Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Crib Vault

It might just be time.
After hearing excessive amounts of giggling, my mom realized that Andrew not only climbed out of his crib during nap time yesterday, but into his brother's pack-n-play!
1. So cute! They must have been so excited!
 2. So dangerous!
...although Andrew is super graceful and has insane upper-body strength (see previous upper-body strength shenanigans here.)  I really don't think he'd fall.  If Wesley tried it, however, we might have to call the paramedics.
Bull. In. China Shop.

Due to the crib-nastics, giggling and non-napping, my mom got the boys up, fed them lunch and then tried again, putting Andrew in the playpen and Wesley in the crib.  Her theory was that if he tried again, he'd have less of a falling distance to the floor (if he actually fell).  Minutes later, Wesley is sound asleep and Andrew...well, Andrew was standing in the hallway with one of those "I'm not supposed to be here, am I," looks on his face.
The kid is not a napper.  That's the first issue.  Wesley could literally take 4 naps a day, but not Andrew.  Andrew is my night owl, too.  
My second dilemma is the crib/toddler bed transition.  Any advice?  I've read that some kids are in beds before they turn one, but for some reason, 19 months still seems too early for me.  I like (liked) knowing my babes were safely contained.  Obviously, that's not the case anymore.

Here is Andrew not even two minutes after we left Nana and Papa's house.  Figures. The kid was exhausted from crib vaulting.

So last night I bought a crib tent for my parents house.  I acted impulsively, and probably should have explored more options before buying the thing, but we'll see how it works.

The good news is that I've wanted to make these DIY toddler beds since I first saw them... The supplies make 2 beds! It was meant to be.  Crafty Momma + Handy Hubby = Perfect Spring Project!
It's time.  Here's the link:

Photo Credit: Design Sponge

Monday, March 28, 2011

Time Flies

First, let me say that I admire you M-o-M's out there that can find time to post daily.   I constantly think of topics, but somehow sleep or catching up on the DVR'd stuff (and oh-so-predictably falling asleep before the show finishes) sounds more tempting to me after the boys go to bed.  Can you blame me?  Please keep in mind, however, that it is your posts that get me through some days.  I may not post daily, but you can bet I go through my blogroll! Knowing there are other mom's of multiples out there going through the exact same thing I am is comforting, and blogging has definitely made me feel like part of an entirely new family.  I have you to share with, to laugh with (and when you have two children the same age, you MUST laugh, or I'm convinced you'll go crazy), and lastly, I have you to thank.  Thank you for being there, documenting what life with twins (or more) is like, and for making me feel almost normal. 

My almost-19-months-old "kids."

So today I just want to share a photo and a thought.  I ran into an aquaintance at the grocery store yesterday. His kids are 7 and 5, and he commented on how time flies, and how he and his wife are now in a 'new stage' of life with their children.   Their 7 year old now acts like she's 15 (eye rolling included) and the 5 year old is just not a toddler anymore.  Kids.  Full blown kids.  He went into the pros (parent gets a little more time back due to child being more independent) and cons (eye rolling, attitudes, etc.) of this new adventure they are on.   I had to laugh to myself.   Any parent can understand this.  Although we are only 19 months in, just the other day, my hubby and I were talking about how our twins are no longer babies, ...and toddlers?  Forget it. They may still technically be toddlers, but they are starting to look like "kids".  Little boys.  Makes me smile and tear up at the same time.   Partly because I can hardly remember when they were teenie- tiny, and partly because I can't wait to see what they will become.  Tomorrow, next week, next year...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Flying With Twin Toddlers

Flying with my husband and our 18-month old twins.
 As promised, here is the "Flying with Toddlers" post, however, it comes with a little disclaimer: This is a really long post, but hopefully it's informative for those of you about travel with toddlers, or better yet, with twin toddlers like we have.  Don't judge me for how I went about things in my travels.  I'm still learning, and I will be for a long, long time.

I'm not claiming to be an expert in this area, but I've recently been on two 3-hour flights with my husband and our very busy, very active 18 month old twin boys.  I did a lot of research before the trip, and I learned a lot while traveling with them.  First and foremost, nothing about traveling with toddlers is predictable.  You just have to accept that.  The only way to handle the unpredictability is to be prepared for anything and everything.   We were VERY prepared, perhaps OVER prepared, however this didn't stop my husband and I from stressing over the actual flight and how the boys would behave.

Shoot for at least a 1:1 adult to toddler ratio.  Hopefully you aren't the only adult flying with twin toddlers, and if you are, good luck. I've read that it's been done, but you won't catch me doing it.  Not with my two monkeys!

Booking the flight:
If your toddlers are under 2 years of age, they can fly free as lap babies.  Only one baby per lap.  You can opt to purchase a seat for the toddler (offered by most airlines at a discounted rate, and preferred, as it's the safest way to travel), however you must use an FAA approved car seat.  How do you know if you have one of these?  The label on the carseat should read something along the lines of: Approved for use in motor vehicles and aircrafts.  Call me a terrible parent, but not only was I not going to pay for 2 extra seats on the flight, I definitely wasn't going to lug two car seats through the airport on top of everything else we had to carry.  If you have money to spend, they sell carseats with a luggage-type handle and on wheels for easy airport travel.   I didn't have $400+ to drop on two.  **If you have lap babies, remember to bring birth certificates to verify their age.

Packing the Carry-On:
Now is NOT the time to catch up on all the celebrity gossip in People or InStyle.   First, you won't have room for your fave magazines, second, you won't be able to read; you'll be way too busy entertaining your children and keeping them contained in your seating area.  Only bring what is absolutely necessary for you (wallet, keys, meds) and utilize all of the remaining space in your carry-on for things your child will need/want.  First, you will need diapers and wipes.  Pack enough to cover you in case the flight is late or gets diverted (for whatever reason) and you get stuck somewhere overnight.  Hey, it happens.  Next, a change of clothes (everything - comfortable outfit, onesies, socks, slippers or shoes) for each child.   One of my little guys had a MAJOR BLOWOUT at the tail end of one of our flights and he was stripped, scrubbed and re-clothed with a fresh outfit, socks included.  All in that tiny airplane bathroom.  There should be a club for moms who have accomplished this task.

You'll definitely need some snacks and cups for the kiddies, so don't forget to cram those into the carry-on bag.  When all else fails, Cheerios and Goldfish usually end up saving the day.  (Cheerios and Fruit Loops work great for older kids.  Bring along some string and have them make necklaces for the flight attendants ;)  Activities are great (such as the necklace stringing, coloring, reading, flashcards, etc) if you're kids can stay focused, but mine don't at this age.  We resorted to toys.  Lots of toys.  Go to the store and spend some cash.   I spent about $30 on toys/electronics/stickers/stampers between the local dollar stores and the Target $1 bins.   You want to hide all of these goodies from the kids (and if you have multiples, you must know by now that you must have two of everything, unless you want to become an instant referee.  I'm perfectly happy with just being a mom and a ringleader.  Don't need to add Ref to my titles just yet.)  Slowly, as the flight goes on, introduce new toys to them, but only when they tire of the one they currently have.

Andrew playing with a buckle-clip thingee.

Wesley stringing beads.
The Airport and The Flight: Making it through TSA will be the most difficult part of your day, that is, if they behave on the flight.  Not only do your shoes and accessories have to come off, but so do your children's.  Haven't you heard of the Baby Shoe Bomber?  No?  Well, apparently, TSA thinks it a possibility.  ...and don't think it'll be easy with the kids strapped into a stroller. Nope.  They have to come out of the stroller, and the stroller needs to be collapsed and put through the x-ray, all with one hand while your other hand is busy attempting to contain your barefoot children.  Piece-of-cake, right?  If someone offers to help you, TAKE THEM UP ON IT!  The more adults, the better!

Let your kids walk/run as much as possible before the flight.  You want to wear them out.   Maybe you will be lucky enough to find a play area in the airport you are in.  We found a vacant gate with a ramp - the boys loved running up and down it.  Board when they let families board, and try to get a seat in the bulkhead (first row), or do what we did and go all the way to the back of the plane.   After you are seated, pray, pray and pray some more that it is NOT a full flight.  If it is, there can only be one lap child per row, as there are only 4 oxygen masks that will fall from above in the event of an emergency (one for each paying passenger, and one extra for a lap child).  If the flight isn't full, you can rest assured that nobody will want that third seat in your row.   My hubs and I sat at either end of our row, and after take-off, the boys took turns rotating from our laps to the seat in between us.  It was enough room to make the trip more bearable.

Calm Kids:
Before the flight, I may or may not have administered a small amount of a pediatric anti-histamine to my twins, hoping it would make them a bit drowsy.  About two hours into the first flight, as the boys were literally climbing the back wall of the plane, I remember my husband asking, "When is this medicine supposed to kick in?"   "I think it already has," I said with a silly, awkward grin.  It literally did NOTHING, or so I thought.   On the flight home, we went sans drugs, and it was much more chaotic, with crying and screaming, so maybe in hindsight, the meds worked a little magic.  I still don't think I'd use them again, though.  Do what you fell you need to do.  I was desperate for a stress-free flight, and when the kids were medicated, we had an overall decent experience.
Calm You:
It doesn't take too much to get stressed out while traveling.  I start sweating at just the thought of going through TSA; carrying heavy bags, taking off belts, emptying pockets, cell phone know the feeling, right?   The best thing that I took from all my pre-flying-with-twin-toddlers research, and the most important thing that I want you to take from this post is that it will do absolutely no good if you lose your cool when things start to go downhill.  Psych yourself up before the flight to maintain a positive attitude, regardless of how your children behave and how those around you react to the childrens' behavior.  You are not the first person to fly with little ones, and you sure as heck won't be the last.  Don't let the stresses get to you once your trip is underway.  Just go with the flow.  We made a humorous disclaimer to those sitting around us before the flight.  They knew what they could be in for, so we felt as though we appropriately warned everyone the possibilities that might ensue.  As stressed and as worried as I was before the flight, I remember laughing hysterically (perhaps maniacally?) and smirking at/waving to anyone who turned around to see what all the fuss was in the back of the airplane while we experienced a massive Twinado, aka, the Double Meltdown..  There is nothing you can do about the situation beyond your over-the-top preparation. Sometimes, they just need to scream.  Let them, and comfort them the best way you know how.  If you start to cry (and I know this happens from time to time) it'll only make things more difficult.  Take it with a grain of salt, because you deserve the vacation you're trying to get to, probably more than anyone else on the airplane!!

On a side note, is it bad that, at one point,  I let my kids eat goldfish that fell on the airplane floor?  They were quiet and still, just munching away under our feet.   For a moment, I felt relief.  I know my husband did, too.  Now, I'm not one of those germ-a-phobe moms, so maybe it might be deemed as dirty and gross by some, but when needed, I don't hesitate to implement the 5 second rule (or 10 seconds, or 1 minute, or a 3 minute rule, for that matter.) 

I sure hope some of my flying experience will help you on any adventures you might attempt with your little ones!  Happy, safe and stress-free travels to all of you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Really, kid?

Seriously, kid?
I was only in the other room for 30 seconds.
I swear.
...and look what this little stinker did.
Me: Heart failure.
Yeah, I know I probably should have gotten him down before running for the camera, but I know how strong this little daredevil is, and that he was loving his new view.
Is this kid for real?
Yeah, he's behind the shade, alright.
A Peeping Andrew, if you will.
(Yes, Vanessa, he was looking over at your house.)

So I take this hysterical photo, lift him down, pull up the shade and remove the couch cushion, assuming he won't be able to get up there.
I was wrong.
So wrong.
Within another 30 seconds, he got right back up there.  I could not believe how fast and easy it was for him.
Fear not.  The window now has cardboard taped over it to prevent it from happening again.
...and once again, there go my chances for winning Mother of the Year.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Our Florida Vaycay

Hello, friends!  It's been a while, but I'm back to share our recent vacation with you!  We recently spent a wonderful week (with WONDERFUL weather) down in Florida with my parents, who have been renting a condo near Clearwater for the past few years.
The flight down went great.  Dan and I were extremely nervous about our very active 18 month old boys remaining still for almost three hours.  Getting through TSA and waiting to board were the most difficult parts.  Oh, and dressing the boys in slippery outfits was a bad idea, but you live and learn.  I think I'll do a post about flying with toddlers, soon.
Yeah, I will. Definitely.
The close quarters on the airplane kept the kids contained.  Luckily, we scored three seats in the very back row (instead of just the two we actually paid for) because the flight wasn't full.  All was well until we were about 5 minutes from touching down in Tampa and Andrew went and had a blowout.  ...and when I say blowout, I mean BLOWOUT.
Code Brown.
Brown 100.
I begged our very understanding flight attendant to let me get up to change him and he just wanted to be sure that if asked who gave me permission, I wouldn't blow him in.   After all, the Fasten Seatbelts/ Final Descent announcement had already come over the loud speaker.
As my luck would have it, the bathroom with the changing table wasn't right behind us, it was all the way at the front of the plane, so with stiff elbows and arms extended, I carried Andrew up to the world's tiniest changing table, sharing his stink with every passenger on the plane.   So sorry!
Andrew and I came back to our seats, me without shame, him, without a turtleneck, missing a sock and wearing new pants.  We touched down and our sighs of relief could probably be heard back home in Buffalo.

Now, onto the vacation itself:
What good is a warm, sunny day without ice cream?  I swear this kid got more of my cone than I did.  He's lucky I don't mind sharing.

Nana and Andrew sunbathing.  The pool was empty this particular day, but most of the days we were there, it was swarming with senior citizens ;)  As you can imagine, they all got a kick out of the redheaded twins.

Pool time!  Nothing like a heated pool!  After the boys went to bed, my parents stayed up in the condo with them while Dan and I got to enjoy the hot tub! Ahhh.

We all spent a lot of time on the beach.  The fresh air did wonders for the boys.  They took great naps and slept solid from the second we put them down for the night until the sun came up the next morning.  These are the few photos I have of their faces (or parts of their faces).  Most of the pictures I took on the beach were of them running away from us, having fun in the sun.

How much do I love this picture of Wesley?  He finally noticed his shadow and was delighted to meet him!

Here are my wonderfu parents, the boys' Nana and Pop Pop.  Can you believe they had the entire condo baby-proofed before we even got there?  They are that awesome!

I love this family photo with my parents.  Hard to believe that it was two years ago, here in FL, that Dan and I told my parents we were expecting. We did a toast to "the 5 of us" even though there were only 4 of us sitting at the table.   My mom's eyes welled up with tears and she just kept saying, "Really?!!  Really?!!" and my dad, confused, just said, "but there's only 4 of us??"  We didn't realize that there were actually 6 of us there until a month after our trip ;)

The hubs and I got all dressed up to go out for a fancy dinner and drinks in St. Petersburg, sans kids.  Our big night out ended around 11pm, proof that we are parents, or just that we are getting old.

We tried to mix up our activities to keep the boys busy.  We were told that a child's museum nearby was a bit "too old" for the boys, so instead we found a great playground to occupy a few hours.  This dino reminds me of one of my fav movies,  Pee Wee's Big Adventure (and I've even been to the actual dinosaurs that were in the movie, in Cabazan, California!)  Have any dreams, Pee Wee?

Someone wore himself out climbing up all the slides!  I shouldn't have been, but I was amazed at how brave the boys were on all the playground rides.  We definitely have two little daredevils on our hands.  I can smell the Bactine already.

With the exception of a quick trip to the ER and some heavy duty prescribed antibiotics (Dan had a little MRSA issue on his elbow), we had a wonderful, warm, relaxing week.  Many thanks to my parents for putting up with hosting us for the week!  We all had a blast!  Can't wait until next year (if you'll have us back)!