Labeling Kids Clothes – Back to School

Four years ago my fabulous sister-in-law gave me labels for the girls. At first I thought what am I going to do with all these? The girls are only 2 weeks old. Why do I need labels?

Daycare’s and schools require names on everything from extra underwear to water bottles. So back to school for me is pretty easy when it comes to labeling clothes, because my SIL gave me labels from Mabel’s Labels. I just have to stick the labels on and I’m done. (They don’t come off in the wash nor the in dishwasher.)

It takes me 5 minutes to label two sets of: clothes, backpacks, thermos, lunch containers, shoes etc. I have yet to purchase any from the site as I’m still working through the gift. Thanks so much CH!

Enjoy labeling.

What’s in my basket?

The container in my car!

The container in my car!

If you’re a parent to young children you will hear the screams and the attitudes when you’re kids are hungry. And if you’re like me you’ve scheduled loads of playdates at parks, signed you’re kids up in numerous activities that are at least 30 minutes from home and run into construction at least once a day, probably at 4pm.

My kids are extremely active, and my belief for our family is if you’re hungry then eat…but eat relatively good food that will sustain you and give you energy. Since my kids are active therefore I’m active and therefore I get hungry when my kids do. So I pack a basket in my car. Actually it’s a container from the Container Store with the lid off so I can easily grab a snack. (Note: I have tried to do the eat only at meal times but my kids are on the small and frequent meal plan, not by my doing)

So what’s in my basket/container at all times?

Almonds – dry roasted from Whole Foods (I found an almond that the girls and I like with no salt)
Pretzels – both salted sticks and non salted rings
Harvest Snaps, Baked and Lightly Salted
Amazon and Costco carry the big bags, QFC carries the small ones.

Chukar Cherry Medley If you buy them from Pikes Place Market you get a discount. I sometimes switch these out for dried blueberries.

Peter Rabbit Organics I only provide the vegetable ones, since my girls eat an enormous amount of fruit without encouragement. My girls love the sweet potato, the spinach and the carrot flavors.

Peanuts – plain (I buy the ones that you grind to make peanut butter from Whole Foods) Also the girls do love the peanuts from CB Nuts but that’s usually saved for road trips.

CB’s Nuts Organic Pumpkin Seeds

Back to Nature Crispy Cheddar Crackers – I buy two varieties: cheddar and whole grain.

Sesame Sticks – Whole Foods sells a few flavors, we enjoy the turmeric ones.

Granola Bars – Clif Bar Energy Bar, Peanut Toffee Buzz is our favorite and Taste of Nature Snack Bars comes in close second.

Raisins – small boxes or you’ll have them all over your car!

Planters Deluxe Whole Cashews Canister, Lightly Salted

Supplies: Spoons – plastic ones that can be recycled (washed and reused). By having spoons in the car I can grab some yoghurt in the morning and not worry about forgetting the spoons. Kleenex for tears and wipes for hands and face.

You may wonder what is the state of my car. It’s not that bad. I do have a rule for myself that when I go to a gas station I must clean out the garbage while the tank is filling up. I do try, when I get home at the end of each day, to clean out the garbage and now I’ve started training/encouraging the girls to remove their trash.

My supply chain- when I grab the last box of granola bars from my storage room, I reorder so I don’t run out of supplies in the car. I try to choose things that I can reach easily into the container and hand them to the kids. I also choose items that I like so when I get hungry I get something that can sustain me. Having a snack supply that stays in my car has decreased the tantrums – both for my kids and myself. Think about yourself…have you found yourself heading into a meeting or an appointment and you are famished. You become a bit grumpy and rushed because you’re hungry. Having some nuts or something with protein in it keeps you going until you can get to a meal. What are some of the other items I always have in my car?

  1. Water – I have a large container of water for myself and refills for the girls water bottles. If we’re out at a park and they’ve used up all their water I don’t want to be caught without.
  2. Backpack – in this bag I have an extra set of clothes for the girls including underwear. Even though they are potty trained I always have an extra set in the car for emergencies. Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus Red For the parks that have filthy toilets or for “I gotta go right now while driving” or at a park that has no facilities – it’s great to have this in your backpack.
  3. Tennis Balls taped together – for me. I have a bad back and when carrying children after scraped knees or falls, climbing on jungle gyms – my back sometimes needs a good roll.
  4. Old towel – in Seattle it rains. So when the sun comes out we head out to the parks. But the slides and swings can be wet so having an old towel to wipe it down makes the parks more fun. As summer approaches and the days are warmer – we all spend one more minute at the parks. But as soon as we get into the car the tantrums may start because we’ve past snack time, haven’t had enough food or water and we get stuck in traffic – I find having a container full of snacks at hand  helps you get home with your sanity still in tack.Oh and if you’re meeting your husband/partner for an appointment and he hasn’t eaten all day – it’s also great for him!

I’m always on the lookout for good snack foods that can stay in my car. Let me know yours.

