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

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

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

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 +.)

 

Parks – a list, and the ‘how to with twins’ from 0-5yrs

Click here to just view the park list for 0-5 years is listed at the bottom of this page

As the weather gets nicer we venture forth to parks and beaches. But there tends to be some anxiety for twin parents of “How do I do this?” Wherever you go with twins you need to think logistics and efficiency especially if you’re 2:1. swing 2

Step 1: Breathe

Step 2: Realize that the first 2-3 times you may end up in tears of frustration. You are not alone, we all go through it. But if you can look at these trials as ‘not stops and never do it agains’ but as learning experiences of what to change the next time, then you’ll be okay, AND it all changes every 3 months of growth anyway so just stock up on Kleenex.

Step 3: As soon as you’re cleared for exercise by your doctor, try to get out and walk with your multiples, even if it’s raining. Invest in some rain gear for you and your strollers.

Step 4: Take small steps – determine how much time you have between feedings, diaper changes and naps. For example if I was going to Greenlake (from Kirkland – 15 min drive) to walk around the lake with the girls, I had everything packed in the car ready to go before I woke them for their 9am feeding (be sure to include snacks for yourself). I woke the babies at 9am, diaper changed, fed them both at the same time, burped them and was in the car by 9:40am driving to Greenlake. I would be at Greenlake by 10 am, walking by 10:05am. Most of the time they  would fall asleep on the way over but if they didn’t they’d fall asleep while I was walking. I knew I had 1 hour to walk around that lake, get back in the car and get them home by 12 to feed them again. (I had one girl who would projectile vomit and had feeding issues so I didn’t want to feed anywhere but home. However I did take extra bottles and I did have music blaring when I was late. There was plenty of times when I was crying on the 520 Hwy with screaming kids listening to their favorite Howdown music by Miley Cyrus (not sure why they liked that one). But I did it anyway because that 1 hour walk was gold.

I would only do one ‘outing’ a day i.e. meet someone at Greenlake, go to the dentist, or to the store, AND I would only do that in the morning – the 9am time slot. My afternoon activity was a walk at the 4pm Witching Hour in which I would walk to nearby parks or just walk around my neighborhood (Yes I did walk twice a day, it was the only way I kept sane).  *It is important for you and your babies to get outside and breathe in some fresh air. You will find that the babies will sleep better and your stress level will decrease, a small bit. In addition, first try walking on your own with your babies and then when you have your schedule and your logistics down, then ask another multiple mom to walk with you. Multiple moms will most likely be on the same schedule and they will totally understand if you bail at the last minute.

Park logistics:
As soon as my twin girls could hold their own head up I went to the local parks and put them in the swings. I figured if they liked the stationary swing they’d love the outdoor one with things to look at.  If you go to a big park and you see that strollers are left at the side or on pathways – just bring your stroller right up to the swings (you have multiples and if you get stares – just shrug and say the magic word – twins). This also enables you not to  turn your back on one baby (heightening your anxiety) and you will have easy access to your stroller aka ‘safety net’. To save pushing – place both babies in the swing. See photo above. Stuff a blanket in between them so they don’t knock heads. Also it’s a good idea in Seattle to bring a small towel to wipe off the swing if it’s just rained.

Crawling up the stairs at Waverly. Age 1 yr 3 mths.

Crawling up the stairs at Waverly. Age 1 yr 3 mths.

As soon as they are crawling continue to go to the parks. Either keep one in the stroller or keep one in the swing (so they are occupied). Allow each child to explore the park on their own terms. Yes you’ll have to keep an eye out for the one in the swing, go back and forth to keep swinging the swing (Note the park will never be a time to actually talk to other parents. If you go with a multiple mom/dad they will understand). Also this is a great opportunity for your twins to learn ‘not to eat sand’ because it tastes bad. If your crawler meets with the sand box and tries sand – this is an experience that you’ll have to embrace. It’s not going to kill them and you might as well get it over with. This goes along with the cedar chips too. We all have different parenting styles – I would allow them to do it once and when they put it in their mouth I said “gross” and made a face. You will have to go through this experience again with the other one or two or three depending on how many multiples you have. Just remember they have to learn sometime.

