InstaFriday!

I’m [hopefully] back in the InstaFriday swing of things! Get read for a large number of instas to make up for lost time!

Linking up with Jeannett, of course.

life rearranged

1. Bubs. Sad because his food bowl is empty. Don’t worry…he didn’t have to wait too long before it was full again!

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2. Dead crockpot. I woke up in the morning fully expecting a crockpot of cooked rice. Only, the crockpot was ice cold and the rice was not cooked. Sad trombone.

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3. This sign was on the door of one of our IT guys at work. Funny jokes.

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4. Diffuser necklace with oil. Joy is one of my favorites to wear in the necklace.

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5. It started raining on our lunch break one day. Perfect opportunity to change from Toms to Chucks.

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6. Outside my office, student workers were gearing up for the start of the semester and the arrival of the biggest freshman class! #teamSWU

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7. I just finished this book by Carol Burnett. She wrote it about there daughter that passed away from cancer. Beautiful tribute to her daughter.

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8. Nothing like a Sunday morning, 30 minutes before service, dealing with a broken light.  Thankfully, that doesn’t happen too often.

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9. One of my favorite oils to drink in water. So yummy!

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10. One morning, just a few minutes after my husband dropped me off at my office, he called me to say he was gonna buy me some coffee in our school’s coffee shop. If the way to a man’s heart is through his food, the way to a woman’s heart is through free coffee.

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11. My most recent Young Living order. Woohoo!

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12. Hosting two more workshops! If you’re local and would like to come, just let me know!

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How-To Guide: Labor Day Celebration

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How NOT to celebrate Labor Day:
• Come home from work on Friday afternoon before Labor Day to a broken A/C unit
• Call the landlord and the repair guy and find out that no one has a part to fix the A/C unit
• Sweat through Friday night and Saturday morning with no A/C
• Leave the house Saturday afternoon just to get away from the heat
• Rig a homemade air conditioner out of a cooler to take the edge off
• Go to church early Sunday morning just to get some free A/C
• Get a phone call the it won’t be fixed for possibly almost two more days
• Pack up the dog, cat, and toddler and get the heck outta town!
• Forget that you left fruit and a bowl of soup on the counter in the stifling heat
• Get a call that the A/C is fixed
• Pack up the dog, cat, and toddler and come back home to a stinky house
• Cat pees in the crate and smells up the car for the last hour of the ride
• Get the toddler in bed, the cat washed, and fall into bed, exhausted

How TO celebrate Labor Day:
• Enjoy Friday evening eating a meal and hanging out with family
• Go to Toys-R-Us and buy some “choo-choos and tractors”
• Go on a road trip with the whole family, cat included
• Spend some time with 4 adults, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a toddler in the in-laws’ air-conditioned house
• Eat some pizza
• Drink lots of Cherry Lemon Sun Drop

That about sums up our weekend. You may have noticed that I mentioned that we have a toddler! We have our second placement! He’s two years old and he’s so fun! The Boy loves choo-choos and tractors and cars and Daddy. He’s a daddy’s boy, for sure! I love to see Cody interact with our new little one. I can’t wait to tell you more stories!

Our poor kitty cat does not travel. He isn’t even allowed outside because he would run away. He’s perfectly content being an indoor kitty and hates the car. Well, we put him in the dog crate (so he’d have some room to move around but wouldn’t have free reign of the car) and he made it all the way to the in-laws’ house without seeming too traumatized. In the picture at the top, you can see his paw sticking out and his nose just barely sticking out from under the blanket. Silly kitty. He did that all by himself.

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Once we got in the house, he was pretty much hidden for about 12 of the 36 hours that we were there. Poor kitty.

On the way home, he made it just over half way before his bladder succumbed to the nerves. :) You guys, I felt so bad for him. Once I got him bathed, (which was miserable for both of us but I just couldn’t handle the smell) he licked his emotional wounds and is completely back to normal this morning!

Our house is still a wreck. I’ll be cleaning that up tonight. However, we are happy to be home in the A/C safe and sound!

Hope you had a great Labor Day!

 

Empty Nest

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I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but two hours after we got the call that our foster license was approved, we got the call for our first placement.

On Tuesday, I got a call from our caseworker that “in two hours” someone would be at our house to pick them up.

It’s amazing how two hours can change everything.

We spent a month with our twins and they were incredible. I’m amazed at how much they grew and changed in those few short weeks. We saw their personalities absolutely come alive. They both started walking. They were “talking.” They had favorite games that they liked to play.

