Saturday Shout Out and Thank yous

Today is the last Saturday (and last day) of 2011! I can't end the year without saying thank you to all my bloggy friends. Special mention goes out to the twin mum troops

Melissa aka championmum2000 - The cheerleading mum. Her comments are always so encouraging

Miss Megan - The let's-compare-notes mum. Her girls are just a few weeks older than mine so I use her blog as a preview of things to come

Ginger - The friendly Calgary twin mum.

Brad - The non-mum (He's of the daddy species)

Julia - The graceful mum, hostess to "Mama loves" and Mrs to Brad

Beth - The fashionista mum aka mum I'd love to go shopping with.

Samantha - The in-the-know mum. I consider anyone that knows anything about Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga in-the-know 

Blogging was so much more fun (and therapeutic) because you guys took the time to read and comment. 

To all the lurkers out there, thank you as well. Your presence means something

To my family members that faithfully read the blog and make me feel like I have a Nobel Literature prize in my future; I love you, rose-tinted glasses and all. 

I appreciate y'all and look forward to bigger and better things in 2012. 

Signing out with much love.

Happy New Year!

2011 Year in Review

What's a year end without a year in review post? For me, it's been a year of joy just as I prayed it would be. Here's how the year shaped out.

Survived: ear piercing, sleep training, nighttime feedings, daycare and cradle cap. And that was all before june

Discovered I was not a cloth diapering type mama. Guess we is not very granola

Lived out of a suitcase (or 7) for the last two months of the year

Indulged in a new form of retail therapy - shopping for 2 baby girls. Macys is my white couch baby! 

But most importantly, nothing beat the joy of watching my girls grow daily in strength, health and wisdom.
2011 rocked!

I, Have no material connection with the products or services mentioned
Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid 
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

Make Christmas Day Special for your Toddler

One year old toddlers don't see the world like we do so it takes a lot of simplification to make the holiday season and especially Christmas day special for them. Here are some tips I plan on implementing:
  • Remove their toy gifts from the packaging before wrapping. I told you about Sugar discovering their bag of toys right? The packaging was tricky and took almost 5 long minutes to unravel. 5 minutes of a baby whining, screaming and trying to push the buttons on the toy while I'm trying to remove screws and tape and Styrofoam.
  • Wrap in shiny wrapping paper that rumples but does not rip easily. Babies/toddlers love shiny wrapping paper and that will sooner or later find its way into their mouth. It's a good idea to have paper that does not dissolve in the acidic saliva of a teething baby.  
  • Go easy on the wrapping tape or skip the tape. That way, the baby can grab and "unwrap" the present without help.
  • Remember them in the menu - dice or puree the foods, dilute the "safe" drinks and give in sippy cups.
Not a whole lot, but it can make a big difference for the little ones. Merry Christmas peeps!

Christmas Gifts for One Year Olds

This is a list of Christmas gifts that Santa got for the babies.

Disclosure: Santa went shopping, came home late and tired and left the bags of toys on the floor. The next morning, Sugar discovered the bags and ... well let's just say Christmas came early.

In no particular order, I'll tell you what we got and why
  1. Playskool Busy Poppin pals. Battery-free and I like that it will teach the girls to operate different types of knobs/buttons.
  2. Playskool Busy Tumble Top. Battery-free fun
  3. LeapFrog telephone. Thanks to Samantha's tip, I trawled Walmart for a battery-free remote control that might perhaps save our phones and tv remote from curious little fingers. I couldn't find anything that looked like a decoy so I settled for these phones. It was the most authentic looking though it is rated for 18 months. I've already given the girls a demonstration and they're enjoying placing it on the ear and babbling. I got 2 of this for the sake of world peace
  4. You are my sunshine by Jimmie Davis - This book is based on the song by the same title. Bought it because I know I can carry that particular tune and I love the song. 
  5. Box of 100 Megabloks. I remember legos with fondness and truth be told, megabloks are everywhere right now. I'm not sure that the girls can  play with this now. Even though it says for 1 year and up, we'll wait a couple of months before trying to play or build anything 

What I wish I got

The Melissa and Doug Jumbo Knob Puzzle was available in stores for the longest time, now I can't find any to buy

Some sort of lounging chair - They've mastered the art of climbing into a chair so it seems like a logical next step. I fancy those Disney foam chairs and again, I procastinated on buying them and they seem to be sold out for Christmas.

The radio flyer wagon would make a great walker, but it's a little pricey and considering the fact that we do have 2 walkers / pushtoys making their way across Canada on a truck, it just doesn't seem worth it.

I, Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid 
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

For the Love of a Highchair

I love taking part in the "Mama Loves" linkup hosted by Julia of Pontifications of a twin mom. I also love checking what the other moms who participate love and have got a few things off of their advise. If you haven't checked it out, I suggest you do.

Today, I'm loving our Fisher Price Booster Seat. I moved with two of them in a suitcase to have a place to feed the girls for our relocation/transition and it has been so worth it. I think the size and the fact that it's on the floor is a major plus for the girls. They haven't just learnt to sit down on it all by themselves (which requires a lot of body coordination for a one year old I tell you) they're also crawling and standing and pushing and pulling and climbing it. All this helps them gain confidence in their mobility and abilities and I'm lovin' it.

Plus it's super easy to clean.

I, Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid 
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

13 Joyful Months

I really thought I was done with the monthly updates, but the girls are changing so much and so fast, I just have to document. So I'll still be posting monthly stats, the only difference is I'm focusing more on the developmental stuff and less on the weight and cloth sizes etc.

13 Months of Spicy love: My little honey chums is growing three teeth at the same time and being quite a trooper about it. Likes to nibble at mommy and sister - neither of us really like that much. Now a pro at delivering the cry that induces massive mommy-guilt. She starts by making an O-shape with her lips and sad puppy dog eyes. The "O" gets me every time
She seems to have added one more word to her vocabulary - "gba" which means "take" in my language. Now before she flings unwanted food off her tray, she offers it to me and if I don't take it, then she flings it away.

13 Months of Sweet Sugar: On the 11th of December, I was on the phone with one of the many grandmas asking if the babies had started walking. As if on cue, Sugar pulled herself up and took 3 steps. I was majorly psyched and she was quite proud of herself too! This act has not been repeated so far but she enjoys standing by herself and then applauding herself.
She likes to grab at things during diaper changes so I taught her to say diaper. I believe it comes out as "aka" but it definitely has the intonation of diaper. Now she grabs everything and holds it up to me and says "aka?" and I say "no baby thats a bla bla bla".

This month's firsts
  • Blowing kisses to Sugar when leaving the daycare and having her blow kisses back at me
  • Both babies crawling up to their booster high chairs and sitting all by themselves
  • A lot of hair pulling and counter-hair pulling going on

I'm having fun and loving it all

Disclosure of Material Connection: (Because the government said so)
I, Have no material connection with the products or services mentioned
Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid 
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

Best Strollers For Twins

One of the first challenges that twin parents-to-be face is choosing the best stroller for their twins. There are two ways that infant twins can ride in a stroller - with or without their infant car seats. 

When choosing a stroller to be used with the infant car seat, you need a stroller that can accommodate the two infant seats. This can either be a frame stroller like the BabyTrend Snap n Go or a full stroller like those highlighted in the table below. When choosing a stroller that will be used without the infant seat, you need one with fully reclining seats as babies cannot support their own heads for the first few months.

Frame stroller for Twins in car seats : These strollers are lighter weight but cannot be used once babies are out of bucket/infant car seats. The most popular one is the Baby Trend Snap and Go. This stroller is compatible with Britax, Chicco and Graco seats as well as Peg Perego, Baby Trend and Evenflo infant car seats.  

Full strollers for Twins in car seats: These stroller are heavier than frame strollers but can be used to toddler-hood (up to 4 years) depending on weight limit.    

Full Reclining strollers for Twins: The full recline means these strollers can be used with infants as the babies will stay in a laying down position. They are heavier than frame strollers and usually more expensive than the full strollers listed above but can be used to toddler-hood (up to 4 years) depending on weight limit.  

Check out the stroller reviews on Amazon for more information about the individual strollers 

Changing Baby's Schedule When Traveling

So in the last two months, our family has relocated twice. The first time was our Houston to Calgary move, and more recently we've moved from Calgary to the east coast of Canada. That's a lot of moving! We've gone back 1 time zone and then forward 3 time zones and I've learnt a bit about managing twin babies' schedule when travelling.

I've learnt that the number of days it'll take to transition a baby's schedule is at least equal to the number of time zones crossed. That's how it's been in my twintopia. When we moved one hour behind, we were able to change the schedule with one day of transition. When we moved three hours ahead, it's taken three transitional days to be back on our schedule.

Changing Feeding Schedule: I've always used feeding times as my primary tool for controlling the girls' schedule and sleep times sorta fall in place. Our current schedule is to eat every three to four hours after waking up. That means breakfast around 7:30am, lunch at 11:30am, snack at 3:30pm and dinner at 6:30pm give or take 30 minutes.

The steps I used to transition the schedule is to keep move the lunch time from 11:30am in the old time zone to 11:30am in the new time an hour at a time. It's best to use lunch time because that is the easiest feeding time to maneuver. Breakfast is tied to wake up time and cannot should not be messed with. Lunch time can be moved 2-4 hours after breakfast and the afternoon nap, snack and dinner will fall in place.

Changing sleep schedule: This is a little trickier because too little sleep can lead to super cranky baby X 2 and too much sleep means waking up at 3:00am to play peekaboo. I go with the sleep theory in Dr Weissbluth's book that babies need a certain number of hours to sleep every day. At this stage, both girls thrive on 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. 1-3 hours of naps and 11-13 hours overnight.

When in the daycare, they take one long nap after lunch. At home with Mommy they take two naps. A one hour nap around 9:30 and a 90minute nap after lunch. In this case, I had to get them to go to bed earlier in the new time zone which means wearing them out in the day time which means allowing them to play through their morning nap time. I also shortened their afternoon naps by picking them up when they stirred instead of letting them settle back for an additional 30 minute snooze.

Here's how it works (OL is old location, NL is new location)
  • Day one: Wake up and have breakfast. It's 7:30am in OL and 10:30am in NL. Play through nap time and have lunch one hour earlier at 10:30am OL/1:30pm NL. Long nap. Snack at 1:30pm OL/4:30pm NL. Dinner at 5:00pm OL/8:00pm NL. Bedtime at 9:00pm
  • Day two: Wake up and have breakfast. It's 6:00am in OL and 9:00am in NL. Observe morning nap time and have lunch one hour earlier than previous day at 9:30am OL/12:00pm NL. Long nap. Snack at 1:00pmOL/4:00pm NL. Dinner at 4:00pm OL/7:00pm NL. Bedtime at 8:00pm
  • Day three: Wake up at usual time of 7:30 am. Activities in NL are now not more than 30 minutes from their normal scheduled time.
  • Day four: Our schedule is successfully transitioned
So that's what worked for us. One thing to note is that the changes make for a lot of baby sleep awakenings in the middle of the night and that is simply unavoidable. If only this worked for mommy. It's 1:00am and I'm plugging away at the laptop because my body thinks it's only 10:00pm. Sigh!
I, Have an affiliate link on the Dr Weissbluth book

Easy Toddler Meal Ideas For One Year Olds

Y'all I have toddlers in the house and feeding my one year olds daily requires some thinking outside the baby food jar. My twins are fully on table foods now and here's my current menu plan. I already disclosed my less than stellar crafty-homeliness, so all these meals are easy and fast

Cereal bars 
Fruit bars
Cereal mixed into yoghurt - Spoon fed by mommy. This is a weekend meal

Lunch & Dinner (Meals are interchangeable)
First of all, there are some foods that should always be in the pantry or fridge to facilitate easy toddler feeding:

Cheese in slices, shredded or sticks
Chicken in ready to eat form. I've had roasted chicken and this chicken breast pack from Costco that's really tasty
Ready to eat carb. That's either white rice or boiled pasta. This can easily be leftovers from the night before

On to the meals. All require less than 15 minutes of prep time. All received with a happy yum. All in a form that the babies can feed themselves
  1. Chicken Stir Fry - Fancy name for steaming a veggie stir fry pack and serving with bits of chicken. The kids also like it with some teriyaki sauce mixed in, hence the name.
  2. Steam veggies - The stir fry pack can be used or a pack of peas and broccolli steamed with diced carrots. Can be served with either chicken or cheese melted on top
  3. Baked beans - with or without rice (if served with rice, spoon feeding the babies is a better idea)
  4. Pasta with spaghetti sauce with or without cheese
  5. Adult cereal dissolved in a little milk and served with yoghurt (major yum)
For any of the meals that do not have a vegetable component, I serve fruits - quatered grapes, pieces of orange or banana
Pasta, Peas & Chicken with parmesan cheese and spaghetti sauce

And that's our menu plan for now. It's not fancy but it works for us.

Linked up with OrgJunkie's Menu Planning Monday

I, Have no material connection with the products or services mentioned
Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid 
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

Flying with Infant Twins

This will be the last of my out and about with infant twins series. To date, I have had 3 flights - 5 planes, 2 stopovers - with the twins. First flight was in July when they were 8 months old and second flight was when they were 11 months old. Here's what worked for us and what didn't.

