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A Seriously Great Baby Monitor

by Juliemara
09.28.12

I’m all about a bargain, sales at the grocery means it’s time to stock up, hand me down baby clothes, toy scores on Craig’s list or yard sales, but there is one thing that I couldn’t be happier with even though we spent a hefty sum on it, our baby monitor. I LOVE out baby monitor. It’s the Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor

Not my baby

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It’s the greatest monitor, why?, because I can see my babies breathing through it. Babies are pretty resilient little things but for some crazy reason us new moms worry constantly about our babies just stopping breathing. So it’s nice to be able to press the zoom button and see your baby’s chest rising and falling. Then you can sleep easy for another hour until thy start crying or don’t, so you get worried that they stopped breathing again.

We got two cameras, one for over each crib, it’s how we remembered who we were looking at when they first came home, Talia (baby a) was camera # 1 and Jordan (baby b) was camera # 2. Because we take them with us when we travel they are always getting mixed up now and we just can’t be bothered to switch them out, so we just remember which is which.

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Since we are always taking them with us places we stick them to the wall using command removable strips rather than drilling holes into the walls. I’m really glad we choose to do it this way because we recently had to move the monitors when the babies started standing in their cribs and could reach up and pull them off the wall.

They started out centered over each crib. This worked great for the first nine months. ( the camera on the right, over Jordan’s crib is pointed towards Talia’s crib because we had just come back from a trip and Talia’s wasn’t working for some reason.)

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The cord hung straight down the wall next to the crib, which is great for babies that can’t move.

20120927-212114.jpgNot so much for babies that can stand and pull cords.

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So each monitor got moved way to the side, out of arms reach. It’s a bit mor difficult to see the girls if they are sleeping against the side of the crib closest to the camera but when this happens I can usually angle the other camera to see that baby.

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Just because you have twins does not mean you have to buy the second camera. Placing one camera between the two cribs and moving it back and as needed will work just fine. Then when babies start crawling just move the camera to the other side of the room so you can see both of them at once.

What monitor do you use? Would you recommend it?

Happy Friday! I hope you have a great weekend!

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North Georiga Apple Picking

by Juliemara
09.25.12

We had a great weekend, jam packed of fun things to do with babies. Family pictures first thing Saturday, then to a birthday party for a one year old friend, our neighbor Vetta came over to play before dinner.

Talia was really excited about the birthday girls gifts.

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The girls were really sweet to our neighbor. Vetta is exactly three months younger but she is the same size!

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On Sunday we organized with our friends Ella and Livia and their moms and dads to go apple picking in North Georiga, Elijay to be exact. There are about a dozen orchards in Elijay, we choose to go to Hillcreast because of all the activities they have other than picking apples. Big kids can jump on the trampoline, there is live music, a giant slide, tractor cart rides, a petting farm with baby chicks and goats, and pig races! We spent most of day under a shady apple tree enjoying the perfect weather of the first day of fall.

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We headed back south to the city just in time for the girls naps. It’s about an hour and half drive so they were able to sleep the whole time! As an extra fun weekend bonus we were invited to dinner at our friends house who also have two young kids. One the menu spaghetti bolanase. Warning: do not feed your children spaghetti bolanase while clothed, unless you want to throw away the clothes.

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What do you do with four kids under four covered in red spaghetti sauce? Throw them all in the bath!

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Hanging out with these babies is just getting more and more fun every day. The sad part, they are becoming less and less babies and more little girls, everyday.

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Family Photo Session ~ Sneak Peak

by Juliemara
09.24.12

We had a photographer come to the house this weekend to get some almost one year old photos. Here’s a sneak peak she posted in my Facebook for me! I’m loving how they turned out so far.