Enjoy the weather

Winter Gear for Kids – obermeyer I Grow

If you haven’t purchased your winter gear for your kids yet – be sure to check out obermeyer – I Grow Extended Wear System

Skiing at 2 (rolled ski pants)

Skiing at 2 (rolled ski pants)

I purchased two outfits (2 snow pants and 2 jackets) when my girls had just turned two in 2011. I was heading back to Toronto, Canada to the deep freeze for Christmas. The size I purchased was a size 3 at REI. At first I had sticker shock – approximately $150 for the jacket and $100 for the pants – times two! However the suits have been well used (skiing, playing in the snow, skating, venturing out in frigid temps etc.) and just now I’m letting out the sleeves and letting down the pants for one suit. The other suit still fits the other 4-year-old twin, thus I’ll get even more time with the suit. Letting out the jackets and pants are extremely easy. In my case because the suit is pink and purple, obermeyer used red thread to let me know where to pull out the thread. Another bonus – the pants have two places to let down the length – the straps and the legs. This matters if your child has long legs but a short torso or vice versa. The sleeves in the jacket also had red thread versus the pink thread (no touch) for the jacket stitching. In addition these suits wash well. I have lost count the number of times I’ve washed these suits due to a shocking amount of hot chocolate and ketchup spills. Simply wash in cold water and line dry (no shrinkage).

Skiing at 3 (size 3)

Skiing at 3 (same suit)

I highly recommend this brand. Last year after realizing the girls were getting snow in their mitts from another brand and I was getting frustrated trying to get their mitts on correctly, I purchased obermeyer thumbs up mittens They open right up with velcro so little kids hands can slide in and you can easily and quickly close them. They are also water proof so no matter how many times they roll in snow, make snow people, eat snow etc. they stay dry. Oh and they have the nose wipe system too!

Enjoy the snow!

Paula

Potty Training 101 for kids

Potty Training!
Even the words and the thoughts can be stressful just thinking about it. Honestly I had to psyche myself up to the challenge. But once you get past the idea of more work in your day (your schedule and life will change for a few months because you will have to stop what you’re doing and take kids to the potty) BUT it’s worth it.

We used the 3 day potty method by Lora Jensen. The pdf costs $27 and it’s worth it. She’s available for advice etc. when you go through it. However I did a few things differently because I didn’t realize I had two types of personalities for potty training.

Step 1: Continue reading

Swimmers, Tangles, Birds Nest and Curls – Children’s Hair issues

Since June, we’ve been swimming every other day in chlorinated water. The girl’s hair became brittle and dry. Add that with one that has straight hair that becomes a birds nest when it’s dry and the other who has a plethora of curls, both lead to immense amount of screaming while brushing hair.

I found these three products that work extremely well and wanted to pass them on to fellow brushers.
1. For the swimmers: Circle of Friends George’s Swimmers’ Tearless Shampoo If you visit University Village in Seattle you can pick up a bottle at The Salon at Kids Club and it’s $3 cheaper than Amazon. The dry brittle hair became healthy once more even though we’re still swimming every other day.

2. For the tangled: this is an exceptional product. After washing their hair with the above product, I spray the detangler on their hair (it’s a leave in product), towel dry and then brush. No screams and the brush glides right through the thickest of hair. This product keeps their hair relatively detangled for a few days.
Galvin & Galvin Kids Organic Dubble Trubble Detangling Conditioner Spray Cool Cucumber 5.1 Oz
I found this product at Target for $4.99 versus Amazon at $19.99.

3. For the curls and the birds nest: this product makes the girl’s hair soft and shows off their curls. Even though it says it’s for curls, I put it on the birds nest hair and it works wonders (we haven’t had a bird’s nest hairdo since we started using it).
Curls Ring Around the Curlies Leave-in Creme – 4 Oz
Again this product is more expensive on Amazon $16 versus $13 at the Kids Salon in University Village.

Hope you get a bit more peace in your house today!

Paula

Spanx in a swimsuit = Miraclesuit (look 10lbs lighter)

After the twins were born, my front and behind were not as they were prior to pregnancy. As I sit here eating 2 pieces of cake, I’m sourcing an exceptional product known as the Miraclesuit . This source may be a bit late in the summer but if you’re still trying to figure out how to look and feel good in a swimsuit this season this product will assist you. You will look 10lbs lighter in 10 seconds! These bathing suits are a bit expensive but they seriously work. Note: it is not easy to get into them similar to SPANX since they work the same way. Last year, I picked up a purple and white polka dot Miraclesuit and had numerous compliments (I also felt that it held everything together).

Once you have your body back to the way you’d like – try out this line of swimwear Title Nine. This company sells clothes that fit women who have had kids and that are active. It’s for the real woman. They also hold up well to chlorine, waves and children!

Tip: If you want to wear a bikini (but a bit nervous) – choose a bikini you love and then buy a matching rash guard to cover up.

Enjoy the sun!

