A Day In The Life with Four Kids

It’s been a while since I shared a “day in the life” video with you, but I am so glad I took the time to film one this week. I began creating these types of videos way back when I first started dabbling in YouTube as a way to give you a fly-on-the-wall look into our busy life and how I do things with four kids, including twins.

Although our twins aren’t crawling around and in diapers like when I first began creating these day in the life videos, today with all four kids in school I face new challenges. So grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, or… let’s be real, pop your AirPods in and watch while you do the dishes, or put it on for your kids too. Regardless of how you watch it, I hope you enjoy!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Nesting Story’s YouTube channel. I put new videos out every Monday and Wednesday!

Twins… what was I getting into?

Me: “Is everything okay in there?”

Ultrasound Technician “Yes, everything is okay… times two.”

Me: “Ummm, excuse me.”

Yes, this is how my twin journey began. It was quite a surprise and one I will never forget. I realize all twin/multiples pregnancies begin their journey in many different ways and each and every one are truly unique, but mine was the classic Hollywood portrayal of stunned parents-to-be who at 12-weeks-pregnant have just found out that they are expecting not one but two babies.

Fast forward to the end of my pregnancy and I had NO idea how I was going to handle taking care of two babies at the same time. See, I was not a rookie mom, a few years earlier I had given birth to a daughter who was the star of our lives, but also demanded a lot of our attention. To be honest I wasn’t even sure if we could have handled bringing another baby into our family without losing our minds. I felt like I was still emerging from the new mom fog and I am ashamed to admit it but I may have googled “how to know if you should have another baby” one too many times. Alas, when we finally decided to give it a shot it didn’t even cross my mind that it could be a double shot.

From a mom of one to expecting two babies, dealing with a twin surprise by Fallon Melander and Nesting Story

So you can imagine how unprepared I felt. From things like strollers, car seats, bassinets and high chairs we needed to either buy new items or in the case of my car we had to upgrade to something larger that would fit three car seats safely. The economic impact alone of having two babies at once was a hard pill to swallow, and still is. But I can tell you the emotional and physical impacts for me were even harder. Extreme nausea, fatigue, joint pain and swelling combined with anxiety, fear, anger and panic kept me up all hours of the night. I read every book, joined every twin mom group and scoured the internet for all the information. But as prepared as I may have been the deep seed of the unknown began to weigh me down. That is until those babies were born. I did not have an “aha” moment during my pregnancy nor did I find a sense of calm. It wasn’t until those two babies were in my face with their perfect little round faces and tiny little bodies did I see the true miracle that was twins.

I was surprised with two babies and became a twin mom by Fallon Melander and Nesting Story

I hope to share my birth story and personal twin journey with you all soon but I really wanted to share my true side of finding out and processing a twin pregnancy and beyond. I hope this provides any of you who may be beginning your multiples journey or those in the midst of it some comfort that it is not all rainbows and butterflies. That fear and anxiety is okay and you are not alone. It does get better and it does get easier in other ways. Reach out to other twin mamas for support, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and know you are stronger than you think.

Twins, four kids, the truth and why I’ve been afraid to say this out loud

A note to my readers… I have been sitting on this post for almost a year. I wrote it after a particular trying season, while taking a minute to breathe just outside of my daughter’s dance class. I was resistant to share it. Maybe because I needed the clouds to part. Although this still rings true when things get tough, it’s not such an overwhelming sensation anymore. I have updated my kids ages to reflect today. I hope that with sharing this piece, a mother somewhere might feel a little less alone.

Mother and four kids
Christmas portrait with twins and older siblings

I am about to talk about something that is an almost constant thought of mine. It is something that I think about often and I have only said out loud to three people before in fear that when I utter the words, I might not be understood. That I might be judged, or told that I am not grateful.

But I have decided to say these words out loud because I might not be the only parent of multiples to think this.

Maybe you will get it.

I’ve written a lot about our journey, from the moment we found out we were having two babies, to preparing for their arrival and babyhood with two. But the older our twins get, the less I feel I am going through twin-specific phases and the more I feel like we just happen to have two kids with the same birthday.

Truthfully, I forget I have twins half the time. But every once and a while, when we are in a pressure-cooker-situation, like trying to pop into a store and both of my four-year-olds melt down and they are too big to scoop up easily to abandon ship, I remember… oh yeah I have twins!

I should mention to anyone who is new to my blog, that I have two older kids too. An nine-year-old and a seven year old. Which as you can probably imagine, is a very busy life.

So here it is…

There is this sense of relief when I remember I have twins. The fact that I never had the choice to ease into four kids. The fact that I never had three kids and thought, let’s have one more.

