I’m worried

I’m worried that I’ll never be able to express enough gratitude to my children, for the small conveniences they provide for me.

This is a perfect example. Some unknown, super thoughtful child knew just how taxing it when you must unroll your own toilet paper. Said child, graciously, enrolled the rest of this roll. Just for ME.

Out of the kindness of their heart.

To show how much they appreciate just how much I do for them.

I will be forever grateful.

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Punish Mom for Fun

I feel like a pretty strict Momma. With a 9yr old and two 4yr olds, my kids do 90% of the dishes. They clean up their toys, they eat what the restaurant serves (no chicken nuggets when everyone else is eating sushi), a salad with dinner every night, they say please & thank you, yes ma’am & no ma’am, yes sir & no sir, they feed the dogs, and they take the trash out. We have a good system and things run pretty smoothly in our home.

Most of the time.

Until we do something fun, we go to the park, the museum or like yesterday…the pool. It’s mid October in Texas so it’s one of the last days the water will be warm enough. We swam for about 2hrs. The 9yr old, “Deedi” (Squish gave her this name when he first started talking), is taking a break from swim team. I still made sure she did 2 laps each of back stroke, freestyle and fly. Took her 5 min to do, compared to the 1.5hr practices she used to do. The rest of the time she just played. Stretch is Mr. Self Motivated and he refuses to wear his Puddle Jumper floatie (if you have young children, these are awesome!!!). He just wants to jump in from the side and swim to you. Squish is the opposite, a real Momma’s Boy these days, he’d rather just wear his floaties and hang out with me. I’m loving it.

We had a great time. Until my sweet angels became demon spawn.

I know they are tired and that’s ok. I just need to hire a driver for the drive so I can down a bottle of wine, with my headphones on and a sleep mask over my eyes on the ride home. Does Uber do that?

Why is it that they MUST PUNISH MOM for taking them to do something fun? Most of the time, when you are leaving “the fun” and loading them in the vehicle, you don’t see smiling faces. They are losing their ever loving minds. Stretch was incoherent-crying, and Squish was mad-crying. Thankfully Stretch fell asleep but Squish  SCREAMED the whole way home. Deedi had joined me in the “ignore the 3rd row” and she was good until we got home and I told her to take a shower. You’d thought I’d told her t0 shower in hot lava, with the reaction I got.

Just for fun I sent this to the Mister and said “the kids are SO EXCITED for you to get home from work”. So here are my two hyenas and pre-meltdown-Deedi.

 

She fixed her seatbelt, I stopped filming when I started driving, everything was safe…take a chill pill.

I’m going to make them watch that video and PROMISE not to meltdown after. We are headed to the zoo next week, so we’ll see how it works out.

Have your kids punished you lately for something fun?

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Best of the Best Balance Bikes

best strider bikes review twins

My Mother-in-Law bought our boys balance bikes for Christmas when they were 22mo old.

I rolled my eyes. 

I thought these were the goofiest things I’d ever heard of.

So, I didn’t push them to ride them. They also had tricycles and those I encouraged. Squish loved the tricycle and won 80% of their little races down the driveway. Stretch loved that stupid balance bike. He was so good on it. I knew that their personalities had just provided the perfect little case study on which is a better start: tried and true tricycle or the ultra trendy balance bike.

Fast forward to 3.5yrs old. We bought these 14″ Royal Baby bikes with training wheels. We had let the boys play on the bikes in Walmart, but the 12″ were too small and the 16″ were too large. They didn’t sell the 14″ and this is the size recommended for 3-5yr olds. It’s an awesome bike for the price.

royal baby 14' bike best first

Both boys struggled with the bikes in different ways. Stretch rode for two days before he asked that we take the “silly wheels off”. Training wheels were removed and Dad ran along side for a few minutes. Finally he said “Daddy, please take your hand off my bike.” That was all it took! It did take him about a week or so to learn how to start by himself. He wanted a quick push so that he’d feel safe enough to put his feet up on the peddles. We showed him how to use the curb to start by himself. Can a 3 year old ride a bike without training wheels? Yes, and we’ve been amazed.

