Moms. They grow babies, they nourish and comfort little humans, they run their households, and let's face it, they run the world! I'm thrilled to support my fellow entrepreneurial mamas by organizing this huge giveaway featuring moms of various direct sales businesses (which is one of the many fun and exciting ways to earn an income from home that I discuss in my e-book "Legit Ways to Make Money From Home While Minding the Kids and Not Losing Your Mind"). Our lucky jackpot winner will receive ALL of the following prizes (valued over $260)!!!
Beachbody is a health and fitness company with easy-to-follow diet plans, nutritional supplements, and an extensive coaching network. Our jackpot winner will receive the 22 minute Hard Corps Workout package ($50 value)... "fall in" for 22 minutes a day for 8 weeks and watch the weight "fall off"!
Contact Rosanna with any interest in purchasing Beachbody products or joining her team!
Unless you're living under a rock, you've seen their amazing wraps' before-and-after photos all over social media. It Works carries an assortment of beauty and wellness products. Our jackpot winner will receive 1 It Works Body Applicator (tightens, tones, firms, and reduces appearance of cellulite) and 1 It Works Facial Applicator (softens appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and gives your face a lifted look) - ($50 value).
Contact Susan with interest in purchasing It Works products or joining her team!
Rodan + Fields
Rodan + Fields® was founded in 2002 by the same two dermatologists who created Proactive® and is the first prestige skincare line to enter the world of direct selling. Our jackpot winner will receive one ESSENTIALS Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Body Sunscreen AND ESSENTIALS Lip Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 25 Lip Balm ($40 value).
Contact Alison with interest in purchasing Rodan + Fields products or joining her team!
From their famous 3D+ Mascara, to or their brand new Self Tanning Spray, Younique has designed high-quality, naturally based products. They are so much more than mascara, and there's something for everyone! Our grand prize winner will receive a $35 Younique gift certificate.
Contact Katie with interest in purchasing Younique products or joining her team!
With Keep, you can celebrate special moments in your life by creating one of a kind personalized jewelry that tells YOUR story! Our grand prize winner will receive 1 silicon keeper and 1 key of choice ($28 value).
Founded by three sisters in 2010, Jamberry carries a wide array of fabulously decorative nail wraps. Our grand prize winner will receive a nail wrap sheet for two manicures and two pedicures (excludes charity wraps, The Disney Collection by Jamberry and Collegiate wraps) plus a mini application tool set ($25 value). In addition, all new members to herFacebook group will receive sample accent nail wraps for joining the group by April 11, 2016.
Contact Dawn with interest in purchasing Jamberry products or joining her team.
Pampered Chef, known for their quality cookware and tools that make mealtime easier for cooks and non-cooks alike, has been in the business for 35 years. Pampered Chef’s innovative tools and high-quality products make them a staple in any kitchen. Our jackpot winner will receive a metal brownie pan ($20 value) that makes so much more (think mini-pizzas, meatloaf, quiches). In addition, all new members to her Facebook group will receive free recipe cards for joining the group by the end of this giveaway (April 11, 2016).
Contact Michelle with interest in purchasing Pampered Chef products, hosting a party, or joining her team!
Founded by mothers Nancy Traversy and Tessa Strickland in 1992, Barefoot Books is a publishing company providing award-winning children's books worldwide. Our grand prize winner will receive a $15 gift certificate.
Contact Alison with interest in purchasing Barefoot Books products, joining her team, or booking a party - for every item purchased this April, Barefoot Books will partner with Trees for the Future to plant one tree for a family in need around the world. If a party reaches $300 in sales, they'll plant an additional 100 TREES!
Are you psyched or what?? Enter to win all of the above prizes in the Rafflecopter box below!! The contest is open to US residents ages 18 and over, and will conclude at 11:59PM EST on April 11. A winner will be randomly selected, contacted by e-mail, and have 24 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.
When you grow a human in your belly, things change. Some things are temporary and some are permanent. From stretch marks to hair loss, many women struggle with low self-esteem over their new "mom bod," and this saddens me greatly.
To me, each tiger stripe is a reminder of your most wonderful accomplishment. That remaining "baby bump" brought life and completed your family. So, acknowledge your imperfections, stay fit and eat mindfully, but embrace your mom bod for what it is: beautiful, strong, loving, and amazingly awesome!!
With the help of a few mom friends, I've put together the following video to encourage moms to love themselves and their bodies. I hope you'll help the #MyMomBodIs movement by commenting below and sharing this blog post and video! Thank you!!
Published originally on Mommy Nearest
To find out you are expecting twins or super twins (triplets or more) can be the shock of a lifetime, especially if you hadn’t received any sort of fertility treatment and have no multiples in your family, as in my case. I feel that the infamous five stages of grief can be flexibly applied to the kind of whirlwind emotional journey that I (and probably most) go through after receiving the news. For me, it went something like this:
Stage 1: Denial
The morning sickness and other signs of pregnancy may start earlier and be much more intense. You chalk it up to every pregnancy being different and just brush it off. But when your OB places that wand on your belly or up your hoo-ha for the first ultrasound and announces, “There are TWO babies!!” it’s pretty hard for your first reaction to be anything but denial. My exact words were something like, “WHAT!??! NO!!!! WHAT?!! ARE YOU SURE!?? HOW!? WHAT??,” followed by dozens of expletives. There must be a mistake, a malfunction of the machine where it’s seeing double images. In the words of David After Dentist, “Is this real life!?!???”
Related: How To Prepare for Having Twins
State 2: Anger
The next stage might be brief, but a bit of anger is likely to be lashed out. First, at the poor dear operating the sonogram. I believe I half-jokingly blurted out something along the lines of, “I kind of hate you right now!” The next stream of anger might be directed at your partner (“How could you do this to me with your super sperm!??!”) or even yourself.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Some thoughts that passed through my mind, ever so briefly...
If only we’d waited a bit longer to get pregnant, maybe it would have been a singleton or at least our first child would be a bit older and this would be easier to deal with!
Maybe we should give one away to a family member who can't have kids. Or… we could sell one?? (Note: we did joke about these two options but the were *never* actually on the table for us.)
Stage 4: Depression
I wouldn’t go so far as to say a confirmation of twins will lead to any sort of depression, but it definitely can bring on many negative thoughts and anxieties that are only increased by turning to Google, as we all do, of course! My initial reaction, while still laying on the examination table looking at the two sacks and beans on the sonogram screen, was pretty in line with “HOW can we DO this??” A toddler and two newborns, in our tiny Brooklyn co-op?? Physically, emotionally, and financially, it just didn't seem possible!! Our world had just turned upside down and it’s terrifying. Then, you get home and go straight to Google where you’re overwhelmed with terms like “Vanishing Twin Syndrome”, “Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome”, and all the statistics of your increased risk for preterm labor, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, etc. It can be overwhelming and frightening.
Stage 5: Acceptance (and JOY!!)
After about a week of insomnia, tossing and turning with worries over the logistics of having twins, I finally reached the stage of acceptance. And not just acceptance, actual joy and excitement! With the help of books such as When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads and What To Do When You're Having Two, and amazing Facebook groups such as Private Page of National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, it’s very easy to get both informed and empowered. Twins and super twins are so incredibly special and we were thrilled to be joining the very small club of families with multiples!! With none in either of our families, it felt like an honor to provide such a unique and exciting change in family dynamics for all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I kneww the road would not be an easy one: the pregnancy could be tough (thankfully it wasn't too bad!), taking care of a toddler and two newborn babies would be a challenge, and money would be a struggle (for the next 21 years or so!!). But it will all be worth it and it’s going to be an amazing ride!
How did you handle the news of a multiples pregnancy? Or how would you? Share in a comment below!
Originally posted onMommy Nearest
Most of us are very aware that what we consume while pregnant will pass through to our baby in the womb—that's why we do our best to eat well-balanced meals, take vitamins and stay healthy. But did you know that what you consume while breastfeeding could be causing problems for your baby (and thus yourself)!? I chatted with food and wellness educator Ebeth Johnson, aka The Breastfeeding Chef, to talk about breastfeeding nutrition and its effects on mother and baby. She experienced first hand how changing your diet while breastfeeding can eliminate things such as colic, cradle cap and eczema.
Not having enough milk is a huge concern for expecting and new moms. Are there certain foods that will help maintain or build the quantity of milk produced?
The best way to increase your supply is to put your baby on your breast as much as possible, pump after feedings, and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water—you’re hydrating yourself and the baby. Beyond that, there are various lactogenic foods that will increase the milk supply of breastfeeding mothers, however they effect each woman to a different extent. Most women can see the impact of lactogenic foods within 4 to 7 days of consistent use, though some will experience changes within 48 hours. Foods that will help your supply include green leafy vegetables (especially kale, collards and mustard greens), oats, barley, carrots, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, figs, sea vegetables, nutritional yeast, fennel, almonds, macadamia, cashew, walnut, ginger, and garlic. Just be careful—using a few lactogenic foods over and over will cause them to lose their effectiveness. Instead, eat a variety of lactogenic foods over time.
On the flip side, are there any foods that could decrease milk production that breastfeeding moms should avoid?
Actually, yes, there are many anti-lactogenic foods that can decrease a breastfeeding mother’s milk supply. Such herbs and foods include peppermint, sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, coffee, black tea, green tea, chocolate, soft drinks and carbonated beverages, citric acid, vitamin c supplements, tomatoes, paprika, and citrus fruits. Some women may consume a small amount of anti-lactogenic foods and experience major effects while others may eat large quantities and experience no effect at all. My suggestion is that you avoid these foods for the first three to four weeks after birth.
Colic is common, but a pretty horrific thing for new parents to deal with. When you have a colicky baby who screams all evening, you’re often told there is no cause or cure and you just have to wait it out, for months. What’s your take?
My own research revealed that colic may be caused by contractions of immature intestines as they try to digest food or by gas trapped in the intestines. Since it seems the issue resides in the digestive system, this suggests that the maternal diet may have something to do with its cause and can perhaps have the ability to relieve or soothe its painful effects. If you have a baby with colic, the first thing I suggest is to remove all dairy products from your diet—dairy is the number one dietary cause of colic and may take up to 14 days to completely leave your milk and stop causing challenges for your newborn. You might also consider decreasing consumption of or eliminating other common triggers including wheat, refined sugar and flours, gluten, chocolate, peanuts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, garlic, and even too much fruit (especially peaches, plums, grapes, strawberries and pineapple). At the same time, consume caffeine-free teas that contain catnip, dill, fennel, lemon balm and cinnamon (these can help relieve the painful cramping of colic as well as ease digestion for both you and your baby) and consume foods high in magnesium. Colicky babies secrete more magnesium in their urine due to their high level of stress. This magnesium needs to be replaced because magnesium deficiency leads to muscle spasms, like those experienced in the gut of colicky babies. Above all, hold your baby more—colic is linked to emotional upset that can be soothed somewhat by skin to skin contact and nursing on demand.
How about eczema? Is that food-related as well?
It can be. Infants with eczema most often get it as a response to formula or something their mother ate that came through breast milk. The most common food triggers of eczema are dairy, wheat, corn, soy, citrus, wheat, eggs and bananas. You’ll want to consider eliminating those as well as increasing your intake of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and zinc. Some zinc rich power foods are ground raw sesame seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, adzuki beans, raw sunflower seeds, wild rice, edamame, shitake mushrooms, tahini and kale. In the meantime, massage your baby twice-daily with one tablespoon flax seed oil, one capsule of borage (220mg) or primrose oil (500mg).
Let’s talk cradle cap. It doesn’t seem to bother the babies, but it’s pretty tough to see your little one’s scalp covered in this gunk. Do you really think it’s the result of what the baby (and mother) is ingesting?
Yes! Cradle cap is often associated with an intolerance to formula or a food in the maternal diet. One of the most common dietary causes of cradle cap is milk and dairy products, however eggs, wheat, nuts, peanuts, shellfish, soy and corn are also usual suspects. My suggestion is to remove all dairy and eggs from your diet, increase your consumption of magnesium, zinc, biotin and essential fatty acids (hemp seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and cod liver oil), and treat the cradle cap topically (massage with oil, leave on overnight, and rinse and gently rub with a warm wet washcloth in the morning). If cradle cap persists, try eliminating another possible dietary cause listed above.
What foods should be increased or avoided for reflux?
Add foods that are soothing to the digestive tract, including ginger, aloe vera, melon, fennel, asparagus, green beans, leafy greens, root vegetables, brown rice, pseudo grains, and fresh papaya with the seeds. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium, magnesium, potassium and B12. Avoid trigger foods like chocolate, mint, citrus, raw onion, caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol, dairy, and fried and grilled foods.
Have you treated any of your baby’s ailments through an elimination diet? If so, let us know how it went below.
Need an instant mood booster? The following 2 videos of our 5 month old twins laughing is the cure for what ails you!!
I was doing dishes the other night and heard some thumping around and crazy baby giggles. I rushed into the living room, with my camera of course, to capture big brother entertaining the heck out of his sisters! How cute!!?!
Here's some fun I captured on our vacation in Mexico. Daddy doesn't get a lot of time with the kids at home, so it was really nice to see him bonding with them during our trip. It doesn't get much better than baby tickles, giggles, and cackles!!
Originally posted on Mommy Nearest (since edited) on 3/10/2015
As soon as I found out I was having twins, I became more or less obsessed with understanding everything I could about twins and twin pregnancy. Thanks to great books, Facebook support groups, and Google, here are some of the crazy, cool, and scary things I learned and am happy to pass on to you! Enjoy!!
1. Factors that increase your chance of conceiving twins
Besides IVF and fertility drugs, there are many other factors that increase your chances at having twins. Fraternal twins often run in families because of a gene causing hyperovulation (releasing more than one egg per cycle). Fraternal twins can "skip a generation" because boys don't ovulate, of course, but they'll pass the gene on to their daughters! A mother who is a fraternal twin herself has a four times higher chance of producing twins.
Other factors include advanced maternal age (moms over 30 have more chance for twins), height (taller women have more insulin-like growth factor <IGF>, which results in increased sensitivity of the ovaries), breastfeeding (moms who are breastfeeding when they get pregnant are 9 times more likely to conceive twins, due to elevated IGF levels, and even moms who have weaned but nursed for at least 20 months will have a higher chance of twins), and diet (women who consume dairy may be up to 5 times more likely to conceive twins than a vegan, arguably because cows are given synthetic growth hormones and produce IGF, which is released into their milk).
So, there you have it! You want twins? Do all of the above and you might just get them!! As for me, I had age, height, dairy, and extended breastfeeding (and had only weaned 2 months prior to conception) going for me and didn't even know it. Whoops!
2. The rate of identical twins is universal.
It's not effected by race, nationality, or genetics, and is about 1 in 285 births. Identical twins supposedly do not run in families (though some families with them in each generation will argue BS here), and they are much less common than fraternal twins. There are theories that there is a genetic factor in sperm that can increase the chances of the fertilized egg splitting, but nothing has been proven just yet.
