The New Year So Far 

Last night as I crawled into bed at 1 am again, I thought, “Dang it, not even a month into the year, my resolution to go to bed earlier is so not working!” What can I say? I am a night owl and I am super productive at night after the kids go to bed. I clean, sometimes I cook when I’m up to it, and lately I’ve been discarding under the KonMari method so it’s taken up my nights (more on this to come).

I will do better. And I think I will sleep better when all is organized in my home. 

Then when I got into bed I compared this year so far to last year at this time.

Last year I had twin infants. I was recovering from a c-section. Luckily I had my mom with me, then my mother in law, then my mom again. So it was nice but not nice. (If you’ve ever had a mother in law, even the most angelic, you know what I mean.) All in the same month. 

I didn’t sleep more than two hours at a time. Sometimes I was nursing every hour with the two. We supplemented with ready-to-feed for a long time (and Baby B never got off formula.) So there was a lot of juggling back then. And I was truly on survival mode.

This year is already better and I’m trying to be grateful that it is better. 

Baby A has slept through the night since 5 months. Baby B whines a little at night but she’s okay, it just could use improvement. Both of them are well-mannered babies. Baby B just started whole milk. Baby A is still nursing to my dismay but it’s still early in the game and he likes it so it’s fine. 

The only horror now is they are both learning to walk and I can’t just plant them on the ground  anymore. Separation anxiety is starting to kick in. But things are so much better. 

I can actually wear regular clothes again instead of my pjs. I get six hours of sleep and even eight when I plan it right. I don’t have to have my nursing pads in and distract Toddler all the time because he’s better at playing independently. 

My goals this year center around helping others and doing more for other people including my kids who will be 4 and 1. Last year, I went a little crazy indulging myself when I could because I needed it: I heavily relied on Amazon shopping and bought things for me and the kids whenever we needed it; when I needed a new wardrobe, I bought it and then some. I bought rich food and desserts because I was nursing two for a time. And while some of this is justified, it can’t remain this way forever. 

This year we’re returning to the simple and beautiful ways. Come with me.

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Toddler Busy Books and Activities 

I’ve sunk some good money into quiet activities for my kids since we go to church every week where quiet is desirable (but really hard for this age group). I think it’s worth investing in independent play that not only teaches academic concepts and fine motor skills but also teaches appropriate behavior by redirecting them to a hands on activity that does not require screens.

 Here’s a list of some of my favorite resources:

  • Magnets — my favorite activity is magnets because unlike velcro and zippers, magnets are relatively quiet. I like this set from Janod which are made from wood with a nice gloss finish. I bought them for about $8 from Zulily. Please note Zulily doesn’t offer returns, but if you know what you’re getting and will keep the items, it’s a good way to shop for a bargain.

    • File folders — this is an old school method used by a lot of mom friends. Finch Family Games is one of my favorites, they have some LDS and Bible themed, but there’s also plenty of secular themes. They’re styled similar to old school Carson-Dellosa classroom decor, which speaks straight to my teacher heart. Keep in mind the hard copy books offered are black and white (b/w). The digital downloads are available in color or b/w. We make our file folders to last using quality materials.We use this Scotch laminator from Wal-Mart. The laminating sheets are cheapest at Amazon where they do go on sale often, so wait for a good price and do some price history checks (camelcamelcamel and slickdeals.net are my go to for Amazon prices). We use plastic file folders from Staples, which we scored for about $4 with a coupon for $10 off $10 but we also used regular Scotch tape for the laminated sheet inside so we will be able to reuse the folder. I also splurged on 3M Dual Lock rounds to use in place of velcro, they’re available at Jet.com but you need to buy in bulk, $100’s worth. It’s quieter to pull off and adheres to the paper well. You can go the more budget-friendly way, which is to use plain file folders, use b/w copies, do the coloring yourself, use thinner lamination and clear velcro or alternatively, adhesive magnets which are cheap but don’t look as nice. 

