Monday, July 30, 2012

Twice as Nice!

This past Friday afternoon, my older two kids (ages 7 1/2 and 5 1/2) left with their dad to go to Pennsylvania.  My husband came back on Saturday afternoon, leaving the older two kids behind for a long weekend with their Nana & Pop Pop.  The twins (ages 3 1/2) and I had a solid 24 hours for "Two babies & Mama time".  This was a first for us and I have been enjoying it!  We have been moving at a slower pace, sleeping in a little later and definitely enjoying more cuddle time.  This morning they let me stay in bed for about 20 extra minute while they were content to sit under the covers and watch Third & Bird!  We came downstairs for breakfast and off they went, right back up again and are playing very nicely together in their room.  They still have their squabbles, (yesterday it got pretty heated over their Dora Ball) but it is amazing that with two kids gone, the entire dynamics in the house have changed.  Don't get me wrong, I do miss my older two very much, but the house is so much quieter!  No arguing on what we are going to do today, what we should have for lunch or what we should play, because the twins like the same things!

On Saturday night we all went to Pei Wei for dinner.  This was a first for the twins as well, being able to sit in a big booth inside the restaurant. Normally when we go we just get take out.  They were so excited to be able to go inside and have asked everyday since to go back to the "new Chinese place!"

Yesterday we went grocery shopping and that was surprisingly pleasant as well.  The twins were just as excited to hold the bananas and cucumbers and put them in the cart as they were for pudding.

Today is a big day for us, my little one gets her stitches out and we will be heading to the pool this afternoon.  The twins have already worked out amongst themselves that they will bring their kick boards and goggles today and that they will swim underwater!

These last few days definitely have been twice as nice for me.  I have truly been enjoying this time with my twinnies.  I have also realized, that they are not babies anymore.  They are big kids. They are individual children, too.   But to us, they will always be our Two  Babies!

Have you ever had this time with just one or some of your kids?  How did it go?

multiples monday with capri +3
To read more about multiples, please be sure to check out Multiples Monday at
On Mondays Multiples Mamas from around the world share links to their blogs.  When you stop by, please be sure to read Theresa's story - mom to Capri+3.  This mom had four children within days of each other and has an amazing story on her journey to becoming a mom!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Keep calm and don't forget to breathe

That was me Monday night.  During a 10 minute ride to the ER which felt like it took one hour.  During the 30 minutes we had to wait in the waiting room to see the triage nurse, which felt like three hours.  Trying to stay calm and breathe so I don't freak my three year old out.  The entire time I was freaking out and trying to get her head to stop bleeding!

My Baby B, my baby girl twin, the youngest of my four and very much the "baby" of our family, had a run in with a kitchen chair, and the chair won.  Four hours in the ER and five sutures later, she is fine.  Back to her crazy ways.  But, Monday was a very scary night for us.  This is what I learned:

-head wounds bleed a lot, a real lot
-three year olds are resilient
-if you are calm, your kid will be calm
-speaking in code is very important

My daughter left the dinner table, and was running to join her sister to play a game.  She ran head first into a chair, hitting the corner of her eye.  She missed her eye by centimeters.  When it first happened, I heard the thud, but she kept running so I thought she was fine.  No big deal.  She then came back in the room and said Mommy I cut my eye.  This was when my freaking out started  - there was so much blood running down her tiny face that I wasn't sure where it was coming from, or exactly what she did.  After I got her cleaned up, I could see the cut near her eye and knew she needed stitches.

On to the ER......once we finally were seen by a doctor, everything was fine.  They numbed the area and did the procedure.  It was very tricky to understand exactly what they were going to do - the main focus was for the hospital staff to be calm and reassuring for my little girl (while providing excellent care of course!)  and not use scary words like needle, oh no that looks bad, etc.  This made me freak out a little more!  She did great.  She hung out in the hospital bed, watched Aladdin and played a game on my tablet.

I know this happens, and it is part of life.  Kids get hurt.  They do silly things and have accidents.  I do hope that I never need to have one of my baby's faces stitched back together again.  Watching that, while holding her hand and smiling was tough.

This has been a tough week, too - keeping her head out of harm's way! I'm ready to wrap her in bubble wrap, head to toe! We need to keep the stitches dry, so no pool for us - normally we are there everyday!  Stitches come out on Monday and I think I'm more excited than she is!

Have a good one.  Please feel free to share any tips you have on keeping stitches clean and dry and how you handled your child's first injury.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Scoop On: Keratin!

Thanks everyone for your kind emails, questions and compliments!  I am enjoying my straight hair.  It has made my life so much easier.  I can take the kids to the pool and play tennis and don't have to worry about the frizzies!  My hair is naturally curly.  But I have crazy curls that really don't behave. So I would spend most of my time with my hair in a pony tail and about a million bobby pins to hold it in place.  My friends were always very kind - suggesting that I just needed a "little more product" or a "better product" some even went as far as giving me hair products and flat irons!  I guess they were being polite!  I am in no way an expert on keratin or haircare - I can only share my experience!   Here are a few of the questions I received:

Is it permanent?  No - it will last about 3 months.

Did the process hurt or damage your hair?  Nope!  It was completely painless and relaxing!  First my hair was washed with a special shampoo.  Then the magic potion was applied (ie the Keratin treatment).  I had to sit with this on my head for 35-45 minutes.  Then, my hair was washed again.  Dried straight and finished with a flat iron.

Is this something that I can do at home?  I know that they do sell at home kits, but I wouldn't try it.  I can barely wash and dry my hair with all of the kids running in and out of the bathroom.  I wouldn't even begin to try a chemical process.  Also, it is kind of hard to get to the back of your head.  I know that the stylists do go to special workshops and training classess to perfect their skills and learn about the new treatments.  I would go to a professional, like I did (kudos to Louise of Boston at the Avanti Salon on Newbury Street!

How do you maintain it?  I have special shampoo and conditioner from the Avanti Salon that I use.  I wash my hair every other day.  It is super easy to blow dry and I finish with a flat iron.  Takes 5-10 minutes tops.  On days I don't wash my hair, I just go over it with my flat iron.

Do you think I should try it?  Go for it! It is not permanent!

So, the proof is in the pictures!  Have a great day!

 my hair is much crazier than this and was a little longer


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The first part of our "big" summer vacation was a few days in Boston.  We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and left on Monday afternoon when we boarded the ship.  If you are taking a cruise out of Boston, I loved the cruise terminal and the staff!   The guys working outside the terminal assisting passengers with luggage, directions, etc, looked like long-shore men but were big teddy bears!  They were extremely helpful and talked with and interacted with the kids.

Boston is a great city to visit.  We had a wonderful time and are planning to go back in the fall when it is a little cooler and our hotel room won't stink! (In case you missed my post, our first night there my oldest son puked all over the hotel bed and room - hotel was sold out, no where for us to move to!).  There were so many things we wanted to do, but did not get to:  Children's Museum, Duck Tour, Fenway Park Tour, Bunker Hill (isn't it really Breed's Hill?).

The city is very family friendly and the people are lovely.  There is so much history there, too.  My kids loved learning about the Boston Tea Party and seeing the spot (from the air conditioned van!) where it took place!  We were lucky that when we were there, the Tall Ships were there too!  There is a lot going on this summer celebrating the anniversary of the War of 1812!  When we go back to Boston we definitely want to explore the Freedom Trail.  Due to time constraints and the heat, we did not make it very far.  In case you are not familiar with the Freedom Trail, it is a free 2.5 mile walk through the cit.  It takes you to 16 historically significant sights to the American Revolution.  You can also take a docent led tour of this.  But, it is very easy to follow (huge red lines and arrows on side walk!) and they do provide free maps.  Be sure to check out:

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Boston:

Visit the Aquarium!  My kids loved the penguins and could have stood there for hours just watching them.  They also had a great time watching the Seals and Sea Lions!  If you plan on going on a weekend or during the summer, get your tickets in advance through the website.  This way you won't have to wait in line!  Check out: 