When they are walking it gets a bit scary because they both go in different directions. Safety does become an issue. Try to encourage one direction by creating energy and fun, to entice the one going in the other direction it’s more of a party over here.  i.e. “Wow look what your sister found. It”s a … ” Use your most exciting voice. You can also start working on safety rules right at 9 months, then they have an idea of the tone of your voice when safety is an issue (you can play red light and green light when they’re crawling) . My philosophy is if an action really won’t hurt them that much i.e. no broken bones or head injuries but delivers a scraped knee or a scare – i.e. falling through one of the spider web ropes it’s probably a good learning experience. However I do freak out when they’re too close to an edge and may fall off. I just look at the situation. I was fortunate that I would be able to say to both girls “Please wait that is a tough climb or that’s a big girl activity and wait for me to have your back.” Till this day, if the girls feel like they are embarking on something tough – they’ll just say “Mummy can you have my back.” I don’t actually do anything but I just stand at their backs.

The List of Parks in Seattle Area: (including Bellevue, Bothell, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, Woodinville)

Crawling Parks – any open field. Put a blanket down as your base, then have pylons or toys they could crawl too.  You can also set up an obstacle course.
Squak Valley Park – Issaquah
Heritage Park – Kirkland
Juanita Park – Kirkland (The summer concert series is great fun but bring an umbrella for shade.)
Grass Lawn Park – Redmond
Greenlake – Seattle
Cottage Lake Park – Woodinville

Toddler Parks: fenced in with closing gates and no dogs allowed
Turtle Park or Tot Lot Park Kirkland
Phyliss-A-Needy-Park Kirkland

Toddler Parks: Fenced in but with open spaces for entry/exit

Saint Edwards State Park (Bothell) – A fantastic play area – it’s a castle. Within the Castle there is a tot-lot area with a fence but no gate at the entrance – see photo.

Fenced but no gate

Saint Edwards Park -Fenced but no gate

North Rosehill Woodland Park (Kirkland) – Another amazing wooden castle. Parking is on side roads off 124th and you will have to walk through a path to get to the park. However once inside the ‘castle’ there is another tot lot for smaller children but again there is no gate. It’s fenced and you can sit at the entrance as to not allow stragglers to venture out (same as St. Edwards).

North Rosehill Woodland Park

North Rosehill Woodland Park

McAuliffe Park (Kirkland) – one of the exits faces 116th

Volunteer Park (Seattle) – the play area has a fence around it and it’s adjacent to a field, but has no gate on the entries and exits.

The parks listed above are ones that you can practice and test how your kids will act and how you can cope.

Toddler Parks: non fenced but some distance from roads or hazards

Bainbridge Island
Battle Point Park

Bellevue
Newcastle Beach Park

Toddler Area at Robinson Wood Park

Toddler Area at Robinswood Park

Robinswood Park This is a great park for various ages. It has a toddler area with a wooden fence and the other area is for children who like more challenges. There are fields on both sides, close to the parking lot and a pond to watch ducks. A great picnic area too. (Parking is very close to the play area – off SE 24th St.)

Chism Beach Park
For this park you park in General Parking and then walk down a steep hill. If you have children under the age of 3, I would suggest a stroller because it’s very steep. There is plenty of green space, a small playground right on the beach, and the water is shallow.

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Chism Beach Park – great swimming area

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Chism Beach Park – play area on beach

There is lifeguard on duty in the summer months. If the weather is cool – this park is cold so bring sweaters. As parents you will need to bring lawn chairs or blankets if you want to sit on the beach as the benches provided are all on the grass area away from the water and play area. The girls had loads of fun here with our friends and we’ll go back when the weather is warmer.

