Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things I will miss...

I  have always been a baby person, love the infant smell and how cuddly they are but man I must admit that this stage with the twins is unbelievably fun.  We are definitely getting out of the toddler stage and entering the kid phase.  I think the best part is that the transition is slow so we are embracing every aspect and enjoying the last peaks of the baby phase.  The boys have been talking soo much for so long that it’s hard to remember them not talking.  They are talking about going to school and all their friends and sometimes it’s just refreshing to hear the baby words peak through for perhaps their last visits.  Things they say that I never want to forget about this stage:

As we pull into our parking spot for swimming lessons:
Mathew:  “Daddy why did you park on the lions?”
Me:  “The lions?  What are you talking about?” then look down to notice the snow has recently just melted and the yellow parking spot lines are showing
Me: “Oh you mean the lines?”
Jason: “Shh don’t correct him...it’s so cute we will miss it”

Driving along one day:
Mathew: “Wow mommy this car sure has a lot of power’s”
Me:  “Pardon”
Mathew: “Our truck has a lot of power's because it sure goes fast”

Me driving Jason’s car which is standard:
Zachary:  “Mommy ..drive fast!”
Me:  “we are driving the speed limit”
Zachary:  “But mommy if you want to go super fast you need to hold onto that black stick..then we zoom off”
Me soo confused at this point....then I shifted gears.....
Zach:  “See I told you hold that stick and this car goes super fast.  That’s why daddy hold’s it all the time to zoom everywhere”
Hahaha I guess Jason must be shifting gears like a maniac with them in the car hahaha caught you!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Maple Syrup

How does that saying go?  “If you can’t beat them....join them!”  Well for some reason winter has had a resurgence here.  It had been warming up and the snow started to melt and then, POW, more cold and snow.  Oh well we made the best of it last weekend.  We met up with the awesome Palmer’s and took all four boys to get Maple Syrup.  Matthew’s Maple Syrup is located in Powassan which is only about 20 minutes from North Bay (http://www.matthewsmaple.com/Welcome.html). 

This was a fantastic family activity.  The kids had a blast and it was educational at the same time.  We took the horse drawn sleigh ride through the trails.  The driver (hmm is that what you call the man who steers the horses?) was super friendly and talked all about the process of collecting the maple syrup.  I was shocked to learn that they have people who manually walk to 15,000 trees to tap each one of them.  They then have to hang over 60 km’s (I repeat 60 km’s) of tubing from tree to tree.


  As the weather warms up the sap starts to run to their main sap house.  The sleigh ride was absolutely perfect.  I had not been on a winter sleigh ride since I was young and it was great to experience it again.  The kid’s absolutely loved feeding the horses. 

                


 The horses were so docile and calm. 







 The scream of delight as the horse would take the hay from their hands was laughter for your soul. 



















 We had toffee again, I know crazy two weekends in a row.  This time they put the syrup out in strips and you wind your stick in it to make a sucker type treat.  Boy was that good! 



 There was also an inside tour that talked about how the actual process of getting the maple syrup from the sap.  They also explained the difference between the extra light, light and medium maple syrup and allowed us to taste test and determine which ones we preferred the most.  Another interesting fact that I didn’t know, it takes approximately 40 litres of tree sap to make just 1 litre of maple syrup. 


They are off!
The expression on his face just makes me smile!  He was obviously having a good time!



After the sleigh ride all the boys were still having a great time so we decided to take a little hike around the trails. 

 I can’t say it enough; it was just a perfect outing!  Smiles and laughs all round and we all enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate when we got home J
I couldn't help but add the picture of cutie Colin!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Ahead

Wow, this last week I have been extremely tired in the late evening and I think it is largely due to the time change.  I will admit it is kind of nice that the kids are sleeping in later now but the first few nights they just could not fall asleep until way after their normal 8 pm bedtime.  We seem to be back on track now and getting into the groove again.  One of the biggest laughs I had this week was on Tuesday evening when the boys and I were coming out of my grandmother’s (their great grandmothers) and they spotted the moon in the sky.

video




Mommy, the moon has gone crazy J

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I am in the midst of going through the thousands of pictures we have from the last few months and came across this one.....
I can't help but be in awe of the wonderful bond the twins have.  It's amazing to be able to experience your childhood with a best friend.  A partner in crime...yes!.....a partner in mischief...they sure are! and yet I guess it's all worth it when I realize that when it comes down to it, they are also best friends!

