Elf on the Shelf: Why We Don’t Participate

Posted on
Categories Christianity, Holidays, Infants, ToddlersTags , , , , , 6 Comments
   A picture of us, the stick-figure family, at a Christmas light show. 

Growing up, my Decembers were filled with family Christmas parties, Christmas lights,candy canes, homemade glittery sweaters made by my Great-Grandma C, decorating sugar cookies, hand-print paintings of wreaths and reindeer, the Christmas parade down the local boulevard, Christmas trees, homemade tamales by my other Great-Grandma C, singing Christmas carols, attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service, doing gift exchanges, lots of shopping, watching Christmas movies galore, and more. I didn’t have the Elf on the Shelf and, here’s a shocker (or maybe not), neither will my children.

I don’t know much about Elf on the Shelf,  so I had to look up what it was all about and I found on their official website that “The Elf on the Shelf® is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their elf each morning.- Elf on the Shelf“.

First off, let me quickly say, that my children are young (I have a 2-1/2 year old little boy and 10 month old twin girls) and right now, they have no idea what Elf on the Shelf is. When they do get old enough, it’s just another thing to take care of when the kids go to bed and… I don’t have time for that.

Most importantly, for me and my home, Jesus is the reason for the season. We know that Jesus forgives our naughty sins when we ask for forgiveness. Jesus doesn’t keep tabs. And quite frankly, I don’t want want to teach my kids that Santa does and then emphasize the Naughty or Nice list.

We try to parent with Jesus in mind, with unconditional love, grace, and mercy. And Elf on the Shelf doesn’t really fall in line with those values.

But, that doesn’t keep me from laughing aloud at the pictures of all the mischievous Elves my friends have “adopted.”

Nadia Cakes
              An elf behind the glass eating a cupcake at a local bakery.

I have a tendency of eating my words. But, this one, I am sure is a “for sure” kind of thing.

(For the record, my children are allowed to believe in Santa as long as they want to. I think it builds their imagination. But, it is mine and my husband’s job, to ensure that our children know that Christmas is about Christ; and that Christ is not just about Christmas.)

Kayla at Chasing a Daredevil and Twins

Kayla is a wife to her best friend and a full-time mother to her two-year-old Daredevil and her ten-month-old twin girls. Kayla draws stick figures and blogs about motherhood and other meaningful life experiences at Chasing a Daredevil and Twins. She also lives on the edge by undertaking new adventures, her latest of which is raising chickens. Connect with Kayla on Facebook and on her blog

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Do You Celebrate Christmas?

Posted on
Categories Holidays, ParentingTags , , , , , , 1 Comment

It’s hard not to get swept up in the ‘Christmas spirit’ when you are immersed in a winter wonderland that lights up every December with magical lights, Christmas carollers, bustling shopping centres and generally happy people.

Every year around this time people ask me if I celebrate Christmas. My answer is this: I celebrate it on a social level – not on a personal level.

My family is from a Muslim country where Christmas is observed by less than 2% of the population. December 25th is a national holiday in Pakistan, but not for the same reason as it is here in Canada. There, it is the birthday of founder Quaid-e-Azam, who along with Mahatma Gandhi, carved the country out of the Indian subcontinent. The major holidays in the Pakistani calendar are the two Eids: one commemorating the end of Ramadan, the other for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

My hubby – Mr. Mama – hails from British Guyana where Muslims, Christians and Hindus celebrate their other’s festivals. His experience with Christmas is different from mine. A Guyanese Christmas includes many of the Canadian elements, plus a traditional meal of pepper pot (delicious sweet beef stew) and festive Caribbean music.

Growing up Canadian, we were introduced to local and Gaelic Christmas traditions by our ‘Chachi’, an Irish lady who married our uncle. As kids, my cousins and I would go over to their place on Christmas Day to decorate their tree, watch holiday specials on TV, gorge on candy and junk food, then proceed to eat a whole turkey dinner complete with the trimmings. It was an annual event, and lots of fun. Oh and it was kids only which added to the excitement! I suspect our parents were more than happy to have us out of their hair.