 

Mercer Island
Luther Burbank Park
This is a fabulous park. Be sure to park in the main entrance close to the play area. There is a short path to the play area and a lovely swim area. The play area has a variety of play structures – zip line, spinners, toddler area – no fence, clean and convenient restrooms, and umbrellas on picnic tables for shade. Note: This park has no shade and when it’s hot the slides become extremely hot. Be sure to bring hats and sunscreen.

Luther Burbank Park Play Area

Luther Burbank Park Play Area

Bothell
Miners Corner This park is very new, has a great sand area for the kids who love to play sand castles. The base of the play area is the squishy flooring which provides a lot of support and is not slippery when wet.

Miners Corner Park Cushy Flooring and mostly fenced in.

Miners Corner Park Cushy Flooring and mostly fenced in.

Issaquah
Fox Hollow Family Farm – a great toddler petting farm, with a fenced in play area (no gate) and miniature play houses for toddlers. Be sure to bring a stroller that can travel on gravel.

A playhouse enclosed with a fence but no gate at Fox Hollow Farm

A playhouse enclosed with a fence but no gate at Fox Hollow Farm

Squak Valley Park– a short drive from Fox Hollow Farm. A big field and fun play area but it is close to a parking lot.
Cougar Mountain Zoo – very stroller and kid friendly, small enough to practice without a stroller.

Kirkland
Juanita Beach Park– a great way to introduce beach safety
Crestwoods Park – this park also has a great hike for kids. However the hike is not stroller friendly. It’s for toddlers who like a good walk.
Waverly Beach Park

Redmond
Idylwood Beach Park   – you’ll need a stroller or wagon to carry your beach gear. There is a bit of a walk down to the play area and beach. We love this one!

Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park – there is also a child’s ‘hiking’ trail you can try walking through and the farm animals are always quite fun to watch and interact with.

A toddlers hike at Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park

A toddlers hike at Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park

Marymoor Park – there are 2 playgrounds – one small one which is very isolated from roads (tucked behind the parking lots D and B) and the other one is by the Subway and soccer fields – it’s the first left off West Lake Sammamish Pkwy (Lot K). Be sure to bring $1.00 for parking.

Marymoor Park -by soccer fields

Marymoor Park -by soccer fields

Sammamish
Pine Lake Park
A fantastic park – excellent swim area with three partitions – one for the toddlers, one for the children who can swim but still working on their strokes and then a deep end. When the lifeguards are on duty the children under 13 must pass a swim test. The sandy beach really isn’t great for ‘playing in the sand’ as the water covers most of the sandy beach and the beach is mixed with gravel. The parking lot is somewhat of a distance from the beach so a stroller or a wagon would be a good idea. There are clean bathrooms between the parking lot and the beach. There are also two play structures – one for older children and one for toddlers. The play structures have loads of slides, and unique climbing apparatuses – very different from the ones above. This park is protected by high pine trees so it can be a bit chilly. There are plenty of picnic areas with coverings along with a large basketball court, climbing wall and baseball diamond. Its probably my girls new favorite play structure park. *Note the directions on Nokia Maps and Google Maps list Pine Lake Road as a turning point but it’s SE 24th St. You will see a sign that says Pine Lake Park but it can be hidden by branches.

Seattle:
Alki Beach
– a lovely beach. You can put your kids in the front of a bike and cycle the boardwalk!

Biking with 2 yr olds

Alki Beach Biking with two yr olds

 

Carkeek Park – there is a slide that is in the form of a large Salmon, trains and a beach!

Lincoln Park – be sure to park close to the big play area, then it’s an easy walk down to the beach.

Play Area at Madison Park

Play Area at Madison Park

Madison Park – This is a fabulous park for 2-12 years of age. There are three segments – a 2-5 year old area, a 5-12 year old, swings for all and a zip line that my girls loved. It also has stone carved animals that kids can climb on, loads of seating for snacks and you can easily cross the street to the beach and swim or cross the other way and enjoy an awesome scone at Madison Kitchen.

 

 

Madison Park - at the beachfront

Madison Park – at the beachfront

Woodinville
Wilmot Gateway Park– the park is tucked back to the right of the parking lot. There isn’t much parking right at the park but there is plenty across the street and there is a crosswalk.

Cottage Lake Park – a large play area, ropes course for an older child or adult and an outdoor pool.

I will continue to add more parks as the season goes on as the girls and I test them out. If you have a favorite, please let me know and we’ll try it out and then post.

Enjoy the spring.
Paula

 

Initial Equipment List – for Twins

This is my initial list:

1. Join a multiple mom support group. If you’re on the Eastside of Seattle – join EMOMs or SNOmoms. The reason is that most multiple groups have a huge consignment sales once or twice a year, and many of the members sell their slightly used products on the member website. *You will be going through products very fast and costs add up. Plus in the early days you will have questions and the mothers on these support groups are a wealth of information and can help you.

2. Buy this book – When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy, 3rd Edition.

This is the most important book for you having twins. No other book will get you to your 37 weeks (normal twin pregnancy term), and keep your babies out of the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Don’t waste your money on others. Unless you want a good laugh (singleton pregnancy) Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth

3. Car Seat – your babies will be smaller than singleton pregnancies so you need a car seat that will be able to hold your babies. My girls were 5.7lbs and 5.8lbs. We used Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base, Sedona

One of the reasons why I like this car seat is it has an insert for babies that are 4lbs. It also has a snap cover and you can just put your child in, with a blanket and then snap the cover over their body to keep them dry and warm. (For first time moms and dads your babies must pass the car seat test before coming home. They have to sit in the car seat for 1 hour and test that they won’t fall forward. The nurses administer this test.) The other reason why I liked this car seat is that it fits in my car. If you have children already you will need to determine how you can fit all the children in with the right size car seat. See my photos in the gallery.

4. Stroller – I loved my City Select stroller!!! Baby Jogger City Select Stroller with 2nd Seat Onyx
You will need to buy the adapters to go with it for your car seats. The stroller shown in this picture is for toddlers. *You do not need the bassinets – that’s a waste, because if you drive somewhere to walk i.e. mall or park, the babies will be sleeping and you do not want to disturb a sleeping baby at nap time (I say at nap time only – I’ll post on sleep later) by transferring them. The stroller is light (you’ll be lifting two babies and will have huge biceps). The car seats just snap into the stroller. I like this stroller because you can swivel it so you can open the door to Starbucks or wherever by yourself without a struggle. Plus it goes through aisles much easier than a snap n go and other double strollers. Merry Go Round in Bellevue have a variety of strollers including this one for you to try out. I highly recommend you go and try them all out.
If you want to keep your sanity after you get the green light to exercise from your doctor and you live in a rainy climate like Seattle I strongly recommend you purchase the rain gear for the carseats. I walked twice a day once in the morning with another twin mom and once in the afternoon around witching hour.

5. Burp cloths – I used cloth diapers. Think about it – the babies are burping up at least every 3 hours on you, at least one of your babies is going to get you good. The cloth diapers are super absorbent and really do you need to spend a lot on something that is cleaning up spit up? I had 20.
Gerber Birdseye 10 Count Flatfold Cloth Diapers, White

6. Sleepers – your babies are small and will be premie size. Many companies don’t have premie size they have newborn. Newborn is still too big. EMOMs has a premie closet and the volunteers drop sleepers off to you and all they ask is if you wash them and give them back when you’re done. Your babies will be premie for a few weeks and then they’ll be in the newborn. My favorite sleepers and doulas will also say this too – are the sleepers with snaps. NOT ZIPPER. The reason is 1. you’re tired and you may ‘zip’ skin and 2. at night when you’re changing their diaper you want to keep them in a dream state. If you have a zipper sleeper you’ll have to unzip from top to bottom thus waking baby up fully with cool air on chest. If you have snaps then you only have to unsnap waist down. Cotton only for sensitive skin and again – this is where you could bring out some creativity in clothes as they will be in sleepers. HOWEVER – you will probably be swaddling your babies when they sleep so you’ll want plain no design ones because when you swaddle you don’t want extra material. I loved the Little Me Mini Heart Layette Pink, Preemie

There are plenty of boy and neutral colors. You will need to bring 4 sleepers with you to the hospital. Always bring extra just in case one gets ruin by puke, pee or other!

7. Swaddle/Receiving Blankets – First – Read The Happiest Baby on the Block

and be sure to have your partner read it. It’s a short read, you can also buy the video if you want. There are loads of swaddle blankets – expensive to cheap. Actually the best ones we used were hand-made by my aunt. They were cotton sheets cut in squares with stitching at the seams. However…

Miracle Blankets are much easier Miracle Blanket – Green with Beige Trim Swaddle Blanket – we had 6 of these and 2 of the halo sacks. We used the receiving blankets for the first week but then it just got out of hand. Bob found it easier right away to use the miracle blankets so we immediately switched. However that said we did rotate through the halo sacks and the miracle blankets when the girls figure out how to get out of them at 3 months. Regarding the miracle blankets be sure to get the green ones not the organic labeled ones or pink ones. I don’t know why but the green ones feel softer – I have all the colors and I ordered more green ones afterwards as the other ones were thicker and not as big.

8. Diapers – Disposable or Reuseable -that is the question. This depends on you. I used disposable. Pampers Swaddlers Preemie New Baby Diapers 20 ea
Start off with a few as you may decide to change. I had heard the pampers brand was better for girls and huggies for boys. Huggies didn’t work for us but may work for you.
Reusable – A good friend of mine who has twins and then had another put all kids in reusable GroVia Hybrid Snap Shell Diaper, Cloud, One Size

She LOVED them… easy to wash, took a while to dry, no complicated folding, easy to put on baby, long-lasting (especially the snap ones). She did try a couple different kind (bumgenious, g-diapers, …) GroVia were definitely the best and having only one kind was definitely the easiest. She did use them right from birth (B – 7lb 14oz and C – 5lb 12oz). She did switch to disposable when traveling from Philadelphia to Seattle but had no problem switching back to GroVia once settled (~2 mo old). Her third child used them from birth (8lb 10oz). You will need these as well: GroViaStay 2 Count Dry Soaker Pad

It’s one of the more expensive options. But it’s all organic and you need way less covers than whole diapers since you can change out the soaker and use the same cover when it’s not completely soaked or pooped on. She doesn’t remember the size of her “stash” for 2 infants. Really, it depends on how often you do laundry. I did it every-other-day with 2 and pretty much everyday with 3. You can also find seconds (these are the returns and factory seconds) from various places online – not Amazon.
Another convenient thing about this method was the ability to use the disposable inserts (that’s why it’s call a “hybrid”). She tended to have some on hand – they hold a lot more pee than the soakers, so sometimes she used them at night and definitely when traveling for a day or two.

9. Diaper Bag – Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack Convertible Diaper Bag, Frolicking in Fez

I LOVED MINE and gave mine up at 3 years of age and it was still in good condition. I did not buy the double size (twin) bag just the regular one for singletons. I took this bag everywhere. It has straps to wear it as a backpack or sling.I only used it as a backpack because it allowed me to have both my hands free, and with twins having both hands and arms free is key. It’s waterproof, stylish, has a pad that folds out so you can change diapers on the floor (because a floor is cleaner than the diaper change tables in airports), it carries everything I needed from infant stage to 3 years of age.

10. Bouncy Chairs – Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Deluxe Infant Seat

Bouncy Chairs are lifesavers. We had 6. Up until 3.5 months we had the girls in their bouncy chairs in their crib. (See photo gallery) They slept in the chairs in their cribs for naps and for bedtime. The chair elevates the babies which helps them digest their food, keeps their GI tract moving, and there is less chance of SIDs. It also gives you a peace of mind if you didn’t get the burps out after feeding. They sleep really well and longer in them. The other chairs were used to put the girls in for feeding, playing and keeping them safe and contained while I either went to the bathroom, cook dinner, ate something or answered the door. The toys that go on the bar help them at 2.5 months with their fine motor skills. We didn’t put the toys on until 2 months old and they didn’t go the ones in the cribs.

