Road-Tripping with Toddlers

Well, we made it to Florida and back….barely. The drive there wasn’t too bad, besides the fact that it was pouring down rain for about 70 percent of the drive. The girls were pretty well-behaved, and we had the assistance of my parents. That, coupled with free move downloads from Netflix and the excitement of warm weather made the trip there manageable and rather un-eventful (besides a small puke incident from Rowe and a brief 25 minute bout of being “lost”, and my mother cutting open her head in the van).

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The drive home, on the other hand, was pretty much a nightmare. We left my grandparents’ house in in N. Ft. Myers at around 7:15am. It usually takes 5ish hours to get to Georgia. We had our luggage carrier strapped on (this carrier is about 20+ years old, by the way), the girls in their seats with their morning milk, and some tunes on the radio. Our goal was to stop for breakfast just north of Tampa, so around 9am-ish.

Well, about an hour or so into our drive we hit some traffic. Our GPS gave us an alternate root so we thought maybe we would take it. No sooner had we pulled of the highway that we realized that Rowe had puked on herself! We pulled over on the side of a road, cleaned her up, changed her close and Nick checked on the luggage carrier. It was getting loose! And the car was beginning to smell. Ugh.

Rather than risk getting lost off the route, we decided to hop back on the highway. 9:00 came and went and we STILL hadn’t made it to Tampa, thanks to traffic. We finally passed Tampa at around 10:00, pulled off to get gas and breakfast. While we were getting gas we realized Lennon had thrown up! I stripped her down and took her into the gas station to clean her up. The women’s restroom was “occupied”. I waited a bit but I had a practically naked toddler covered in puke so I just went for it and took her into the men’s. I cleaned her up in the nasty sink and changed her clothes. There goes another half hour.

We actually had a rather enjoyable breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and then decided to find somewhere to buy more ratchet straps for the luggage carrier because we were convinced it was going to fly off the top of the car and cause a major accident. Luckily there was an auto store nearby, and Nick was able to re-secure the carrier in about a half an hour. We were now 4 hours into our trip and only about 1.5 hours from where we started.

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I forgot to mention, we bought a tiny can of Lysol for $5.00 at the gas station and doused the car in it. Best $5.00 I ever spent.

Throughout the rest of Florida we hit traffic jam after traffic jam after traffic jam. I think we FINALLY made it to Georgia around 4:30/5:00pm. It took us twice as long as it should have to get through Florida. At around 6:15pm we stopped at a McDonald’s with a PlayPlace so that the girls could move around and release some energy. Well guess what…there was a bus load of kids inside and in line! We didn’t even get to place our order for about 20 minutes. While we were waiting for the crowd to thin, we changed the girls. But I had left their night diapers in the car. Nick ran out to get them and THE KEYS WERE LOCKED IN THE CAR. Our van, a Town & Country, isn’t supposed to even allow that to happen.

Thankfully I have AAA. We called, and were told someone should be there after 8:00pm. That’s 1.5 hours to spend at a McDonald’s with two tired, cranky toddlers. Oh boy. We even tried calling the local police station to see if they could help….no dice. After we ate Nick decided to go and check the car doors one more time. By some miracle, the passenger door opened and we were able to get the keys! Hallelujah. Back on the road around 7:15.

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The rest of the trip included cranky babies who we refused to give milk again in fear of another puking episode, rain storms, snow, and a very tired mom and dad. We finally made it home at 7:30am. Our 18 hour road trip took 24 hours. But hey, we survived!

Will we do it again? Maybe. Will we be prepared should there be a next time…you know it! Here are some of my recommendations before you venture out on your next toddler-accompanied road trip.

TODDLER ROADTRIP ESSENTIALS

  1. Multiple changes of clothes
  2. A bag with wipes, diapers, snacks, Tylenol, diaper cream, etc. that is easily accessible. I recommend overnight diapers or to size up for the drive. Less leaks!
  3. Multiple bottles/sippys so you don’t have to wash them all the time
  4. LYSOL and disinfectant wipes
  5. A tablet with movies and tv shows pre-downloaded (and a charger)
  6. Dress your kids in layers and bring blankets
  7. First Aid kit
  8. Extra bags for trash, puke clothes, dirty wipes, etc.
  9. Busy bags! Below is what we had in ours. Each of the girls has their own backpack, and the contents below were in each pack. Except for the LeapPad and the driving simulator toy – we only packed one of those.

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Items in each busy bag: Blocks, memory cards, books, silly frog, bunny clapper, lightup bunny wand, toy phone, toy remote, stickers, stuffed rabbit, finger puppet, books, new McDonald’s toys (I didn’t open these until we were on the trip so they were “new”), snacks. Not pictured: sippy cup, princess tambourine, blanket, wubbanub.