We were prepared to have these two for months, if not longer. We were told that it would be a long time before anything happened in their case. But I supposed that’s how the system works. It’s like a revolving door and unfortunately, kids in the system just get pushed through and sometimes have no voice.

Please don’t misunderstand – I’m very appreciative of the system we have in place to care for children who need temporary (or permanent) care. I just think it’s a little flawed. But what system isn’t?

Now it’s our job to prepare for another placement and love that one all we can. It’s not easy. At all. But worth it? Absolutely.

If you think of us, say a little prayer? For Cody and I but mostly for the twins who just had their lives uprooted, once again.

Skin Care Routine

 

skin care routine

 

You see those bottles in the picture? That’s basically all I use for my skin (and the makeup behind it…not all of it at one time, though!) and it’s simple, inexpensive, and very effective!

First up: Cleanse.

The bottle on the left (with the silver washi tape) is my cleanser. I use oil to cleanse my face. (Which I know sounds counterintuitive, but oil dissolves oil. The oil I use to wash my face dissolves the yucky, dirty oil that my face produces during the day.) That bottle has a 50/50 blend of castor oil and jojoba oil, plus 5 drops of Frankincense oil and 5 drops of Purification oil. (Remember those oils?)

Here are the steps I take to wash my face:
• Wet face
• Pour a smidge of oil mixture into the palm of my hand. (A little goes a long way!)
• Rub in small circles all over face, making sure to focus on trouble spots
• Wet a washcloth as hot as you can stand it
• Drape over face and sit for a couple of minutes to let the washcloth “steam” your pores
• Once the washcloth cools, use it to wipe the oil off your face
• Rinse the washcloth in warm water and wipe face again
• Voila! All clean!

Next: Moisturize.

The bottle on the right (orange washi tape) is my moisturizer. It is grape seed oil with, again, 5 drops of Frankincense and 5 drops of Purification.

Note: I used grape seed oil because that’s what I had on hand. There are tons of different oils you can use!

This one is really simple. I tilt the bottle to get the oil near the top. Then I dip my finger in to touch the oil and rub in all over my face. Usually I have to dip my finger in twice to cover my whole face.

(About once a week, I will exfoliate my face by mixing up a watery paste of baking soda and water and “scrub” my face with it.)

I do this routine each night and find that each morning, I just splash a little water on my face to wake me up and I’m good to go! I love that it’s all natural and is great for my skin without the addition of synthetics!

This is just what I use. This same concoction may not work as well for you as it does for me. Experiment! I’ve cleansed my face with a 50/50 mixture of castor oil and olive oil in the past! Find what works for you!

Sources:
Essential Oils from Young Living
• Glass jars from Walmart (I use glass for all of my essential oil recipes)
• Grape seed oil from Amazon
• Jojoba from Trader Joe’s
• Castor oil from Walmart

 

InstaFriday! But Not Really…

Okay, I’m not really linking up this week. I have not posted ONE PICTURE to Instagram! Oh, I’ve taken plenty of pictures and even videos, but they’ve all been of the twins, and I can’t share them online!

Twin highlights of the week:
• The twins started daycare this week. Super great for them, super sad for Daddy and Mommy…it’s so hard to leave them everyday but we find comfort in knowing that they play hard, learn a lot, and sleep well at night! :)
• Have I mentioned that one twin is a girl and one is a boy? Basically the best combination. :) Well, Little Man took his first steps this week! This is HUGE for him! When they first came to live with us, they could not even walk while holding our hands. It’s amazing how fast kids change and grow!
• They are loving solid food more and more. Being at daycare and getting a lot of variety at meal time helps so much!
• They have slept through the night since day 1 of being with us. That is such a huge blessing!
• I’m really not sure if I’ve ever seen smilier kids! They smile and giggle all day!
• Okay, sometimes they really do cry. I mean, life’s not perfect. They hate to get their diapers changed. Little Man hates his carseat until the car starts moving. Little Lady hates it when brother takes her sippy cup (who wouldn’t?). They both hate being left alone to play. And they both hate to be put down at night. Each of those times, they will cry for a couple of minutes. But by and large, they are happy!
• They love to play in their room. However, one or both of us have to be in there with them. The room is safe and we feel comfortable with them being alone in there, but they just sit at the gate and cry if we step out, even to just go to the bathroom or grab a sippy cup. When we are in the room with them, they may or may not be interested in playing with us directly, but feel much more comfortable with us there. I certainly don’t mind their attachment. Much better than the alternative. But I do want them to learn to play independently for a few minutes at a time. Any tips to teach one-year-olds how to entertain themselves for a few minutes?
• They LOVE to splash in the bathtub!

That’s all for twin highlights!

Reminder: I’m co-hosting a Young Living Essential Oils workshop tomorrow morning! If you’re free, we’d love to have you! Just email me or leave a comment! It’s gonna be so fun and there will be giveaways! Yay!

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All About Essential Oils – Everyday Uses

All About EOs

So are you interested in oils but not exactly sure how you’d use them? You’ll be glad you stopped in today!

Something I haven’t covered yet in this series is two very important terms in the world of essential oils: Neat and Diluted.

Neat: the apply oil straight out of the bottle without “watering down” or diluting in any way. This is great for oils like lavender, lemon, joy, and valor when used on the skin. (You do run the risk of using up oils a little quicker this way so be careful!)

Diluted: Mixing your essential oil with a carrier oil before use. The is awesome for two reasons: your oils will last longer and you gain benefits from carriers oils like moisturizing your skin, killing germs, and increasing good cholesterol levels and reducing bad cholesterol levels! Really!

Below are three ways to use essential oils.

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***Disclaimer: Essential oils are extremely powerful. I can only recommend that Young Living oils be applied directly to the skin or ingested due to the nature of their purity. Other brands simply are not pure enough and contain high levels of synthetics. Young Living oils are 100% pure with 0% synthetics.***

Here are some of my favorite daily uses for Young Living essential oils:

• I mix Frankincense and Purification with a carrier oil (I use grape seed, currently, but am going to experiment soon) as a morning moisturizer. It feels incredible, my makeup applies much better, and Frank and Purification are great for clearing up blemishes and keeping my skin healthy!

• I add one or two drops of Lemon to my drinking water. It tastes amazing and it’s great for my immune system. It also flushes toxins from my body and boosts my energy.

• I rub a drop of Stress Away (neat) on my wrists when I’m feeling anxious. It calms my nerves and smells heavenly!

• During thunderstorms, and any other time my dog is anxious, I rub a drop of Stress Away (neat) on the very tips of her ears and on the pads of her feet. Calms her down right away!

• I diffuse Peace & Calming in our diffuser at night or during the day when I feel jittery or need to relax.

• I rub a drop of Peppermint (neat) on my temples when I feel a headache coming.

• I rub a drop of PanAway (neat) on any sore muscle or joint. I almost broke my toe on our dining chair one night and when I went to bed, my whole foot was throbbing and I couldn’t put all of my weight on it. I rubbed it down with PanAway and by the time I woke up, it was 100% better!

• I made a pain cream of PanAway, Peppermint, Valor, and coconut oil. Use it in place of an OTC pain cream like IcyHot or Bengay!

• I rub a drop of Valor on the bottom of mine and my husband’s big toes when we go to bed. It greatly reduces snoring for both of us! (Yes, we both snore…)

Lavender is my absolutely favorite to diffuse at night when we are sleeping.

• I rub a drop of Lavender across the bridge of my nose when I feel some stuffiness coming on. Lavender is a natural antihistamine!

• I add a drop of Joy to the diffuser when my kids are playing to lift the mood in the room!

• I rub a drop of Thieves on a toothache to kill the germs and take away the pain.

• I gargle with Thieves in a bit of water to kill a sore throat!

These are just SOME of the uses that I’ve found for the oils in my starter kit. It’s incredible what these oils can do! I will say that there are many combinations that treat many issues and symptoms. However, the same combination won’t work for everyone. It’s important to be willing to experiment to find what works for you!

Dont’ forget: this Saturday I’m co-hosting a workshop! I’d love for you to come hang out!

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All About Essential Oils – DIY Nasal Inhaler

All About EOs inhaler cover photo

Yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve begun using essential oils to treat myself and my family when we have health issues, instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet. Synthetic OTC medicines often only treat symptoms instead of healing our bodies. Who wants to pump our bodies full of synthetics that aren’t even going to touch the real problem? Not me!

Sometimes at night, I get a stuffy nose when I lay down to go to bed. I’m not sure what it’s from but it’s definitely obnoxious! My nose won’t close up all the way but it becomes a little harder to breathe and it keeps me from resting well.

There is a local shop that sells lots of alternatives to OTCs and along with that, they sell “accessories” to make administering homeopathic remedies a little easier.

I was there recently and picked up a little plastic inhaler thingy that kind of looks like the Vicks Vapor Inhaler you can buy at the pharmacy, but it was clean and unused. Lightbulb! I bought it, brought it home, and got to work!

First, I took all the pieces out and laid them out.

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Then, I grabbed the two oils I knew I wanted to use: peppermint and valor. (To me, valor smells just like Vicks, but not so harsh to the nose.)

pep and valor Next, I grabbed the cotton stick and held it straight up and down and dropped two drops each of my essential oils right on the end, giving them a few second in between to soak in. (Sorry, no picture.)

Then, I assembled the inhaler by dropping the cotton stick into the inhaler, (oily end next to the opening) and snapping the seal cap on the end to keep the cotton stick inside. Voila!

finished product  I also add a strip of washi tape to mark the inhaler as used!

washi tape inhaler

Easy peasy! When I’m feeling a little stuffy, I just hold the inhaler next to my nose, cup my other hand around, and breathe in slowly and deeply. It’s amazing what some essential oils can do for you!

Other inhaler options: if you have a stuff nose caused by allergies, you could try a couple of drops of each oil of the Allergy Trio (peppermint, lavender, lemon) onto the cotton stick. Check out the image below for more allergy trio information!

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And, for you locals and those willing to drive, don’t forget about the workshop this coming Saturday! Let me know if you are interested in more information! I’d love for you to be there!

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All About Essential Oils

All About EOs

This week is all about essential oils!

No, I’m not a professional, and no, I don’t have a medical degree, and yes, there are lots of people who know a lot more than I do about essential oils and how they help us and our bodies. This is just my own experience with oils and how they have changed the ways I treat myself and my family for health issues that we face.

So what are they?: Essential oils are the “blood” of the plant. What our blood does for our bodies, essential oils do for plants – healing, providing life, and extremely important to the survival of the plant.

How are they good for us? Do you know what people did for treating ailments before there were doctors and pharmaceutical companies? They used essential oils (and other plant-based methods of treatments) for healing. It’s 100% natural and not chock-full of synthetic materials.

Skeptical? My husband was extremely skeptical at first. He’s come around, though! He uses the oils as often as I do! And consider this: we will pop pills all day long if the box says it will treat [fill in the blank] and yet something is labeled as natural, and we shy away for fear of it not working. But hello! We never question the synthetic medicines we put in and on our bodies,

Here’s a quick video by my friend Erin that explains a little about essential oils and what they are. Watch it!

Some highlights:
• Essential oils can cross the blood-brain barrier.
• Oils bring oxygen to our cells.
• Oils initiate regeneration of our cells.
• Cells need to communicate to be healthy. Oils help clean out communication receptors in our cells.
• Other companies can bottle oils that are up to 90% synthetic and still label the bottle as pure. Young Living uses 100% pure oil in their bottles and their products are completely absent of synthetics.
• Young Living owns all the farms that their plants grow in and manage the process from growth of crops to bottling the oils.

Now for the fun part! Let’s talk about the oils! Here is each oil (in the starter kit, pictured above) with a fun fact and a description of how I use it:

FRANKINCENSE: great for your skin!
How I use it: mixed with a drop of Purification in my facial moisturizer. It’s great for reducing acne and blemishes on your skin!

LEMON: powerful antioxidant, detoxifies your body of petrochemicals, great morning pick-me-up in a glass of water, reduces congestion
How I use it: 2 drops in my glass bottle of water. Great taste while also supporting my nervous and sympathetic nervous system!

STRESS AWAY: blend of oils including lime, vanilla pure, copaiba, lavender – great for calming nervous tension.
How I use it: a drop on my wrists to relax me when I’m feeling some nervous energy. Also great for my dog during thunderstorms!

PEACE & CALMING: great for relieving tension
How I use it: diffuse for a relaxing atmosphere, especially when trying to fall asleep

PEPPERMINT: amazing for digestion and pain treatment!
How I use it: rub a drop on my temples at the first sign of a headache

PANAWAY: amazing blend of wintergreen, clove, peppermint and others – perfect for pain relief!
How I use it: along with peppermint, rub on my temples at the first sign of a headache, run a drop on my jawline when I’ve been clenching my teeth

VALOR: perfect for increasing positive energy, eases anxiety, stops snoring! (not kidding!)
How I use it: rub a drop on the bottom of mine and my husband’s big toes to stop snoring..no joke!

LAVENDER: incredible antihistamine, calming to mind and body, great for dry, chapped skin
How I use it: diffuse at night for restful sleep

JOY: exotic blend formulated to boost mood
How I use it: diffuse during the day to lift our moods (especially when my kids are playing together!)