3. Twins have been shown interacting in the womb at as early as 14 weeks.
4. Timing is everything!
Identical twins are the result of one egg splitting post-fertilization, but the timing of the split determines if the twins will each have their own sacs and placentas (split on day 1-3, called di/di twins - the lowest risk), share a placenta (split on day 4-8, called mo/di twins - higher risk), share an amniotic sac *and* placenta (split on day 8-13, called mo/mo twins - quite high risk), or be conjoined (split on day 13-15 - extremely high risk) - the latter of which is of course the most rare, only 1 in 200,000 births.
5. Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)
TTTS can occur when identical twins share a placenta, when one twin is getting more nutrients and blood volume than the other. It can happen at any point in the pregnancy and can result in the death of one or both twins, and is thus a huge concern for parents and caregivers. There are treatments available, so frequent exams and ultrasounds are necessary to keep an eye on the situation.
6. How do you know if twins are identical or fraternal?
For one, if they are boy/girl they are fraternal (well, actually there can be identical boy/girl twins but this is EXTREMELY rare). If they share a placenta or amniotic sac, they are identical (unless they had two placentas that fused together, which can happen but isn't too common). Other than that, you’ll have to wait until they're born to take a look at them. However, fraternal twins may *look* identical, and "identical" twins don't always look *exactly* the same, so the only way to be sure is to do the Zygosity genetic testing (which we did - read about it here), which is via a simple swab of the cheek. Knowing whether twins are identical or fraternal is not just to satisfy your curiosity, it can help you be prepared for certain health conditions identical twins would share, or warning your kids that they are likely to have twins of their own!
7. Same Same but Different…
Identical twins have nearly the same DNA (99.9% identical) and almost nearly identical brain wave patterns, but different fingerprints and teeth marks. They can also have subtle differences resulting from how they were squished in the womb, such as different head shape, or their size may be dramatically different due to nutritional differences resulting from TTTS.
8. Twins have a higher rate of left-handedness.
22% of twins are southpaws as opposed to 10% of singletons.
9. Did you eat your twin?
An estimated 1 in 8 pregnancies begins with twins with only 1 in 70 actually producing twins, thanks to “Vanishing Twin Syndrome”, where one of the babies doesn’t survive. This is usually quite early on and the embryo is reabsorbed by the mother’s body or by the surviving twin, causing no issues for the remainder of the pregnancy. So, it’s quite possible that you had twins for the first few weeks of your pregnancy and never even knew it! For others who already had twins diagnosed, only to find out later there’s just one remaining baby, it can be devastating news. Rightfully so, it’s something every mother carrying multiples worries about until they are all delivered safely.
10. "Full Term” is Relative.
50% of twins are born before 37 weeks gestation, which is considered “full-term” for twins, and most practitioners will induce by 38 weeks (the risk of still birth goes up significantly after this point for twins). The average birth weight for twins is just 5 pounds 5 ounces (as opposed to the robust 7 pound 7 ounce average singleton).
I feel so lucky our girls made it to 39 weeks 6 days before we were finally induced and had a beautiful safe vaginal delivery (read about it here). Our girls were 6 pounds 11 ounces and 5 pounds 9 ounces.
11. Twins can have different birthdays.
While extremely rare, it’s possible to birth one twin days, weeks, or even months before the other! The current record is twins born 87 days apart (the first twin was born 4 months premature).
12. Twinning highs and lows.
Nigeria has the highest rate of multiple births (4%), whereas China has the lowest (about 1.1%, though it should be noted that they waive the one-child-policy in the case of multiples, which are just counted as a single birth). The rate in the US is about 3% of births.
13. Baby A / Baby B
Baby A refers to the twin located lower in the womb with Baby B being higher. For higher order multiples, the lettering of babies continues for all in order of their closeness to the cervix.
14. Twins put you in the “high risk” category but don’t necessarily mean a Cesarian Section.
Many practitioners will agree to try for a vaginal birth if Baby A is head down and larger than Baby B. Once Baby A is born, Baby B should be able to be born in any position or a practitioner may try to manipulate them into a head down position. Most hospitals and doctors will require you to deliver in the OR, just in case you need an emergency c-section for the second baby (the dreaded "double whammy" birth and recovery).
15. The average time between delivery of the first and second twin is 17 minutes. (Mine were 6 minutes apart).
16. Many parents worry about telling their identical newborns apart.
If there’s no easy distinguishing factor (such as size, birthmarks, cowlicks, or moles), some take to painting a toenail in an identifying color, using infant-safe jewelry, or color coding wardrobes. Also, once the umbilical cords fall off, their belly buttons can be a giveaway.
17. Polar bears most commonly birth twins (and very rarely singletons or triplets).
18. About 25% of identical twins are “Mirror Image Twins”.
This means they are exact reflections of one another. For example, if one has a freckle under the left eye, the other’s freckle will be under the right eye, cowlicks will run in opposite directions, etc.
19. Polar Body / Half Identical Twins
These are the result of one egg that split, and then each half became fertilized by different sperm. They will share 75% of their DNA - which is more than regular siblings or fraternal twins but less than identical twins.
20. Healthier moms have twins?
A study in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B that focused on mothers in the 1800’s suggests “Twins could be an evolutionary adaptation in which healthy moms take the chance to pass on double their genes at once.”
