October 28, 2016

One-On-One Time with the Kids – Is that a Real ‘Thing’??

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(edited) Images by Larissa G Photography (www.larissagphotography.com)

One of the hardest struggles of having twins, is trying to get in one on one time with each of them – and any amount of it!

I mean, essentially they have had the same sleep schedule since birth so it’s not like I could sneak in quality time with one child while the other napped. And…until the last year or so, they have done most of their activities together, so we haven’t had much opportunity to bond during those times either.

On top of those obstacles, almost all of the time, I am out-numbered!

I remember feeling so guilty when Gray and A were newborns because it seemed there was rarely an opportunity to just enjoy a quiet snuggle with one baby – this was something I felt so envious about when we spent time with other moms who had singletons. This is literally what my schedule looked like every 3-hours when I was establishing breast-feeding (because the twins were preemies and tiny, I was discouraged from exclusively nursing at the start in case they burned more calories than they took in – it was totally nuts!!):

  1. Nurse baby A
  2. Burp baby A
  3. Top up baby A with bottle of formula
  4. Burp baby A
  5. Nurse baby B
  6. Burp baby B
  7. Top up baby B bottle of formula
  8. Burp baby B
  9. Pump with Breast pump
  10. Change diaper of baby A
  11. Change diaper of Baby B
  12. Sterilize bottles (My bad, I hadn’t bought enough)
  13. Eat, sleep, shower and do anything else that needs to be done before the 3-hour window is up (but probably get to none of it)

It was total insanity!!!!

Thankfully that only lasted for the first 3-weeks before we got the go ahead to drop the bottle-feeding and blow up that dreaded milking machine known as a breast pump…but still, that didn’t drastically change the process. And once my husband went back to work, I was all alone to manage it myself. I can’t even tell you how many times I bounced one twin in the bouncy chair (with my foot) while I nursed the other child. That really happened! All. Of. The. Time.

Side note for expecting parents of multiples: Get yourself a bouncy chair for crying out loud!!!

Thankfully, that phase is history, and now that the kids are four-years old it’s not quite ‘so’ nuts…so, I really feel like Darren and I both need to make a bigger effort to have more one on one time with each of our children.

After I wrote my blog post last month ‘Keeping the Marriage Alive – One Date at a Time!‘, I had a brain-child that maybe we should do the same thing with our kids – perhaps a one-date-per-month-per-child kind of thing?

When I suggested it to my husband, he looked totally deflated! Not because he doesn’t see the value in it, but because I’m sure he was wondering:

Do we have enough time for that? Our weekends already seem to get so busy with activities, birthdays, etc.

How much money are we going to be spending on our endless dates each month?

Why does my wife like routines so much? (I added that for ‘your’ benefit, Darren!)  🙂

Okay, so he was probably right – it’s probably not necessary to make this a formal thing, and for now, we won’t.

So, I am now trying to be mindful to catch those little moments when I can. Darren has taken Grayson out skating (outside of lessons) a few times in the last month and I stole some time with Miss A over the weekend while her brother was watching Netflix upstairs with his dad (No, Darren, I don’t think that quite counts! Lol).

Before Gray came down for the day, Miss A and I quietly got to work and baked some muffins for the family for breakfast. Miss A was so happy to help without the struggle of competing with her brother, which usually looks like this:  Who’s turn is it to pour in the next ingredient? Who’s pushing who off of the stool?  Who gets to stir first?

Miss A even took great joy in helping me set up the table and wash the dishes!  What a nice treat that was!

I know it wasn’t a fancy date out to a play place, or the mall, or swimming…but it was an hour of time that her and I had together and I think that’s what is important. Although we aren’t making this a formal ‘thing’ in our house, I know that each little step towards focusing on our family is going to make us stronger and happier in the end.

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October 22, 2016

We bought our 4-year old a drum kit. What happened here?

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I’m not going to lie…I have seriously been feeling a little embarrassed to share the news of this recent purchase with my friends (and, honestly, also with you). After all, Gray is only 4-years old. Does he ‘need’ a drum kit? Have we gotten carried away?

This is how we got here…

When Gray was just a little tyke, my girlfriend, Marian, bought him a little toy drum set. He LOVED this thing and often played while singing his ABC’s. He also loved to play while asking mommy to ‘dance’ to his beat.

