To my Ava,

You are special. While you’re only 10 months young as I write this, I can tell your heart is pure. You are such a sweet girl, and you love to snuggle. I hope this doesn’t change. There are many days I look at you and can not wait to curl up under blankets and watch movies with you.
You are patient with your sister. Never lose that, because she’s a firecracker and some people won’t like that.
Keep your heart open – most people don’t. You will find amazing opportunities with an open heart… and a lot of pain. It is my hope that I can help you through both situations. Hopefully the latter is not frequent.
I am excited to see you grow and learn. You are going to do amazing things, sweet one.


To my Max,

You are my pistol. I see so much of myself in you- which is both exciting and terrifying. You have an agenda and a strong will. It is my hope that I successfully find my place by your side and help you rather than butt heads with you. We will find our balance together. I will find all the snuggles I want from you, and you will find your independence.
Be nice to your sister. She’s not going anywhere, and you’re going to find times you really need her.
Find your adventure, and go for it. I’ll be here to help you if you need it, and encourage you always.

I love you girls. You are my greatest gift.

how does one recap one of the most chaotic years of their life when it can *essentially* be boiled down to: i had twins.

i really think i could end there and everyone would nod and say, “i totally get that. what a ride.”

but i’ll try to stretch it out a little more for you.

in march, my mother informed me that she had stage 4 bile duct cancer with a fairly certain death sentence of the end of the year. currently, she is skipping chemo treatments because she feels well enough to do so, and is navigating the cancer world well. (can you do that? can you handle that “well”?)

in april i had two little ginger nuggets cut out of my stomach and my life was completely altered. things that i thought mattered meant nothing anymore. my only focus was (and is) how those two little girls are doing. it’s similar to when you graduate high school and suddenly realize no one cares about your achievements there. … times a billion.

gaining your footing as a parent is disgraceful at best. every day i had a new idea on how things were going to be. i was (am) completely stressed out about how to provide for them the best i can. without hesitation, i believe that i am still alive thanks to janelle – she saved me by teaching the girls to sleep through the night. she is, by far, one of the greatest humans alive.

beyond attempting to keep children alive and healthy, ryan and i were put under an amount of stress that currently doesn’t have a descriptive word. our idiot loft wouldn’t stop flooding. so our property management offered us a different loft… that also flooded. so we made a quick decision that we needed to move before our lease was up. if the flooding wasn’t enough, they were raising our rent. if raising our rent wasn’t enough on top of the flooding, maintenance was seemingly non existent.

someone at some point will probably say, “isn’t it funny now that you look back on it?” and i will punch that person in the face.

at the beginning of the year ryan went full time at his job, and from what i understand, requires a lot of brain power. and focus. and learning. when you add twins, band shows, and a flooding loft to it, you get a stressed out husband.

when you have twins, a job at a gym, work with fashion week, race direct for cupids undie run, accept a new race director position for a different charity, work odd hours in a shipping department,  do photography, etc … you get … whatever i am. honestly, i’m not sure. but thanks for sticking it out with me either because you’re a good person or because you like watching the train wreck that is me happen.

anyone that has snuggled a baby for me, had coffee with me, or continued as my friend: thank you. mostly for the caffeine.

to put it in simple words – this year was hard. i can’t put into words the stress and strain on marriage and life. tomorrow will come and it’s not all going to be glitter and rainbows. the grind is still happening, we’re hopefully just starting to figure it out.

these events (mom’s cancer, becoming a parent, last minute moves) individually are intense to handle. when they all happen within a few months time on top of insane post-pregnancy hormones… it’s enough to break a person. i can’t say i’ve handled it gracefully, and i know there are things i can do better. maybe the idea of a new year maybe gives me a small breath of fresh air even if nothing but the date has changed.

