Introducing…The Adventures of Harry and Arabella!

Alright ya’ll, we did it, our first vlog with the twins! Head on over to my YouTube channel and check it out! We hope you enjoy, and if you do, please don’t forget to subscribe there too!

Happy Weekend!

In Defense of Using Technology as a Mom

The other day, I did the seemingly inevitable. I dropped my phone in the toilet. I was rushing, trying to answer an email while simultaneously taking a fast pee break and SPLOOSH. There it went. I immediately turned it off in a panic, burst out of the bathroom frantically and dashed it into a bag of rice (which for the record WORKS, thank God, my dad also wrapped it in paper towel, highly recommend this method). Besides the obvious dread that my phone would never turn back on resulting in me losing precious information and photos, or that it would turn back on but be damaged somehow, was the fact that I had just lost access to emails, Facebook, Instagram, non-iMessage texting and everything related to my blog. My family lovingly reassured me that my phone would probably be fine, but the fact remained that for 24 hours I would be without my technological best friend. I felt naked.
In complete honesty, I still had my iPad, and wasn’t locked out of all my email accounts, but still. I use that phone for everything. I told myself this would be good for me, a 24 hour technology purge. I would probably even sleep better and feel rejuvenated. To my surprise, however, that was not the case. Let me explain.
First of all, a disclaimer. I do not live with my nose in my phone 24/7. I am not that person who is missing precious milestones because I was glued to my Facebook feed when my daughter took her first steps. But there are a few reasons that my phone enriches my life as a mom and I want to share why I am so grateful for the technology we have today.
Let’s start with the fact that I am that person who incessantly records those milestones with my phone camera. All it takes is a quick swipe and tap and I can watch my son saying “hey daddy” for the next three decades. I can even set it down with the camera on and record our moments together. One day when they leave for college I can sit on my couch licking my empty nest wounds and listen to their first words on repeat if I want. And of course there are many times I don’t record except in my physical memory because I chose to be fully in that moment. But I like having the option to do so if I choose. It’s a balance.

I don’t think it can be denied that being a mom can be lonely, the coziest lonely if you will. I have children dripping off me 24/7 and I love it, but the facts are getting out and talking to other moms can be super hard right now. So, while I don’t live off of scrolling through my Facebook mini feed, I am very grateful for the friendships I’ve made via my social accounts. I love sharing mommy moments I have with other moms and relating to each other, even if it’s via our phone screens. We still empathize, connect, encourage and laugh together, even if it’s after 11pm and we do it via the use of a ton of wine and laugh emojis. I’ve made so many incredible and inspiring mommy friends all over the world, many of whom don’t even speak the same language but we can still connect and support each other.
And no, I am fully aware that cyber friendships don’t replace real in person laughing and connecting. But right now for my life that’s hard to make happen. I can click on the photo you posted today and comment and talk when I maybe couldn’t get together in person. I may not be able to hug you in person, but I can say I’m sorry you had a hard day and let you know I care.
Along those lines is the distraction my phone provides, sometimes in the middle of the night when my babies are nursing nonstop, I can’t sleep, and so I read or look at soothing pictures of the water. I’ve been nursing my babies a long time now, almost 15 months. I love it, and I cannot count the hours I’ve spent staring in their eyes while they did. But sometimes, when they’ve been nursing literally constantly, it’s hard. I feel like my nipples have been sucked clean off and all I want is to run away from all that touches me. And sometimes I get through those moments by catching up with mommy friends on Instagram, or retweeting some yummy recipes. (Did anybody see those mommy shaming articles that were circulating a while back about ‘brexting’? Yeah, shut those down). I distract myself, I get through it, and then I hold their hands and enjoy it again. Breastfeeding is beautiful, but it’s also a lot of hard work. (I talked about that in my last Monday morning coffee rant, click here if you haven’t watched it yet, and please excuse the background noise in that one).

And of course there are many ways to distract yourself, and reading is one of my favorite ways, but sometimes I can’t grab a book and I usually do have my phone, which also means I can read if I choose to that way. And yes, I’m a huge advocate for real life paper crack the delicious binding books but we are talking mom survival mode here. We do what we gotta do.
And of course, as in everything, balance is important. I don’t think it’s healthy to constantly be staring at a screen, for physical or emotional reasons! But I for one am very grateful for the opportunities we have with modern day technology and how much it enriches my life as a parent. What are your thoughts mamas?

