Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • Tonight, my friends, Aaron and I are having a true date night. We are going into the city, out to a very fancy dinner, and then staying over at a hotel.

  • We haven't spent a night together alone since Cameron was born.

  • I was worried the kids would be upset we weren't going to be home tonight, but when I told them that Suzanne was picking them up - they could care less about me. The whole way to school he listed all the things that he was going to do with Suzanne, and NOT me.

  • I did a 'real' thing of freezer cooking today for the first time. 34 meals in 6 hours. I was really tired by the end of it, but the amount of food in my freezer makes me happy. Now to pray my frig doesn't die like Jen's did.

  • This weekend I'm attending the first Twins Club event I've ever gone to. I joined the club when I was pregnant with the twins. I stay for the tag sale and ability to re-sell kids stuff - but this year they are having more events. And this one is free and at Playtown Express - which looks like a LOT of fun. So I'm going to it. I hope it doesn't trigger craziness.

  • Considering at least 20 people asked me if Cam and Maggie were twins when we were in DC (I think the double stroller triggered more questions than usual) and I survived, I think I'll be ok.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I had planned to wait to write more until I had my pictures uploaded off the good camera, but it's been a crazy week and I just didn't have time. The whole trip went so well. We hit DC on the exact day that the cherry blossoms were in peak bloom - and it was wonderful.

We woke up Thursday morning, and took the metro into the city. I'm going to admit that dealing with a stroller on the subway was a bit of a challenge - it was hard to find the elevators (oftentimes having to walk all of the way around the block). But when we finally got moving, both kids walked all the way from the White House to the Washington Monument.

People kept telling me it was going to be crazy crowded, but if this is the definition of crowded in DC, I think I can handle it - you can see Grandma and Cam holding hands while Maggie s.l.o.w.l.y follows behind. (I would ask if she wanted to get in the stroller - NO MAMA! I WALK! good thing we didn't have anyplace else to go, lol)

I convinced them to get in the stroller to walk around the tidal basin, and the blossoms were breathtaking. Just perfect. It took us almost the whole morning to do that walk... and by about noon, we got a really sub-par lunch a one of the kiosks on the mall.

I then took the kids to the Natural History Museum - such a huge hit. Each building has metal detectors you need to go through, and when Cam got into the building and saw the big elephant, he just ran through! That was a bit of a stressful moment - as I couldn't get through the line to grab him and then Maggie ran and followed! But after rounding everyone back up, we had a great time. Maggie LOVED the dinosaurs. She is still talking about them a week later.

Then I got the kids back in the stroller to go across the mall to the Air and Space Museum, and they both passed out. Which gave mom and I some time to go into a 'grown-up' museum (the Hirshhorn) while we wait for them to wake up. Then I took the kids into the Air and Space Museum - and the planetarium. Cam HATED it, and of course, Maggie loved it - so I couldn't just leave. I guess the loud noise and darkness was a bit much for Cam.

Friday morning we woke up and made our way to the Zoo! We saw so much fun stuff - including watching the panda's eat their bamboo! Both kids were still tired from all the walking the day before, so had no trouble staying in the stroller, and that zoo is super I got a pretty good workout.

One of the neatest things we saw as we were leaving - they have platforms that the orangutans can climb between, and we saw one walking along! Too neat!

The last thing we did was to take a boat tour on the Potomac River. I got a groupon for Capital River Cruises, and it was just the right thing for the end of two super busy days. We had lunch in Georgetown, and then took the boat ride. Both kids LOVED it.

It was supposed to be a Cherry Blossom tour - which was a bit of BS, as you can only really see the blossoms from the tidal basin - but it was nice to see the monuments from a distance.

I will totally be taking the kids back to DC. It's a great place for a family vacation, and we have the added benefit of a free place to stay! It was not a restful vacation by any means (I certainly couldn't have done it alone) but a great way to spend time with both my mom and the kids.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Train Travel Tips

Say that 5 times fast! The trip to Washington, DC was wonderful! And tiring, of course. Any activity with 2 little kids is going to be tiring - but it was worth it. We had a blast. I've got a lot to report, but first I want to tell you about the train. It was an 8 hour train ride one way, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time prepping for it.

I didn't want to have too much stuff to carry - so I limited us to one big rolling bag for our clothes, diapers, etc. Each kids got a backpack to carry, and I brought my diaper bag. I filled up their bags with markers, stamps, iTouch and headphones, a tag blanket, a stuffed animal, tape, scissors and paper. My mom had some silly putty in her bag, and I had loads of snacks in mine.

The biggest hit was the unlimited use of the iPhone! Cam is now a master of finding videos and playing the games. Maggie wasn't AS entertained as Cam - but if Curious George was playing, she would watch for about 15 minutes at a time.