Paula

Traveling with twins -A Logistics MBA course

Traveling with twins should be a section taught in a logistics MBA class and a side note in your fitness trainers book ‘training for a marathon’. As a parent of twins you will need to use all the concepts of constraints, first in first out, efficiencies and bottlenecks.  I have to say my MBA logistics class at Ivey did prepare me somewhat but it did not prepare me for the sheer exhaustion you feel when it’s over (not even a 48 hour case report can come close). I think back to the first two years of travelling with the twins and I have to say it can be compared to running a marathon (I’ve witnessed runner’s appearance and energy level first hand when they cross the finish line).

At 6mths

At 6mths

I have traveled with my twins since they were 2 weeks old. I’ve taken the girls on airplanes as of 6 months old and they do have frequent flyer numbers since they have traveled on 16 airplane trips in their short 3.5 yr. life. Our guest writer Rashida Ronaque traveled with her 9 month old twins and husband to Yemen, Egypt and India. Click here to just view Rashida’s report.

Travel Suggestions:

    1. For any trip whether it’s a weekend away or a one week vacation by car or air you need to make a list of items that you need on a regular basis AND when your kids are sick (you don’t want to be running to find a drug store when you arrive with a sick kid, plus some countries don’t have the same brands that you know work for your kids). Be sure to make a list for you as well.
    2. Determine if the place you’re visiting has laundry facilities – if not, you know your kids and determine how fast they go through clothes, burp cloths etc. and make the adjustments accordingly and then ADD 2 more of everything. Then bring a zip lock bag of detergent for those items you need to wash in the sink.
    3. If you’re traveling to a destination i.e. vacation spots (Hawaii, Disney, Whistler, New York etc.) determine if they have child equipment rentals i.e. pack n plays, strollers, car seats. In addition some of these spots have excellent sitter services so be sure to get a referral when booking your accommodations, in order for you to get a break. Some rental car agencies do rent car seats – Entreprise for example, call ahead and reserve.  At 6 months because I hopped to three different places and didn’t want to haul a pack n play I used the Kidco Peapod because it folds up to the size of a dinner plate.

4. If you’re going for a long trip and you’re within the USA use Amazon.com or other delivery sites to have your diapers, formula, wipes etc. delivered to your destination. In Canada there is  well.ca. If you’re traveling elsewhere find out from friends which service can deliver similar to one you currently use.

5. If you’re traveling to family – ask family/friends for equipment otherwise you can always try Craig’s list and have it dropped off to your family’s residence.

6. Traveling by air – the different airlines have different rules. But the one that most of them have in common is that twins under 2 (or children under 2 of the same family) cannot fly with one adult and you can’t sit in the same row because of the oxygen masks. So before you fly you need to check with the airline whether or not you can be in the same row. Determine their policy on double strollers, carry-ons, baggage for babies, toddlers, fees for extra bags and how and when you pay for it.

7. Bags:

1. Checked luggage: I have two large red Sienna 26 Inch Deluxe Sports Rolling Duffel bags that have wheels and a handle that pops up. I chose red because I can spot it easily. I use two if I go away for 1-3 weeks, I only use one which includes husband, kids and my stuff if I go away for a long weekend. I also check my car seats. If you’re flying international or on an airline that sometimes loses bags – be sure to pack for all of you in both bags so that if one is lost for 24 hours you’d be able to make do with one.

2. Carry Ons: Before the age of 2, I traveled with my diaper bag and 1 back pack (my husband carried the backpack because we each held a baby). In my diaper bag I had the regular stuff – diapers, wipes etc. What I did though is I thought through the travel day as a regular day – counted up how many diapers I needed and then ADDED 4 more just in case. I also had an extra shirt for my husband and me because one of our girls had a gag reflex and would get me all the time. So I figured an extra shirt would be handy. I packed two empty clean bottles, formula, 2 pacifiers, (the other 2 pacifiers were in my fleece jacket that I wore) had infant Ibuprofen, Benadryl, AND Lysol disinfectant spray and Clorox wipes in a plastic bag. See ‘boarding’ below to read why I carried those. For my 6 month olds I had baby mum mums, plum fiddle sticks, Peter Rabbit squishy’s (that I had given them BEFORE the flight to ensure no allergies). In the back pack – my husband’s laptop, iPad, 2 more bottles, 2 small blankets, 2 luvies, toys that I had purchased and cleaned and wrapped from the $1 store, and new flat books.

At 2 yrs
At 2 yrs

 

*When the girls turned 2, I started traveling on my own with them. I carried 1 backpack and 1 large purse. I introduced them to iPad games from Appolearning.com, Shows: Daniel the tiger, and Dora the explorer. However they would only be able to sit for one or two of these until they aged a bit more. I only used 1 iPad for both of them until they were 2.5 yrs. old. The headphones I used and continue to use are Kidz Gear Wired Headphones For Kids – Gray
I also think about the trip and what I’ll need first i.e. tickets or passports, wallet to buy things so I have those items at the top of my bag for efficiencies. When the girls were 1.5 yrs I had them start carrying their tiny backpacks with the two new books and toys. They weren’t allowed to open them until they were on the plane. Now at 3.5yrs they are able to carry their bigger preschool backpacks with books, toys and headphones.