Because in those moments, where I feel completely outnumbered and overwhelmed, I find comfort in the fact that I did not choose to jump from two to four.

Now before I get in too deep with this confession, I want to say that moms with four kids, or multiples are not “more of a mom” than moms with one, or two, or three kids. Moms with one kid have their own set of challenges, I get that. In fact I often tell parents that one was WAY harder than four, (no built in playmates, everything is a first, and there’s too much time to overthink every decision).

But we are busier. It’s a mathematical fact.

We have to bring four kids in from the car, who are cranky and hungry and just want to challenge us. We have to do four bedtimes, with four different sleep challenges. We have to satisfy four different appetites and keep track that each one ate at least something other than bread each day. We have four yearly dentist, doctor and eye-doctor appointments. Four different school and friend challenges… and the list goes on and on.

Every fall, here in Canada, we have to track down four sets of mitts, hats, winter coats, boots and snow pants, whether its digging through hand-me-down bins, or running from store to store not settling until you find snow pants with reinforced knee-patches, to save yourself a mid-winter shopping trip.

So, there it is. That’s the truth. It’s out there now.

But here’s the good thing… I wouldn’t have it any other way. I may have not chosen this path to four children, but I am so glad that I was dealt this hand.

Being a mom of four, and twins, has forced me to grow in ways that without my children, I would have never done. It has made me realize that it’s okay to give myself grace when I’ve had a rough day, and be kind to myself when it all feels like a lot.

On the hardest days I, ( after sometimes loosing my cool a little), will remind myself that letting go of perfection, and loving my family fiercely is almost always the solution.

How do I really feel about our twins graduating pre-school?

preschool graduation

Two weeks ago our twins, Mia and Everly, graduated pre-school at Kids and Company. It was totally adorable and I’ll admit it, a bit emotional too.

First of all, can we talk about their little caps that our twins’ teachers made out of black construction paper? Oh so cute! But as I sat there, on teeny chairs, as excited parents took photos of their first born hitting such a huge milestone, it hit me… these are our LAST babies. This is it.

Part of me has always loved doubling up on milestones with twins. Diapers, bottles, cribs, each of those phases rushed by us quickly with two and I never looked back. But lately I have been finding myself feeling a little cheated. I don’t get to bask in third and forth pre-school graduations; it’s a double whammy.

As our four kids excitedly scurried around the festively decorated classroom piling delicious snacks on their plates, I made sure I just slowed down and sat in the moment. In our little corner, amongst beanbag chairs and miniature sofas, I took it all in, trying to divide my attention between both excited children.

Don’t get me wrong. I am proud. I am oh so very proud. In fact, this is the moment we have been talking about since we laugh-cried, finding out that twins were on the way. But the moment is here and it is bittersweet.

So, what is my advice? Drink in every moment. The loose skin on your newborn’s knees, the way they keep sucking as they sleep, even after their pacifier has fallen out of their mouth. The first time they pull themselves up with a gleeful smile and get into something they know they aren’t supposed to. The giggles, oh the giggles! Drink it in mama.

This post was created in partnership with Kids & Company.

Finding a childcare that not only gives me time to build my career, but that my kids also love, has been such a wonderful aspect to having more of a work/life balance. Kids & Company has the flexibility I need with my schedule, but also the unique programming, learning opportunities, from-scratch meals and sense of community they provide fills me with such confidence in my choice in childcare.

With locations all across Canada, Kids & Company is a high-quality care and early development centre that parents can trust and kids will love. It started under the leadership of two moms (one with 8 children!), who felt there was a need for flexible care options in a setting with amazing teachers, community, proven development programs and an understanding of today’s families.

Whether it’s their Grab ‘n’Go snacks, parent workshops, or their complimentary care for date nights and shopping days outside of regular hours, nothing has been forgotten.

Here’s where it gets exciting… right now Kids and Company is waiving the registration fee (a $150 value) for Nesting Story readers! Just email amcnaught@kidsandcompany.com to access this exclusive offer.
One waved registration per family for a newly registering child before December 31, 2018. Subject to availability.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kids & Company. While compensation was provided, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Kids & Company.

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How I took my body back after having four kids – every single secret to losing weight and loving my body

How I took my body back after having four kids - Nesting Story

Have you ever felt like you have no control over your body? Ever since I can remember, I was always the chubby member of my family. It saddens me to reflect on how much I obsessed about my weight, even as a child.

My body was always my enemy. Even as I grew into an adult, occasionally stuck to a diet and lost some weight, I was always experiencing inner turmoil with my body. So, I abused it, made fun of it to my friends, and cursed it under my breath.