21. Twins can have different fathers!
It’s extremely rare, but let’s say the women releases more than one egg and goes on to have intercourse with two different men in her window of peak fertility… boom… fraternal twins with different dads!! And a whole lotta explaining to do! HA!
22. Twins can be different races!
Fraternal twins (i.e. two eggs that got fertilized separately) can look identical or completely different, even black and white. It’s basically a genetic roll of the dice which genes each baby will receive from mom and dad. Fraternal twins are no more alike than any siblings, they just happened to share a womb and birthday.
23. 40% of twins develop their own language.
Sounds cool (and is super cute, have you seen this viral video!?, but actually this can happen when any similarly aged babies are around each other a lot and developing language skills at the same rate. This made-up language usually disappears once the children learn the real language that allows them to communicate with others.
24. If two sets of identical twins married each other...
Their children would technically be cousins but the cousins would have the same genetic closeness as actual siblings. Mind. Blown!!!
25. Celebrities with twin siblings:
Scarlett Johansson has a twin brother, Kiefer Sutherland has a twin sister, Ashton Kutcher has a fraternal twin brother with cerebral palsy, Gisele Bundchen has a fraternal twin sister, Napoleon Dynamite (aka Jon Heder) has an identical twin brother, Isabella Rossallini has a fraternal twin sister, Alanis Morissette has a twin brother, Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen are fraternal twin sisters, Vin Diesel has a twin brother, and Tia and Tamera Mowry are identical twin sisters (though they didn’t find out til they took the test at 35 years old!).
26. Celebrity parents of twins:
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt, Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon, Celine Dion & Rene Angelil, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony, Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick, Ricky Martin (via surrogate), Anna Paquin & Stephen Moyer, Rebecca Romijn & Jerry O'Connell, Julie Bowen, Holly Robinson & Rodney Peete, Marcia Cross (via IVF), Elsa Pataky & Chris Hemsworth, Lisa Marie Presley, Jon & Kate Gosselin, Mia Hamm & Nomar Garciaparra, Diana Krall & Elvis Costello, Zoe Saldana & Marco Perego, Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka, and Sarah Shahi & Steve Howey.
27. There is a Twins Day celebration held in Twinsburg, Ohio.
Pretty awesome, huh? Did I miss anything crazy, cool, or scary about twins? Are you a twin, parent of twins, or hoping to be? Share in a comment below! And don't miss this post about how to prepare for having twins!!
Our twins are di/di (they had two sacs and two placentas - the lowest risk for twins). With di/di twins, many docs and ultrasound technicians (including 2 of mine!) erroneously announce to parents as a matter of factly that they're fraternal. The truth is, if di/di twins are the same sex and blood type, there's only one way to know for sure that they are fraternal: a genetic test!
Actually, 30% of di/di twins are identical, or monozygotic. Here's the timeline of how the different types of identical twins happen: If the fertilized egg splits early enough, in the first 3 days, the babies will go on to develop their own sacs and placentas (di/di twins). If it splits in the next couple of days, they'll have their own sacs but share a placenta (called mono/di). If the split happens in the next few days they'll share a sac and placenta (called mono/mono, which is very high risk). And if the split happens later they will be conjoined twins (extremely rare and dangerous). There are some other interesting things that can happen. For example the egg could split before being fertilized, which results in "half twins". And it can also happen that the two placentas of fraternal twins fuse, making it appear that they share a placenta, in which case they could wrongly be assumed to be identical. Phew! This stuff is crazy complicated, right!??
Anyway, back to our story! When our girls were born, they did look different. They had different skin tone, slightly different facial features, and different colored and textured hair. However, they shared the same blood type and eye color, so we weren't 100% they were fraternal. As the months have passed, some things have gotten more similar and others more different. Right now, Mia has brown eyes and Emi hazel. Their hair is now pretty much the same brown color but Mia has a lot more of it (probably because I picked Emi's cradle cap out along with lots of hair, whoops!)
From what I've read and heard, even "identical" twins can have many differences that result from differences in environment in the womb, and slight genetic changes that can happen after the egg splits. Sometimes they end up with different head shapes, birth marks, hair color, etc! So, every time someone asked us if our girls were identical or fraternal, my answer of "fraternal, we're pretty sure" annoyed myself and probably the inquisitor.
I knew I couldn't live with this uncertainty. I just had to KNOW FOR SURE, you know?? I'd heard about the zygosity test in my Facebook twins group and went ahead and ordered the test through Affiliated Genetics (check out their YouTube video which explains twins and the genetic test really well). It was pretty straight forward. You get some swabs and rub the inside of each baby's cheeks and under the tongue and then press on a grid that absorbs the liquid and cells - you have to do this 4 times per baby (luckily the girls didn't protest).
We mailed in the tests and then the hard part... waiting! It took just over 2 weeks but finally the results came. Drum roll please....
OUR TWINS ARE FRATERNAL!!!!!