Squish, on the other hand, likes to put large sticks in the water bottle holder in the back. He had no interest in removing his training wheels, even 6mo later. We made him a bargain that included frozen yogurt, a rare treat. It wasn’t nearly as easy as teaching Stretch, the balance bike expert. Squish didn’t understand that he needed to keep peddling or the bike would fall. Took a few days, but he’s doing great now!

Here I am, admitting that I was wrong and my MIL WAS RIGHT.

SO, what is the best balance bike? Let’s go over the pros and cons of the top brands.

Strider Balance Bikestrider bike best balance bike

These are what ours started with. It’s just over 6lb and my 22mo olds had no problem holding it up. It fits 18mo to five year olds. No tools needed to adjust the seat or handlebar height. You don’t have to worry about airing up tires with puncture-proof tires. Comes in multiple colors.

I can’t find much negative to say about this bike. Not everyone likes the non-rubber tires, but the material they are made from is tougher and lighter.

Critical Cycles Balance Bikebalance bike review

I’m going to be a total girl when I say that this is the cutest bike. Ever. Ok, on to things that actually matter. This is recommended for 20mo to five years old. I’ve hear it’s easier for them to get on and off and that’s helpful for those first few weeks. It also has a foot rest when they are going fast enough. I can see mine using this to do tricks. Same picture-proof tires and seat/handlebar can be adjusted without tools. Also comes in multiple (and really cute) colors.

The only negative would be the weight. Coming in at 9lb , it’s a little heavy for beginners. And you. Guess who gets to carry the bike home after they’ve ridden “a little too far”.

Schwinn Balance Bikebalance bike review schwinn

 

For those who would rather have real tires with tubes, this is the bike for you. Same great features as the others. Very little assembly, easy to adjust seat and handlebars. Comes in multiple colors as well.

If you thought 9lb was a bit heavy, watch out for this hefty 14lb bike. Not really one I’d want to carry. Hey, if you have twins, you really don’t want to carry TWO 14lb bikes!

Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bikebalance bike review cruzeeFriends of ours have this bike and have been really, REALLY pleased with it. This is coming from a family with 3 kids who have done the balance bike races for years. It weighs in at a paltry 4.4lb. Comes with a seat extension to help it last longer. Same non rubber tires as the first two balance bikes. Some of the nicest looking colors, compared to others.

A little more pricey than the others but the Amazon reviews are great and it has a lifetime warranty. Perfect for passing down to a younger sibling or cousin!

 

What’s your favorite balance bike? How was the transition to a bike with peddles?

 

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Garbage Man Costume DIY

DIY Garbage Man Costume

This kid thinks that garbage trucks are awesome. He is friends with our regular garbage man AND the ones who fill in on his day off. They all know his name. They blow their horn when they get to our house, if we aren’t already outside waiting. They take their gloves off and shake his hand. He’s on a garbage high the rest of the day. 

He loves to take the trash out.

So guess what he wanted to be for his 3rd Halloween. A Garbage Man! There are zero ready made costumes for this, so here is the super easy DIY garbage man costume. Three important letters you need to learn first, PPE. Personal Protection Equipment.

Kids Leather Work Gloves – Any guy on the job needs a pair of leather work gloves. These are nicely made and he wears them when he helps Daddy in the yard and every Wednesday when he takes the trash out.

Garbage Truck Shirt – Love for all things stinky!

Kids Safety Vest – you’ve gotta be seen, right? Safety First!

Department of Sanitation Hat – ok, this one takes a bit more work. Kids trucker hat and a couple stitches for a patch. I found our patch on eBay. Try these search terms “department of sanitation patch”, “waste management patch”, “BFI patch”. 

Work Boots – More PPE

Garbage (candy) Collector – What a better way to carry all the candy you get? This one takes a little work too. You need a 10qt (2.5 gallon) plastic trash can, a cheap bucket and a waste management sticker. You will need to remove the metal handle from the bucket and make holes in the trash can to fit the handle. You can use a small drill bit or do what I did and used a philips head screwdriver and a handle. You’ll probably need bend the handle a bit to get it to fit the shape of the garbage can. Then add your sticker!

