Let me start off by saying I am very blessed. I have two healthy, beautiful, and thriving little girls. They embody all of the goodness that exists in this world. They are truly special and unique little specimens that amaze me with their ability everyday. They won't, however, go on the potty. I write this as the very thought of changing another dirty diaper or soiled pull-up consumes me. Before you ask, yes, I've tried everything. First, it was raisins. It may seem strange, but my little ones love dried fruit and they seldom get to consume it. Plus, honestly, what better a way to reward them for a job well-done than something relatively healthy that feels like a treat? I am well aware that the "authorities" tell you that you're not supposed to use food as a reward. But, I can say with confidence that 99% of the people I've spoken with (including my own mother,) used M&M's as a potty training bribe. With that in mind, I was not about to feel guilty about offering some natural sugar to two, very active toddlers. The biggest problem I anticipated was having one who deserved a reward, and one who didn't. Based on their maturity levels and their proclivity for tantrums, I decided that we would celebrate each success together with rewards for everyone. Despite not being a huge fan of the "everyone gets a trophy" mentality, I really felt there was no other option. In this house, if someone goes potty, everyone is getting raisins.   [AdSense-A]   The raisins would have been the perfect solution if my children at ALL responded to food as a reward. Turns out, they couldn't care less. This is especially strange because my daughters positively worship food. If you spent a day with us, I have no doubt in my mind that, at some point, you would incredulously say, "wow, they're eating AGAIN?" But alas, my tiny foodies quickly decided that they would forgo raisins for all eternity if it meant not spending another second sitting on the potty. Naturally, my next thought was to up the ante. Enter the gluten free cookie aisle. Have you ever seriously looked at this section of the store? All I can say is, I'm impressed. Whatever you crave is available gluten free, dairy free, nightshade free, grain free, and nut free - free of everything, basically. Well, except the mommy guilt I felt when I carefully selected a box of GF ginger snaps that seemed enticing enough to encourage elimination. Plus, 32 cookies per box? At that quantity/cost ratio, I'd buy multiple boxes per week if that guaranteed potty success. In fact, I bought two boxes right away. So, I bribed. And, I bribed again. Turns out, my little mostly paleo, cave-kids love cookies! Who knew? If left alone for a second with the 2 boxes I purchased, I'd bet confidently that both would be rapidly consumed and licked clean of crumbs. So why, I ask, do the cookies DO NOTHING to motivate them to go potty? I asked the pediatrician about why my kids are (seemingly) the exception to the rule. Why wasn't food working? She simply explained that some kids do not respond well to the "reward" mentality. Ok, then. Now what was I supposed to do? I had to try something else. So, we moved on to bigger and better crutches of modern-day bribery. The included my old iPad equipped with unlimited amounts of Daniel Tiger themed potty training vignettes. Despite memorizing the words to every brain-washing lyric + getting a cookie when they coincidentally happened to potty, we were still as unmotivated as ever. In fact, one twin decided she was just going to get a free ticket to the show by just sitting next to the potty with no pants on. Great. I put a smile on my face and tried again. This time portable desks with coloring books. That has got to excite a 2-year old, right? Markers, crayons, the world has never seen so many art supplies! It captured their interest for a day. A day that I spent approximately 55% of sitting on the floor next to two potties while my twins happily made pictures, and seldom relieved themselves. I was desperate. Next onto the store, where I purchased stickers and tag board. Yes, a sticker chart, at last. Turns out, not only are they not super excited about stickers, but they're also not really mature enough to understand earning a sticker and then not getting to have it on their person. Instead, they spend the majority of their time trying to peel the stickers off of the chart. Epic fail. Currently, the most common response to suggesting they go potty is, "I don't like the potty..." As if that's a choice you get to make in life. I wish I could explain to them the joy that is getting to the use the restroom alone once you are an adult who successfully procreated, but I digress.   [AdSense-A]   We wear pull-ups instead of diapers now, although I have no idea why. I do far more changing than rewarding. The gluten-free cookies are going stale next to the bathroom sink, and I've been giving stickers out for no apparent reason. I've tried real underwear, but I fear they are just not ready yet. I finally realized, after all of the interventions that I imposed upon my sweet girls, that they are very stubborn little creatures. In fact, they are just as stubborn as their mommy (and let's be honest: daddy, too.) Their adamant minds and bold personalities have started an anti-potty campaign that is far too well-managed. I'm actually impressed. Plus, we all know two is better than one. My efforts have been outnumbered from the start. So what's the plan? I'm not sure. Lately we've been running to the potty urgently only to find out that "potty" has already happened. We still "don't like" the potty. The truth is, I don't need more time - but they do. I read a statistic somewhere that in the first year with twins you change 4,000+ diapers. After 2+ years of that and approximately 8,000 diapers, I am more than ready for a little change of lifestyle. But they lack maturity, and maturity takes time to develop. I need to dig deep, channel Michelle Duggar, and find my long-lost patience. I have such a "type A" personality that it is difficult to not impose a deadline on a milestone likes this. But this accomplishment is not mine, it's theirs. It is not my job to force them to potty; it's my job to guide them as they navigate through toddlerhood and learn to understand their bodies. Until then, I'll put the cookies in an airtight container, and we'll buy ourselves some more time to learn to potty.