Without getting too technical (because I don't really understand it much myself), they looked at 15 different STR markers in their DNA and noted whether they were discordant or concordant. Our girls were only concordant on 4 of the 15!!! So, the results were without a doubt that they are dizygotic (fraternal). We're not a bit surprised, but are thrilled to finally know for sure and be able to answer with certainty the bazillion times a day we get asked! HA!!
But it's not just out of curiosity that parents and kids should know their twin status... if twins are monozygotic, it's very likely they will share most medical issues. They will also be an exact blood and organ donor match for each other. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, are no more similar than any siblings (siblings who just happened to share a womb and birthday). They will have an increased chance / risk (depends how you look at it LOL) for having fraternal twins themselves, though! That's because hyperovulation can be genetic and passed down (it "skips" generations with sons, since they don't ovulate obviously, but they will pass the gene down to their girls).
There are other things that increase your risk of ovulating more than one egg at a time, including IVF and fertility drugs, but also the following (which were all in play for me): increased maternal age (the eggs are having a going out of business sale and jumping ship 2 or 3 at a time), being a dairy drinker/eater, being tall, and practicing extended breastfeeding or having recently weaned. Because my husband and I have ZERO history of twins on either side of our families, it's not likely my hyperovulation was genetic, but it's possible I've started the trend. We'll see! Maybe I'll get a whole bunch of twin grandbabies in about 30 years!!! How fun!
Now that we've gotten our feet wet with this whole genetic testing thing, I'm really interested in doing an ancestral / ethnicity test for all 5 of us. It breaks down what percents you are (again, noooooo idea how this actually works, but I love the idea of it!). Our son Kenzo looks pretty much half Asian and half caucasian, but our girls don't look very Asian at all (yet?). It would be really interesting to see if their blood shows them as not having gotten much of the Japanese DNA! Maybe my husband would like to throw in a paternity test while we're at it, LOL!!!!
UPDATED: We actually did find out our ancestry with 23andMe - check out that blog post here or watch the video below!
Here are some related posts you may enjoy:
We're Pregnant... With Twins!!!
How To Prepare for Having Twins
My Positive Twin Birth Story
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product and service free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
We're celebrating the coming of spring with our Eco-Home Giveaway, sponsored by Mommy Scene and featuring products that help make life more Eco-friendly! All of the sponsoring brands offer products designed with families in mind, to encourage greener lifestyles. Check out these awesome brands and enter to win an amazing prize set below:
Thinkbaby | Thinksport
Prize: Thinkbaby GO2 Container + GO4TH 350ml + Stainless Steel Baby Bottle OR Sippy Cup OR Thinkster - winners choice + Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen, 6 ounces
Thinkbaby and Thinksport's founder, Kevin Brodwick, brought his interest in health and preventative medicine and his background in biotechnology together to form a company whose sole purpose is to create alternative products for babies to athletes alike. With a team of physicians and scientists focused on the latest biological and chemical sciences, Thinkbaby and Thinksport continue to lead in the usage of safe, non-toxic materials for consumer goods. Thinkbaby and Thinksport's efforts are further energized by working with both leading child and health advocacy partners and like-minded individuals. Learn more at gothinkbaby.com.
Prize: Crane Grey Droplet Humidifier
Crane's Droplet Humidifiers are a half gallon cool mist humidifier that runs for up to 15 hours. They are whisper quiet during operation, do not require a filter and they are energy efficient requiring less energy than a standard household lightbulb to run. All Crane cool mist humidifiers use an anti-microbial material to help fight bacteria buildup. Crane USA was founded with the continuing goal to "Design for Better Living." For everything from natural cold and flu remedies to relieving croup in infants, Crane's cool mist humidifiers are the perfect addition to any child or adult's room. Learn more at crane-usa.com.
Prize: Full Size Set of Fresh Wave products
Fresh Wave natural odor-removing products use simple, pure and natural ingredients to actually remove odors from your life. No harsh chemicals. No harmful ingredients. No masking fragrances. Fresh Wave products remove the odor at its source - on the molecular level. With Fresh Wave, odors go away. Happiness stays. Products are available at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Ace Hardware. Learn more at freshwaveworks.com.
Prize: 2 sets of Eco-friendly Hangers - choose from 6 designs
Little Dundi brings to life products inspired by baby. Our innovative line of Eco-friendly clothes hangers started with a cloud shaped infant sized model has grown to include hangers sized for toddlers & kids clothing. These hangers come in 6 attractive prints and are made of thick and sturdy recycled paperboard with an aqueous coating for a more polished look. All glues used are vegetable starch based and the inks are water based. Our hangers are our way of being friendly to the Earth. Learn more at littledundi.com.
Prize: Recycled Beachfront Baby Wrap
Beachfront Baby makes fashionable water baby carriers! Each Beachfront Baby Wrap made with 100% Repreve PC polyester contains approximately 15 plastic water bottles! Each Recycled Wrap comes with its own matching drawstring carry bag, which is also made with Repreve, and our packaging for this wrap is printed on 100% recycled paper. Made in the USA, all our carriers are sewn with care by work-at-home-moms in the San Antonio, Texas area. Learn more at beachfrontbabywraps.com.
