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Do you encourage your little ones to play kids competitive sports? Does the idea of heckling from the sideline with the other soccer moms make you cringe? Or are you waking up your kids at 5 am for swim practice before school? There is a fine line between encouragement and pressure, and as with all parenting issues, no-one has the perfect formula.

As a Brit living in the US, I’ve been stewing this week over how to approach this post. My nationality is relevant because the US is a nation of sportsmen, and the culture in the UK is slightly different. My attitude has changed in many aspects since moving here and kids competitive sports is one area I where have surprised myself.

The royal wedding has us reminiscing on the Motherland this week. We moved to the US from the UK four years ago and I’ve enjoyed the excitement of the wedding form both sides of the pond. When I first moved here I was quickly taken back by how quickly kids competitive sports gets serious. From the proudly displayed ‘Team Captain’ sign on our neighbor’s lawn to the sheer volume of hours kids were committing to practice. It was a whole lot of extra parenting too… rallying from practice to games and working on skills at home.



Why I Have Changed My Opinion on Competitive Sports

Although my daughter has enjoyed dance class and swim club in the past, we had never been part of any kids competitive sports teams. This year my daughter (then 7yrs) started soccer. She had been pestering me for a while and despite thinking it was a strange choice for her personality, I figured we’d give it a go. 

This year has been a total transformation, my little princess has found her independence and continues to surprise me with the person she is becoming. I put a considerable amount of her blossoming down to her experience with soccer. It has opened my eyes to the opportunities kids’ competitive sports create for our little ones and I can’t wait to get the Twins started when they’re a little older.

10 Positive Changes I Saw After Starting Competitive Sports

1 – Confidence. My daughter is a social, chatty girl which can be misinterpreted as self-confidence. She’s actually a real worry-wart and struggles with a little anxiety. Soccer has massively changed this and I she is starting to feel like she can do anything she puts her mind to.

2 – Friendship and comradery. Socialization and a sense of community are so important to kids (and adults). Having a group of friends outside of school is wonderful and because they’re working together as a team, they appreciate each other’s value.

3 – Focus. We have always had issues with my daughter’s concentration. Teachers were concerned about the possibility of ADHD because she struggles to focus on tasks. It may be a total coincidence, but she has never worked so hard as she has since we started soccer. Her attitude to work is so much better and I suspect it’s helped by the physical activity and learning to concentrate on what’s she’s doing on the pitch.

4 – Lose like a champ. Like many kids, Elsie is a really bad loser. When we took her to watch professional hockey, she cried because the team we were supporting lost. She couldn’t understand why we still enjoyed watching the game. This one has been tough to break but she’s finally dealing with losing and celebrating winning appropriately.

5 – Teamwork. When she first started soccer, Elsie was very concerned that other players were ‘better than her’. But she has come to the realization that different players have different skills and its the combination of everyone’s strengths that make a great team. She used to be so focused on not being able to run fast… now it doesn’t matter as long as she has something else to offer the team: see #1 above!



6 – Get Tough(er). My dear little princess, she is not the rough and tumble type and I knew it was going to be a shock to the system. We often have tears at practice and games but she’s learning how to shake it off, brush down and get back to it. I honestly thought she would want to quit once she got accidentally kicked a few times or slipped and fell. But despite the tears, she can not wait for next season to start and has begged to do it again.

7 – Parental support. The arrival of the Twins has been tough on my girl. She had me to herself for a long time and then became one of three overnight. Because she’s so independent it’s easy to forget to find time for our older child but when I’m booked in for weekly practice and games, I have the opportunity to give her your full attention. Giving her a shout out for encouragement gives her a real boost and Dad taking her for ice cream after games has been great for them too.

8 – Working hard. Elsie is a very bright girl and aces her school tests despite not doing the classwork. This has not been good for instilling the benefits of hard work. But she is not a natural athlete, and she finds it frustrating. But when she noticed she had more ball control from practicing it was a light-bulb moment. It is worth working hard after all.

9- Following Instructions. Recalling and following instructions are not my daughter’s strengths. She is not defiant, she’s just a daydreamer… I was exactly the same. I warned the coach at the start of the season that he will need to remind her to listen. But it got better, fast. She was listening because she was interested and she wanted to do well. This has helped off the pitch too, because it’s all practice for day to day life.

10- Have fun! Ultimately, she is having so much fun. 

Final Thoughts

Many of these benefits are also applicable to independent activities like piano playing or dance class. But the inherent desire for the team to succeed gives all players a boost that intensifies the effect. For more parental thoughts on the benefits of sports on the mind, check out this article from NPR. Soccer has done nothing but good for my daughter and we can’t wait to get stuck into next season. 

Being the slightly awkward Brit mom in the team, I’m still working on my pitch-side heckling… 

The post 10 Positives to Be Gained From Kids Competitive Sports appeared first on Twin Pickle.

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TwinPickle by Twinpickle - 2w ago

There are a number of gray areas when it comes to twin pregnancy. Science doesn’t know all the answers yet but the theories are always intriguing. It is commonly accepted that fraternal twins run in the family, but this doesn’t mean we know exactly when someone will become pregnant with twins? Do twins skip a generation?

One of the most common questions I am asked is: “Do twins run in your family?”. I believe my Grandmother’s sister was a twin but I’m not sure we can claim a generational tendency. My boys are also identical and it is widely accepted (although many argue otherwise) that identical twins are not hereditary. Still, my older sister told me years before they were born that I was destined to have twins. She said: “Twins skip a generation and no-one in our generation has had them yet!”.

I thought it was time I delved into this one… If you’re a twin yourself, is it twin birth or twin grandchildren you should be preparing for?

How Expressed Genes Skip a Generation

Before tackling the chances of twins, it’s worth understanding why any trait may skip a generation. Genes are a section of DNA assigned to a particular trait. Variations in this piece of DNA are called alleles… eg A blue-eyes allele or a brown-eyed allele for the eye color gene. Some of these alleles are dominant and some are recessive, meaning you can silently carry a trait without physically being affected by it.

Red hair, for example, is a recessive allele and therefore requires both parents to pass it on to their children for it to show. This means two parents without red hair can create red-headed offspring, because they could both be silently carrying one recessive red hair allele. Hence, red hair is often skipped one or more generations before it shows again.

For more geeky info on DNA, check out my post: ‘Do Identical Twins have the same DNA?‘, fascinating stuff!

So the Twin Gene IS Recessive?

No. There is no actual twin gene. Fraternal twins are the product of hyper-ovulation; releasing more than one egg at once. The tendency for hyper-ovulation is down to variations in genes which have been passed on from parents, but it is not dependent on one single gene and there is no reason to believe it relies on a recessive allele.

Twinning is more complicated than the red hair example above. There are multiple reasons why a woman may hyper-ovulate, and age is also a factor. Don’t forget that not every egg released will become a baby, and therefore even with the allele for hyper-ovulation, a woman is never going to be sure she will have twins. The chances are increased but nothing is certain in conception.

Most importantly, we have to remember the boys. What happens when a man carries the hyper-ovulation allele?

Is a Male Twin More Likely to Have Twins?

Here’s where your head starts to spin. Not only have we got all the complications of conception, but we also have to consider those silent genes again. An allele being recessive is not the only reason it may not show up in a child. A man will not show traits he is genetically carrying which only apply to women, even if they are ‘dominant’. A man is not going to hyper-ovulate because he doesn’t have ovaries… even if he carries the hyper-ovulating allele.

This means a male twin (or singleton) carrying a hyper-ovulating allele is no more likely to have twins than a man with a regular ovulation allele. People often say twins run on the mother’s side of the family because only Mom can release two eggs. However, Dad can pass on his hyper-ovulating allele to his daughter, and she will be more likely to have twins. So in this case, twins may just skip a generation!

So… Do Twins Skip a Generation?

Sometimes, not always, and not in any identifiable pattern. The hard fast rule of “twins skip a generation.” is a myth. There is no reason a generation-skipping pattern would emerge in a family, but there are inevitably gaps in this complicated hereditary trait. Twins will continue to appear down the family line until the lottery of genetics chooses to stop passing on that hyper-ovulating allele. 

Twins may skip one, two, three or more generations before they appear again because many different factors have to come together to create those two bundles of joy.

The post Do Twins Skip a Generation? appeared first on Twin Pickle.

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Thank you California Closets for sponsoring this post.

Your closet is a hard-working corner of your home. But a jumble of racking and an overfilled rail will not spark joy first thing in the morning. Today I’m celebrating my success in decluttering clothes and sharing how to focus your closet design like a professional. Following my California Closet consultation, I’m passing on tips to organize your closet design around your personal needs and styling.

Closet Decluttering

If there is one part of my decluttering journey that has been successful, it’s my closet purging. It has been liberating to get rid of unused clothes and enjoy organizing a functional closet. I confess I have also bought items, but because my wardrobe was stripped back it has been so much easier to see where the gaps are and make sensible purchases. 

I have no regrets for the things I have let go of. The KonMari decluttering method says take time to thank and say goodbye to your clothes. This may sound a little wacky but things like my favorite maternity dress or the jeans I’ll never fit into again have had their place in my life and I like the idea of recognizing the emotional attachment in order to be free of it.

Check out Marie Kondo in action on Katie’s busy closet in the video below. The transformation is quite spectacular:

California Closets and Marie Kondo Create Order and Spark Joy - YouTube

My Current Closet

We have an enormous closet. Fabulous if the rest of my house was ready to be featured on Cribs, but when you don’t even have a bathtub that fits an adult it seems a little out-scaled. At some point, a previous homeowner converted the fifth bedroom into a master closet, which means we have a big room with storage around the perimeter and enough space to swing a mountain lion.

As a budding minimalist, I don’t need this much space just for clothes and I would love to have a big soak tub next door in our bathroom. Time to start planning a renovation project! I plan to move the wall and steal half the space to enlarge our bathroom. But, having lived with a jumbo closet for four years, can I go back to a sensible scale? Before I grab the sledgehammer I’m going to want to work on my closet design like a professional… by asking a professional!

My Califonia Closets Consultation

You can make an appointment for a free design consultation online with California Closets. Typically a consultation would take place in your home, so your designer can discuss ideas while seeing your closet in the flesh. As my reduced closet doesn’t exist yet my fabulous designer David and I browsed ideas in the beautiful showroom here in Scottsdale. I would recommend a home consultation but the showrooms are fantastic if you have one nearby. It will get your imagination flowing with all the wonderful installations.

The consultation was broken down into three phases:

  • Discuss closet inventory, ideas, and budget. My designer wanted to know how many shoes and clothes I had as well as the overall scale of my intentions. 
  • Browse examples of California Closets’ work. I was given a tablet with a beautiful gallery of closets. I flagged the ones I loved and this gave my designer a feel for my personal style.
  • Design reveal and quote. My designer used a 3D design program to create visualizations of my new closet design. The program also calculates the cost.
My New Closet Design

I could not believe how much storage was created in the new design. The symmetry of the room appeals to my modern tastes and the combinations of hangers, drawers and shelves are perfect for my storage needs.

Images created by my Califonia Closets designer during the consultation.

My designer David quickly picked up on what will work for my personal closet needs. He could extract what I liked about other closet examples and apply to my unique design. I never knew I was so picky… turns out I have very particular taste and David was able to hone in on that.

5 Key Design Tips for My Personal Style
  • Shoes at foot level. I don’t have pretty shoes to show off so I personally don’t want a wall of shoe display.
  • Keep the floor clear. I like storage that allows for the floor to remain clear and easy to clean.  We chose to install all the storage hanging off the wall without ever touching the floor.  This also kept the cost down because there is less material used.
  • Space for storage boxes at high level. I’m pretty short and will not be using high-level storage regularly. But allowing for box storage keep items dust free and helps organize accessories and seasonal clothes.
  • Symmetry and minimalism. There is something satisfying about symmetry when it comes to organization. My new closet design keeps positioning simple and mirrors its design on either side of the room.
  • Horizontal aesthetic. I kept picking out horizontally organized closets. So we kept drawers/cupboards in a horizontal layout and incorporated a full width of rails. Keeping the shoes horizontally along the bottom also helps with this visual trick.

About California Closets

California Closets’ professional design consultants are there to help create a custom design that meets your needs, reflects your personal style and works within your budget. My designer was so good at doing this, and his focus on keeping me within my budget was refreshing. He was quick to point out extras that affected the cost and made it really easy to prioritize where I wanted to spend my money.

California Closets has so many beautiful finishes to choose from, from clean and simple white, to proprietary textures imported from Italy, all of which are environmentally sustainable and California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant. I personally went for white and grey because they are timeless and fit with my minimalist aesthetic. They also have an extensive range of clever storage ideas to incorporate like the cute accessories trays in the video above… they really do have a solution for everything!

California Closets also offer custom storage and organization solutions beyond closets. From pantries and media centers to mudrooms and garages, California Closets has storage ideas for big and small spaces alike. I am a little bit crazy for the pantry they had in the showroom… organizational goals!

Book a Consultation with California Closets

A design consultation is free and will be so useful in the planning of your space. Many locations also offer seasonal promotions and/or financing options. My local store had a great promotion running when I went in and the final quote was within my sensible budget. I recommend scheduling a California Closets consultation to find out more and brain-storm ideas.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

The post How to Focus Your Closet Design like a Professional appeared first on Twin Pickle.

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With Mother’s Day around the corner, you may be looking for the perfect gift for a loved one… or yourself. That’s totally allowed by the way. I’ve been digging around Etsy to find the best unique and adorable gifts for twin moms and I’m showcasing my favorite tees, jewelry, mugs, decals and home decor. Celebrate your twin mom status!

*This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a commission if you decide to purchase one of the products I link to. This does not affect the price of the item.*

It’s a short and sweet post for today because these awesome gifts for twin moms speak for themselves. I’m a huge fan of Etsy and it’s unique designs, and the gift ideas for twin moms are no exception. I’ve picked fifteen of my favorites, something for all personalities!

Twin Mom Tees

I think the Chaos Coordinator tee below is my absolute favorite because it sums up my job description pretty well.  The summer is around the corner and who doesn’t need another tee for the closet? 

Chaos Coordinator Tee

Twin Mama Shirt

Mom² Tee

  Twin Mom Mugs

Twin moms need twice the coffee and that makes a mug the perfect gift. Mugs are a great one to take to work too… a little reminder of your superhero status while you’re at the office.

I Miss Sleep Mug

Make It A Double Mug

Twin Mom Moment Mug

  Twin Mom Jewelry 

These necklaces are just adorable. I love a personalized gift and the pendant with the matching daughter versions give me a case of the fuzzies. Too cute.

Personalized Twin Mom Necklace

Mother Twin Daughter Heart Necklace

Twin Mom Initial Pendant

  Twin Mom Decor

I think I’m going to need to invest in the ‘Beware of Twin Boys’ doormat… hilarious. 

Twin Mom Picture Frame

Twin Mom Door Mat

Twin Mom Chalkboard Sign

Twin Mom Car Decals

Own your twin mom status on the road too with a cute decal in your back window. After all, twins happen.

Twins Happen Decal

Twins On Board Decal

Mom of Twins Decal

If you’re not finding the perfect gift from this list, try browsing the Mother’s Day selection at Etsy.

The post 15 Adorable Gifts for Twin Moms appeared first on Twin Pickle.

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This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

The Spring/Summer park season is here and those after-school activities are in full swing. Whether it’s a playdate with a friend or team practice, we all want to conquer after-school chaos and have parenting run smoothly. Elsie is eight and she is one busy girl! I, like all parents, want to do what’s best for her, but often it’s overwhelming to squeeze in homework, activities, dinner, and bath all before a sensible bathtime. Especially as I have her two toddler brothers underfoot!

I often have to remind myself that Elsie is still a child and it is normal for her to daydream, forget instructions and have others things on her mind other than sticking to a schedule. She doesn’t feel the same mental chaos that I experience when I’m trying to juggle general mom-life… and good for her. There are ways to deal with the after-school chaos, even if you have to get a little creative, here are my five tips for staying sane…

1 Make it a Game

This tip came straight from my daughter’s 8yr-old school friend. I’ve renamed her ‘Life-Coach Emma’ because she’s full of useful life hacks for self-improvement. Life-Coach Emma advised Elsie to plow through the more mundane pieces of school work by seeing them as a game. The same applies to dull activities like getting ready for afterschool activities…

There are plenty of ways to jazz up boring tasks:

  • Time a task using a stopwatch. The power of the timing children is incredible, I call it the stopwatch phenomenon
  • Make it a challenge. This may seem counter-productive… surely you want to make the process as easy as possible? But easy is boring! Hide things and give them a clue, hang their leotard from the ceiling fan and make them jump to get it… anything to engage them into taking action!
  • Offer a prize. I’m not suggesting you invest in a toy everytime you want your child to get ready on time, but offering them a favorite snack if they get ready is a good incentive. 

I put all three of these ideas together to come up with the ultimate Goldfish Colors crackers challenge for getting ready for soccer. We only have a small window of time to get ready so she has to be quick, or Mom starts eating…

How to Get Your Daughter Ready for Soccer On Time - YouTube

For more fun ideas for games, recipes and general Goldfish fun, check out their Pinterest page –> here. It’s amazing how creative some Moms have got with their Goldfish crackers… after all they are baked with real cheese and kids and parents alike love them!

2 Be Mom-Organized

It’s easy to get grumpy with the little ones when you find them playing with the cat again instead of getting ready. But how often have they gone to get their sports kit and it’s not in their drawers? Or is that just me? I have been caught out so many times and find myself running loops around the house checking the dryer, the folding pile and with squinted eyes… the laundry basket.

If you only have a small window of time to get ready have it prepared like a well-oiled machine. When I’m not making a ridiculous Goldfish Colors obstacle course,  I put a pile of clothes ready to go on the kitchen table while I’m dealing with washing earlier in the day. I’m already sorting through clothes and that way there’s no “I can’t find it!” while they stand there staring straight at it… the child blind spot struggle is real.

3 Think Outside the Box on Mealtime

Dinner time is the crux of the matter when you want to conquer after-school chaos. We have to be at soccer for 5.30pm… do we eat before or after? If Elsie gets changed too early she’ll be covered in pasta sauce in her sports kit, if I push dinner any earlier she’ll be eating at 4 pm. Wait until afterward and she’ll be starved… she’s pretty dramatic when she’s hungry.

If it’s not working, try something new. Maybe bedtime is a little later once a week and they get to have dinner after practice? It’s OK to break the schedule, and they’ll be perfectly happy with a snack to keep them going. Goldfish Colors are a snack you can feel good about serving your kids because they are baked with real cheese, have no artificial flavors or preservatives, and the colors are sourced from plants. 

More on Those awesome Colors:

The red Goldfish crackers are colored using a mix of red beet juice concentrate and paprika extracted from sweet red peppers. The green Goldfish crackers color comes from watermelon & Huito juice concentrates mixed with extracted Turmeric. I really had no idea until recently that Goldfish Colors are naturally colored! For more info on Goldfish Colors can be found –> here.

4 Allow A Moment of Peace

Although you may want them to come straight in the door, swap clothes, eat, do homework and make it to the car on time, they’ve had a busy day! School is intense and it’s important to find a slot for a little downtime. Sometimes after-school schedules are madness, but even if it’s five minutes… take a moment to talk about unicorns or allow them to cuddle that cat.

5 Conquer After-SChool Chaos by Embracing It.

A few months ago I was diagnosed with anxiety… this means I can get really stressed about the littlest things. I’m talking heart palpitations over being late… I should realize by now that I’m often late! I have three kids to get in the car and two of them are toddlers so it’s literally two steps forward, one step back. I’m not suggesting you just give in and admit defeat, but sometimes life happens and getting wound up and shouting does nothing for all involved.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed in trying to conquer after-school chaos just stop for a moment and breath. Take a break (heck, eat some more Goldfish Colors while you’re at it), and take a moment to laugh.What’s the worst that can happen? You miss warm up this week? You get a late note from school? It’s not the end of the world and it’s far more important for kids to arrive feeling supported rather than bundled out of the car at top speed. I need to take a load off more often. We can’t all be Alpha Mom Extraordinaire 24/7… sometimes we need to conquer after-school chaos by embracing it.

The post 5 Survival Tips to Conquer After-School Chaos appeared first on Twin Pickle.

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Toddlers can be frustratingly picky, and fussy children can often dictate what the rest of the family eat too. Today I’m sharing my favorite family friendly pasta recipes, made regularly from scratch and always a guaranteed to please. There is not a week that goes by when I do not make one of these recipes… I hope your family enjoys them as much as we do!

The Twins are fussy customers at the moment and I’m frequently confronted with “Yuk!” followed by giggles around the table. When Mom is outnumbered by three kids they can really egg each other on to show their displeasure at the dinner offerings and find it all very amusing in the process.

We eat a lot of pasta. Partly because I can make a sauce one day and it tastes just as good the next day, and partly because it’s cost effective and not too destructive to the kitchen. But mostly, we eat a lot of pasta because our kids will always eat it. However fussy they’re feeling, they’ll always manage to fill themselves up with a plate of penne.

I thought it was time I shared my favorite sauces… I’m not claiming to have created these recipes myself, but I make them all regularly and have finally got around to taking pictures when I do! 

My 5 Family Friendly Pasta Recipes Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese

I’ve been making this sauce regularly for four years now and I still look forward to every plate. It is hands down the best meat sauce you will ever make… seriously rich and delicious. Yes, it has wine in it but don’t worry, you’ll want to simmer for hours and you can be assured the booze will not be getting your toddler drunk!

Recipe found here at NYTimes Cooking.

Creamy Mushroom & Peas 

We’ve gone from the slow simmer to the fastest recipe here… you’ll quickly through this sauce together while you’re boiling the pasta. Those little ones can be eating in ten minutes! I often add some sweet onion in with mine and the tomatoes on top are my boys’ favorite so it’s always a good way to get them enthused!

Recipe found here at Today.

  Classic Marinara

I love the simplicity of a clean marinara sauce. The key is decent tomatoes… do go cheap, get the proper San Marzano tinned tomatoes. Personally, I like to but the whole peeled tomatoes and crush them myself, it gives a better flavor than the crushed or chopped ones, who knows why?! I always have a tin of tomatoes in the cupboard, ready to go for this recipes because it never fails to please.

Recipes found here at She Loves Biscotti although I add a little more oil and a little more garlic. You can never have enough garlic, right? You may also want to go easy on the chili for the little ones!

Classic Carbonara

It’s not the prettiest to photograph but carbonara is delicious and my kids love it… well, Elsie picks out the bacon bits but hey, you can’t please everyone. Make sure you get the egg into the hot pasta immediately to allow it to cook, this is another speedy recipe you can put together in the time it takes to boil the pasta.

Recipes found here from Jamie Oliver, although don’t panic if you can’t find pancetta, bacon will do the trick!

Cream Cheese With SPinach

I discovered this recipe more recently, although I’ve been mixing cream cheese into pasta for years. It’s a really simple way to make a creamy pasta sauce… just add a little of the pasta water to stop it getting too sticky!

The spinach is a little controversial for the kids, and it really depends what mood they’re in as to how much goes in. Because the spinach is just mixed in at the end, it does not overly wilt and is easy for kids to avoid if they really refuse to eat it. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles!

Recipe found here at Kraft Recipes.

These family friendly pasta dishes are all classics and for good reason. You can’t go wrong with a hearty plate of pasta and it’s so easy to keep and reheat for lunch or dinner tomorrow. Enjoy!

The post Family Friendly Pasta Recipes Even Your Toddler Will Eat appeared first on Twin Pickle.

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More and more women are becoming pregnant with twins. Whether multiple birth runs in your family, you had fertility treatment or it’s totally out of the blue, finding out you are pregnant with twins will always be an exciting moment. But what early signs of twin pregnancy can we look out for? 

5 Reasons Twins Are Becoming More Common

If you feel like you see more twins than you used to, you’re probably right. The occurrence of twins has nearly doubled since 1980. The chances of having identical twins has not increased, but fraternal twins are booming for a number of reasons:

  • More women are choosing to have babies later in life (women closer to menopause release multiple eggs more often);
  • An increase in IVF treatment (40% of IVF babies are multiples);
  • An increase in the use of fertility drugs such as Clomid to stimulate ovulation;

33 sets of twins are born per each 1,000 births in the United States. The likelihood of twins has increased steadily since 1980, when 18 sets of twins were born per 1,000 births.

Mina Radman, Unraveling the Mystery of Twins. new.health.afl.edu

5 Early Signs of Twin Pregnancy Increased Pregnancy Symptoms

If you have not been pregnant before you may not have much to compare to, but as someone who was already a parent, it was quickly clear my symptoms were more severe. Increased nausea, breast tenderness and plenty of bathroom stops… pregnancy likes to make itself known when you’re carrying multiples.

Enlarged uterus

My daughter was born in the UK, where there is no routine ultrasound before 12wks of pregnancy. They do however feel for the height of your uterus because if it is unusually enlarged you could be carrying twins. That uterus is going to need to house two babies, so it gets busy growing straight away!

The speed at which a uterus grows during twin pregnancy can mean Mom experiences natural cramping more than a singleton pregnancy. Although cramping can be totally normal if it becomes severe or you are experiencing bleeding you should always seek advice from your doctor or midwife.

High Levels of HCG

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin Hormone (HCG) is only produced during pregnancy and is what your at home test is looking for to give you a positive result. I confess… I’ve peed on a lot of sticks, and when I saw an instant bold positive 4 days before my period was even due it was a good indicator I was pregnant with twins.

If your hCG levels at 4 weeks is higher than 8000 miu/l then it’s likely you’r having twins, or if the levels are 5 times higher than your previous singleton baby.

HCG Levels Twins (bloodtestresults.com)

There are other medical reasons for unusually high levels of HCG and only an ultrasound can confirm you are carrying twins. Every pregnancy is different and readings will vary hugely from mother to mother.

Exhaustion

There’s being tired, there’s being pregnant tired, and then there’s being pregnant with twins tired. Growing two babies at the same time is tiring stuff and very quickly you will notice you are unusually fatigued. Similarly to other pregnancy symptoms, this may not be something you pick up on unless you have been pregnant before and have something to compare to.

The Twin Mom Sixth Sense

Sometimes you just know. This may sound ridiculous but I had already Googled twin pregnancy symptoms way before I found out. At this point, I knew nothing about my early pregnancy test being an indicator… I just had a feeling. It turns out this is a common occurrence… the twin mom sixth sense is real. Admittedly, there is not much science to back it up, but many twin moms have reported they ‘just knew’.

What Happens Next?

If you think you may be pregnant with twins you will require an ultrasound to confirm. I found out I was carrying twins at 8wks. Once the shock has passed I had a lot of questions, so check out my post answering common questions asked when pregnant with twins.

Your babies will be growing fast… for a little snapshot of what is to come, check out this month by month infographic shared with us by TwinStuff.com.

The post 5 Revealing Early Signs of Twin Pregnancy appeared first on Twin Pickle.

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Baby bath time is more than a hygiene necessity, it’s an opportunity to learn, have fun and bond with parents. It can be intimidating for new parents to get started with baby bath time, and today I’m sharing my advice on what to expect from your bath time routine and thoughts on choosing the right products. This post is sponsored by Baby Dove and I also have a coupon to share!

Giving Baby a Bath for the First Time

My daughter was born in the UK, where a midwife comes to visit you at home for the first week following delivery. At 7 days old, our midwife looked at my bundle of joy and said: “I think you need to give her a bath.” Gulp. Of course, I knew I had to bath her eventually, but I was terrified. What if I break her? What if she drowns? She’s so floppy… how does baby bath time even work?

If you’re worried to get started with baby bath time, don’t be, you’ll do great. Make it easy on yourself while you get the hang of it:

  • Take your time and thoroughly prepare the bathroom before you get baby in the water. There is nothing worse than getting started and realizing you’re missing a towel… running around the house with a cold soggy baby is no fun for anyone.
Hooded towels are perfect for wrapping up Baby!
  • Have someone with you to help. That way, one can support baby while the other gently washes. You’ll soon get the hang of doing both, but you’ll be less nervous with a helper at hand! 
  • If you’re feeling nervous about using products, try adding some to the water rather than directly to the skin for the first few months. Choose a high-quality baby-friendly product. I’m sharing my thoughts on Baby Dove’s Sensitive Moisture cleanser and lotion below, which are made with 100% skin-natural nutrients for delicate baby skin.
  • If you have twins, I highly recommend bathing them separately until they can confidently sit up and stay up. You want to be able to give each baby your full attention. Keep the other nearby in a bouncy chair or bassinet.
When your bath toy habit is out of control! How often do I need to wash Baby?

Every mom has their own answer to this question and there are two ways to look at it. Are you bathing purely for hygiene & play, or does it form part of a tight bedtime routine? Although I’m all for routines and schedules, I also believe in keeping it simple. 

We have a general rule to bathe our kids every other evening. If you’re having a rough day… don’t worry about it, bathe them in the morning. For the most part, babies don’t get very dirty, although bathing does help with keeping diaper rash at bay.

Toddlers in Springtime

Now that the Twins are 2.5-years-old, we often return from the park covered from head to toe in sand and unidentified grubby stuff… more baths are required! You’ll find that during the warmer months, your kids need more baths. Not just because of all the outdoor activities, but because you may be using sunscreen and bug spray.

You are the only one who knows what is best for your baby, and there are no fixed rules on how often they should be bathed. While there’s no one right way to parent, there is a superior way to care for baby’s skin, so consider your bath time products carefully.

Losing skin Moisture during bathtime

Alongside the harsh effects of the sun (especially for us in Arizona!), during a single bath, baby’s skin can lose moisture up to five times faster than an adult’s. This makes it more vulnerable to dryness, making the products you choose really important. All three of my kids have suffered the occasional spell of irritation from dry, sensitive skin, and we’ve tried and tested many products to use during bath time. Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Tip to Toe Wash helps retain your baby’s natural skin moisture and suits our babes very well, indeed. It is also ophthalmologist, dermatologist, and pediatrician tested, so baby is in good hands

When do I Start Using Products?

For the first couple of weeks after birth, we chose not to use any products and stick to just water. There is no definitive reason you can’t use cleansers from day one, but I personally believed the twins would benefit from the comfort of familiar smells. Even as they get older, smell can be an extremely powerful sense and I would always recommend staying fragrance-free with products.

There comes a time where the newborn baby smell becomes a baby-needs-a-proper-wash smell and whether it be immediately or a month down the road, at some point you’ll want to start using a bath time cleansing wash. Either add to the water like a bubble bath or use a cloth to lather and wash baby from tip to toe. We have been using the Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Tip to Toe Wash at bath time and the boys are enjoying learning how to wash themselves!

There is always the worry of whether baby’s newborn skin is going to be sensitive. Baby Dove’s Sensitive Moisture range was awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the National Eczema Association and is made with no dyes, no parabens, and no phthalates. If you want to know more about Baby Dove products, visit BabyDove.com.

Do We Wash Hair Every Bath?

Again, there is no hard and fast rule. When they’re tiny, especially if they are born with less hair like mine, washing it was so easy we did it often. As toddlers, with that mop of curls, it’s a lot more labor intensive… plus they now hate having their hair washed. They’d much rather be sploshing about with their cars and playing with the washcloth.

We loosely stick to a rule of bath time every other day, and hair washing every other bath. It is easy to do when they are laying in the newborn baby bathtubs and becomes more troublesome when they are sitting up. Trying to explain to a toddler that looking up and tilting their head back helps keep the water out of their eyes takes time… we’re not quite there yet. Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture range is pH neutral and gentle on eyes, which makes a big difference when you’re bargaining with a two-year-old!

George loves washing his hands… just don’t touch the curls! What About Lotions and wipes?

Use a good baby lotion after bath time to help replenish moisture. Here in Arizona the air is extremely dry and sometimes the little ones require a major moisture boost. Some moms also choose to use a lotion after every bath as part of their baby massage bedtime routine. Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Baby Lotion is made with 100% skin-natural nutrients and gentle moisturizers for 24 hours of moisture. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a bath time or bedtime routine to keep baby’s skin happy.

Wipes can be tough on sensitive baby skin. Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Baby Wipes offer gentle cleansing with instant moisturization for all over use. They are as gentle as water, suitable for newborns, and fragrance and alcohol-free. I’ve been encouraging the Twins to wipe their own hands and face after meals and they definitely approve!

Get Yourself a Coupon!

If you’re ready to get started with baby bath time, Baby Dove has products for all skin types in its Rich Moisture and Sensitive Moisture ranges. They are offering a coupon to allow you to try their products at a discount. Even better than that… it doubles when you share it with another mom!      

Get the coupon –> here Arthur finds my selfie-taking hilarious!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Baby Dove. 

The post How to Get Started with Baby Bathtime and Sensitive Skin appeared first on Twin Pickle.

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Do you have a little hero at home looking for the ultimate kids’ bedroom? Superhero styling is relatively easy to pull off and it can be a grown up or adorable as you like. I’m highlighting five essential components for the perfect superhero bedroom. 

*This post contains affiliate links. This means I may get a commission if you decide to purchase one of the products I link to. This does not affect the price of the item.*

Creating the perfect superhero bedroom is not about plastering the walls in pictures of Superman… although I’m showing off plenty of cool wall art further down the post. Before you choose a few iconic images for your walls, consider the backdrop. If you didn’t have a single picture of a  famous hero in the room, how would you make it look like a superhero room?

5 Steps to The Perfect Superhero Bedroom City Skyline mural

All my favorite Superhero bedrooms incorporate a city skyline. Whether it’s a simple mural created with masking tape or a detailed illustration, every hero needs a city to save! If you have a younger hero, you may want to go for a more whimsical skyline, but if you want something to appeal for many years to come, you could even try a photographic city wallpaper.

There are so many cool decals and wallpapers available now, you don’t need a fine art degree to pull off the perfect city skyline mural!

Doodled City Skyline Decal
Brooklyn Bridge Wallpaper
Gotham City Decal
City Illustration Wallpaper
High Contrast

Whether you stick with monochrome or go bold and colorful, you need some serious contrast to create the perfect superhero bedroom.  Take comic book concepts and use them to create a color palette: a bright white backdrop with a feature wall of dark gray or a primary color. A superhero room is not for the faint-hearted… keep it clean and simple but don’t be afraid to make it pop!

If you enjoy monochrome with a splash of bold color, check out my twin boys’ adventure theme room.

Pow, Bam, and Superhero Slogans

You can’t have superheroes without some action. Keep it whimsical with some word wall art.  I love this set of five spiderman prints from EllowDee on Etsy, in particular, the ‘I’m not saying I’m Spiderman…’ print is awesome!

 Black wall decals will break up a bright white wall with comic book contrast, and if you want to keep it framed there are some awesome prints available too:

Kapow, Crash, Bam Prints
Kapow Decal
Bam Decal
Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Daring
   Masks, Symbols & Lighting Bolts

The image below is from Target’s DreamIt Superhero Collection and although I love their cute bedding and pillows, the lightning bolt and mask decals are making it for me. The Batman mask is a classic superhero icon but and don’t forget about the Superman symbol!

Image from Target’s DreamIt Superhero range
Superman Night Light
Batman Mask Wall Decals
Lighting Bolt Decals
lighting Bolt LED Sign
  Choose A Superhero (Or Don’t)

I’m not usually a fan of TV character themes but the pop culture associated with comic book characters gives them superpowers when it comes to design. However, you can go overboard on the Spiderman theme… get the backdrop of colors and a skyline in and you don’t need to go crazy on everything else.

To complete the look and identify it as the perfect superhero bedroom you could just pick one or two pieces with a character associated. And if you can’t decide on which character to pick, go with a Marvel mix. I love this bold print with four classic characters:

 
There is so much superhero decor out there but I’m picking six of my favorites below:

LEGO Superman Print
Batman Movie Patent Print
Wonder Woman Printable
Hulk Poster
Warhol Inspired Superman
Personalized Captain America

 The cute Captain America poster is personalized too which I love. For more personalized kids decor check out my post on the best of Etsy personalized decor.

Superheroes are not just For the Bedroom

Lastly, in case your superhero decor obsession needs to spread from the bedroom, check out this printable Superhero bathroom pictures form ProyectoAlegria on Etsy… Love them!

And just one more… I couldn’t resist these Batman and Wonder Woman bathroom prints from wyatt9:

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