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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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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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!

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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Happy Valentines’ Day!

Another ‘holiday’ another photo shoot! I am by no means a professional, but I do love pulling out my camera and using my small creative side to produce some “Awe, so cute!” responses out of my friends any family. Mind you, half my job is done just by having two toddlers as my models! That being said; toddlers are also a handful at the best of times and then you try and put them into outfits and pose. It can lead to a bit of a disaster! We managed to snap our pictures over the span of a day, taking 10 or 15 shots and then taking a break of an hour to three hours; rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. I’ll let some of the pictures tell the story…

2013 Valentines'2013 Valentines'

2013 Valentines'2013 Valentines'2013 Valentines'

2013 Valentines'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between every two or three pictures there was bribing with stuffed animals and books, lots of funny faces from Daddy, and the occasional promise of treats (don’t judge!). After the first few tries Maretta decided she didn’t like the shirts and whenever I attempted to put on on her she’d immediately start whining. After a bit of editing I came out with this for our final project:

2013 Valentines'

The shirts were a quick and easy DIY. I bought some plain white shirts on clearance from Wal-Mart and found some spare red fleece fabric in my sewing box. I used some light pink thread (to create some cutsie contrast that doesn’t translate in the photos) and hand sewed the fleece onto the shirts (each shirt has a half heart along the inside seam).

Happy Valentines’ Day everyone! Make sure to shout your love from the rooftops!

 

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Friday Fun with Toddlers!

See? It’s a good thing that I came up with this idea… I can’t believe it’s been a week since my last post; where do the days go?! Ohhh right… Toddlers. Which brings me to this Friday Fun post…

Fine Motor Skills: Pipe Cleaners and a Strainer

This is one idea I’d seen many times on Pinterest and a few different blogs, but I had a pretty hard time finding one before we started this activity; even with Google and Pinterest** at my disposal! I finally found one to link back to though, and it was a great simple post. Thanks Toddler Boredom Busters! I get the feeling, with a name like that, I may be back to that blog for more ideas…

  • Find some pipe cleaners! The girls are only 20 months, so we aren’t really at the “crafty” stage. This means that we didn’t actually have any pipe cleaners on hand (thanks to my mom, I was raised thinking that was a household staple!) but I found some at our local Canadian Superstore. I’m sure any dollar or craft store would have them. Or any place with a craft or stationary section.
  • Grab a strainer! I almost went out and bought a new strainer (colander) for this activity because most of the strainers that we have all have TINY holes. Your strainer will need to have good size holes to fit the pipe cleaners through.
  • Let your kid(s) have at it!

I really liked the look of this activity. Shula seems to be very intuitive when it comes to her fine motor skills, so this was right up her alley! I sat both the girls down with the pipe cleaners and one strainer and showed them how to put the pipe cleaners into the strainer. They both got in to it right away (maybe Shula more than Maretta). Shula really enjoyed threading the pipe cleaners in and then pushing them all the way down. They both tried different styles of playing: using the strainer as a container and putting the pipe cleaners inside, wearing the strainer as a hat, and putting the pipe cleaners through the handles instead of the holes. By the end of the activity (this one lasted about 15-20 minutes!), it had turned into a “Let’s-put-everything-we-can-find-into-the-strainer” game!

Pipe Cleaners with Strainer Pipe Cleaners with Strainer Pipe Cleaners with Strainer Pipe Cleaners with Strainer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t take long for a… “disagreement” to arise about who should hold, and sit in front of the strainer; I think if we were to do this activity again I would try and find another strainer so they could each have their own to play with. Some times they are great with sharing… other times not so much!

Come back next Friday and see what else Maretta and Shula get up to!

**Wanna see what other Toddler stuff I’m looking into? Follow me on Pinterest.

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[The Beginning of… ] …Friday Fun with Toddlers!

