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Showing posts from 2014

8 Interesting Things for the Family Photobook

It's that time of the year again where I start putting together the family photobook. I started the family photo book tradition after the twins were born and it's always a joy to go through the books and revisit the memories.

But, (and this is a little but) I find some of the earlier photobooks I put together a little boring. E.g, with the first photobook, I didn't even know that I could caption the photos or crop them. I've come a long way since then and THIS photobook is going to be the best yet because now I have actual ideas of things to include in the book to make it less boring. 

Our lives have in no way been boring in 2014 and our photobook should reflect this. In no particular order, here are some fun things that this year's family photobook will include:

Adult vs Kiddie Electronics for Kids

October is here!

It's that time of the year where I start waxing philosophically about how time flies, my girls have grown and yes, what to buy them for their upcoming November birthdays. 

Do you remember last year's birthday list? (The post is right here). I ended up buying the girls cameras and tablets after all and this year, I've had a revelation. 

I'll pause this blog post to say "Johanna, you were right!"

Dealing with kids' artwork

Schools in and the artwork is rolling in. To be honest, the girls create more art than I know what to do with and I have a strong anti-clutter gene. To deal with their artwork, I sort every piece that comes into the house into 3 categories:

Keep: This is the art that I want to keep for years. There has to be something very special about it. I organize this art similar to how I organize the girls' paperwork. Each girl has a 4 inch binder with 50 plastic sheet protectors in it. By my calculations, that's 2-4 special art pieces per school year. So far they each have 3 pieces in there including a foot-print art (so they can look back and see how tiny their feet used to be) and first drawing of the whole family. 
Display: This is the nice art that gets to be displayed for a while before it's "retired". It includes mother's day gifts displayed on the TV stand and the art I display on the kitchen wall. I remove them when I have another nice piece to replace them with.…

Family Hotel Sleeping Arrangements

When it comes to vacations, hotel accommodation is always a big ticket item if not staying with family. When you have 2 or more kids to consider, things become extra tricky. 

My objective has always been to find a comfortable sleeping arrangement for our family of 4 without breaking the bank. I've tried a few options in the past and during our recent vacation, I experimented with a few additional sleeping arrangements.

Here's a list of the pros and cons for each arrangement based on my experience of 2 adults and twins.

Bed Sharing. We've tried this a couple of times with mixed results
Best for: Non-mobile infants or kids who are used to sleeping in big beds without tumbling all over the place
Pro: Even the standard hotel room with 2 full beds can work for this. Much more comfortable in rooms with king-sized beds though
Con: Talk about passion-killer!

Peapods or similar travel beds. Did this while relocating and on a couple of vacations
Best for: Crawling to toddler stage. (8 month…

A PSA on ebates and online shopping rebates

So I was chatting with my sister a couple of weeks back about some online purchases she made and I commented that "You must have saved quite a bit with your ebates account". To which she replied "What's ebates?"

And this Public Service Announcement post was born.

What is ebates?: Ebates is a website that gives you cashback for shopping certain websites online. 

How does it work?: You open an account (there's a USA ebates and a Canadian ebates and I have accounts in both). Once your account is opened, you click the website you want to shop on from the ebates website and once your transaction is complete, your cashback is posted into your account. The cashback amount is paid out every quarter through various forms. In the past, I've had a check mailed to my home, got an credit and got my Paypal account credited. 

My favorite option is to have my Paypal account credited as that's how I pay for the girls' netflix subscription. I love online s…

At least TV isn't melting their brains!

Before I had kids aka the time when I was the smartest mom ever, my best friend used to fondly refer to the TV as "electronic babysitter". And I would barely restrain myself from giving her a speech on spending quality time with your kids and doing away with electronics and bla bla bla.                                                                                                                                                                                           
Fast-forward to 5 years later. I have procreated 2 little beings. They love me and demand my utter devotion and attention. Devotion, I can give them in bucket-loads. The attention part? Well I try but let's be honest there have been times when the TV has saved me. 

