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I’ve read several health and fitness blogs lately about the hidden dangers of nutrition bars. Power bars and the like are generally filled with soy protein isolates, which just are NOT that good for you. Whey protein upsets my stomach. Many bars are jam-packed with ingredients you can’t understand or pronounce, and have a very high sugar content.

I’ve been a fan of Lara Bars for a long time because they contain nothing but dried fruits and nuts, but I miss out on the protein.

RX Bar

Problem solved!

On our last California tour this summer, I discovered RX Bars. These are made from whole food with very few ingredients and “no BS:” Only nuts, dried fruit, and 12g of protein, which comes from egg whites.

And they are delicious!!! AND the kids LOVE THEM!

So far, I’ve tried the Chocolate Sea Salt, Peanut Butter Chocolate, and Mint Chocolate (notice a theme)? All were outstanding.

Recently, I found RX Bars for sale at my local Whole Foods – hurray! You can also purchase them directly from their website. Let me know what you think.

Note: This is NOT A SPONSORED POST – I got no money or free product for this.

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I am loving this ancient Hawaiian story, “The Bowl of Perfect Light”

Ancient Hawaiian wisdom

And so it was known that each child born came with a Bowl of Perfect Light. And providing that the child was taught to carefully, mindfully tend to his/ her light, the child grew in strength, and able to do all things – swim with the sharks in the deepest oceans, fly with the birds in the heavens, know and understand all things.

If, however, the child becomes envious, jealous, judgmental he/ she must drop a stone into their bowl of light, causing some of the light to go out, since light and stone cannot occupy the same space and time. And if one continues to fill the bowl with stones, the light will go out completely, and he/ she becomes a stone and like a stone, one no longer grows or is able to move.

One remains in this state of being until if at any time, one tires of being a stone and realizes that all he/ she needs to do is turn the bowl upside down, letting all the stones fall out, and light can shine through and fill the bowl again, and grow even brighter than before. The child learns very quickly, that nothing is impossible, and living life in the darkness, the density of trauma and drama, or not is simply a moment to moment choice.

From Ka Po’e Kahiko O Moloka’i, the ancient people of Moloka’i
“Tales from the Night Rainbow” by Pali Lee & Koko Willis

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I became aware of the Fathers of Multiples website when blogger Aaron Lunceford kindly reviewed Adventures with Twins.

This blog — written “by dads, for dads” — is a terrific find, even for moms, it turns out. It’s full of handy tips such as Surviving the First Month with Multiples and Getting Your Twins to Help Clean.

They also have a new podcast called DoubleTalk and a directory of dad groups by state.

I highly recommend checking out this site or passing it along to the Twin Dad in your life. There’s plenty of humor and honesty, which I always appreciate. Parenting is tough… parenting twins is even tougher!

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This made me laugh out loud at least 10 times. YES.

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I’m so excited to tell you that “Multiples Illuminated: The Toddler to Tween Years” has hit the shelves! ORDER YOUR COPY today on Amazon or at many other booksellers.

“Multiples Illuminated” – just released

I’m honored to have a poem included in this anthology of humor, wisdom and advice for and by parents of multiples.

And in case you missed it, I also have a poem included in the first Multiples Illuminated book, which contains essays for and by parents of twins and triplets, focusing on surviving infertility, pregnancy, and the first two years.

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It sounds perfectly horrid: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Like something Medieval spread by rats in filthy, crowded cities.

Turns out it is very survivable. Not that I’d want to go through it again anytime soon. It’s also very common among kids under 5, almost a rite of passage like Chicken Pox used to be when I was a kid.

HFM is spread “fecal to mouth,” meaning your child comes in contact with an infected person’s poop and picks up the disease. Gross. But unfortunately, fecal matter is all over playgrounds and anywhere children gather. Also, adults can often be carriers while displaying no symptoms themselves.

A Hand Foot and Mouth diseased foot

We first noticed a blister on T’s foot a few weeks ago on a Monday. That night, he had a low-grade fever and woke up screaming and crying many, many times – which is totally unheard of for him, he generally sleeps through the night without a peep. I tried to give him milk, changed his diaper (he still uses one at night), and finally gave him some Tylenol. That did the trick – he collapsed, exhausted.