What?? Nooooooo!! How?? (insert my best pow-wow dance)

There are no photos documenting this. Thank God.  But I do have a cute photo of Gray playing on his old toy drum set!  Let’s think about that instead:

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Eventually, this beloved toy drum kit bit the dust. It was a well-loved toy and always a fan-favourite when friends came over…so it was destined to have a limited life cycle. At the time, I wasn’t ‘that’ sad because, really…only your girlfriend without kids would buy that loud of a toy…but, I was definitely sad for Gray. Of course, he was upset but I hoped he would get over it and move on…and, for a while, it seemed like he did.

…Until last spring.

Last spring he started asking for drums and reminiscing about how much he loved his old toy drum set. Now that he’s four-years old, a little toy drum set like that would likely be too small for him so, I told him that’s a very expensive item he is wanting, and maybe that’s something he should ask Santa for.

He carried on into the summertime, talking about how he wanted drums and he was going to ask Santa for them. That seemed fine…the phase didn’t die off and he accepted that we weren’t just rushing out to buy drums. But, I did realize something. What happens if Santa brings the drums that Gray ‘thinks’ he wants but then loses interest?

So, I suggested to my husband perhaps we should find some little lessons for him in the fall and see how that goes before we…err…Santa…takes the plunge with the drums.

So, I put out a request into Facebook-land to see if any of my friends could recommend a music class or drum instructor…or were drum lessons for a 4-year old even a ‘thing’? It turned out another twin-mama I know recommended someone great who only lives a few blocks away from us – how convenient!

Gray started lessons in September and attends once per week for 30 minutes. The teacher we found is also a mom and does a good job of keeping him on-task but also offers little breaks when he needs it to just play as he wishes…and I like that…it seems age-appropriate to me.

The good news is that Gray seems to be progressing and he hasn’t shown any inkling of losing interest in drumming. By no means is he a ‘gifted musician’ but he really seems to be learning – and in a compound way. He regularly practices how to count (and play) different beats and patterns such as ‘triplets’ and ‘paradiddles’.

He has also worked a little bit on drawing music notes, and he is now learning the names of the different drums in a drum kit. For fun, he gets to watch a ‘Buddy Rich versus Animal-from-the-Muppets’ video – and he quite enjoys that!

Since the lessons seem to be coming along, and Gray seems to be maintaining his interest in drumming, I thought Darren and I could talk about a plan for Christmas.

Me: “What do you think about Santa bringing Gray a used drum set for Christmas? I kind think it’s too expensive of an item for him to get new. If you’re onside, we should probably start keeping our eye on Kijiji soon here.”

Keep in mind that I’m super proud here of my brainchild idea. My husband is…well…tight with money PLUS we are mostly a one-income family supporting four people. Anywhere we can save money is great! So…I’m pretty much thinking here…”I’m so smart!”.

Darren: “You want to give him a used item for Christmas?”

Me: “Well, yeah! Drums are expensive!!!”

Darren: “I don’t know. Would you like it if I gave you a used gift at Christmas?”

Me: “Well…that’s not even the same. He won’t even know – he will still be so excited to get them!”.

Darren: “Does that mean you are okay getting a used gift then?”

Me: (didn’t address the question…Abandon! Abandon!) “Okay, so the other option is we find a used set and chalk it up as a cost of doing an activity – just the same as we bought Miss A her ballet shoes, tap shoes, and dancewear.”

Darren: “Sounds good.”

And that, my friends, it exactly how we got here!

Gray’s drum teacher was kind enough to send us a list of four previously owned drum sets for sale that she thought were appropriate for Gray. She also offered her opinion of what they were actually worth (versus what they were listed for). They were pretty much all selling in the $190-$250 range. She also explained what to look for and what not to worry about (I guess the ‘skins’ are easily and eventually replaced anyhow).

In the end, we picked up a set from some parents whose son had left for university but had had to leave the drums behind. They were asking $190 and we scored a deal of $140 – which was even better than our drum instructor suggested would be a fair price for this particular set (this is where I boast that my brain didn’t turn into complete mush when I had kids and I still have some of my career ‘negotiating skills’ left in me – yay!).

As you can imagine, Gray is absolutely thrilled!!! I’m still a little baffled on how we went from a toy request in spring to a drum kit in his bedroom…but I guess that’s sometimes how it goes.

October 12, 2016

Pregnant with (or have) Twins or More in YYC? Read This!

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Image by J.A.C. Photography (www.jacphotography.ca)

Having twins, triplets or any number of ‘multiples’  is NOT easy. I mean, aside from it being an enormous amount of work (especially in the early days) it is very, VERY expensive and it is also a little scary!

That’s why I really want to tell you about an AMAZING resource I discovered when I was pregnant with my own twins – the Twins, Triplets and More Association of Calgary (or ‘TTMAC’ as many of us in the YYC multiples community call it).  I promise, they are not paying me to post this – I just love the association ‘this’ much! Honestly, it was one the greatest supports I had when preparing for and bringing home our twins!

I can’t remember exactly how I heard about TTMAC anymore, word of mouth perhaps? Regardless, I am so happy that I discovered them while I was still pregnant because I was able to take advantage of some of the membership benefits even at that time (speaking of membership, I should mention that there is a nominal membership fee…but for our family, the cost of membership has more than paid for itself year over year). Currently, the membership fee in 2016 for a new member is $50/year.

Here is a list of TTMAC membership benefits that our family has taken advantage of:

Discounts Galore!!!

Thank the heavens above because having multiples is SO expensive! Most items you will need in double (or maybe more if you’re having triplets…or quads…or…OMG!), so any little penny saved will make a big difference for you in the end.

You might be surprised to know that we actually still are able to take advantage of discounts even though we are long past the stage of buying cribs, which is so nice.

Free Loaner Items

There is quite a long list of items that TTMAC has to loan out and these items aren’t just intended for families in financial need…. they are intended for the general membership. Here are some items our family borrowed:

  1. Twin Baby Buddy nursing pillow I did buy a couple of new covers (covers were available I just preferred something a little different). This thing was a lifesaver and made a big difference when I got really crazy and tried ‘tandem feeding’.In case you’re not sure what tandem feeding is, it’s nursing two babies at the same time. It’s for people who like to multi-task. Not me. Thankfully Gray and Miss A were fairly efficient eaters!
  2. Bumbo Chair That thing was awesome and we got loads of use out of it. I used mine to prop the babes up for feeding in the early days and I also used it as an accessory with my exersaucer (which we only had one of). I would place one baby in the exersaucer and the other in the Bumbo within reach of the exersaucer – it worked like a charm and kept both babies entertained for an extended period of time. I supposed this is why exersaucers are affectionately referred to as ‘circles-of-neglect’.
  3. Resource Books The office has a decent little library of books and I did find two or three books on parenting multiples to bring home and place neatly on my bedside table.So, full disclosure here: I had good intentions of reading all of these books but, really…who has time for that when you’re waking up every three hours to ‘nurse-then-bottle-feed-then-burp’ two tiny humans (or more), change 16 diapers a day (or more), and ‘try’ to shower, sleep, cook, and wash in-between? Seriously, my God, why did I think I would be reading?

Access to the TTMAC Facebook Group (which is closed to the public)

I know this probably sounds silly, but the Facebook page has been an enormous resource to me. I have asked many multiples-related questions here such as:

“I’m moving my twins from a shared crib to sleeping in their own cribs, what should I expect?”

and

“I have diastasis recti from my multiples pregnancy and I’m looking for a recommendation on a good physio clinic.”

Honestly, the TTMAC Facebook page is a really great way to connect to the YYC multiples community.

Access to the TTMAC Facebook Classifieds Group (which is closed to the public)

This page has been so amazing for buying and selling multiples-related products and also coordinating outfits for the kids. Think coordinating/matching clothing, double-strollers, Halloween costumes, etc. Awesome!

Socials & Events

There are a wide variety of socials and events available for members. I have personally attended age-appropriate playgroup socials, evening parent socials, family events (Halloween, Christmas, etc) and my personal favourite – Mom only evenings out and retreats!

Contests

All of my friends know that I love me a good contest and TTMAC has no shortage of these! I have been lucky enough to win some products from their monthly contests and one year for Mother’s Day, our family even won an entire family photo session (including DVD) from the very kind and generous Larissa G Photography!

Early Access to the Infamous TTMAC Semi-Annual Used Clothing, Equipment and Toy Sale

This sale is huge, infamous, and very well organized! On top of that, it is another great place to buy equipment for your multiples since most of the vendors are parents of multiples. It’s also a spot you can buy coordinating (or matching) outfits for your multiples second hand.

Even if you don’t have multiples, you ‘can’ and ‘should’ go to this amazing sale!  It is totally worth it!

Workshops and Sessions

Both my husband and I took a first-aid course through TTMAC for a very nominal fee, which probably paid for our membership that year on its own.

There are other TTMAC Membership Benefits Available as well!

Support

There are quite a few areas that TTMAC offers support with if wanted…breastfeeding, NICU support, Bereavement, Single Parent support, and the list goes on.

There is also a “New to You” inventory of clothing and supply items that have been donated to the office for families who might be in want/need.

Overall…

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about becoming a member of TTMAC. If you are expecting multiples or even if you already have them, I would really encourage you to consider a membership. It has been such a great resource for our family and I honestly have met some of my most favourite people through this group…Gray and A have too!

October 1, 2016

My Twins Started Preschool – Update

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After posting a few weeks ago about the ‘sorry state’ I was in when the twins started preschool, I thought I would give you an update on how things are going.

Really…I’m totally over it.

Of course when I think about their first day, it still tugs at my heart-strings a little bit, but I am starting to enjoy a couple of hours twice per week where I can nurture this mommy blog, work on my home-business, tackle errands, prep supper peacefully, or pretty much get through anything else that might be on my ‘to-do’ list!

Last week, I actually ‘finally’ had a chance to go for a massage using a gift card I received for my birthday from my husband…which actually was gifted to me before summer began. So, pretty much I have had it for months (two seasons in fact).

Friends…it was so nice!

All of the things I was hoping to be able to tackle, I have been able to complete – for the first time in over 4-years, my ‘to-do’ list is shrinking! …And that feels so great too!

So, really…I’m not here for a long time today, I just came back to let you know that:

I can now laugh ‘with’ you.

xo

Dionne

 

September 27, 2016

Keeping the Marriage Alive – One Date at a Time!

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One of the hardest things about having kids is keeping the marriage alive. I’m mean, let’s face it…our bodies are different, our schedules are busy, our beds are sometimes not our own, etc., etc. I could go on and on – there are countless things fighting for our attention and challenging our time.

On top of all of this, if you haven’t hired a babysitter in YYC lately, I’ll let you know right now that the going rate is $10-$15/hour.

$10-$15/hour people!!!

(I do have a bit of a solution to this problem, but I’ll have to blog about that another day…until then, save up your money to pay for babysitting!).

A few weeks ago, I made a pledge that Darren and I absolutely need to make time for 1-date per month. No. Matter. What.

I know it probably doesn’t sound like much to those without kids, but anyone with offspring will understand that this might be a tall order! However, now I have said it out loud and made a commitment to our relationship (as well as the world-wide-web) so this definitely has to happen. If you aren’t seeing me blog about our YYC dates at least once per month, for goodness sake, please send me your hate mail!

The good news is, we did manage to squeeze a date out before month’s end. Last weekend, I was starting to panic (and feel the end of the month closing in on us) so I rushed to get something together last minute (way to prioritize ‘date night’, hey?). Embarrassing.

Anyway…we scored a REALLY NICE SUPPER for SUPER CHEAP (and I mean ‘cheap’!) at San Remo Ristorante in McKenzie Towne (if you haven’t been there, I would really recommend it…with or without kids). They have specials on each night but,  on Sunday nights, they have $10 pasta-night AND $10 ½ litre of wine night. Can you imagine??

So, we had one of my favourite appetizers (Truffle Butter Popcorn), fresh bread, two pasta entrees AND a ½ litre of wine (hello!) for under $40! I’m sure it’s hard to believe!

Anyway, it was really a nice evening and I had a chance to hear about some things that happened in my husband’s week that I don’t think we would have talked about had we stayed home.  We got to connect, without distractions (insert children, devices, Netflix, NHL Centre Ice…) and that’s exactly what we needed after pushing through a week of work, school, activities, hockey, and so on and so on (you know the list goes on forever). It was perfect!

I was really glad we made the time to get out together and I am already thinking about what we might do for our October evening out! If you have some fun ideas (in the Calgary area) – please send them my way!

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(Truffle Butter Popcorn, Spaghetti Bolognese, and Sausage and Pepper Penne shown above.  

Oh!  And as my husband would put it – also a ‘nice Malbec’!)

September 21, 2016

Superstore’s Click and Collect – My Review and Helpful Tips

onlineshoppingPhoto Credit: William Iven

Online Grocery Shopping? Yes please!!!

Because, let’s face it – grocery shopping with kids is never (EVER) a good time.