      • Magnets part two with pom poms or other homemade magnets– I’ve also used a magnet board with pom poms; my first version was a simple cookie sheet from Walmart for 88c. But this was slightly bigger than a sheet of paper and kind of loud. So I updated to thinner and smaller, a 8×10 Loran magnet board from Joanns (with a 50% off coupon about $3.25), it’s used for needlework patterns. This requires smaller play mats than 8.5 x 11 but you can always adjust when you print. This slimmer piece of metal can be made safer with masking tape around the edges and then placed into a sheet protector with an adhesive magnet closure, so that metal sheet and laminated worksheets are kept in one pocket. You could do this with your own sheet metal as a more cost effective way but I didn’t want to go through that hassle or danger. Just fyi, my local Home Depot does not cut metal and I would have had to buy a large roll of sheet metal there for about 10 bucks to do the DIY method.
      • Check the One Spot Dollar section at Target. A friend of mine found these great felt busy books for $3. It pays to have mom friends looking out for you! Felt is a great option for a quiet book but takes a lot of time designing, cutting and gluing. It is probably the quietest of all quiet book materials. I’ve also purchased a nice magnetic scene board with transportation from there; since Preschooler loves cars, we got a lot of use out of it. 

        • Check the dollar store — craft supplies, toy cars, puzzles, are all worth buying at the dollar store. We had a dollar store puzzle made of erasers with a farmyard scene that kept my kid busy for 20 minutes. It was his first puzzle experience and now he loves them (but needed a lot of parent help at first)
        • Binder pouches with random distractions — once again, quiet is best. It’s best to find a binder pouch that is relatively quiet. Walmart used to carry these sturdy plastic ones with the slider zipper instead of the traditional zipper. It is very quiet and easy for kids to open by themselves. I definitely recommend these over the others with a regular closure. My crafty friend carries kid scissors, paperclips for making chains and Popsicle sticks for shape making. This is kind of like the restaurant kit people make with a makeup bag, only with 3 ring pouches, you can extend this to as many pockets as can fit in a D ring. Even my toddler twins love just holding the plastic and “flipping” through the pages.

        Materials needed:

        You need scissors, tape and hot glue and adhesive magnets and/or clear velcro fasteners are available at Home Depot (but 3M Dual Lock fasteners are recommended as an alternative to velcro) 

        If you choose to do the lamination yourself, you’ll need a Scotch laminator and pouches.

        A craft paper trimmer is optional but nice to have for straight lines

        Craft supplies are optional and vary based on project:pom poms, Popsicle sticks, neon binder pouches  (recommend Casemate binder pouches with black slider zipper or equivalent)
        Enjoy!

        Tale of the Fancy Dress

        ​Just returned from a week with fam. It only takes a so-called vacation to remind me that being a mom is not glamorous. Let’s not ever be in denial about that fact.

        There was a lot of talk. Talk with the siblings (all of whom are or soon will be Parents) and their dream cars, dream phones, and dream houses. We all have plans and dreams for the future. But all these things paired with babies or children are completely impractical. 

        And these things don’t make our lives all that much better when we do have kids. Expensive stuff gets ruined with kids. Lavish vacations are just babysitting at a hotel instead of at home; we do get to enlist more baby holders when family or daddies take time off but Mom still does most of the work. We get to do some grown up things but it is all interrupted by naps and diaper changes.

        I’m not innocent either. I spent a ton on clothes this year including this past month, some nicer outfits, things I’d wear to a nice party. Simple Guy had a work party coming up and I figured I had an excuse to try out some fancy clothes. When was the last time I treated myself anyway? When the items arrived with all our held mail after vacation, I was pretty happy but in my vain heart, I knew deep down this was, plainly speaking, stupid. I don’t go to nice restaurants anymore. I don’t attend concerts, the ballet or the opera. I don’t attend holiday parties, unless they are kid birthday parties. So why did I pretend that I do? 

        Sometimes we parents need an escape from reality and I guess babysitters can help with that. Yeah, it is possible we will get that one night of elegance. One day. So I would wear the dress a grand total of one time. Hmm.

        I get that we mourn the loss of past freedom and independence we had as singles or married without kids. But it’s time to grow up, people. When all life stops for kids to be sick or dirty, let us realize there is more to life than just what we adults want. I know one day I will be able to leave all three kids with a babysitter. I know one day I will be able to have nice stuff. But I’m doing something eternally more important right now and luxury can wait. 

        We are doing a great work by raising the next generation. When we are parents we are more than just an individual or even a partnership. We are caregivers with power to influence generations. 

        The irony of it all is that the whole family got sick after the week of supposed vacation and we missed the work party, so I didn’t get to wear my fancy eveningwear. Luckily it was LuLaRoe holiday wear and doesn’t really break the bank, but it’s still kind of ridiculous to admit I own something that sparkly when I’m about to have two toddlers and a preschooler. Guess I will wear it on New Year’s after the kids all go to bed.