i am excited for what is to come. new opportunities, new developments with the twins, and more. it’s all going to be fun (and interesting) watching it play out. here’s hoping that 2016 is a little more gentle on us than 2015 was. i appreciate the lessons learned, but frankly i’ve never liked school and would like a vacation.

your opinion is wrong.
someone else’s opinion

as i continue to navigate the first few months of parenthood, i am learning a couple things. mostly these are found via internet forums because those seem to be full of people who are more bold behind a computer, and bored stay-at-home-moms. maybe a mix of both of those in one person.

the first thing i’ve learned is that your opinion is incorrect. if you keep your kids on a schedule you’re not “listening to your baby” and it’s needs. if you don’t have your kids on a schedule then “your children can’t thrive. they need structure”. cry it out, don’t cry it out. too much food, not enough of the right food.

the list is endless, and no matter what – youre going to be wrong.

UNLESS! yes, there is a magical answer that everyone has decided is acceptable. that response is this:

“you’re doing great, momma! we’ve all been there!”

yes, friends. on the forums set up to ask for help and advice… the only acceptable answer is one where you offer no help or advice.

sadly, this carries on past the internet. i have personally gotten comments and passive aggressive remarks towards what i am doing… or trying to do. parenting isn’t easy, and as you navigate the first few months (years? forever?) things will change. you’ll try different things. and your only hope is that the support system you have around you can help you as you learn and grow.

and if not?

you’re doing great, momma. we’ve all been there.

it’s hard to say that. not that i don’t trust janelle and every single word that has come out of her mouth… but it’s hard to say that because it’s almost too good to be true!

and it’s not even at night. these girls even go down for naps more easily because they know what to do. we haven’t even had to rock them to help them relax and drift off.


we snag a good burp, make sure their swaddle is in place and lay them down. NIGHTY NIGHT, KIDDOS. MOMMA WANTS A BEER.

and that’s that.

i will admit a small hiccup once janelle said “they’re trained! bye!” (it was a lot sweeter than that, but for the sake of my attempt at blogging, we’ll cut to the chase). max woke up a little too early… and then the next night woke up at 2:30am.

i had failed.

janelle quickly swooped in and decided to see what was up.

it was corrected the next night because janelle is an angel dove sent to love babies and help them sleep. (there was a light that caught max’s attention when she was in a light sleep… so she thought it was morning time. janelle had properly trained the babies to sleep… i just screwed up and had a bright light in her room that messed that up)

so here i am at 8:32pm having a nice beer and blogging. the monitor is buzzing away but i havent heard so much as a grunt from those girls since they settled into sleep.

it’s nice. to know that your babies go to sleep smiling and wake up when they’re ready to… and it’s NOT every couple hours through the night. everyone sleeps better, and that makes the days even better (and those morning snuggles are great because you almost MISS those pooping, drooling little potatoes.)

well, janelle has gotten both max and ava to sleep through the night. now we need them to sleep through the night on the same night – every night. i think we’re close🙂

i’m excited to see where this goes! i’ve only known janelle for 8 days, and she just started with a girls, what, four nights ago? its just such a shock to go from 2-3 times a night with the girls drinking upwards of 3-4oz at every night feeding… to sleeping through the night. maybe not consistently, yet, but even when they do wake up they take less than 2oz.

what is this MAGIC?

it’s amazing to watch janelle with the girls. they light up when she’s around and she’s so comfortable with them. i love my babies, but i am not cut out to train babies to sleep. obviously… since i can’t even do it with my own🙂

if you’re in the kansas city area… or can make it to the kansas city area, janelle will be hosting some q&a sessions at some local coffee shops around town. i highly suggest you make the time to attend one of these! if nothing else, it’s a way to meet janelle so you can understand why i think she’s great. and then you’ll hire her for your babies and you’ll be making blog posts just like this.

only your blogs will probably be more thought out and eloquent. i’ve never blogged a full adventure like this. i mostly just live-tweet situations that annoy me, so anything somewhat regularly scheduled and over 140 characters is a struggle.

i’ve also been up since 3:30 this morning because one of my BEST FRIENDS HAD HER BABY AND I WAS SHOOTING THE BIRTH! Everett is a healthy little man and I can’t wait to blog about him😉

but until then – i must sleep. like my little angel babies will do tonight (*crossing fingers*)

“i saw you posted a blog – you’re supposed to be catching up on sleep!”

i was reprimanded. love it. and attempting to sleep when every night for the past 11 weeks i’ve been so tuned into baby grunts/cries … poses a challenge. BUT IM TRYING. which is why i’m blogging now – in the day time hours. while my babies NAP! (which is a new, beautiful thing. working on a schedule, which i’m not great at having, but it’s making the babies happy, so let’s roll with it.)

janelle got ava to sleep through the night two nights ago! like, the whole night. from 7pm to 6am. i’m in awe. max isn’t quite there yet, and sadly because they share a room… max woke ava up last night. a lot.

so we (and by we, i mean janelle) may have our work cut out for us. i have faith though, because you should SEE janelle with these babies. she just looks at them and they are chubby faced balls of smiles.

i never want her to leave. at least, not until i know every single thing she knows – even beyond babies. you should ask her about all the animals she’s had (like her deaf cat who is SUPER CUTE and goes to the store with her). she just understands life and how to make it great.

that being said, we continue on. tonight will be her fourth night with the babies — hopefully after good naps and meals today we will have a successful night and max won’t wake up her sister. because if we’re lucky … they’ll both be sleeping.

there are many ways to raise a child. i think we all can start on that common belief. and i would like to tip my hat and say that for being a first time mom and having twins… i’m not doing a terrible job. usually. minus the times where my babies cry a whole bunch and i stare at them and say “i literally have no idea what you want.”

so when we got the babies to only wake up ONE TIME in the night, i sort of felt like a champion. the 7pm bed time was clearly too early. 8:00-8:30 was better because they really only “had time” to wake up once.

but then…

they kept eating more and more at that one feeding in the middle of the night. but even though they kept increasing the food… that didn’t mean it made them sleep in any later in the morning. so the one time feeding happening at 2:30am, but still getting up at 5:30am was laaaaaaaaame.

i wondered to myself if that would eventually change. i chatted with my husband about this. we agreed we were on the right track. at least it wasn’t three times a night anymore, which was cool.

but of course i can’t leave well enough alone on anything ever, so i thought… imma talk to a gal i know who sleep trains babies. see what she thinks! enter janelle. i do believe we originally connected via facebook because we both have photography in common. once i became pregnant i connected to her group “raising happy babies” where she would answer questions and give examples of successes she had with training littles to love sleep… and sleep longer.

well curiosity got the best of me, so ryan and i wrangled a meeting with her. right off the bat, i liked her (it was our first official meeting beyond social media). janelle is … calm. but so passionate about babies. she had max scooped into her arms and eating within a few minutes of arriving. she answered so many questions and gently explained that babies actually *do* like to be swaddled… saaay what?!

but i never felt like she spoke down to us. she has a “quiet confidence” in what she does and how she explains herself. not only did i never feel like i was dumb or doing something wrong with my babies… but i was actually wanting to know MORE. teach me everything! i want my babies to be lead to sleep longer, happier, calmer!

i was hooked. i wanted her to lead my babies to love sleep. also, i wanted to sleep again. ever since i was six or seven months pregnant ive had broken sleep. but now i’m not just waking up to roll over or go pee … i’m waking up every few hours because a baby grunted or cried or needs to be fed or startled herself awake (because they don’t like being swaddled, eh?). so someone who knows how to lead babies to sleep up to 12 hours? so i could… like… shower or have dinner at night? it almost seems too good to be true.

but she has so many success stories that this has to be real. and i ain’t too proud to beg.

get ready, babies. you’re about to be swaddled and take a pretty awesome snooze.