Back at home, my parents never put up a Christmas tree, and I don’t remember ever asking them for one. It was enough for me to go over to Chacha and Chachi’s and celebrate it in their home. I was content with watching TV specials throughout December, getting gifts for friends (if I wanted to, no pressure there), and wishing people ‘Happy Christmas’, Irish-style.

Once we all grew up, things went back to December 25th being another day except that businesses and stores are closed and people stayed home from work. Often, our family and friends would take this opportunity to host dinner parties for no other reason than to get together. These dinner parties did not have any special themes, nor were they held in homes decorated for the holiday. The food was always served buffet style with an Indo-Pakistani menu.

Other years, we would travel during the holidays as far away as India & Pakistan for a few weeks, or as close as Toronto for a few days to visit relatives. I remember being very surprised when we visited New Delhi one year in December and saw inflatable Santa Clauses all over. The lack of snow and other North American symbols made me forget it was the holidays and that many people in India celebrate Christmas.

One of my favourite things about the holiday break was when non-celebrating friends who had moved away came back to visit their families between Christmas and New Years. It was a great opportunity meet up because, like me, these friends were free on the 25th!

In my opinion, it’s not about whether you have a traditional feast and open presents on December 25th. It’s about the mood during the entire month leading up to the holidays. Over the years, I’ve learned all the non-religious Christmas carols by heart, sang at old age homes during the holiday season, and wrapped gifts for less fortunate children. Last but not least, I’ve shopped to my heart’s content up to and including Boxing Week… scooping up deals for myself to last the whole year. Why not? I was single then.

Now that we are responsible adults, we will share gifts with our close neighbours and exchange cards with office colleagues. I considered getting gifts for the educators at Missy and Missy’s daycare, but it’s hard to think of what to get so I think we will just stick with cards decorated by the little ones themselves.

I’ve embraced the best of the festive spirit of the country in which I live. All without compromising my personal beliefs and values, and without the pressure or stress that comes with finding the perfect gift or hosting an elaborate feast.

Mister and Missy are born in Canada to parents of the same faith yet different cultural backgrounds. They like their Guyanese curry and roti, Indo-Pak tandoori chicken, Christmasey eggnog, and Quebecois French fries. Now the question is: how will they view Christmas when they grow up?

It’s only one week away from Christmas Day. What will you be doing on December 25th? And do you think Christmas is mainly for the kids?

Happy Holidays!

2Cuteblog lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and their three year old twins. You can read about their multicultural adventures on her personal blog at http://2cute.intiaz.com or follow her on twitter @2cuteblog

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Help! How Do You Keep Holiday Gifts in Check?

Posted on
Categories Parenting, Preschoolers, ToysTags , , 5 Comments

This is for sure a first-world problem, and not a new one, at that. But I’m really feeling it this year, and it doesn’t exactly fill me with holiday joy.

I have made a really concerted effort – as best I can – to keep my girls in check when it comes to material things. Our toy collection is far from overflowing.

For holidays and birthdays, we keep things really low-key at our house. The girls usually get one big, shared present (like their train set), and then they each have one gift to open. We follow a similar pattern for their birthday, and we always specific “no gifts, please” on the invitation to their birthday parties.

I consider toys and art supplies to be developmental necessities, and I’m pretty particular about what we have. If I think the girls would benefit from a new set of pattern blocks, for example, I buy it for them. I don’t necessarily wait for a holiday or birthday to come along.

I think it helps that we watch very little TV, so the girls are rarely exposed to commercials. We talk about the advertisements we see in magazines. The girls know those are working to make us think we need things; it’s up to us to use our brains and decide if we do, in fact, need something.

I am really happy with the balance we have…but that’s tough to maintain when it comes to family at the holidays.

We have a very small family, and they all live at least 250 miles away. My dad always asks me what the girls would like (or what I’d like them to have, as he {correctly} joked this year). My aunt asks, too…but then she feels she has to do more. “I can’t just give them house shoes!” she protested.

What’s frustrating is that my girls will be OVER THE MOON with some fuzzy kitty cat house shoes. They had some a couple of years ago, and they played in them all the time.

I witnessed last year my girls getting really overwhelmed during one family holiday exchange. Instead of giving them a gift bag of art supplies, each book / box of crayons / package of clay was individually wrapped. My B, then just shy of four years old, melted into my arms in a puddle of tears. That was so incredibly out of character for her…but she just couldn’t handle all the craziness, I guess.

I feel almost guilty that I’m complaining about people wanting to buy things for my children. I know my family finds a lot of joy in doing that. But I feel like I need to protect our boundaries…and protect my girls from being too overwhelmed.

Am I being too particular? Ungrateful, even? How do you manage the influx of STUFF at holidays and birthdays?

MandyE is mom to soon-to-be five-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Holiday Greetings

Posted on
Categories Activities, Celebrations, Family, Relationships, Theme WeekTags , , , 2 Comments

I love the holidays.  Holiday music, baking opportunities, community events, Christmas lights–all of it makes me smile. I don’t enjoy shopping during the holidays at all, though. The crowds give me headaches, so I’m usually done procuring gifts well before Thanksgiving.

One of my favourite activities at the end of the year is sending out holiday cards. Since becoming a mother, I haven’t been nearly as good at keeping in touch with friends around the world, and our holiday greetings are an annual opportunity to remind the people we care about that we love them. For nearly six years, I maintained a public blog, but there are plenty of folks for whom the blogosphere is a huge mystery. The act of addressing and stamping envelopes, filling them with our family’s good wishes, is very satisfying. I know that Christmas cards end up being a chore for many people, and I’m very glad that I find the whole experience to be fun!

I usually order photo cards with a photo from the year. When my husband is home for the holidays, I send out a family photo, but more often the picture is of our twin daughters alone. After all, my husband and I look pretty much the same year after year. Getting nice family photos is a challenge all its own, and after the first year, I elected to leave it to the professionals. A couple of years ago, we invested in an amazing photo shoot with the talented Brandi Nellis, but most years, we just hit up the Sears or JC Penney photo studio.

Although our nuclear family celebrates Christmas’s religious significance, we have many relatives who are Muslim, several friends who are Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist, and many more friends and relatives who are altogether secular. I try to pick a winter-themed photo card rather than a Christmas one, and add a handwritten note to recipients who we know will be celebrating Christmas or Eid, if it happens to fall in the winter.

Along with the photo card, I include a family letter, describing the highlights of our year. The majority of the letter usually ends up being about the children’s interests, milestones and accomplishments. This year, I invited our daughters to make their own contributions to the annual letter, and they each drew a picture and wrote a few sentences about the holiday season this year. It was pretty amazing to see them as excited about reaching out through the mail as I am every year.

How do you handle holiday greetings, and do you include your children in your efforts?

 

Sadia, her husband and their 5-year-old girls, M and J, send their holiday greetings from El Paso, TX, where they have just experienced their first Texas desert snow. Sadia’s husband told her about desert snow during his first tour of duty in Iraq, but it has to be seen to believed.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Halloween Overload

Posted on
Categories Balance, SafetyTags , , , , , 1 Comment

I have a confession. I am all Halloweened out, and there are still five days to go.

This is the first year our daughters haven’t needed help thinking up Halloween costume ideas. M has been asking to go by the nickname “Monkey-Moo Dadadada!!!” for several months now, so a monkey costume was an obvious choice. (She specifies, consistently, that her nickname is spelled “with 3 explamation marks at the end”.) J decided to keep to the jungle theme by being a tiger. They’ve always had coordinated costumes, and I don’t think it’s occurred to them not to. A monkey and tiger make for simple costumes. They’re not what’s wearing me down, although if you’ve got ideas to help me turn out an inexpensive tiger suit before Friday, I’m all ears. I thought I had another weekend to finish up the costumes, but learned that kids can wear costimes to school on Friday. I can’t have mine be only uncostumed children there.

The Halloween-related activities at school are overkill. I can’t even keep them straight. I had to provide each of my children with a large bag of candy yesterday to contribute to the school-wide trick-or-treating effort. I need to provide treats for the Monday Halloween party in J’s classroom. We’re also supposed to contribute a dollar per child for Friday evening’s school festivities, and I have a nagging feeling that I’ve forgotten some other contribution expected of us. Of course, I’m building up our home treat contribution for the trick-or-treaters. I’m that lady who has pencils, erasers and stickers in the bowl alongside the chocolate and lollipops.

M is having nightmares about witches and ghosts. I found her in J’s bed this morning because she had a “bad bad bad bad dream” and needed comfort during the night. In years past, she has elected to stay home with me to avoid seeing scary costumes while J goes trick-or-treating with my husband or neighbours.

I’ve done what I can to focus on the communal aspect of Halloween, and downplay the commercialism. My former neighbour always throws a fantastic party on Halloween that’s early enough for little kids to get their fill of the fun without the fear. This year, though, Halloween is running away with my kids and I have little to say. They’re hardly excited about their costumes, but have bought into the candy, candy, candy culture, even though they know that we’ll expect them to moderate their consumption.

How do you keep the focus off sugar at Halloween?

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Happy 4th of July!

Posted on
Categories Celebrations, Development, ToddlersTags 1 Comment

 
My boy/girl twins, Danny & Abigail, are now 26 months old.
Happy 4th of July, everyone! One of the things that holidays makes me think about is how  much our kiddos have grown and changed in the last few years. So far, we’ve shared three July 4ths with our kids.  

 Two newborns: 4th of July
We were still in that sleep deprived, colicky, horribly stressed stage. The kids were still up a lot at night, still eating all the time and hadn’t really settled into that peaceful, sweet 5-9 month baby stage. They were more at the needy, screamy stage. We went to a picnic at a friend’s house (who also had a new baby) and had fun—but fed babies, swaddled babies and tried to get them to eat all afternoon. One of the other dads went home and told his wife, “Wow, that Danny is pretty screamy, huh?”. Fantastic. Yep, that’s my kid! And yet, we did think this was a pretty good day.

First July 4th
First July 4th

 Two one year olds: 4th of July
It was another rainy day—here is Boston this year, this seems like all we get–and we had friends over for a picnic. Our kids “played” with the other kids—and Abigail proceeded to try to eat all of the younger kids’ food. The kids were able to eat the same foods we did and were happy to play around and let Mommy & Daddy chat, at least a bit. Danny showed off by taking a handful of steps across the playroom—and we even got it on camera! We thought this was pretty good!

Second July 4th
Second July 4th -Abigail’s the food thief with the pigtails
 
Danny on July 4th, 2008
Danny on July 4th,

Two 2 year olds: 4th of July
This year, we hopped a plan and went to visit Grandma and Grandpa. We traveled light this year—we even left the stroller at home! The kids have been excited to see Grandma for weeks now and have been talking about the trip and how they plan to sit next to Daddy (win for Mommy here) on the plane and will sleep while we’re in the air. The kids have fun in the warmer MD weather and enjoy getting out and feeding the neighborhood ducks and playing on the playground. Six adults for two kids make for the best ratio ever!

Little people-July 2009
Little people-July 2009

Each year seems to get more fun. Am I going to feel the same way about three? And four? (And fifteen?)

Anyone else wondering where your kids will be next year and what will be different?

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Foodie Friday: Holiday meals and two toddlers

Posted on
Categories Feeding, Feeding Older Children, Foodie FridaysTags , Leave a comment

 As always, if you have a topic in mind that you’d like to see discussed on Foodie Fridays, or have a tip or some advice you’d like to pass on, just write it in the comments? We’d love to hear from you.

To those families out there that celebrate Christmas, I hope that you had a wonderful day yesterday. For us, the difference between celebrating Christmas with two 8 month olds and celebrating with two 20 month olds was night and day. In some ways, it was a lot harder—-they are more easily distrupted by new people and different places, as well as exciting things like, well, all those presents—-and yet in some ways this is so, so much better than last year. They actually enjoy the holiday, the people, the attention and the gifts and we could see the first glimmer of what Christmas with two little kids is like. Excitment and loss of routine and fatigue—-and fun. Lots of fun.

Anyway, unlike last year, when we ate our big holiday dinner during their afternoon nap (ahh, days of 2 naps, I miss you so!), this year they were awake and ready to participate. And yet, holiday meals aren’t really geared towards two toddlers. We wrote last week about traditions changing with babies and toddlers, and I think this is true for traditions like holidays meals as well. The days of a long, drawn-out meal with a glass of wine, or two, everyone lingering at the table to chat until later when dessert is served—those days are long gone, for us at least. My childless brother and his girlfriend—-they are free to do that until, of course, one of my kiddos goes hunting Uncle Josh for a story or to beg him to turn on the tv. (Uncle Josh has been known to really enjoy college sports on tv and MY kids, they really enjoy tv, of any kind).

And the holiday meal, in all its deliciousness? Well, not really aimed at toddler appetites either, unless you count dessert. Their favorite foods? Yogurt, blueberries, cheese, frozen peas (only frozen, not thawed—weird little kiddos), oatmeal with blueberries, pears, apples, goldfish—-none of these scrumptious foods are on a holiday dinner menu. Meat? My kids laugh at the idea of eating meat. Mashed potatoes? They’ve never liked the texture of potatoes, white or sweet. Their favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner was the spanakopita that someone brought for the handful of vegetarians there. There was none at Christmas dinner. Well, the spanakopita and the desserts. Desserts they were all over, especially the pumpkin cheesecake. So, for Christmas dinner, I got to watch my kids pick at a pile of food, and then have to feed them dinner several hours later before bed. And no, dinner is not pumpkin pie and whipped cream, as fantastic as that might be. Do I want to raise adventuresome eaters who will try anything? Sure. But, holidays are not the time when I work at expanding my kids’ culinary bounds and pushing them to try new things. Holidays are hard enough—we can have yogurt, AGAIN, for dinner. Merry Christmas, kiddos.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Foodie Friday: Favorite holiday recipes

Posted on
Categories Feeding, Feeding Older Children, Foodie FridaysTags , , 4 Comments

 As always, if you have a topic in mind that you’d like to see discussed on Foodie Fridays, or have a tip or some advice you’d like to pass on, just write it in the comments? We’d love to hear from you.

I think that one of the best parts of the December holiday season is the holiday cooking. Last year, I was too tired to do much but an obligatory batch of Christmas cookies, and I don’t even remember what I made. I was still recovering from months of sleep deprivation, and busy introducing solids and finger foods to 8 month old babies. I paid much more attention to rice krispies and shredded cheese (my favorite finger foods!) than to holiday food. This year, however, I am back in the swing of things! Ok, mostly back in the swing of things—let’s not get crazy, I do have two toddlers destroying running around my house. Yesterday, they tried to unwrap the lights from tree. It’s a small miracle we didn’t have a tree topple in the living room.  

Anyway, I know I talked about cookies a few weeks ago, but I thought I’d share a few more of our holiday favorites.

Panettone Bread Pudding
I really don’t like Rachel Ray as much as my recipe collection suggests I do, but occasionally she has a really great recipe. And, as a bonus for parents of two toddlers, they don’t take too long to make. We’ll leave the complex, multi-step fabulous recipes for a different stage in our life. Anyway,  these are delicious. You can leave out the rum and they are still tasty, but they are even better with it.  This is a great use for stale panettone, when someone forgets to close the bag.

Christmas wreath bread
This bread was so popular at my family’s house one Christmas morning that they’ve insisted it become a holiday tradition. Two babies? Who care?—they want the bread! We try not to anger family on Christmas morning, so bread it is. 

Roasted butternut squash with herbs de provence
This is an old Cooking Light recipe that has become a favorite around here. It’s especially useful since we tend to be given butternut squash by family that grows them—-I guess it’s hard to just grow a few? This is a great use for them. And, the best part is that it tastes like it’s covered with butter. Not so much!

One of our favorite things to do is cook with the kiddos, so there are often two kiddos at the bar “helping” us cook. All of these recipes are good for kiddos helping. Lots of dumping of ingredients and mixing and such. 

Do you have favorite holiday recipes? Share them with us! And, to everyone who is traveling for the holidays—-have a safe (quiet?) trip! If you see two frazzled parents chasing 20 month old twins through the Manchester airport, that’s us! Wish us luck…..

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Going It Alone: Solo Air Travel with Twins

Posted on
Categories Products, Toddlers, TravelTags , 11 Comments

Maddie, Riley, and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my in-laws in the Detroit suburbs. While the kids and I have taken a number of flights together, this was actually the first time I’d ever flown alone with them. In the past, I’ve been lucky enough to have a grandparent (Thanks, Ba!) available to help us on on the plane, and, while I could imagine how I could manage on my own, I’ve dreaded the day that I had to make a solo journey. Travelling solo with twin toddlers? It's easier than you might think. Dread no more: we did it, and it was so easy I’m embarrassed to write about it. Here are a few things that I think made our trip go so well and some things to think about if you find yourself traveling by yourself with your kiddos.

1. Talk it up before you go. I told the kids we’d be getting on the airplane, that they’d have their carseats, that we’d eat a snack and take a nap. I told them who we’d see when we got off the plane. We talked about the trip a lot before we left, and all the talk got them really excited about it all.

2. Travel at off-peak times. We left at noon on Thanksgiving day. The airport was empty. When we went through security, it was us and about ten TSA agents. That’s it. Not feeling the stress of the busy holiday crush made me feel more relaxed and made all of the logistics that much easier.

3. Check in ahead of time online. I had our boarding passes all printed out and I’d even paid for our checked luggage online so we had fewer logistics to deal with at the airport.

4. Hitch a ride. If you can, get someone to drive you to the airport. I was lucky enough to have a friend drive us in our own car, so I was able to have the carseats ready to go and our luggage loaded in advance. Our friend just dropped us at curbside checkin and we were all set. A taxi would have worked fine, too, but it’s nicer when a friend can see you off.

5. Limit your carry-ons. (Please stop laughing. Really. Stop.) You can do it! You can keep your carry-on luggage to one backpack. In my backpack, I had: a change of clothes for each kid, two coloring books, a bag of markers/stickers/crayons, a bag of new board books, a bag of snacks, two empty water bottles, and my essentials (wallet, boarding passes, phone, etc.) I also packed the twins’ hats and jackets in our checked luggage so that I wasn’t dealing with those bulky items in addition to the two kids, carseats, and my backpack. I packed my own purse in our luggage to use once we arrived at our destination, although I could have just used the backpack the whole time. I was able to wear the backpack through the airport and thus have both hands free to manage the twins.

6. Speaking of managing the twins, they rode in style in GoGo Kids Travelmates. I love these. They are amazing. I attached them to the carseats the night before, then strapped the seats into our car with the wheels on using the seatbelt instead of the LATCH system. Once at the airport, I lifted the seat—kid and all—out of the car and we literally hit the ground rolling. At security, we just popped off the quick-release wheels, and the carseat and handle went right through the scanner. On the airplane, I pushed on kid ahead of me down the aisle and pulled one behind me; when we got to our seats, I lifted the kids in their carseats one at a time into their airline seats and strapped them in. I have no idea how I would manage two kids and two carseats without our GoGos.

7. Let the kids run around a lot before you put them on the plane. This is pretty elementary, but always worth repeating. They are going to be stuck in those carseats for a long time and they will get fidgety. Run them around in the gate area before you board. You won’t regret it.

