Twin Adventures

Twin girls now rule the house.

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Happy 2nd Birthday to my little girls. It’s amazing how fast time goes, even though I spend a good portion of my time rolling my eyes at people who say that to me. One of the best parts about having children is getting to throw a party every year (I’m sure my attitude will change on this subject as they get older).

This year, we went with a “The Last  Year” theme with a bit of “Farm” thrown in. The girls adore animals (although Planes and Helicopters are in their top three favourites) and I had the cutest idea for a cake; so I ran with it as a theme.

The cakes were made by the girls Aunt Geralyn, who does cake decorating as a hobby. She is damn good at it. Blasts my ideas right out of the park.

 

Farm Twin Birthday Cake

The cake on the right was Chocolate and the one on the left was Red Velvet. All the animals were made out of gum paste, so we’ll be able to keep them pretty much forever. The barn was made out of rice-treats. And they’re both covered in fondant. Thank you so much Aunt Geralyn! These cakes really brought everything together!

We also had a Photo “Timeline” for the second year running.

Birthday Time-Line

I “spiced” things up a bit from last year; adding in some ribbons and more fancy numbers. We did our best to pick out photos that showed off new skills (check out “kicking” and “building” for month 24) or holidays (February was 20 months). I’m not sure if we’ll be able to continue with age by months for next year though (30 months, really?).

Farm Birthday Favors

Our (children-only) party favours were bath-toy Farm Animals and stickers. I purchased them from a local kids’ boutique and used “take-out” style favour boxes (from Micheal’s) to put them in.

Last year for the girls’ 1st Birthday, my mom made a measuring board to mark down heights. We decided to mark down the girls’ heights every year for their birthdays.

Height Measuring Board

 

Birth height was a star each (cause, Stars were born!), 1st Birthday had monkeys (due to the Monkey theme), and this year we tied it in with the Farm theme with a Sheep and a Pig (they also got the matching bath toys). While we do use the board frequently to measure how much they’ve grown, Anton and I both like the idea of just marking down each year on the board.

Cake “Smash”. No interest in last year’s cake, and they manage to be the tidiest little eaters for this year!

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What a great day! The party went off with great success, and it was great to get family and friends rounded up for a nice afternoon. Can’t wait until next years’ party!!

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Happy Mothers’ Day!

A little something special for all of you momma’s that were working away from your little ones…

Working on Mothers' Day?

Courtesy of Anton.

Not really sure if it makes one feel better about being at work… or if you just want to get home sooner because they’re so freakin’ adorable!

 

To all you Mommy’s out there.. soon-to-be, new, veterans, and those of that have been promoted to Grandma.. hope you all had a great day. I know I did. ♥♥♥

 

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First Hair Cuts!

At 22-months, Shula and Maretta are still lacking a little in the hair department. Don’t get me wrong; they both have a lot more hair then they did a year ago, but they could both be mistaken for little boys if you were to base your decision on their heads.

Anton and I decided that it was time to give them a bit of a trim. I had debated whether to take them into a salon/barbershop or just take care of it ourselves. The latter won out in the end. I didn’t see much point in plunking down money for a five minute job, not to mention some of the horror stories I’d heard about kids throwing tantrums while having someone wielding scissors around their ears.

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It was so easy. We double-teamed it; one of us holding a head still and measuring out the hair, while the other one snipped and caught the hair. I think it took less than a Dora episode to get both heads trimmed to a reasonable amount. And it looks soo much better!

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Moms Tips for a Good Hair Cut

  • Distractions.

TV Show, a favourite book or toy, items they don’t usually get to play with (phones, keys, etc.)

  • Bibs/Smocks.

We used some full-coverage bibs while we were cutting their hair to limit the amount of hair that got down shirts and into laps.

  • Be Fast!

They move fast, so you gotta be faster! Decide what you’re going to cut and then move in! If you hesitate for a second longer than you should, you’ll lose your spot.

  • Partner-up.

Doing the hair cuts together with Anton worked really well. One of us held heads still if needed, as well as holding the hair in place and the other snipped away.

While we were cutting, I put all the hair into a bowl so we could throw it into a plastic bag to keep. I wish that I had kept the girls hair separated so they could each have their own bags but oh well, not the end of the world.

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Happy Easter 2013!

Happy (late!) Easter!

Last year our little bunnies were too small to do much and they didn’t co-operate very well for their “Easter Photo Shoot”, so this is all that we have to mark the occasion…

Easter 2012 Easter 2012

You’ll notice that there’s no Maretta at all (Napping? Screaming?)! And, you can also see that it was before my fantastic 8 MegaPixel phone and 12 MegaPixel camera!

This year was much better! Not only did I fit in a very satisfying photo shoot, but the girls also participated in their first Egg Hunt! I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here…

Edited Photos…

Easter Photoshoot Easter Photoshoot

Easter Photoshoot Easter Photoshoot

Final, shared result…

Easter Card

Let the Egg Hunt commence! (Thanks Mom and Dad for hosting!)

Egg Hunt!  Egg Hunt!

Enjoying the “loot” together…

Egg Hunt!