8. Carriers/Strollers – when the girls were 6 months we just used Snuggli carriers – and did not bring a stroller. See photo at top of blog. I strongly recommend you bring a stroller to the gate (pending on airline) and then put your carrier on at the gate. The reason is that if you both have babies on you and no place to put them down in the airport it’s difficult to grab a coffee or go to the restroom! The strollers that we use and continue to use are the cheap umbrella strollers and latch them together with the munchkin adapters – see photo.

2 Umbrella Strollers attached with Munchkin Adapters

2 Umbrella Strollers attached with Munchkin Adapters

That way if they’re lost or broken I can buy new ones. As the kids aged they played with the strollers in races up and down the airport = wearing them out. Always bring a stroller especially if you change flights because toddlers walking from one end of an airport to the next is not happening AND at the end of a long flight they may be sleepy and not in great moods. The stroller also acts as a carrier for my purse, food purchases and their backpacks. See how I travel now with one stroller and put one on top of the other.

At 3.5 - how we roll
At 3.5 – how we roll

*Note most airlines won’t let you have your babies in the carrier when you take off. HOWEVER wear your carrier, hold your baby snuggly while take off and then fasten the carrier. You may have children like us who fall asleep on takeoff and then your arms cramp because you didn’t have your carrier on properly. You do not want to wake them up if it’s their nap time plus you’ll be able to get through an hour or two without entertaining them or dealing with the screams. We also used our small blankets as a black out curtains so they could fall asleep if it was not a night flight.

9. If you feed by formula – do not buy water prior to security, wait until you are through and buy a large bottle. Never use the water that is given to you on the plane. Scoop out your formula (that you might need on your trip) and double it (you never know if the plane will be delayed). Place it in zip lock bags = not as cumbersome as a formula container. Bring 4 sets of bottles. If you feed by breast – and you’re bringing some in bottles remember security will check the milk in the bottles, so have it readily available within your bag.

10. Try to book flights that correspond to the nap schedules and time changes. I.e. we fly to Toronto which has a 3 hour time difference. We take the 8 am direct flight which means we get the girls up at 5:00 am PST which is 8:00 am EST. We do have the car packed and ready to go so we just have to wake the girls, dress and they can eat breakfast in the car. When they were 6mths– we’d wake them earlier – 4:30am and feed first and then put them in the car. They would fall back to sleep (sometimes) and then wake just about the time we’d go through security.

11. Dress code:

  1. The twins exactly the same. When they’re babies – people will assist you even the security, flight, immigration staff and complete strangers. When they’re toddlers – same reason but with one added bonus – you can recognize them quickly if they start running, as well as if one did get lost you can say quickly to security – they look like that one.
  2. Mom/parent traveling – jeans, t-shirt, fleece with pockets, running shoes and put extra deodorant on. You will be sweating right from the start. (I recommend jeans because they hide stains well, t-shirt because you’ll be sweating even if it’s cold – you’ll be passing babies back and forth, a fleece – soft to be an extra blanket for kids and the pockets hold the 2 extra pacifiers (because you know they will be thrown, dropped etc.) running shoes because you can run after them.

12. Checking in: Streamline your logistics. If you can check in online – do so. Determine how long you will wait in line at check in if you’re checking in bags. For example – we travel Air Canada to Toronto, they usually have 4 people working, there is no online check in from Seattle to Toronto, there is a HUGE line. So we go early – the recommended 2 hours and it usually takes 45 minutes to dump our bags. Air Canada does not help you bag your car seats and they do NOT provide twist ties for the bagging of your car seat. So take those industrial twist ties because twisting that plastic bag around and trying to knot without a twist tie gives my husband something to swear about. Checking car seats – We check our car seats at the ticket window. There is controversy over this – if you check it the baggage handlers have a tendency to throw the seats around thus making them less effective in a car accident, however if you rent seats at the car rental place you have the extra time and lack of energy trying to figure out how they attach to the car etc. (because the car rental place cannot put them in for you) Remember at the end of the trip YOU will be exhausted and you will probably have screamers.

If the check in line is long and you have babies in car seats – pull out a new toy, for toddlers/preschoolers bring a new flat book when they get fidgety. We usually have a stroller race or go explore. When I travel on my own with the girls, I have my husband help with the check in and baggage drop. He departs at security. Having someone help with the luggage is a must.

13. Security – SeaTac does have a family line and there are security guys who have twins and do let you go to the front of the line. Remember they will ask (if you don’t have TSA approved status) to remove shoes, belts etc. so don’t wear belts and wear shoes that can be easily slipped on and off i.e. running shoes.

14. Immigration – depending on where you’re entering and exiting the US be sure you have your passport, Nexus passes etc. If you are traveling without the father – be sure to have a letter signed by the father that he knows you’re leaving with the kids out of country. They can ask and can stop you.