8. Travel during naptime. We took off at noon, when the twins usually start their nap. They slept from before the plane leveled out until it was parked at the gate in Detroit. Awesome. Of course, all those new toys and books I packed were for naught, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay. We’ll play with them eventually.

9. Be willing to bend the rules. I never let Maddie and Riley have their special frog and duck and their special blankies out of their cribs, but I did let them have those comfort items on the airplane. Even better, I packed them into little animal-shaped backpacks, so Maddie and Riley each had her and his own carry-on bag. They loved having the responsibility of caring for Duckie and Froggie as we went through the airport and really loved having them to snuggle on the plane. I also let them eat all manner of things that I would not normally let them eat, at least not all at once: fruit snacks, endless crackers, juice, cookies, and a lollipop each. It’s one day. It will be fine.

I’m sure you all have more tips, so feel free to share them in the comments. I have to say that travel, even solo, was much easier at 2.5 than it was a year ago at 18 months. I’m hoping the worst of the travel nightmares are behind us.

Of course, ask me that again after I fly cross-country and back with the kids at Christmas…

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Foodie Friday: Getting older

Posted on
Categories Feeding, Foodie Fridays, Mommy Issues, ToddlersTags , 4 Comments
Abigail at Thanksgiving dinner last year
Abigail at Thanksgiving dinner last year

Goddess wrote a week or two ago about the joy….and ease….of going out to eat at friends’ houses as the twins get older. As we were falling asleep last night, full of turkey, stuffing and homemade pumpkin cheesecake (OMG, was that delicious), my husband and I were having the same discussion. Every year, we drive an hour to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner and eat dinner with a hoard of his/my relatives. Theoretically, it’s a lovely tradition. Last year, with 7 month old twins who were battling their first nasty cold, it was…..exhausting. Terribly, terribly exhausting. My brother, who was there as well, remembers our kids doing fairly well. I remember struggling for 45 minutes to get them to nap, only to have them be up 45 minutes later, juggling babies so that we could eat dinner and leaving early as they melted down.

Danny sits down to Thanksgiving dinner
Danny sits down to Thanksgiving dinner

This year—this year was night and day. It was still the same crowd of family members—this time about 30 of our nearest and dearest family. Happily, all we were required to bring was a pumpkin pie, so at 10am, off we went to Thanksgiving at Grammy’s. The best part? I left with 6 diapers and 2 empty sippy cups in my purse. Ah, the joy of leaving the diaper bag at home. We’ve written about it before, but you can’t say enough about it.  Fantastic! The kids napped for an hour in the car, while Seth and I sipped coffee. They were refreshed and happy once we got there, and within a few minutes were off exploring the toy chest and checking out available snacks. They turned down the old-fashioneds that were being offered (so did I–both for taste and because it was 11:45 in the morning. Goodness.) Anyway, they were lovely, friendly, happy kiddos. They sat in big-kid booster seats for dinner, without straps, giving up their traditional highchairs to littler second cousins who were also there. They ate dinner, with forks and no bibs. Abigail wore a bit of cranberry sauce, but no big deal there. Stuffing was a hit, mashed potatoes not so much—pumpkin cheesecake and apple pie? Huge hits! They got no special food or utensils—just dinner along with everyone else. And when another toddler melted down in the kitchen and was rocked to sleep by her mom, my guys ran around the house in circle, meeting new people and charming all. Ok, maybe I’m a bit biases, but I do think they charmed a least several relations.

So, all of you new moms of twins out there, who are dealing with the first set of holidays, times two? Just know, the holidays get so much easier, and, best of all…..more fun!

Abigail & Danny sit and chat with the grown-ups during cocktail hour
Abigail & Danny sit and chat with the grown-ups during cocktail hour

I am already shopping for Christmas for my kiddos, which is just a blast this year. Anyone else have a great, easy Thanksgiving yesterday? I hope everyone got lots of pie and turkey and is happily at home today, playing with kids and eating leftovers.  Me? I’m listening to my brother and husband get through a list of chores, including painting, while I sit on the couch and read a book. Lovely.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone