It’s a little dark but it’s probably one of the best candid family photos I have ever been a part of. It was a great day about a month ago. My husbands family was in from overseas and his brother from the west coast. Unfortunately his sister wasn’t able to make this visit. We were spending the day at a friends home by the river, it was a sunny and beautiful spring day, not too hot, perfect really. We cooked out, fed the ducks, played in the grass and watched the water flow down the river. I’m glad the warmer weather is hear, I’m looking forward to more days spent outside watching the world go by.
My mom was in town this weekend, I love hearing the stories she tells of her friends who drink their morning coffee with my blog posts each morning. Blogging is a lot of work without much reward. But I don’t do it for the recognition, I do it for down the road.
Even now, I will click on a “you may also like” box and read a post I wrote months ago. I know one day when I no longer write I will be glad I can look back and have it all there, categorized and archived forever. But for now, I love writing and I know that my readers love reading because you vote!
And because you vote I have stayed on page one of Top Baby Blogs and even moved up recently to #12! Thank you, Thank you! A special thank you to Safta and Saba, Nana and Grandaddy, and Debbie and Susan who are a few of the many who make a point to vote everyday from each of their devices.The biggest compliment you can give a blogger is more exposure, lots of new people have found my blog via Top Baby Blogs.
This was one of those weekends that you wish would never end. Spring finally showed its sunny face with 70+ temperatures and clear skies all weekend. We spent every possible moment we could out doors. We have spent a lot of time and money fixing up our back yard to make it a place where we would feel good about spending entire weekends and the perfect weather combined with family visiting from overseas and friends stopping by made all that effort well worth it. It’s pretty much our perfect backyard. Having my husbands parents here from Israel for a visit is a welcome luxury. Since they live so far away they love to spend as much one on one time with the girls as possible and since they are early risers that means I get to sleep in a little! And my husband and I get to go on dates. It’s almost like being on vacation. And to add to the fun Uncle Ben, my husbands brother came in for a few days from the west coast to see all of us.
It was a weekend of firsts for the girls they played in a sandbox for the first time, wore shorts and sandals for the first time this season. Sadly, the adorable little Saltwater sandals that I just ordered for the girls are quite a bit too large. This baby shoe sizing thing is kind of a mystery. They are currently wearing size four, so I got them size five to last through the summer, and the reviews said they run small. Who knows? It seems as though kids shoes are too big until they are too small. Just keep trying, kids have to have shoes. After a great day at home on Saturday, Sunday we ventured out for a fun day on the town. We visited a new park where the girls loved the sandbox, had a lovey brunch at a new restaurant and spent the afternoon with friends and family at their home by the river.
It was another great day.
Hurry next weekend, come quickly.
I took an unannounced blog vacation, then when I came back to start writing again I had no blog at all because of technical difficulties. But no worries, all that is behind us.
I had every intention of keeping up with my blog posts but after the eightieth trip up and down the steps in my parents house (our house is one story living) and days filled with activities I was too tired to do anything at night but go to sleep.
As exhausting as any trip with the girls is, I love visiting my home town. I always run into people I know when we are out and about. My parents get to be reminded how great empty nest life is and my husband and I get to let the girls in on our favorite North Carolina treats.
Hello Donut World!
We made a quick stop after our last supper before the start of the holiday and the taste has been lingering in my mind ever since. If you are ever in Greensboro, NC or even just passing though a quick detour for these donuts will not disappoint.
Back to crazy twins…Talia and Jordan have become little performers. In the last week or so they put of the crazy toddler show when ever they have an audience.
Jordan front, Talia back
They run around crazy, climbing and jumping of anything they can reach. They dress up in hair accessories, hats, tutus or anything else that’s handy to get a laugh. They crack each other up, dance and clap for themselves at a performance well played. Eventually they tire and have started asking to be put to bed.
The fun never ends.
Jordan left, Talia right
Here’s a short Video of the girls Jumping dance.
Jordan left, Talia right
Talia front, Jordan back
Time continues to fly, the girls keep getting bigger and smarter. This past weekend we said good bye to winter and sprung forward to spring.
The girls have been sleeping later these past couple if days, hopefully that will last. The last few weeks of 4:30 wake ups and the screaming that came with it was not fun.
The winter was cold but we made the most of it and spent lots of Saturdays and Sundays with friends and family. Now that the weather is warming up we are looking forward to morning walks though the woods and afternoons at the splash park. Summer is my favorite time of year. And based on how much our girls love the water I think it will be there’s too. I wonder if they will remember swimming in the pool.
My sister offered a while ago to keep the girls for a night so my husband an I could have a date and a full nights sleep for sure. We took her up in the offer last night. They were happy when we left and to top off the evening my brother in law wrote about it for the blog! Thanks Sammy!
You can read the post here.