I brought Maggie's car seat, and a friend who had traveled on the train to Philly suggested using it for naps - and it was a huge help:

Cam passed out for maybe 5 minutes on the way there. The train was a bit too exciting:

But on the way home, he was super burned out from everything we did, and I got to experience a very rare Cameron cuddle:

In summary - the train ride was great. It was definitely more expensive than if I drove down, but less stressful. I would recommend some sort of video watching device and headphones for he kids - along with stuff you don't normally let them play with (the tape dispenser and scissors was a huge hit, along with the silly putty). The hardest part was getting our stuff on and off the train. The double stroller I borrowed (total lifesaver, btw) was a bit unwieldy if you needed to carry it folded up. Once on the train, the kids were awesome and most people really helpful!

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Charmers

Does anyone remember far enough back to the IVF transfer that resulted in Cameron? It was on St Patrick's Day 4 years ago. And he's still my lucky charm:

I made Maggie a super cute hair clip for St. Patrick's Day - find the tutorial here - but she wasn't cooperating for pictures:

Not even when I tried to take a group shot with Cam.

Oh well. They are still my very own Pot of Gold. Maybe a little crabby, but gold to me, nonetheless.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Trip Planning - the food version

The other thing I've been thinking about for the trip is snacks and food. I want to bring as much stuff as I can in an effort to save money and avoid meltdowns when the only place to buy food doesn't have what they want!

Something that each kid loves is to have their own bag when we are eating on the go. Early on, I would make the mistake of handing one kid the bag, and dumping the other child's snack in one of those snack traps. Mama! I want the BAG! MY BAG! (you get the idea). Someone gave us two of these reusable snack taxis that we use on trips and it solves all conflicts - each has their OWN bag. The minute I was given them I thought - I can make these! With that thought in mind, I bought some awesome Eric Carle Fabric and riptstop nylon.... and then didn't do anything about it for over 2 years. This trip gave me the kick in the pants to finally make them.

I made four, and I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure out how to make the designs be the right side up when you folded the flap over. It's a testament to how many hours I've been working - my brain is fried by the end of the day.

My plan is to make a few more of these in different fabrics. Maybe some smaller ones too - for raisins or M&Ms. And then stuff them with snacks, and have the rest of the big bag in my luggage for the rest of the trip. I know Jen did a whole post on trip snacks (and I'm hoping she'll link to it in the comments) - but I'm planning the following: goldfish, animal crackers, raisins, trail mix, pretzels and grapes. Which them makes me think they'll be thirsty and begging for drinks all the time. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trip Planning

I just lost this whole post. Very, very angry. I will try to re-write, and re-link. But grrrrrr.

2 weeks until our trip! Once we get there, I'm not worried about entertaining the kids. We are going to be on the go for the 2 full days that we are there! The train ride, on the other hand.... that is 7 hours (x 2) that could go horribly wrong. I know plenty of your out there have done trips like this, and I want to tell you my plans and see if they are approved by my internet buddies.

For entertainment on the train, my plan is to let the kids fill up their little backbacks (Maggie has this one, Cam has this one) with a few toys, their blankies, and one stuffed animal. I've gotten a bunch of great ideas from other moms (laminate a piece of paper with things to look for out the window of the train and let them mark them off with a wipe off marker when then find them, sticker books, etc) but I see those as things that will entertain for 10 minutes and them I'm left with carrying them around. My goal is the least amount of stuff, the better.

My plan? Be that mom that entertains with screen time. My secret weapons will be a portable DVD player with two screens, headphones for each kid, and iPod touches for each (aka our old Iphones). And pray that I can wean them off using them by explaining they are just for the train... after I get home, with Aaron's help!

I researched a bunch of apps for the iPhone - and here is my list of favorites - starting with the most favorites. Most of these are apps you have to pay for, which I did on purpose. I find the ones with ads have the kids handing me back the phones to 'fix' after they've clicked on an ad. Trying to avoid that at all costs.

  • Preschool Monkey Lunchbox. By far the best designed app. Shape matching, color games, counting - and it moves the kids through instead of needing them to 'restart' the game. Cam played with this for 45 minutes this morning while I got ready for work.

  • Alien Buddies. Cute animation, fun games.

  • Interactive Alphabet - good for both kids

  • Wheels on the bus - come with high recommendations and I see why! Fun to play with, both kids liked it

  • Peekaboo barn - Maggie LOVED this one. Again, Mama, again!

  • I hear Ewe - just a noisemaker app, but they both loved it.

  • Up with a fish! You catch things on the Cat in The Hat's head, by tilting the phone. Cam loved it.

  • Preschool Adventure Island. No one tried this one yet - but looks like fun

  • Magic Piano - seems a bit advanced for my kids - but I tried it and it is fun.

