Category Archives: Babies

A Tropical Vacation with 2 Babies {FDR}

Franklyn D Resort Jamaica

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been like 5 million years since I wrote a blog post, I’m still alive! Things are going great, the boys are at such a fun age right now (15 months), holy crap how did that happen? They are legit almost toddlers now. I know, it’s so cliché but seriously, where does the time go? I’ve been busy with work and when I’m not working, I’m trying to spend every second soaking in time with the boys. The truth is, I just don’t have a lot of recipes to share with you these days. I still cook dinner most days of the week but as I cook I’m usually running back and forth between the counter and their high chairs, chopping veggies, throwing more food on their trays, getting their cups from the fridge, heating the pan up, forgetting about the pan, picking up all the food off the floor, getting more food for them, you get the point… My ability to be super creative or the time to photograph as I go just isn’t there at the moment. I’m going to try to post more often though, even if I don’t specifically have any food stuff to share.

Today, I figured I would write a detailed review on our recent stay in Jamaica because a bunch of friends with kids are interested in booking a trip for themselves and keep asking me about it and I have SO much to say, it’s probably better to do it here than to write an hour long Facebook post.

Franklyn D Resort Jamaica

We stayed at Franklyn D Resort in Runaway Bay Jamaica. This is the ultimate place to go if you’re looking to vacation with your kid(s). If you’re looking for the short of it and don’t want all of the details. JUST GO. Click on it, book it and GO. Seriously, if you think too much about the logistics of traveling that distance WITH the kiddos, you won’t do it, just don’t think about it and do it. FDR makes it possible. And not just possible, but enjoyable, fun, and wait for it…. RELAXING.

Franklyn D Resort

Basically, we were in desperate need of some sun, relaxation & some time away. Getting away for that long without the kids wasn’t really an option and we actually kind of like spending time with them 🙂 so we figured there had to be an option where we could get all of these things AND bring the kids with us. How you wonder? How can you travel and stay in a hotel with two 15 month old babies who cry and need to be changed and nap twice a day and go to bed at 7pm? And still relax and enjoy yourselves?

This is how…

Franklyn D Resort

 

At FDR, every single room automatically comes with a personal vacation nanny! Yes you read that right, you get an amazing, experienced, caring person that will love and care for your children while you read by the pool or go climb a waterfall, or enjoy a nice dinner out with your husband. They are all amazing women who have cared for children for many years and want to make your children happy and your vacation awesome. Our nanny Tamara has been working at FDR for over 15 years (if you book a trip, make sure you request her). They even cater to children with special needs as well.

Franklyn D Resort

 

Wondering exactly how it works? Your nanny will meet with you when you arrive and you can go over your plans/needs/wants, schedules, allergies, etc…  She will arrive every morning at 9:00 and is done at 4:40. They get an hour lunch break from 12:30-1:30. If you would like her to stay late or come back later so you can go out to dinner, you pay her $7/hour for any time beyond that (although they’re amazing so you should definitely pay them more than that).  If you’re not at your room, they’ll come find you on the beach or in the restaurant. You can choose to have them take the kids that entire time, or you can pick and choose when you need them. Maybe you want to hang out on the beach with the kids but want an extra set of hands around if you need to go get something (like a drink) :).  During the time that they’re with the nanny, they will hang out in the kid’s club where they have tons of toys & activities or play at the beach or in the pool. For the older kids, they have activity schedules every day with fun events for all ages. If you need an additional nanny, you can request one for $25/day.

Franklyn D Resort Jamaica

I was worried that the boys would be so out of their element and the trip would be so rough that they were going to be super grumpy but they settled right in. They loved Tamara and all of the wonderful staff that so obviously care about the children. I’m not going to lie, the flights were not super fun as you spend the entire time trying to keep a squirmy child on your lap and not climbing on top of the people next to you. Next time we will get a direct flight and buy extra seats for them, it would be SO worth it!  The transfer from the airport is about an hour to an hour & a half. I didn’t mind it as the scenery was beautiful. They have a complimentary shuttle from the airport which was fine but they stop at a few other resorts on the way. We chose to pay $100 for a private transfer on the way back and it was great. No extra stops and they have car seats available. We lugged our 2 car seats all the way there and back (gate checking them) which was a little stressful so it’s nice to know this for next time.