  1. We did not have these for this trip, but will be a necessity next trip…the girls love them!
  2. Kids songs radio station and/or playlist
  3. Calming bottles – I attempted to make one of these and failed. I think I messed up the glitter glue/water ratio. Then I never found the time to try it again!
  4. Grandma & grandpa – I highly suggest multiple adult travel companions if you have the space. My parents were unbelievably helpful on our drive down.

Good luck to you on your next road trip, may your adventure be smooth and uneventful!

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Air Travel w/twins and infants

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Spring/Easter break is right around the corner, which means a lot of us are getting ready to go on a much needed vacation. As you are preparing for that week of rest and relaxation (oh wait, you have little kids, that’s NOT going to happen), you are probably stressing about the “getting there”. I know I would be!

As someone who has traveled with infant twins on multiple occasions, I would like to share with you how to prepare for flying with lap children (twins in specific, because we know that’s my jam). I know the idea is daunting, and you can never be completely prepared (who can predict when Baby A will have a meltdown or when Baby B will have a blowout?), but my list below should help ease the anxiety a bit. I promise!

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR FLYING WITH TWINS (OR LAP CHILDREN IN GENERAL)

  • Lap children are FREE when under the age of two (on the majority of airlines). This means one lap child per adult over the age of 18. So if traveling with twins, you need two adults. Otherwise, you will have to purchase an extra seat.
  • Call ahead to let the airline know you are traveling with lap children. When you do this, also see if you can pre-select your seats. Every airline we have flown only allows one lap child per row of seats (row meaning on either side of the aisle, the cluster of seats) because there is only one extra oxygen mask. We call ahead and ask for aisle seats in the SAME row, so we are as close as possible.
  • Aisle seats are where it is AT. Having the freedom to get up, walk up and down the aisle and go to the restroom anytime, without disturbing your neighbors, is so much easier.
  • You can check car seats and strollers for FREE (again, this is with most airlines I have seen). I suggest checking your car seats at the curb/ticketing, and then checking the stroller at the gate.
  • If you are flying with an infant, I suggest baby wearing during the flight. This allows you to be hands-free and is helpful with turbulence. They also feel snug and safe!

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  • If each parent/adult will be sitting with a lap child, prepare TWO diaper bags. Fill each with the following:
    • Diapers
    • Wipes
    • Extra set of clothes
    • Milk/formula
    • Sippies
    • Binkies
    • Lots of snacks
    • Small toys
    • Books
    • Blanket
    • Infant Tylenol/Motrin
    • Bag for dirty clothes
    • Sanitizing wipes to wipe down the seat and tray
  • To help with ear discomfort, I also recommend feeding the child during takeoff and landing. Or offering up a binky!
  • Night time/extra absorbent diapers. Hopefully you can make it through the entire flight without any leaks!
  • Pack enough in your carryon bag for an overnight stay – you never know when that flight may be delayed!
  • Pack double the amount of diapers you think you will need. Airport diapers are not cheap.
  • Use car seat/stroller bags. We bought these great car seat travel bags, I highly recommend them! And get this – they don’t weigh the car seats, so we stuffed our bases, and extra luggage into the bags with the seats so we didn’t have to worry about overweight luggage fees. SCORE!

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https://www.amazon.com/J-L-Childress-Standard-Double-Strollers/dp/B003554H9M/ref=sr_1_25_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1520444570&sr=8-25&keywords=car+seat+travel+bag

  • If you are a nursing mom, pack a nursing cover! I understand breastfeeding needs to be normalized, but your seatmates will thank you. They are already dreading the flight with a baby in their row, you can at least spare them a nip slip!
  • Binky clips – airplane floors are definitely not the cleanest
  • Bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate (just in case)
  • If bringing formula, buy a bottle of water in the airport, prior to boarding.
  • If bringing breastmilk, be sure to check out these guidelines!
  • Check in online! You will not want to be in the airport any longer than you have too.
  • A lot of parents I have talked to recommend boarding the plane early. I, on the other hand, recommend boarding late. From experience, the less time you are cooped up in a small space, the better.

I know this seems like A LOT to prepare and remember, but I promise you this will make your flight so much easier. Also, we have all heard those horror stories about babies on flights and passengers being rude. From my own personal experience, everyone has always been very kind and understanding toward us when traveling with the twins. In fact, I would be sad to travel without them based on the VIP treatment we have often received.

Good luck on your next flight, you can do it!!

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The new twin mom’s Christmas list

With my favorite holiday right around the corner, I thought I would compile a list (a “Christmas list”, of sorts) of the things I could not have survived without during my first year as a new twin mom. I REALLY wish someone would have shared this with me when I was pregnant or right after the birth of my girls. Some of the items on this list I received as baby shower gifts, others I purchased during the girls’ first year, and a couple I do not personally own but were recommended by other twin mommies. I have included links so you can purchase them yourself, or throw them on your own registry.