Let’s Talk About the Less Than Glamorous Parts of Breastfeeding

Why I Don’t Do New Year Resolutions

Every year around this time I fight off a stab of guilt as I see everyone posting about their New Year resolutions. So many are blazing off to accomplish great things and achieve their goals. And it never fails I question my choice to not set a list of New Years goals, but in the end I stick to my resolve. For me, life goals are about the day to day process. Every morning I wake up and I really try my best. Sometimes that best involves wearing week old leggings, dirty hair, and four cups of coffee but that’s ok. It was still the best I had that day. Personally, I don’t work well with a super set list of new changes just because the calendar turned. For some people that isn’t the case, and if you’re a New Years goal setter, that’s awesome. You do you mama. And I’m not saying I never make a list of goals, or do crunch time and really work to change things.

But there is one thing I know I don’t need more of in life, and that is guilt and pressure. Ok thats two things. For example, today was hard. SO. HARD. It’s late afternoon and I still haven’t brushed my teeth. My hair is a sad and dirty mom bun, (but hey at least my sweats are only two days old). We’ve had fevers, teething, and seemingly endless screaming babies. I did scrub my pits in the shower while holding my son because well, we had a diaper incident, (thanks prune juice, but seriously it NEEDED to happen) and while I’m not overly fond of smelling poorly I really try to avoid smelling like actual FECES. Also, I am currently working on my second pb&j of the day as the first one face planted tragically onto the floor. (Five second rule doesn’t work when the floor is carpet and the item is smeared in jam). And, it’s still a little early for a glass of wine (though I was sorely tempted half an hour ago…).

Anyway, my point in all this rambling is, had I set some new hard and fast goals for this year I’d already be failing them. And at least for me, nothing is as discouraging as failing right out of the starting gate. And while that’s going to happen sometimes, I personally prefer not to set myself up for that scenario if I can avoid it. I mean, I have an ongoing goal of working out more/at all, and I will continue working towards that goal but at least I don’t have to face that I flunked my New Years resolutions before the first month was even over. Now I can just slide today into the big basket of ‘did my best and try again tomorrows’. Which, for me personally, is far less traumatizing.

And of course I have goals and resolutions, I have things I want to change, things I want to do better, or do at all. But they’re on my constantly working to evolve list, my ongoing life quest, my life resolutions. And even those evolve and change. But for me, it’s more doable to look at my resolutions without the fear of immediate failure due to the change of a year. And like I said, what’s important is finding what works for you and feeling confident in that choice, whatever it might be.

Let’s Talk about Being Tired as a Mom

We Went on a Date

The other day, my hubby and I went on our first solo date sans kids since their birth. I know that might seem extreme to some as our babies are about to turn fourteen months old, but the facts are that with their being breastfed bottle rejectors leaving them anywhere without me just wouldn’t have gone very well. We have mutually chosen to practice attachment parenting, and both understand the additional sacrifices (and joys!) that choice brings. We’ve been on family dates which we have greatly enjoyed, and are innovative with how we achieve special time together. But, I decided the other day that they would be ok for a brief time and surprised my husband by taking him for a coffee, just the two of us. It was quick, we were gone less than an hour. It took some prep, babies had to be fed right before we left and I snuck out the door while my patient and wonderful parents danced and sung to distract them so they would not notice my departure. And, I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry about them at all (yes even for that hour!) and my husband and I sat feeling slightly awkward in the quiet without our kids.

But, there’s been a lot of stress and change in our lives and as I’ve mentioned before, I think its extremely important to continuously put work into the marriage relationship. Not only because if we don’t put the work in one day these sweet little birds will fly the nest and there we’ll be, trying to get to know each other again because we feel like strangers (if we even made it at all) but because I want my children to have healthy spousal relationships one day and guess who they’ll learn from? Us. We are the example they see. Last week I wrote about setting an example of self respect and care, and this goes right along with it. I want my daughter and son to learn to both treat their future spouses with reverence and to expect that reverence back. And, marriage and parenting are WORK. It doesn’t matter how in love you are or how incredible your relationship is, if you don’t tend to it, it’s not going to last. And I want my kids to know that. I want them to know it’s ok to buckle down and work it out when the going gets tough. That we won’t like each other every moment of every day, but at the end of the day we still love each other. That while not every moment is butterflies and rainbows, it’s important to make those moments happen too. My parents have been married 45 years. And I’ve been privileged to watch their relationship since my own birth. Nope, they haven’t gotten along every second. But they never quit working to make it through. They still haven’t. That is the example I want to set for my children. Unless there is some extenuating circumstance in which the relationship is emotionally or physically dangerous, it’s worth the work. And work it will be. But work that is absolutely worth doing.

So, my husband and I went on a date. I did my hair, put on the outfit I wore for our first ever date (or at least the skirt part of it), slapped some mascara on and off we went. I even blindfolded him for the three minute drive. Yes, it took longer to get ready than our actual date. But that’s ok. The coffee shop tables were all full, so we tried to sit outside. That was cold, so we had our date in the stale smelling car (but of course not until I had documented the event with a pic). And yes, it would have been a heck of a lot easier to sit at home. But we did it. We made the effort. And we will make the effort again, and again. Because it may sound cliche but it’s true. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Interview with Monique Soltani from Wine Oh TV

As you all know, I love to feature strong and inspiring women here on The Mama Playbook, and thus I am VERY excited today as I get the privilege to feature and introduce to you one of my very favorite mama role models, mama crush, and truly inspiring beautiful super mama of identical twin girls, Monique Soltani. Monique and I became friends on Instagram and I quickly was addicted to her fantastic show, Wine Oh TV. If you haven’t watched it, you’re missing out! (Check out the preview at the bottom of this interview!) Monique and I both share a passionate love for wine and twins, (I’m sure you’re all surprised at that), and I was so touched that despite her insane schedule she ALWAYS took time to respond to me.

I am also passionate about setting an example for my children of following our hearts life desires, and Monique is an incredible example of that. Despite having identical twin girls, she has continued blazing trails and making her dreams a reality all while being a devoted, loving mama to her beautiful girls (who happen to be almost exactly three months older than my little ones!). So, without further ado, allow me to introduce to you my own life loves twin from another mother, Monique Soltani of Wine Oh TV, find her at wineoh.tvmoniquesoltani.com and make sure to connect with her on social media, (click links directly below!)

 

 

 

Facebook: @wineohtv

Instagram @wineohtv

Twitter: @wineohtv  @moniquesoltani

Youtube @wineohtv  @moniquesoltani

 

 

Q: Will you share what inspired you to start Wine Oh TV?

 I first came up with the idea for Wine Oh TV when I was in Los Angeles and studying for my level one Court of Master Sommelier exam. Then a few months later I got a job to co host and produce a new television talk show at the NBC affiliate in Fresno. It was there that I started a weekly “Wine Oh” segment. I liked the play on words like. Wine Oh (I drink too much) or Wine Oh? (I didn’t know that). The goal has always been to educate, entertain and possibly even enlighten;). A few years later I got an offer to come to San Francisco to work at the CBS affiliate. I really missed covering wine so I pitched a few different media outlets on my Wine Oh idea and they picked it up. In 2012, I formed Thinque Media and started producing Wine Oh TV through my own company and the rest as they say is history! 🙂 

 

Q: What’s one of your favorite destinations you’ve done so far? You ask the hard hitting questions my dear! I pretty much fall in love with every place I visit so it’s really hard to pick one place but I will. 🙂  My most recent trip was to Sicily so it’s still fresh in my mind and in my heart. I fell in love with the people, the place and of course the wine. Their wines are exceptional, the food is out of this world and the people are just as warm on the inside as the island is on the outside
Q: Do you have a favorite wine? Or several?  Picking my favorite wine would be like picking my favorite twin. 🙂 I know you can relate to that:) I like so many wines for so many different reasons I can’t pick just one. 😉 However, I do like a wine with a great story behind it. I seem to find myself drinking wines from producers I have interviewed. After hearing their story it’s hard not to fall in love with their wine.
Q: I love you’re vegetarian (and from your pics a seriously awesome cook!) May I ask what inspired that choice? I became a vegetarian when my much older boyfriend (who was a vegan) told me I had no reverence for life. I immediately became a vegetarian to prove him wrong. I broke up with him six months later and have been a vegetarian ever since. (That’s 26 years to be exact) Ha! When it comes to cooking I’m a bit of a creature of habit (much to my husband’s dismay). I make dinner every weeknight so like to cook things that are fast and easy. I’m also learning to follow the rules of a wise woman. “No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize,” that’s one of Julia Child’s kitchen rules.

 

 

Q: I just think you’re incredible! You’re a twin mama, your twins are almost exactly three months older than mine so I know your house is BUSY. Your bio reads like Superwoman (linked) you have Wine Oh TV, The Good Life, Thinque Media, you’re gorgeous and fit: it would be impressive without twins! And you have BABY TWINS! And you’re an amazing mama, I know from following you on Facebook and Instagram. I have twins, it’s HARD! I’m in sweatpants more than I should admit! I mean HOW in the world do you do it all?!

Oh seriously, I’m in sweatpants right now and I haven’t washed my hair in 3 days. This is not a joke. I should send you a selfie. Here’s my secret. H-E-L-P. Ask for it, take it, scream for it, beg for it, plead for it, do whatever you need to do to get it and TAKE IT!

Q: I’m such a believer in setting an example for our kiddos in pursuing our dreams and being the best version of ourselves we can be, and you are such a stellar vision of this. What’s been one of the hardest parts of this journey? Was there something specific that kept you going at that time? 
I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. On a daily basis I’m calling the microwave the dishwasher and the stove the dryer. Honestly, as you know it’s so hard. The absolute hardest part is leaving my family. I left for a trip for the first time when the girls were 10 months old. I went to Sardinia for work. It was the hardest moment of my life. But my husband said. “You need to go, you love your work and it’s good for you and that’s good for them.” He really is right but it’s so hard. The other thing I struggle with is managing time and guilt. Time isn’t what it used to be. As you know. With twins your motto has to be “ain’t nobody got time for that” 24/7. Thank you notes: “Ain’t nobody got time for that” Perfectly dressed children “ain’t nobody got time for that” Ironing: “ain’t nobody got time for that” Whining” “ain’t nobody got time for that” Wine-ing on the other hand that’s a different story.
Haha! All kidding aside, I always feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to do what needs to get done and I always feel guilty for everything. Guilty if I go to work and guilty if I stay home. The struggle is real. Ha! I don’t think I’m alone I really think the guilt gene kicks in the second the sperm hits the egg. What keeps me going is what has always kept me going pre and post becoming a Twin Baby Mama. The goal of my personal and professional life has always been to make a positive impact on society. I want to do that with the two humans I’m raising and I want to do that with the content I am creating. I really feel in my heart if my girls turn out to be decent, loving, compassionate, giving, human beings then I will have succeeded.
Q: I loved your interview on Skinnymom.com. (click here to read) I can completely relate to being surprised at how ok I was with my body being different post twins before it went back but also being amazed at what it’s capable of. I mean, growing humans is no joke, and growing two humans at once is just, crazy!!! The first time I left the house after I gave birth I remember a cashier asking if I had delivered the babies yet and asking in shock why I still had such a pouch going on. But eventually it went back, the pouch left. You’ve seriously inspired me to up my health game, I really struggle to find motivation to workout but I mean look at you! I want to look like that! And you did it in six months post birth! Did you have a period of time that you struggled to find motivation to waorkout after birth? 
First of all, you look AMAZING! Second of all, why thank you! 🙂 Honestly, I think I struggle more now than I did right after the girls were born. Ha! I actually had complications that made it so I had to have a c-section and the recovery took way longer than expected. I wasn’t cleared to work out for 8 weeks. There was a period of 4 weeks where I couldn’t even leave the house because I couldn’t drive and we lived on such a steep hill that I couldn’t even walk. So, I had such a long period of wanting to work out where I couldn’t so I think that’s what motivated me so quickly. Once I was finally cleared by my doctor I was thrilled. I started slowly and worked back into my routine. I also saw a physical therapist to help me with my abs. I’m still not where I was but I am happy with where I am.
Monique, thank you so much for sharing part of your life with us it’s such an honor! I know we are all excited to continue to watch and be inspired by your journey!