I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach just acknowledging that I had these kinds of feelings for thirty years of my life. It sickens me.

But nothing made me feel more out of control with my body than pregnancies. My body was in charge and I was a passenger.

It took me three pregnancies, the final one being a strenuous twin pregnancy to change my relationship with my body. It was that last pregnancy that shocked not just my body, but my mind and my heart so deeply, that it set me on a different course.

I have not only lost the 70 pounds since my twin pregnancy, but I’ve kept it off. Although I am not a fan of focusing on the number, (in fact I don’t even have a working scale right now and quite like it that way), but those extra 70 pounds on my 5’2″ frame were causing health issues, pain and depression. So yes, my journey to self-love through self-care has involved weight-loss.

I have for so long wanted to bottle my secrets and lessons as best I can to pass them on. To pass them on to a younger me. To pass them on to that girl who didn’t know how to not only be in control of her own body, but truly love and appreciate it. To that new mom that doesn’t even recognize her own body.

What actually has been my secret to not only losing the baby weight, but keeping it off? Well, the secret is years in the making. It’s not just a magic diet, or an intense workout routine, but so much more. It’s so much more that no one ever tells you. But I truly believe, without hesitation, that these tips can help anyone who is struggling with their weight.

Let’s rewind to the beginning, shall we?

twins day 1

The day I came home with my twins.

On the day I came home from the hospital after having my twins, the curiosity was killing me… how much weight had I lost now that two human beings had exited my body? They each weighed 6 pounds, so, I figured, maybe I had lost 12 pounds, or even more because you have to count the amniotic fluid and placentas. I hopped on the scale and was devastated. I had only lost 3 pounds.

I looked down at my massive swollen feet, and the logical side of my brain told me that I was retaining a lot of water and needed to be patient. I had been through this twice before after giving birth to my older kids. But come on, two freaking people, it didn’t seem fair.

As I looked down at my body, I didn’t recognize it. It was bruised and mushy. I had swelled to a weight that I didn’t think my 5’2″ frame was capable of.

I picked myself up and switched my focus to what was most important: caring for my four kids, healing from my C-section and basically surviving our family’s new dynamic.

weight loss after twins

Year one 

The time had come. I was given the go ahead from my doctor to slowly start exercising. This is it. This is the moment I had been waiting for. I had been dreaming about taking my body back since I spent day after day, on my sofa, with a pillow between my knees, growing babies.

At first my progress was slow. Keep in mind I was trying to care for four kids as well as myself. It was so difficult to carve out any “me” time. It wasn’t until I began waking up before anyone in our family each morning to exercise. That’s when everything began to fall into place.

I made time. I stopped waiting for time to find me and I made sure that I carved out time for exercise.

I began to love and appreciate my body. I have struggled with my weight since I was a child. Anytime I would make some strides with my weight-loss and strengthening goals, it came from an angry place where I felt I had to punish my body. Having twins was finally the event that changed the way I looked at my body. It has done incredible things and it was to be celebrated and cared for.

I was focused on my goals. Losing the baby weight was my number one goal. I planned to eat healthy foods, indulge here and there and not beat myself up about it. I also wanted to get in shape again, especially knowing I was finished having children. I would take my time. But this time it was different. I had simple goals that were for me and no one else. I wanted to be strong. I was over hurting my back when I pick up a baby. I want to be flexible. No more pulling my neck while reaching for a pacifier that had fallen under a crib. I wanted to go to my closet and feel good in whatever I put on. No more pulling at waistlines and being limited to leggings.

lost weight after twins

plateau

Year two

Little did I know that I was heading into a one-year weight plateau….

I started to play little mind tricks with myself, like, you’ve got this far, you can take days (or weeks) off of exercise. Or after an exhausting day of building my business, while giving enough attention to my family, I would “reward” myself by gorging on unhealthy, or ridiculous portions.

Every once and a while I would find my rhythm and work at getting a few more pounds off, but despite making “losing the last ten pounds” my number one goal, I would continue to self-sabotage.

Then, at around 17-months postpartum, I made the conscious decision to relax. I embraced my body again, and was proud of how far I had come.

This was also the year that I was starting to hit on something that would again pop up in year five. I realized that I needed to experience more joy and laugh more. But more about that later.

I switched my focus of weight-loss. I stopped making “weight loss” my New Year’s resolution. Maybe having “lose those last ten pounds” as my New Year’s resolution, did more damage than good? Maybe that’s too much pressure, and I was setting myself up to fail?

I rewired my brain. I also started to realize how much I was stress eating and began my journey of rewiring my brain to stop thinking, “you deserve this,” and instead think, “this won’t fix your problem.”

I began to see my body’s purpose and know it’s power. I knew that the war my body had been through was it’s own and couldn’t be compared to other bodies. I had no intentions of erasing my journey, just rehabilitating the body that brought my kids into this world.

bikini after twins

before photo

Year three

As year three began, I started to feel ready to go after a new goal… strength. But every time I tried to get myself into a rhythm with exercise, or healthier eating habits, I would get in my head again and self sabotage.

I began to dive deeper into reasons why I was self-sabotaging, which ended up going way back to some injuries and illnesses I experienced as a child and I stopped seeing myself as broken, and realized that I was self-sabotaging out of fear.

After this important realization, I told myself “I’m not broken, I’ve just been scared.” It was 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.

I got help. Sometimes going it alone isn’t enough, and it’s okay to get some help. First I trained with a personal trainer for three months. This taught me that my body was far from frail, or broken and that I can push it farther without fear. I also signed up for a healthy eating program just long enough to help me understand what size portions I should be consuming, and what times of the day I should be eating.

personal trainer

after photo

Year four

Last spring, after a quieter winter, life got busy. I lot of exciting projects came my way, I had a lot of travel, both for work and vacations, and the kids schedules were getting busier.

During that excitement I noticed my energy levels lagging, heart palpitations kept coming and I was often light-headed. I kept putting it off and finally I went to see my doctor when it dawned on me that I hadn’t had a physical in over FOUR YEARS!

Whoops!

My blood work came back showing that my iron levels were in the toilet. So I started to take iron supplements and my energy levels came back.

Just as I was starting to feel like myself again, I had another major setback. By the end of August I started having abdominal pains that were different than any IBS symptom I had experienced in the past. But, typical me… I ignored them.

Well, I ignored them until my husband convinced me to go have them checked out. I was immediately sent to the hospital and was diagnosed with Diverticulitis that day.

in the hospital

This for me has been a big wake-up call. I have been making some huge lifestyle changes including being less busy, moving towards a more minimalist life, having laser focus on work, but not trying to do everything and making more time to cook.

I have also been exploring my health on a deeper level. I have been peeling the onion as to why I am having so many digestive issues and struggling with my energy and using food as fuel instead of comfort.

Really knowing and caring for my body. Being more in tune with my body and making sure that it is better cared for has helped me stick to exercise routines. I now know that there is a handful of foods that I just cannot eat because I have food intolerances that cause excruciating pain. I would have never found these answers if I didn’t keep digging deeper and deeper.

skiing

Year five

As the fall approached, some tough stuff came our way, which forced both myself and my husband to self reflect and think about what we really want and what is really important. On the top of my list was to find my joy again. To actually experience life instead of surviving, or controlling life.

I have fun. This year I have been choosing joy and choosing me more. This has included getting a puppy and taking up skiing again.  I’ve made caring for my body fun and second nature.

Recently I realized was caring so much for a couple people in my family who were stumbling, and I was working so hard to help them find balance and happiness again, that I began to neglect myself. This formula doesn’t work. I’ve begun to put the oxygen mask on myself first, before anyone else in my life.

I am my first priority. I’ve begun a new journey of self discovery and lifestyle improvement that includes everything from a healthy diet and exercise, to meditation, listening to inspiring audiobooks, massage therapy and doing some things for myself that I’ve wanted to do for a while.

weight loss

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.

I knew that post-babies would be a new chapter for my body and that I had to learn how to love my new curves, stretch-marks and dimples.

I have come so far and have been through so much. I have recreated who I see myself as, knowing that although I’ve changed some things, that it doesn’t mean that I have lost the best part of me. This change has come from a place of self care and of giving back to my body after everything it has given and created.

Make time. Love and appreciate your body. Focus on your goals. Try to have goals other than just weight loss. Rewire your brain to break bad habits. Get help. Truly know and care for your body. Have fun. Make yourself your first priority.

The truth is, reaching fitness goals and then maintaining a healthy body is a journey. Use these lessons as a roadmap for you to begin yours and whatever you do, don’t stop. Don’t settle. You deserve this.

Success isn’t perfection. Success is allowing days to slow down. Success is allowing a day to feast with your family. Success is to be at peace with those days and getting back on track the next. Success is embracing your health and knowing deep in your core that you deserve to treat your body like a temple. Success is being able to zoom out and see the big picture, see the humans it’s created, the war its been through and the strives you’ve made.

You can continue to follow my health and fitness journey on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube!