We have sooooo many toys in our house that I am always tripping over or kicking something. To be honest I’m a bit over it, the boys have toys they play with everyday and toys they play with every so often. The rest I just want to get rid of at this point – I won’t of course but I may be doing a clean out soon and packing some away. With twins you get an endless stream of toys and to be honest the boys still have toys sitting in our backroom that have not been opened since they were given them last christmas. It’s bad!! This year I really don’t want that. I completely get that toys are a fun present to shop for and give when you don’t have kids of your own but if they aren’t played with it’s just a waste of money.
On thursday night we took the boys to the shops and perused the 3 majors toy sales – Big W, Kmart, and Target. With catalogues in hand I searched out the items I thought were appropriate for the boys for christmas and their birthday and really looked at them. Everything always looks great in catalogues, and surprisingly some things seem a lot bigger, but up close some things that we thought were great have now been crossed off our list.
Yesterday with catalogues in hand I created a document complete with prices, stores and pictures that we can email to family as a wish list. We already have presents to give the boys for both their birthday and christmas (for the next two years!!). When I see a bargain on either ebay or at a store I buy it. Why spend $100 when you can get something for $20. Yes I admit it at times I am a bit of an organisational freak, but only in certain areas of my life and house.
So hopefully people will follow my list and the boys will get some presents that I know they will play with, rather than a whole lot more junk to fill up my spare room. I’m still expecting to get an overload of toys but hopefully it wont be as bad as this will be their second Christmas and birthday.
I am a very crafty person, once upon a time I made my own cards and sold them at local markets. I did quite well. But it is a very competitive field and I had other goals in mind. So when my life took a different turn I packed it all up into boxes which is where it sat for several years. Occasionally I would get the urge to be crafty and I would take up a new craft – I’ve done everything for papercraft and stamping, to jewellery making to cross stitch to sewing. And I’ve still got it all, it’s too expensive to part with and over time it is becoming useful again as my crafty instincts kick back in. When we decided to get married I did everything – from the invitations to the table settings and place cards to my wedding album. I designed it all and hand made it. It was everything I wanted. And I can still look back on it and be proud. Before the boys were even born I started their birth announcements so we could just insert the names and birthdate – I went all out and its probably lucky I made them early as it still took me several months to get the cards out!! Instead of a traditional chirstening we opted for a baby blessing to celebrate with our friends and family, which I had to do in a mickey mouse theme, making everything to match (including the cake!). And of course the boys birthday I designed the invitations and the decorations (including several cakes) all in the sesame street theme. So with family on both sides announcing their plans to get married in the last 6 months I have been entrusted with making and designing the invitations for the engagements (which are now both completed) and for one of the weddings. Everything from the invitation to the bonbonniere and place cards have been designed and are currently being made by me. It’s actually quite hard work! The design part is lots of fun but when it gets down to it, putting it together for 100 guests is very time consuming. The things we do for family! I’ve been told more times than I can count that I should start my own business doing invitations but honestly the stress of other people constantly changing their mind and the deadlines is just not manageable with my two boys and a husband who does shift work as I can’t designated specific work times or days. I would say maybe when the boys are older but I actually don’t know what my plans are for the future.
OK so I may have gone a little mad when I starting planning the boys birthday cake. I wanted to just do a normal everyday cake but then I came across Cake 2 The Rescue (www.cake2therescue.com.au) and I had to have their ses-a-me cupcake bites, and then of course I had to make them each a smash cake. So you can see how it all got a bit out of hand. Thankfully the girls over at cake 2 the rescue are life savers and were able to get it all express posted to me, complete with everything I needed and very clear, easy to read instructions. Below is what it I got when I opened the box. Exciting!!!!!
So I ordered extra because obviously I have twins and I needed the boys names to fit across the cupcakes for my idea to work and then once I actually started baking I had enough mixture to also make my two smash cakes (if you don’t know what a smash cake is then keep an eye on my blog as I’ll be doing a post on it soon). So I started by making the cakes – when I said everything is included I meant it – theres cupcake cases and a try to cook and serve them in (genius!!). Below is before they were cooked and straight out of the oven. My house smelled like cake – yum!!!!!!
So once they were out I had to start thinking about the icing, which was easy. But then it was all about fondant. And I’m completely new to fondant but it was all coloured for me so all I had to do was roll it out (with the supplied rolling pin) and cut out the shapes to make my little characters and letters (also supplied). So I started, it was a long process. My husband irratated me during the process, which never ends well but I pushed on.