Looking back at this picture makes me smile.  They say hindsight is always 20/20 and yet who would have known just how great of friends these two little guys could become in just 3 years!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Phewff the weekend flew by!

Another weekend has flown by!  I will say that I am excited after this weekend.  Jason has been a shift worker for almost 2 years now, which to our family means that Daddy has only been off every third weekend since we moved to Canada.  This weekend Jason was home!  Woohoo!  Even better news, he is starting a course this week and will be working regular 8-4 hours for the next few weeks!  Woohoo again!  Even better then that, in just over a month he will be moving to a day job, which means we will get to see Daddy every weekend now!  WOOOHOOOO!  So this weekend seemed extra sweet because it was a taste of what’s to come! 
Our weekend cannot be described as anything but fantastic.  We finally had a weekend when we were in town and we just got to catch up with many friends and family.  It was so great to get to see friends we have not seen for awhile.  I can’t help but smile remembering all the great company and laughs we had!  Thanks to all the good friends! 

We even had a babysitter on Saturday night and we got to join our great friends out for an evening of sushi.  Great conversation, great company and great food…I could not ask for more!  We had not really planned on going out but our babysitter mentioned she had not been over for awhile and we thought we might as well take advantage of the situation.  It’s so nice to be able to go out for the evening and know the kids are having a fantastic time.  The boys cannot wait for our sitter to come and it’s great to see them smile from ear to ear when they talk about the fun they had while we were getting some adult time. 

I was prepping for the kid’s dinner for the night we were going out and decided that I might as well go ahead and cook a few casseroles to freeze.  I was right in the middle of the massive preparations when Mathew decided that he did not want to play the board games downstairs with Zachary and Daddy anymore and decided to join me.  I know, right off the bat I must admit I was thinking great….how the heck am I going to get this all done with this little extra set of hands that cannot resist getting into trouble.  I put him up on the counter and told him that he needed to be my special casserole helper and the look of excitement in his eyes was amazing.  He sat and helped me do all the prep.  Of course he was not the quickest and he most definitely slowed down the process but it was great to have some one on one time to just chat and laugh with little Mattie.  When you have twins you take advantage of these little moments because they do not happen as often as you would like. 

 

 Wow it was so easy to be able to supervise one in the kitchen compared to the two! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A green thumb?

The weather is quickly warming up and the kids are starting to get anxious to partake in some of our spring activities.  It's amazing how everything seems like so much more fun when the sun is shinning!  Last year the twins and I grew some herbs, peppers and tomatoes.  This year I think we are going to expand our gardening.  I am always looking for good ideas and suggestions.  Window box herbs were perfect for us last year.  We placed them in planters right on our deck.  It was perfect because I could just go outside while preparing dinner and cut our own herbs.  We really enjoyed our gardening last year, it was a great way to spend time together and to teach the kids how to look after things everyday.  They have their own watering cans and would often fight over who’s turn it was.  This year I am one step ahead and am going to start the seeds inside the house and try and get them started instead of buying the pre-started seeds.  I am just beginning to research this so any help any of you could provide would be greatly appreciated. 

Here are some of the supplies I picked up this weekend.  It's a start!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Library trips

The boys have always loved reading.  We have tonnes of books at our house and you can often find one or both of the boys in a corner reading one.  With that being said, wow our interest in reading has skyrocketed in the last month.  I’m not sure if it’s because they are actually starting to learn how to read (not full words, just the sounds each of the letters make) or if it’s because we just recently got the boys their own library cards.  We have been going every week or week and a half to the library where the boys are able to pick out any books that they want.  They soooo take after their mommy!  They get excited and quickly decide on what 10 books they want to take home with them.  They get to pick their own topics and we help them with the library catalogue to find the sections.  With this being said.....wow....this mommy has never read so many dinosaur and dragon books in her life!  They just get so excited when they know we are going and can’t stop talking about what kind of books they will pick this time.  I was apprehensive at first because I will admit I am horrible about returning library books on time and yet with the boys we never even get close to the due date when they are bugging to go back and pick out new books.  It has been fantastic because they seem to be extra excited every night for their bedtime stories because they each get to pick a book from their library bag. 
We have specific bags that are designated "library bags" now and it seems to make the process a lot easier.  The books stay in the bag if we are not reading them :) 


This is a picture from in the boys room while they were sleeping last night.  Right beside their dresser their bags are full of their library books and ready to go!











So we are off to the library again today and just wondering if there any suggestions for books that we shouldn't miss?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good Reads!

