Life in Bullet Points #2

  • Yesterday I found the twinners cuddling like I have not seen for a LONG time. Melt me now.  I overheard her softly say to him, “I want to cuddle because I love you and it is so cozy.”

  • Yesterday I ordered the mother of all planners. My Erin Condren planner will be shipping “on or near Sept 14th.” I will be watching.

  • Yesterday was a happy mail day. I got another free $10 Kohls gift card (you gotta get on their mailing list), a free Starbucks drink coupon, a $40 Nordstrom Note (thank you double points), a $25 off a $50 purchase from Pottery Barn Kids, and my MuTu DVD to review for my blog (The Essential Foundations of a flatter Post-Baby Tummy)! I am so excited to have something else in my arsenal to help heal my Diastasis.

P.S. Did you know that tons of mamas have a diastasis and that any common exercise where you lift your shoulders off the ground (crunches and situps) make it WORSE….as well as anything with a cross over motion?  If you are a mama (others can suffer as well) and you have a weak core, or your tummy pooches out, your struggle to have good posture, have back pain, have bladder/pelvic floor struggles (tmi alert…luckily I don’t have this symptom), etc. you likely have a diastasis.

A diastasis is a vertical separation in the muscles of the abdominal wall.  Getting on most traditional workout plans will NOT help you heal your diastasis. In fact, it will probably make it worse. You might lost weight for awhile, but your tummy will never get flatter and your will likely be further separating the muscles.  Isn’t that a bad deal!? This is one huge area that the medical and fitness professionals are largely ignoring, or more likely are unaware of.  It is crazy that something that affects so many people is rarely discussed. Here is an awesome video to show you how to check for a diastasis. Here are also some great diastasis blog posts from Fit 2 B Studio (she is local too!).

 

  • Sunday we hung stuff on the walls that I had been wanting to get up for awhile. It feels so good!

 

  • Saturday we were blessed with club level tickets to a Duck game. We dressed the tots in all their gear and had a blast…never mind little sister decided not to nap on the way there and was a bit delusional by the end.  But, we got through the entire game melt down free. The children cheered, yelled, danced, ate popcorn, and loved every minute.  So did we. What an awesome family memory. Quote of the game was when Little Man said, “My ears are PLUGGED!!!” Yes, that would be because you are wearing ear plugs. P.S. The orange wax ones worked best of the two types we bought.

 

So Fresh, and so Clean, Clean.

First things, first.  My second guest post over at Frugal Living NW is up!  This post highlights one of our favorite hiking places, McDonald Forest near Corvallis.  So thankful to have the opportunity to do a couple fun posts on such a practical and helpful site.  Go check it out and give them some comment love.

Most of their posts are about saving money in the NW (readers from all over will benefit from their posts), but right now they are doing a series on frugal family outings.  Check out their growing list of places to visit in greater Portland area.  Also, check out my first post for them on Hoyt Arboretum.

When we took the pictures (a long time ago) that are in BOTH articles I had no idea I would be including them in a guest post.  One post I am wearing a St. Patrick’s shirt from 6 years ago and gym shorts, and the other post shows me wearing 3 awkward and thick sweatshirts after being ill prepared for a cold hike.  Just keepin’ it real I suppose.

And on the other great news…the ol’ blog got a make-over!  The hubs spent hours sprucing up the place to make it more visually appealing and cleaner.  Isn’t he amazing? I would have absolutely no idea how to do this stuff.  It is still a work in progress, but it finally has most of the elements I was hoping to include (there is a bug or two that will be fixed soon).

Let me know if you are having a hard time digging anything up and I will send you a link.  The search feature should help with most of that.  All of the posts are still there, but we are still working on some of the categorization.  It is now time for me to dig through most of my old posts and try and re-categorize them into my new streamlined list.  Fun stuff!

School Time Today: Big Dipper


The little ones and I had a great time talking about stars and constellations.  They are loving dot-to-dots right now and constellations intrigued them because of the similarities. We used the ipad to find pictures to copy and I helped them draw dots on a piece of black construction paper. After we placed our dots they covered them in silver star stickers.  They both copied as much of the word as they wanted to on their own.  Last, I made lines for them to trace the words as well.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Rainbows

Last week the kids and I did a fun activity we have never tried before.  I saw something similar on the internet, and tried to turn it into a simple science experiment for the kids.

I spread out a layer of old baking soda onto a cookie sheet and then filled mini muffin tins with a small amount of white vinegar. I added food coloring to the vinegar and made a few different colors. One drop for red, blue, yellow and green, and a half of a drop (done by using a tooth pick) of each color I used when I was mixing colors. We put on some of the kids play shirts, and went at it. When the vinegar is dropped onto the baking soda with a dropper it sizzles and bubbles.