Jordan-white shirt with flowers, Talia-Navy shirt with flowers)
This past weekend we took a trip to the park near our house with my parents who were visiting from North Carolina and my niece and nephew who live here. It’s the same park where we took the girls swinging for the first few times.
But we haven’t been back since then because the playground is covered in wood chips.
While the girls were only crawling it was no big deal to hold them in the playground if they weren’t swinging, but when the started walking it wasn’t fair to expect them to be ok with NOT getting to run around, but they would just eat wood chips, so we didn’t go there. So for the past 6 months we’ve been mainly going to a great park about 20 minutes from our house that has AstroTurf and a sail shade on the playground.
Now at 15 months the girls don’t really put things in their mouth as much and even if the do, they don’t try to swallow things that don’t taste good. Brilliant children. So off to the wood chip covered park we went. It was so awesome. When I was there previously I didn’t even pay attention to the perfect toddler sized jungle gym along side the three story talk jungle gym for the bigger kids.
Talia and Jordan had the best time running up the ramp and choosing from four different slides to go down.
The cousins were such a huge help. Even though they are big kids they are still small enough to get inside the jungle gym and help Talia and Jordan navigate there way and make sure they didn’t get hurt.
There were steps to climb, small spaces to discover, and rails to reach for.
It’s a perfect park for tiny toddlers with swings and a separate playground for the big kids.
Please remember to click the Top Baby Blogs button to vote for us today!
There are quite a few things to consider when traveling with toddlers. We thought we had sorted through all the necessary details of traveling with toddler twins before we set off on this trip to the gulf coast. We quickly learned that a road trip and a hotel stay are no easy feat when toddlers are involved. And the biggest lesson we learned… If you don’t have to travel and stay in a hotel with your toddler, don’t. It’s just not worth the effort and exhaustion.
The drive was long. We timed it around their naps as much as possible but they only sleep for 1 1/2 – 2 hours max. So for a six hour car ride plus time for stops to eat and change diapers and let the little ones run around it feels like the never ending trip. We had a bag full o toys and books handy to keep them entertained. I am able to sit in the back with them which also helps but a ling drive is a long drive no matter what you do and Talia and Jordan still sit facing back so we cant even distract them with TV yet. we did give them each an ipad or phone during the final 30 minutes of the trip to keep them calm until we got home. We will be limiting our road trips to under three hours for the next year or so.
It would have been much more practical to have stayed in a condo. Even a one bedroom with a sleeper couch for us would have worked. Sharing a room with the girls basically meant that at 8/8:15 when it was their bed time it was ours too.
A major issue with the hotel was the room they gave us, first floor on the middle if the hall with tiled flooring. The tile was not only really cold making it hard to play on the floor but it was so hard.
The smallest tumble by one of the girls meant a big booboo. I was constantly on edge trying to keep them from getting hurt. The second day we were able to move to a different room with carpeting. This little difference made our time in our room so much more fun and comfortable.
The few pictures of the hotel room online all showed carpeting in the rooms, so I didn’t even think to ask for a carpeted room. Keep this in mind when renting. Condo as well. Most beach condos have tiling in common spaces.
On our second day in Destin after switching rooms we stopped by the grocery store to get more milk and picked up some masking tape as well. The drawers and cabinets in the hotel room were offering too many opportunities for tiny finders to be smashed and heads to be bumped by corners. So we taped everything up.
If you must stay in a hotel with your infant or toddler bring a pack and play. The hotel cribs are small, cold metal cages. They don’t have bumpers so if you have to use the hotel crib bring your own bumpers. We use breathable bumpers at home and they would have packed easily and fit well. I suppose you could use hotel towels to weave in and out of the bars of the crib to keep hands and feet from sticking through the spaces, touching cold metal and pacifiers, loveys and blankets from falling out. But it’s not the safest option.
Our original hotel room had an alcove at the hall way end of the room with a built in bunk bed. There was just enough space to awkwardly put two cribs there as well. But between the noises of people walking and talking and doors closing in the hall way, the light from under the door and the unfamiliarity of the cold metal cribs, the girls ended up sleeping in our bed with us. No one sleep very well or for very long. I didn’t take a great pictures of the arrangement but you can see the crib in here behind the girls and my husband playing hotel bowling (video).
Our second room didn’t have the kids sleeping alcove, which may have been useful considering this room was the last room on the hall. Very quiet. So we did a little hotel room rearranging and “hid” the pack and plays behind the couch on the window side of the room. We still have to have the lights out and be super quite until the girls fell asleep but they slept much better in this room than the previous night.
And speaking of re-arranging a room. I never messed up a hotel room this bad in my entire life, and I spent many a night in a hotel room hanging out with friends after a concert.
If you have a baby that is use to co-sleeping then go for it, travel to the ends of the earth and tell me all about it. But with two light sleepers who are use to their own space it just didn’t work out.
Luckily we brought our own pack and plays and promptly got them from the car before the girls morning nap the next day. Things went much better after the switch.