        Lesson: Don’t buy stuff that doesn’t go with your current phase of life. Got kids? Don’t buy a fancy car, dress, or house or furniture. Kids will destroy or spit up on it anyway. Don’t falsely assume that your kids are going to be somehow cleaner than the rest of their demographic. Even Preschooler is compulsive about cleanliness and he just transferred marinara from his pants to the carpet not even 12 hours from me writing this.

        Good for You

        Rant time. Hope you don’t mind.

        Since becoming a parent, I’ve encountered a lot of other parents with other styles, philosophies or priorities. Of course, to each their own. But today, could you hear me out?

        What’s good for adults (you parents out there) is not necessarily good for your kids.

        Example one: nutrition

        I have several friends and relatives who are kind of health nuts: love to exercise, eat healthy and do recreation all day long.

        While I of course support kids getting exercise and eating healthy, I do not understand why these friends push fad diets like vegetarianism and eating non dairy *without medical reasons* to do so.

        Pediatricians recommend whole milk for babies from age 1 to 2. Instead these little kids are drinking soy milk when they are not lactose intolerant.

        Doctors recommend a healthy amount of meat and other protein which is good for kids who grow rapidly compared to us adults. Instead these kids eat vegetables all day long and don’t ever get full. Or, get full on “snacks” perceived as healthy but not completely (granola, smoothies, (aka sugarrrrr!) or whole wheat crackers with a ton of sodium).

        These kids are not obese either. I could see why a kid with a weight issue would need to cut back on (but not entirely eliminate dairy) a little or eat a little less meat. But these kids are normal, in fact, if anything they’re underweight.

        Then these kids have serious behavior problems and are cranky all day and can’t control their emotions. I’m not talking about autistic kids or typical toddler tantrums, but consistent bad behavior which is not prevented by better well balanced nutrition and being well fed and is left unaddressed by poor parenting.

        Harsh words. I know. I love these parents but I can’t get why they do this to themselves.

        Read about CHILD nutrition. And don’t rely on blogs, fad diet books or holistic medicine. Be a good parent and support your kids’ growth to reach milestones. This isn’t complicated, people. Go do your research. Scientific peer reviewed would be your best option.

        To say that your dietary needs as an adult and the dietary needs of your child are the same, is to seriously neglect your child’s needs. Kids don’t eat that much. Make every bit count. Of course, seek to be well balanced.

        Example two: community

        Simple Guy and I have a deep connection to the Bay Area of California because of his family and my volunteer missionary work in Oakland. We always talk about if we didn’t have kids how we could live in the big city…’kay, we love our kids so much, but I think every parent naturally wonders what things they could do without kids. Exotic travel and fine dining comes to mind. Oh, yeah, and buying designer furniture!

        We choose to live where kids can grow and have a sense of community and wholesome activity. And I’m sorry, but the big city is not wholesome. It has a lot of fun. It’s great for travel. But it’s not an ideal place for people like me who 1) want to save money instead of pay rent and 2) believe in traditional values and family. I believe with all my heart there are good people in all places, for I’m now related to some big city dwellers and I lived in a pretty big city (Oakland). But the problem is the overall community.

        What does the community value? And will the community support your values?

        Those are the biggest questions. I respect all walks of life but I don’t necessarily want my kids in a culture of chaos, confusion and coldness, which is what is in all city life. Go ahead and prove me wrong.

        I know many suburb dwellers and small town people and we’re always complaining about how boring it is where we can’t do activities we once did, because now we have little kids. Get over it! Parenting is not glamorous!

        We live in one of the nicest suburbs, probably in the nation. It’s freaking awesome! It’s got good schools, good eats, and lots of walks of life. But we do it without being in a huge city where people have learned to only think of themselves. I’d love if all my friends lived here, but I know they can’t.

        They’re limited to jobs and family and a billion other factors. Some have to deal with the city issues to support their families. But these decisions are not just about you. Choose for your kids to be in a place where they can thrive and have a sense of community and where values are upheld.

        Example three: childbirth

        Okay, I know this is a tough subject, but I have to write this!

        It is wonderful if you or someone you know gives birth naturally, in a birthing center or in your home.

        But before recommending it to all your girlfriends, please, please know this. There are tons of things that can happen to women and their babies in a birthing situation.

        Several mom friends have described to me their birth stories: c-sections, vbacs, premature births, large babies, babies with respiratory issues. All these things are best treated by a doctor with medical experience and in a hospital with NICU and with licensed and trained professionals.

        Let us agree that there are many good ways and options to have babies. But not one fits the needs of all women.

        Do what’s good for your child.

        Recently a dear friend of mine debated on having her baby in a birthing center or hospital. Of course, I had my opinions but let her choose her way and would respect her decision.

        She told me, “I wanted to be in a birthing center because my first delivery was really painful and I wanted to have the extra support a birthing center would give me. But then I realized that I was only thinking of myself and what I wanted for my birth plan, without really thinking of the needs of my baby. So because of certain health issues I am concerned about, I sought out the best hospital in the area so in case I need the help it will be there. ” and she described to me this strong feeling she had to follow this impression.

        This was absolutely. brilliant.

        She is a great mother, thinking of the needs of her unborn child.

        Think of your baby. What does she need? As a c section mom, I realize that the baby only cares about coming to earth in a safe and healthy way, where her chance of survival is highest.

        Think that over, ladies.

        Love,

        SimpleGirl

        LuLaRoe Clothing Review Part 2

        As if my last post wasn’t long enough, here’s some more information for you if considering Lularoe clothing:

        I have purchased…a lot of clothing from shopping VIP groups and multi consultant sales. Don’t tell Simple Guy. Luckily for me I sold some big ticket items from my excess home goods (unwanted gifts and sale rack finds) on eBay for some supplemental income. I feel like a druggie selling my valuables for a dose.

        Realizations 

        1. I’m thrilled to report that LuLaRoe Clothing has helped me to be braver with trying out new prints and colors I didn’t try before. Colors like yellow and green I always assumed Asians couldn’t wear. But I learned that as skirts, you definitely can! And if you’re like me in skin tone, try these “taboo” colors in jewel tone rather than camouflage tone, it actually looks fabulous
          Love the variety of colors and patterns but had to sort through the ugly to get to this beauty.
        2. The clothing does seriously rock, but it is pricey. I made a spreadsheet of my purchases, because ahem, there are that many, and realized that my whole yearly budget for clothing is easily met by shopping Lularoe. With limited prints available in my specific sizes, shopping LLR has become borderline addiction for me. Having said that, I think there are some items really worth the price. The Amelia dress, Julia dress and Carly dress are my favorites and worth every penny to me. They have a great fit though the hemlines are longer for me, because I’m short. The Carly is more of a casual dress, so it’s more on the pricey side, but it’s also the latest thing. Another more pricey item that I love is the Maxi skirts. I love them because they feel effortless to me, yet make you feel elegant. I guess that’s the whole appeal of this clothing line. I also feel disappointed shopping on other sites now because it can be very challenging to find modest clothing that is also stylish and affordable. Whereas on LLR, I know everything will fit and be comfortable. For some reason the both stylish-and-modest apparel come at a price. Modcloth and Anthropology are such examples. So the word pricey is debatable.
        3. People are so obsessed with the leggings. Maybe it’s because I’m short and don’t want to draw attention to my legs and maybe because it’s still summer part 2 here in Texas, but the excitement for them wore off for me rather quickly. They are super comfortable. But they are quite warm and honestly, how many pairs do you need? I decided for the fall, that I’d have a few versatile pairs of solid and more unique but not crazy patterns. But then I realized that I shouldn’t keep shopping for leggings that are only worn a part of the year here. At $25, they’re a little steep.
          Yes, I actually commented sold first on this unicorn print of sleeping foxes set. Cute or crazy?
          Again, it’s because of the climate that my current focus of Lularoe Clothing is carly dresses and various skirts because they are short and airy and extremely versatile if carefully selected. If you live in a colder place than Texas you might get a lot of use out of leggings.
        4. Exchanges can be a bust. Most consultants have an exchange only policy which I kind of despise since they only have an online presence. I have loved most of the clothing but I have returned quite a few items for exchanges due to sizing or colors. The problem with exchanging is that the selection you have is limited to the seller only. Imagine buying an item in a store, only when you return the thing you fell out of love with, the store only has a few remnant pieces left of the clearance rack. That is kind of the feeling you get in this process. You shop a huge sale to find the one item you love, only to find out that consultant doesn’t have much else to exchange for. The best thing to do is wait, if you can, for new inventory to arrive, but depending on the exchange policy and your level of patience, you may not have much time to shop around. 
        5. Tees can potentially be a bust too, if ordinary, would be outrageously priced at $35. I admit I’ve bought a few tees which seemed at the time, the right price point because they’re so uniquely cut but beware, some of the plain ones made of recycled material feel cheap to me. The problem for me right now is finding a substitute for Lularoe tops, that cover the butt so they look good with leggings and still are modest with sleeves and high necklines. My usual favorites are failing me in this category. It is incredibly hard to find a similar product, so it’s outrageous in cost, but I guess we still buy them.