That Saturday when I desperately needed to sleep  in for at least an additional hour? TV to the rescue
Those critical 20 minutes I need to make dinner and get it on the table before hunger meltdowns strike? TV to the rescue

TV and some guilt. I alw…

Disowning The Inheritance of Fear

fear fi(ə)r/ noun 1. an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
I don't think I'm a fearful person but  I'm nervous about heights and close my eyes in glass elevatorsI panic in 4 feet of water even though I'm 5 feet 6 because I can't swimI hate cats because my dad hates catsI don't say the word "snake" because my dad does not like snakes at all. Even typing the word creeps me out a littleTo be honest, I'm nervous being around any animal periodTruth is some of my fears are natural to me and some of my fears are "inherited". Try as I might, I can't get myself to like cats (sorry cat-lovers reading this!) and I know that is not based on anything more rational than the fact that my dad is leery of cats. Not so my girls. They love cats and dogs and snakes and glass elevators and climbing really high on the jungle gym.  and when they ask to go look at the cats in the pet …

Hair Matters 3.5

This will be the third hair care post on mytwintopia. The first time was when the girls were under a year old and the next time was when they were 15 months old. Now, they're almost 4 years old and a lot of things have changed about our hair care routine. Here are the highlights of some of those changes and what I've learned along the way:

Set Goals: If there's one attribute that makes me standout, it's my hair. I'm always cutting, styling and dyeing it and sometimes that is not a good thing. So now I'm learning to set hair goals not just for myself but also for the girls. My goal for their hair is length and health - healthy shoulder-length before they go into kindergarten September 2015.

Why? Because lets be honest, hair is one of the image struggles black females have and kindergarten is just about the time when little girls of African descent start noticing the differences between their hair and Caucasian hair. I know at that age, all I wanted to do was "…

The Nail-Biting Finale

This is my optimistic post on the nail-biting finale at our house. And by nails I mean fingernails and toenails!

It was over a year ago when I noticed that Sugar almost took out my eyeball with an itsy-bitsy fingernail. I quickly trimmed her nail and turned round to do Spice's. I was pleasantly relieved to see that her nails were still short and thought nothing of it. That is until I walked into her room one night and found her chomping furiously on her nails. Ah ha! So that's where all the fingernails went. 

I bought one of those nasty tasting polish things and applied to her nails, hoping to nip the habit in the bud. She kept chomping but now was also gagging on the taste of the polish. I panicked about her choking and never used the polish again. 

Until last month! Spice told me she had an "owie" on her foot and when I bent down to take a look I was appalled by the fact that she had almost no more toenails. Her fingernails were bitten to the cuticles and the toenails…

The 5 Love Languages of Children

The 5 Love Languages of Children is a book I've had in my Kindle library for almost 2 years now but I did not finish reading it until May this year. Not because it's not an interesting read, but because it's best applied to older kids. 

The original The Five Love Languages book was a huge bestseller for Gary Chapman and this version of the book delves into the application of the 5 love languages to the parent child-relationship. The 5 love languages concept says  that most people have a primary preference for how they give and perceive love. It would be one of:

Physical touchWords of affirmationQuality timeGiftsActs of service
The book expands on those 5 languages in chapters 2 to 6 before going into the  application of the theory of love languages in the realm of parenting. 
My Review: Here's a few of the many ah-ha moments I had while reading this book My love language is gifts. People with this love language love to give and receive THOUGHTFUL gifts. Emphasis on "th…

"Do We Have To Share Everything?"

"Do we have to share everything?"

That was the question Spice asked me Thursday night as I was sorting their laundry. I was in the process of hanging a shirt that the twins' grandma gifted them from Nigeria. The shirt was originally meant for my niece so grandma had just one shirt made. Both girls saw the shirt and asked simultaneously "who's shirt is that?".

I replied that it was for both of them and they would have to share. That's when Spice asked that very impactful question above. I was a little taken aback and thankful that reading Emotionally Healthy Twins had made me alert to the girls' requests for more individuality. I asked Spice "Don't you like to share your clothes with your sister?" and she replied "No".

Twenty minutes later, after the girls had finished with their bath, I asked Spice the same question again and she still replied no. I needed to be sure so I asked her the following (Friday) night and she once more …

Life's Little Moments #1

Being three and a half, my twins are at that age when they start saying cute / memorable stuff and what kind of a semi-mom-blogger would I be if I didn't come here and share some of those cutiesms with you.

Scene 1: I'm sitting with my head on my knees just trying to gather some energy for the bedtime ritual
Spice: Mama are you ok?
Me: Yes, just a little tired
Spice: Do you want me to scratch your back? 
Me: yes
She proceeds to scratch my back for a bit
Spice: Do you feel better now?
Me: Yes thank you so much

Now I know why she's always asking me to scratch her back. My baby loves back rubs I guess

Scene 2: Driving home from work
Spice: Mama, put both hands on the wheel!