Call me lazy, but the thought of taking my duo to any grocery store (even if they have 2 child seats to accommodate the twins) almost makes me break into a sweat. The fighting, the poking, the grabbing, and the cookie requests…it’s all too much for me to take sometimes!

But alas! There are other options available in YYC!

Superstore recently introduced their ‘Click & Collect’ program here in Calgary (amongst other places) and I had to try it out! I think it is just the service I have been waiting for.

Here is how it works

  1. You place an order for your groceries online.
  2. You pick them up, at a prescheduled day and time, from a participating Superstore location.

Sounds good, right?

What I love about the Click & Collect experience

 

  1. I can order online.

This is so convenient! I actually added my order, while I was still in my pyjamas and the kids were playing.

  1. I can pick up over a 2-hour time period.

If I’m running around tackling errands and not wanting to commit to a specific pick up time (or even if I’m running late) it’s okay!

  1. I don’t have to leave my car when I pick my groceries up since they are delivered straight to my vehicle.

I don’t care what anyone says, it can be a bit of a hassle unbuckling the kids and lugging them into the store – especially if the parking spots are tight, the weather is bad, or the kids are sleeping (or grumpy, tired, hyper, awake, or basically alive.).

  1. I can still pay by debit or cash at pick up.

A credit card is used to secure the order at placement, but the payment method can be changed at pick up…if you do switch to another form of payment at pick up, know that your pre-authorization charge may sit on your credit card for several days.

  1. I can still bring my bins and bags and not have to purchase plastic.

The staff member brings your groceries out in large bins (on a cart) and you transfer them into your vehicle – my girl even helped me move everything over into my green bins! She was even mindful about how she placed the items.

  1. I actually found price-comparing items easier!

Prices are listed on a ‘per 100grams’ or ‘per unit’–type basis along with the price. I quite liked this feature and really did find it simpler to price-compare.

  1. I still collect my PC Plus points.

You can link your account during check out – the website also says you collect PC Points at pick up.

  1. The $3 fee is so reasonable!

This seems like a good place to also note they currently have a $30 shopping minimum to use the service.

  1. The ‘My Shop’ feature

This is a category that lists your often-purchased items which makes it quick to select your favourites! After only 1 shop, I can even see my often-purchased items that I have bought outside of my one Click & Collect experience (this must be based on them tracking through my PC Plus Card). Regardless, it’s convenient!

My tips for using Superstore’s Click & Collect Program:

 

1. Make sure your desired pick up day and time is available before you begin.

When you first visit the Superstore website, select your location first followed by selecting your timeslot. Doing this will let you know right away if the day and time you want to pick up is available.

A friend of mine told me her lead-time was 5 hours or so, so I started an order in the morning thinking I would pick it up after the kids got out of preschool.   Well, my friend obviously shopped at a slower time than me because once I finished entering all of my groceries, I discovered I couldn’t pick up at my preferred location for 2-days. I ended up having to travel to a further location to get the day/time I wanted. Lesson learned!

2. Use the ‘search’ function.

I found it much easier and faster to use the search function rather than browsing by category – this is probably because I was shopping off of a pre-planned menu list. If you do like ‘browsing’, you are able to browse by category or brand.

3. Leave your shopper very specific notes.

When you check out, some editable notes will auto populate beside certain items like produce, milk, etc. They will indicate to the shopper, what I’m assuming are, qualities most people look for in those items (‘select latest expiry possible’, ‘no mould or running juices’, etc.). You should read these and edit them to be as very specific as you can – the more specific, the better.

4. Review your substitution preferences.

After you have added all of your groceries to your cart, view your grocery list. Make sure to select the ‘Substitution Preference’ if you would like the shopper to select a substitution in the event your particular item isn’t available (there is a button beside each and every grocery item, you just swipe it ‘on’ or ‘off’).

**NOTE: if you are purchasing any organic items, and you select that you are okay to receive substitutions, they will not substitute for you if they can’t find another organic item…so…you will need to mention in your check out notes if a non-organic substitution is okay.

5. Review your order once it has been filled.

You will receive an email notification once your order has been filled (mine came about an hour before my pick up start time). You should review it because it will show if there are any items that are out of stock or unavailable.

In my case, there was an item the shopper just missed finding and also some organic items they couldn’t find organic substitutions for – this was easily resolved by me calling the store right away. My items and satisfactory substitutions were found (on time even) for any items I needed.

6. Give yourself a little bit of time for pick up.

I arrived to the Click & Collect parking spot at 3:00pm and called as soon as I arrived. My groceries were loaded and I started driving away at 3:14pm…so it was relatively quick but not instant. Because this was my first time using the service, I can’t say what an average wait time might be, but this is what it was on a Monday afternoon.

7. Double check your order once you get it home.

It turned out I was missing a few items – 3 bags of coffee and 1 loaf of bread. If these were major ingredients I needed for a specific recipe, I might have been irked but I was just stocking up on my favourite coffee while it was on sale and I did get one loaf of bread…so it was a non-issue for me. I do think that human error is going to happen occasionally based on the volume of groceries they are dealing with and I’m okay with that in order to have the convenience.

In Summary

 

There were a couple of little glitchy things that came up on my first order as I learned the system but overall I really appreciate having this program (especially for the price!). I will for sure use it again! Here is a link to the Superstore Click & Collect FAQs in case you want to browse around there.

I did receive an email the same day, from Superstore, looking for feedback. I think it’s great they are obviously looking to improve the program. I’m sure it will only get better!

 

September 13, 2016

My Twins Started Preschool and I’m Mourning

 

fullsizerenderOkay, I know that using the word ‘mourning’ is probably dramatic – perhaps ‘heart broken’ would be better?

Either way, my heart is aching a little.

I know that I’m not the first parent to send my first born to preschool…but I suppose it is ‘my’ first time sending my first (and last) born to ‘school’.   Is this how it is going to feel every time they reach a new educational milestone? Ugh.

Maybe I’m a little sad because this means my ‘babies’ aren’t babies anymore?

Or maybe it’s because this is a big step that somehow feels like my time as a full-time mommy is changing? Am I ready for that?

Or perhaps it’s because I’m not sure preschool is really the right choice for our family. Should we be allocating this time and money to other activities that the kids have been asking for? After all, they do already have 13 years of school ahead of them. Is preschool even necessary?

I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’m feeling a little down about the whole thing.

Of course Gray and A were excited and happy to start their first day yesterday. After all, our family has been talking about preschool quite a bit over the summer and all of us (including me) have had plenty of time to prepare ourselves.

When I dropped them off, I gave them both a kiss and told them I love them and they started to settle into their new routine right away. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see one of my close friends watching me (he was dropping off his 3rd of 4 children…who is entering his second year of preschool…so this is totally old news to him). He commented to me that he was just realizing that this is my first school drop off and instantly my eyes began to water. Thankfully it ended there and I was able to keep it together, but friends…it wasn’t easy. I could have easily sat down and had a good cry.

For now, I’m going to keep my chin up! I mean really…what else can I do? I’m sure over time I will get over this feeling and I will start to embrace having a few extra hours to have a little break (and by ‘break’ I mean childless grocery shopping before 8pm – OR – a trip to the motor vehicle registry without having to use the words ‘stop’, ‘no’, or ‘don’t’ – over and over and over…).

I do want to share with you something that I tried yesterday that helped me feel a little better: As soon as the kids were done their first class, I took them straight to our local Starbucks so we could enjoy steamed milk together. I put away my phone and I gave them my totally undivided attention while I invited them to share with me the details their big day! Of course, as they shared all of the exciting things they did, I couldn’t help but feel the contagiousness of their joy and excitement!

Hearing them tell it all over again to their dad, during suppertime, helped too!  …and, perhaps, so did the glass of wine that went along with it!

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September 3, 2016

Journaling their Special Moments

 

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I am a very sentimental person and I love preserving memories! I always have.

I photograph often, I keep special items (even if they are in a box in my basement), and I did buy and (mostly) fill out baby books for the twins. I’m just that kind of a person.

But, as the twins moved away from their first year, there were so many moments that brought us joy and I didn’t want to forget them. So, I decided to buy them each journals. I just found some nice, good quality ones that I thought would stand the test of time from our local Chapters/Indigo bookstore. In them, I record anything at all that I don’t want to forget or that I think the kids will enjoy learning about themselves later.

Here are some examples of things that I have recorded for them:

  • The first time the twins gave each other a kiss
  • The funny ways they used to put sentences together and the sweet ways they said certain words (for example, Miss A used to call Gray ‘Gay-Gay’)
  • The day they scored their first soccer goal in Timbits Soccer
  • That time I found Gray plunging his own face with a plunger (Yes, that happened…for real!)
  • The time Miss A put her own self in a time out after doing something naughty

I also staple in small paper memories that don’t take up much room in their journals. Little things like my favourite day home reports that we received or Gray’s gymnastics report card where he was praised for having such good listening and being a role model for classmates. Pretty much anything that makes us smile!

