough interest, I'll make the templates available for use. Otherwise, I will just enjoy this little piece of happiness sitting on my bookshelf.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!


What a blessing it is to live in a free country. That is absolutely worth celebrating.

Our day is going to be full of good food, friends at the pool and fireworks. Hope you have a good one, too!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Breastfeeding Twins: Part 1 {PUMP!}

Disclaimer: if you're my little brother, my dad, or any other male relative please stop reading. I don't really care if you keep reading, just sayin' you will feel awkward. And if you treat me weird the next time I see you, it's your fault. Not mine. And I will require you to buy me a Bahama Bucks to make up for it. {Wedding Cake + Coconut Cream Pie w/ Chocolate Cream}. 

I knew from the time I knew I was pregnant with twins that breastfeeding was going to be a bit harder than it normally would be. It was really important to me, though, to at least give it an honest go. I do believe, however, that there are enough things that will cause guilt as a new mom, and I was not about to let breastfeeding be one of them. I feel really blessed to be able to breastfeed N&G. It has become a really sweet time for us, and you can't deny the bonding that occurs because of it. I would be lying, though, if I didn't say that some days my attitude is more along the lines of "if I have to pull my shirt up one more time....I'm gonna flip." It is taxing, it is stressful, it is wonderful. The best things are.

I have a beautiful friend, though, who gave breastfeeding an honest go in the hospital and it just wasn't for them. She formula feeds her little guy exclusively and she has no issues with it. I wish more women could have her attitude. We beat ourselves up all the time for things that are either out of our control, or really won't matter in 5 years. Breastfeeding works for us. Formula feeding works for her. Let's all be kind to each other. I normally don't censor my comments, but I refuse to allow the comments on this post/series become a "Breast is best!" bashing on formula or vice versa. To each her own. And as moms, let's all just lift each other up and be kind. There are plenty of other people who will try to tell us that we're not doing enough. We don't need to be one of them.

That being said, getting enough milk for the boys was HARD at first. I was on magnesium sulfate to lower my stroke threshold at the end of my pregnant. That stuff is nasty. It makes you hotter than you've ever been and so out of it. So the first night of my boys' life, I was completely oblivious to the fact that they might need to eat. I actually didn't even see them for the next 8 hours after I met them for the first time. I beat myself up over this for a while, but seriously? Not my fault. And we're all alive and doing well now, so what's the point? Anyhow, magnesium sulfate also delays your milk from coming in for a while. Considering I was super stable emotionally after having two babies, this was probably the worst thing that could've happened to me. And then my boys landed in the NICU. And I broke down.

I am a fighter, though. Literally. One of my husband's friends was over the other week and said these exact words, "Much as I think Kristin is just great, I would really hate to be the one to tick her off." And I like that. Cam calls me "fierce." And I am. And so, after the meltdown and I could wrap my head around things, I decided to do whatever I could to help my boys get out of the NICU. And so I pumped. I pumped for 20 mintues, 10 times a day. And in the middle of the first night the boys were in the NICU, I didn't get a single drop. And I walked across the hall to just peek at my boys and I sobbed into the shoulder of my nurse Julie, because I was hopeless. She just looked at me and said, "With all that your body has gone through, it doesn't surprise me one bit. You need some sleep. Let the boys take formula for the next feeding. Start pumping again tomorrow morning, but skip the rest of your middle of the night pumpings. You can try again tomorrow. This happens to lots of women."

I was exhausted. She was right. I still sobbed into my pillow until I fell asleep. The next morning, a nurse told me they had taken my blood twice and my blood pressure twice without me even waking up. I felt much better, and I pumped and pumped and pumped. I made myself lay back and relax while I pumped and not look at what was in the bottles. I covered up with a blanket if I couldn't resist the temptation. I watched videos of my boys. I flipped through pictures of their sweet faces. And I would come out with a few drops that would go straight into syringes. It was so hard not to get discouraged. I saw other NICU moms delivering full bottles of milk. Why wasn't I getting the same? I remember thinking "why do pumps come with such big bottles? No one ever fills those up."

That afternoon, my aunt Sheri came to see the boys. They were in the NICU and she couldn't hold them. It meant a lot to me that she knew that and came anyway. I love her. We started talking about my milk and how I really just wanted to do whatever it took to get it to come in. She told me about alfalfa supplements. And she mentioned how they were not for the faint of heart. And that her husband remembered about them because they made her boobs huge. [Uncle Mike is my favorite. Hilarious.] And that sometimes they turn your milk green. I said I was up for anything because the nurses said I was still probably 48 hours away from having my milk come in.

My mom went and bought me a bottle. I took 3 pills like it said on the back. I pumped 30 minutes later. And my milk had quadrupled. 4 pumpings later and I got a full 2 oz. bottle and then some! I was giddy! And the nurses in the NICU were so excited for me. I felt like an awesome mom, and all I was doing was hooking myself up to a machine every 2 hours. I had milk coming out my ears. I had filled the NICU fridge, and they reserved a shelf in the freezer for me. I had more than enough for all of my boys' feedings by the end of the 4th day the boys were there. They told me to keep some at home and stop bringing it in. And I decided to tone it down with the alfalfa. I couldn't handle it anymore. It worked instantly and very well.

The other thing that upped my supply in a major way was "power pumping." I pumped 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off for an hour. And I couldn't figure out why one side of my pump was leaking. I re-positioned it probably 4 or 5 times before I realized I was overflowing the bottle! That was a good day.

I had to pump before feeding the boys in the morning to avoid drowning them, so to speak.

I liked pumping while I was at home because it made me feel like I was still doing something to help my boys get out of the hospital. The mother across the way from me formula fed her little boy with a bright shock of blonde hair. She liked it because she didn't have to stress. There's enough to stress about when you have a new baby. If breastfeeding is a stress and not an empowering/comforting thing, my opinion is that it's not worth it. Those early days and weeks are so precious. They should be spent enjoying your new little one(s), guilt free.

Once the boys came home, I liked knowing I had enough to feed them. My body was so well regulated from pumping that 20 minutes before they were supposed to eat, my chest would fill up. I could trust my body better than the clock in the kitchen. I got a lot of comfort in that feeling, which is why it was really distressing for me when I no longer felt that. It happened when we moved to Arizona.

[For those of you who are curious, I have used both an Ameda Purely Yours and a Medela Pump in Style. I got about 2oz. more with the Ameda Purely Yours. I bought mine for $40 used on KSL {like craigslist in Utah}. I boiled all the parts and had no issues. It works great! I love it. And it was life-saving in getting my milk back after the move.]

Monday, July 2, 2012

Save The Date Design: Julie

Julie might be the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. She wanted a typographic save the date to coordinate with her yacht wedding. I love how fun this design turned out. She printed them on magnets to send to her guests. We ended up doing two save the dates. One with information to the wedding ceremony and one to the reception held in Arizona. Classy and fun! I custom designed the anchor logo with the J & C intertwined. I ended up sending it to the baker making their wedding cake to include on the top tier.

For information on my rates and design queue, please contact me!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

{Sweet Little Details} 2012-07-01