Later, I offered to give the kids a little pile of flour and had them make hypotheses about what would happen. Would it sizzle and fizz like the baking soda?

They absolutely loved it and spent almost an hour playing quietly.  I was having so much fun watching them that I did not realize how much video I had shot.  Instead of editing it too much, I just decided to put it all up (thank you to Hubs for all the help).  I am pretty sure most of you do not want to watch this much footage of the tots doing this activity, but I thought some other little ones would have fun watching along. I know my children LOVE to watch footage of other children doing anything.

 

Supplies:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Food coloring
  • Old medicine droppers
  • Baking sheet
  • Mini muffin tin or small bowls
  • Flour or other things to experiment with

Happy Monday!

Part 1

Part 2

Cleaning up the mess together.

 

Weekend at Eagle Crest

Every time we take a trip with the kids we are reminded that they are “adventures” rather than “vacations.”  Less sleep, more work.  Still awesome.  I love introducing my kids to new things and giving them experiences.  We have some friends over in the Bend/Redmond area and we love to visit with them when we are able to make it work.

Our dear friends the Comptons happened to be heading to Sunriver over the same weekend.  We seem to have a nack for taking vacations simultaneously.  Back in October we did the Disneyland thing and drove down together, and this weekend we did the same.  Although this trip was MUCH shorter in length and drive.  We met up at Starbucks with the Comptons at exactly the same time.  This may or may not have something to do with our husbands “aTEXTed” at the hip tendency…or Jocelyn and my slightly compulsive planning tendencies.  We rolled out and headed over the pass.  They were gems for sticking with us and Eric even helped Conrad chain up.  I asked Conrad if he packed any of those “manly work gloves.” He laughed at me and said he did not have any.  I fed the kids crackers and chatted with Jocelyn.  There are many times when I am glad I am a girl.  Chaining up in a snowy pass is one of those times.  Not much I could do except for offering the boys some diaper wipes for their (glove-less) hands after they completed the task.  For the record it took them 18 minutes to put them on and 5 minutes to get them off a few miles down the road.  I am pretty sure the guy in front of us was trying to race to see who was fasted when they were unchaining.  Love competitive boys.

Which also reminds me of the drive down to Disneyland.  They might have left at 4 something and we might have left a couple hours after that (because I need sleep to be sane). We also might have caught up to them later in the day.

Look at this sweet boy! Can you resist those eyes?

A shot Jocelyn grabbed of 2 out of our 3 Littles in our swagger wagon during the big chain up.

This is why we chained up.

This is false advertising.  Hubs can’t get enough of apps that jazz up the pictures.

For lunch we stopped in Sisters at Three Creeks Brewing Company. Table for ten please! Four adults, four kids, and two babies.  Wow! A few years ago when we met the Comptons we could have said, “Party of four and a highchair please.” We hit it just right and got a huge table immediately.  Soon after the entire lobby was full of hungry people waiting.  It is always fun taking this many kids out to eat. 🙂  The daddies even took the 5 bigger ones out for a walk while we were waiting for food.  There might have been some snowball action going on.  Check out Jocelyn’s fabulous blog for shots of that action and why we won “Moms of The Year.”

Our boys had a blast pretending they were pirates and we only had to break up a few friendly sword fights.  First with forks…then with knives. 🙂  Coloring sheets make perfect pirate scopes.  They even shared some secrets and serious giggles.  They always can be found chatting away like old souls.  I love these sweet kids.  It is fun to see how boys with a pretty good age gap can be such good buddies.

For dinner we did some toddler meals hotel style.  Trader Joe’s organic microwave mac and cheese (quite the joke to make in the tiny little bowls I packed), apples, and whatever ever I could dig out of our healthy sized snack bag.  Dinner of champs for sure!

This kid is a serious appreciator of all things cozy.  He was loving our bed.  We stayed at The Lodge at Eagle Crest.  They have newly renovated rooms and we scored an awesome deal on Groupon and got both nights in a suite with a fireplace and kitchenette for $121!

My kids like to play, “Let’s touch EVERYTHING in the entire hotel room.”  After some Lysol wipe action we let them go at it.  Nothing more fun than exploring a new space.  I am still glad they have all their fingers.  We had a few close calls.

After dinner we went to visit my dear college friend Breanne and her twins (her hubby was out of town).  We had a blast catching up and hearing all about how life with twins has been for her.  Her girls are precious and I had fun reminiscing about what it was like to care for young twins.  She was telling about all the twins born to people who attended Western Oregon near the same time.  I knew of a few more and we are pretty sure we have hit on a very peculiar trend.  Whats the number we landed on Bre? I think you knew 7 couples?  In my circle I have had 2 girls in my wedding party, myself, and a college roommate who have all attended Western (a fairly small state college) and had twins.  That whole, “something in the water” thing…might really hold some water.