We bought travel high chairs when the girls were around six months old. They have proven to be the most useful piece of baby gear we own. We brought them to the room so we could feed the girls an early breakfast when they woke up then ended up using them to eat dinner in the room as well both nights.
We purchased them both second hand from Craig’s list for $15 each. It’s also available on amazon.
We also brought with us a bunch of food. We didn’t want to have to go to the store the night we arrived knowing it would be late already. So we brought enough milk, food and snacks to get us through until the next day. The hotel room had a good sized refrigerator which was a great help. Some hotels don’t have refrigerators any more so you can always call ahead to find out and request one be put in your room.
We had hoped that we would have pleasant enough weather to spend some time playing in the sand. But the day were were there was exceptionally cold and windy. We did go to the indoor pool in the morning but the water and the air were just a bit too cold for the girls to be comfortable so swimming only lasted a short time.
We spent the afternoon at the shopping village at the resort. There was a playground but our girls were still small for it, especially with a couple dozen big kids running around. There were no baby swings for them to use. And aside from he green area where they ran around a bit and ducks in the pond to see there really isn’t much for young toddlers to do at Sandestin or is Destin at all during the winter.
We actually cut out beach trip a day short and headed to meet our friends in Alabama.
Off the subject of babies for a minute, an important tip when traveling, with or without babies, get gas! This is not so much an issue in the north eastern part if the US, but in the south it’s not uncommon for there to be large distances between gas stations. To be on the safe side, fill your tank as soon as possible when you get down to half. Don’t assume there will another gas station down the road, there may not be. We made this mistake and ended up an hour off course to get gas. Lucky for us they had 87 left.
With the busy Christmas season behind us my husband and I wanted to get away as a family with our girls. We decided to spend the time off and go down to the gulf coast where we were hopping for warmer weather and could visit with my long time girl friend and her family. It was far from the relaxing family vacation we had envisioned, but more on that next week. In the end we had a fun adventure staying in a hotel with the babies for the first time and an even bigger adventure visiting with my friend Jaclyn and her family at their hunting camp in Alabama.
It was a long drive down to Destin, Florida we stopped in the quaint little town Eufala, Alabama, the road leading to downtown is lined with beautiful historic homes. We had lunch in the one restaurant that was open and peeked around the old building it was housed in which use to be a hotel with retail on it’s street level. Then we visited the biggest thrift/antique shop I’ve ever seen. I was in a little bit of heaven in this place and I think the girls enjoyed their window shopping experience as well.
It was quite late when we arrived to our Hotel, the Hilton at Sandestin, we settled in to our room for the night and the girls got in a game of toddler bowling with the plastic toy balls we brought that bounced and made loud noises on the tile floor.
Up early as usual we spent the morning at the indoor pool and after the girls naps went over to Sandestins’ Baytown Warf shopping village. We had lunch at a restaurant that came recommended to us, Acme Oyster House. Apparently they weren’t mistaken, the food was great and Emeril Lagasse was seated at the table right behind us! Sorry, no picture to prove it, my husband wouldn’t let me be that tourist.
There was a playground that the girls played in for a bit, but even more fun was watching the ducks and running around the grassy lawn with a new little friend. It was too cold to go to the beach that day but out of the wind and in the sun it was nice to be outside in the village.
The next day we packed up and headed north to meet our friends in Spanish Fort Alabama to follow them into the camp. We had lunch at a bass pro shop, an experience all in it’s self then let the kids get some energy out at Kangaroos, a kids indoor play place with a bunch of inflatables.
While they were off watching the trees sway Jaclyn and I entertained the kids, fed them and tried to make sense of this new environment. It was Jaclyn and her kids first time there as well. Clearly this was the ultimate man cave and was in dire need of a female touch. After a quick sweep of the floor and a little furniture rearranging it was family friendly.
The camp is a private club of members who pay an annual fee to use the land for hunting and the facilities. There are about 40 members to this particular camp and about 1700 acres of land. There are rules to follow and respect of the property is expected from everyone who visits. Some of the members who have belong to the camp for several years have caravans parked on the property that they sleep in when they are staying the night. One member even built his own small cabin!
This place has so much character. Decades of people coming and going has left such a mark on this place, every inch of this place has been touched and retouched. I felt like I was on a treasure hunt the whole time I was there. I wonder if anyone knows this full size jenny Lind style bed is worth about $150?
We stayed in the main cabin and were the only overnight guests for new years.
The main cabin has a covered and tarped porch to shelter it from the wind, a main livingroom/kitchen, a large bunk room with eight beds, a smaller bunk room with two beds and a full bathroom. It’s simple, rustic and perfect. There is nothing to fuss over, it’s a place for relaxing and enjoying nature and the people around you.
I loved being at the camp and the girls did too. In the morning they played to their hearts content in the pea gravel and dirt. They loved having almost free reign to go and do and to have other kids around to play with.