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Life with Twins | Meet Nicole and the Haviland Twins

“Are they twins”, “Double trouble”, “Are they identical”, and my personal favorite “better you than me”. If you’ve guessed by now the answer is, yes I have twins. Women have been birthing twins since the beginning of time, yet every time I wander into Target the kids and I turn into superstars. We’ve heard every comment imaginable, but the above are the most common. What is it about twins that just makes people go nutty? 
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I’m here to share with you the journey we’ve been on over the past year with our twins Vivian and Kipling who just turned one. Life is a crazy adventure with these two, but we couldn’t picture it any other way. 
 

Let me start off by saying life with twins is unexplainable;

The fact that my body created two lives at the same time. At one point I had three hearts inside me, (including my own) and that alone just blows my mind. Twin pregnancy comes with a lot more risks than singleton (what us Twin Mamas refer to Mamas who carry and birth one baby at a time). 

Then after pregnancy comes the high risk of premature birth leading to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit stays.

My twins were born eight weeks early; my daughter spent five weeks in the NICU, and my son spent nine weeks in. Having babies (or a baby) in the NICU is nothing you can ever prepare yourself for. Leaving the hospital without my babies was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life. It was dreadful waking up each day at home to their empty nursery, and then spending all day at the hospital trying to hold your babies while they have all these wires attached to them, and alarms beeping. If it wasn’t for my husband and my own Mama I don’t think I would have ever made it through those long nine weeks. But after the NICU stay is over, you get to take your little bundles of joy home and then the fun really begins.  

In the beginning I think the most important piece of advice we took from other twin parents was to get the kids on the same schedule.

That meant in the middle of the night if Viv woke up to eat, well then we were waking Kip up to eat too. My husband and I worked out a pretty good system where I would do the middle of the night shifts, and he would do the early morning shifts. But to this day the kids still eat at the same time. If you don’t keep twins on the same schedule you are going to kill yourself waking up every other hour. 
 
Eventually we talked to our pediatrician about their night time feedings and she said it was safe to wean them off. So with her approval and support we sleep trained the kids. (They were around six months old). It was an agonizing three day weekend of using the “cry it out” method, but after the third night they slept the whole night. To this day we put them to bed at 7pm and they wake up at 7am. If they wake up in the night they are able to self soothe themselves back to sleep. If they wake up earlier than 7 they usually just play in their cribs and yell to each other across the room. I completely understand that the CIO method is not for everyone, but we felt like it was the best option for us, and it worked. Everyone in the house gets enough sleep, and it allows my husband and I to have some time to spend together every night after the kids go down. 

Find your tribe; 

I think another thing that has really helped our twins thrive is the fact that we have a small army of support around our little family. My parents and my husbands parents have been instrumental in helping with the twins; anything we need they are always right there to help. My brother lives with us and is always lending a helping hand. (And let me tell you when you have two infants in the house, an extra pair of adult hands goes a long way). Our friends have provided us with advice, love, and shoulders to lean on when things didn’t go as planned. Without all the support from everyone in our lives I don’t think we would of made it. 

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Everyday with these two is an adventure because they get to experience life together. They always have a best friend right beside them. When they were a couple weeks old their favorite thing in the world to do was stare at each other and hold hands. Now that they’re getting older they love playing together, and wrestling. 
 
Sure loading two kids into a car by myself just to run to Target is tiring. Being questioned by strangers about personal details of your life, and annoying questions about twins gets old real quick. Packing for trips for two infants is also another pain in the butt. Then there are the times when they are both having meltdowns at the same time, and you have to choose who to comfort first. It’s also tough to try and not compare them developmentally; because although they are twins, they are still individuals. Having twins comes with unique challenges that families with one child, or children of different ages don’t face. But you know what? Having twins also comes with a unique set of rewards and gratification. We have double the kisses, and double the hugs. We have the joy of watching them interact and grow up right along side each other. We have the pleasure of experiencing every little milestone that children hit not once but twice. And most importantly we have learned to love more than we have ever thought was possible. 
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Life with twins is hard, its tough, it tests you, but it also makes you grow, builds you into a stronger person, and lets you open your heart to double the love
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You can follow Nicole and the lovable, stylish, and quickly growing Haviland twins on Instagram at @havilands_wifey.
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We’re honored to have been able to share Nicole’s story and we’re excited for all of the newness that’s to come on Beauty in the East! Be on the lookout for a new look, new bloggers, and most importantly – fresh new content!
We love meeting powerful women and hearing the different journey that comes with everyone’s unique experience through life and motherhood. If you’d like to share your story – email Krystal and Leigha at LYLASvlog@gmail.com to be featured as a guest blogger.
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A Letter To My 18-Year-Old Self

When I was 18 years old, you couldn’t tell me anything! I was grown and I knew everything about pretty much everything. Oh how laughable that is now! When they say hindsight is 20/20, they couldn’t be anymore correct! I don’t know if it’s my ten year High School reunion quickly approaching, or that my 20’s are going to be coming to an end, but I have been doing some serious reflecting lately. Although I wouldn’t say I have any regrets about the last ten years of life, because ultimately they lead me to where I am now, I would definitely tweak a few things if I ever had the chance. Those tweaks are listed below in a letter to my 18-year-old self.

Dear 18-year-old Leigha,

Don’t Be Such a Bitch.

You know the expression, “I thought you were such a bitch before I got to know you”? Yeah well it definitely applied to me, except that a lot of people still thought I was a bitch even after they got to know me. I honestly don’t know why I was so mean at 18. Sometimes I think it was attributed to growing up in a home where anger was an easily expressed emotion, so I behaved the same. But then other times I think it was just because I had a sour attitude and needed to grow up. Regardless, my first advice to little miss sassy brat, is don’t be such a bitch. The things that are making you angry now won’t even matter in a few years. Like, the boy who was sleeping with his ex-girlfriend the whole time he was dating you. He really isn’t worth the anger that causes you to strangle him in-between classes in front of the whole school (guilty). And the girls that you and all your friends swear you HATE, are actually going to turn out to be respectable people that you don’t even have a problem with. So don’t stress everything as much, and don’t be so ugly! You’re going to soon learn that your favorite people in life are the genuinely kind and compassionate ones, not the bitchy ones.

Don’t Date for at Least the Next FIVE Years.

Trust me on this one girlfriend. You will save yourself from some bad heart breaks and SO much wasted time. Now, I know every relationship is a learning experience; learning what you do and don’t want in a partner, learning what you will and will not give to a partner, and ultimately learning the type of relationship you want to strive for. However, I think learning all of those things closer to your mid-twenties is the better route. Instead of spending all that time in relationships that aren’t the right ones, save these years to focus on yourself; to learn about yourself, to grow as an individual, and to dedicate to making life long memories and friends. And let me just give you a sneak preview sister, the boy you spend hours commuting home to see every weekend, the one you miss out on your college football games and beach parties for, he cheats on you at a house party and then tells every lie in the book to cover it up (true story). And then the guy who you try so hard to impress to be what you think he wants from you, you run into him downtown one night where he blankly stares at you while holding hands with another girl (also true story). Just do yourself the favor Leigha, don’t date for the next five years. Your early twenties are your selfish years, so you go be selfish girl!

Study abroad!

Okay, I may have lied when I said I didn’t have any regrets. Looking back on this one, the chance to take college classes in another Country, with your peers, all set up and organized through your school, yeah I DO regret not doing that. Never in your life are you going to have a more perfect time to do this. You have no huge responsibilities, no career, no babies, AND a twenty-year-old drinking ability! (Gawd how much fun that could have allowed you to have). Forget about the hundred excuses you tell yourself on why you can’t go, like how much it costs, or your restaurant job, or who will feed your cats. Just do it! Take out the student loan to pay for the extra tuition. Put in a leave of absence at your job. Bribe your roommate with sweet sediments to keep your cats alive for the semester. Whatever it takes, make it happen. Cause life is only going to get busier, crazier, and more stressful the older you get. You won’t get an opportunity like that again. And if you’re smart and listened to the ‘don’t date anyone’ advice, you won’t have that stupid relationship holding you back either!

Lastly, for the sentimental side of yourself, hug the ones you love a little tighter each time you see them from here on out. You’re not going to have them all forever.

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Having Two Under Two | LYLAS Video

In less than a month we will no longer have two under two! Feels like yesterday I was laying in bed, 9 months pregnant, snuggling my 15 month old, and slightly panicking about what was in store for us as a family of four. The journey wasn’t easy but as the girls grow, and their bond forms, I am constantly reminded of how valuable these past two years have been.

Curious of some of the challenges we faced and what our two under two experience was like? Click on the video below!

 

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Tips for Battling the Baby Blues

So you’ve just had a baby – Congratulations! Everyone is over the moon excited for you and you are too! This life you have created and grown inside of you the last 40 weeks is finally here, and you’re mesmerized. It’s all new and exhilarating and magical… until a couple of days after bringing baby home and suddenly, it’s not.

It seems like all at once the reality of a newborn and outrageous hormones hit you like a freight train. You’re overwhelmed, sleep deprived, scared, stressed, and in most cases, CLUELESS of what is going on; not only with baby, but with you as well. You’re bursting into tears for irrational things, you’re finding yourself growing angry at the smallest of issues, and you’re wondering what the hell you were thinking bringing this baby into the world with such a crazy mother. Well sister, welcome to the Baby Blues.

Let me be the first to tell you, and I want you to really understand this; YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I feel like the baby blues and postpartum depression are some of the BIGGEST kept secrets about becoming a new mom. You very rarely hear a woman talk about how down and dark she felt after having her baby. Is it because society paints this unrealistic picture of what having a newborn should be like? With all the perfectly posed photos and all the advertisements of a mom rocking her peacefully sleeping baby at night? Whatever it is, open discussions about baby blues is such a taboo in our culture; which makes moms who are battling it feel even more alone.

I had absolutely no idea that managing and working through my baby blues would be so incredibly hard with my first baby, Ellie. With Enzo being my second baby however, I was able to handle them much better this time – mainly because I made a conscious effort to recognize and communicate what I was experiencing. So naturally I wanted to share what helped me the most, so that I may be able to help another mother that is struggling like I did.oh baby banner jpg

TIPS FOR BATTLING THE BABY BLUES

Recognition

The first thing that helped so much with my baby blues was admitting that I was experiencing them! With my first baby, I was convinced that I had turned crazy. That there was surely something wrong with me, because who cries over having to wash bottles for the third time today? I had heard how much a baby can change a woman, and I was scared that I was going to be a mess of a person forever. With baby number two however, I would still burst into tears for the smallest of things (like when my toddler refused to give me a hug), except this time I knew it wasn’t me acting psychotic, it was the hormones. Once I accepted the fact that I was going through the baby blues, it made it so much easier to allow myself to be emotional while also knowing that this too will pass.

Communication

The next GREATLY important tip that saved me from crying myself to sleep at night was communication. If I was feeling sad, I would say it. I wasn’t trying to hide my erratic emotions from anyone, and that helped me so much. I am incredibly lucky to have the friends, family, and Fiancé that I have. I texted Krystal at all hours of the night just to articulate and talk through what I was feeling. And after every conversation with her, I felt better. I had family members ask me what I needed help with, and when I shared that meals were becoming overwhelming for me to prepare, serve, and clean up, guess what happened? They brought me dinner. When I cried on my Fiancé’s shoulder one night and told him I was feeling all alone, he came to the baby’s room after putting our toddler to bed to cuddle with me as I fed Enzo to sleep. The moral to all of these instances is that if you communicate with the people around you about what you’re feeling, they will respond with exactly what you need at that moment.

It is Not Happiness All The Time

Lastly, and I don’t think enough women truly understand this one, but having a newborn is one of the hardest things you will ever experience, both physically and mentally. There isn’t much to be excited about when all they do is scream at you when they are hungry. Or wet. Or hot. Or cold. Or tired. Or, …you get the idea. And it is OKAY for you not to be happy about all of this. I felt so guilty about feeling unhappy with my first baby that I would tell myself how terrible of a mother I was. I mean, why didn’t I feel rainbows and butterflies every time I looked at her little face like all the other moms said they felt all over social media. Oh that’s right, because social media is only the highlights of that mother’s day. She isn’t posting a crying rant at 3 am when their baby is refusing to go back to sleep. She isn’t posting a video of her baby hysterically crying any time she gets put in a car seat. And she isn’t posting a picture of herself with hair that hasn’t been washed in days and clothes that have baby fluids all over them. Once I started to IGNORE the lie social media portrays of motherhood, I stopped being so guilty about how I was feeling. It’s not only okay to not be jumping for joy during this time period, it’s actually normal!

So relax, new Mama. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can and rest assure that this time will pass and it will get better. You are a warrior now. You are a mother.

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I truly thank every friend who checked in on me and every family member who took the time to give me a call or bring me a meal. But most importantly I thank my Fiancé, who has not only catered to my every need these last two weeks, but also exemplified what an amazing father he is to our children each and every day.

Happily Ever After isn’t One Size Fits All

I met Nick, my now husband, when I was 18 years old. Since then we’ve built a wonderful life together and I’m grateful for every second of it. Most people dream of meeting their soulmate at a young age, settling down, starting their career, and creating a family. I mean, as a girl who grew up in the 90’s, that was all I’ve ever wanted. In a quick summary, my love story and adult life may seem ‘perfect’ – but to me, I never thought so.
When I was planning my wedding, most of my friends were traveling. I’ve spent many nights awkwardly accompanying my single girlfriends on a girls’ night out feeling like I belonged anywhere but at the dive bar in six inch heels sipping on a rail vodka-soda. I often bite my tongue when other girls talk about their college dating experiences or when someone shares an anti-young marriage article on social media. From my eyes, I’ve always been a sore thumb in my friendship circles.
My point: the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

There is no one size fits all happy ending no matter how many times Disney has tried to tell us there is.

If you want to be single and travel the world – do it. If you want to start your family at a young age – DO IT. I absolutely hate seeing other women shame each other on social media for picking a different path in life.
Even now, as a married 27-year-old with two babies, my list of mom friends is almost as short as the amount of times I’ve washed my hair this week. But, I’M HAPPY.  My career may not be where I’d thought it would be but I’m sure there’s someone out there who’s hoping to find her soulmate.
Life’s a lot better when you create your happiness. Comparison truly is the thief of joy. Choose to embrace diversity, uplift others, and support the different decisions they choose to make.
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