Things were definitely coming together and I was pretty happy with my handiwork. So the last step to put it altogether was relatively easy and this was the end result. I think the cupcakes were super cute and the smash cakes were exactly what we needed.
But of course I wasn’t done. Don’t be silly!! I still had to make the large cake. This was just a basic packet mix sponge cake, that I iced with buttercream that was coloured. I then piped the yellow happy birthday on and added their names. I added a little blue fence just for fun and a couple of character cars. Unfortunately it was put in the fridge so when it came out o be served it cracked. It didnt really matter, our family and friends still ate it and the boys stuck their hands in it!! lol
Click here to see some of the birthday decorations!
I know it has taken me a while but here are a few shots from the boys birthday. It was Sesame Street themed and I made some of the decorations myself (yes I am nuts!!), bought the balloons off ebay, as well as a few other bits and pieces.
The letter box and the front door both had signs for the boys based on the Sesame Street sign. We had various balloons that I filled with a helium tank I got from the local shops (it was cheaper to buy one than to hire one!). The talking toys I got off ebay for next to nothing, same with the books.
I bought the boys special little plates and cups as a keepsake and they even wore elmo and cookie monster on their clothing. Very cute!
As we were having essentially two birthday parties on the same day it was alot of work to have everything ready the day before and my in laws thankfully came early that morning to help with the final touches. The first party was a party for the boys and 3 of their little almost one year old friends. They played in the ball pit (yes I have a mini one – a fantastic ebay purchase that has provided hours of entertainment) and loved the bubble machine I picked up from Kmart. So that party went for an hour and at the end each little one received a party bag as below. I was very concious not to include any lollies as I didn’t think they were appropriate for kids under one, so each child got a rubber duckie (elmos favourite too), a sesame street character, a tactile ball thing (I have no idea what theyre called but my boys loved the different feel of them), a little sesame street book and of course some bubbles and a cupcake. I made the tops of the bags myself and on the back they had a personalised thankyou. For the second party we also had some older kids so they also got lollies in their bags.
Click here to see the birthday cakes!
It’s been a busy few days. After the boys birthday I thought things would be a bit more relaxed but I was wrong! Had to visit the inlaws to get photos from the boys birthday, and took a visit to the country to see someone who I consider family. So its been a busy few days. Add to that that hubby has been doing morning shifts the last few days and my whole schedule has gone out the window. We adpated really well but tomorrow he goes back to afternoon/evening shift so we have to readapt all over again. I’m a little upset! I was in this great routine with the kids and now it’s going to be ruined but it will be ok.
So we have some lovely photos from the boys birthday but unfortunately not as many as I had hoped for. This is what happens when your aren’t taking them yourself. Oh well. The important moments have been captured and I will have them in their photo albums so that makes me happy. I can look back one day and remember the lovely time we had.
We used hubbys day off mid week to take a trip to see someone I consider family. My gran unfortunately passed away last year, but her lovely partner is still around and has been my whole life so we try to go up regularly to visit. Its a long day but he loves to see the boys and considering my family is quite small it makes me feel good whenever we go and spend a few hours with him. He is really good to us, and I mean really good. He always tries to give us money, which I always refuse to take but somehow always manage to go home with (he’s sneaky!) and this was no different. He gave the boys a lovely card and what I consider a large amount of money (but to some is probably nothing). It was really funny, I opened the card and the first thing the kids did was go for the green notes!!
We decided that it would mostly go into bank accounts for them for when they are older, but that we would go and buy them a couple of new toys. And so off to the shops we went this afternoon. And can I just say it was the most wonderful moment. There is a kids shop at our local shops that I love. Its all wooden toys, which I’ve been really keen to buy the boys as all their current stuff is plastic, which I am a little sick of! So I spent quite a while browsing and picking up and playing with all the bits and pieces. And it was just this amazing feeling of being able to buy the boys a toy each and not having to stress about being able to afford it. Almost everything the boys got for christmas and their birthday I purchased off ebay, so it was all second hand. And I know they don’t know the difference and there is nothing wrong with what we gave them but to be able to go into this store and stand there and say well I love this, this and this, what should we buy was honestly just a joy. We walked away with two great toys for just under $50 which I was thrilled with as that’s left the boys with change from what I decided we would spend to buy something special next time I see it.