11. Red Light Flashlights – RED Mini Glow Flashligh

We have two but would love to have more. When you do night feedings or when you’re putting the kids down we use the red-light flashlights instead of turning on regular white lights. Our doula trained us on this. The red light doesn’t wake them up as the white light does. It allows you to see when feeding, change diapers or just checking on them without waking them up. We strategically place the flashlights with the black part down – one at the entrance of the nursery and one at the diaper changing area and we move one to the feeding station (glider) when we feed at night.

10. Swings Fisher-Price Cradle ‘N Swing, My Little Snugabunny

We had two and picked them up from another EMOM. You want the swing that goes both ways = sideways/horizontally, and length wise because at 2am you will need to try a variety of ways and some babies like one way and one likes the other.

11.Thermometer – Best – FeverWatch Professional Clinical Non-contact Infrared Thermometer – Forehead

The reason why is when your baby, or toddler is sleeping you don’t have to wake them up. Yes it really works to the exact temperature you’d do if you took it under the arm, in the butt, under the tongue. Save yourself and get this first.

If you do decide not to breastfeed – which is OKAY. I did not breastfeed due to various reasons. We used Similac Sensitive. I found the cheapest place to get it was Costco. But it is totally your call.

And of course – Luvies! Angel Dear Blankie, Pink Lamb

We have 3 pink and 3 white. 1 in use, 1 in wash and 1 just in case 🙂 Lovies are a soft cloth they get use to so when they start sleeping alone they have something to cuddle. You don’t really need these quite at day 1.

There are more items but this would be my initial list. I also had in my medicine cabinet – infant Tylenol just in case – however I have a pediatrician that answers their phone at night and verified what I should do when my baby had a temp of 104.
Everyone has their own opinion for pacifiers. We had them and if you do buy them be sure to buy the non pink ones because you can’t see them in the dark. We liked Philips AVENT Soothie Pacifier, 0-3 Months, 2-Pack, Pink/Purple
We had no problem giving them up – they were only used at bedtime and nap time.

Oxo Clean Bursts – A friend of mine put me on to these. Saves you time from spraying every piece of clothing. Just throw one in yes the plastic is fine it disintegrates. This is amazing when they spit up all over your clothes and theirs as well as any other stains.

And last but not least – 200 Thank you cards!

Hope this helps.
Paula

Best Potty!

The best potty for toddlers is this one.

Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus

Imagine when you are flying with twins or with your toddler who is potty trained but is only 2-3 years old and doesn’t understand the concept “hold it until we land”. On our descent into Toronto, flight attendants were sitting down, the wheels were going down, one of my girls had to go potty – immediately! With this potty – I was able to pull it from my backpack, put the liner on it, slide it under my 2-year-old, all while wearing her seatbelt and mine. Before we touched down, I had wrapped up the pee (similar to a dog poop bag), the potty was back in my bag and the travelers around me were clapping at the performance. The other use for this potty is to flatten it and place it on a public toilet and tell your child to hold onto the purple sides instead of sitting on or touching a public toilet seat.

We head to the parks all through the year, and many restrooms are closed during the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons. As Daniel the Tiger Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty / Daniel Goes to the Potty [HD]

says in his video “When you have to go Potty, Stop and go right away”. Well if there isn’t a potty open or clean, you can set up right beside the playground. A caregiver with twins or multiples or another child knows it’s difficult to get the one that doesn’t have to go potty to come to the restroom. This product enables you to stay within eyesight of your other child.

I recommend this to everyone that has a child who is under the age of 5. **Don’t forget the plastic liners. They are similar to plastic bags but fit perfectly for this potty and it has a pad inside to absorb wetness.
Kalencom Potette Plus Liners – 30 Liners