I know being a parent is extremely busy and little things like this can get lost in the shuffle. The one thing that really helps me stay on top of keeping the journals current is simply keeping them on my bedside table, along with a pen, so I can add a few quick notes before bed. I also store little notes in my phone if something comes up while we are away from the house that I want to remember – those get added at bedtime also.

After sharing that I do this with one of my friends, another mom of twins, I could tell she really liked the idea. So, we actually gifted her twins with their own journals on their birthday, so they could have their own collection of memories started. I know that at 5-years old they might have not put that at the top of their ‘favourite gifts’ list, but hopefully down the road they will be happy to have those keepsakes.

I know their mama will anyway!

August 23, 2016

Yeah, I Like to Knit!

Purple Mittens

I know this is pretty unconventional for a 30-something, but I like to knit.   Well, truthfully, I like to try. Really, I’m not a skilled knitter, but I find it relaxing and especially rewarding when my projects actually turn out.

A handful of years before having the twins, I rounded up some friends to join me for a ‘Learn to knit’ class at a local yarn studio. It was a fun time…we started our projects, we pulled apart our projects, but we did it together. Eventually, once most of us had kids, we occasionally gathered at someone’s house after the kids were in bed and we worked on our projects while drinking wine and eating ‘adult food’ – which, at that time, was basically anything that didn’t have to be pureed.

I had put down my knitting needles for a couple of years but I recently became acquainted with them out again when I was looking to pack some activities to work on while camping (okay, Glamping) when there isn’t any WiFi around (which is pretty much always). I’m so glad I did!

For the first 5 or 6 years I wouldn’t tackle anything outside of the shape of a rectangle or square but, for the last little while, I have been braving up and taking some risks. My projects don’t really ever come out amazing, but I have been mostly knitting for the twins and that is one great thing about having 4-year olds – they think EVERYTHING is perfect and beautiful!

I just (finally) finished up a little pair of mittens for my little girl. She LOVES them! I think they turned out ‘okay’ but really, as along as you don’t look too close, they did turn out all right (they are shown in the image for this post above).

In case you would like the pattern (I’m sure yours would turn out better than mine), here is the link for ‘Snow Princess’ by Girly Knits.  I just used cheap yarn, and beads, from Michael’s (just in case they didn’t turn out), but next time I would brave up and knit a pair with something a little nicer (and probably warmer).

I did pay for the pattern (it is actually the only pattern I have paid for so far), but I have knit up 2 toques and 4 mittens from it and they all turned out well (for me)…and I know I will use it again…so I think it was money well-spent and I feel confident now that the pattern is reliable.  It isn’t expensive at all.

Anyhow, if you’re looking for a fun, relaxing and maybe even productive way to get in some ‘Me-Time’, I would recommend giving this little hobby a try. If you’re in the YYC area, and are looking to get started, I would really recommend Stash Lounge in Inglewood.  It’s not super close if you’re in the burbs, like I am, but it’s worth the drive. The owner and staff are beyond helpful and patient and they have lots of goodies, trinkets, and classes. It’s where I go if I am knitting something special &/or need a few good pointers.

Happy knitting!

August 19, 2016

Preschoolers and Pay Per View Don’t Mix

Zootopia Photo

Our kids have been able (and allowed) to order their own Shaw on Demand programs for a little while now. They just need to ask first. They know they are limited to certain Treehouse and Disney Junior shows and they are able to identify them by the little thumbnail photos that are displayed. Anything else they need permission to select and they are very good about respecting that TV rule.

So, a couple of months ago, they did just that. They asked their dad if they could order the ‘show with the fox and bunny’. He didn’t really know which show they were asking about but certainly a show with a fox and a bunny probably sounded about right for a couple of 4-year olds.

At some point very soon, he realized that they had ordered a movie – Zootopia to be exact. Shoot! It wasn’t free! Well, they did ask after all, how could we be mad?

So, we let them watch it 3 times to celebrate!

Nah, actually…we just wanted to get our $4.99 worth before it expired on the 24-hour mark.

Well played, children.

So, the lesson here, my friends…if your kids can order ‘free’ programs, they can also order pay per view. Maybe get ahead of us and add a password to your pay per view TV. While you’re at it, it might also be time to add a password to some of the channels you might have even just through your basic cable.