**The majority of these products would work for moms of singletons, too!**

  1. TWIN Z NURSING PILLOW (or any other comparable double nursing pillow, like the My Breast Friend)

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This pillow was an absolute LIFE SAVER. Definitely worth the hefty price tag (I actually purchased mine from a fellow twin mom, and then sold it to another twin mom!). It is great for tandem nursing, single nursing, holding babies, propping up babies with bottles, tummy time and more! You can even get various covers for it (I recommend water proof, a lot of milk drippage and puke will end up on it)!

 

  1. LARGE DIAPER BAG

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I went with a cute, large, JuJuBe diaper bag and I absolutely love it. It fits everything I need, and it isn’t horrendously ugly. Another $$$ purchase but worth the splurge. One thing I might have changed, or purchased in addition to, would have been a backpack diaper bag. But this one had a long enough strap that I could wear cross-body and still be hands free to carry my girls. 15 months later I still use it almost every day and am pretty sure it will last me through a potential baby #3, as well.

 

  1. HANDS-FREE PUMPING BRA

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DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THIS. Truth. Anywhere my pump went, so did this bad boy. I only purchased one, and I will admit it looks pretty gross now, but it was so convenient. While pumping at home I could enjoy my coffee, while pumping in my office I could work, while pumping in my car I could drive….you get the picture. If you don’t want to buy one, or are in a pinch, you can cut small holes in and old sports bra and it works just about the same!

 

  1. SLEEP SACKS/SWADDLES (lots)

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Every baby is different, but my girls loved their sleep sacks and swaddles. Now you can be one of those moms that swaddles by hand with a blanket, but who really has time for that, times 2? Also, my husband was a better swaddler than me so having these helped keep him from continuously rubbing it in my face. Link above is to my favorite ones (SwaddleMe Pods) that actually fit my preemie size newborns.

 

  1. ROCK ‘N PLAYS (2)

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These are essential for naps or master bedroom babies. Or babies with reflux. I’ll warn you, they aren’t made specifically for nighttime sleeping, and I have heeded the advice of others telling me they may not be perfectly safe for nighttime sleeping, but they worked well for us! We kept one on each side of our bed, so that Nick and I could be in charge of “one baby” each night. Having these within reach was great for night time feeds and fuss, and for popping binkies back in their mouths every 5 minutes. The slight incline helped the girls with their reflux as well.

 

  1. BOTTLE LEASHES (2)

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I only wish I had discovered these sooner. These are for the baby that can now hold their own bottle (works with sippy cups, too). I discovered my need for these after countless car rides and walks in which one or both girls would constantly toss their bottles. No one likes a bottle that has been rolling in the dirt, or one that rolls under the seat of your van and is out of reach to you or dad. These genius products strap around the cup on one end and can then be secured to seat belts, strollers, etc. When your kid gets a little older, they can even “reel” their cup back in!

 

  1. BINKY CLIPS (several)

Once your babies become mobile, binkies are dropped and lost all day, every day. And there is nothing worse than a screaming baby and a lost binky. With these clips, you can fasten them to your little one’s clothes. Yes, you will still lose them, but not nearly as often. And you can get super cute ones and make them a fashion statement. Win win.

 

  1. NURSING TANK TOPS (several)

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These serve as both a bra, and a tank top (at least for me). Easy access for the little ones always grabbing at your boobs. Tip: Make sure you wear nursing pads if you are going to put on nipple balm. That stuff stains big time.

 

  1. BABY SWINGS (2)

I registered for two different swings, and was lucky enough to receive them. Much to my surprise, they were also different in that they moved in different directions (one side-to-side, one forward-to-backward). This allowed me to have both babies in swings at the same time, and I was able to switch up the sways to add variety. The link above and this link are the ones we have.

 

  1. BABY MOON PILLOWS (2)

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I know, I know, pillows for babies are a big no-no. But these pillows are not really for sleeping, but more for monitored naps, swing time, car seat time, etc. They are made to help avoid flat heads (or to remedy less severe ones). I will never forget the day I took a side profile photo of Lennon and realized the back of her head was super flat. I quickly researched helmets and noted how expensive they would be if insurance didn’t cover them(one, let alone two…Rowe’s head was slightly flat as well), and how uncomfortable they looked. So I Googled some more and found these pillows. I am telling you, after less than two weeks of use, I noticed a huge difference. And at the girls next doctor appointment my pediatrician assured me that they would not need helmets. We obviously would have gotten them the helmets and therapy should it have been necessary (babies are so cute in those fun helmets) but it was nice to not have to worry about it. Again, all babies are different, and this may not be a fix for yours, but I say it is worth a shot!

