Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Swamp Ass

The past few days have been HOT here in New England. My newly potty trained daughter was complaining about her sweaty panties the other day. She thought she peed her pants, but I said, "nope, it's just swamp-ass". She looked at me, puzzled. "What's swamp-ass mommy?" I replied, "Go ask Aunt Jana"

When she finally saw my sister later that weekend, she asked what swamp-ass was, and was given a child-friendly description: "it's when your tushy gets all sweaty" - we LOVE Aunt Jana!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Brunch Anyone?

On Sunday morning we had my in-laws over for breakfast. I needed to serve something relatively healthy (both me and The Big T8 are doing Weight Watchers), but also tasty. So, I modified 2 recipes, and they were actually quite yummy. I had the leftovers for dinner the other night, and added a 3 point English Muffin for more yumminess. Enjoy!

Spinach/Artichoke Egg Bake - 4 Points Plus
10 oz. box of  frozen chopped spinach (defrosted & squeezed free of moisture)
1 can artichoke hearts (drained and chopped)
1/2 onion - diced
16 oz. fat-free ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup egg whites
3 eggs
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- Combine all ingredients in bowl. Spray 9x13 baking dish w/ cooking spray. Spread mixture into dish, and smooth out. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 1 hour (or until set). Cool 10 minutes and Cut into 12 squares.

Breakfast Potato Casserole - 4 Points Plus
1 bag Ore-Ida Country Style Hash Browns (defrosted)
1 1/2 cups Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
1 cup Campbell's Healthy Request 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken or Mushroom Soup
6 Strips Morning Star Farms Bacon Strips (diced)
- Combine all ingredients in bowl, except 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (reserve). Spray 9x13 baking dish w/ cooking spray. Spread potato mixture in pan, and smooth out. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and cut into 12 squares.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stroller Recommendations

I have a LOT of should see my basement. Here are my recommendations for strollers for your twins:

BEST EVERYDAY STROLLER - MacLaren Twin Triumph - I keep mine in the back of the loser cruiser and use it almost everyday. It's lightweight, durable and easy to use

BEST NEWBORN STROLLER - Baby Trend Snap & Go - we used this for both sets of twins for the first nine months. Don't buy a "real" stroller until after you've had the babies and they're a little older. The snap & go is light, super easy to use and you can modify it for most infant carriers

BEST ALL-TERRAIN STROLLER - Bumbleride Indie Twin - I love, love, love this big ol' stroller - it's light, you don't have to take the wheels off to put it in your car, and it folds pretty thin. I tried out a number of other all-terrain strollers, and this one rocked. Also, it fits through standard doorways and is easy to maneuver.

HONORABLE MENTIONS - Baby Jogger City Mini Double & Graco Quattro Tour Duo -I really liked the City Mini and used it for over a month when our Bumbleride was being repaired. If I ever need another stroller, this will be what I go for. One issue is that it's bigger than an "umbrella stroller", but doesn't have rubber tires like the Bumbleride (so you can't use it "off road" or for "jogging).  The Graco Quattro is a good tandem stroller, but it's very heavy, so we only use it when my husband comes with me.

Some Oh So Yummy WW Friendly Recipes I Love!

I LOVE to share good things, and I've discovered some real good Weight Watchers Recipes in the past month, that are too good not to share:

SMOKY TURKEY CHILI - 5 Points (1-1/4 cups = serving)
this is from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. I bought mine at BJs and I also saw it at Costco (I think there's a BJs coupon for it).
1 pound ground skinless turkey - 93/7
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 minced garlic cloves
3 (15-oz) cans small white beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup ketchup
1 (4.5-oz) can of chopped green chiles
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp liquid smoke (hickory flavor)

Brown ground turkey in saute pan - remove from heat. In slow cooked, combine turkey, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Cover and cook 8 hours on low.

2 Tbsp shredded reduced fat mexican cheese blend (2 pts)
2 Tbsp fat free sour cream (1 pt)
1 piece corn bread (3 pts)

Breaksfast Sandwich - 6 Points
1 "light" whole grain english muffin
1/4 cup egg whites or egg substitute
1 wedge laughing cow "light" cheese - any flavor (I like the new chipotle)
2 pieces of Morningstar Farms "bacon" or "sausage links"

Toast english muffin. In small microwave-safe bowl cook egg in microwave (about 45-60 seconds on high). On microwave-safe plate cook "bacon"/"sausage" about 1 minute. Spread cheese on english muffin; put egg on bottom and top w/ bacon or sliced sausage. So yummy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yummy Roll Ups for the Kids!

I saw this on another blog, and I've been making it for lunch the past few months.  The rollups are SUPER SIMPLE and UTTERLY DELICIOUS!


Jelly | Peanut Butter | Cream Cheese | Wheat Bread

Roll out the bread very thin w/ a rolling pin:
About 1/8" thick

Spread PB & CC on the sides and Jelly in the middle; Roll Up & Cut:
Not too much!

Cut w/ sharp knife


Emma & Robin enjoy their lunch (usually have 2 pieces of bread each

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weight Watcher Recipe: Pastitsio

So this isn't as great as the "real-deal", but it is pretty good, and if you really like comfort food or Greek food, this recipe is for you (it's super easy too). All of my kids ate it for dinner (Emma had 2 helpings), and my picky husband liked it too. The portions are generous, and if you substitute Ground Turkey (lean 93/7) for the beef, you'll have an 8 Points Plus dish vs. 9 Points Plus

  • 1 spray(s) cooking spray
  • 1 pound(s) raw lean ground beef (I used 93/7 ground turkey instead of beef - drops the point value by 1)
  • 1 medium onion(s), chopped
  • 8 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup(s) red wine, dry
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz uncooked whole-wheat pasta, such as penne
  • 1 large egg(s), lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup(s) fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter, or margarine
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 large egg(s), lightly beaten
  • 2 large egg white(s), lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup(s) shredded parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Coat a 9- X 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.


To make meat sauce, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef and onion, stirring frequently, until meat is brown and onion is tender, about 10 minutes; drain off fat. Stir in tomato sauce, wine and cinnamon. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Combine 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup of evaporated milk and cooked pasta in a large bowl; toss to combine and set aside.

To make cream sauce, melt butter or margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of evaporated milk; cook, stirring, until thickened and slightly bubbly, about 5 to 8 minutes. Very gradually stir 1 beaten egg and egg whites into hot milk mixture (be careful not to ‘scramble’ eggs); set aside.

Layer half of pasta mixture in prepared dish; spread with meat sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese. Top with remaining pasta mixture; pour cream sauce over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake about 15 minutes more or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Need That

Little Robin Tate is quite a character! She is coming into toddlerhood with a bang, and I cannot imagine what she'll be like as a teen (well, I can imagine, but it scares me).  She has a mind (and mouth) of her own, and boy does she use it!

  • "I need that" - Robin walks around saying this phrase ALL DAY, in response to her "needing" everything that comes into sight
  • That's mine" - what Robin says when taking away toy/book/cup/anything from her sisters/brother
  • "Okay" - Robin's response to a question, instead of 'yes'
  • "Wakkles" - what Robin wants for breakfast every morning (Waffles)
  • "Shoo" - what Robin tells me to do when I come near her...
  • "See ya yater" - what Robin says when she leaves a room
  • "Go away Mommy" and "leave now" - what Robin says to me when she's mad

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Tots Have Graduated!

Congratulations to Emma & Robin (aka the Big Tots) on graduating from Early Intervention today ~ hip, hip, hooray! While some parents like to brag about how their 9-month old is potty trained, can walk and speaks french...I'm going to brag that my older twins are on track developmentally (finally)...YAY!!!!

Emma and Robin started Early Intervention when they were 4 months old because they were not meeting any of their developmental milestones and because they both were diagnosed with congenital torticollis (as are my younger twins). They had the same, wonderful therapist the entire time (except for her maternity leave), and slowly started gaining developmentally and reaching their milestones. While other kids were rolling, sitting, crawling and walking...mine were about 4 steps behind, but happily so. Today at their assessment, they actually scored AHEAD of their ages for: cognitive language, receptive language, and perceptive language. Little Miss Robin scored off the charts for social skills, and Little Miss Emma rocked her fine motor skills!

While I am excited for their "graduation" from EI, I am sad that Emma & Robin have to say goodbye to Ilana, sad to miss out on their fun weekly multiples integrated playgroup and Jump, Jiggle and Jive. But, the fun doesn't end for me...I still have two others in Early Intervention services, and starting next week Ilana will take over their cases! Yay! Now maybe Morgan will finally roll over...

Top: Emma & Robin 5 months
Bottom: Robin & Emma 2 years old

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Here's the Situation - Reality TV Dances By...

This post is not about me or my kids or anyone in my family, but I need to dance around a little Situation that's annoying me. I am going to preface this with a note about women who are not super-models, but have fabulous bodies - men call them "butter faces". But what do we call a hideous-looking man with a good body? Beer face? Butt Face? Loser? Any suggestions?

Typically, I do not blog about celebrities or stars, but this person is neither a celebrity or star (but thinks they are) and is just a train wreck that we love to watch, but it's getting old and I'm sick of seeing him on TV.

I bring this up because one of the Jersey Shore cast mates is on Dancing with the Stars, but is not truly a star and is so annoying to watch. Yes, Mike "The Situation", I mean you! He may have abs of steel, but that's about it,and he's hideously ugly (some might say "fugly"), but thinks he's hot shit. The kicker is, that The Situation is not even an interesting reality-star, he doesn't have 20 kids or multiple multiples, isn't a "little person", didn't survive anything, isn't a millionaire, and is definitely not a contender for The Bachelor (can you imagine that season)...why is he on DTWS? Couldn't they get another D-list celebrity to entertain us?  Couldn't America have voted him off, instead of "The Hoff"? Can't a really, really hot woman just put him in his place and tell him "your face looks like someone hit you a dumbbell a few too many times"...please, please, please!!!

I have finished venting my frustration...the tribe has spoken!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Random Thoughts

The kids are all sleeping, the laundry has been put away, the dishes have been cleaned and I'm procrastinating! Thought I'd share a bunch of random thoughts, that I think are either: funny, interesting, sad or just cute:
  • Everytime I change my son's diaper, he laughs. It's not a hysterical laugh, more of a "heh-heh, I know what you're doing" - it's weird!
  • How come my almost 2-year old cannot keep her binky in while she's in her crib, yet she won't take it out of her mouth when she's out of her crib?
  • Someone needs to tell the baby clothes designers that: buttons up the back do not make it easy to change baby's diapers or get them dressed. I have now gotten rid of all 1-piece outfits that only buttons up the parents don't have time for this.
  • My husband and I have lived in 2 places together, my old condo in Boston and our house here in Waltham. Our neighbors in Waltham have twin daughters.  Our neighbors in Boston (hi James & Maria) had twins almost 1-year after Emma & Robin were born. Coincidence or just another unexplained phenomenon?
  • I received a beautiful painting of the house I grew up in for my wedding. It's hanging in my downstairs bathroom and the kids get to look at it a lot! Every time I change Emma or Robin they point to the picture and say "Kitty Cat" and start meowing. It's weird, because most people can't even see the cats in the photo. They also point to me and say "home"...I never told them it was my home!
  • All of my kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear me sing; I am their American Idol, but I can't carry a tune! I used to hook up the microphone to the Wii and perform, it was always "You Are My Sunshine" and it gets them to stop crying, screaming, and makes them quiet...I feel like a superstar.
  • I drive a big, bad, blue minivan that I call the "Loser Cruiser" - it's totally pimped out, I could live in it. Just 4 years ago I made fun of my Cousin Andi for her Big Red Van...I repent!
  • Every single night between 8:15 pm and 8:30 pm some one drives down my street with their window open and their dog barking. This is every night, and this is how I know what time it is.
  • I think my husband is hilarious...even when he pisses me off, it's still funny. What's even more funny, he taught the girls to say "Mommy, calm down", and they think it's a riot.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No, No Naps

At the suggestion of many people I was encouraged to transition my older set of twins (Emma & Robin, 22 months) from 2 naps/day to 1 nap/day. The girls were struggling with their two naps, taking 1 really good nap (1-1/2 - 2 hours) and either not taking the second one or only sleeping for a few minutes. We started the transition over a week ago, and I've been "strong", only 1 nap each day, no matter what. The problem is that my girls are sooooooo tired and start begging for a nap around 10:30 am, "night-night", "binky"...I keep them entertained and we'll have lunch a little earlier than normal (between 11:30 am - 12:00 pm vs. 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm) and then I put them down between 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm, expecting a nice, long nap. Unfortunately all I get is screaming and crying and then about 40 minutes of sleep before it starts again. I'll keep them in their crib for at least an hour and a half...wishing, hoping and praying they'll go back to sleep, but they won't. So, I get them up, bring them down, get them a snack and we arrive at cranky-town. The rest of the day (a long, long, long long day) is spent dealing with meltdowns, temper tantrums, and fits. Around 4pm they start begging to go to sleep, but I refuse to give in (they go to sleep for the night at 7pm). I'll feed them dinner on the early-side and try to keep them awake (lately they've been vegging out in my bed watching "The Good Night Show"), but we struggle and I've been giving up around 6:30 pm.

So, what's a mom to do? Do I keep with it or just let them have two naps? I don't know how much more I can take...cranky-town needs a sheriff!
...won't you take me to craaannnky town

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What A Difference A Week Makes!

My first set of twins, Emma & Robin were born on October 17, 2008 at 34-weeks gestation (4 lbs. 5 oz. & 4 lbs. 7 oz.). The were in the NICU for a few weeks and spent some time at a local hospital's "Level 2" nursery before they came home. They were teeny, tiny tater tots who went to the pediatrician every week, then every two weeks and then every month once they hit 8-months old. Along with being small, the girls were behind on their developmental milestones (as was expected), had congenital torticollis (which resulted in plagiocephly and brachycephaly and them wearing helmets) and also a few other issues here and there.They rolled over late, sat up late, crawled late and walked late...the only thing they did on time was talk, and the only thing they did early was sleep well (ha). They weren't sick, but their care was more than most newborns/infants, which is to be expected with preemies and twins. At 22-months my girls are still relatively small. but are on the growth charts at the 12th & 25th percentiles for weight (yay).  For a visual reference, they are in 18-month size, which swim on Emma but kinda fit Robin. They have pretty much caught up developmentally (Emma has some "sensory issues" and Robin has some fine motor developmental delays), and most likely won't re-qualify for Early Intervention when they're re-evaluated in the late-fall. Both girls have been in EI since they were about 4-months old (we have the best OT and the girls absolutely love her), and they are doing great.

Flash forward to my second set of twins, Morgan & Ryan (g/b) who were born on March 24, 2010 at 35-weeks gestation (5 lbs. 3 oz. & 5 lbs. 9 oz.). Morgan was in the NICU for 2 days and was able to come home with me (although we had a tough time getting her to pass her car seat test). Ryan was very sick when he was born, his lungs were underdeveloped (typical for male preemies) and he was touch & go for a while. He was on a ventilator, had a chest tube, a heart murmur and also had a number of pneumothoraxes, but he pulled through with flying colors and was home with us after about 3-weeks. Morgan had 1 weight check and then was put on a "regular" pediatrician visit schedule, and Ryan had 2 additional visits after he was released and a few visits to the cardiologist before he was put on the regular schedule. Both have not had any additional health issues, other than congenital torticollis (no helmets this time) and are in the 25th & 50th percentiles for weight. The biggest difference is that they are hitting their developmental milestones right on track (either for birth-age or gestational age), and it's really interesting to see how far ahead they are compared to Emma & Robin at the same age. Ryan is a little mover and shaker, he rolls back and forth (from tummy to back and vice-versa) and just went from a supported sitter to sitting on his own for short periods (30-90 seconds)...this is crazy! Morgan is a little lazy (like her sister Robin was), but can roll if she really wants and sits very well supported. While, they are both in Early Intervention, it's for physical therapy related to their torticollis, as they didn't qualify in any other areas.

I have to say that the extra week gestating really made a huge difference in my second set of twins. Not only were they a pound larger, but they have had less health issues, have developed on track and are really doing remarkably well. Now I understand why my MFS OB/GYN for both sets (Dr. Hamar) really wanted me to cook them a little longer...those few days make a huge difference. While, I so freakin' miserable my second pregnancy, I'm happy we were able to wait and welcome them when they did arrive. So my advice for all of the miserable, pregnant people (no, not everyone has a fabulous pregnancy, but I'll blog about that later) is to hold on for a few days/weeks really does matter!

Emma & Robin at 5 months old (size 3 month clothes)

Morgan & Ryan at 5 months old (size 6 months clothes)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh Mott's, You're Not For My Tots!

I spent last Saturday morning at BJs with my clan. While the Big T8 waited at the deli for an hour, I was able to finish my tornado of a shopping spree (isn't that always the case at BJs). My older girls have (finally) taken a liking to applesauce, so I bought a 36 pack of Mott's. Why Mott's - because it was a name I associated with good, healthy food products. So, last night while the girls were chowing down on their dinner I looked at the ingredients and was SHOCKED! Mott's, you are using high fructose corn syrup in applesauce! I couldn't think of a reason why...apples are yummy the way that they are, they have plenty of sugar and I've had plenty of applesauce that just have apples (and ascorbic acid) as their ingredients.  Actually, I took out my last container of store brand applesauce and looked at the ingredients...just apples and the ascorbic acid...nothing else. While I won't throw away the remaining 32 containers of applesauce, it will be my last time buying the Mott's brand. While on this kick, I went down to the basement to see what ingredients the 3 huge jugs of apple juice have...apples, water and ascorbic acid.  Good choice, and it tastes just fine!

I guess I learned my lesson, the brand you think you trust may not be the best for you, and I need to stop and check out the labels before I buy!  A savvy shopper is a good shopper!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Insert Foot Into Mouth...

Seriously, people will say/ask the most inappropriate/stupid things!

Here are the Top 3 Questions:
  1. "Did you have fertility treatment for your kids?" - First of all it's none of your business, I don't ask you if you had a tummy tuck or a face lift! But I politely smile and say "NO, I didn't need any help in that department".
  2. "It's your own fault you have so many kids." - Hey, I didn't even know I was pregnant with twins the first time until I was 19-weeks along (knew I was pregnant, but no twins). But I guess I can take the blame, since it is my fault that I get pregnant easily, and it is my fault that I ovulate two eggs, and it is my fault that I got pregnant the second time while on birth control.  I did not set out to have two sets of twins, but I am very lucky with fertility and am blessed to have 4 absolutely wonderful children! (Who, by the way, behave like angels, never cry, always smile don't throw their food, always let me sleep in...hahahahahahaha, I wish!)
  3. "Are they identical?" (about my girl/boy twins) - Seriously, this may be the most stupid question I get (and I'm sure other MOTs get about their G/B or B/G twins).  It's a GIRL and a BOY, they CANNOT BE IDENTICAL...duh! But I usually politely smile and say "no, they're fraternal".
Any stupid questions you get?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Q: Why am I such a bitch and hard-ass?

A: I think it's quite obvious...
  1. I have 4 kids under 2 years old (and no it wasn't planned...I'm just the most fertile woman in America, right behind Michelle Duggar).
  2. I'm in charge of EVERYTHING for my, bills, household crap, kids, dog, cat, myself and my husband (but he'd differ on this)...this leaves no time for "taking it easy", "relaxing", "chillin' out"...but I'm over it.
  3. I have to work part-time so I can pay for a nanny to help me out (I would be even bitchier if I didn't have the help)...I don't have a $$ tree.
  4. I'm too rich to collect unemployment, qualify for any help, etc., yet I'm too poor to put my kids in daycare, preschool, etc. or do anything for myself and husband.
  5. Since February 2008, I gained over 150 lbs. during my two pregancies, and am trying to get back to my normal size (only 20 lbs. to go) - and I hate to hear others complain about their weight...unless you've carried a litter of children x2 in less than 2 years...don't talk to me about it!
  6. I hate to hear people complain about "how tough it is" to take care of their 1 or 2 kids...yeah, I know, it's hard, but there are people who have it a lot worse than you...think before you speak...know your audience.
  7. I'd rather be bitchy to you than my kids...they need nice Mommy and they're going to take care of me when I'm old (think 20 years from now).
  8. I really want to be nice, but I just can't seem to remember where I left it...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tater Tot Twins & More: Diaper Reviews

Tater Tot Twins & More: Diaper Reviews

Diaper Reviews

Everyone has a strong opinion on the diapers that they use, like and recommend to others. Since all babies differ, not every recommendation is spot-on, but I always enjoy hearing what others think, and why they like/dislike a particular diaper. I used to be very particular about what diapers I would put my kids in and still have my preferences, but truth-be-told, price really matters now and I'll try anything as long as it's reasonably priced, or I have a coupon, or there is some other incentive to buy (like a free gift card, etc.).

Since I have 4 babies in diapers and go through between 25-40 diapers/day, which is a lot more than most people do, I feel I can offer some insight and Dish on Diapers. I do not use cloth diapers (seriously, I have 4 kids under 2...that's a lot of maintenance and crap to deal with), so I can't give you my ratings on the different brands of cloth diapers and diaper services, but I can give you the dish on the disposable diapers.  That being said, I have my favorites, the "Top of the T8RTots" and my dislikes "It's Full of Shit".  Here are the Tater Tot Twins Mom's Tips for Diaper Happiness.


Top of the T8RTots: 
  • - free overnight shipping on all orders over $50; they accept manufacturer coupons (you have to send them in and have them applied to your account; but if you're a big ticket shopper, it's worth it); weekly specials; they carry most name brands (including "Kirkland")
  • BJs - you have to be a member of the warehouse club, but they carry the major brands of diapers, plus they have their own brand; prices are competitive (but not always the cheapest); they accept manufacturer coupons and they have their own coupons (you can double dip and really save); they do not stock "Huggies Supreme" (Little Movers or Snugglers), just "Huggies Snug & Dry"; they also stock tons of wipes
  • Costco - "Kirkland" brand diapers and wipes only; they also sell "Huggies Snug & Dry" (but the price isn't the best)
  • Target - stock "Huggies" & "Pampers" and their own brand (have had a hard time finding "Luvs" at our location, but then again I have a hard time finding most things at that one); I have a hard time finding smaller sizes (P, NB, 1, 1-2, 2 & 3) they have competitive prices and sales frequently, but beware, sometimes they will promote a sale and put the wrong size package where they are promoting it (it won't be the one on sale); they also do incentives like "Buy 2 boxes of Pampers Swaddler Sensitive and Get a Free $15 target gift card"
  • Babies R' Us - I'm more of a fan of buying them online, because most of the time they offer free shipping on purchases over $50 (and it's a schlep to the nearest store). You can use both manufacturer and store coupons in store (but not in conjunction) and they have incentives similar to Target. They now have their own brand of "premium" diapers.

It's Full of Shit: 
  • Grocery Stores - seriously, don't buy your diapers at the market unless you really enjoy paying a premium for your premium diapers (caveat: every once in a while "Shaw's" will have a good deal on a random sized box of diapers and in conjunction with the store incentive program & manufacturer's coupon you'll get a good deal), but this is very infrequent.
  • Drug Stores - same as above, it's a rip-off.
I'm on the fence about - I used them twice for diaper orders and it seems like most of their diapers are from, so the prices are the same. They do have a service for automatic reordering and you get a discount by using it, but I'm a price shopper and I don't always buy the same thing or from the same store. I also had trouble with my actual order both times, but they did fix the issue and I received part of my money back for the mix up.


Top of the T8RTots - Sizes: Preemie, Newborn, 1 & 1-2
  • Pampers Swaddlers - a premium diaper that was my most favorite for the named sizes. We've had few leaks and they have a "wetness indicator:, I'm not a big fan of the new "dry max" (two of my babies have had reactions to them, while the other two have not), so I'm tending to stay away from them for now (unless I can find a case w/out the dry max).
  • Huggies Supreme Little Snugglers - these diapers aren't as "soft" as the Pampers, but they are contoured for a baby and can hold a whole "shitload of poop" (seriously). I really like the way these fit, but I tend to go for the Pampers while they're in these sizes (I just prefer the softness for my new baby's skin)

It's Full of Shit - Sizes: Preemie, Newborn, 1 & 1-2
  • Luvs - too many leaks in the 1-2 size (I haven't been able to find any in a smaller size) and they don't stay closed.
  • Store-Brands - I don't know why store/generic brands are not good for the infant sizes, but they really suck (even the ones I really love in bigger sizes). I really, really dislike the Babies r' Us Premium diapers the most, followed by BJs and Target. I will buy the Kirkland brand if I really am stuck, but prefer Pampers or Huggies at this stage.

Top of the T8RTots - Sizes: 2, 2-3, 3 & 4
  • Huggies Little Snugglers & Little Movers - I love these diapers for these sizes for my kids, they're moving around a little more (learning to roll, sit, crawl, stand & walk) and these diapers "hug" their little tushies and haven't leaked yet (seriously). They are "stiffer" than the other brands and really hold up well.
  • Kirkland Supreme - a close second to the Huggies. I really, really like these for the same reasons I like the Huggies. If I can get to Costco, I buy them. Note: they are much more expensive online (via
  • Pampers Baby Dry - need a great diaper to keep baby dry overnight or on a long trip? If so, here's the diaper for you. They are more expensive than the Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers, but I think they're a better diaper. We use these diapers for our babies overnight and have no leaks, once they hit Size 4, we move to an "overnight" diaper.
  • Luvs - a marginally good, inexpensive diaper. Since most diapers are good and pricey, I'm including this because it's good for the price you pay.
  • Huggies Overnights - these ROCK, I've tried the competition and they can't hold up to these. No leaks, period!
  • Huggies Snug & Dry - we've only used these once, but I do like them. They're not as nice looking as the premium ones, but they don't leak.- we've only used these once, but I do like them. They're not as nice looking as the premium ones, but they don't leak.