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10 Worst Pregnancy Symptoms, and weight gain isn’t even one of them.

by Juliemara
09.21.12
This post is LONG over due, I started writing it  about 4 months post pardom, it was about half done. Then my phone crashed (died, whatever you want to call that technical annoyance when your phone no longer works properly and looses all it’s stored data at the worst possible time, I guess any time is the worst possible time to loose everything in your phone). I really wanted to write these things down because they were such a huge part of my pregnancy, and hearing from other women who were experiencing the same thing made me feel better and gave me will power to get through the tough parts. I want to pass on the support, but honestly at 11months pp, I’m not sure I can remember all the detail of all ten, and there is no doubt I’d do it all over again one day.twin_pregnancy_3

Top ten worst pregnancy symptoms
(And weight gains not even on the list)In this order …

1)Bell’s palsy

2)Carpal tunnel

3)Puppps

4)Nasal congestion
5)Acid reflux
6)Morning sickness
7)Abdominal separation
8)Swelling
9)Skin issues (other than pupps)
10)Forgetfulness

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#1Bells Palsy
Bells Palsy  is the diagnosis you receive when you have unexplained facial paralysis. Five days pp, my first morning back home with our newly expanded family I was eating a breakfast of cereal and strawberries with milk when I noticed my lips felt awkward as I took each bite. First I looked at my reflection  in my spoon and saw that the right side of my face seemed to droop. I knew that a droopy face was a symptom of a stroke so I was scared, I asked my husband if he thought my face looked strange, he did. I ran to get clothes on and we got in the car to go back to the hospital, it was 8:45am. I wasn’t taking any chances, a stroke left untreated can cause permanent damage. The babies stayed home with the baby nurse we had staying with us for a few weeks.

On the way to the hospital I got in touch with my doctor who told me to go back to labor and delivery, there was a nurse waiting for me, she looked at my face and told me to go to the ER, we did, quickly. The doctor came and saw me quickly and eliminated the diagnosis of a stroke, and said it was most likely Bell’s palsy. The facial paralysis caused by this disorder make it impossible to smile with that side of your face or close your eye. I could still open my eye but not re-close it unless I did it manually, as in push my lid down with my finger.  The cause of Bell’s palsy is mostly unknown but many people get it after childbirth, particularly C-sections or any trauma with high blood loss. Some say it’s brought on by stress, I had all three. They kept me for observation all day, until about 4pm. I was so frustrated, I wanted to be home feeding my babies. They did every test in the world and gave me a prescription for Prednisone. I was told to use eye drops to keep my eye moisturized since I was unable to blink, wear my glasses and wait. My mom  had friends who had Bell’s palsy and had taken a round of Valtrex since Bell’s Palsy is in the same family, the next day I started this medication and I waited. Bells palsy is not painful, but the emotional toll it takes is indescribable. Not being able to smile when you feel happy only makes you sadder, not knowing when it will end is frustrating to say the least. I read online some facial exercises that some people say helped them and that taking vitamin b complex could help, I did both of these. I hated taking photos, I hated that I hated taking photos since these were my babies first days. I hated looking at the photos. I found a few online groups of people suffering from Bel’ls Palsy, some people just told their story and asked for encouragement, some gave suggestions, others told stories of recovery. It was uplifting to read stories of recovery. I just had to hope that like the carpal tunnel this too would reverse it’s self. Four weeks later I started to see improvement and after five weeks I was completely recovered, like nothing had ever happened. But that is a time that I will never forget. I don’t know what made it go away, some doctors say that the faster you start the medications after it’s onset the faster and more  likely a complete recovery is, so if you or anyone you knows gets this get Prednisone, Valtrex and vitamin B-12 complex  (available at health food stores ASAP).