This kid wore this costume for a week before and a month after. The look on our garbage man’s face when he heard who my little man wanted to be for Halloween was priceless.

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Best Quiet Play Toys

Best Quiet Play Toys

Quiet Play first started in our house when the twins were 2yrs old. I was visiting a fellow twin friend who has NINE KIDS. Our combined 12 children had played so nicely but they started to get a little too wild/cranky in the afternoon. This awesome mom suggested “Blanket Time” and I watched as she placed small blankets down for everybody  under the age of 5. Each child sat on a blanket and received a special quiet toy. If they stayed on their blanket and played quietly for 30 minutes, they received a treat. Mine needed a few reminders because 30 minutes is a longtime if you’ve never done it before, but I was amazed at the self control my 2 year olds had!

So the next day I started blanket time at our home, but I needed to change it up a bit. It was around this same time that my boys were “not going to nap”. So I would pull out toys that were not currently in rotation. They still called it blanket time but there were no blankets and they played together. I was shocked at what happened. They played quietly for TWO HOURS. I’m not joking.

To accomplish this feat, large sets of toys are required. Magnet tiles, wooden train sets, Duplo blocks…toys that are safe, span a large age group, and they can play with together. Gone are the days of buying two of everything, now you just need to buy a lot of each type. It seems a little expensive getting started but when realize these are toys they can play  with for YEARS, it eases the pocketbook a little. You might also be able to find these toys used in FB buy/sell groups.

Two major things will be accomplished during the daily attempt to ditch naps. It’s your first opportunity to introduce “Quiet Play”, a true lifesaver! On days that you can just tell that naps aren’t going to happen bring in special Quiet Play Toys. These are very special toys that aren’t played with except during Quiet Play. The genius behind this is that your children will BEG for the Quiet Playtime. Hum, let me think about that…YES! These toys are played with for NO LONGER THAN TWO HOURS. Normally Quiet Play lasts 1.5hrs, toys are picked up promptly after QP. They stay in their room, with the door closed, and play for that time.

Your. Welcome.

These were our favorite Quiet Play Toys. They enjoyed these from 18mo and still play with them. With the exception of the Duplo blocks, we moved on to “big boy” Legos at 3.5yrs.

Magnformers – The slightly off brand of Magnatiles. Cheaper than Magnatiles and they work just as well. Between my sister and I, we’ve tested all the other magnet tile brands, and these are the only two that work properly. You can try the small set, but they are such an awesome toy that it’s worth it to buy the larger set.

Duplo Blocks – Legos are in your future, so get them started with the Duplo so they can’t swallow them. They don’t hurt nearly as much as the tiny ones that will plague your future self. The bigger the set or the more add-ons, the longer the Quiet Play lasts!

Melissa & Doug Wooden Trucks –  Another high quality brand with a ton of toys to make your life easier. These little trucks are super sturdy and mine are still playing with them at 4yrs. *HINT* sometimes you’ll see a few of these at Marshalls & TJ Maxx

Melissa & Doug Wooden Dressup – I love these toys but they are more 30 minute sanity saver. I like to pull these out when I am on the phone. The moment they see it up to my ear they lose their little minds. If it’s a phone call I can’t end quickly, these quiet play toys really do the trick!

 WOODEN Train Track Set – Now I say Thomas, but I don’t mean you need that brand of tracks. They are super overpriced. I will say, buy a brand and stick with it. They all say they are compatible, but they really aren’t. I probably have 5x the amount of trains and tracks shown here. It’s really nice to build them a giant track, one that covers entire floor of their room. Then they don’t have to be so close together, and it cuts down on the arguing.
Sometimes you can find them used. Just don’t attempt to order them from eBay, the shipping is outrageous, because of the weight.
Town Rug & cars – My boys are four years old and we own no less than ONE BILLION little cars. Please, don’t buy the crazy looking cars. Buy ones you will see on the road, they will have so much fun looking for them while you drive. Look for vehicles that do something. Construction trucks, police cars, garbage trucks, etc. I will give them a few dried beans or pompoms (when they were old enough not to put them in their mouths). They hauled them around in the trucks  and take them all over the rug. We didn’t get this rug until their 3rd Christmas, but I kicked myself for not buying it sooner. They love it so much that they’ve renamed Blanket Time “Rug Time”! They are 4.5yrs and still playing with these toys.

best quiet time toys twins Want to mix it up a bit? What if dinosaurs invaded your town?!?

quiet play dinosaur rug

Posted in Sleep Training Twins, Toddler Twins | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sleep Training Toddler Twins

It’s been so long since I’ve even thought about sleep training twins. Most of my friends are already on their 3-4th baby and I’ve already given them the Sleep Lady book. Remember to use room darkening or black out curtains. Find a Lovey or Blankey they love. Use a sound machine or a box fan. Sing the same songs/books before every sleep. Nap & bedtime both. If your littles aren’t toddlers yet, rewind to my baby sleep training tips

While you are at it, pick up the Sleep Lady Workbook too. You are exhausted, been there, done that. The kind of tired that is scary. You fall asleep eating yet? You will. I don’t mean to sound all Doom & Gloom (great nicknames for your exhausted twins). It will get better. You will sleep. It’s just going to be a while and during that time you aren’t going to think straight.

Of course, not all have taken my advice *cough* those of you who feeling cranky and look bedraggled *cough*. I saw that yawn!

So your twins (or more!) are toddlers and naps have become intermittent? I feel ya! My boys, Squish and Stretch are 4 years old now and beginning to drop their naps…for good. Cue the sad violin and ugly crying. My mom and I were discussing sleep training yesterday, so I thought I’d update and talk about the stages of attempted nap dropping that toddlers go through.

18-20 MONTHS: my boys fought naps hard. This is the most common time that Parents give up on naps. Don’t do it! Keep working through it. Keep making attempts. Initiate Quiet Play (see below), or just keep going in and putting them back in bed. Unless your 18mo olds are still in cribs and don’t crawl out! Mine were sleeping on their crib mattresses on the floor by 18mo.

2.5 YEARS: Your children are still not ready to give up naps. See how cranky they are in the evening? Ugh, I feel your pain! Again, see above advice and below for Quiet Time.

3.5 YEARS: Again with the nap ditching. You may think they are old enough, but I can promise you there are still more months of napping ahead. Right around my boy’s 4th birthday, they still had days where they slept 3-3.5hrs for nap.

Two major things will be accomplished during the daily attempt to ditch naps. It’s your first opportunity to introduce “Quiet Play”, a true lifesaver! On days that you can just tell that naps aren’t going to happen bring in special Quiet Play Toys. These are very special toys that aren’t played with except during Quiet Play. The genius behind this is that your children will BEG for the Quiet Playtime. Hum, let me think about that…YES! These toys are played with for NO LONGER THAN TWO HOURS. Normally Quiet Play lasts 1.5hrs, toys are picked up promptly after QP. They stay in their room, with the door closed, and play for that time.

Your. Welcome.

Want to see the  BEST Quiet Time Toys?

Best Quiet Play Toys

 

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Houston Area Moms of Multiples

As we approach the boy’s 4th birthday, I’m standing here to remind you just how fast it goes. Sort of.

I love looking back on how I handled situations relating to my  pregnancy and birth. I wish that I’d joined my local MoM, Moms of Multiples much earlier. I was a member 3 years in Bay Area Moms of Multiples and was a great experience. Friends who actually understand what you are going through, moms night out, and the best buy and sell page you’ll ever see! If you’d like to find your local MoMs group, click here http://tmom.info/Club_Search.html

If you are going through this (crazy awesome) experience, better to do it with a couple dozen experts right there with you. We are no longer associated with them, as it was time to start spending more of our outings as field trips with our homeschool groups. I am thankful for the lifelong friends made in that group! As an adult you know how hard it can be to make new friends, right?

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