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We are NOT ready, but our twins are

twin toddlers

Well, it’s happening, and I’m terrified.

Tonight we are shopping for our two-year-old twins’ big girl beds. They will be three in July, and honestly, my husband Mike and I thought we had more time.

You see, we have transitioned two kids to big kid beds before. This isn’t new to us. But two at once? Gulp.

Sarah Martin Photography - Nesting Story nursery

We have always waited until about three months before our childrens’ third birthday to make the big move. This was a decision made when we witnessed a family member’s traumatic transition at a younger age.

So, we had set the month… April. It was supposed to be April. But two things have happened recently that has made it glaringly obvious that it has to be now.

First, Everly, our much taller twin, has escaped from her crib for the second time. This kind of stealth maneuvering never happened with our big kids. But last August, when I was out, Mike heard a loud BANG. He apparently knew right away that Everly had jumped out. Sure enough she did.

We knew we weren’t ready for the big move back then so we installed cameras and had a big talk with Everly to not jump or put her leg up over the side anymore. It worked, she stopped. Until last weekend.

Suddenly during what was supposed to be our twins’ naptime, we heard the door to their nursery open and out struts Everly. Our jaws dropped. We never heard a bang.

She couldn’t have fallen. After some inspection in their room and questioning our mischievous duo, it was clear that she had climbed out, something she must have learned from watching her older siblings climb in and out of their cribs). Also, there was lots of evidence that this escape had happened quite a bit earlier than when she decided to make her exit.

Mia’s crib was filled with items we had not, and would not put in there. I pictured Mia pointing around the room asking Everly to bring her things.

So, there’s that.

But then on Monday this week, Mia woke up screaming. She was convinced that her crib had broken. She kept saying, “my crib’s not working,” over and over again. Finally we were able to understand what her dream was about, but there was no convincing her that it hadn’t broken and that it was okay. She wouldn’t go near her crib that night and spent an almost sleepless night in our bed.

Mia sleeping in crib

Every night since there has been resistance going to bed, and some tears during the night.

When the big escape happened with Everly, we made the mistake of discussing getting big girl beds in front of our twins, and we haven’t heard the end of it since. I never realized that two-year-olds could master the art of pestering, but they have.

So here we are, about to shop for big girl beds. The honeymoon is over. Maybe it won’t be that bad, but I am preparing myself for the worst.

I will be documenting this process here, on our YouTube channel and on Instastories. It will probably be going down this weekend. So follow along, and maybe say a little prayer for us.

Here we go…

Have you transitioned multiples from cribs to beds? Do you have a story to tell or any helpful tips? Please leave them as a comment below.

A busy mom’s morning routine and how I do my hair with hot rollers fast

my morning routine

Depending on the season, my morning routine takes different shapes. But what is consistent is I have to find time each day to carve out for me while I am caring for my four kids and running my business from home.

Right now, rolling out of bed, throwing clothes on and caring for everyone else first makes the most sense. But I do take the time later each morning to clean myself up and even do my hair.

Follow along with me…

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you don’t miss a video!

8 simple tips (from a mom of four and a personal trainer) that will make your at home workouts more successful

I used to be a gym rat. I had finally found success with weight loss and exercise when I was in my early twenties. I associated working out with leaving my house, away from the distraction, (and snacks) and I would get it done.

8 tips for working out at home

But after becoming a mother and a failed attempt at going to the gym, (while my son screamed the entire time he was in the daycare my gym provided), I knew that I had to find a way to workout at home.

So, little by little I carved out a space, did my research and invested in a few pieces of equipment. This little haven became even more important as I had my second child, and eventually my third and fourth: twins.

newborn twins

There would be times that I would find getting up in the morning, before anyone else, my sweet spot, and other times in the evening, just after putting my kids to bed would be when I could get my workout in.

But it was always nice to know that I didn’t have to rely on childcare, or waste time driving somewhere to workout.

For me it was and is the perfect fit.

After having my twins I was on a roll. I worked out almost daily, starting after I was three months postpartum and I eventually lost sixty of the seventy pounds I had gained. But those last ten pounds have stuck to me like glue.

Mom in bikini

Occasionally I will shake things up and find some success, but then life will happen and boom, back to square one.

That’s when I decided to work with an in home personal trainer twice a week in my home, and it has made a massive difference. I have realized that I was stagnant and not really pushing myself enough.