I am a bookworm.  Magazines, novels, parenting books just about anything I can get my hands.  I love to research and sometimes a thoughtless read is how I like to relax.  I read all types of books from history to romance and must admit I enjoy all genres.  I don’t often make book recommendations but always love the recommendations from others.  With that being said...I recently read a book while on vacation in Florida that I couldn’t help but tell everyone about.  The novel is called “The Room” by Emma Donoghue. 


It’s about a little boy who is born to a mother who has been abducted and kept hostage.  So this sounds so dreary and sad right???  Quite to the contrary.  Yes it was sad to see how these people were forced to live but it was amazing to see the world through the eyes of this 5 year old.  It makes us realize how much our children depend on our guidance, optimism and how much they watch and learn from us.  This mom did the best she could to protect and shield/shelter her child from pain.  It makes us realize just how closely our children are watching us and how much there is to learn in this world.  It made me think about when children express fear or apprehension about trying something new.  To a little child things in our big world can be quite overwhelming.  It makes me want to allow my kids to experience as much of the world as possible because there are things in this world that we take for granted that we really should be appreciating J
A side note.  This is the first book that I have read in a few years that I have just not been able to put down.  I literally read the entire book in less than 1.5 days.  I still have the book so if any friends want to borrow it you are more than welcome to it!
I work off lists.  With so many things going on in my life if I don’t write something down I often forget about it.  So this is why I am starting this year’s reading list.  Once a year I write down a list of all the books I would like to read throughout the year.  Having the list makes me keep on track and I seem to find more time to actually read when I have a list.  With this being said, I am looking for any suggestions of great reads of any type that you could recommend for this year. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Give credit, where credit is due!


I admit I am a mom who likes to do most things from scratch.  I made the twins their baby food when they were young, I loved our cloth diapers and we love to grow our own herbs and yet if there is a product out there that increases convenience without affecting the product I am happy to investigate and use it.  This is where I want to share something I have recently discovered!
I am an avid follower of the website “no time for flash cards” http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/. 
I use tonnes of their ideas and am grateful for all their help inspiring me for crafts and learning activities for the twins.  With this said, a lot of crafts for this age group still require a lot of prep work for me.  If it were up to the kids they would do crafts and activities all day long, it’s just sometimes I cannot find the time to prep them all.  Enter here the Christmas gift from my brother in law.  For Christmas the twins received a busy box by Alex. 
Of course it looked to have a million pieces so we didn’t open it during Christmas time and I had put it on the shelf in their playroom closet to be opened at a further time when we were looking for an activity.  I must admit I had not thought about it perhaps because I feared it would be tonnes of prep work for me and usually the crafts in that sort of boxes are in a thousand pieces that you have to sort through.  After pleas from Zach last weekend I opened it and wish we had sooner.  The box contains 16 individual crafts and (even a better selling feature for me) at least two of each type.  I’m not kidding; I can hardly believe it myself!  Can this be real? 16 crafts that are toddler friendly and  organized into groups!  Best of all, two of each so miy kids won't fight over them! Yippee!!
Here are some pictures of them making one of their projects J


When I say everything, I mean the box came with everything including these frames to put this one art project in!













And of course, what's an art project without the finished project :) 













We still do other crafts but hey, being able to grab an already made package out of the box sometimes sure makes this mommy happy J  Does anyone have any suggestions on how they make the prep for preschool crafts easier?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ants in his pants!

Little Mattie has always been the one who just can’t sit still.  He often fall's off of stuff because he wiggles so much.  His attention span wasn’t long so we taught him stuff in a different way then we did zach.  Zachy would often sit for hours wanting to read and do flash cards….for Mathew we had to cram little bits of info into two minute blocks because after that he lost attention.  He has been getting way better and now he loves to sit for crafts and activities.  He participated in everything at Disney and was even in his first performance……all I have to say is……the poor guy….always the life of the party but always ants in his pants.  Let's hope his teacher has lot's of patience next year J 