  • Shape Puzzle. Haven't tried, but looks fun

  • MRUN Junior. Makes fun pictures, but I can't figure out how to get to the menu screen once you make a picture, which is annoying

  • My Very First App - Based on Eric Carl's art - you pay for the app and get 2 games, and then the other 3 games are .99 each. It doesn't appear to me that the purchase goes up to the cloud, as I synced the iTouches and they didn't get them. Which pisses me off.

I also got a bunch of interactive Dr Seuss books - they are on sale this week (probably because of his birthday?) and Cam LOVES 'reading' those.

Any apps you guys love? I think I need some more Maggie apps.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Things I want to share

I've got a list of thing that I have done or found lately that I want to share with my internet buddies.

First, a great suggestion for lice avoidance. I somehow made it through my childhood without getting lice, and I would VERY much like it it to be that way with my kids - especially after hearing one of my girlfriends struggles with getting it out of her house. I got a recommendation for Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel leave in conditioner - and we are trying it. With Maggie's curly hair, I need to use leave in conditioner every day anyway, might as well be one that does something useful.

Second, ever since the twins were born, I've been having trouble with dry scalp. SO annoying. Someone recommended Newton Labs Hair-scalp drops, saying it worked wonders for her child's cradle cap. I'm picking some up today and really hoping it works. It claims to work for adults too.

I saw the Lorax this weekend - and I declare that everyone should take their kids to this movie. Super fun.I'm even going to say that when this comes out on DVD I'm going to buy it - and I don't often say things like that.

And finally, I am sharing with you the most delicious banana bread recipe. I got this from a friend, and it's just selfish to keep it to myself, it's that good.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I usually skip this)
1/2 sour cream or yogurt (I use any kind of yogurt - even the flavored kind)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine butter, sugar,eggs, vanilla, bananas, nuts, yogurt, flour, baking soda and salt - one at a time. Beat after each addition.Pour into a greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pan or muffin tins. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes (I usually end up needing an hour) or 20 minutes for the muffins at 350.

I'm pissed at myself because I made it this weekend and tripled the recipe as I had that many ripe bananas... and I only doubled the eggs. The bread is 'ok' but not super duper delicious. So sad.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • Man! Crazy week at work. I'm glad it is over, but very frustrated with a new team member. Came highly recommended and if asked my opinion right now? I would suggest firing him. Bad place to be two weeks away from a large release. But I think everything is fixed now.

  • I'm getting more and more excited for my trip to DC. I've been watching the Bloom Watch - and I think we should be going at a good time!

  • Tomorrow, I'm taking the kids to see the Lorax. I'm probably more excited to see this movie than the kids will be - and they will be VERY excited because they love seeing movies in the BIG screen. I just love love love Dr. Seuss.

  • We finally got some snow here in the last few days, and then kids have been out playing in it every chance they get. It's a blast. It was even the right kind of snow for a snowman.

  • We are playing a trick on my mother this weekend. At her house, she had a large tree taken down a few month ago, and has been saving the wood for us (we have a fireplace that we use about once a week). She has been stressing out that someone will steal it (she lives on a busy street and the wood is in the front yard). Aaron has had trouble getting the time to go, and is finally able to go tomorrow. But Mom isn't going to be home. We were about to call and tell her we were coming, but then thought we could mess with her a little. Aaron is going to take the wood, fold up the tarp and leave a note on her steps that just says THANKS! And then we'll wait for her call. Heh heh.

  • Aaron and I have a pretty traditional separation of work in the house - I do the cooking (mostly), cleaning (via a cleaning lady, but hey, it is what it is) grocery shopping and laundry and he does the outside work. But the rule is, I don't do HIS laundry, as he lost that privilege a few years back when he tried to tell me how to do his laundry. Don't like the way I do it? Do it yourself, buddy. Anyway, his new ploy to get me to do it? He throws it all in the washer and run it the day before I work from home. So I open up the washer and find a pile of wet, stinky laundry. Must. Not. Kill. Husband. By doing that, he knows he'll at least get me to push it through to the dryer.

  • Another Aaron pet peeve. I will often take a benadryl to fall asleep - both Aaron and the dog snore (Must. Not. Smother. Husband), so I end up laying in bed and not sleeping, and the later in the night it gets the crazier my head gets... and that gets ugly. So to avoid it, I take a couple benadryl, and usually pass out. Anytime Aaron sees me doing this, he gets mad and says I shouldn't be taking something to sleep. So, when I went for my yearly check up this week, and asked my doc. And she agreed with Aaron. Damn it. So, now I've stopped taking it, and am trying to practice better sleep habits. Sigh. Boooooo. I say better living through pharmaceuticals...but honestly don't think I need 'real' sleeping pills.