We arrived after delayed flights at 11:30pm with 2 screaming babies. The staff were waiting for us when we arrived and quickly whisked us & our bags right to the room. They had 2 plates of dinner ready for us which we gobbled down ravenously the second we got the kids to bed.  We were about to go to bed when we realized that we were going to need to go find some milk to have for the kids in the morning but when we checked the kitchen, it was completely stocked with milk and Cheerios. Seriously. These people know kids.

Franklyn D Resort Jamaica

The beach was very nice and completely set up for the kids with plenty of shovels, buckets & sand toys.  It isn’t very big but you have access to the long beach next door at the Jewel Resort.  It’s perfect for the kids and completely acceptable for lounging on the beach for the day.

Franklyn D Resort Jamaica

They have a big waterslide which is a ton of fun for the older kids (and adults), we had a blast on it. There are also smaller slides at the pool for the younger kids along with a few shallow pools for splashing around. On Wednesday night they had a Jamaican beach BBQ with an impressive array of food & night entertainment which was a lot of fun.  It’s an all-inclusive resort so your room price includes all the food & drink you want. Your nanny is also your housekeeper so she will tidy up while the kids nap and keep the fridge stocked with whatever you request.

Franklyn D Resort Jamaica

The bar was pretty basic but they make a mean Dirty Banana and any other tropical drink or smoothie you might want. The only beer they had was Red Stripe but I was fine with that. I didn’t have high expectations for the food but I have to say that it was solid. Nothing incredible to write home about but very tasty, plenty of variety and lot’s of great authentic Jamaican food which is exactly what I want in a place like that. Breakfast is served as a buffet with an omelette station, oatmeal & cereal station, lots of fresh tropical fruit and plenty of sausage, bacon, pancakes, etc…

Every night they have a kids dinner starting at 5:30 where they serve up a bunch of kid-friendly meals while playing kids songs & movies. Usually people would feed their kids at this time and then their nanny would come back after so they the adults could enjoy a nice quiet dinner by themselves. There are 2 restaurants to choose from every night, they post the menus so you can make your decision. They alternate between Indian, French, Italian, American & Jamaican. You don’t come here for the food but we were very happy and satisfied with everything we had.

Franklyn D Resort Jamaica

The resort is not new by any means but it is very clean and well-maintained. The rooms are simple and a little dated but clean & comfortable. We weren’t looking to spend much time in the room so this didn’t really matter to us. We got a 2 bedroom suite so they could put the cribs in another room. I’m glad we did as it would have been extremely tight with 2 cribs in a single bedroom.  We had a nice patio with a view of the water and some adirondack chairs to sit & enjoy the breeze in the evening.

Franklyn D Resort Jamaica

 

SO, if you’re looking for a glitzy tropical vacation in a big fancy resort, you may want to look elsewhere. And in that case, you’ll probably want to leave the kids at home. But if you’re looking for a great vacation WITH your kids, in a place that feels comfortable and like home, FDR is the place.  It just boils down to the fact that they care. They care that you enjoy yourselves, they care that the kids are happy and entertained, and they care that you’ll want to come back year after year.  They made something that seemed like an unfeasible task totally possible.  I got some sun, read a few books by the pool, climbed a waterfall, got a massage, flew down the waterslide, played beach volleyball, participated in aqua aerobics and met some great really great people, all while getting to enjoy these 3 smiling faces of the people I love.

What are you waiting for? Go book your vacation people!

(Feel free to reach out if you have any questions that weren’t covered in this way too detailed review) 

 

A Review of Blue Apron & Life Update

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HELLOOO! How’s it going?  WELL, we’re finally settled in our new house and the craziness is starting to slow down a bit so I figured I would stop in and say hello and while I was at it, I’m going to do a quick little review on my recent experience trying Blue Apron.  And then I’ll give you an update on what’s going on in our crazy busy wonderful whirlwind of a life.

A week before we moved, Tom signed us up for a trial version of Blue Apron since we didn’t have the time to be planning meals but we also didn’t want to fall into the trap of eating crappy takeout for every meal.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a meal delivery service that sends you fresh ingredients and recipes to whip up for your weeknight meals.  The overall consensus is that we love it. The ingredients have all been very fresh and the recipes innovative and refreshing but still simple and appropriate to the season.

Here are some examples of meals we’ve made…(above was my favorite; cornmeal crusted catfish with tomato cucumber salad & creamy dijon potatoes.