video


Monday, March 14, 2011

Taking a minute to just relax

Life has been crazy busy lately.  We arrived home from Florida two weeks ago, Jason was away for 5 days including last weekend and then I was crazy busy at work and prepping to teach chemistry.  When we had started planning to go away this past weekend we were all excited but as the weekend approached I realized just how much work I still had to do at home.  With that said...wow ....so glad we went away this weekend.  It was great to just have family time.  We were able to enjoy each other’s company, there were little if any meltdowns and the kids had a fantastic time.  I know I’m not a huge fan of winter but thank goodness spring had not arrived before this weekend because we had way too much fun outside. 
The weekend started with a few hours of shopping where I scored some great deals (yeah always soo excited to find great deals on kids clothes....we go through enough! ).  All three boys (even Daddy) never complained once while shopping...wow...that’s a first.  We browsed the stores, everyone was in great moods and we were having a great time.  We stopped to visit Jason’s dad and Christine and again it was just a great visit....maybe a little too short but couldn’t have asked for better.  Mathew got so tiered he even just curled up on Christine and went to sleep.
Saturday and Sunday we spent at Jason’s Mom’s house.  The boys absolutely loved being there....they loved the outdoors and they loved seeing Grandmaman and Grandpapa.  My niece and sister-in-law came to visit and the twins had a great time just hanging out with their cousin.  Sometimes you forget how much fun kids can have just being outside. 

The boys have only been on skidoo’s once before this trip but wow they are obsessed!  They loved helping drive, riding with Daddy and Grandpapa and the squeals of joy as they rode in the sleigh behind the skidoo just makes me smile. 

The minute they got outside they ran to the skidoos and the site of them bouncing up and down pretending to drive will always bring a smile to my face.  The little memories of their childhood I hope I never forget :)


This was the first time that they actually learned how to ice fish.  They watched the holes being made, helped with the lines and learned how to bait the hooks.  It’s amazing how something so simple as ice fishing can teach them how hard work and patience can prove to be so much fun.  It was fun to see them running from line to line and calling for the “fishies” to hurry up and eat supper.  No fish were caught this time but you wouldn’t know it by the stories they tell.











Some of my inlaws friends were out on the ice too making Taffee.  You can't decribe just how yummy maple syrup on snow tastes :)  Glad the twins got to try it :)


                                                          

 It’s nice to see them just being able to appreciate and enjoy the outdoors.  They just loved it! 









Daddy helped them build perhaps the world’s largest snowman.  Yes my husband is over 6 feet tall and that snowman is towering over him.  The site of watching him and my sister in law lift the second ball up still brings tears to my eyes from laughing.  Hahaha! 

Sometimes it’s important to remember to just let the kids enjoy what nature has given us, enjoy family and take a break to
                           

 ......and well.....
                                 eat snow !



Hope you had a good weekend too !

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Matter of Perspective

My friends are often saying how they wish winter was over.  I must admit that I am not fond of the cold, the snow and shovelling.  Don’t get me wrong I love being outside and playing in the snow and participating in winter sports it’s just when you are trying to get things done (ie. Go to work or get groceries) I would much rather it be warm outside.  Just last week it started to warm up and I couldn’t help but smile thinking about all the activities we will be able to do outside this spring and summer.  This weekend the boys were talking about their trampoline and when would daddy put it back together, I answered in the spring when the snow is gone.  I then added won’t it be nice when the snow is gone and we can go outside and ride our bikes.  This is when little Zachary got scared looking and exclaimed “but mommy if the snow is gone how will we go sliding or catch snow flakes on our tongues”.  I couldn’t help but smile….I guess sometimes we just need to put things in perspective and see that you can find the good in any situation.  And besides…..if winter was done would we be able to do this?


video
And yes these videos are from this weekend.  That’s right in March!  The snow is supposed to be leaving hahaha  If you can’t beat them join them right!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bath Time

I was reading through another twin mom blog recently and realized how much things have changed with some of the daily duties for the twins.  (http://lesterandtanikadavis.blogspot.com/2011/02/victory-for-home-alone-mommy.html).  Of course it’s way easier now for food preparation, they eat whatever we eat so no more pureeing, no more cutting things into itty bitty bites and way easier meal preparations now.  Getting dressed is debatable whether it’s easier or not, as when they were small they just did what we wanted and now I often have to hunt them down.  No more diapers for over a year now so of course that’s way easier.  Bathing….well is that easier now?  That’s a debate…..I will say at first bath time used to exhaust me.  When there were two adults it was fantastic.  We would tag team and one would bath one would dry and get the other one ready while the other while still bathing.  With Jason working late or being away it often left me alone and I used to get anxious and dread bath time…..


When they were tiny, tiny I would bath them in their little tub one at a time.  It was quite relaxing and a great way to spend one on one time with each of the kids, bathing, drying, creaming and dressing them. 

