Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Cards by Minted

I like to think of myself as someone who is pretty on top of things and generally ahead of the game. Lately? Oh, lord. I've been playing catch up, and I'm still not there yet. The past few months have been a bit overwhelming.

I love holiday cards! I love sending them! I love the excuse to have family photos taken! And yet somehow we were well into November and I had nothing in order. My usual goal is to send our Christmas cards out the Friday after Thanksgiving. Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.

I hoped that sometime between September and November a beautiful and perfect family photo would be captured. Maybe that day we all went apple picking? That time we were all dressed for a friend's birthday party? Yeah, never happened. So, I finally did what any organized and prepared person does: hunt down a local photographer on facebook, browse her work a bit, and beg her to squeeze us in for a family shoot just before Thanksgiving. Then, run around to find coordinated but not-too-matchy outfits and pray we get JUST ONE PHOTO of everyone looking decent-ish. I'm realistic. A 3 year old and 9 month old twins is pretty much a recipe for family photo disaster. But guess what?


A mom's photography dream! Phew. So that left one thing -- cards.

Minted has always been one of my absolute favorite paper product sites. Their card designs never disappoint, and their quality is just fantastic. There are two AWESOME features that are wonderfully time saving and just plain smart.

1. Photo Preview. Upload your photo and see it on a variety of different cards in one glance. I love this because you can quickly see what works with your photo.



2. Address Printing. I don't even know where to start with my love for this feature. Addressing holiday cards has always been a highlight and the unraveling of my Christmas spirit. We had most of our addresses on an excel file from our wedding invites. But for whatever reason they were all out of order and perpetually outdated. Back when I had extra time on my hands I LOVED hand addressing cards and having fun with them: embossing, stamps, washi tape. The whole shebang. As much as I still love hand addressing, I just don't have the patience or energy for it anymore. Smudged stamps, stuck together cards, human error...no patience. SO - free addressing on Minted cards? OMG AMAZING. I spent a few evening curled up with our spreadsheet making sure it was perfectly up to date and organized. It was completely worth the effort as we can use it year after year.

The final product? Here you go!



And, since a few address updates didn't make it in time for my order, I got to hand address a few. Just the right balance. Minted did 97% of the work, and I did the remaining 3%. A perfect balance for the mom of a toddler and twins.


How did your holiday cards come out this year?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Wish List for a 3 Year Old Boy



1. Plasma Car: My very coordinated and intuitive kid doesn't seem to grasp pedaling. Bikes are a major frustration around here. Have you seen plasma cars? Super cool and they are controlled with the handle up top. I think this may temporarily solve our anti-pedal problem. Something tells me I'll be buying more of these once the twins can figure it out too.

2. Rainbow Wheel Magnetic Toy: There a few things my kid loves. 1. "All the colors". 2. Magnets. 3. Puzzles. 4. Tiny pieces that require a lot of attention/easily get lost.

3. Bruder Toys Garbage Truck: I am SO EXCITED I snagged this at Home Goods for $34 months ago. Bruder Trucks are fantastic, albeit a little pricey, and a favorite around here.

4. CP Toys Space Mission Rocket Ship: Little Fix-It is a huge fan of things with levels and compartments. He'll spend gobs of time arranging and rearranging all the characters on a space mission.

5. Hanna Andersson PJs: These are a before-Christmas gift that most definitely get worn on Christmas Eve! HA PJs are simply the best quality and make for perfect hand-me-downs. With 3 boys, I have no qualms investing in warm, quality, sleepwear!

6. 2015 Hess Truck: Hess Trucks are one of those things I had no idea existed until I had boys. But guess what? They are really cool! They are super well-made and innovative. Each year Hess releases a new truck. We only have one, circa 1998 that I found on eBay, but I have a feeling my boys will want to collect these over the years.

7. MagnaTiles: We actually already own these. I'm toying with buying an additional set so Little Fix-It can take his creations to the next level. These are absolutely one of the best toys on the market. Open-ended, creative, and timeless fun!

8. Green Toys Ferry Boat: Somehow Little Fix-It stumbled across this toy on my Amazon app. He went nuts and insisted it be "AT THE TOP" of his wish list. So random, but I'll go for it. I think he loves that it has cars that go on a boat. I mean, what's more amazing than that? Cars! On a boat!