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#2 Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel  is caused by the median nerve that runs through your wrist being constricted by swelling(see pregnancy symptom #9). It started out as a numbness in my pointer finger, around my fifth month. I could feel my finger but I couldn’t feel textures when I touched things,  over a few days it spread to my thumb and middle finger. At night my hands would go numb, I would wake up from the pain. I was advised to wear wrist guards at night to help keep my wrists straight to keep the blood flowing. Some doctors recommend to wear the wrist guards all the time and some say only at night, wearing them during the day doesn’t help. I found that some days it help and some days they didn’t. The numb sensation tuned into more of hyper sensitivity to textures, brushing crumbs from a counter felt like sand paper, running my finger through my hair felt like scraping them across razors. Quickly the uncomfortableness in my fingers turned to throbbing pain in my hands, mostly my right, but eventually my left just as badly. Imagine your hand in a vice all day and all night.  I found that holding frozen ice packs wrapped in a paper towel helped to relive the pain, I had about 10 that I would rotate throughout the day. At first I would alternate hands, but by my seventh month the pain was too much. I could no longer hold anything but ice packs, in both hands, all the time. I even slept with ice packs or frozen water bottles at night, I would wake up from the pain when they were no longer cold.After the girls were born the symptoms quickly started to reverse them selves. By the second day pp I no longer needed the ice packs, the pain subsided after about a week, and within two months all the normal sensation came back to my fingers. My hands and wrists still ache sometimes more than others but it is no more than sore shoulders or an achy back.
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#3 Puppps
Puppps is Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy  or in layman’s terms itchy itchy red rash of pregnancy. It is most common in women pregnant with boys, I was pregnant with two girls, lucky me. I first heard about this condition through my online moms of twins facebook group. A woman in England talked about it and how uncomfortable it was. She posted pictures of what it looked like. So when I woke up one day in my 7th month with itchy forearms I wondered if I had it too, little did I know that would be the last night I slept at all during this pregnancy. I had a OB appointment that day so I asked my doctor about it. She said it wasn’t Puppps because Puppps would be all over my body. By the end of that day, it was all over my body, barely red and itchy beyond comprehension. My perinatologist confirmed later that week that it was Puppps and prescribed me Prednisone (or a weaker, safe for pregnancy version of it), it didn’t help.  I would spend hours scratching, my legs, belly, back, arms. I tried every itch remedy Benadryl spray, oatmeal bath, Eucerin calming body wash, nothing helped.  The worst was once I was in the hospital, I had to be hooked up to fetal monitors which had elastic belts that hugged my belly, three of them, they made me even itchier and yet made it impossible for me to scratch my belly, because every time I did I would move the monitor and they would have to readjust them, which only made the itch worse.
Once I had my epidural I no longer felt the itch and by the time the epidural wore off, the itch was gone. Just like that. About two weeks later, once I was home and recovering the itch started again, this time I called my dermatologist. They gave me a prescription for another round of Prednisone and Oleux.  Oleux is a topical mouse which made the itch subside almost immediately, I didn’t even have to use the whole bottle. Looking back I would have called my dermatologist right away. I don’t know if Oleux is safe for during pregnancy, but that stuff was a lifesaver. Puppps can last up to several months after pregnancy. I think the reason it went away and then came back was due to me taking the round of Prednisone for the Bell’s palsy. Puppps can affect anyone, it may reoccur with every pregnancy or only once, there is no way to know or to prevent it.
#4 Nasal Congestion
So this one doesn’t seam so bad until the medications that you can take don’t work at all to help. The nasal congestion during pregnancy is caused by the swelling of the nasal passages. Just like everything else in your body swells while you are pregnant (see #9) so do the blood vessels in your nose. Difficulty breathing leads to difficulty sleeping, and not being able to sleep is awful when you are pregnant. Here again I tried all the approved medicines – they didn’t work, a Netty pot – just gross, steam showers – they made me itch more and the hot water hurt my hands. Toward the very end, two or three weeks out I started using Affrin nasal spray . I don’t think it’s the best things to use while pregnant , because it is habit forming, but I would use it twice a day as needed and only one or one and half sprays in each nose hole. It helped tremendously! As soon as the babies were here there was no more stuffiness, ahh the miracle of childbirth.
#5 Acid reflux
This symptom was one of the first to set in, probably in month two. At first I kept it at bay by popping Tums one or two six to eight times a day. Them my OB told me that the calcium in them can cause other issues  and I should just take a daily Prilosec. So I did, I tried to take the Prilosec every other day. And when I tried to go more than one day without, whoa, not good.
#6 Morning Sickness
My morning sickness  set in about week four and was a daily battle though about week 16. I would feel the sickest in the morning but it could come back at any time during the day or night if I didn’t eat the right foods at the right time. In the morning I would have to wake up about 4am and eat a large bowl of hearty cereal with fruit and nuts and milk then I could go back to sleep. If I didn’t get up to eat this food before I got hungry in the morning the whole day was a bust. I was lucky with this one, after the first trimester I didn’t have any more morning sickness, just a truckload of other ailments.
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#7 Abdominal separation
I was in pretty good shape when  got pregnant. I probably had 5-10 extra pounds I could have done without but I was strong and energetic. Around month four I had a lot of sharp pains down the center of my belly, I still don’t know exactly what this was from, but I think it was my ab muscles stretching out and apart.  Once the babies were born and my swelling (see #9) went down I still had a very pregnant looking pooch. When I consulted my online twins group I heard the word diastasis recti  for the first time. It is the separation of the right and left abdominal muscles. Diastasis recti is present in babies, but their abdominal muscles close as part of their natural development after some time (maybe a year, but I’m not sure). It’s caused by all sorts of exercise including gymnastics, rowing or paddling even swimming and can be made worse with most ab exercise meant to help tighten your abs.   There are some body builders who try to achieve abdominal separation because of how it makes the abs look stronger despite it’s negative effects on the body, for example back pain, intestinal issues and poor posture and compromised protection of the organs in the lower torso. I know I have this because I did the finger test to check. When I lay on my back and relax my abdomen a crater is formed down the center of my torso. It is wide enough just above my belly button to fit three fingers in side by side and into my abdominal cavity few inches.  There is not much information about this condition or how to fix it other than when you get a tummy tuck get your abs sewn back together.  I recently found a regimen online that has some very positive review and am considering trying it out. When I do I promise I’ll share my progress. It’s called the Tupler technique.
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#8 Forgetfulness
When you become pregnant your body increases its blood supply by about 20%, but a lot of the blood that your body already had also goes to work growing and supporting the baby. Which means that there is less blood available to your brain for use. SO “mommy brain” as it is called is a real thing. I had it bad. I would constantly forget things. I use to be able to remember lists in my head, no more. If I didn’t write it down forget about it, literally. I would be told something and later on swear on my life that no one ever told me that very thing.  The problem with “mommy brain” it doesn’t go away after pregnancy, at least not for me. The after pregnancy part of mommy brain I believe is due more to having a million things to think about, like feeding schedules and who had their diaper changed last, than blood working elsewhere. Either way I’m sure my husband isn’t the only one who wonders how I remember which way is up.
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#9 Swelling
I thought I had gained a lot of weight while I was pregnant. When they weighed me at my last Drs appointment I had gained 62 lbs, about 5 pounds over my recommended weight gain.  But as it turns out most of my bulk and weight was swelling and water because within two months after having the babies I weighed 133lbs! That was less than I did when I got pregnant. It was great, I hadn’t been that thin in years. My clothes were fitting great and I felt skinny, which was a nice feeling after feeling and looking like a whale for so long. But while I looked skinny my body felt like a wreak. All that added weight put a lot of strain on my nerves and joints. I lost a lot of feeling in the nerves in my legs, particularly the sides of my knees all the way down to my big toe. To this day I don’t have much sensation in the side of my big toe! Also A few weeks post pardom while my ligaments and joints were working themselves back into place something happened to my hip which made it very painful to apply any pressure on my right foot. It was so hard to hear your baby screaming down the hall and have to walk at a snails pace to get to her in order not to double over in pain. That lasted about two weeks then like everything else just reversed itself.
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#10 Skin issues (other than the Puppps)
Being pregnant gave me little red dots all over my arms and chest, the dermatologist said they were tiny blood vessel ends due to the increased blood volume in my body and that they would go away after pregnancy. They did and they weren’t painful, just ugly.