Things that went right
  1. Travelling close to bedtime. Once the plane lights were dimmed, the babies settled down and slept off
  2. Changing diapers in the airport just before the plane boards
  3. Mylanta antacid in diaper bag. Spice has always had mild reflux but her pediatrician did not want to add cereal to her bottle because as at that time she was 75th percentile on the weight chart. Well mid-flight, she got airsick and started gagging badly. The Mylanta helped calm her stomach
  4. Lots of tissues and wet wipes in diaper bag
  5. Generous change of clothes, hooded jacket for babies, large mummy scarf that could double as a baby blanket. Layering clothes for all travellers is key
  6. Travelling with a second adult.
  7. Booking a seat for baby when affordable
  8. Pacifiers, backup pacifiers and backup to the backup pacifiers in diaper bag and handbag
  9. Soft, non-squeaky toys. Nothing like splitting a fellow passenger's lip with a flying Mr Weeble.
  10. Ready to feed formula in 8oz bottles, pediasure in 8oz bottles, ziploc of nipples and nipple rings that fit on the bottles.

Things that went wrong aka I'd like to forget these ever happened
  1. Peak daytime travelling. Babies are bored and want to move around and play. Fellow passengers may not be so understanding - not to mention the ear curdling screams that some babies *cough*mine*cough* can deliver
  2. Trying to change diaper on a plane. Some plane bathrooms do not have changing tables so it's really luck of the draw. Plus if they do have, changing a squirmy baby in that tiny space with little hands touching EVERYTHING!! Enough to make a germophobe mama use up bundles of wet wipes (see number 4 in What went right)
  3. Eating new foods 24 hours before travel time, can lead to several occasions of number 2 above
  4. Trying new diaper for trip - it just may leak
  5. Not having enough change of clothes for trip aka landing Canada in onesie and blanket
  6. Having more than one carryon i.e diaper bag, handbag AND laptop bag
  7. Not booking flight early enough to choose seats
  8. Carry-on that won't fit into stroller basket. Visualize pushing a stroller and pulling a suitcase
  9. Not travelling with double stroller. Once again, visualize pushing one stroller ahead and pulling one behind. Or trying to push both. Or something equally awkward enough to earn you the attention of the terminal
  10. Pouch of mango and pear baby food just before flight. 'Nuff said. This escalates numbers 2,3,4 and 5 

Disclosure of Material Connection: (Because the government said so)
I, Have no material connection with the products or services mentioned
Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid 
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

Grocery Shopping with Baby Twins

When my twins were younger, a lot of the trips outside the house were avoidable just because of the logistics. However, one unavoidable trip was grocery shopping with 2 infants. THAT required some planning and major thinking outside the box. So here are all the possible configurations that I tried
  1. One baby in carseat in cart + one baby in carrier: This works when one baby is asleep and needs to stay sleeping in the carseat. I kept the seat inside the stroller so this limited the size and amount of things I could pick. As the babies grew older and bigger, this configuration also limited the time of the trip to how long I could sustain the whole big baby in carrier business
  2. One baby in single stroller + one baby in carrier: Same as number one except this time I'm limited by the size of the stroller basket. I got a mommy hook (thanks to Melissa's post) and reusable shopping bags which allowed me to hang some bags off the stroller and increase the number of groceries I could get for the trip
  3. Both babies in double stroller: This worked for a trip where I wanted to browse the aisles leisurely and wasn't getting anything bigger than the stroller basket. The mommy hook was also a bonus for this
  4. One baby sitting in shopping cart + one in carseat in shopping cart: This works from when the babies can sit up unassisted but one was asleep when the trip started. Groceries limited by space left in cart. Shopping time limited by attention span of baby sitting in cart
  5. One baby sitting in shopping cart + one in baby carrier: Good for when both babies can sit up and both are awake. The whole shopping cart is available for the groceries but shopping time is limited by the comfort of the baby carrier
  6. Both babies sitting in shopping cart: I loved it when I could finally do this. Felt like I added a little red medal on my Super-Mommy uniform. This works for when both babies can sit up. The only stores I know that can accomodate 2 kids in the cart are Sam's Club and Costco. I hear some new Target carts can do this as well but have not seen them yet.
  7. Both babies at home with daddy:   :)
Buying Tips

  • The carriers, mommy hook and cart covers can be purchased from Amazon
  • Etsy has a wide selection of double cart covers which can be personalized, but I confess to finding them a bit pricy.
  • The cart cover in the picture is an out of stock one from BabeEase which was cheaper at $37. I had to email them to get a warehouse leftover
  • The Baby Bjorn carrier is good for an awake baby as the baby can face out and observe the goings on while the Infantino Ergonomic carrier was better for the sleepy baby as it offered good head and neck support.

Best Infant Car Seat for Twins - A list for moms pregnant with twins

If you are a mom pregnant with twins, one of the questions you'll be asking yourself is "What is the best infant car seat for twins?" This was a question I agonized over for months while I was pregnant before finally settling on the Chicco Keyfit 30. It looks like this is my week for talking cars and car seats so here's my advise to anyone in the process of buying infant car seats for their twins.

One of the most challenging parts of having 2 or more babies at the same time is figuring out how to transport them from one point to another. I've put together a list of car seats and strollers for parents who have twins or more. The criteria for choosing the infant car seat?

  • Must have a lower weight limit of 4lbs specified by manufacturer
  • Must have a separate base that stays in the car
  • Must have at least one double stroller that can accomodate 2 of the seats at the same time
Infant Car Seats for Twins Best Bets
Britax B-Safe, Britax Chaperone, Chicco Keyfit, Chicco Keyfit30 and Graco Snugride 30. Here are the infant seats that passed the test and their compatible strollers. Click the pictures for more information and reviews from other parents

Runners Up
1. The Peg Perego Duette will take 2 of their infant car seats but is not included in the list because the car seats are rated for 5lbs and up
2. There are several twin frame strollers. Some are only compatible with same manufacturer car seats

Infant Car Seats and Strollers For Triplets
The options for triplets are a more tricky. All in all there are 2 options for moving around with infant triplets

Triplet strollers that will take 3 infant car seats: The Peg Perego Triplette stroller and the Inglesina Domino Trio will take 3 of their brand's infant car seats. The Double Decker Triplet stroller will take 3 Graco or Evenflo seats

Triplet strollers that will fully recline for newborns: Baby Jogger Summit XC stroller

With a few exceptions, all the car seats and strollers listed can be purchased off the Amazon Baby Store. Click here to view their vast selection. I'm a big fan of Amazon and purchase my stroller off their website because it came with free shipping and a one year return policy - the best return policy out there.

Cars and SUVs for 2 Infant Car Seats

This post is part of my first year with twins recap. Over the last 12 months, I have had the twins in a variety of cars and suvs. This is how the vehicles I tried out fared with 2 infant seats.

Mazda5 with 2 infant seats installed with base
Rear Seat configuration: 2 rows of captains' chairs
Access to 3rd row: The infant seats had to be removed to access the 3rd row.
In Car Feeding: Required contorting myself, balancing on the armrest and feeding the babies. Not comfortable at all
Comfort of 3rd row: Not comfortable for anyone taller than 5ft
Cargo capacity: Good with the third row down. This is my everyday car and it easily handles one double stroller, one single stroller and a cart full of groceries. With the third row up, it can handle the groceries but not the strollers

Mazda3 with 2 infant seats
Rear Seat configuration: 1 bench row. With infant seats installed, the front seats became uncomfortable for anyone taller than 5'5 (I'm 5'6). Probably could have got that extra inch if I used the infant seats without the base
Cargo capacity: The trunk of the Mazda 3 is actually quite sizeable for a compact car. and could comfortably take a single stroller and groceries. This was my pre-mommy, red, hot, sporty car. I tried to drive with the seats installed because I really loved this car, but it was impossible.

Buick Enclave with 2 infant seats
Rear Seat configuration: 2nd row captains' chairs and bench 3rd row
Access to 3rd row: The infant seats had to be removed to access the 3rd row but it was possible to walk down the aisle from the front passenger seat to the back
In Car Feeding: Even though the car was spacious, sitting in the third row and stretching bottles to the second row was not comfortable at all
Comfort of 3rd row: Very comfortable for adults
Cargo capacity: Good with the third row down. This was the car we rented for our first vacation

Nissan Rogue with 2 infant seats (No base used)
Rear Seat configuration: 1 bench row
In Car Feeding: The most comfortable of all the cars. I was able to sit between the two carseats and feed the babies, just like I would do at home
Cargo capacity: Just managed to squeeze 2 carryon suitcases and a single stroller in. This was the rental for our second vacation

Mercedes Benz R-Class with 2 infant seats
Rear Seat configuration: 2 rows of captains' chairs
Access to 3rd row: Easy. I actually installed the infant seats in the 3rd row with little discomfort
Comfort of 3rd row: Great
Cargo capacity: Didn't look like much. This was a car we test-drove in Carmax

Chevy Tahoe with 2 infant seats
Rear Seat configuration: 2 rows of bench seats
Access to 3rd row: Not great for an SUV this size
Comfort of 3rd row: Not comfortable for anyone taller than 4ft
Cargo capacity: Ok with the third row down, very poor with third row up. This was a rental that I kept for 5 minutes before driving back to request a change. This car was a major disappointment considering it's external size.

Dodge Grand Caravan with 2 infant seats (No base)
Rear Seat configuration: 1 row of captains' chairs and 1 bench row
Access to 3rd row: The infant seats had to be removed to access the 3rd row but the middle aisle was very generous for a walk from the front passanger seat
Comfort of 3rd row: Good
Cargo capacity: One word describes this - IMPRESSIVE! This was the car that we used to the Houston airport for our move. With the third row down, we packed 2 single strollers, 7 suitcases and 3 carryon bags AND still had room. I honestly could not believe that 

Ford Explorer with 2 infant seats (No Base Used)
Cargo capacity: This was the rental car from when we landed Calgary. It could not do as good a job as the Grand Caravan with the same amount of luggage - 2 single strollers, 7 suitcases and 3 carryon bags. We had to squeeze some items behind the front row seats

Final Notes: The seats used were the Chicco Keyfit30 which can be purchased here

Disclosure of Material Connection: (Because the government said so)
I, Have no material connection with the products or services mentioned
Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid 
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

Relocating with Twin Babies - Sleeping Arrangements

Due to my move, I've been living out of a suitcase for over a month now. Relocating with twin babies is not easy but I'm really glad with the sleeping arrangements we have thanks to the Kidco Peapod travel beds.

I got 2 on sale from a USA BAby store closing and I'm really glad I did. They take up minimum floor space in our rented accomodations so I'm able to still co-sleep with the babies. It took the girls a few days to adjust to the new sleeping arrangements but since then, they've been sleeping quite well in the beds. One plus is that it can be zipped so the babies don't roll out in the middle of the night and unzipped in the morning so the girls know the feeling of getting out of bed by themselves.

I think I like the independence it gives them. Now I understand why the Montessorri way is so big on placing mattresses on the floor.

I'm linking up with Julia who's got some chocovine love going on. Not sure what chocovine is? Check out her blog to find out.

Several variations of the Peapon can be purchased on Amazon

Disclosure of Material Connection: (Because the government said so)
I, Have no material connection with the products or services mentioned
Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid 
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

Transition to Sippy Cup for Baby

Transitioning to sippy cups for my babies  was in retrospect an event that took 3 months. This post is in response to an anonymous comment on my One Year Old update post asking how I got Spice to finally accept her sippy cup as I had previously posted that she was absolutely refusing the cup.
Based on my experience with the two girls, it appears that transitioning to sippy cup for babies is based on physical and emotional readiness.

Physical Readiness 
This is a function of the cup's ease of use and the baby's gross motor skills and muscular development. The first part of using a sippy is learning to suck out of it with motion that's different from the sucking motion used with bottle. My girls learnt to suck out of a cup by using the Green Sprouts sippy which had no valve in it. We used water at this stage.

Once the girls mastered the sucking as well as the lifting, I switched to the Playtex First Sipster because it was big enough to take 8oz of fluid, it was relatively leak-proof and the valve part was easy to wash. It was at this point that Spice started refusing to take formula out of the cup. Now, the Playtex cup seemed a bit heavy especially when full of formula and I suspected that added to her refusal.

Third step was to use a sippy cup that was easy to lift and hold when filled with a feeding's worth of milk. For us, that was 8oz. I found that cups and bottles with handles were harder for my babies to hold when full as the weight of the cup and the hand positioning required was awkward and too much of a strain on their wrists. They much preferred cups and bottles that can be gripped using their palms and fingers. That is what lead us to the sippy du jour and our cheapest cup till date - the Nuby.

The shape was perfect for little hands to hold and lift without strain. That took care of physical readiness.   

Emotional Readiness
Once we addressed the issue of cup selection, the only obstacle was emotional readiness. Now this is a function of the kid's personality. From reading the Wonder Weeks, I learnt that what seems normal to adults is new and strange to babies. Some babies embrace the new by diving in headfirst, and some babies are more cautious and scared. Sugar falls into the first category most times and Spice to the second. To help Spice make the final emotional leap into self-feeding, we did the following: 

  • While feeding, position her hands on the cup to show her how to support the cup. Result: She held on but when we let go of the cup, she'll fling it away and scream. Parent Reaction: Pick cup up and continue feeding without any recriminations
  • Next step, place cup on her chair tray during mealtimes without holding it up for her. Result: She'll throw away the cup with all the disdain a toddler can muster without words Parent Reaction: Pick the cup and calmly set it back on the tray without fuss of drama. After the third or fourth time, she'd be so upset that I'll end up feeding her.
Step 2 went on for close to a week at every mealtime, until one day she was too hungry to care about who held the cup so she picked it up and drank her milk and that was the end of the transitioning to sippy cup for Ms Spice.

I believe the cincher was to accept her refusal to drink without drama while giving her every opportunity to pick up the cup herself. I confess I learnt this from several mommy bloggers who chronicle their attempts at potty training and my current daycare's discipline approach. Give no attention to the unwanted behaviour and praise the one you want. Ignore but don't recriminate or push the issue so that it seems to be a bigger deal than it is. When refusal to hold the cup is an emotional issue rather than a physical one, non-dramatic patience is the only tool in the parent's armoury

It may not work for everybody, but that's what worked for us and I know that I'm going to need this No-Drama approach on a lot of other issues. So far, so good. I know some experienced moms are reading this, so please do tell what teaching methods worked for you?

PS:The third part of this post is mommy's emotional readiness. I confess that I may have whined several times to my sister that my babies are too young to not get at least one bottle a day; so I held on to the morning bottle feedings for as long as I could. I only let go of the last bottles because I ran out of drop-in liners

Disclosure of Material Connection: (Because the government said so)
I, Have no material connection with the products or services mentioned
Have affiliate links in the post but my opinions are my own and not paid
Have received a free sample for review but my opinions are still my own
Have been compensated by a company for this post but my opinions are still my own

Ways to Save on a First Birthday Party

I'm all for my babies having fabulous birthday parties, but the frugalista in me won't let me spend ridiculous amounts and the utilitarian in me won't let me indulge in any impractical endeavour. So with all that in mind, here are some ideas I had for giving my babies a fabulous but sensible birthday party

  • Theme colors: I like the idea of a themed party but they can get pretty expensive. My fix, pick colors from a holiday just before the party. That way once the holiday is over and all the nick-nacks are on clearance in the stores, I can buy them for peanuts. This works great for table covers, paper napkins, plates, drinkware and decor. I really love the St Patrick's day greens, the valentine's day reds and the easter pastels
  • Useful party favors: I much prefer party favors that are educational or useful. A great way to get these is to buy in September once all the back to school items are on sale. Mandy also gave me a great idea of including little books - I've seen these for as low as a $1 on sale racks. 
  • Educational favors: Apart from the above, a store that caters to teachers was a good source of $1.50 books for me. They had sticker books, coloring books and activity books. All were from Dover Publishing and can be ordered direct from the website. Additionally, they have a 10% bulk discount and ship internationally
  • Decoration Favors: I decorated with helium balloons and tied a goody bag to the end of each balloon. At the end of the party, the kids were estatic to go home with a balloon and a goody bag and I was happy to not have a room full of balloons.
  • Cheap party favors: One good thing about a November birthday? Buying halloween candy on sale. 'Nuff said (If this was a confessional post, I will tell you I have "tasted" 25 of the 50 bags of candy in the box, but it's not a confessional so...)
  • Venue: Parks are free and community halls or apartment complex social rooms are cheap with no food restrictions if the house is too small for all the guests
  • Guests: Speaking of guests, the babies can easily be overwhelmed with a crowd especially since separation anxiety kicks in around this time. I tried to keep the crowd small with just 6 kids invited. In the end, both girls enjoyed playing with the other kids and barely noticed the 3 additonal adults
  • Invitations: Free at Evite. Everyone has an email address and RSVPs are easier
    Disney Princess Tiana Cakes for Twins
  • Cakes: I forgot my craft gene on the busstop bench in high school so I have to do with grocery store cakes. They are not bad at all and most stores are willing to put an extra touch on the cake. With 2 babies and 2 cakes, I was glad to flip through the 100 page cake catalogue in my grocery store. We got 2 Disney princess cakes and had them put the Princess Tiana head on both
  • Birthday outfits: Shop around and explore all options. In retrospect, I wish I had skipped the dress and got the nice tutu and leggings outfits from Gymboree. The girls would have been more comfortable
The day was awesome if I do say so myself. This post is linked up to Amanda's top ten Tuesday

One Year Old Twins

Well, after all the buildup and anticipation, the day(s) came, we had fun and now it's back to normal. The girls had their birthday on Wednesday wherein they polished off a cupcake each. I've been delaying the stats update because I do not have my weight scale, but can't put that off any more.

SpIce aka Twin A
Weight: No idea  but some of the smaller pants are getting snug. I can't wait to do a weight check actually
Dress size: 9 - 12months but still wearing 9m Carters sleepers
Diaper size: Size 3 

Sugar aka Twin B

Weight: See comments for Spice
Dress size: 9 - 12 months
Diaper size: Size 3

Feeding Schedule
We now have 2 schedules, one for the weekdays in daycare and one for the weekend. Regardless, the girls are up by 7am and they get 8oz each of whole milk. Spice gets lactose-free milk while Sugar gets 3% homogenized milk.
On weekdays, they get a cereal bar after their milk and off to daycare where they get a morning snack around 9am. The morning snack is usually some fruit and carb. On weekends at home, they get a bigger breakfast after their cup of milk and I skip the 9am snack.
Lunch is around 11:30am and consists to another 8oz of milk in a sippy cup followed by the baby-version of an adult lunch (meat, carb and vegetable). 3:00 is time for an afternoon snack that could be rice cakes, fruit, yoghurt melts etc with water. Dinner is at 6:00pm and that's also an 8oz cup of milk followed by meat/cheese, carb (rice or pasta or plantain). I definitely need to have more vegetables in their dinner.

Sleep Schedule
At home, the girls still like their one hour morning nap from 9:30am and another afternoon nap. In the daycare, they've been fighting the morning nap and having one longer nap in the afternoon instead.


Physical: Both girls are cruising comfortably and Sugar has tried to stand on her own a few times (her record is 8 seconds).

Verbal and Social: The girls love to play with each other and aggravate each other (depending on the time of the day). They still love to play tag, peekaboo and of recent, they wake up in the morning and smash their faces together. I'm guessing that's a "good morning sister" kiss. That's the good, cute part.
On some days, Spice wants to cuddle and insists on putting her head on Sugar's tummy and Sugar's having none of it and trying desperately to shove her sister away except that Spice is still bigger and therefore harder to push off. On other days, Sugar INSISTS on playing and Spice just wants to be left alone and crawls as fast as she can to get away from her sister. Unfortunately for her, Sugar is faster so she can't get away.  I'm learning to intervene a lot less and let them build the boundaries and set the rules for their own relationship as long as extreme physical foul is not being commited. 
Spice has a vocabulary of 2 discernable words - mama and dada. Sugar's vocabulary is 50% bigger at 3 words - mama, tdati (daddy) and numyum (food or hungry.

Emotional: Interacting with mommy and daddy, both babies have become a lot more opinionated. They don't need words to convey their displeasure with a snack, their car seat or getting changed.

Where did a year go? I'll be switching to quarterly or half-yearly stats going forward and I just may have photo updates instead. Still in the initial thought process.

Have a great thanksgiving week y'all

Happy Birthday Babies

What can I say without turning into a blubbering fool. I'm more than blessed to be your mom. I'm also highly favored. Wouldn't change the last 12 months for all the gold in wherever-they-store-gold-these-days.

May The Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
      May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

More Lessons from Twin Parenting

Some moments of motherhood are profound and some are mundane. Here's a list of 10 more mundane lessons that I learnt.
  1. Parenting has to be intentional - I noticed that I rarely focused on the babies 100%. My brain was always racing ahead to my list of things to do. I fed the babies while checking twitter and facebook and my blog reader. Something felt wrong. Were the babies interferring with my internet or was the internet interferring with my mothering?. So I took a telecomms break. For 20 days in January, I didn't use a computer or my phone. Not being able to use those, I was able to redirect my attention solely on the babies and actually enjoy them moment by moment and notice the little things. 
  2. Start 'em young - Any habit that will be intolerable in a toddler, don't allow in an infant. This really worked when it came to sleep training.
  3. Discipline is not a luxury - It takes discipline to prepare for the night feedings before going to bed, but the reward is I'm not stumbling all around the house at 3 am.
  4. Parenting skills are not necessarily inborn - But they can be learnt. There's lessons to learn and books to read. Not seeking the knowledge-base available to parents just panders to ignorance. And an ignorant parent is a dangerous parent.
  5. Drop the cape - The Superwoman cape that is. You can't do it all or alone. I was superwoman until one morning, after giving Sugar a bath, I went to the room to pick Spice up and instead I just fell into bed. I tried to get up but couldn't. The car was out of gasoline and fumes. I spent the next 2 days in bed unable to get up or do anything for myself. It was scary and I learnt my lesson. I need to take care of myself so that I can be strong and healthy to take care of my babies. The cape had to go (and the Hawaiian sweet rolls too)
  6. Motherhood doesn't cure shopaholism but it changes it's form
  7. Think outside the box - the box store that is. Get babyproofing supplies from the Home Depot. Order diapers and wipes online. Use a beer cooler as a lunch bag
  8. Never say never
  9. Blame it on mommy brain - when you do things like put new clothes in the washing machine with the tags and hangar still on. Or throw babies' bottles in the trash and neatly arrange a pile of used tissues on the countertop. Or regularly inform your friends and sisters that you've lost your cell phone while talking to them on said lost cell phone
  10. To thine own self be true - Being an internet-loving mom, I come across a lot of  ideas related to mothering. The worst thing I can do to myself and my babies is do something popular that is totally contradictory to my personality. Sort of like my patio vegetable garden. the result is usually an epic fail

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