Quincy Market! (aka Faneuil Hall Marketplace)  A visit to the city is not complete without stopping off here.  Now, Quincy Market has changed since I was a child.  Many of the "mom & pop" places are gone and have been replaced by chain stores and restaurants.  But, it is a neat place.  They do have a GAP and Baby GAP, both of which I love!  They also have excellent restaurants, stands and bakeries!   If you are there without the kiddies, be sure to check out some of the great bars!  One of my favorites is the Black Rose.  If you are there with the kids, there are some great  family friendly restaurants that offer "Yankee" cooking.  One of my husband's favorites is Durgin Park.  Faneuil Hall is worth checking out too!  It has been woven into our Nation's history - George Washington, Susan B Anthony and Oliver Wendall Holmes are just a few speakers who have been there throughout the years! Be sure to check out:

The North End.  We didn't get there this visit.  But I love, love, love the North End.  This is the "Italian" Neighborhood of Boston.   Home to great family owned bakeries, restaurants and shops and a beautiful Church.   It is an amazing historic neighborhood and when you walk down the streets, you feel like you are going back in time - I love the laundry hanging outside across the streets!  Worth a trip for an excellent meal!

While we were in Boston, I received the nicest surprise!  My husband's Aunt (Louise of Boston, lives in Boston.  She is an amazing hair dresser.  She had offered to give me, what I thought was going to be a quick trim. I have crazy, frizzy, curly hair and I was very excited about the prospect of getting a "good haircut".  (I go to Hair Cuttery!) When I got there, she surprised me and said she would do a Keratin Treatment on my hair.   My husband and father- in-law watched the kids (they took them to lunch and the Boston Public Gardens (where the swan boats are) while I spent the afternoon at the Salon where she works, Avanti Salon on Newbury Street (   It was an afternoon that was kid free - I got to just sit and do nothing!  She is amazing at what she does, she saved me from bangs and transformed my hair. My hair is smooth and frizz free!  The entire time on the cruise I did not have to worry about what the ocean would do to my hair!  It looked amazing for our trip (and still does!).  If you are in Boston please check her out!  The Salon is easy to get to.  The staff was all very professional and very friendly.

I'm already planning my next trip to Boston.  Bruce is playing Fenway Park in September - I think this will be our Roadtrip for my sister, brother and me.

Have a great afternoon!  Please feel free to share some of your favorite things to do in Boston!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Say Cheese!

It is every mother's dream.  It is also her worse nightmare.  The family portrait. Not just any family portrait.  The picture perfect, Christmas card worthy family portrait.   This is something that I believe is even more challenging when you have multiples! 

This is a quest that I have been on since Spring Break.  We have many beautiful pictures of the children.  But not a single one that my husband and I are both in as well.  For Spring Break this year we went to Hilton Head, South Carolina.  I made arrangements with a local photographer to have Beach Portraits done.  We got a beautiful picture of the children, but I was near tears looking at the proofs of the family pictures.  Tears for my lost dollars and tears for my lack of pictures!   When we were on the cruise, we did get a family picture done.  We happened to be standing in line for Sushi and the photographer called us over.  It was a quick 30 second shot and it is not half bad.  But, we have one kid in it who is not smiling or looking at the camera.  It made it on my Facebook page, but I'm not certain that I can put it on my Christmas Card (though MY hair looks great in the picture!).

We are trying again this evening, weather permitting, and I know that this time we will succeed in getting that perfect shot!  Why I am so confident?  It is the photographer.  It is very important to know and like your photographer.  When Mama is relaxed, the kids will be relaxed!  We have a wonderful local photographer, Michelle Guilbault with Memories by Michelle, who just happens to be one of our neighbors!  Please take a minute to check out her website at:

This is the third year that she will be taking my children's pictures, but the first year my husband and I will be getting in one!  My kids love her and she has a very easy going, calm demeanor which puts everyone at ease.   Her photography studio is based in her home, which automatically relaxes us.  (though tonight our plan is to try some outdoor shots!) We are not in the window of some shopping mall store with strangers stopping and staring at us!  She is very good and very experienced with working with children.  The first year we went to her, my twins had just turned one and my little one was definitely still a cryer!  She worked at my baby's pace and didn't rush us.  The second year we went to her for Easter Pictures with bunnies and chicks!  I think we had 6 chicks, 4 children and 2 bunnies to wrangle, but the pictures are amazing!