15. Waiting to board – at 6 months we just walked around airports with the girls in their carriers, grabbing coffees and visiting the restrooms. When they started walking we just had them walk/run. At SeaTac there is a play room where the kids can release some energy. But most airports don’t have that. The first thing we do is grab some food for the airplane and then the races start. They race to cement pillars, garbage cans, chairs etc. We ride the walking escalator. We go and explore. I just try to get them tired out! 20 minutes before boarding we go potty.

16. Boarding – with 6 month babies – stroller up to the gate, be sure to board when they call families with small children. Put babies in carriers and grab your Clorox wipes and Lysol disinfectant spray. Before you sit down on the seats – spray the area with disinfectant spray. Then wipe down the tray tables, arms of the chairs, the window area. Your babies will be touching everything and then everything goes into their mouths. The dirtiest place on an airplane are the tray tables. You know you don’t want your kids sick especially on a vacation.

17. Taking off and Landing – at 6 months we just bounced them around on our laps, pointed to various items to occupy them right before takeoff. Our girls had pacifiers so they sucked on their pacifiers on the way up. As soon as the plane took off they fell asleep. Unfortunately I wasn’t wearing the carrier and was holding a sleeping baby for 1 hour. I tried to keep the idea of a typical day going even though we were in a plane. So when the girls woke I fed them (didn’t change their diaper if it wasn’t wet), played with them, walked up and down the aisle, and of course brought new age appropriate toys. Just before landing I started to feed them to help with the ears popping, then gave them their pacifier. At 1.5 years this is what I started to do and continue to do so because the flights still won’t allow iPads to be open or devices to be on. So while we wait for the flight to taxi out of the gate or taxi in I open their backpacks and bring out new books, new dollar toys etc. to keep them occupied. I also have lollipops for the takeoff and landing – especially for the landing to help with the ears.

18. Care Harnesses or Car Seats on the plane – this is a personal decision. We checked our infant car seats and used carriers because we felt safer, there was less stuff to deal with on the plane, and under the age of 2 they can sit on your lap (thus no added expense) whereas you’d have to buy another seat for the infant car seat. When they were 1.5yrs, again we opted to check the larger toddler car seats instead of bringing them on the plane. We did buy an extra seat for wiggle room, we held on to the girls during take-off and landing. During the flight they fit side by side. See photo above. There is the travel Roll ‘n Go Car Seat Transporter for your toddler car seat that you can use. However we again chose no car seats and used the stroller. One thing to watch for is – if you are traveling alone and you have your car seats with you, the aisles of the airplanes are usually too narrow to fit the car seat through. So you’ll have to get your kids out of the car seats, carry the car seats to your airplane seats and then go back again for the other one. Just make sure your kids are okay with sitting by themselves while you trek back and forth through the people. The Child Airplane Travel Harness – Cares Safety Restraint System – The Only FAA Approved Child Flying Safety Device is another option to determine if you want to use. A friend has used them on all their flights (over 30 flights) but we didn’t. My husband’s philosophy “If we’re going down, it’s not going to help!” If there is turbulence usually the kids are right beside me and I hold on (I usually sit between the girls and put my arms out like barriers). Again – personal choice.

19. Disembarking – I don’t enjoy sitting around until everyone is off the plane and we’re efficient enough that we just grab our stuff and go – just as fast as everyone else. When I started traveling by myself with the girls and the 2 big red bags, 2 car seats and stroller I knew I couldn’t manage grabbing my bags at the baggage terminal without help. So I hired the porter by the baggage claim for $20. That is the one thing I couldn’t do without. Now the girls at 3.5 yrs. are able to hold onto the baggage cart or stay put when asked.

20. Renting cars/minivans – be sure to find out when renting your car at the airport where exactly is the service. In Hawaii we had to take a bus to the rental car place. That meant piling all the ‘stuff’ onto the bus, then emptying it all, waiting in a long line and then piling it back in. Again – bottlenecks – be sure you have a solution for them! Also some car rental agencies price their rates higher at airports and less at other locations. If you can have people pick you up and then rent a car away from the airport that might be better.

21. The Toilet! If your babies are in diapers still, change them on your lap. It’s cleaner than the restroom. Unless they pooped! The restroom is a comical act that I have now perfected when the girls were potty trained at 2 years of age. My girls always want to be with me and don’t want to stay in their seats if one has to go, so we all three go to the restroom. You know if you leave one outside the door they will pull a handle to something that might cause difficulties so it’s best just to have everyone together in that small space.
Step 1 – take Clorox wipes and wipe down the seat and all areas in touching area.
Step 2 – have one child stand with their back to the toilet paper roll.
Step 3 – take your Kalencom On the Go Potty, lay it flat on the seat.
Step 4 – take second child and place on the potty. Be sure to remind them only to hold onto the purple handles. The parent is able to fit with their back to the door.
Step 5 – Switch children
Step 6 – Your turn with children on either side of you. (If you’re a mom you are aware you never go alone anymore)
This potty is the best potty ever as it fits into a purse. One of my daughters had to go potty on the descent into the airport. I was able to take it out of my purse with the bag, slide it under her with her seatbelt on, wrap it up and put it under the seat while we landed. This has happened twice and yes I’ve taken her to the restroom prior to this experience.

22. Safety – With toddlers running/walking in different directions in a large crowded space I invested in bracelets so if they did get lost they would be able to show someone their bracelet and have me called. The bracelets I use are Road ID. The Safety Education and Skill Set I use is Savvy Parents Safe Kids.

One other thing – Have people come to you when you have traveled with your babies. You’re the one with the kids. It’s difficult to transport all the ‘stuff’ to other places. Keep one place as your home base and take day trips.

Just remember things will not be perfect. Things will go wrong…its how you handle them. Remember any issues and make the changes on your next travel.

 

How Rashida did it

Time for a vacation…. Yay! Travel to exotic locations…. Hooray!!
Wait a minute…. We have multiples! … And they were just about 9 months old. The daunting task of traveling with twins. Once we decided where we were going (Yemen, Egypt and India) and the amount of time (2 months), it came down to lists, lists and lists.
I wrote down everything they would need on a daily basis – diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, solids (pouches), a few toys, hand wipes, enough clothes so on…. It was all mostly baby lists. But it helped to get organized and get your mind in the travel frame. Everything will go fine if you’re not married to your schedule! Go with the flow… Things will go wrong. Move on.
I packed in such a way that all the bags (6 in total) had everything equally for all of us. Hubby’s things, my things, kid things. That way if a bag got lost we had others with our stuff. I put everything in zip lock bags and labeled them in my diaper bag, so that security checks were easy breezy and no one gets to touch my baby things. The labeling also helped hubby find things too.

The flight from Seattle to New York was a little challenging, as we had the kids on our laps and we were in different rows… Airline rules! I had some treats for the passengers 2 rows before and after us, to soften the blow of the crying babies… Just in case!

For ear pressure I had Sippy cups for the girls with water and that helped a lot during takeoff and landing. I kept them on Seattle time until we got to Egypt. The baby carriers help with holding your baby and walking up and down the aisle hands free. We also bought the Similac 4oz packets for diaper bags during flight travel… Easier to carry and no measuring needed.

Egypt was fun, we were there for visits to holy shrines as well as got to do some sightseeing. Boat rides, pyramids and the crystal museum too. We fed the girls on the go and they slept through long car rides. We didn’t carry any car seats as most these countries don’t have strict laws on that yet! So they were in our laps and enjoyed watching out the window. We did get two umbrella strollers with the munchkin attachment so it becomes one stroller to handle at airports.

Yemen is a beautiful country and though still developing, we had packed enough of their food and formula and diapers to get us through until we landed in India. The climate in both these places was pleasant… Though I had packed a lot of winter things for them! Never used them!Needless to say they were celebrities everywhere we went. Twins! There is something so fascinating about having two at the same time. People will bend over heels to help you, if you just ask.

India was a whole different ball game. The weather was HOT and HUMID! Girls fell sick – diarrhea, fever, and mosquito bites! We did carry a mosquito net with us… Which we started using after the damage was done! I could blame that on my mama brains and being tired after two countries!We still stuck to our bed time routine of bath, food, book and lights out by 7… It was the naps that I allowed wiggle room. Which worked fine for us, as all the travel and driving around would get them tired to make sure bed time was easy. I also carried the red light with us so help us navigate the room once the girls slept as well as the noise machine.

For the most part the girls were healthy and had a blast in all the countries! It felt like we deserved a medal to have managed everything and still be sane! Now the only mistake that we made was booking a flight from Dubai to Seattle (Emirates). 15 hours flight! Jeez! What were we thinking….? Or not thinking in this case. I put the girls the bed the usual time and had to wake them up at midnight to get to the airport. They were doing so well through check-in, boarding; which made us confident that the flight would be ok! So… Once flight takes off… Hell begins! It was 6 hours of crankiness, crying, not able to fall asleep and both wanting only mama for comfort. In an economy class… This task is impossible to achieve! So we had the girls in our carriers, and were walking and swaying for most of that flight and they finally fell asleep! The hostess was kind enough to take a picture of all of us finally asleep!! Now that’s a memory I’ll never forget!

Rashida Ronaque

Do you feel like your body is breaking down?