It's Full of Shit - Sizes: 2, 2-3, 3 & 4
  • Pampers Swaddlers & Cruisers - I don't know what happens to the effectiveness of Pampers once my kids start to move, but it goes down hill pretty darn fast. I love, love, love the Swaddlers when my babies did not move and yes, I have given the bigger sizes plenty of opportunities and am always disappointed (I really want to love them). It sucks because I would be a loyal customer if these diapers were just better. Once my kiddos are into Size 2+, they have to stop wearing Pampers or I have to buy stock in Spray & Wash.
  • Babies R' Us Premium - If you want to know what a disposable diaper would be like if you made your own, then this is the brand for you. I bought 2 cases of Size 3 for the Big Tots and I have to finish them, but if I could find a good use for them (other than a diaper) I would...they really suck! They don't stay closed, they are not contoured to the body (or soft enough to contour themselves after being worn), they leak like crazy and fall down once they get wet. Even my girls hate them (they ask "why Mommy" when I put them on).  Enough said!
  • BJs Brand / Target Brand Premium - I am convinced these are made by Pampers for BJs and Target (they have to be), as I've had the same issues that I have with Pampers with these two brands. Oh, how I would love to love them (and it would really be cost-effective), but I can't. I definitely do not hate them like I hate BRU brand, but they are not my favorite.
  • Pampers Extra Protection - these are Pampers answer to overnight diapers for Sizes 4+. They really, really sag and have a hard time staying on once they're full, and they leak.


Top of the T8RTots:
  • Kirkland Premium Unscented - hands down, these are my absolute favorite! They come in their own little package that closes easily (no peeling back and forth), they are soft, yet very strong (no shredding) and they do not irritate the Tater Tots little tushies! You can buy these at Costco or online at or (they're more expensive online). I use these primarily for my diaper bag, in the car and in the nurseries.
  • Huggies Natural Care (and most other Huggies brand wipes) - a close second! You have to use one of wipes bins with these, so they're hard to use in the diaper bag (unless you really don't mind carrying a tub around with you). They are super thick and soft. I have to use more of these to clean up a dirty diaper than the Kirkland brand, but I do like them primarily for my downstairs changing station and in the kitchen to wipe up hands/faces.
  • BJs Fragrance Free - these are cheap, medium thickness & a good buy. I hate the packaging (it's a resealable pull back seal vs. an actual top to close), but I buy these if I can't get to Costco (for the diaper bag, car, etc.)

It's Full of Shit:
  • Pampers Baby Fresh &Pampers Natural Aloe - I don't know what they put on these, but it's weird and slimy. These wipes make my Tots tushies a little red and it just feels real weird...not a fan.
  • Target Brand - I love Target brand for everything else except baby diapers and wipes. These are thin (poop leaks through) and a little rough. I have to use a lot to clean a little mess...I think it's worth buying a better, more expensive wipe that you'll use less of.
  • BJs Brand - similar to the Pampers brand (unless they've changed the "recipe" in the past year).

Those are my favorites and not for Diapers & Wipes. I haven't tried every brand, so if there's something you really love, just let me know because I am always on the lookout for something better.  I have to run and change some dirty diapers now!

Monday, August 2, 2010


I've been asked a number of times, how do I get all of my kids to sleep so well? The answer is not so simple, but I do have a method to my madness and would like to share some of my secrets and strategies. Note: I am not an expert, but I am Mom to four young children (two sets of twins), and ALL of them sleep well. My tips are separated by age (babies & toddlers) and I recommend you start early and stick with it, as babies do best when they have a good sleep routine.

Ryan & Morgan Swaddled Up

Here are some general tips and tricks for getting babies to sleep. My younger set of twins are 4 months old, and I follow these guidelines.  One thing to note, I have my babies nap downstairs in a pack n play for some naps and upstairs for others. I also co-sleep my babies (they sleep with each other, not us). I will most likely move them to their own crib when they're 6-months old (did that with the older twins) and start to bother each other during sleep.

Our typical sleep schedules & tips:
  • Months 0-3: Bedtime routine is being established, keep a journal to make note of sleeping patterns (both day and night) for baby, feed on demand. We usually would do a feeding at 7:30pm, put them down to sleep, wake and feed at 10:30pm, put them down to sleep, babies would wake on their own every 3-5 hours (feed and put back to sleep) - wake up for morning at 7am.  Let them nap as needed throughout the day, with at least 3 good naps.
  • Months 4+: Bedtime routine is established and followed. Our nights are similar to this: 7:30pm last feeding for night; put to sleep for night around 8:00pm; babies wake for feeding between 5:00am-7:00am. If they wake up before 6:00am, they get put back to sleep (sometimes they lay in their crib awake, but I do not get them "up" for the day until 7:00 am). Establish nap schedule, we have 1 morning nap, 1 afternoon nap and 1 early evening nap. My older twins had 2 morning naps and 2 afternoon naps - use the first few months to see what your baby's natural sleep pattern is and try to establish your naps around this.
  • NoteMy younger set of twins will not "nap" unless they are actually put down to sleep, so they get swaddled and put down. My older set of twins were perpetual nappers, if it hit naptime and they weren't in their crib/pack n' play, they fell asleep where ever they were. Feel your baby out and figure out what works best for them.
  • Sleep in crib/pack n play only: have your baby sleep in their own room and invest in a good video monitor. You can see and hear them, and they can get used to sleeping alone. You'll get a good night's sleep and so will they.
  • Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle: start early and make it tight! All four of my babies were in the NICU, and one thing I noticed is that all of the babies are swaddled up nice and tight (unless they are unable to do so due to medical reasons). My babies cry, scream, fight the swaddle, but after about 1 minute they are so relaxed! If one of the babies has too much "excitement" or is "overwhelmed" by our world, I just swaddle him/her up (I call it a Tate Taco)! Swaddle your baby to sleep for naps and bedtime - it will help them sleep longer. (Note: stop full swaddling once they can roll over, you can still do a body swaddle with arms free after that or move to a sleep blanket).
  • Go to sleep awake: this sounds weird, but it isn't - put your baby down awake, but drowsy. They will learn to fall asleep in their crib on their own and you will not be stuck rocking to sleep for years to come.
  • Don't feed to sleep: don't have your baby depend on a bottle to put him/her to sleep. Feed them while they are awake and put down drowsy, you will not be stuck having your baby only sleep when they have a bottle.
  • Cry it out: let them cry a little; if they're tired they will fall asleep. I'll help them out by holding their pacifier, gently rubbing their heads/backs and shushing them. Let them cry a little when they wake up (don't rush to get them), let them wake up on their own (think how you feel when you wake up, you need a little time to adjust and crying is the way babies do it). Babies can't express how they feel by talking, only by crying and sometimes they just need a good cry. As a mom to 4 kids under 2 we have lots of crying and I most likely let my kids cry more than the typical parent. Guess what? My kids are fine!
  • Shush, shush, shush: babies love this sound, it calms them (think of what it would sound like in your womb) - I usually have a fan or the a/c on to have this noise on and also circulate air.
  • If your baby is 12 lbs. & over - they can sleep 5+ hours: If they wake up, don't automatically give them the boob or a bottle...try to shush them back to sleep and let them self-comfort with a pacifier, finger or just cry a few minutes. All four of our babies were sleeping 5+ hours by 3-months. It took the older set a little while to really sleep longer than 5 hours, but they were quite a bit smaller than our younger set - size does matter! By 4-months, my younger set were sleeping 8:00pm - 5:00am (or longer).

Tips Specifically for Multiples
  • Do everything at the same time for your babies. It takes some time to get used to this type of multitasking, but it will give you a few extra hours of sleep and is well worth it! I always feed the babies together (whether I have help or not), change their diapers one after the other and always put them down to sleep together. 
  • If you're still having to do a night time feeding, make your husband/partner get up and help you. We have a very good routine - the Big T8 changes their diapers, warms the bottles and brings them to me. If you're breastfeeding, your husband can do this. If you're bottle feeding, he can do this and feed one of them. You are taking care of your babies all day long, you deserve (and need) a little break at night - he'll get through it!

Robin & Emma

Here are some tips to help your toddlers be good nappers and have a good night's sleep. My older set of twins are 21 months old, and I followed the above to get them to here. I really stick to our sleep routines and they girls still take 2 naps/day and sleep 11+ hours at night.  Stick with it and it will work!

Our typical sleep schedules & tips: 
  • Bedtime Routine: We sing a song when it's time to sleep (nap or night) - the girls know this song and automatically go to the gate to go upstairs. I started this when they were babies and always do it, and now it's automatic (a routine). We also do baths every other night after dinner, but before bed. The girls will watch some TV (Sprout's the "Goodnight Show") to relax and will also read some books downstairs. They have a little "pillow pet" and blanky and a bunch of books in their crib...anything they want/need to be comfortable and keep them "entertained" (if need be). My husband typically puts them to bed at night.
  • Bedtime: The Big Tots have the same bedtime every night, 7:00 pm. You're the parent, you set the rules...stick with a time that works for you. If the Big T8 is not home by 7:00 pm, he misses out on bedtime for them. If the girls are not tired, they read in their cribs, cry it out or just relax. If they cry, I let them's bedtime.
  • Naps: The Big Tots take two naps everyday - whether they're tired or not. If we are out and need to skip one, we do, but make it up with a longer nap or earlier bedtime. Morning nap is between 9:30 am & 10:00 am and they stay in their cribs for at least 1-hour (if they sleep longer, that's great). Afternoon nap is between 1:30 pm & 2:00 pm, and again they stay in their cribs for at least 1-hour. Sometimes one of them will refuse to nap and will just stay in the crib awake (they realize now that they're not coming out & I'm not coming up). Sometimes they cry and I let it go (it's hard, but you can do it).
  • Morning:  I do not get them up & out of their cribs until at least 7:00 am. They typically wake up around then, but at times they are up earlier (or later if I'm lucky). They have books to read and can play in their cribs. Even when we have those real early mornings, I just bring them some milk and tell them to lay down and go back to sleep.
  •'s night-night time: I use this line whenever they wake up early or want to come down before their naps are ready. They know what it means and we're consistent about using it. Find a phrase that works for your toddler and use it all the time. My girls now say "night-night time" whenever they're tired and shush each other.
 Tips Specifically for Multiples
  • Together or Apart: once my girls hit 18-months they became really great friends and hate to be apart (they started calling each other "sissy", giving lots of hugs and showing concern for each other). This not liking to be apart rears it's head during bed/nap time. At first I fought it, making them stay in they're own cribs, but then I gave in...watching them try to climb into the other's crib and refusing to sleep got to me. My girls now sleep together about 75% of the time. I always ask if they want to sleep together (typically it's Robin in Emma's crib) and if they both say "yes", then they get to sleep together. This has had an impact on their sleeping, but they're getting through it...Robin would keep Emma awake and then Emma refused to sleep in the same room (she slept in a pack & play in the Babies' room) they allow each other sleep and really enjoy each other's company. Do what you feel comfortable doing - we're going to transition them to beds around 2-years old and will get bunk beds, with them sleeping together on the bottom bunk.
  • When one sleeps & the other doesn't: for some reason this happens a lot in our house. We make them stay in the room and scream and usually the other one will sleep away. Twins have a weird thing that they can't wake each other up, but if I tiptoe into the room, I wake them up. Also, my younger twins will wake up the older ones and not each other (and vice versa)...weird.

  •  Harvey Karp's "The Happiest Baby on the Block" - - this was recommended to me when I was pregnant with my first set of twins and is just great! The "5 S's" will just reiterate what you already know (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging & sucking). I 100% stand by Dr. Karp's methods, as they have helped me have 4 Happy Babies!
  • Woombie - this sleep swaddle is super tight and zips right up. Another mother of twins recommended it to me with my first set and I've used them for all 4 babies.
  • Itzbeen baby timer - let's you keep track of feedings, naps, diaper changes, etc. - highly recommended for those of you with multiples.
End Note: I admit that there are nights that I give in and just scoop one of the older girls up and bring them into bed with us (usually when someone's sick or of the girls' has a nightmare)...if we can't get them back to sleep after a "reasonable" amount of time they get a few hours with me (then I move them back after they're asleep). For the babies, I have a rocker and a bed in their room and spent many hours there while "sleep training" them - it's not easy, but it pays off (and quicker than you'd think)!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Almost 34 Weeks...

I can't believe that this pregnancy is almost over (thank God)! The past 34 weeks have flown by, and now we're just counting down the days until I go into Labor or until 4/16 (the date my c-section is scheduled). Most likely I'll deliver in the next two weeks, since Morgan & Ryan's growth rate has slowed, and I'm slowly losing weight (vs. gaining). Yesterday, they were measured via ultrasound and it looks like Ryan is 4lbs. 4oz. and Morgan is 4lbs. - they're getting close to Emma & Robin's birth weights (4lbs. 5oz. & 4lbs. 7oz). The older sisters are doing great! Both are walking, talking and just growing up so fast! Emma is going through her "mommy only" phase, and Robin is becoming so friendly and really loves all people and animals (especially Pitcha)! Last week we all had the stomach flu (of course on different days), so it's been a slow recovery here (and messy one). Let's keep our fingers crossed, and wish the Tots some more time in my belly!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

30 Weeks & Counting...

It's been a while since I've had a few minutes to update the blog, but I guess that's to be expected when you're home with twin toddlers and baking another set in the "oven". Life is going by so fast and Robin & Emma are growing and developing quickly!
Robin started walking on her own a few weeks ago...everyday she's doing better and going further, but she still prefers to crawl to get somewhere fast. While Emma started "cruising" first and hit all of her other milestones first, she's still somewhat hesitant to take off on her own. She will walk across the room on occasion, it's mostly when we have company to show off (after she sees her sister doing the same). Even though she's not fully walking yet, she's chatting up a storm, using her words, repeating and understanding everything! Robin has a few words she uses, but she mostly just does the baby jibber-jabber.
I'm getting larger and larger...still can't believe that I can have another 2 kids any day now. Robin & Emma were born at 34 weeks/6 days, so I'm expecting that Morgan & Ryan will arrive around the same time. We are still not fully prepared for their arrival...need to bring up the bottles, and waiting for the furniture to arrive. My goal for this weekend is to wash all the Preemie and Newborn clothes and to get the pack and play set up in the nursery (our crib isn't arriving until around their due date). If I can get that done and organized, I'll be happy.
One thing I have done is packed up a toiletry bag. Last time I was caught off guard and Jeremy had to pack up a bag for me...needless to say I had to send sister Jana home to get me what I really needed!
Well, I had been measuring quite large (two visits ago I was measuring 8 weeks ahead of schedule - for a singleton), but last visit I was only 3 weeks ahead of schedule, so my growth has slowed down dramatically. I'm curious to see how big Morgan & Ryan are at the ultrasound on Friday. Robin & Emma came early because they stopped growing, so it will be interesting what the Maternal-Fetal specialist says.
Last pregnancy I carried super-high and had issues with babies under my rib cage and limited breathing. This pregnancy I'm carrying super-low. I swear that I can feel a baby's hand in the birth canal giving me a tickle...I wouldn't be surprised if a hand came out one day (just kidding), but I'm that low. Maybe I can tie something around my belly and then around my neck to hoist my belly up so I can get some relief of pressure. Oh the misery of bringing lots of babies into the world.
Last night Jeremy moved the step stool upstairs so I could get some help getting in/out of bed. It's probably quite a site seeing this incredibly large pregnant woman try to roll over and get out of bed. And of course I'm up every hour for a bathroom break (always fun)!
I'll post more after my appointment Friday evening!