2012 in numbers

11 - Number of surprise valentine's day packs each girl received
10 - Total number of pounds the girls have gained (Thank God for Dapper Snappers)

9 -  Number of grey hairs this ER visit added to my head
8 -  Pairs of shoes each girl owned / owns (Mayhaps mama has a shoe problem?!)
7 - Number of suitcases we lived in for the first few months of the year
6 - Number of fruits I used in the twins' birthday fruit tray (double that for the number of mini cupcakes I ate to compensate)
5 - Number of homes we lived in the last 12 months
4 - Number of weeks spent trying to re-sleep train my girl Spice
3 - Number of photo sessions we had with professionals - So worth it (includes school pictures)
2 - super blessings living in my house
1 - super blessed mama to have seen it all this last 12 months! Hopeful for an even better 2013


Howdwedo with 2012 Goals

Why list annual goals? I believe that a vision must be written as one of the steps towards being actualized. Since I was a teenager, I've always started the new year with a list of my goals and 2012 was no exception. I had a list of parenting goals that I wanted to work towards. The year is now drawing to a close and I'm taking a look at my report card. My last update was in July and then I sorta forgot all about it until this week. 

Goal 1: Introduce the girls to at least one new vegetable every month and share the winning recipe. I definitely broadened the food repertoire of this family thanks to the girls. Not sure we got one new vegetable every month but with this I learnt that they love pieces of cucumber and tomatoes (someone musta corrupted my DNA) and are not fans of popcorn
Goal 2: Continue with regular monthly development posts with less focus on the physical data. I did this in conjunction with a project 52 (at least a picture for every week of their second year). Just received the photobook I created for all the photos and I'm glad I did this project. Those angels grew so fast!

Goal 3: Potty train the girls before their second birthday. ROFL at the naivete of the mom I was 12 months ago

Goal 4: Learn to sew. More reason to ROFL - that's roll on the floor laughing for the non-acronym inclined.

Goal 5:  Learn the basics of early childhood education and the Montessori system so that I can create a mind-nurturing home for my babies. Got rid of majority of the annoying passive-play toys and my toy-buying is now guided by the Montessori theory of play. I also toured a Montessori elementary school and decided that's not the educational route I want to take with the girls

Goal 6: Start weekly excursions to paid-for-by-my-tax-dollars places like free museums, libraries, farms etc Easily done in the summer. Not so peachy when the white stuff hits the pavement

Goal 7: Implement the divide and conquer weekends - Daddy takes one baby, mommy takes the other and we have one on one time. Nah. Didn't happen

Goal 8: Teach the girls manners. Pleases and thank yous are well-known and used

Goal 9: Incorporate Christian and biblical teachings into our daily life. The girls now recognize which book is their "bible" and that we come together and read for bedtime. I've slacked off this month but need to get back on that wagon. I was struggling with having a standard prayer that the girls will eventually commit to heart because they hear it every night. My aunt just gave the girls a very beautiful toddler prayer book for Christmas so I think we'll do better with our bedtime routine next year

Goal 10: Get the girls familiar with Yoruba language and Nigerian culture. The girls love Nigerian foods and have learnt to say good morning in Benin and Yoruba (our Nigerian languages). Outside of that, I'm not sure if they understand the other phrases I try to use. This may just be a bust.

Not too bad I dare say. Did you have goals for the year? How did it all work out? And if you have older kids, what would you say is the biggest challenge for the age 2-3? I need to start working on next year's goals. 

Sayonara peeps

Merry Christmas Peeps!

Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine. 

It's been such a dynamic year in parenting my two lil lovelies and I wouldn't change it for the world. There's been a shift in my relationship with this blog and I think I've reached reached the conclusion of what I set out to achieve - to pass on the lessons I learnt on parenting twins in the first two years.

Happy new year too. I'm looking forward to the promise of 2013 because of His promise.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 21:11

Happy 2nd Birthday To Our Friends

There's a special group of bloggers that I stalk follow - it's the blogs with twins born in the Winter of 2010 one month before or after my girls. They're all turning 2 just like us, so here's a special "Happy Birthday" to the twins of the class of 2028
It's not just twins in this group though. Also a special shout out to
And the other blogs about multiples born between October and December 2010 that I've found along the way?
Happy birthday to y'alls!