Christmas Wish List for 6-12 Month Old Twins


At Christmas the twins will be 11 months old. I'm so excited for their first Christmas! Little Fix-It was just 2 months on his first Christmas and was working his title as the King of Colic that day. It was a doozy. I think this year will be a lot of fun for our whole family.

When I'm Christmas shopping I always get stuck in a rut of looking for things that are similar to what my kids already love. But then that seems really redundant. I'm branching out a little with this list hoping to add some new toys to our rotation!

1. Tree Top Adventure: This activity table is PERFECT for the twins. They are right at the age where they're pulling up and prefer to play standing up if possible. I know this will absolutely be the highlight of Christmas for them.

2. VTech Light-Up Baby Touch Tablet: Does it light up? Does it make noise? Yes, my children will love it.

3. Fisher-Price Smart Stages Toolbox: See #2. 

4. Melissa and Doug Pounding Bench Activity Center: The boys saw this at a friend's house and thought it was just about the best thing ever. I'm sure they will be thrilled to have their own.

5. Zutano Booties: We have had these in every size for the twins since they were born. They are THE BEST! So cozy and never fall off. Somehow they fit in the 12mos size for a hot second, so for Christmas we'll size them up!

6. Melissa and Doug Magnetic Farm Hide and Seek: My kids love opening and closing things. Seriously. Doors, cabinets, toys, all of it. This puzzle will keep them really busy.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Currently Loving

Where did I leave off? Oh, 2013. Well, no denying it's been a while around here.


1. Faux Fur Trim Down & Feather Fill Parka: I could write a whole separate post on this, but I'll give you the TLDR: I'm increasingly self-conscious about my age. Not that I think I'm getting old. Just the opposite actually. I'm acutely aware that people think I'm very young. I can't tell you how may times I get asked if I'm the nanny. While flattering, I am making an effort to dress a little more mature. Part of this is parting ways with my go-to North Face and Patagonia pieces. While I still love my old favorites, I think this quilted parka reads just a tiny bit more age appropriate.

2. Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus: I cannot get enough of this stuff! While I'm sure it's not a stellar health food, it totally satisfies my would-be Starbucks iced coffee cravings. Y.U.M.

3. IKEA Ribba Frame: At $14.99 these IKEA frames can't be beat. I bought 4 years ago and still love them so much. They're a great oversized square and look so crisp and modern. I'm planning on adding 5 more to the collection to make a huge gallery wall in our to-be-renovated dining room. My aim is to create something like this:

 
 
4. GLAMGLOW Flashmud Brightening Treatment: OMG PUT THIS ON YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST NOW! It's my new obsession. Obsessed! It's a little spendy at $69, but let me tell you my skin looks amazing. I love, love, love it. If you're not convinced, the awesome people at Sephora just might give you a sample.
 
5. Facebook Groups: Specifically, Kid's Clothing Resale groups. I've met some great moms, and I've sold sizes my boys have outgrown and fully funded the next season of clothing. It's fantastic.
 
6. Mr. Pumice: Man, the bottom of my feet get ROUGH. On days when I remember to scrub down the bottoms of my feet with this thing I'm extra happy. It's less than $5 on amazon. Steal!
 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Children Are Not A Burden

I have joked that I can't leave the house with my kids if I'm not in a really good mood. Everyone stops us. EVERYONE. I get it - it's hard to pass up commenting on twins and a toddler. And my kids are generally quite happy. They're practically asking for people to stop and chat.

The one thing people say over and over is how hard it must be. How I have my hands full. How much work raising three kids is. And while, yes, these things can be true, I refuse to imply in front of my children that they are a burden. I always kindly respond that "my kids are absolutely wonderful" and that "I'm so lucky". Somehow no one is satisfied by this answer. Of course there are some days when I want to pull my hair out. But, really, I do appreciate that I have pretty great kids.


I just hate the idea of being so negative about our kids. Especially while their impressionable ears are listening. What's the lesson in that? What's the message we convey?


