Turning Thirty

Yesterday I celebrated my 30th birthday, and in the past year leading up to it, I was really excited to turn 30… in the past week I got a little more apprehensive. I don’t know why, but I was a little sad and nervous to turn the big 3-0. It made me want to start turning my frown upside-down and start focusing on all that I accomplished in my first thirty years:

  • went to 3 different preschools, 1 elementary school, 2 middle schools, 1 high school, 2 colleges, and 1 grad school
  • got an agent in New York City in elementary school
  • went on two Broadways auditions
  • met a TON of celebrities (and some semi-celebrities)
  • saw a handful of concerts
  • appeared in 70 plays, musicals, reviews, and other productions (not including recitals and talent shows)
  • went on over 10 cruises
  • traveled to England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany
  • graduated from high school in the top 10% of my class
  • graduated from college summa cum laude
  • received my master’s degree with a 4.0 a semester earlier than expected
  • taught for 5 years at a dream elementary school
  • named New Teacher of the Year at my school in my first year
  • won awards from my school district in multiple years for STEM lessons
  • married the love of my life (and high school sweetheart)
  • became a mommy to my twins
  • left my teaching job to be a stay at home mommy
  • mothered my fur babies Lucy and Toby
  • bought a house
  • owned 2 cars
  • planned fun parties
  • designed wonderful rooms
  • blogged for BrideSaver (my first blog), this blog, Supper Clubbing, my classroom blog, How Do You Do It?, and The Wise Baby
  • opened an Etsy business
  • rebranded the Etsy business
  • sold Thirty-One (bags and totes)
  • sold Rendi (personalized signs)
  • became a Young Living Distributor
  • started a business involving YL and essential oils (Healthier Oil the Thyme)
  • have amazing friends and family
  • look on the positive side (as much as possible)

 

Yes, I would say my first 30 years have been great. Here’s to an even better next 30 (and hopefully many many more than that)!

 

Did I Have Preemies? (World Prematurity Day)

World Prematurity Day 2014

Yesterday was World Prematurity Day. This time last year, I wondered whether our babies would be in the NICU or not when they were born. I was just turning 36 weeks pregnant, and Audrey and David would be born a few days later on November 22 at 36 weeks 5 days. Technically, they are considered premature, since they were before the 38-40 week gestational mark. Audrey was 6 pounds 3 ounces, and David was a small 5 pounds 1 ounce. Yet, they ended up not needing any NICU time. Audrey spent some time under the lights because of jaundice, and later she had some blood tests to check again because at about 2 weeks old her jaundice hadn’t quite gone away. David, despite his tiny size, was completely healthy.

As a twin mom, I know how lucky I am. As a mom in general, I know how lucky I am to have had two healthy babies. But the question has always made me think: are babies considered preemies because of the time they spend in the NICU or how far along they are when they are born? I don’t want to pretend to know the pain or fear of having a child in the NICU, although I did have months in my pregnancy preparing myself for it, as most twins do spend some time there. For about 8 months, we battled with David being at 3% on the growth charts (with one month dropping to about 1%), so we were constantly aware of his eating and drinking and trying to get him as many calories as possible. So do I count myself and my family as having preemies, or not?

If you would like to read more from those who have experienced life with preemie babies, I would encourage you to check out this post from How Do You Do It? on World Prematurity Day 2014. You can even see a post that I wrote last year about prenatal care with twins.

“If You’re Happy and You Know It” – A Debate

If You're Happy and You Know It Debate

Tim and I have been in a war of words song lyrics for a couple of months now, and maybe you can help us solve it. The way I sing the song is: “If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it.” Tim sings “If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it.”

My argument: That’s the way it is sung. Your face shows your happiness, no matter what culture. 

Tim’s argument: You are singing about the different ways you show you’re happy (clapping your hands, stamping your feet, etc.) so these lyrics make better sense.

Ok, I totally get where Tim is coming from, but I stand fast that he’s wrong.

So, can you help us settle it? Leave a comment on this blog post to say which way YOU sing this song. Thanks for  helping us settle this dispute!

Review: Bee Sili Silicone Oven Gloves

When we got married, we got all new pots and pans (love our All-Clad stainless steel set!), and they came with standard oven mitts. Over the past 5 years, they have gotten really icky and gross, and it was time to get rid of them and get something new. We really liked our Bee Sili Ice Pop Mold Makers, and so we thought it would be worth it to try their oven gloves (a little more flexibility and options than just with oven mitts).

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Overall, we really like them and how easy they are to use. They keep the heat on the outside and your hands safe inside. We really like the feel of silicone, and they are so easy to clean when food spills on them. They are a little awkward to use at first, but it’s really nice to be able to use all 5 fingers to pick up hot items. Our biggest complaint, however, is that the index finger slot is very stiff, making it hard to curl your finger and grip items. This may sound nit-picky, but when you are trying to carry a burning hot pot or pan, it’s important to get the best grip possible, and this simply doesn’t do it.

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We also received a basting brush, which we haven’t been able to use yet, but I feel like we may give it to the twins to play with, as the texture would be perfect for them to experience.

Fore more information, check out the Bee Sili website or check out the information from Bee Sili:

Bee SAFE, THRIFTY & & ECO FRIENDLY when you use SUPER Silicone FDA approved Bbq Grill & Oven Gloves & FREE Silicone Basting Brush * Let your imagination run wild * Have safe fun with family & friends * Remove baked foods from oven * Turn food over & remove from grill * Prepare pulled pork * Handle hot corn-on-the-cob & boiled egss * Roast marshmallow & hot dog over the camp fire * Tend the fireplace * Grab cold drinks & food from the ice chest or freezer * Open lids with ease * Toss in the dishwasher for bacteria free cleaning *     One size fits small, medium & large hands but not extra large hands (6  inches wide) * Heat resistant up to 425 degrees F

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#BeeSiliGadgets

 


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

My Essential Oil Mixes

Essential Oils Recipe Page 1 Essential Oils Recipe Page 2

 

*If you are interested in joining Young Living either as just a customer or a distributor, please let me know by emailing at HealthierOilTheThyme at gmail.com.*

I have now been using my Young Living Essential Oils for a few months, and I am totally in love and hooked! I have been collecting more oils apart from those found in the Premium Starter Kit, and I have made several different mixtures for our home use. I wanted to document some of them.

[Read more…]

Our 2014 Trip to Savannah

I promise this post won’t be as long as the post about our 2013 trip to Savannah, but it was just as enjoyable!  Here’s why:

 

  • A Wedding! We got to celebrate the wedding of Tim’s cousin Mike and his beautiful (inside and out) bride Jess (and you can see more pictures on Mike and Jess’ blog Hokie Birds Fly South)


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  • Tybee Island! Oh yes, we most certainly made a return trip here to enjoy the incredible beach.

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  • The Food! Savannah has incredible eats and treats. Although we weren’t able to enjoy as many this time around (what with having 11 month old twins with us), we still got some great tastes in.

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  • The Ice Cream! Ok, this could have been lumped in with “The Food,” but since this was Babies’ First Ice Cream, I had to put it by itself.

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  • The Squares/Sights! We didn’t go sightseeing too much, but we were able to see some beautiful sights while driving around.

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  • The Weather! We spent our last evening at the gorgeous Forsythe Park, a dream we wanted to do since we found out that I was pregnant a year a half ago.

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  • The Hotel! We loved staying at the Embassy Suites. What a gorgeous hotel, amazing service, and enough room (barely) for us and all of our gear.

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  • Our first trip as a family of 4… by ourselves! And we only stopped 2 times going there and coming back. Success!


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Review: Photojojo Jelly Camera Phone Filters

Sometimes some products that I try out are great and some are duds. This is one of those “dud” products. Not entirely awful, but not one that I see myself keeping.

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That said, let me explain this product: you have these adapters that attach to your phone camera or a compact camera and you can do fun “trick” shots with your camera. The three external lenses that I received were sunburst, 6-image mirage, and wide angle. I thought that the wide angle would be especially neat. Here is the image of how it looks on my camera.

Regular Image

Here are the pictures that I got when using the sunburst:

Starburst

The 6-image mirage:

6 Image Mirage

The wide angle:

Wide Angle

 

And then a moment later when the lens fell off:

Regular Image 2

And here’s a video that I recorded to talk about the wide angle a bit more. Excuse me for letting it go long, but my babies are so gosh-darn cute!

 

#PJJELLY

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy Blinders

Two years ago, I longed to be pregnant and be a mother. I was ready, Tim was ready to be a dad, we were ready to have our family grow. I welcomed every single bad pregnancy symptom with open arms. I was totally ready for it!

I finally got my positive pregnancy test on April 5, 2013, when I was just about 4 weeks pregnant. I lived in happy La La Pregnancy Land for a month.

Then I got hit hard.

On May 12, the day I announced our pregnancy (first to the faculty at my school, and then to the world on Facebook and this blog), I realized that this whole first trimester thing is no joke. That’s when it started.

I could barely keep anything down, I was so sick constantly. I carried around crackers, ginger, apple, a lemon, and my ice chips, just so I could make it from one minute to the next. Kinda hard when you are expected to be on your feet all day, teaching 4th graders with the expectation that they ALL pass all 5 of their end-of-the-year tests.

I went from 124 pounds at the start of my pregnancy to 117, the weight that I was in high school.

I woke up, stuffed my face with stale crackers from my bedside table, took my Zofran, and dragged myself to the shower, where I sat on the floor of the shower, waiting for the water to wash over me, barely with enough energy to get the shampoo out of my hair. I was a mess.

I couldn’t go in the kitchen because of the smells, so Tim made me my lunch (apple slices, a lemon, crackers, and a piece of Bertucci’s pizza), a cold water, and sent me off with some popsicles for the teachers’ lounge freezer.

I had a couple special students learn where I kept my popsicles, and when I felt really lightheaded, they would run and get me one, and it would help bring me back from the brink.

Let’s just say it was not the best of environments for me, my students, or my babies that were twincubating.

I had a lot of sick days built up, and since I wasn’t returning the following year, I used them. I figured I needed to rest as much as possible so that when I was at school, I could do the best job possible, given the circumstances. I started taking the afternoons off. I taught from 7:20 AM until 11:15, when my students went to lunch. Then, my sub walked them to lunch, where she was able to have a light afternoon with just about 30-50 minutes of teaching time, since that was when we had lunch, resources, and recess.

My principal wasn’t happy with me. I knew that parents were complaining (or “asking questions” as I found out after being pulled into a meeting to discuss my severe illness with the pregnancy). To be totally honest, I didn’t blame them. I was frustrated that I was so sick, but there was literally nothing I could do.

For this, I want to openly apologize to those parents, my team members, and those students. I’m so sorry for not being there during a critical time of the year. I wanted to be there. That’s not how I wanted to end my teaching career. I just… couldn’t.

Once I hit my second trimester, it was amazing how… well… amazing I felt. I was Superwoman and I could do anything. Of course, the first day of my second trimester was the first day of summer break. Just too little too late for my dear students and their families and my coworkers.

Looking back now, I do have on those blinders. I forgot how absolutely dreadful I felt. How I absolutely could not do anything worthwhile. How I just was trying to survive and keep my babies alive.

We forget what it is like to be that miserable for that long. That is what makes us women want more babies. I know that every single woman that questioned my illness and absence from the classroom forgot what it was like. They were focused on the well-being and education of their children. I don’t blame them. I just bring it up because I don’t want to totally forget. I want to be understanding if Audrey or David’s teacher is in the same position. I want to be supportive. I don’t want to point fingers or talk or blame.

Yes, a woman really CAN be that sick while she is pregnant. You may have been too, but you forgot. Please be supportive of her while she faces her first struggle as a mother: the pull between her responsibilities as a worker and that of a mother.

I made my choice to be a mother first and foremost. I protected my babies by taking the time for me. I thank everyone that supported me in that choice.

1st Birthday Presents

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We are in full steam ahead mode for getting ready for the twins’ first birthday party. I can’t wait to share pictures soon!

In the meantime, we have reformatted our baby shower registry on BabyList to reflect a wish list (of sorts) for Audrey and David for their first birthday. While we definitely don’t want or need all of these, these may give an idea to those that want to give something. Do they HAVE to receive gifts? Absolutely not! A and D would be perfectly happy with empty boxes and wooden spoons… but we wanted to provide some sort of list for those that have insisted.

The Doyle Twins’ First Birthday Wish List

 

How it works:

If you see something that you would like to give, you will just click “Reserve It” and you will be able to purchase it (or something like it). If you change your mind, you can release it and put it back on the wish list.

Review: Tens Electronic Pulse Massager Machine


As I’ve written about in past posts, I have chronic back/spine/shoulder blade pain that I believe stems from my pregnancy (at least that’s when the pain started). Stretching and yoga has helped (as has some physical therapy and at-home therapy work), but the pain still lingers. I am always looking for something to help, and when I had the chance to review an at-home portable tens electronic pulse machine (like what I used in my physical therapist’s office), I jumped at the chance.

#TensUnit Review on DoyleDispatch.com

The machine looks like a TV remote control, and it works very easily. You just plug in the sensors (you can use up to 4 on this machine), attach the pads to your body (where you want the pulse to hit), and start on the lowest setting. You can then select the appropriate part of the body, and it will go through a series of settings.

While you won’t get a deep tissue massage like some massagers, I definitely didn’t have an overwhelming amount of pain either (like with those typical at-home massagers). It was simply a great way to stimulate the muscles and get them moving. I can imagine that it would be really helpful to pair this with a good stretching or workout.

You can purchase this machine through Amazon for $32.95 (on sale from $59.95).

 

#TensUnit

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.