        I have a huge new stash of modest clothing that makes me feel great. I do still love this brand, the positive image for women and family. So the magical effect of the drug Lularoe has kind of worn off for me but I’m still not fully recovered because I’m still in a few Facebook groups waiting for some more fun and unique items to pop up. Can’t wait for the next sale.

        I mean, how can I resist a Carly in a floral?

        LuLaRoe Clothing Review Part 1

        I honestly don’t even know how I first heard about LuLaRoe, which just shows the power of social media, getting into our minds and into our lives.

        I wanted to share my review since I’m not consultant and not related to one, just wanted to share an honest review. I’m a fan, but with some reservations.

        First, why did I look into the clothing ? One of the reason I got into it was for my postpartum body. I’m small and petite, but there’s just the last few baby pounds I just cannot shed and I refuse to diet now because I’m still nursing twin Baby A. I just became very frustrated that I couldn’t wear any of my old clothes. And the excess weight is distributed in the oddest of places. Seriously no dress zipper can zip shut! Guess a twin pregnancy will do that. But let’s face the facts, any pregnancy changes the body as well as the lifestyle one lives when one has three little children at home and no time or energy to workout. This brand is definitely flattering to all women’s body shapes and sizes which is amazing.

        First, here are some things I think you should know.

        • It’s best to try on the clothes before browsing on online pop ups, a fancy way of saying online party. I bought a Julia for my first purchase and I liked the fit, but I didn’t love the design. Luckily I lived close to the lady and went to her house for an exchange. She let me write down all my sizes and that has been a huge help. Also, the clothing is designed so you can fit multiple sizes for different looks. A top can be fitted or loose and flowy, depending on your frame.
        • Be extremely critical of the clothing. Please note that almost all Lularoe I have seen is approximately 96% polyester and 4% spandex. We live in the Dallas area where it can get hot. Generally I do not recommend this fabric for extreme heat but it’s just my preference. I can get by most of the year here wearing Lularoe, but I think I will stick to their fabrics that are more airy and light in the summer. Lularoe fabric is anything from cotton like to slinky and silky, so always ask the consultant when you purchase online. I love the Classic tee but a lot of the solid tees are cotton-poly blend, which feels cheap. Recently the new Carly dresses have blends that are softer and lighter. Also the Gracie kids top (I wear size 14), has a great cotton modal blend version. Ask the right questions.
        • Shopping the Lularoe multi consultant sales on Facebook is a good way to familiarize yourself with the good, bad and ugly. Sorry, avid fans, some prints are in my opinion, hideous or old-fashioned. Just one girl’s opinion. Other prints and fabrics are adorable and designer quality. Its like shopping at Ross Dress for Less, where 80% of items are ho hum and others are major finds. In lularoe language, they’re called unicorns, because they are unique and you can never find them in your size. Ask for a close up shot if you are not sure what you are buying. Browse multiple sales to see how items look as they are photographed by multiple people.
        • Speaking of unicorns, it can be extremely frustrating to search and search and search for what you want. Every consultant has received unique items, some are repeats, others very special. This is part of the fun and torture.
        • Be smart. Assess what you need or are looking for and what you’re willing to spend. I laugh while I’m writing this because I’ve totally broken all my rules.
        • Does it spark joy? Be in the right mindset so you can act quickly on an adored item, to buy before someone else does. It’s first post, first serve. You need to devote time and energy to shopping these sales. Best to not be rushed and to window shop as much as you can, to determine if you truly love something or can go without. It’s kind of like that wacky tidying up book from Marie Kondo: hold an item and ask if it sparks joy. And luckily for our wallets, most Lularoe does not! But it’s those few items that really do, that makes this brand so addicting.

        My eyes in the last two weeks have been sore with the screen time devoted to finding some Lularoe. I splurged on several items and have learned my lessons:

        • I’ve limited myself to a select few styles that best suit my body type. This type of information can be obtained by finding a local consultant and trying on items for sizing and style.
        • I will also limit my shopping to sales that offer free shipping or from consultants who live in tax free states if possible, to save an extra buck or two.
        • I have also started to save images from a Facebook party during window shopping periods (usually the day before) so that I can give myself time to really consider if I like or even want an item. Sometimes the artificial demand created in a party makes us want to buy something before someone else does, thus creating a frenzy. This fake feeling can really make you go crazy. Yes, people will buy things before you get to them. Get over this reality and move on. Save the photo in Pinterest and keep looking. A lot of times an item I think is unique really is not.
        • Sometimes multi consultant sales are not the right place for you. Working with a few good consultants’ VIP pages, who take good detailed photos, respond to questions quickly and are helpful, will help you to find quality items. And typically most consultants will open new inventory with their VIP page to build customer loyalty but may not carry your size. Many showcase new inventory on Facebook Live and new inventory goes very quickly.
        • Multi consultant sales are are not created equal. The sales have a large variety of clothing so that is where you will most likely be able to find the best selection or a pile of remnant unwanted items. Some groups post photos all at once on the day of the sale, creating chaos. Others allow you time to window shop before a sale goes live. Some people are better business people than others. Encourage the group of consultants to practice good business methods like offering exchanges and free shipping. Shop around for a good group to join.

        Consulting?

        As for becoming a consultant I would generally not recommend it for most people. Even I was slightly tempted for a while because it would be so cool to get the inventory first. And you would have a little boutique in your house.

        But that’s just the problem. Where do you put everything and how do you afford hangers and tags and shipping products?

        Some people do well handling MLMs, but most of us do not, and would not succeed. As a consultant you need a lot of inventory to start, which could cost thousands and thousands of dollars out of your own pocket. This is bad business practice,  in my opinion. Why should you as the consultant have to risk the cost of the products? The company’s customer is you the consultant  because they are done with their transaction. Essentially all the business risk is on you.

        There are some hideous prints out there and you have no control over what items you get as a consultant. There’s not even a way to buy a gold level package of inventory full of unicorns for an additional fee. So how will you sell these items no one wants or sell the items every other consultant also has? And even the most avid of fans already owns fifty pairs of Lularoe leggings, so why would they buy yours, especially if you only get a handful of unique stuff. I mean, someone may buy the occasional black or gray pair to coordinate outfits, but how many people can and will do that when they already spent money on the pretty top for almost $40?

        To keep loyal fans on personal VIP groups, it is best to have fresh new inventory on a weekly basis, so you will continue to invest money back into the business, money of out of your own pocket, unless you have financing readily available to you. Google the breakdown of investment of Lularoe and you will see, it is very difficult to sell every single piece of inventory and the rate of return is poor.

        Maybe I’ll do it when I need a hobby.

        I love many of their items: the Amelia, Julia, Carly and the Cassie, Madison, and Maxi. I will continue to shop this brand because its image is quite healthy for women, to accept their body shapes and sizes. But I would be realistic about what type of business this actually is. Glad it works for some women out there, but I’m not consulting.

        Sizing and fit

        Here are my stats for those considering Lularoe for petite sizes, I’m 5’2, 120 lbs. I wear size small in Amelia, Julia, Cassie, Lola and Randy. I wear XXS in Maxi and XXS to XS Carly. Size M for Azure.

        I do not recommend Irma and Perfect tees and Lindsay kimonos for petite sized women. These items are huge and large women can wear XXS. So an XXS would swamp women like me. I also prefer the classic tee in XXS over the perfect tee. The perfect looks like a short dress, very wavy and it’s too overwhelming for my body type but nice to pair with leggings.

        People consider me an XS at first glance, but I’m really a S in Lularoe which they say is approx. size 6-8. So get yourself fitted.

        I love the Amelia and I own two. I sought out one on eBay I really liked and paid the premium for it. I don’t mind, but that’s the price you pay to get what you want without all the hassle. This dress is truly unique with its pockets and is the best dress of the clothing line. I would buy this dress for a party.

        Cassie is a very comfortable pencil skirt. Most pencil skirts are super uncomfortable. This one is very comfortable and the fabric of some skirts are very textured, adding some variety to your clothing. I tried them on and love the fit. It’s just I’d rather not be bending down for crawling babies in this skirt. Keep in mind it’s not going to hold big guts in, there’s minimal support.

        I like the Maxi (and I’m wearing this one while blogging) because it’s a maxi that works on someone short like me. Usually maxis are extremely long on petite frames. This one in XXS is just perfect on me. So I will mostly be buying maxis as my mom work clothes.

        New moms, let’s be kind to ourselves.

        I’ve lived in pjs for most of the year; my twins were born in January. Almost 8 months later, I’ve finally realized living in pjs, while necessary some days (you know, those crazy days) is not good for me mentally or emotionally. I need to treat my SAHM role as a job some days: get things done, don’t complain, and keep positive. I often think, “Poor me, I’m so alone and I’m so stressed out and I’m busy all the time,” but in reality this is what God has given me time to do, to quote a fellow mommy blogger. I can feel good about myself, my changing body, and my efforts no matter how small or insignificant to the outside world. I think it will help my children too to see their mom happy and satisfied at home. This brand has allowed me to do that with a type of transitional clothes after pregnancy so I do love the brand despite its weaknesses.