So the boys first birthday has come and gone. And I’m a little sad. My boys are 1 – where has the year gone? I swear days drag and drag, particularly lately, but a year has already past and my little babies have grown into little men. I want my year back!!
The morning of their birthday was so stressful. My husbands parents came over early to help but my husband underestimated how long it would take to put this swing set together so I got no help doing everything that needed to be done. I got snapped at alot and had no choice but to just try and get on with all that needed to be done. Thankfully by the time guests started to arrive we were prepared for the first party (a small party with just a few friends their age so they could all play together) and my parents in law cleaned up outside for us in preperation for our second bigger party. The babies all played together really well and I got to sit and chat with my mummy friends which was really nice. All the hubbies met finally which was great and I am planning to organise some more bbqs where we can have a couple of people over and the boys can chat, the kids can play and the mums can swap stories!
The second party started after the first had ended and the timing worked out really well. We had our families and our friends arriving over a couple of hours which worked out really well as I was able to spend a bit of time with everyone and the kids got passed around. It was really a lovely day and although I did pick up my camera a few times I spent the majoritiy of my time chatting, so instead of feeling stressed all day I managed to relax and just enjoy which was great. We had a number of slightly older kids (2-4 year olds) come who had a ball playing with the boys toys and outside on the new swing set. It was so nice to see kids running around playing, and my boys love other kids so watching them run around made my two laugh and laugh.
After most of the guests left the boys opened a couple of presents but it was all a bit much for them. So when everyone had left it was a quick shower (they were filthy from playing outside) and off to bed. Yesterday morning we had the fun of opening the mountain of presents they received. They boys were so spoilt!! And I felt so blessed that we have so many people that care about them and were so generous. They got a few toys (they don’t need any more after what they got for christmas!!), some lovely clothes, books (which we never say no to, I love getting books!), a table and chairs and lots of other bits and pieces. I was suprised that we actually only got a couple of things that we already have.
So all in all the boys had a great birthday. It was simple and casual but it was fun. I know that mums get really competitive with parties and presents but honestly we can’t afford much (I made alot of the decorations myself and got balloons off ebay) and I’m going to try very hard not to get caught up in all that in the future. So for now it is back to normal life and enjoying my gorgeous boys. I will be seeing my inlaws later today so I will post some photos over the next few days 🙂
It’s been very busy in my house over the last few days as we prepare for the boys 1st birthday. I have tried very hard not to go over board and as I said previously I am not making much. This morning my husband and I decorated the house and I must say its looking good! Tomorrow we will inflate all the balloons with a helium tank we bought, and my father in law will come over early to help my husband put together a huge swing set the boys are getting. They got baby swings for christmas from my parents in law so we will just be switching over the swings for now. I’m looking forward to jumping on the see-saw with them and seeing their faces. They love to go to the park but I admit I don’t take them often enough. It’s really hard with twins as I need to be able to hold both of them at the same time. Hopefully over the next few months they’ll become steady on their feet and it will be easier for me to have fun with them at parks and playgrounds.
In saying that though I am worried about once they start independently walking. Everyone is really giving me a hard time about it and although I just brush it aside and say it will be fine, I’m actually quite worried. I’ve always said that I had the harnesses parents put on their children and although I can understand it that I would never use one of my kids. And people are making me feel like I have to use them. I would really prefer to teach my boys that they need to walk with mummy. I know they are going to get distracted and run off to something exciting every now and then (hopefully not all the time) and I will have to chase them but I’m wondering if its better to do that or to put them in a harness.
It’s something I think I will need to talk more about with other mums and dads who have twins. Thankfully I am part of a wonderful organisation called AMBA (Australian Multiple Birth Association) and regularly participate in their facebook discussions allowing me to connect with parents in similar situations all over the country. It has become a life saver to me and I have made some great friends and learnt alot through volunteering for them. I think that being part of a community is important, whether it be local or online. People need to communicate and support one another, and I think that becomes even more important when you are a stay at home parent with twins or more! It can be very lonely and tiring at times but it can also be very rewarding. I feel very lucky to have seen my boys first time rolling and crawling and hopefully soon their first steps. Although I have recorded them for my husband he does still feel like he missed out. Time when your kids are small is something you can never get back. So I am going to enjoy their first birthday tomorrow and have someone else take all the photos so that I can be there for every moment. They will only be 1 once.