PURIFICATION: very cleansing to the skin, soothes bug bites, cuts, scrapes
How I use it: mixed with a drop of frankincense for my skin

THIEVES: incredible for killing germs, great for oral health
How I use it: diffuse with Joy or Purification for clean, fresh air in my house, rub a drop on my gums for toothache

[These oils mentioned are in the starter kit which includes some literature, additional samples, and an ultrasonic diffuser, (valued at $100) which pumps the oils into the air through a fine mist. The diffuser might just be my favorite part!]

I’ve just BARELY scratched the surface with each of these oils and how I use them. They are so much more than what I’ve listed here. Each oil has multiple purposes and even overlap allowing me to find exactly what works for me. Additionally, these are only the oils in the starter kit. There are a bajillionty other oils that cover a bajillionty other health issues and daily uses. I love this! From weight loss to digestive issues, from skin care to respiratory care, from our kids’ health to our pets’ health – everything is covered! #theresanoilforthat

This is not necessarily a sales pitch (although I’m definitely available if you’d like to purchase an oil to try!). I just want to share something new that has been working for my family! Come back tomorrow for some DIY “medicine” that I’ve been using!

P.S. If you are local to upstate SC or are willing to drive, I’m co-hosting a workshop on Saturday, July 26th at 10:00 am. Come hang out, eat snacks, and chat about oils. There may even be some giveaways courtesy of my co-host, Katherine! If you are interested in more info, shoot me an email!

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InstaFriday!

I haven’t done InstaFriday in almost a month! Whaaaa???

Linking up with Jeannett!

life rearranged

Recently, I became an independent distributor for Young Living Essential Oils. This was a picture of my starter kit, which I got about a month ago. Let’s just say, this has been revolutionary for me! I love these oils! Come back next week to learn about how I’ve been using these oils in my everyday life!

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Story of my life… #bottomofthecoffeecup

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Back to the oils…these three are my favorite to diffuse! It’s called the Allergy Trio. It is incredibly cleansing to the air and is a great way to get the oils into your system.

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This dude. I got up to get something and when I came back to my spot on the couch, it was taken. #everythingbelongstothecat

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Pumpkin coffee! For sale at my local Dunkin’! Best coffee ever.

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I complained to a coworker that technology makes me cry. Jokes. She’s got jokes.

 

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Saw this little family crossing the street. They were so little! I think there were five of them but they were huddled so closely together that it was hard to see anything except a black and white blob! :)

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Had a sore throat at work one morning. Fixed a cup of Earl Grey and mixed in some sore throat treatment courtesy of Young Living. Felt much better the rest of the day!

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This was from my church on Sunday. We were singing Great I Am. One of my very favorite songs.

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If you missed our big announcement this week, go back and read it!  2014-07-14 12.42.42

Happy Friday!

Things I’ve Learned From Parenting Twins: 1st Edition

I mentioned yesterday that our cherish children are twins. We’re just five days in of parenting twins and there is so much to learn!

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• Take two snack cups everywhere. Just do it.
• By crying when he should be sleeping, one trains the other to sleep through anything. Need to vacuum? Go for it? Run the blender? Blend away! Twins that share a room can sleep through a tornado!
• One may or may not poop in the tub and there is no movement as swift as getting two kids out before said poop contaminates all the water.
• Nothing puts the fear of God in you like poop in a bathtub.
• Twins can hit each other, crawl over each other, pull each other’s hair and it doesn’t phase them! They just keep playing! (On the other hand, have two friends playing and one whacks the other, the tears with never stop.)
• Even one-year-old twins have a special connection that makes them check on the other to make sure he/she is okay.
• Barring sickness, if only one parent is feeding twins, just use one spoon. It will reserve a lot of sanity for when you really need it!
• Having a dog will save you A LOT of time from picking up A LOT of cheerios.

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• Moment of silence for the awesomeness of pack-n-plays. *Sigh*
These things are awesome. (Get some, even if you only have one kid.) Each kid having their own and keeping themselves entertained while you are fixing dinner/cleaning/eating/anything else? Priceless.

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• You don’t have enough hands. For anything.
• Twins are eerily in sync. Except when they’re not. And they’re moving in opposite directions. Not enough hands.
• Twins have distinct personalities. They are, after all, two individual people. However, when you see them teetering on unsteady feet beside each other at the bookshelf and their stances are the same, it’s a special feeling!
• You’ll check the mail and will be too tired to remember to close the mailbox. And then you’ll wonder if it’s even worth it to roll the window back down and close it.

Come back soon for more things I learn about parenting twins!!