Yeah! the 3 year old backseat driver is telling me how to drive. She's lucky I didn't stop the car and make her walk home ;)

Scene 3Both girls are sitting at the dining table arguing about being best friends (or not)
Spice: Be nice to me "Sugar", I'm your favorite twin 

Now THAT was this weekend a…

Insanity is not the reason I travel with twins

Our recent flights from Calgary to Lagos and back were the twins 13th and 14th flights respectively. Let that sink in for a bit! I've willingly got on airplanes with twin babies/toddlers/preschoolers 14 times in the last 3 years. I'm not crazy, I was motivated by 2 moms who had gone before me.

First one was my oldest friend O. We had lost touch for a few years and out of the blue she called me while I was still living in Houston and before I had the twins. We spent over an hour yakking on the phone and catching up on life. I found out that she

lives in the UKgot married a couple of years backhad a baby the previous monthwas visiting friends and relatives in the USwas leaving for Lagos and Abuja within the next week WITH AN INFANT IN TOW! I may have actually yelled this when I asked her "What the?!"
She simply brushed my shock aside and said the baby's got to get used to life with the mother he has. Very matter-of-factly. No drama, just fact.

Cue a few months later. A…

Red eyes and globe trotting

In the last couple of months, I've been on 4 flights with the twins that tested the extremes of travelling with kids:

First was a red-eye return trip from Calgary to Ottawa to process our Nigerian travel documentsSecond was a globe-trotting 19 hour return trip from Calgary to Lagos, Nigeria with a connection in HoustonPhew. I'm glad for all the previous practice sessions I had because they came in useful and the flights were really uneventful. Apart from all the things I'd learnt from previous flights, here are some additional tricks I incorporated since the girls were now older Tell the kids what's going to happen (but not too early or they'll drive you crazy with questions). At almost three and a half years old, the girls could understand the concepts of airports and planes. Telling them what's going to happen and treating it all as an adventure meant they were excited instead of apprehensive and cranky. If possible, watch a few shows on planes and flying befor…

Twin Parenting Lesson 2: Ditch The Labels

Hello, my name is Yetunde and I label my kids

I really hope it's not too obvious in this space, but in my mind where it really matters, I do. I have one pegged as the athletic one and the other as the fashionista. When I plan my wardrobe for the 2032 Olympics, I usually envision sitting in the stands with Spice while Sugar wins a couple of gold medals which she will of course lovingly dedicate to mama...

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I've been labeling and got smacked in the face with it earlier this week. 

The weather in Calgary has been so beautiful that we've been hitting the parks after school. I even brought out the bicycles for the first time this year and that's when my opera of surprises started.

While Sugar struggled with the uphill ride and trying to steer her bike, Spice tore off with no problem leaving me a little slack-jawed. She then hit the playground thingies with just as much passion: climbing higher, running faster, jumping higher than I've ever …

Twin Parenting Lesson 1: Learning Styles Edition

"The market has more than one entry"

That's my literal translation of a yoruba proverb (ono kan o w'oja) which just means there's more than one way of achieving a goal or getting somewhere. It's one of those sayings that's had moments in my life when it was my mantra. Yesterday, I had THAT moment again when it came to my twins, how they learn and their approach to tasks.

It actually started a few months back when I was trying to teach them to count objects on the pages of a counting book. Sugar quickly grasped the concept and could count along the line of objects but Spice struggled. She would skip objects and jump lines and I knew a moment of hyperventilating-panic. Girl's got a 4 of engineers and a maths teacher in her direct genealogy and she can't count a line of 6 fish???  This mama had to work hard not to panic. I reminded myself that she's still young and there's plenty of time to learn to count and that was it. 

The next day as we dro…

Dare to be Different

Dare to be different! 

No matter where we decide to plant the roots of our family - Lagos, Houston or Calgary - you'll always stand out because of who you are, your background and your personal story.

Standing out is not a bad thing. Don't try to blend in to be more accepted. Dare to standout and be different; because you already are.

This April, I'm participating in 2 blog challenges and want to use that as motivation to write not about my twins but for my twins. They have a unique heritage of being born in the US to Nigerian parents and then growing up in Canada. There's at least 3 major cultures that they have to straddle and this is number 4 of the 26 things I have to tell my twin girls about who they are and their heritage.