In the morning, he complained that his feet hurt. He could barely walk. He’d sort of tip-toe around the house moaning. My husband took a look. The soles of T’s feet were covered in red circles that kind of looked like big measles. Same thing on the palms of his hands. I couldn’t see anything in his mouth, but he complained when eating that it hurt.

A Hand Foot and Mouth diseased hand

I went online and the symptoms seemed consistent with what was described by the CDC. Fever, blisters on hands feet and mouth, loss of appetite. Now, please do NOT take this as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor, but I got on the phone with my pediatrician immediately, and here is what she said:

  1. Don’t bother coming into the doctor’s office. It’s viral. There’s nothing to do but wait it out.
  2. Push lots of fluids – in any form. The biggest danger is dehydration. So give your kids juice, anything that they like that will keep them drinking.
  3. Give them children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours or so, rotating one then the other. This is easier on their digestive symptoms. I found the medication was critical – it really helped them feel a lot better.
  4. To address the lack of appetite and pain in their throats and mouth, give them mushy, mild foods like bananas, soft bread. My doctor said to feed them milkshakes if need be – lots of calories, cool, and easy to swallow!
  5. Wash everyone’s hands frequently, including your own.
  6. Try to keep kids’ things separate, and don’t allow them to share plates, sippie cups, etc. I laughed out loud at this one. I have never ever managed to prevent one twin from getting what the other one has.
  7. Keep them away from other children for a week! They are highly contagious. We took this really seriously, which made for a somewhat challenging week with lots of indoor time and art activities. Luckily, they were low-energy, so that helped.

Sure enough, Z came down with HFMD about two days later than T. He had more complaints about his mouth, but at least we knew what we were dealing with. We toughed it out and felt better by Saturday.

My understanding is that we had a fairly mild case. Do yourself a favor: DO NOT go online and start looking at pictures of HFMD, they are very disconcerting! My kids never looked worse than those pictures I posted above. Also, I have heard of some kids losing their fingernails and toenails – mine never did. We made it through just fine, we really did. It was an exhausting week, but that’s just part of parenting!

Please comment if you have any tips or suggestions for surviving HFMD. Thanks!

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T vs the Toast :

After an exhausting morning of beach play, T finds himself unable to keep his eyes open as he munches a piece of toast. My favorite moment is when he smacks himself in the nose with the toast, then looks up startled like, “Who just whacked me?” Then falls right back asleep! Also, hilarious to hear his twin brother Z in the background saying, “Wake up! Wake up!”

It’s amazing how kids will fall asleep absolutely anywhere under any circumstances when tired enough!

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It happened yesterday. The moment we all fear as parents. The sense of absolute terror to look around and find… your child is missing.

It was a gorgeous day in Honolulu. We headed to Kapiolani Park for the Lei Day celebration (“May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii” the saying goes”) – hula dancing and live Hawaiian music on stage, vendors selling food and handicrafts.

We were having a terrific time playing with trucks in the duck pond and listening to the music. A bunch of tiny hula dancers — couldn’t have been older than 5 years old — went up on stage, so I took the stroller with T and Z following around to the front side, where there was a crowd of a few hundred people watching.

T and I walked to the front and sat. He was in my lap. Z was about 10 feet away. I thought he was coming to join us, but suddenly he seemed unable to find us and wandered off the other direction. I scooped T up in my arms and went to fetch Z.

But in that 10 seconds, Z disappeared.

I scanned the crowd. People were sitting, wandering about. Z was in a bright turquoise t-shirt, so easy to spot. I thought I’d find him immediately.

I didn’t.

I started to panic. My heart raced. I grabbed the double stroller, strapped T in, and found a cop standing nearby. I gave him a description of Z, all the while trying to find my son, whom I was sure must be nearby.

A woman ran up to me and said, “Are yo looking for your son? He’s down by the pond playing with his truck.”

“Blue shirt? Curly hair?” I asked. She nodded yes.

I sprinted with the stroller down to the pond. It wasn’t Z. It was some other child.

Now I was really in full-blown anxiety mode. I ran back the other direction, to where the music was playing. Surely, Z must be right there somewhere? Several moms kindly offered to help. They spread out in multiple directions calling his name.

Then one of the women suggested I make an announcement. I walked up on-stage mid-song and dance and asked to use to PA system. I said, “I’m looking for my son, 2 years old, dark curly hair, wearing a bright turquoise shirt.”

I ran back down off the stage and began fanning out in a wider circle. Already my mind was racing with worst-case scenarios. A Missing Child poster with Z’s face on it. A kidnapping. Running into the street and getting hit by a car. I tried not to. I made myself breathe. I returned to the thought, “He must be around here somewhere.”

I was about to call Kiran to race over from home to help me when a woman pointed far off toward the tennis courts and said, “He’s over there.”

I took off at breakneck speed with the stroller and T, thankfully cooperating without any fuss. “Where? Where? Has anyone seen a child in a blue shirt, 2 years old?”

One person after another pointed me further down the park. I was now a quarter mile away from the stage where I had lost him.

And there he was. I spied his little floppy-haired head and blue shirt and burst into tears. A young family with two kids was stooping to speak with him. I called his name and he came running. He seemed quite calm about the whole thing.

“Papa,” he said. And I realized that he had been walking home. He’d made it about 1/3 of the way and was on the right track. I held him tight.

Then buckled him into the stroller. Safe and secure alongside his brother, who sweetly offered him a truck to play with.

I had to walk back to the stage to tell everyone who had helped us thank you and that I’d found my child. The cop, the ladies who’d been searching — all were so kind. They said, “It happens to everyone.” “It’s the worst feeling in the world.” And “You need a stiff drink.” They even gave me hugs.

It took me all night to calm down. I didn’t have a drink, but I did take a lot of deep breaths. Last night I had nightmares.

Here are the lessons I learned from the awful experience.

  1. Keep your head. You really are better served by staying calm and logical then spinning out to a wildly emotional state. When the evil thoughts intruded, I replaced them with more positive ones. “He is here.” “I will find him.” This helped me think through next steps and what I could best do to solve the problem.
  2. People are helpful – enlist them in your search. Don’t be shy about asking for help! “It takes a village,” as they say. You just have to reach out and let others know what is going on, and many will jump on board to help you out.
  3. Be vigilant – especially in a crowd. Wow. What a lesson for me. That happened so fast. So darned fast. It was no joke less than 10 seconds from when I saw Z wander in the wrong direction until I realized he was lost. Just like that. I don’t think I’ll use a leash or anything — it was clear Z just lost us, he wasn’t trying to escape. But I am going to have new rules about staying close, holding hands, or being strapped in from this point forward.
  4. Be grateful. For every single day you have with your children. Life is so precious!
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My poem “Permission Granted” opens the book Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice From Parents of Twins, Triplets and More.

Published last year, the book has been very well received, and, in fact, the editors are now following it with a second book about the Toddler to Tween years, coming soon.

Well, today you can get a FREE COPY of the first book! Just provide the fabulous Alison and Megan your email address so that you can be added to the Multiples Illuminated mailing list and get updates about the latest blog posts, filled with humor and helpful advice. No spamming, I promise!

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I had this genius idea a month ago.

A well-intentioned friend told me about how she’d potty-trained her two boys, now four and six-years-old with this three-day training method. She then proceeded to gift me with her entire vast collection of little plastic toddler potties, including one that sings when you go.

“This method works best with children under 28 months of age,” the article stated. Well, my twin boys were already 26 months old. They were obsessed with talking about poop and insisting on invading the only remaining private space in our home to watch me and my husband, Kiran, go to the bathroom. In other words, they seemed ready. I figured we could get this potty training business done like a boss.

We picked a weekend when we could spend the better part of three entire days in our tiny apartment. We scattered plastic potties throughout the household. We rolled up our living room carpet and covered the couch with beach towels. I had new books, toys, stickers, and stamps ready to go for distractions and bribes. I even lined up visits from Grandpa and Grandma.

I am nothing in life if not prepared. We were ready. Three difficult days, and my boys would be out of diapers forever.

It all started to go wrong on Day One.

******

Read the rest of this post at Multiples Illuminated, a great blog for parents of twins, triplets and more. My essay “Permission Granted” was published in their first book last year, and another essay I wrote will appear in the coming book later this year.

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