        If you have a spare moment, check out Lularoe Clothing as maternity wear. It’s pretty cool. If I find the post, I will add it here.

        Qiaohu 巧虎 2016-2017 Preview

        Yoyo “Toddler” ban for ages 2-3
        Kuaile “Happy” ban for preschoolers ages 3-4

        I found these images off the Qiaohu website, for those of you who are interested in seeing what the 幼幼版 (Youyou or yoyo ban) and 快樂版 (kuaile ban) subscription receive each month from September 2016 to August 2017.

        Remember the best time to begin the subscription box is at the beginning of each school year, so you get the whole slew of topics and variety without repeating unnecessary content or subject matter.

        I mean, the songs can get so annoying,  you really do want fresh material each month. If you subscribe by calendar year, there is a risk you will receive repeat gifts or dvds with similar content or lessons.

        Now is the time to subscribe for September!

        In a conversation I had with the office, they told me that this year’s Yoyo ban has toys each month which is a new feature, they used to not have so many toys, but everyone who’s been around a 3 year old knows they need imaginative play and a lot of it.

        I really wish I could subscribe to both but we are advancing to Kuaile ban this September because my child needs more stories and early literacy rather than imaginative play, which is why there will be less toys and more storybooks in the kuaile ban.

        But honestly I can’t wait for my twins to subscribe to Yoyo ban because it’s so much fun to have stories in DVD form and thematic toys that go along with the subject or topic. My child’s language development has really blossomed with the use of these DVDs and imaginative play.

        The boxes really do well at addressing needs of the children and their development.

        If this information has been helpful, please consider adding me as a referral when you order. My ID is 2600018310. They give out Qiaohu gifts to referrers. My kids will love you forever!

        Note: there is a BaoBao ban for babies ages 6 months all the way to grade school, age 8 plus. Check out the site.

        Qiaohu 巧虎 August 2016 Preview

        Since I’ve received a lot of inquiry into the QiaoHu (CiaoHu) subscription box, please allow me to preview the latest box’s content. I’ve been really impressed with each box we’ve received. Toys are simple, cute and educational. The DVDS can get annoying on a loop but doesn’t that happen with all kids’ music, toys and interactive fun?

        Parent’s user pamphlet
        August activity workbook cover
        Stickers from activity workbook

        Sample pages
        DVD
        CD
        Special workbook/storybook

        Each month they send a DVD, activity workbook, parent’s user pamphlet and either toy, CD and/or storybook.

         I think it’s totally worth it! (For me, I break down the value this way DVD $10, workbook $10, toy or CD $10. Some of the toys are extra special and are worth $10-15—perceived value, of course!) The educational value language-wise is worth it to me. And they also cover colors, numbers, shapes, and certain preschooler know-how’s like tidying up and sorting. 

        *I would totally appreciate it if you added me as a referral on your order should you choose to subscribe. I’m a fan not an employee. My kids will receive a complimentary gift from Benesse. My Referral ID 2600018310, first name is Kyleen

        ASOS Maternity Clothes Review

        With the heat and the kids,  I don’t get out much. I do my grocery shopping at 10 pm after two of three have gone to bed. So online shopping has become a very important thing in my life. I need retail therapy as much as any parent with three littles.

        Of course Amazon has a place in my shopping world, but so do these new discoveries of online shopping, the first is ASOS.

        I was first introduced to ASOS by my adorable, fashionable sister in law, but I wasn’t convinced at first glance. I saw a lot of teeny bopper clothing similar to Forever 21 and I wasn’t buying.

        But then one day said sister in law and I were at Target with twin baby b and we saw another girl, an expectant mom, wearing a dress. Okay, maybe it was seeing a dress in person that made me a believer because isn’t that the horror of online shopping, buying something and then getting it realizing that you need a new laptop or a new pair of eyes because you must be colorblind because that thing you bought looks hideous!?!

        The girl also told us it was a nursing dress, so as a new mom with my new babies, I had to go check it out.

        Fast forward to now, I have that dress and two other maternity or nursing dresses in my closet. I adore ’em.