A beautiful family portrait is a treasure that will last for generations.  I love looking at old portraits of my parents and grandparents.  Here are some tips for a great family portrait:

-Get to know your photographer.  Make sure they know in advance what your goal is (great pic of the kids, great pic of the entire family, etc.) and the style of picture you are looking for (candid, posed, etc). 

-Take your photographer's advice.  This is what they do for a living.  They should be able to provide you with some great tips for poses, lighting etc.  But, if it is something you don't like or aren't comfortable with, speak up!  I know that we are in excellent hands today with Michelle and she will make her magic happen!

-Timing is everything.  Do not schedule the pictures during nap time or meal time.  You want to avoid meltdowns!  Bring some snacks and water - always bring things that won't stain those cute outfits the kids are wearing!

-Bribes are okay!  If all goes well (the kids behave) after our pictures we will go to our favorite frozen yogurt place!

-Bring some help.  This is especially important if you have multiples or multiples + like me.  Baby/Kid wranglers are needed!  They are definitely needed if mom and dad are in the photo, this way you have some extra hands to get the kids to smile and round them up when they escape!

-Make each child feel special.  I love having a picture done each year of just my twins.  I do not want my older two children to feel left out.  Michelle does great combinations - brother/sister, brother/brother, etc and each child individually.  This is something that she just does and I have never had to ask her for! This way everyone feels special!

-Relax and have fun. If you are relaxed, chances are the kids will be too!

Please share some of your photo tips! I would love to hear from some of the Quad Mama's out there - I am envisioning in my head four babies, crawling in four different directions!

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oh No, Now What.....What to do when you child gets sick on vacation

It happens.  Kids get sick.  They touch everything, they put their hands in their mouth and they get sick.  Sometimes it happens at the absolutely most awful time.  But, what are you going to do.  You clean it up, get them comfortable and get on with things!

My oldest two kids are pukers.  They have sensitive stomachs and are prone to motion sickness, just like me!  On our first night in Boston, all of the kids were asleep and I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed.  My oldest son frantically started banging on the door, then I heard the dreaded words...."Mommy I threw up."   I quickly opened the door to get him into the bathroom, only to discover it was too late.  He was sick all over one of the beds, three spots on the floor, one of the suitcases and on the bed skirt of the second bed.  Looked like a scene from the Exorcist and smelled even worse.  Thankfully, the other three kids slept through all of this!  Our hotel room was an upgrade on a standard room, two double beds and two bathrooms.  Let me tell you, it was very nice to have that second bathroom!  Having 6 people in two double beds when you have a pukey kid is not much fun.

At home we have a "system".  This involves layering large trash bags with beach towels both on the bed and floor surrounding the bed and several buckets!  When you are away from home, you need to improvise!  We got him cleaned up into fresh pajamas and situated on a clean corner of the floor with a trashcan.  Then we called down to the front desk and asked for clean sheets, blankets and towels, and proceeded to clean up as best we could!  I do always travel with a bucket, paper towels and some extra plastic bags.  This time the bucket and paper towels were in the car, so we did improvise with a plastic bag and the hotel trashcan and some extra hotel towels.  The extra plastic bags are great - you never know what you will need them for!  They also make travel size Clorox wipes and Febreeze.  We picked up both at the CVS the next day near our hotel.