I was not one of those women who just loved being pregnant.  Being pregnant was an uncomfortable nightmare. I even said to my sister that if I had to be pregnant for every kid I wanted two would be the limit.  I didn’t forget all the aliments and pain as soon as the girls were born, I don’t think I ever will. But I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for my two little peanuts. I wonder what another pregnancy will be like, just as bad, I hope not. I just hope, if it is, I have twins again!

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Early Birthday Party!

by Juliemara
09.20.12

We went to North Carolina this past weekend to spend the Jewish New Year with my family. It’s always fun to go to my parents house and hangout for a few days. We also got to see lots of extended family and friends. Since it will be a while before we are with so many cousins at once my mom wanted to throw a little early birthday party for the girls. So we had party hats, plates and bran muffins with whip cream and chocolate sprinkles. The girls mastered the cake smash the first time. I’m so proud of them. They also seam to really like bran muffin an they really liked the whip cream. They licked it all off the top before starting on the muffin.

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Good little eaters

by Juliemara
09.18.12

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We have really good eaters. Yes, it takes some coaxing when a new food is presented but with a little time and patience these two little buggers will eat pretty much anything.

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We still stay mostly away from foods that require those chomped teeth in the back to really break down, but even when we do feed them these tougher foods we either cut them tiny enough to swallow whole, about a quarter inch square or they just spit out what they can’t break down.

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We always give them a sippy cup of water with each meal or snack. It’s easy to forget that babies need to drink their water too. They are still too young to ask for it.

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We have learned that the babies eat fine when we feed them by themselves but they eat and sit so nicely when we eat with them and even more so when there are other children at the table. They are mesmerized by other kids, it really fun to watch.

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Breaking News – Talia takes her first steps

by Juliemara
09.17.12

While celebrating the new year with family and friends, Talia has decided to show off her new trick. Go Talia!

Shana Tova u’mituka

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11 Months

by Juliemara
09.14.12

11_month_twinsTalia and Jordan yesterday you are now  11 months old. I’m not going to tell you how sentimental I feel about this being the last month of your first year I’ll save that sap for your birthday post. I just want to brag about all the new amazing things you two have learned in this last month.

First, You both learned how to suck the puréed fruit directly from the to go pouches in under a minute! I am sure that I am starting some terrible habit by giving you these pouches while we are grocery shopping, but one, I feel bad because it’s usually dinner time when we are at the grocery store and it’s fun to see you two race to finish them.
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You tried so many new foods this month, hearts of palm, kidney beans, lettuce, mozzarella and baby bell cheese. You eat almost anything we give you, except Tilapia and eggs, you just don’t like them. And that’s ok, because you love chicken.  You also had Brazilian food and Thai food this month, two of our new favorite week night dinner out options.

We got a new deck behind our house because the old one was small and not safe for small children. This one is like a giant playpen, complete with a gate, so you have been spending lots of time outside.
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I have, since you were born, tried not to wish away time by thinking wont it be nice when they can sit up or hold their own bottle or crawl or walk. But I do look forward to very soon watching you chase each other around the tree on the deck on your little riding toys. When you were tiny I  would imagine two little girls standing by my feet reaching up with their little hands for me to pick them both up at once, and while you still need to hold on with one of your hands, we are there, and I love that you two do this. I have mastered picking you both up and carrying you around the house or out to the stroller at the same time.

You both stand balanced for sometimes up to thirty seconds and each of you has taken one or two steps on your own at least once, that I have seen. I learned that with twins, I may not always see you accomplish your first. This morning while I was changing Talias diaper, I saw Jordan out of the corner of my eye, when I turned around she was mid step two feet from the couch, but quickly fell to the ground, I didn’t see it but I know she took a step or two from the couch to when she landed. Such a big girl!
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Talia you have the whole mechanics of walking down pat. Your new favorite game is hold hands and walk, you can just go, go, go.  Now you just need to get your balance and you will be good to go all on your own.