        ASOS is a UK-based brand but they ship to the US and to many countries for FREE and include FREE RETURNS. This is big. This is like having an H&M in my house. I get to try on all the clothes I want and return anything (unused, of course) that I want to.  I love that the maternity line has a lot of modest options. I also love the double layer concept of their maternity dresses.   I also love that they have maternity formal dresses, so if you have a wedding to go to while sporting a bump, you do not have to settle for a frumpy looking dress, you can go and look amazing! I think this would be so cute to wear to such a function:

        Cute and comfortable!

        The return policy is easy, you reuse the bag your items come in, slip in your order form and can place it in your mailbox for regular postal service to get and ASOS will notify you when they receive it. Just keep in mind that a previous order of mine with a promo code was partially returned and I also lost the sale price of the items, even the ones I kept. Meaning, they will remove the entire discount you received at initial purchase.

        Please go check it out. I really think in the next few years, I will phase out almost all my old clothes to ASOS clothing. I love it that much.

         

        Confessions of a C-Section Mom

        I know there are plenty of doctors out there who will push c-sections on expectant women and it’s not right. Plenty of us can and should have normal deliveries.

        The key is to finding an OB-GYN you really trust, to give you sound medical advice and to give you the best shot at a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Easier said than done.

        My c-section was scheduled because my baby was breech.

        I had a few ultrasounds done throughout my pregnancy by the same sonogram technician who was always grumpy and sour (I know, not the best person to tell pregnancy news to expectant moms, but you know, can’t have everything). My last sonogram a few days before scheduled c, my ultrasound showed the baby flipped but uncharacteristic of this grumpy tech, she went into detail about giving birth to her son, a 9-lb child and how she tore and she had many lingering issues due to a delivery that in her mind should have been a c-section and kindly advised to stick with the c-section.

        Yeah, I guess it’s true she could have been paid by the docs to say that to all the women who came into the office. But the way she said it indicated to me she was completely sincere especially when she related to me her own experience. (Later, then my second pregnancy with the twins, she told me she has dealt with back pain for years, ah, ha, that explains the grumpiness. I felt bad for being judgmental. When will I ever learn? )

        I had to make a choice and it was a choice most “granola moms” would not support me doing: I chose to proceed with a c-section. The granola moms asked me if anything could be done to prevent me from having a c-section. They asked me if I was being manipulated by my doctor and commented on how evil and money hungry doctors are. I really respectfully disagree with them.

        People are very vocal about c-sections. Many old-timers will tell you “Once a c-section, always a c-section” which is not necessarily true anymore. Other more sympathetic old-timers will tell you about their own c-section experiences, which were a lot more risky back in the day than they are now. We know a lot more about c-sections and what risks are involved.

        My so-called birth plan went out the window as I had to prepare for surgery instead of delivery.

        When my 8 lbs 12 ounce child with a head of 98% percentile size was delivered, I was so grateful that for me, I had made the correct decision.

        Recovery was slow and tedious. There were many times I thought I failed as a mother and I took the easy way out. I was also battling other losses in our family’s life, my father in law passed two weeks prior to Baby’s birth unexpectedly. We were in shock.

        Time healed these wounds.

        For my twins I wanted to try for a VBAC. A lot of people think it’s not possible with twins but it can be done. My old OB retired so I found another in her practice willing to do a VBAC if Twin A was head down and I really think she would have done it for me , except Twin A did not cooperate and and was transverse from Week 32 on. There was actually a lot of movement during the last trimester when they predicted there wouldn’t be. But no matter how the twins moved, they did not get into the correct position. I was due for a repeat C.

        This time I was almost completely prepared for the process of getting a c-section and this time it went better than the first time. Healing was faster. The hospital days were a mini vacation and we left the hospital with our boy/girl twins, 6 lbs 1 oz and 5 lbs 8 oz.

        In the end I I was just thankful for healthy babies knowing a lot of multiple births have complicated pregnancies, deliveries and post births problems.

        Now I view c-sections differently especially since this will probably be my mode of delivery for the rest of my childbearing years. I have accepted this in my life.

        Is it ideal? Of course not. Would I wish it on my sisters in law or my daughter? No! Emphatically no. But it happens, so can we remove the stigma associated with cesarean birth? Yes.

        People like to talk about how the statistics of c-sections are rising but honestly, I don’t care that I add to that stat. Me and my three beautiful children are not a statistic in my eyes or my husband’s. We’re a growing family. I care not how they were born, just that they are here now, and I thank God for healthy children.

        I wish people would be less judgmental about my decisions to have c-section and just realize how blessed we are that we can have medical care necessary for almost each birthing situation.