I so wish this wasn't true. But, for every photo taken with their beautifully smiling faces, there are at least 10 moments of tears and tantrums that went uncaptured. I often hear from friends and family - "they're so happy!" "all they do is smile!" People don't believe me that my twins cry - A LOT I've tried to get some candid shots, but I just don't know why anyone would want pictures of my two screaming children in their photostreams. IMG_1481 Since the moment Baby A arrived, she's been LOUD. Baby B had to be gently coaxed by the nurses to take her first breath, though she's not far behind her sister in the decibel department. None of us could believe that two, teeny tiny, 5 pound babies could scream that way! I had visions of sweet, cuddly newborns circling in my head during my pregnancy - only to find that my babies shunned cuddling in favor of crying, sleeping in favor of waking, and contentment in favor of drama. We struggled with feeding issues and fussiness that I'm sure was some type of colic. We even bought them special baby hammocks to help soothe them at night. (They worked magic - for a little while at least!) Thankfully, they've turned into great sleepers at night - it's the daytime crying that takes it's toll. My twins have been incessantly drooling and teething every moment of every day since they were three months old. And no, the amber necklaces did NOT work. Sigh. [caption id="attachment_502" align="aligncenter" width="479"]If only they were always this peaceful! If only they were always this peaceful![/caption]  My twins cry for me. When they're being watched by others, they are perfect angels 99% of the time. When they were cast in a movie, people always remarked about their good-natured dispositions. I could quickly hand them off to their stage-mommy, and they'd smile at her happily until the scene was over. They are the babies that wave to passersby in Target, smile enthusiastically, and say "hi." When they're home with me, they go crazy. In the newborn stage, that just meant lots of crying for them while I tearfully breastfed on the couch and watched Hallmark movie marathons. As toddlers, it's tantrums, jealousy, and misery - often for no reason. They are the kind of kids that "scary cry," and I sometimes have to remind them to breathe! I wrote in to a multiples group on Facebook to see if anyone else experienced this. The verdict? Most moms do. Apparently, it's a thing. One mom suggested that I am their safe haven. I am the person they have come to rely on again and again, therefore, they let loose around me. They are unafraid to show their true feelings to me, both good and bad. They also probably feel that there isn't room enough for two in their "safe haven." This definitely makes sense to me. It's like the kids who are terrible at home, but lovely at school for their teachers, but toddler-style. Their little brains can't handle controlling their emotions all the time. Learning to maintain behavioral restraint is just too complex. Something or someone has got to give - and it's usually got to be mommy. IMG_1636 I don't really have any advice. I consider myself "in the trenches" of the crying mornings and tearful afternoons, with no solution in sight. What does ease my mind, is knowing that this might not last forever, (or maybe we'll take at least take a brief hiatus until the teen years!) I just try my best to please them both within my limits of sanity. I'm learning that these tiny humans are individuals. They are not just a copy & paste of one another. One is more sensitive, while the other is more sassy. One is more clingy, the other is more independent. One steals toys, the other steals food. They've been forced to share everything since day one of conception - I can't expect them to share emotions and needs too. IMG_1011

The beauty of the situation is this: getting to know their true personalities will help me tailor my approach to each child differently as time goes on. It's not going to be easy, but multitasking is the name of the game in Motherhood. Just know, that if your baby or babies are criers,  and you think there is no one else who understands.... you are not alone!

twin mom                                                                    (source) I'm here to talk, if you can manage to hear yourself think over the resounding tantrums.

Not to sound cheesy, but spring is the season of new beginnings, right? There is that sense of renewal when the trees are budding and the birds are chirping. I made a lot of changes in my life this winter - it has not been easy. My whole family is putting a lot of effort into helping me finish school - it has taken a huge leap of faith for everyone involved. I can't help but think how grateful I am for the opportunity to improve myself and work towards new goals. I thought it would be a nice idea to "put pen to paper" and think about what I'd like to accomplish this season. I haven't been posting my workouts the past week or two. They've definitely been happening, but I've been super sick and trying to take it a little easier. I have asthma, so getting sick is a huge barrier to working out hard. I'm hoping this week I'll start to feel better and start posting again! twins Family: 1. Spend a lot of time with family, enjoying the beautiful children we have and cherishing our time together. 2. Plan an awesome overnight date with my husband and a fun, little family trip. 3. Take more videos of my sweet girls learning, playing, and enjoying. Save them 1000 times on 8 different devices, burn them onto DVDs, etc. (I hate this job, but it needs to happen!) IMG_2036 Professional: 1. Successfully complete my first nursing clinical this summer - really nervous about this one! I'm sure I will be fine, but I've worked so hard and waited so long to get here. I just want to make sure I'm giving it my all. 2. Post on the blog 2-3 times per week, increase readership. 3. Stay organized with school - I have a tendency to be more like "organized chaos" - which is not very organized at all. 4. Study for boards as I go, try not to be last minute about it. I took a two year hiatus from school to have my babies, so I really need to be reviewing material A LOT! [caption id="attachment_454" align="aligncenter" width="499"]Study partner! Study partner![/caption] fitness Fitness: 1. String together several strict pull ups. (Right now I can only do one at a time without a band.) 2. Accomplish 65# overhead squat 3. Power clean 115# 4. Work on pistols (I broke my ankle several years ago - ankle mobility is a huge issue for me here!) 5. Do a ring dip! 6. Starting to think about potentially competing in bikini/figure at some point in the next year or two - am I crazy!??? IMG_2787 Nutrition: 1. Focus on less gluten-free cheat meals. I love GF pizza and GF bread, etc... but it's been too much lately. I want to focus more on having that as a truly a "treat." 2. Kick my every night chocolate habit. I love chocolate, and I don't think it's bad for you. I just have a tendency to WAY overdo it. A few times a week would be much better than every day. Personal: 1. Read The Bible daily. I have the app, She Reads Truth, that has a convenient 1 year bible format. I've been trying to commit to reading each night, even if it's only just the new testament passages. It's really a lot better than the print format because it tells you the % completed and that's really motivating! I really need to stop making excuses on this one. 2. Develop more confidence and empower myself to be who I am. This is a tough one, and it's truly hard to apply. But, from things like just writing more and not seeking approval from others before I post, or sharing my real, post-baby body on social media - those are all things that are important to get out there. KBsnatch Your turn: I'd love to read about your goals for the spring/summer, whether it be personal/professional, fitness-related, or not! 

How many times have you heard, "you've got your hands full" in public? IMG_2533 Without fail, every time I leave the house,  strangers come out of the woodwork to make comments. I might be a bit of a spectacle with my obnoxious double stroller and overflowing diaper bag, but I'm not a one-woman freak show. I'm a mom. I'm a mom who had two babies last year. I'm also a mom who is busy running errands. Nice to meet you. IMG_1245 I often wonder if people just think I'm rude. If they look into my eyes and only see icy, cold disinterest. I promise -  I'm actually quite nice! However, accosting me in the middle of my trek for applesauce pouches in Costco is probably not the best way to get to know me, or my children. What are some of the most annoying things that have been said to me? 1. "Are they twins?" 2. "Two boys?" (they are clearly BOTH in the same pink outfit) 3. "Are they natural?" 4. "Are they identical?" 5. "What are their names?" 6. "Did you have a vaginal delivery?" 7. "You must have had a C-section" 8. "Can I take a picture with your babies?" 9. "OH WOW. TAKE A LOOK AT THESE BABIES!!!!" 10. "I have two kids months apart, they were just like twins!" I cannot even fathom what kind of comments triplet parents or parents of higher-level multiples get! Seriously, you guys deserve a huge pat on the back. Some of these questions may seem benign, some may seem outrageous. The truth is, even the more benevolent questions can be just as hard for me to answer. If you don't have multiples - imagine leaving the house only to be asked if they are, indeed, twins at least 10 times that day. It gets old, quick. You would think these things are pretty self-explanatory! I also sometimes do not feel comfortable telling strangers their names, and I have had several people get extremely upset when I was reluctant to do so. When people ask me if they are identical, I say, "I don't know." Friends and family have told me to lie about it and just say yes or no. The truth is - I'm a terrible liar. I truly do not know whether or not my twins are identical. I also have no idea why it matters to you. IMG_1238 Some of the questions are beyond personal. My heart aches for parents of multiples who struggled to conceive. How do they react to questions about their babies being "natural?" How about moms who had a traumatic childbirth situation - why should they discuss this with someone they've never met? This is both disturbing and inappropriate. I recently had a lady ask me about my twins' delivery. When I stumbled on my words and eventually told her I had a vaginal birth, she responded with "good for you." "Good for you?" - really? I don't even know you. Yes, I do think vaginal deliveries with twins are wonderful and beautiful, but I don't need to discuss it in the toothpaste aisle in Target. Even more so, the mom who had a c-section doesn't need your judgment. Usually I'm so dumbfounded by these questions that I don't even have the time or the courage to formulate an adequate response. Most of the time I end up hoping my response deterred this person from saying this to another mom. I wonder about the people who treat us like we're a spectacle - why would they want a selfie with my children? Generally, these people have been from other countries where twins are rare - especially blonde haired/blue-eyed twins. I know that things might be different in other parts of the world, but it's just plain creepy and rude. I've also had people get offended because I responded negatively to their desire to touch my twins. Excuse me, then, perhaps you will not mind if I touch you? ASZWzxwWeXV1n94o_pNqVMmQtvsr There was a man in the store last week who shouted across many aisles to get my attention. When I looked over at him, he pointed to my babies and said - "TWINS!?" I reluctantly nodded yes, then booked it over to the next aisle. I was pretty disturbed by this, honestly wondering if this guy was going to follow us home or something. Maybe he was just a curious stranger, but you can't be too careful. I'll never understand why he needed to get my attention so badly to ask an obvious question. It was just really unnecessary and uncomfortable. Lastly -  let's address the comments people make about their close-in-age children being "like" twins. I'm sorry - it may be "like" twins, but they are NOT twins. Comparing your experience to mine only serves to minimize us both. Having 2 children close in age would be incredibly difficult. I do not envy you; that is a monumental task. I think being pregnant while also caring for a young baby would be such a challenge. Your experience was different - an entirely different kind of "hard." I don't want to diminish our individual struggles, let's celebrate them. This is not some kind of "compare our burdens" club, it's just motherhood. We all have different cards that were dealt to us and we all play them differently. So, what is the best way to address a mom with multiples in public, you ask? Maybe a nice "hello, how are you?" or a "they're so cute." Definitely not "double trouble" or anything like that. Keep in mind that if someone appears standoffish, it's probably the cumulative effect of being asked the same questions day in and day out. I actually love hearing from other twin/multiple parents who tell me about their babies who are all grown up - please keep doing that. If you feel the urge to tell me about your cousin's brother's girlfriend's stepsister who had twins...maybe think again (lol).  But seriously, normal human interaction is your best bet. Who knows, we may even get into a discussion about birth in the toothpaste aisle - once you're no longer a stranger. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!  Have you ever gotten any weird comments/questions in public (twins or not)? How did you respond? Do you think any of these comments are outrageous?