The next morning the twinners woke up at 6:00 after falling asleep at 10:30.  When you get back late and then realize you don’t have any bedding for the sleeper couch you call the front desk.  Then you wait for 35 minutes for bedding to arrive and then try to calm down kids from, “THE BEST DAY EVER!” Then it is magically 10:30.  That is how that works.  What do you do with twins who wake up at 6:00? Take them for a long run and out to breakfast.  Breanne and her family own and run the amazing One Street Down Cafe. If you are in the Redmond area you MUST go eat there for breakfast or lunch.

 

 

Daddy was super sweet and packed a game for the kids.  First time playing Sound Bingo.

We discussed that swimming might be an option after they saw their swim suits.  At this point the truth was than there was really no option.  There would be swimming. We figured the best strategy would be just go swimming first thing in the morning unless we wanted to hear about it every 3 minutes.  So in the dead of winter we put on their swim suits and more polar fleece over the top than you have ever seen.

This girl was so brave in the water. She jumped off the side eagerly and even got under the water and did not complain. It was so fun to see how relaxed she was and how much fun she was having.

Post swimming buddy shot.  These kids were drunk on fun and hardly noticed being soaking wet and under dressed for the walk out to the car.  Daddy went with the throw them in the car and run approach.  I chased Sweet Baby around the grassy area and hunted for airplanes while they swam.

During the afternoon I did some shopping at Old Mill while Hubs drove and the kids napped (not an easy coordination).  This scene at REI made me laugh.

We went to Pizza Mondo for dinner and got the “White Pizza” and added chicken. We agreed that it was probably the best pizza we have EVER eaten. Sadly we have no pictures of this thing of beauty.

For a special treat we had whole wheat double chocolate cookies and milk in bed together while watching part of a movie.  You can see how well that went over.  After this they went down like champs right at bed time.

On Monday Conrad took the twins for another early morning adventure and they fed the ducks AND a swan half a box of Trader Joe’s crackers.  Little Man said that the swan was “the boss and took all the crackers.” I asked about why Little Man was wearing shorts out and Hubs said, “Well I was just taking them in the van to get coffee and then we saw ducks.” Anybody with young children knows if you see ducks you stop…even if you are wearing shorts. Simple as that.

And this concludes this LONG post of our vacation.  I will leave you with the picture of this swan.  Swans are graceful. Adventures with children are not. But they are good. The hard stuff is often the good stuff. I love making memories with my four people.

*We also saw our awesome friends the Purscelley’s.  We went for a lovely windy walk on some awesome trails and played at the park.  We have kids similar ages and they are an amazing family.  Andy and Sara were even youth leaders of ours when Hubs and I were in high school.  We had intended on doing lunch, but ours were making it clear that cheese and crackers in the van would be a much better choice. Unfortunately we do not have pictures. But trust me, all our kids would have been so cute lined up.  The only problem is that it would have been virtually impossible to capture.

Happy 4th Birthday My Sweet Twins.

I can’t believe that today you turn four years old.  Four years ago today we became parents for the first time.  We went from having no children, to having two children.  We considered ourselves blessed to get to experience what it was like having twins.  Before you were born your Daddy’s common phrase was, “Can you believe we are having TWO babies!?!”

First birthday whole wheat muffin "cake" with yogurt frosting.

You have brought us endless amounts of joy.  Our lives shifted in HUGE ways after you were born.  You teach us on a daily basis what is important.  Something about having twins threw us full force into family life.  We could not pretend to be able to do the things we did before you in the same way.  God made it clear that our life was to change.  He had something better for us.  We longed for you.  We waited for you.  We were happy to accommodate.

You have been best buddies and partners in everything from the very beginning.  You slept better together as newborns, entertained yourselves happily together as babies, shared your precious animals crackers with each other when we expected you to keep them for yourself, put your brains together to scheme up crazy antics as young toddlers, and became full-fledged best friends as older toddlers.  Now you are four, and will continue to define what it means to be brother, sister, and share the term and bond of “twins”.

Caught sharing your precious animal crackers.
Crazy antics.
Best Friends

When you were younger we would try to do “special” things with each of you separately from time to time.  We were often surprised to find out that you really seemed to have less fun without your twin.  Now that you are a bit older you seem to be able to appreciate it for short amounts of time.

We go through our day-to-day activities and aren’t fully aware how you being twins and close friends affects our life.  When you are separated from each other or we go into a new situation we sometimes get glimpses.

As I was preparing to take you (Little Man) for a “Mommy date” you say to your sister, “I don’t know what to order at lunch! Can you tell me what to order?”  I thought it was such a cute window into the security you have in each other that I often miss.  You were feeling apprehensive about doing something you normally have no fear over.  You knew you would be fine, but wanted your sister’s help.

"It's okay! I will be back. I will text you!"

When offered something special, you often want your twin to get the same things as well.  If it is good, you know your sibling would want it too.

Being a twin is a special thing many don’t get to experience.  I am so glad that you guys have fully embraced the bond.  You love each other, value each other, take different roles, then switch roles seamlessly when a change is needed, and share most things like it is just the way it’s supposed to be.

You both are a little preoccupied about the future.  You both want to know who you will marry. You both think it makes perfect sense to marry each other.  You are partners now, and I love that you want to be partners later.  Even though you will someday start lives on your own, I pray you will always be close and share this special bond.

First big walk outside.

What a twin Birthday means at our house.

  • Two times to sing Happy Birthday.  Everybody deserves their own little song.
  • A special meal of choice.  Usually you agree on the same thing.  If not, we make sure everybody has something they enjoy.
  • A choice of dessert.  Often cakes.  Something for each twin to “blow out.”
  • Usually a party, sometimes a special day instead.
  • A couple presents.  This year a couple smaller ones and a big one to share.  I feel sharing gifts only helps you learn and creates less fights for the future.  Nobody can say “Hey that is MINE” when they know it is “ours”.

So far you have absolutely no issues sharing your birthday.  I kinda think you prefer it this way.  What could be more fun than sharing a special day with your best friend?

Storytime on your first birthday.
Cupcakes on your 3rd birthday.

We love you precious our precious Littles! Happy Birthday!

 

Our Arts and Crafts Supply Stash

Fingers, paint, paper.

Since I am always curious to know how other people do things and what they use with their little ones, I thought I would share what art supplies we have and enjoy.

Here is our basic stash that has slowly accumulated over time (along with an affordable source if applicable). I have included the things we use on a fairly regular basis.  We have some other odds and ends, but these are our main supplies.

 

  • Watercolor paints- Purchased during back to school time
  • Paint with water book
  • Tempera type paint- Ikea
  • Paint brushes- Ikea and art store clearance
  • Oil paints-purchased at a local art store with a Groupon
  • Finger paint and paper (paper on clearance at local art store)
  • Couple canvases-Local art store sale or Michaels with coupon
  • Spray bottle of water (for blurring paint and markers)
  • Coloring books
  • Coloring Crayons-Back to school
  • Colored pencils-Back to school
  • Multi colored paper-Ikea (colored regular paper) or sometimes Costco (construction type)
  • White paper
  • Roll of big paper-Ikea
  • Large circle hole punch (great for faces, gift tags, garlands, etc)-Craft store with half off coupon
  • Markers(Washable, regular, and Sharpie). -Back to school for kid ones and Costco for Sharpies.
  • Kid scissors-Back to school
  • Tape-Christmas or back to school
  • Glue sticks-Back to school
  • Stickers (The kids like to create bodies around the little smiley face stickers)-We like to get stickers at Learning Palace
  • Q-Tips-(for painting or paint with water books)-Drug store sale
  • Coffee filters (Usually for coloring in with markers and spraying with water)

 

Future purchases or birthday gifts they will be getting:

  • Water color pencils
  • Do-a-Dot paint (like Bingo daubers)-Michales with 50% off coupon (Thanks Lisa for the tip!)
  • Some sort of clay

What are your favorite arts and crafts supplies to use with your little ones?

 

 

 

Family “Date Night”

What to do when you have the itch to go out for a nice evening on the town, but don’t have a babysitter (I mean grandma) lined up?  Dress the kids up and go anyway!

You make reservations so you don’t have to waste precious time waiting for a table.

You request “al fresco” so you don’t have to worry as much about noise or crumbs.

You walk a few blocks to get some gelato and let the tots ogle the selections a bit to build the anticipation.

You make them pose with you on a bench to try and get the perfect mama/child shot on the perfect shade of green bench…and then give up.

You ask for extra cups to split the yumminess and you dive in.

You find that the local book store is still open and the pull is too strong to resist.  You try to explain to the twins why you are supposed to talk softly in a book store.  Cultural norms are confusing to 3 year olds.

You find them both separately assuming the same posture in different parts of the store and realize that yes, they really are twins.  And also growing up.

 

You attempt to get a family shot. Fail. And call it a night.

Admit that it was more fun with the kids than it would have been without.

Call it the best night ever.