It’s no surprise to anyone who reads that I’m really inconsistent. I aim to blog at least once a week but it doesn’t take long for two, three, four weeks to pass without me even looking at WordPress, let alone write up a post. Mind you, I didn’t start writing so I could feel pressured to keep it up so it doesn’t really bother me that much. But, I do love sharing my girls and what we go through so I do feel a sting of regret here and there when I haven’t written anything for a while. So, on a note of wanting to contribute more to the blogosphere I give you a weekly article: Friday Fun with Toddlers. We can thank another blogger out there [ 2 little rosebuds], for one of her recent posts was my inspiration. Well, one of her comment replies to be specific.

Each week I’ll try out a new Toddler Activity with Shula and Maretta and report back on Friday. I have a feeling that Pinterest will be the main source of these ideas (I definitely wouldn’t be able to think them up on my own) but I’ll also look towards other bloggers for activities. Fortunately, without knowing that I’d be doing this, we already did a not-our-normal activity this week!

No-Mess Finger Painting

Got a link to “The Hippie Housewife” blog from my Mom, for mess free painting.

  • Take a large sealable plastic bag (Ziploc-style) and squirt in some paint (we used acrylic). A small to medium size pile should do the trick. Use as many or as few colours as you’d like; we went with the three primary colours.
  • Reinforce the opening of the bag with some tape (to make sure your munchkins don’t accidentally or purposely open it up!). Put down a blank piece of paper on your work surface and tape the plastic bag on top. I didn’t find it was necessary to tape the blank paper down; the plastic bag seemed to keep it in the right spot.
  • Let ’em have at it! We used wooden pegs and blocks, and little cars, to manipulate the paint in different ways.

The instructions given on the blog were great. Our set up was a bit different because we just used what we had laying around the house. I used packing tape instead of painter’s tape and acrylic paint instead of tempera paint. I also did all three primary colours in each bag so there was no fighting over the different colours. Set-up was a bit challenging because the girls were really interested in what I was doing with big plastic bags and a roll of tape but once it was ready to go the girls sat down and… didn’t really do much with it. We tried using some different toys (wooden peg, cars, hammer) to draw with so the girls could see what they could do with the paint.

No-Mess Finger Painting No-Mess Finger Painting No-Mess Finger Painting

I think by the end of the activity (didn’t last more than 10 minutes) most of the artistic changes that had taken place were at mommy’s hands. At 19 months, Maretta and Shula may be a bit too young for the “no-mess” part; They probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if they’d been able to get it on their hands and face!

The bags are now hanging on our fridge amongst their crayon drawings, and every once in a while they’ll smoosh some of the paint around.

Thanks Mom and The Hippie Housewife for the inspiration this week!

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Toddlers are Hard. x2

Just a short post today; our household is a bit exhausted lately.

Both Maretta and Shula are on the cusp of being able to really communicate, but they aren’t quite there yet. And it’s really frustrating. Not only for them but for Anton and I as well. They get frustrated because they don’t know or can’t say what they want. We get frustrated because we WANT to get them what the need but it’s so hard to guess sometimes.

It can be interesting to watch the frustration though; they each have a different way of dealing with this frustration. Maretta gets angry. She kicks and screams. If you were to look up “tantrum” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Maretta. Shula just gets really upset. Her face screws up into the most heartbreaking thing you have ever seen. She runs to the nearest corner or doorjam and turns her back towards the room. Both reactions are equally hard to watch and you feel nothing but sympathy because they’re only acting out due to a lack of communication.

Toddlers are Hard

Toddlers are Hard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am really looking forward to their language improving!

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Poop Play

The topic of poop had come up a few weeks ago, and with a sigh of relief I said to Anton “I think we’ve managed to pass the poop playing stage!” Turns out I was wrong. It also turns out the girls love me more than they love their daddy and left the poop play for his day off. While I was at work yesterday I kept getting text messages from Anton…

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poop_3

                                                                                                                                                            

poop_4

                                                                                                                                                            

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As you were reading through to the big finale, I hope you got the same sitting-on-pins-and-needles anticipation as I did. And it would seem that one never really gets past the poop play stage.

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