 

  1. BABY SHUSHER

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My photographer introduced me to this little gem. It makes white noise, on a timer, similar to what your newborn would hear in the womb. And it is small enough to fit in your diaper bag. I would toss this in one of the girls’ car seats during fussy drives and often (not always) it would calm them down! Just another tool to keep in my tool belt.

 

  1. DOUBLE JOGGING STROLLER

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A definite necessity. We started off with the Graco double stroller that our car seats could click into, which worked great when traveling. But it was a you-know-what to lug around, the girls were too small to fit safely when not in the car seats, and it was not convenient for quick walks around the neighborhood. So we got this jogging stroller and the rest is history. We use this 80% of the time and we love it. And, get this, it is one of the CHEAPER jogging strollers and works great, IMO.

 

  1. NAME BRACELETS (2)

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I purchased these for the girls to help us tell them apart when they were first born, and also as a super cute accessory. Our Rowe developed a birthmark on her face at around 5 weeks old, which made it a lot easier to tell them apart, so they didn’t wear these often. But I think these are great for identical twin girls!!

 

  1. BABY BREZZA

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This is an item I have never used, personally, but comes highly recommended from other twin mamas. It preps baby’s formula for you! It is like a Keurig for formula – how convenient! I hear it is a real game changer.

 

  1. CRIB AQUARIUMS

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These crib toys help us get a few extra minutes of sleep. The girls have learned how to turn them on and will sit in their cribs and quietly watch (a lot of the time). Side note: my aunt also has one of these for herself. They are that amazing.

 

  1. BABY BULLET

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If you are a mom who wants to do it all, like me, then you are probably thinking about making your own baby food. It really isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and is made 10 times easier with this contraption. It pulverizes veggies, fruit, meat, table food, etc. into perfect purees for your little ones. It also comes with utensils, a freezer tray and little jars to keep thawed food in (I bought extra trays and jars since, you know, two babies). It also has a recipe book!

 

  1. EZPZ PLATES

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There is a fun story behind this one. My grandfather’s friend’s daughter (or is it daughter-in-law?) owns this company! His friend actually sent us four of the EZPZ plates as a gift when the twins were first born. We use them all of the time. We take them all over the place, especially restaurants, so we don’t have to put their food on sticky, dirty tables. Score!!

 

  1. SILICONE BIBS – W/BUTTONS! (several)

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Right around the time R&L started feeding themselves, they also started ripping their bibs off. So I fired up the trusty Google in search of bibs with buttons, instead of the usual Velcro. I came across these bibs, and they work like a charm. The easy cleanup silicone and food catching pouch are an added bonus.

 

Feel free to send this list to Santa; I promise you won’t regret it. In my next post, I’ll tell you what I am wishing for THIS year.

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Back in the saddle again

You heard that right; I am back after nearly a year and a half hiatus! Back in the writing saddle, and back in the TTC saddle (say what?!).

As you can probably guess, I had the twins and now they are now approaching 15 months old. It really is crazy how time flies. I apologize to my followers for not posting since the girls’ birth, but as you can guess, having twin infants takes up a lot of time! In addition, if I am being completely honest, once I was no longer pregnant and I had the girls, I wasn’t sure if what I had to say would be relevant or have the same impact as TTC did. After all, I wasn’t really struggling anymore or trying to conceive, and I basically had the picture perfect life!

However, here I am a year and a half later writing my feelings once again. I can’t really pinpoint what motivated me to come back to the blogosphere…it may have been that we are approaching the two-year mark from our successful in vitro procedure that brought us the twins; or maybe it’s because I finally have some time on my hands! I’m no longer nursing, the girls are a bit more independent and our new house that we moved into six months ago is finally coming together. But I think what it really comes down to is the fact that we are trying to conceive one more little miracle baby. And blogging is my therapy (and I hope it will keep me from going crazy on my husband). Whatever the reason, I am back (for at least a little while) and ready to fill you all in.

In the coming weeks and months I hope to update you all on the past 15 months of my life and give you the inside scoop on it’s like raising twins, being a new mom, nursing, working full-time and all that fun stuff. And I’ll obviously update you on our journey to have one more baby. I can’t promise I will post regularly, or even that what I post will be as well thought out as it was in the past. Odds are one of the twins will be banging on my keyboard as I type or grabbing my attention mid-thought. Or I will be writing the same way I wrote this post; talking into my cell phone on my half hour drive into work, and throwing in some punctuation at the end! What I can promise you is that what I post will be honest, emotional (happy, sad, fun, scary, etc.) and real. I look forward to being back in the writing game!

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