Occupation: Thinque Media/Founder. Wine Oh TV/Executive Producer & Host

Description: Thinque Media, produces original content in the non-fiction category; specializing in lifestyle, travel and inspirational programming. Current Productions: The Good Life (2015-present) and Wine Oh TV (2012-present). Wine Oh TV has received numerous accolades including: 2016 and 2015 The Taste Awards Finalist for Best Drink or Beverage Program: Web, Best Single Topic Series, and Best City or Regional Program, 2014 Wine Spectator Awards Honorable Mention, 2012 Wine Blog Awards Winner-Best Original Video, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Wine Blog Awards Finalist-Best Original Video.

 

Let’s Talk Drinking and Breastfeeding

 

**GIVEAWAY CLOSED**Nebo Skincare Products New Years Giveaway!!!

fullsizerender**GIVEAWAY CLOSED** Congratulations to Gretchen!!!!! 🙂

As you all know, I am very passionate about both supporting small businesses and caring for the planet. I was so excited when I received an email from Nebo, a wonderful duo of beekeepers who make their own clean and amazing skincare products. They generously offered to sponsor a giveaway and I am SO excited to share these gorgeous products with you! I am obsessed and will definitely be ordering from them in the future! Not only are these products incredibly beautiful, smell amazing and are of an impeccable quality, the family is making a huge difference by lovingly caring for their bees. As you know, bees need all the help they can get these days. And without bees, this planet cannot exist.

Nebo is a family owned operation, and they live, work and play in the beautiful rolling fields and quiet northern woods of the Connecticut River valley in New Hampshire. (SWOON!) Over years of beekeeping, they accumulated a wonderful collection of beeswax and began to transform it into their simple, all natural, small batch lip balms, soaps and lotions. Other ingredients come from the family’s own garden and neighboring farms.

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Nebo generously sponsored a giveaway for an entire Box Set! (See box details below).

 

 

 

To enter the giveaway, simply:

  1. Follow Nebo on Twitter or like them on Facebook
  2. Subscribe to this blog (links for Nebo directly below, enter email at top of this page to subscribe to this blog). (Having technical trouble subscribing? My bad…I’m working on it. Just send me an email in the contact form below and state GIVEAWAY)

Winner will be selected via email so make sure to both follow or like Nebo and subscribe! (Tap links below to follow or like and enter email at the top of this page to subscribe to this blog).

Nebo Twitter

Nebo Facebook

Now, let’s talk about us what this awesome boxed set includes! (Description from Nebo.storenvy.com)

“Surprise your special someone (or yourself!) with this little box full of big goodness. Soaps, lotion, and lip balm bursting with natural ingredients, like beeswax from our honeybees, pure essential oils, and clay from our brook, will take care of the body and mind, and be easy on your wallet too!” -http://nebo.storenvy.com/

Comes in a kraft box with happy green tissue paper.

Includes:
1 Lemongrass, Rosemary Goat’s Milk Soap Bar
1 Lavender, Tea Tree Whey & Clay Soap Bar
1 Herbal Lotion in WinterNights
1 Peppermint, Rosemary Bee•U Lip Balm

 

fullsizerender-41 Lemongrass, Rosemary Goat’s Milk Soap Bar
1 Lavender, Tea Tree Whey & Clay Soap Bar

 

 

 

 

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1 Herbal Lotion in WinterNights

 

 

 

 

fullsizerender-21 Peppermint, Rosemary Bee•U Lip Balm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winner will be announced next Wednesday, January 4th, 2016! Winner will be notified via email and tagged on applicable social media accounts.

(sorry, US applicants only at this time!) Per Instagram, Twitter and Facebook rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Twitter or Facebook Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram, Twitter and Facebook of responsibility, and agree to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook’s term of use.