My husband has got in on the action too, which has held us both accountable. I am now working out six days a week, and not only have I watched the scale start moving again, but muscles I have never seen before are popping up, and I am happier and more patient with my entire family.

I have already learned so much over the past month working out with a personal trainer, and have seen such incredible results, I wanted to share some home workout tips with you.

I asked Rob, from Trainers On Site to share his tips, and I have also included some of mine…

Personal trainer tips:

1. Invest in home fitness equipment. What is worth the investment? Essentials like small dumbbells, (5-10lb dumbbells are a must if not adjustable dumbbells), a stability ball to act like a bench, or a stepper (bench and cardio in 1), 2 different levels of resistance bands (light and medium), a door anchor to attach them to, a cardio machine that lasts like a treadmill, rower or an elliptical machine. Using different equipment not only freshens up your workout, but it puts different stimulus reacting to your muscles being worked, therefore greater results!

2. Use your technology and entertainment devices. You can tap into great music from your smart device, (I personally like FitRadio). Or for boring or mindless cardio, you can watch a show or movie. (Netflix is great for this). Many studies have proven that music enhances your performance. Why sit on a couch to watch TV when you can be active, moving and burn calories?

3. Track your workouts. Don’t just track the days you worked out, but also the sets, reps, load pushed or pulled. Use a notebook or journal, or go high tech and use an app like we do with our clients. In order to achieve better results you need to know what results you had before. Using the Progressive Overload approach and adding more load, or more reps, or more sets, makes a big difference in increasing lean muscle while burning stubborn body fat.

4. Involve someone to help keep you accountable. This could be your partner/spouse, a friend with similar goals, or a personal trainer to keep you on track. Adding a workout partner for motivation and drive allows both parties a win/win scenario. Make sure it is someone you can count on when you don’t feel like showing up to your own workout. Personal Training at home works!

5. Carve out ME TIME. There could be many options here so you have to figure out what works, (early before anyone gets up, during nap or school time, late at night when kids go to sleep), the earlier the better (a moms day never ends! This is an essential tip that might go overlooked. Get in a groove and find out what works best for you and your family and then stick to it. Home workouts are great for efficiency and convenience but can also end up being minimal if you don’t stick to a regular schedule.

Tips from a mom of four who has fallen in love with working out at home:

6. Have a carrot. I find planning a little getaway, or get togethers with friends the best motivation. It can be so easy to not leave your house for days on end without really realizing it when you are in the trenches with your kids. Make plans and get excited about them.

7. Take progress shots. When you are so busy and in comfy sweats most days it can sometimes be hard to see any progress. I love referring back to the photos I have just after having my kids and thanking my body for creating those humans and how far it has come since.

8. Dress up like you are leaving to go to a gym. After having many months of success working out at home, I slowly started to let everything slide. At first it began with me being too lazy to put on my running shoes, then a bra, and eventually I was rolling out of bed and doing a couple sit-ups in my pjs and calling it a day. Putting the effort in to dress the part will set you up for a better workout.

Want to join in on a workout with us? Check out our Facebook live video as Rob, from Trainers On Site, myself and two special guests lead you through a workout you can do at home.

Trainers On Site has been servicing the GTA since 2008 bringing workouts to clients homes and workplaces.

Their mission is to help the world get a little bit healthier one workout at a time.

They offer:
– one on one personal training
– small group personal training
– corporate fitness

They service:
– Milton and Halton Hills
– Oakville
– Mississauga
– Brampton
– downtown and west Toronto

You’re their perfect client if you’re a busy mom or dad who has no time or motivation to get to the gym.

In order to try out their service they’re offering first-time customers a free fitness assessment, personal training session and meal plan to help them get started.

Check out Trainers On Site at www.trainersonsite.com or call them at one 188-826-91867.

Workout at home

Disclosure: Nesting Story is in partnership with Trainers On Site and has received free services from them.

I will stop seeing myself as broken and finally see what my body is capable of

This is it. This is the year. I am done hiding behind my kids in photos, and pulling at my clothes as I sit down. I am ready for change. But I know now that I have to change the way I see myself, before any real change can happen.

mother and baby

When I was around my oldest daughter’s age, (so that would be around age six), I had two minor surgeries. Then I jumped into my parents’ pool backwards, smacking my chin, resulting in stitches. The years following I had many bouts of strep throat, tonsillitis, pneumonia and mono. Then at the end of high school came the big finish… a tumour on my thyroid resulting in a complete thyroidectomy.

I know right? I am starting to look a little like a thirty-four-year-old quilt.

I was one of four kids, and can’t imagine the worry all of this would have caused my parents. Now as a mother of four, I know how easily you can start placing your child into a certain description or type, even if you shouldn’t. I was the charismatic, sunny, slightly chubby, bubbly, non-athletic one.

childhood

My mom was very quick to let me know that I was beautiful the way I was, that I would always find my place in the world because I was not only smart, but had incredible street-smarts, and to not over-do it. I credit this kind upbringing to my current post-four-babies, (including twins), self-love attitude. I do think I am pretty awesome, despite some scars, stretch marks and cellulite I have collected over the years.

But truth be told, I have played the “broken” card one too many times in my life. After having mono, I was able to negotiate a doctor’s note that exempted me from phys-ed for an entire year. I was a smooth talker, and would turn my fear of letting team members down, into a joke about how I don’t play any sports that involves a ball, or a team.

Ahem… this one is still true and I will stand by it. Basically, the idea of me playing volleyball is my worst nightmare.

But when it came to physical exercise and getting in shape, I would attempt my goal for a short time, and then give up.

Finally, in my second year of collage, after ballooning to an all-time high on the scale, I set my mind to it… I would lose the weight and become the fit person I always wanted to be. Guess what, I did it. I reached my goal. I lost almost 30 pounds and became this badass, strong person that I had never met before.

slim

How did I do it? I did the zone diet, (which Jennifer Aniston made cool at the time), I worked out a lot, (I had lots of free time between classes), and I indoor rock climbed, (one of my favourite non-team/ball sports), with my boyfriend at the time, Mike, (he’s now my husband).

I remember that this time in my life was one of my happiest.

This was following one of the darkest times in my life, after having my thyroid out, my family dog dying, family health scares and not yet finding my path to my future career, I had fallen into a depression, which I eventually pulled myself out of with the help of a therapist.

But now I was soaring. I would sometimes come home from a late night indoor climbing workout, or running faster than I thought was possible on the treadmill and be met by family or friends with comments that I was becoming “too thin,” or “too obsessed.”

These comments slowly wore me down. They took roots inside of me, and began to blossom into feelings of guilt about my progress and that maybe everyone liked me a little more as the bubbly, slightly chubby, non-athletic one.

Since the height of my personal physical fitness goal being reached, and the subsequent fall back into old habits of considering a light stroll a workout, resulting in being so weak I pull my neck picking up my kids toys, this idea that I am broken or more liked when out of shape, has haunted me.

Well, that was until I was met with the biggest challenge yet in my life… my twin pregnancy. The mental, physical and emotional toll this challenge took on me has been life changing. I think the fact that I couldn’t just give up and take my belly off was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

twin pregnancy

Truthfully, I thought my twin pregnancy would break me. I surely wasn’t cut out for that kind of marathon. Every day I would think to myself, “this is it, the day that my body gives out, that it exposes itself for what I always thought it was… a weakling.”

But instead, the opposite happened. My body shocked me at its incredible ability to be an incubator, creating two people at once. Even when I would almost black out when I reached the top of the stairs, or the day I lost my vision while driving. It did it’s job. It was a mighty vessel.

twin pregnancy

My mind even shocked me. Out of isolation and a feeling of being trapped inside of my body, I was able to eventually push past the fear and create change in my life.

It has taken me a long time to get where I am after having my twins. It has taken a lot of perseverance and hard work. But most of all, it has taken a lot of patience and love for myself.

weight loss after twin pregnancy

Rewiring my brain isn’t easy. I know what has held me back and I am slowly chipping away.

I have created a visual in my head, and I am constantly closing my eyes and returning to that vision of strength and determination. A person who isn’t afraid anymore. A person who is going to let go of the comfortable weight and soar again.

working out

I have come so far and have been through so much. It is time to recreate who I see myself as, knowing that although I will be changing some things, that doesn’t mean that I am losing the best parts of me.

I want this change to come from a place of self care and of giving back to my body after everything it has given and created.

I’m not broken, I’ve just been scared. It’s time to let that fear help propel me forward so that I can reach my goals, drop the excuses, be secure within my success and know that wanting to reach the finish line is not selfish, it’s self-love.

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What am I doing about it?

I have been researching, reading, sharing, exploring and have been asking for help. I have partnered with a personal trainer who is going to help me stay focused and stand by me when I think that I am not enough.

Rob from Trainers On Site has been working with me, (and Mike), since the beginning of December and already I am feeling stronger and closer to my goals.

I am so excited to start bringing all of you on this journey with me. I will be raw and honest with you along the way, sharing my fears and my triumphs as I peel back the layers of self doubt I have been carrying around with me since childhood.

I will be sharing what I’ve learned, including my exercise routine, fitness tips and meal ideas on Facebook (including live videos), here on the blog, on my YouTube channel and on Instagram.

Progress photos will be posted each week, and I will motivate and inspire you with your goals along the way.

Trainers On Site is an in-home personal training service. Servicing Toronto, West GTA and Halton.

Disclosure: Nesting Story is in partnership with Trainers On Site and has received free services from them.

Grocery shopping for our family of six: fresh, tasty and budget friendly

This blog post was created in partnership with FreshCo.

It took me a long time to find my groove when it comes to grocery shopping and preparing meals for six people. It’s not an easy task. But when you add on trying to prepare fresh healthy meals for your family, and not breaking the bank, the entire process can feel overwhelming.

For a few years there, my husband and I were just in survival mode. We had four young kids and would reach for what was convenient over what was healthy and probably more cost effective. But as the dust settled, and we had a closer look at our bank accounts, we knew something had to change.

One of the biggest changes our family had made over the last few months is ordering in less and actually meal planning and getting what we need at the grocery store. I may not be so far out of the trenches that I am cooking gourmet meals for our family, but I have mastered a few healthy, family-friendly meals that I can make in bulk and then reuse the leftovers in other meals.

What is my number one go-to meal? A roast, including roasted vegetables, which I cannot get enough of, especially during the winter. Now with Christmas over, it is time to reel in the spending and be very strategic when it comes to feeding my family.

Here is how I typically approach my meal planning and grocery shopping for our family of six…

For us, I have found what works best is for me to only plan for three days at a time. This is less daunting, and then if something derails us, like illness, I won’t be wasting a week’s worth of food. I am starting to base more and more of our meals around what is on sale at the moment, using our local grocery store’s mobile flyer to help build my list. I find that FreshCo not only has great deals, but will even price match.

making grocery list

I don’t mind popping out to the grocery store a few times a week either, I think that’s because I can wrap my head around a small grocery shop rather than a massive shop, which can take up hours of my day to shop and then put away the groceries.

grocery shopping with four kids

These mini grocery shops can also make it more manageable when I have all four kids in tow.

Grocery shopping at FreshCo

I have my staples that I stick to, and always buy our produce first. I will typically plan out two fresh meals and grab an easier back-up meal like frozen lasagna, just in case, well… life happens.

Roasts are one of the easiest meals to prepare in my opinion. It is a meal in one, but the best part is, it’s easy to make a large quantity without extra hassle. This is a must when you have four kids. I always go to the recipe my mother passed down to me and I will share with you.

cooking a roast

Start by pre-heating your oven. You will have to check the weight of your roast and determine how long to cook it for. Often a quick Google search can answer this question for you. Take your roast, (either pork or beef), and lay it in a roasting pan, fat side up. Although I have a nice roasting pan, I have been using disposable tin pans for easier cleanup lately.

Cut up your vegetables and place them around your roast. I highly recommend carrots, potatoes, onions and my personal favourite… parsnips.

cooking a roast

Here’s where the magic comes in… you quickly season your roast and vegetables with pepper and salt, toss on a few dabs of butter and then squirt your favourite steak sauce all over it. Yes, you heard me right; the secret is the steak sauce. I love using HP sauce on my roasts. It has a great kick which really compliments the flavour of the vegetables. Yum!

uncooked roast

Then cover and cook for the recommended time.
Afterwards, you have a beautiful roast that will most likely last you a few meals…cooked roast

…and an abundance of roasted vegetables that I love to add to pastas and salads for days to come.

roasted vegetables in salad

I am excited, as my kids get older, and life becomes a little easier, I cannot wait to add more and more meal ideas to my arsenal. It is exciting finding ways to shop and meal plan that actually work and save us money.

Disclosure: This post has been generously sponsored by the makers of FreshCo but the opinions expressed are my own.