At 21-months, the girls were able to fully participate in the hunt after just a few instructions and coaxing into the finding their goodies. Can’t wait for next year when we can read Easter Bunny stories before the hunt!

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Need Some Pointers?

Unsolicited advice. It’s everywhere. And, to the best of my knowledge, everyone loathes it. New parents seem to take it as a personal hit when someone (a stranger, a friend, a family member) gives out a tip. I’m pretty sure that most of these tips are given with good intentions and the hope that the tip will help in someway. But it’s all too common to come across people who’ll blow up at you if you so much as utter “have you tried…”.

I’ve been a new mom for almost two years (what?! where’s that two years gone?!) now and Anton and I have definitely gotten our fair share of advice. However, I do my best to take it in stride. One doesn’t necessarily need to agree with the advice that they’re given, but you don’t have to crazy at someone who’s trying to help! I figure, with two munchkins running around, I can use all the advice I can get! There is definitely some advice out there that’s either outdated; “Sterilize bottles and nipples after each use,” or just sounds crazy; “Don’t do too much cuddling, it’ll spoil the baby,” but… wouldn’t you rather get some of that and get a great piece of advice, rather than miss that one great tip? It’s all just about taking everything with a grain of salt, but still taking it.

It’s interesting to be a mom now; my brain is full of parenting tidbits. I don’t usually share what I know, or what’s worked for us unless people specifically ask for some help. I know that parents want to figure it out for themselves and assume that if you mention something to them, you’re trying to say that you know better or that they’re doing it wrong. This is almost never the case. It’s just a matter of, “Hey, this worked for us… maybe it’ll work for you!” or, “No one ever told me this and I really wished I would’ve known sooner…”.

My oldest sister is expecting her first baby in May and man, it is hard not to flood her with advice and tips on how to get through the first year! After being a mom for even just two years, you do start to feel like a “veteran” of sorts and it seems like everything that my sister mentions, I have a tip or warning to add. Because of a lot of the backlash that I’ve heard of some advice-givers getting, I find myself biting my tongue a lot of the time; even though what I have to share isn’t calling my sister’s parenting skills into question!

In the end, this post has a couple of points.. First, parents out there (new and experienced) should try and take the unsolicited advice in stride. Majority of the time people aren’t calling your parenting skills into question and they’re not trying to give you a hard time. It’s purely the ideal of, “It takes a village to raise a child” and if it worked for them in the past who’s to say it won’t work for you? My second point is… to Cheryl-Anne, my biggest sister; I love you and Maia so much and any advice given is purely well-intended! <3

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

This week’s activity is a bit of an easy one, but the girls really go for it!

Shape Sorting!

There are so many different ways to sort shapes. This particular way costs money but requires no prep work to put together. Wooden shape sorting boxes are one of the greatest toys that we’ve had since the girls came along.

Shape Sorting

Shape Sorting Shape Sorting

The two particular models that we have are a Melissa & Doug box (Shula’s playing with on the left) and a Blue Hat Toy Company box (Maretta’s playing with it on the right). Both boxes are almost identical except for the lids. This is nice because it means the pieces are fairly interchangeable. Both boxes do have a suggested Play Age of 2+. The girls have been actively using them since about 16-months. (Obviously, the results weren’t as great then as they are now at 21-months!)

The shape sorting boxes are HUGE hit in our house. They get pulled out and played with daily. If Anton and I want to be more involved when they’re playing with the shapes, we’ll grab a handful of shapes and ask them to find a specific one. Or ask them to find the oval or the square and have them point it out on the box as well. Lately we’ve also been using the shapes as a tool for learning colours!

A note for other twin parents: We don’t usually buy two of each “kind” of toy. We’ve only recently gotten the second sorting box (a gift from the girls’ Great-Grandma), but it has been soo nice having two. I definitely wouldn’t suggest going out and getting a second of all your toys but there are some things that are more enjoyable when they each have their own to play with! And these boxes are very much worth it!

A good reminder that a Toddler Activity doesn’t have to have a lot of prep work put in to it or be particularly special; it’s just about putting some time aside for a bit of “structured” playtime.

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

I apologize for the tardiness… this week’s “Friday” is posted on Sunday due to a baby shower and sick toddlers. Without further ado…

Cheerio Threading

I’ve seen this one a few times while browsing Pinterest. The most frequent picture belongs to i’m going to make it (after all).

  • Mounds of Play-Doh make a good, secure base to do our “threading”
  • Poke some raw spaghetti noodles (or toothpicks) into the bases
  • Hand to your toddler with a bowl/plate of cheerios (froot loops would probably work too)

When I read the original post, I thought they had mentioned wooden skewers (with ends chopped off) not raw noodles. We didn’t have any skewers (or open packages of spaghetti noodles) so we wound up going with toothpicks that had the pokey bits cut off. This activity could also be filed under “Snack Time”.

Cheerio Threading

Cheerio Threading   Cheerio Threading

Both Maretta and Shula grasped the concept pretty quickly, although Maretta was quite a bit more interested in eating the Cheerios than threading them. While it was raw noodles that were originally suggested, I do like how appropriately sized the toothpicks were. If we were to do it again, I’d probably use the raw noodles but snap them in half. At 21-months, their fine motor skills are quite developed so there wasn’t very much fumbling or learning curve. Cheerio Threading lasted about 15 minutes before the girls were pulling the toothpicks out of the Play-Doh (Hello, Safety Hazard!).