PS: Do you know any other blogs for multiples born between October and December 2010 that I missed? Please share in the comments

Extra PS: I follow a lot of super-awesome blogs asides from these ones.

99 Items to Pack When Travelling With Twin Toddlers

Okay that header is a bit of a stretch. Even though it felt like I packed 99 things plus the kitchen sink for my trip alone with the twins, it was probably a lot less. I spent weeks plotting and planning what items needed to be on my carryon for the 4+ hour flight and here's what I came up with
  1. A good bag with plenty of compartments that is either a backpack or has a very long strap - the plan is that it allows you to be "handsfree". My Eddie Bauer diaper bag meets this criteria beautifully without being too bulky.
  2. Feeding Necessities
    • Milk alternative that does not need to be refrigerated. I always travel with Pediasure but I've seen other milk substitutes in the grocery stores. TIP: Feed the kids the new milk a few days before travelling to confirm that they have no adverse reaction to it
    • Sippy cups (First Years Take and Toss is my favorite). TIP: If the kids are still using a bottle nipple, the standard ones will fit the Pediasure bottles. When the girls were younger, I bought the cheapo bottles from Walmart and carried all the nipples and rings in a plastic bag to fit over the Pediasure bottles
    • A variety of snacks - a different one for each hour. Start the trip with the least favorite and keep the favorites for later. I had to remove the snacks from their original packaging to take up less space. I've never had a positive experience with airport food so I tend to avoid it TIP: Count the full door-to-door travel time when planning the feeding and snacks. The "hungry man angry man" rules apply to little girls too
  3. Cleaning Necessities
    • All the necessary wipes: diaper wipes, boogie wipes, pacifier wipes, alcohol wipes bla bla bla
    • Double the number of diapers you would normally use if you were on land (because babies are full of surprises sometimes)
    • Change of clothes (I actually skipped this and it worked out fine going, not so fine coming back)
    • Portable or disposable changing pad. The disposables take up less space
  4. Entertainment and Comfort Necessities
    • Pacifier
    • Backup pacifier - because pacifiers like to get lost between airplane seats
    • Pacifier clip (Check that the clip is attached to string. I didn't. And didn't discover that factoid until we were mid-air)
    • Toddler ear phones: These are earphones that protect kids' hearing by not going above a certain volume level regardless of input. I ended up not using these but they were in my bag in case I needed them for watching movies or playing games on the phone. TIP: They're not the easiest to find but are stocked by Amazon US site and Chapters Indigo in Canada.
    • Favorite stuffed toy
    • Activity gear that the kids will play with independently - crayons and paper fit into this category. TIP: Test the activities at home to ensure the kids enjoy them and stay engrossed for long enough
    • 2 phones loaded with the same movies and apps that kids already know and love. This should be brought out only as a last resort because no 2 year old is going to relinquish a phone in the middle of an elmo song just because the pilot wants to land the plane. This option takes up less space and is lighter weight than DVDs and books. Didn't have to use this either; both girls were engrossed with the in-flight TV
  5. Health necessities
    • First aid essentials
    • Medicine spoons in ziplock bag
    • Medications that MAY be required. For me, that list was fever reducers, antacid and allergy medicine
  6. Mummy necessities
    • A handbag small enough to fit into the diaper bag but large enough to hold travel documents and money. 
    • Travel documents - including notarized letter from absent parent saying that the trip is approved
    • Lip balm and other beauty products that make you feel fly while you fly (you can tell the post is getting too long when I start getting cheesy)
    • Camera because what mom travels without a camera these days?!
That's not 99 items, but its a lot of stuff.
Was I over-prepared? Absolutely!
Did I use up to half of what I packed? Certainly not!
Did that make me over-confident on the return trip? Of course it did!
And how did that work out?

Well, I ran out of diapers, clean clothes and the girls' must-have breakfast bar. My heart was in my mouth the entire trip for fear of a meltdown with no solution in sight. Being over-prepared is way better. Trust me on that one.

10 Tips for Flying with Toddlers

The twins and I just had a very wonderful thanksgiving vacation with my family in CT. We're back home now and I've added "flying alone with toddler twins" to my list of twin parenting laurels. I confess that I was dreading the experience and was prepared for the worst. It actually went a lot better than I expected (I need to trust my girls more!).

Interestingly, it was a year ago that I wrote my post on flying with infant twins. Well, I can tell you that flying with toddler twins is a different ball game. Here are the lessons I learnt
  1. Choose gear that will allow you to navigate the airport "hands-free". This will depend on the age of the kids and if they need a double stroller, leash, car seats etc.  My girls had just turned 2 the day before we flew so they both had their own seats on the plane and needed carseats for the flight. My solution was to hook our two cosco scenera carseats to a double umbrella stroller, leaving my hands free. I chose to travel with the cosco scenera seats because they are lightweight and have a slim profile compared to the Britax Marathons we use on a daily basis. Tip: If using a car seat, ensure its FAA/CAA approved, will fit into the plane seats and that you know how to do a seat belt install. I didn't but luckily the stewardess did.
  2. Flight booking: When booking the flight, check the seat configuration of the plane to determine what seats will work best for your situation. Our plane has 2 seats on each side of the aisle so I went with keeping all 3 of us on the same row so that the girls could always see me. With older twins, it's worth considering seating them behind each other so instead of having 2 kids kicking the seats of random strangers, you have just 1. Tip: Airlines have a safety policy to ensure that car seats are not positioned between any passenger and the aisle. That means that on a full flight, all kids in car seats have to be seated by the window. First time I flew with the girls, the cabin crew did not enforce this rule, but they have on every other flight since then.
  3. Speaking of kicking, to make the impact less on the helpless passengers seated in front of the girls, I took off their shoes once we boarded.
  4. Speaking of clothing, dress kids in layers and their favorite clothes if possible - just another thing to keep them cheerful. Sugar and Spice currently have a thing for pockets so I dressed them up in sweat-shirts with 2 pockets. They were happy to be able to keep their hands in their pockets
  5. Airline rules on travelling with children - every airline has them. Check on the website before travelling to save yourself the heartache of being kicked off the flight. Some interesting Air Canada rules I discovered were (1) car seats are not allowed in first class (2) There is a size limit on the strollers that can be gate-checked. Most full-size double strollers cannot meet the criteria set out; only umbrella strollers can (3) For infants under 2, the child to adult ratio must be 1:1. That means even if you buy seats for twins but are travelling alone with them, you can be bounced off the flight. This rule almost tripped me up
  6. Pack a diaper bag with the sole intention of keeping the kids happy for the duration of the flight. This is a separate post for tomorrow
  7. Pack as light as possible. If the destination is within North America; plan on buying things like diapers and food at the destination. I was able to travel with just one suitcase for the 3 of us by doing this
  8. Rent your vehicle from the rental company closest to the terminal. This could save you from trying to navigate the shuttle bus with babies, suitcases and carseats. This information is usually available on the airport's webpage
  9. Don't be ashamed to milk the "twin mystique" cow. Dress them alike and cutely (may not work for BG twins. LOL!). Then hopefully random strangers can be bowled over by your cute twins and help you with your luggage (or they can glare at you for what they anticipate will be a horrible flight with 2 screaming children).
  10. Be prepared for anything. Expect the worst and hope for the best. I had security put me on the fast lane on one leg of the trip and give me a full body search on the other end. I had strangers ignore me as I struggled to move with the twins, stroller and suitcase; and I had a random stranger help carry my suitcase from the rental car station all the way to the check in desk.
Twins Rock! That was the best lesson of this trip. 

The service manager on our flight back to Calgary was a twin. As we prepared to board the plane and she observed me struggling with the carseats and double stroller, she stretched out her hands to Spice and became our angel. She spent over 10 minutes playing with Spice to keep her calm mid-flight, she got the crew to help carry our double stroller up the stairs because there were no elevators nearby, she helped carry our luggage all the way to immigration. Not because it was part of her job, but because she's a twin and I guess twinses are one big happy family. She was like a big sister-angel and her actions warmed my heart and made travelling alone with twins a sweet, poignant experience for me. I hope and pray that my girls will always find the favor of an angel to help them through situations that can otherwise be challenging.

Other Travel Essentials Worth Having

  1. CARES Child Airplane Travel Harness to turn the airplane seatbelts into 5-point harness for kids
  2. Gate Check Bag for Car Seats
  3. Stroller Travel Bag for gate-checked strollers

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