Do you ever feel like your body is breaking down? And you’re sure it’s the early start of arthritis taking over your body, even though you exercise – stretch, run, yoga etc.? After the twins were born I figured that my joints would need time to heal and I’d need to take it easy – only run 2 miles/3x/wk. on a treadmill, do loads of stretching and not overdo it. But after a year of doing this I swear I thought I needed a hip replacement. Each morning I’d get out of bed hunched over and barely able to move. I looked worse than my deceased 103 year old grandfather had when he was only 101. I hadn’t slept much because my legs would hurt and wake me up. I went to physio, had a MRI, CT scan, x-rays – you name it and absolutely nothing appeared on the scans. BUT I was in this achy dull pain. I would try to rip my hips apart while I massaged the ache. However, it didn’t stop me from exercising – actually exercising helped, I was free of that ache. But sitting, standing, sleeping etc. was brutal. I finally went and saw my trainer – Matt Campbell at the Pro Club. He runs 100 mile races- yes 100 miles not marathons…so I asked him…well I cried and begged if he knew of a solution. He did and from then on, I slept, and now I don’t try to rip my hip muscles out. Matt introduced me to Trigger Point Performance Therapy.

My muscles were so tight especially my calf muscles that I had thought I only had one muscle between my knee and my ankle and not more. The first exercise is take a grey looking spongy brick, place it on the ground, then put a hard ball on top and then put your calf (top part) on the ball and then roll your ankle to the right and then to the left. It’s a type of Shiatsu massage manipulating the muscle to release tension, scar tissue and adhesions to enable your ankle and foot to work in its natural range of motion. (With pregnancy, injuries etc. we end up compensating for extra weight thus our gait changes thus putting stress on joints in different ways than it should.) To test it out on yourself- try using something sturdy for the brick and then use a lacrosse ball – not a tennis ball because it’s too soft. You need a hard ball. Look at the Soleus Manipulation (to the right of the article) to see how it’s done.

When Matt made me do the the Quadriceps Manipulation (the photo and technique is at the bottom right of the article) with the QuadBaller tool for my hip pain, I cried out in relief. There were tears streaming down my face. The relief was outstanding. Up until that point nothing, not massages, physio, hot baths could release the amount of tension and stress from my hips. After 2 years of achy pain and not one full night of sleep – I slept that night. The relief from doing that exercise once was amazing – I instantly bought the Trigger Point Performance Ultimate-6 Self-Myofascial Release and Deep Tissue Massage Kit with Guidebook (Updated and Revised)

I complete the soleus, quadriceps and piriformis exercises 3 times a week (before I go to bed, it takes 10 mins). If I don’t use it the ache returns. I travel with the massage hard ball, the spongy brick and the quadballer.

If you’re also like me and use your phone a lot…and look down at it while you’re sitting or standing AND you carry 1-2 kids around, have bad posture and try to do everything yourself, then you may have a similar issue like me – pain between the shoulder blades otherwise known as the Thoracic pain. This past January I couldn’t move. I thought I ruptured another disc in my back. My physio therapist (new one) made me try “The Thoracic Spine Manipulation” but with two tennis balls instead of the two Trigger Point Balls. The tennis balls are taped together. See photo. WP_20140624_10_29_06_Pro (2)I put the balls on the ground, place them between my spine, right at my shoulder blades and roll up and down. This exercise has been a life saver. Within two weeks I was able to ski Whistler without pain. I have four sets of these ‘balls’ – one in my purse, one in my car, one in my room, one at my locker. At any point when my back aches I just roll on them and feel immensely better. I do this daily for 1 minute and I’m free of pain.

When you view the Trigger Point Therapy website it illustrates ultimate performance athletes but it is for the 2 mile runner, the yoga diva, and the engineer that sits at their desk all day. However I’d like to point out – I am not a fitness trainer, nor doctor. Check with your doctor to be sure to rule out broken bones etc. that may be causing your pain and definitely have your trainer go through the exercises with you or purchase the book to be sure you’re performing the exercises correctly.

As the running season approaches and the 5ks, 10ks, 1/2 marathons, and oh yes – birthing of children occurs – be sure to try out Trigger Point Performance Therapy especially if you’re a new runner, new mom or parent and you’re feeling sore. I listed this amazing product because friends and family have tried this and they loved it so much they too purchased it. It’s not necessary for us to go through pain as we age!

Good luck
Paula

 

A list for the expectant mom of Twins (Prep, Post, 0-12mths)

So you’re having twins – Congratulations and hold on for the ride. Listed below is an equipment list – one that is not full of frills. My twins were my first children and my last and even though I dreamt of all the cute items I’d put them in, all the stencil, artwork and toys I’d fill their room – the first 3 months is all about survival. Actually what am I saying the first year is about survival, the second year is about patience and the third well I’m half way through and it’s a blast. In a later post I’ll put the logistics of feeding, sleeping etc. Just a FYI if you’re an expectant mom with one baby this list will also help, just reduce the quantity. I organized it by sections: Prep, Furniture, Transport, Diapers, Clothes, Bath, Breast feeding, Formula feeding, Sleeping, Post Pregnancy for mom, Starting Solids, Toys, and Other. I have put Amazon, Nordstrom and other links for you to visually see them or put them on your baby shower registry. If you’re a twin mom and gone through the first year and you think I’ve forgotten anything useful (no fluff or frills) please let me know.