Prize: Gift set of top sellers: Neem Skin Salve, Bentonite Clay Mask, Sea Salt Face Scrub, and Lavender Goat Milk Soap
Wicks Beauty is offering a gift set of a few of our top sellers: Neem skin salve, bentonite clay mask, sea salt face scrub, and lavender goat milk soap - a $36 value! Wicks features a family-focused array of products made with all-natural oils and butters that detox and heal skin while protecting its natural moisture. Our products help soothe and prevent eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Breathe new life into tired skin the natural way. Check out our line for babies and pets! Learn more atwicksbeauty.com.
Prize: $50 gift set including newly released silicone cups, straws & universal fit straw and sippy tops
Siliskin Silicone Cups are made with 100% food grade silicone with an embedded stainless steel ring so they won't collapse when gripped. Dishwasher safe and great for indoor and outdoor use.
Siliskin Universal Silicone Sippy Tops fit over any size cup. The silicone top grips the cup top while air suction keeps it in place. The spout is free of intricate valves allowing for easy use and cleaning. Also dishwasher safe and perfect for on-the-go and indoor and outdoor use.
Siliskin Universal Straw Tops stretch over and grip the top of glasses of multiple sizes, while also kept in place with air suction. Use with a Siliskin silicone cup or a glass of your choice for an instant, no-spill straw top cup.
Silikids products are safe, modern & practical, easy to clean, and made from 100% food grade silicone. A great alternative to plastic! Learn more at silikids.com.
Sudsy Dough Moldable Soap
Prize: 12 oz. tub of Sudsy Dough with surprise toy inside! Fragrance of choice
Sudsy Dough is an interactive bath toy that doubles as a moldable scented dough and a cleansing soap. Kids can squeeze and squish Sudsy Dough in the bath, rub it on as body wash, or take it outside the tub and make custom-shaped soaps that will dry when left out in open air. Sudsy Dough is scented and infused with moisturizing ingredients such as Shea Butter and beeswax. Each ball also has a surprise bath toy hidden inside! Available fragrances include Merry Mango, Sassy Strawberry, Awesome Apple, and Bubbly Blueberry. Learn more at revelae.com.
Prize: Set of 3 cloth snack or sandwich bags, style of choice
Take snacks on the go with Yummi Pouch cloth snack and sandwich bags. Our cloth bags are lined with a moisture resistant interior and decorated with colorful prints, choose from 16 cute patterns! Perfect for crackers, sandwiches, and dry snacks, or small items like bottle parts, teethers, and hair accessories! They open with a silent zipper that's simple enough for a child to use. Reduce the trash during lunchtime or organize your purse with our modern cloth bags. Learn more atrevelae.com.
Prize: Back Buddy Support Pillow
Back Buddy is an award-winning maternity and feeding support pillow, designed by a Chiropractor and nursing mother. It alleviates common back pain during and after pregnancy, and provides comfort and support for mom while holding or feeding baby. Made in the USA from high-quality structural foam that is certified to be made WITHOUT harmful PBDE flame retardants, phthalates, CFC's, formaldehyde, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals, and is tested for performance, durability, and emissions.
Learn more at back-buddy.com.
Prize: hipNgo - brand new, black on black design or color of choice
The hipNgo provides the ideal child carrying solution for the family with an active lifestyle and a busy toddler. The patented saddle seat centers the child against the adult hip and provides proper weight distribution, relieving strain on the arms, shoulder and hands. The simplistic shape, size and weight offer families on the go, a handy solution to the challenges of traveling with a toddler. The hipNgo can be adjustable for male or female versatility, left or right handed dexterity, as well as large and small build body types. Say goodbye to the bulky stroller and say hello to the 5-ounce hipNgo with its own storage bag. Available in several colors as well as classic black. Learn more at hipngo.com.
Enter below to win these great prizes!
This giveaway is sponsored by Mommy Scene and is open to US entries. One winner will be chosen and displayed on the giveaway widget after the giveaway ends on March 28th, 2016. Mommy Scene and the participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand.
With 3 kids ages 3 and under, the idea of hosting or even going on a playdate these days is a bit overwhelming, but this was a really fun opportunity I couldn't pass up! I was so honored to be chosen by MomSelect and Walt Disney World Resort to host a Disney Kids Preschool Playdate - they sent free products, recipes, game ideas, and prizes - hollah!!
It was like Christmas when we received our box and Kenzo was super excited to go through it and help me plan the playdate. He even helped me make Mickey Mouse blueberry pancakes for his guests!
Each guest got a backpack, Lion Guard poster, Walt Disney World Resort Preschool Map, and reversible hat (Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sofia the First). We decided the Sofia the First suitcase would go to the child or family showing the most Disney spirit (though my son wasn't too psyched about that, he wanted to keep it for himself!).
Living in a small co-op in Brooklyn with cranky neighbors, we couldn't exactly host the playdate at home, but luckily we have a huge park across the street and it was a beautiful warm and sunny day!!
Everyone arrived and the fun began!! We played a version of Red Light - Green Light using a huge Mickey Mouse head as the signal. Next up was Simon Says, but each kid picked a Disney character card and used that name instead. So we had Sofia says, Donald Duck Says, Captain Jake Says, etc etc. One of the kids wanted his mom to play and gave her the Cinderella card, of course!
Next up, I used a bag of 12 Animal Kingdom small plastic animal toys for a little safari game - I scattered the toys around the park and the kids had to run and find them. To my surprise they were happy to give up the toys in order to play the hunt again and again! In the end, they all got 1 or 2 animals to keep - yay!!
By this point, everyone was a bit pooped, so we sat down for snacks and story time - I read a scratch and sniff book that was included in my playdate kit, "My Very, Very Smelly Breath!" which the kids got a hoot out of! From stinky dog breath to mint toothpaste to watermelon and trees, there were some odd and funny things to smell!!
After the break, it was time for a bit more action. We played tag and Duck Duck Goose, and then it was time to award our "Most Disney Spirit" family, whose two kids showed up in Elsa and Olaf costumes, and even the parents wore their bride and groom Mickey ears (they honeymooned at Disney!). Kenzo was sad he couldn't keep the Sofia the First suitcase but was happy it was going to such a nice family :)
Don't miss my video montage of the playdate here, with all the kids in action!!
Want to Share Your Disney Side and plan a Disney playdate of your own? Check out Disney Side Celebrations - they've got recipes, game ideas, downloads, and more!
Traveling to Disney with a preschooler? Check out their website with tips and tricks for families like yours planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive these products free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
Each year we spend a good chunk of time and money going to my hometown to visit our family. My sister's family comes in from Montreal and mine from NYC. All of us are avid travelers and wanderlusters, so we sat down last year and unanimously agreed that we would start taking trips somewhere new rather than just going home, as much as budget allows.
This year marked our first attempt and it was, in a word, A-MAY-ZING!!! As word spread of our exciting plans, extended family jumped in and we ended up with a group of 19 adults and children joining from USA, Canada, and Japan!! And the location? Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!
Our requirements were:
Meeting all of our requirements was the Crown Paradise Club Puerto Vallarta. For my family of 5 (granted the 2 babies were free), one week including flights, hotel, all food and drinks, was $3,000. Awesomely budget-friendly!!
For us, 2 best things about the Crown Paradise were:
1) Their pirate-ship themed kids' pool, featuring a bunch of water slides (9?), which was SOOOOOO much fun for the kids and adults!
2) Their kids' programs. They have a "Baby Paradise" where you can drop off kids ages 18 months - 4 years, for free!! Unfortunately our son lasted all of 5 minutes in there before our pager went off and we had to run back to pick up our sobbing child. Ugh. Apparently another child wanted to share, and ours did not... But he did love the little ride-in car we got to borrow from them. He was riding in style around the resort!! They also have a "Kids Paradise" for kids ages 4-12, and this was great. During the day the leaders would walk around the pools collecting kids for games and contests, and in the evenings they had "parties" the kids could attend while parents went off to have romantic child-free dinners.
Also amazing was the food. Their buffet was great, TONS to choose from and even a kids' buffet corner. They had 3 a la carte restaurants which were great (Italian, Asian, and French), but a bit annoying because you have to call a day ahead, from your room, to make a reservation.
The beach was beautiful, though I'm not much of an ocean girl. Some of our party did the free kayaking, and my hubby and his family paid extra for parasailing!! It was really exciting to watch, maybe I'll get the guts to actually do it next time!
The rooms were nothing special, but they were clean and ours had a nice balcony with views of 2 pools and the beach. I enjoyed nursing my babies out there while people watching!! We got 2 complimentary pack 'n plays for our girls, and there was plenty of room to fit them, but they were very dingy and disappointing. Our babies are only 5 months so clean sheets fitted over the mat was fine, but if they had been older and standing and chewing on the rail of the beds, yikes, I would have been really upset... So, if this sounds like your situation you may want to consider bringing along your own baby bed (like a blow up Dock a Tot perhaps).
The free nightly entertainment was also a bit disappointing. First off because it was not quite the level of professionalism and excitement as I was expecting, but also because it was so late. Most shows didn't start til 9, and after bringing all the kids to 2 shows I quickly realized it wasn't worth it. For the rest of the week we all went back to the room after dinner, nursed the babies, and were in bed by 9pm.
The only other negative thing at all I have to say about the resort was that several underwater steps in the kids' multi-level water park were no longer marked. I tripped going up and down steps that I didn't see, and I witnessed several children unexpectedly going under water because they missed steps down. We had water wings on our toddler and he was never out of reach, but this seemed a bit dangerous. Also, there were no life guards. So, long story short, please keep a close eye (or hand) on your kids if they're not very good in the water.
If you start getting antsy to get out on some adventures, there are TONS of excursions you can book right from the hotel (and if you have the time to sit through time share spiels, you can free excursions or other goodies). We did a full-day city/tequileria/jungle tour which was pretty cool, but I would have been 100% fine with just staying on the resort property for the full week! With all of our family with us, they were so helpful with watching the babies while we swam or ate, it was so relaxing and one of the most amazing vacations of my life... so far!! I really hope we can visit the Cancun location of Crown Paradise sometime soon!!!
Here's a video montage of our stay in Puerto Vallarta, enjoy! We sure did!!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)