As they got older we got the bath seats.  I will say, those were a god send for parents of twins as you could now bath both in the tub by yourself without having to worry about one slipping under while you shampooed the other ones hair. 


As the babies became toddlers the drying/creaming process turned into a bigger chore then the bath part did.  I would lie both of them down side by side on mats and work as fast as I could praying that one didn’t squirm away on me again.  It was funny because you had to work fast enough to not let them get too cold or you would have two screaming babies to deal with. 

 
 The boys were very happy in their bath seats and I will admit that we kept them in those bath seats for as long as possible because it made bath time so much more enjoyable for me.  Then came then day…..sigh……when they got stuck in the bath seats! 

The used them until they were over two years old and then the tiny babies became toddlers and their legs were too long to get out.  Now what the heck were we supposed to do…..geeshh…..out of the seats they were right crazy!  




They learned to stop standing and as they got older then enjoyed the tub crayons and other older toys but I will admit that they get soo excited in there together.  Put one in and they play as quiet as can be talking to their boats, put both in and all of a sudden there’s water splashing everywhere and they are laughing their heads off.  The key is they are laughing…….and laying down to get their hair washed.  I know those first days in that itty bitty tub were soo much work but now as I often my clothes soaked beside…. I think….hmm maybe it was easier then ?? hahahaha



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The great stroller debate


Sometimes I wish I had a magic wand to be able to predict the future. One thing I wish I would have done before the twins were born was buy shares in a stroller company…..we have certainly purchased our fair share.  Strollers have been a lifesaver with two babies.  Without good strollers I would have been confined to the house…..let me tell you a twin mom never goes far without one.  Mom’s of singletons just pull the car seat out of the car and run into the grocery store…..not twin moms! Are you kidding me…..picture lugging the two infant car seats and the diaper bag and then trying to carry groceries…..hahaha.  And this is where the stroller saga began…..

When the twins were really young (less then 3 months) we used solely our graco duoglider.  It was perfect for that time frame because both car seats could easily clip in and off we would go. 


 I easily managed bringing the twins to any playgroup or outing on my own.  It was ideal for shopping as it is only as wide as a single stroller.  We used that one to manoeuvre through many airports and towns.  















With that being said, it became harder to push as the boys started to get a little bigger. And so comes big blue as we called it.




The Schwinn stroller was the best stroller for us.  The big wheels made it so easy to manoeuvre on all types of terrain…..
-          sand
-          rocks 
-      grass                               
-          beach




We used that stroller more then you could have imagined.  When I was off for almost the first two years, we used it at least daily and often 3-4 times a day.  It came apart easy and came everywhere with us.  There were many naps, laughs and fun that occurred in that stroller…..and then……the wheels were worn out. The tires, which have already been replaced are now having spoke issues and this is where the stroller debate starts.






Other strollers have made their appearances.
The twin umbrella.
The two single umbrellas for when I had two hands to help or wanted to go out on my own.
But non of these strollers have gotten worn out like big blue. 

The twins are now 3 and by next summer they will be almost 3.5 and yet the thought of no stroller makes me anxious.  How will I ever do all the stuff I do now with them. They will never be able to keep up for long walks, they won’t be able to nap if we are out places for the day……..ahhhhh  Jason laughs and says they aren’t babies, let them keep up.  This debate continued on our first day of Disney…..the thought of not bringing a stroller for the day was causing me great anxiety and yet Jason was certain they would be fine.  I insisted I did not like the plan but he convinced me that it was the first day, they would be super excited and it was a short day so they would surely be able to keep up.  Things started out great…..I couldn’t believe how close they stayed to us…they weren't running around like maniacs like I had anticipated…..maybe I underestimated the twins.  Hmm life could be different not lugging a big stroller around….and then nap time hit….ahhhh! 



Their little legs quickly became tiered and they wanted up all the time….ahhhh…..carrying a three year old is much more tiring then carrying little ones.  We had a fantastic day at the park but from three o’clock on the boys needed to be carried mostly….that was a really long 4 more hour’s hahaha.  With both our backs aching, Jason quickly piped up that we would be bringing the stroller the next day….and I even held back from saying I told you so J




And so this is where the story continues…..the double umbrella was great for at the park but we really need to start looking at a bigger easier to push stroller if the boys are going to need it for traveling this summer.  I don’t want to spend a tonne again as we will probably only need it another year but I want one that is sturdy and mostly easy to push with big wheels.  Any recommendations?


And to you "Big Blue" farewell....you were one of the family!