Great activity but with a few sidenotes… Whatever you use for the Cheerios to be threaded onto; this is definitely a “closely supervised” activity. It would not take much for that size of “stick” to wind up the wrong way in a mouth or down a throat. Another tip to offer… the Cheerios won’t fit on anything much bigger than a toothpick or raw noodle (no skewers, chopsticks, etc.)

Oh! And a shout out to Anton, who did the activity this week while I was out working. <3

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

Another two weeks, another fun activity!

Coloured Ball Sorting

Anton mentioned this activity to me after he happened across it while internet surfing. No link to offer with this activity, but on the other hand I don’t think anyone has done it in quite the same way!

  • You’ll need some small to medium sized bowls in assorted colours
  • as well as some balls or eggs in assorted colours

This was a good activity to kick March and Easter off with. I wound up buying all the supplies I needed (which is the case a lot of the time since we’re first time parents and lacking in the “craft items”) and it only cost me about $5.00. I picked up an egg dying kit and we used the bowls that it came with. I also bought some plastic Easter eggs as our “balls”. These choices worked fairly well, although the bowls were odd shades of the real colours. Pink and orange were very similar, as were the blue and green.

Colour Sorting Colour Sorting Colour Sorting  Colour SortingColour Sorting

Maretta and Shula really liked the plastic eggs, they were constantly “popping” them apart and trying to get them back together, cue the “Momma! Help!”. Colours aren’t something that my 21-month-old’s have got yet, we’ve done very little focusing on them in the past few months. Both the girls can say all the colours, and understand that they are talking about colours… but the colour names don’t always pair up probably with the right colours! And they are both pretty stubborn about it!

Maretta: “Blue!”

Me: “No sweetie, Orange.”

Maretta: “Blue!”

Me: “Orange.”

Maretta: “Blue!”

Me: “Okay.. here, this one is Blue!”

Maretta: “Orange!”

So, this activity was a little less about sorting the eggs by colour and more about just putting the eggs into whatever bowl they felt suited them. Shula also found a lot of enjoyment out of stacking the bowls, and carrying the tray full of eggs around.

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

Another week, come and gone. I cannot believe how fast time passes sometimes!

Pom Pom Sorting

Another idea inspired by Pinterest and blog-browsing. But, I don’t have anyone to link to… there are a bunch of posts out there with different variations. None of them are really what we we did or what I was basing the activity on, so I’ll just link-less this week!

  • Grab a muffin tin; any size with any number of muffin spots.
  • Grab some assorted pom poms; different sizes and colours can make it more interesting.
  • Sit back and enjoy!

This was a great activity! At 20 months, we are in the midst of learning colours and this activity really promoted that. Learning from one of our previous activities, I provided two muffin tins so there would be less arguing over who-got-to-hold-what. After showing them that you could put the pom poms in and out of the muffins tins I let the girls take control; we didn’t really focus on “sorting” per say. We didn’t try doing any big vs. small, or sorting by colour, etc.

Pom Poms in Muffin Tins Pom Poms in Muffin Tins Pom Poms in Muffin Tins Pom Poms in Muffin Tins

I bought an “assorted” pack of craft pom poms and if I were to do the activity again I would make sure to only have medium and large size pom poms. Shula and Maretta were closely supervised because of how small some of the pom poms were. This could also be a “soother in” activity so there’s no temptation to put the pom poms in mouths. This was one of the longer lasting activities so far… probably a good twenty or thirty minutes before they were losing interest. Once they forgot about the muffin tins, they tried sorting pom poms into the dogs’ mouth… As it would turn out dogs are not very easy to force-feed pom poms to!

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Bedtime Routine at 20 Months

Our bedtime routine has been pretty much the same since we had Maretta and Shula. The timing for things has changed slightly over the last year and a half, but it’s always been: evening walk, bath time, bottle of milk, snuggles/book, and then down to sleep. It’s worked really well for us and I think the girls really thrive on the routine. When “walk time” rolls around the girls are bringing us shoes, jackets, and leashes even before we say anything! I think it shows that they enjoy knowing what’s going to happen next. I give you… 

Our Nightly Routine

Our Evening Walk

Our Evening Walk

Bath Time!

Bath Time!

"Can I get fed yet please?"

“Can I get fed yet please?”

Brush, Brush, Brush!

Brush, Brush, Brush!

Small bottle of milk and a soother.

Small bottle of milk and a soother.

Storytime!

Storytime!

"Ooohh! Lemme pose for the camera!"

“Ooohh! Lemme pose for the camera!”

"Do I *have* to get under the blankets?!"

“Do I *have* to get under the blankets?!”

We start with our evening walk at 6pm and they are in their beds before 7pm. On good days they’re asleep within a half hour. On bad days… it can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and half for them to settle down. The fact that we’ve been doing virtually the same routine for a year and a half shows just how well it works though!

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