One of the best things that you two do now is fall asleep, like champs. I don’t know if you are totally pooped or you have learned that we are not coming back to play so you might as well sleep, but you go to sleep every night with no crying, maybe a little whine when we put you in your crib, but as soon as we walk out of your room, there is silence. Talia you still wake up at night, if you scream long and loud enough that I think you might wake up Jordan I just have to pick you up, give you your pacifier and rock you a little, sometimes I have to change a wet diaper, but you are usually settled back in your crib in a few minutes. Jordan, you pretty much sleep all night, on occasion you wake up and want a little attention too, but it’s rare.

You both wake up around 5:45, sometimes earlier, ouch. When you get a bit older we are getting you a mini fridge so you can get your own milk. But until then up before the sun means you didn’t sleep enough, so three days a week I put you in the stroller and off we go for about 45 around the neighborhood. It’s an interesting feeling to see the stars, in the morning, because the sun hasn’t come up yet. I love this time of year, the air is the perfect temperature. Not hot, not cold, just perfect. The most exciting part of our morning walks, we get to see all the kids get on the school bus at exactly 6:55am. Then we watch the sun come up on our way home. You usually sleep for most of the walk and for another 15 or 20 minutes once we are home. The extra hour of sleep really helps you guys make it through the morning. Then we come home and eat breakfast, when abba come to the kitchen I go get ready then abba leaves and I play with you until Yael arrives.
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And the last new thing for my big girls is big girl car seats! That’s right, no more baby buckets. You each have two new cars eats. Yes that’s right, we have purchased four convertible cars eats in the last month. We were able to purchase one with baby store gift cards we received, that was a huge help. We got two Britax Marathons for Yaels car and two Britax Boulevards for my car. I would have preferred all Boulevards but we got the Marathons at a really good price and the only difference is the side head support. Since the girls will only be in Yaels car for short trips and in my car for longer road trips I waunted them to have more head support so that when they fall asleep they don’t strain their neck.

We have fun things planned to do every weekend this month, there are lots of outdoor fairs and festivals, we have a few birthday parties to go to and some very special visitors are coming to play and celebrate your birthday with you. Your abba and I are working hard to get things around the house ready and I am stealing every spare moment I can planning and preparing for a Birthday party you will never remember and that I will never forget. We love you, your pretty smiles, your silly giggles, the games you play with each other and the ways you show us how much you love us back. Happy 11 months baby girls, you are amazing in every way.
p.s. I wonder when the day will come again that you will sit next to each other and both smile at the camera at the same time like you did when you were tiny.

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Sometimes what seams important one day is ridiculous the next…

by Juliemara
09.13.12

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Two and half years ago when we got married I registered for 16 place settings of beautiful fine china. It was Micheal Aram for Waterford.

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I got most of it, about twelve place setting and all the serving pieces. I loved unpacking each of the boxes and carefully organizing the plates by size into the special china bags to store them in. Then before I had the babies I went to bed bath and beyond and ordered the remaining sets I had registered for. I knew that if I didn’t do it before the girls were born I never would. I still have yet to unpack those last four sets and 10 bowls. And part of me wishes I had all melamine dishes like those beautiful colorful ones in the photo above from an adorable little store in Jaffa called Sofie. You can find their adorable products on line here.
Se la vie. You live and you learn.

I’ll let you know when I get around I using the fine china I loved so much.

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A lovely little calendar

by Juliemara
09.12.12

20120911-224934.jpgI have been loving my owl desk calendar I created myself from a free download via A Typical Type A.If you want it tiny like mine just adjust the scale settings before you print.

I used different colors of washi tape to hang each page so I could just take it off at the end of the month, but you can also staple them all together or use a hole punch and loop some string through!

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