I’d like to thank my twin mom friends who assisted in this list. I started with 100 items and now it’s up to 186 items. You guys rock!

(Note: There are 9 pages due to visual appeal using Scribd. If you need to see the list larger be sure to click on the magnifying glass with the +.)

 

How to get veggies into your kids! (Juice Recipes)

Click here to view just the Juice Recipes

It was just over a year ago that I started juicing (the girls were two). I have two very picky eaters and ones that don’t eat veggies. Yes I did try to expose them 15 times to the same vegetable, yes I did give them veggies to gnaw on when they were babies, and yes I made fun shapes and designs out of vegetables. I even put in a small vegetable garden – had the girls choose their vegetable, plant the seeds, water the seeds but the only ones they would eat would be the peas. After this – I felt like a failure of a mother because I thought I’m not getting my kids to eat vegetables. They will grow up not eating and appreciating the value of vegetables. I hated meal times. I still do. To this day I still carry the Peter Rabbit Organics, Pea, Spinach and Apple Puree, 4.4-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 10) (vegetable ones only) but it makes me feel somewhat better.

Then I was introduced to juicing when I ate at the Willows Inn at Lummi Island. My first juice was carrot, then came lemon balm! Wow! I asked the server what was in it. They specifically told me that it was just fresh carrots for the carrot juice and the lemon balm had some simple syrup (dissolved sugar). All I was thinking about was if I thought this was awesome the girls would like it. (I had tried various green juices before but I couldn’t stomach them, they really didn’t taste great no matter how you tried.) So I decided I’d buy a juicer and start to find juices that I liked and not the ones that are: good for you plug your nose kind. It worked. The girl’s love the juices listed below and drink one every day and I feel like a star.

First you need a juicer, not a blender because the juicer strains out a lot of the pulp. Yes even a Vitamix doesn’t work as well as a juicer. I have a Breville BJE510XL Juice Fountain Multi-Speed 900-Watt Juicer and it’s easy to clean (dishwasher proof) I highly recommend to rinse it right after use, so no pulp is caught in the in-between spots.

How I introduced the girls to juices: I started with carrot juice (its sweet), put them in shot glasses (or use fun new glasses) and called it Super Juice and said this will make them see better and possibly see better in the dark. (Ok I know that studies show this is not the case but it got them to drink it) I also tell them it helps them grow, and builds brain cells to help them learn new things.

So here are some juice recipes that my girls, husband and I love AND get the veggies in. I received a few of these recipes from an avid juicer, plus another twin mom (KG) who puts her juice in a martini glass! I’m still on the search for a broccoli juice. My girls won’t go near broccoli even though I’ve called them trees, had dips for them etc. I did install a green house in hope that if the girls water and take care of the vegetables especially the broccoli they will want to eat what they’ve grown. Fingers crossed.

Juice Recipes

1. Carrot Juice
Carrots – purchase carrots at a farmers market or choose the organic ones in the grocery store that still have their stems on them. Do not buy bagged carrots. Depending on how many people you’re serving cut up 8-10 carrots. Clean the carrots, de-stem, juice and serve. If your kids have texture issues – you can strain it using a strainer over the cup.

2. Beet, Strawberry, Apple, Ginger Juice (Purple Super Juice)
1 beet – cleaned, raw, de-stemmed.
1 cup of strawberries
1 honey crisp apple
Thumbnail of fresh ginger. I put the ginger with the apple when I juice

3. Spinach, Blueberry, Apple, Lemon (Sour Brown Super Juice)
2 heaping handfuls of Spinach (I put this in the juicer with the apple)
1 honey crisp apple
¼-1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
½ peeled lemon

4. Kale, Red Pepper, Cantaloupe, Mango New Favorite
6 stems of Kale (juice it with the cantaloupe)
1 red pepper
1 cup – 1 ½ cup of ripe cantaloupe
1 ripe mango peeled and pit removed

5. Sweet Potato, Red Pepper, Beet, Carrot, Apple, Orange (Pink Super Juice)

Quantity of juice from ingredients 27.5oz

Quantity of juice from ingredients 27.5oz

Ingredients of Pink Super Juice

Ingredients of Pink Super Juice

½ sweet potato (yams)
2 carrots
½ red pepper (picture shows 1/4 because I used it in dinner last night)
1 beet
1 honey crisp apple
1 orange (a great way to use up dry oranges)

Of course when the girls are sick I grab a case of oranges from Costco and juice oranges.

*New Juice 06/19/2014 from a colleague of my husbands. This juice is from “The Big Book of Juices” by Natalie Savona

6.  Beet, Carrot, Celery, Apple, Orange, Ginger (Pinkalicious Juice)

1 beet
2 carrots (I did 3 carrots)
1 stick of celery
1 apple
1 orange
1 small slice of ginger

I will update my list as soon as I have a broccoli one! Please feel free to send me your favorite juice recipes and I’ll try the out and post if successful. Enjoy juicing.

Paula