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Caesar salad with homemade croutons & seared salmon.

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Squid ink pasta topped with a lemon tomato sauce & sautéed shrimp.

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Ground chicken & summer vegetable bolognese.

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Seared pork chop with roasted sweet potato salad.

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Lamb burgers with crispy zucchini rounds.

SO, here is what I love:

• No meal planning, I don’t have the brain power lately to be thinking up creative things to cook in the kitchen

• We still get to eat fresh homemade meals every night and I get to spend time in the kitchen which is a stress reliever for me

• Most of the meals have been very tasty and they are introducing new ideas and techniques into my repertoire

Negatives:

•  As someone who cooks often, following a recipe actually slows me down a bit. I like to fly around the kitchen and I usually have a well laid out plan in my head but with this I have to keep referring back to the recipe page to make sure I’m using the ingredients correctly

•  90% of the ingredients are fantastic & fresh but we received one bag of spinach that was completely soggy & rotting so I had to toss it and for one of the meals we made this week, they forgot to include an ingredient in the box.  Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things but still notable.

We’re continuing to have 3 meals delivered each week until we find reasons to not to. I’m really enjoying time in my new kitchen and I love that I don’t have to spend any extra time trying to figure out what to make for dinner any more.

In other news…

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Despite the stress of the move, I’ve been trying to soak in every moment of summer in this beautiful town we live in and enjoy every moment with these little boys who are growing so fast.  I’m finding new ways to do things, like cook when I’m alone with two babies. They both enjoy sitting in their high chairs if I pull them over to the island, or like you see in the photo above, I wear the fussy one and put the happy one in their chair 🙂

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I’ve been loving this Cooking for Baby book that my cousin gave to me when I was expecting. This morning I cooked up some apple zucchini purée and they LOVED it!

Nicoise Salad

I had a lunch meeting the other day at the house so I pulled together a salad nicoise and let people help themselves.  I filled a platter with arugula, roasted red peppers, blanched green beans, grilled artichokes, cucumbers, calamata olives, hardboiled eggs, yellowfin tuna & creamy dijon potatoes.  It was the perfect lunch, highly recommend this if you’re having company over and want something fresh & simple.

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And the house. I am head over heels in love with our new house.  We have a nice little outdoor space now which we’re loving, we’re right around the corner from a great little beach where we can take Oto swimming. And the kitchen. Oh, the kitchen.  I can honestly say this is my ultimate dream kitchen. We got to hand pick every element and I am over the moon with how everything turned out. I just look at it and smile every time I come downstairs in the morning.  It’s fantastic for entertaining too, the layout is very open and bright and happy.  I can’t wait for our kids to grow up in this house.

Hope everything is well with you! I’ll be back soon to share a fun BBQ technique with you that I worked on with our friend Blake who is a master griller/smoker/barbequer.

Happy Summer!!

 

I’m still here!! June Update…

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Wow guys, SO sorry it’s been so long but I’ve been just a LITTLE busy! Last time I spoke with you, Camden was home and baby Jax was still in the hospital recovering from RSV but I guess my radio silence has been a pretty clear sign that we officially have our two wonderful babies at home and we’re loving every second of it. The past few months have been exhausting and trying on the mind, body & soul but I wouldn’t give up a minute of it. These two boys bring me so much joy and happiness, a little stress and sleepless nights were totally worth it!

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This is what I now look like on a daily basis, now if only I could use my feet to cook dinner and write blog posts, we’d be in great shape huh!?  They are such great babies and generally very happy but when you have two infants to care for, it’s pretty much perpetual motion. All. The. Time. The second you get them diapered and fed and burped and digested, you’re just about ready to start the process all over again.  Having gone through the process of caring for them in the NICU for months and stressing over monitors and episodes of not breathing and surgeries and blood transfusions and feeding, the simple stresses of caring for them at home seems like nothing, it makes me happy every day to see two smiling healthy boys sitting in front of me. I’m soaking in every moment, like weekend snuggles…

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JuneUpdate4Don’t worry, we were right there next to them, I know you’re not supposed to let the sleep unattended with pillows & blankets.

This is how I’m able to shower in the morning, it’s always slightly amusing to me, how did I get here? 🙂

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I cannot tell you how excited and refreshed I feel to have spring upon us now. The trees are blooming, the birds are singing and everyone is emerging from their houses rubbing their eyes from the long rough winter.