At the end of the day, my kids are not a burden. They are a challenge. They keep me busy. They are silly, and fun, and manage to get 62% of every meal on the floor. They are so amazing. Ridiculously cute. And I really mean it when I say I'm the lucky one.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

For the Love of Sleep (and a PUREgrace Premium Crib Mattress Protector)

I'm pretty sure sleep is the magical unicorn that all parents chase. We definitely take sleep pretty seriously around here. I've joked that Amazon's purchase history between the hours of midnight and 5am are primarily by desperate moms hoping a sound machine, just the right swaddle, or a new swing will be the cure-all. I, for one, have most definitely not shopped half awake out of desperation. Definitely not.


It seems like there are two key elements to getting through the night:
+ the actual sleep itself
+ staying clean and dry



I am a firm believer in a few key sleep elements:
     1. A dark room. You NEED blackout shades.
     2. White noise.
     3. A consistent bedtime routine.
     4. A cozy sleep environment.

In my book, a cozy sleep environment means: a quality mattress, soft linens, cuddly pajamas, a comfort object (lovey/blanket) and a durable crib.
 
++++

Staying clean and dry has been the real challenge. Here's why:

CRIB 1: The King of the Diaper Leak
 

CRIB 2: The Puke Master


So, when I was given the opportunity to try and then review a PUREgrace Premium Crib Mattress Protector I jumped at the chance to add another element of comfort and protection to the twins' beds. With all the mess around here, mattress protection is a no-brainer.


 
The PUREgrace mattress protectors is how amazingly silky soft and high quality they feel. It's almost a shame to put sheets over them! According to the PUREgrace people: it's made of a product called Tencel that's a botanic and pure fiber derived from Euclyptus trees, found in nature, grown free from pesticides and herbicides, and harvested through an eco-friendly manufacturing process. Who wouldn't want their sweet little ones sleeping on that?
 


The other thing that's really fantastic is the security with which they attach to the mattress. The mattress protectors are very deep and have a series of elastics that keep them extremely secure. I appreciate not losing any sleep worrying about anything coming loose.

The PUREgrace mattress protector is a luxurious and high quality product. Honestly, it's not something I had thought to purchase, but I absolutely love having these! What are your sleep essentials?

{Check out PUREgrace's website. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.}
 
PUREgrace Premium Crib Mattress Protector was sent to us
via the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts Program!
 

Monday, August 3, 2015

I'm Not A Hero


Raising 3 kids under 3 isn't a small thing. I've learned that over and over in the past 6 months. But I'm not a hero.

When I leave the house with the kids, I get flooded with comments, stares, and praise. A big double stroller with a toddler riding in tow is certainly hard to miss.

"Go mama! I don't know how you do it!"
"Better you than me. I'm overwhelmed just looking at you!"
"I can't believe you get out!"
"You are my hero, mama!"

I appreciate the compliments. I'm proud that I feel capable of taking our kids out. And yet, sometimes I feel something else. I'm not sure of the word. It's not exactly embarrassed. Maybe undeserving?  I mean, the reality is this: This life is exactly what I signed up for. Literally. I physically signed a paper to transfer to strong, beautiful embryos to my body with a 18 month old baby at home. None of this was a surprise. I dreamed of it. I cried for it. I wished with all my being that I would have the opportunity to raise a family.


It's a lot of work, and planning, and coordination. Getting out of the house often feels like a 3-ring circus. Bottles, diapers, extra outfits, snacks, toys...it's an entirely different level of effort than tossing a baby in the stroller and heading out for a few errands. But like I said, I signed up for it. And I love it.

Today I'm not showered. I am wearing clothes I grabbed off the floor because I got barfed on this morning. I honestly couldn't tell you what I've eaten today besides animal crackers and coffee. I'm definitely not a hero. But I love these kids like crazy. Most days I do my best. Many days I fall short. And that's that.



 

Monday, July 6, 2015

So, it's been a while...

Just a few things have happened in the past few months:

1. We moved.



2. We renovated the heck out of our house.



3.  We welcomed these sweet boys to our family.


How's that for an excuse for letting blogging fall by the wayside? Also, follow @thefixits on instagram for regular updates and life snippets.