My son was fine - just too much in one day.  A long car ride with a fast food lunch and a fish and chips dinner with Root beer and Ice Cream Sundae was just too much for him.  The hotel staff was very understanding and accommodating!  (Shout out to the Boston Park Plaza!) The hotel room stunk and was horrible having to stay there for the rest of our time in Boston.  The hotel was sold out and there was no where else to move us to.  Also, it was an older building and the windows did not open!
The next day he was fine and ready to go, go, go!  Just another adventurous day in parenting!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Picky vs. Particular

I am very fortunate that my children are not picky eaters. They will try new foods without being asked and if they don't like it they know they do not have to finish it. They love vegetables and putting together their own little combinations.  Last night at dinner they were dipping their broccoli in horseradish mustard!  We are anti-CPC (Clean Plate Club) in our house.  They do not have to finish everything on their plate, and I never want them to feel like they have to.  They need to make a good effort and eat until their "tummy has told them they have had enough".   We don't have dessert every night and they know it!  If they have not cleaned their plate, but had a good dinner, they can still have a small treat (we love fruit Popsicles!).   I don't understand when children are forced to clear their plates in order to have dessert.  In my opinion, isn't that just teaching our kids that it is okay to overeat? 

My kids love eating out in restaurants and for the most part can use their "nice table manners" while we are out!  We encourage the children to look at the menus and order themselves.  While we were on the cruise my oldest son did a great job of doing this pretty much every night!  He also ordered, on his own without being prompted!, frog legs and alligator fritters.  Those plates he did clear willingly!  In Halifax, he and his sisters tried a seafood chowder and could not get enough of it!  We ended up ordering a extra bowl.  In Boston, my 5 year old ordered lobster!  She prefers it without the butter, just in case you are wondering!

While my kids are not picky eaters, they are very particular eaters!  Foods cannot touch one another on their plates.  Crusts must always be cut off of sandwiches.  They will only eat homemade cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.  They will not touch the jar stuff with a 10 foot pole!  They will not eat vegetables from a can.  Don't get me started on the freezer section - no Stouffer's meals for my kids!  Sometimes this does make a few minutes of extra work for me...but so what, they are eating right!

 How do you deal with your picky or particular eater?

Have a great day!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Rest Stop

We made it back from our trip and the kids had a great time.  Thank you all for your messages and good wishes!  I have lots of funny stories and travel tips to share! 

We arrived in Boston on Saturday and drove home to Virginia in one day.  We took around about way, avoiding Rt. 95 and the Jersey Turnpike and made it home in about 9 hours.  That included four stops.   The kids were tired from the cruise and did really well in the car.  We did watch the move Lemonade Mouth three times, but it kept them quiet!

When you hear the word rest stop, what do you think of?  Here in Virginia, they are little buildings off the side of the road that house restrooms and a few vending machines.  They usually have some picnic tables outside and a place for kids and dogs to run.  Some of the newer ones even have small playgrounds.  Up North (especially on the New Jersey Turnpike and Massachusetts Turnpike) they are entirely different.  They are one stop shops for all your travel needs.  They have restrooms, gas stations, gift shops, vending machines and three or four food outlets.  These rest stops are usually, (in my experience) very crowded, very dirty and very expensive.  Driving home from Boston on Saturday we made our own rest stop off the highway and it was a great choice and a great stop!  We pulled into a shopping center in Danbury, CT.  I think it was off of 84.  I had just woken up and really don't remember!  This little shopping center had a Trader Joe's in it and a wonderful family owned pizza parlour.   Trader's Joes is a terrific place to stop with kids when traveling.  They have clean bathrooms and give out stickers to all kids (sometimes they have balloons too - but who wants a balloon in the car on a road trip!).   For what we spent on our McDonald's breakfast off the Mass Pike, I was able to buy juice, lemonade (to go with Lemonade Mouth, of course!) and a variety of healthy snacks for the car trip! I left the store with a very full grocery bag and happy kids.  At the pizza parlour they were very nice and very family friendly.  I wish I could remember the name - if I think of it, I will post it!  For less than what we spent on the McDonald's breakfast we were able to get pizza for everyone for lunch.  They were very accommodating - cutting all the pizza slices in half for the kids.  They gave us extra napkins and cups too.  I used the paper cups to pass out the cereal and snacks we bought at Trader Joe's.  Something else we did at the pizza place, was asked them not to heat the pizza.  This was faster for us because the pizza was already made and faster for the kids - they did not have to wait for it to cool before they could eat.

Please feel free to share some of your travel tips!