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I’m not going to lie, it was a tough one! I’m finally starting to feel like myself again, I’m back at work, I’m getting some exercise and I feel like I can be such a better mom because of it.  After a rather rough time trying to breastfeed, I finally had to throw in the towel last month and although I feel some guilt for having to do it, I know it was the best thing mentally & physically for all of us. I was able to feed them with breast milk for 5 months and I feel really proud for having made it that far after multiple bouts of mastitis that once landed me in the hospital for a few days with an abscess that had to be surgically drained.  I was exhausted and in pain and I felt like I wasn’t able to focus on caring for my babies as it was consuming every ounce of energy I had. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to share this as a part of me still feels like it was a failure on my part but I know there are plenty of moms who share similar struggles.  People can lay judgement and talk about what they did or what they think is best but everyone has a different story and we all have to be compassionate as you never know what another person may be going through.

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The boys are just starting to try real foods now and I can’t wait to make food for them in the kitchen and nourish their growing little bodies in a whole new way soon!

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They went in for their 6 month appointment this week and I still can’t believe that we’re here.  They are doing so well, they are keeping up with all of their milestones for their corrected age.  Camden is now 14lb 11oz and Jax is 13lb 1oz which is pretty unbelievable considering they started out at only 2 pounds wearing teeny tiny diapers that made a maxi pad look huge.

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They are already developing their own personalities and starting to interact with each other which is so much fun to watch, I look forward to every day as it seems they are always surprising me and learning to do something new.

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OH, and because we’re out of our minds and don’t have enough going on right now we decided to buy a new house and sell ours. Do you think we’re insane yet? Probably. But I’m SOOOO excited!  We really wanted to stay in the town we live in because it’s such a special little place but we were worried we were never going to find what we wanted. We wanted to do a renovation but were worried what that would do to us with the stress caring for 2 babies at the same time.  And then when we least expected it, we were presented with an opportunity to purchase a house down the street that was being built.  We’ve been able to be involved in every step of the process from picking out floors & paint colors to lights and (you guessed it) my DREAM kitchen! Complete with a 36″ gas stove and super white quartzite countertops.  I’ll share more pics as things are completed but this is where it’s at now and I’m getting more and more excited with each thing that gets completed. Now let’s hope someone comes along and buys our house, EEK!

I never thought I would have the opportunity to design my dream home but here we are.

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I also never thought I would have twin boys but here we are.

When life hands you lemons, SQUEEZE THAT BABY!

I can’t say I’ll be back to full posting capacity since my time not spent feeding & diapering babies is usually spent sleeping but I’m feeling more and more like myself every day and the plan is to start whipping up some delicious recipes soon as I’m sure I’ll be inspired by all the fabulous summer produce and goodies.

Thanks for sticking around, miss you guys! Feels good to be back!

-Mai-Lis

 

 

Life in the NICU…

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Wow! What a ride the past 6 weeks have been! I feel like we’re living in some sort of alternate reality, one I never knew existed.

When I was pregnant, I never expected that we would end up here. I guess that’s one lesson I’ve learned very quickly through this whole process, you can never assume or plan anything.  I had heard of babies being born early and long stays in the NICU but you always assume that it’s something that happens to other people, not something that will happen to you.  I even skipped over those chapters in the twin books because I thought “no need to worry myself with that, I’m healthy and the pregnancy is progressing well, we won’t have to deal with that.”

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I took this photo of my baby bump the morning I went into labor.  I knew that I was at risk for an early delivery because of the twins and a shortened cervix but I honestly thought (and hoped) I would make it to at least 35 weeks.

At 29 weeks and 1 day, I was sitting on the couch with Tom posting our Nanny position online when my water broke.  I was in complete shock, I started shaking realizing what was happening, I didn’t even have my hospital bag packed! This wasn’t supposed to be happening!  We packed up a few items and quickly got to the hospital at around 9:00 at night.  After arriving and being admitted to a room in labor & delivery, things started progressing quickly.  The contractions quickly got worse and after a rather painful and uncomfortable night, I was fully dilated by 7:30 AM.  They rushed me in to the operating room, gave me a spinal and then performed an emergency c-section.  The boys were born at 8:30 and 8:31 AM at 29 weeks and 2 days.  Hearing their cries as they were delivered were some of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard, I knew in my heart that they were going to be ok. I got a quick glimpse of them as they were whisked away to the NICU and then I was taken to recover.  Tom went down to visit them and gave me updates but I wasn’t able to visit them until 9:30 that evening. I can’t even explain how difficult it is to have given birth and go an entire day not being able to see or touch your babies.  I was still stunned by how everything happened, it wasn’t the birth that I had expected or planned on.

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They were so small and were hooked up to so many tubes and wires, it was hard to believe the doctors when they told me they were doing so well.  Over the next few days, I slowly recovered from the pain of the c-section and was able to spend more time with them.  I began pumping breast milk for them which really helped me feel as though I was contributing to their growth.  Even though I know there is probably nothing I could have done, it was hard not to blame myself for somehow failing them by delivering early.

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Over the next few weeks, they began to slowly take steps forward.  Breathing tubes came out, bilirubin lights got turned off, we were able to hold them more and they started to become more alert.

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I got to hold them together and they touched each other for the first time.

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It’s been a difficult 6 weeks full of ups and downs.  The hospital and nurses have been amazing, I feel so lucky that they were born in a day & age where medicine and doctors is able to help them grow and thrive.  Today they are 36 weeks, still 4 weeks away from being considered full term babies, but they are thriving and are two of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen (I’m not biased at all). Camden’s feeding tube is out and Jax is bouncing back quickly from a hernia surgery and getting the hang of feeding from a bottle.  They are in open cribs and we can hold them whenever we want. The word “discharge” is starting to get thrown around, it’s still a moving target but still incredibly exciting nonetheless.

This journey has been a real eye opener into a world I have never known. I’ve been blown away by the kindness of our friends and family and even complete strangers.  I feel so lucky to have 2 healthy growing boys and I can’t wait to bring them home soon! Thank you for your patience during what has been a tough time!

Sending love to all the other parents who are dealing with or have dealt with a past stay in the NICU with their babies! It is truly a unique journey!

 

The Nursery Reveal!

Blue, Yellow & Grey Nursery

Since I don’t have any food stuff to share with you these days, I figured I would share some pics of the nursery all complete.  We finished it just days before the boys decided to arrive, it’s sitting all fresh & pretty, waiting for them to come home & enjoy it!  We wanted to keep it simple, neutral & bright and I’m super happy with how everything came together.  We used lots of white with blue, grey & yellow for accents.

Blue, Yellow & Grey Nursery

My favorite find was this blue chevron rug from Pottery Barn.  After combining some credit card points with an online code and a day of free shipping, I paid a total of $3.00 for this rug. It was probably one of my proudest moments 🙂  My grandparents got us these great cribs from Target, they are very solid & look great in the room!

Framed Nursery Wall Art

Framed Nursery Wall Art

I wanted some simple framed art for the room so I designed this set of 3 prints using their names.  On the bottom of the center one it says “Best friends are we, my brother & me.” So cute!  I got the frames for a great price from Michael’s.

Nursery Corner Toy Shelf

Tom picked up these cute corner shelves from home depot and we got some little toys to display on there. The shelves are also going to work great for placing the baby monitors on.

Nursery Changing Table Wall Storage

The flag banner was purchased from Etsy.  My friend Alicia used it for our gender reveal party & baby shower and it was absolutely perfect for the nursery so we hung it up on the wall above the changing table.  We also picked up this tiered white shelf from Home Goods to put all of the diaper changing goods next to the changing table, I think it’s really going to come in handy.

Nautical Kid's Dresser

We bought this Delta dresser so that it matched the white on the Delta cribs & changing table.  I wanted to add something a little extra so I bought these super cute nautical drawer knobs from Leila’s Loft on Etsy.

Twin Boys Nursery Closet

One of my favorite parts of the room is this super organized closet that Tom built.  We took an old black cube shelf from target, built it into the closet, added trim, and then added a few shelves and poles for hanging clothes.  We picked up the cream & aqua drawer boxes from Home Depot.

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The boys are doing great, I got to hold them together yesterday which was AH-mazing.  It was so cool to see them touch each other and cuddle, it was so calming to have both of them sleeping peacefully on my chest.

I can’t wait for them to come home so they can enjoy this beautiful nursery and mess it up!

Check out my nursery and other great baby boy nursery ideas on Shutterfly!