Fashion

Tantrums a.k.a. Meltdown Town

Meltdown Town is a place frequently visited here in our household, mainly outside of our household, which makes it all the more fun to deal with. I’ve been in an extreme funk the past week and I’ve anchored it to the constant changes our little family is going through, albeit good, but change none the less. This funk keeps being fueled by the boys also experiencing the change and throwing tantrums left and right to prove it. And these meltdowns are over the STUPIDEST things!

I read an open letter recently titled “My kid is throwing a tantrum BECAUSE I’m a good mom” and it was almost what I needed to pull me out of the meltdown funk. THis mom addresses other shoppers around her with their judgmental looks and stares, as she explains the reason her child is melting down is because he is learning valubale lessons. YES, sister, YES! My kids tantrums are always over me not giving in to something they want, or a behavior I try and stop because its inappropriate for the place we’re in.

Here is an example of a meltdown that took place this week:

The boys had their first homework project, an “All About Me” poster. We excitedly completed the homework and they marched their proud hinnies into class and told their teacher and classmates all about themselves. Their sweet teacher hung them around the classroom, in a proud display for everyone to see and to stay up for when they have “Grandparents Day” for all the grands to see. When I went to pick the boys up, they both showed me where their hung in the class and Greer insisted on taking his home. We explained to him it needed to stay in Ms. Perla’s class, so everyone could see, and the screams and tears started. Oh my heavens! I explained, both teachers explained, he was not having it. (side note, Greer also keeps these meltdowns going when he realizes he’s wrong and gets embarrassed. For where this comes from, please see if father about that.) As i grab backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, folders with the days projects in them, and my purse, I hand the folders off to Grayson who quickly exits the classroom and empties the folders onto the floor in the hallway. (Greer is still screaming bloody murder) Their sweet teacher looks at me and says “I can take it down and he can take it home,” to which I quickly respond ” NO!”

He will learn that he is no different than anyone else in his class, he does not get special treatment. This lesson I am teaching him is causing this tantrum, I know that. But what if I gave in? Over and Over. What is that actually teaching him? If everyone could just understand the bigger picture with children, it would make it a lot easier on us moms.

Here are the four things I do when the boys jump on the choo-choo express to Meltdown Town:

  1. Make them take a deep breath ( mine have been taught this sine they turned one) and TRY and talk sense into them. This clearly doesn’t always work, since I have three other things I have to try with them. I get down to their eye level, hold their hands and explain to them my reasoning. “It’s about to rain, we don’t want to get wet, right?” Sometimes, all they need is a little reasoning to understand.
  2. I praise the other brother who isn’t having a meltdown. Its actually very rare that both boys have a meltdown together. Greer is the one typically losing it, so I turn to Grayson and tell him : “you’re being such a good boy Grayson,” ” I’m so proud of your behavior right now,” or “Mommy is so happy with how you are acting.” This will most likely lead to Greer saying “I’m a good boy too?” Then I can tell him he is a good boy but his behavior isn’t good or he’s “acting” like a bad boy.
  3. Leave. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, leave, walk away with both boys and handle it in a different location/setting. Sometimes removing them from the setting their in changes their behavior and lets me do step one more calmly and in a different location.
  4. BRIBE! Yes, I get desperate from time to time, again depending on the setting we’re in, and just bribe them to stop throwing a fit.

No matter which of these I choose, when we get back home, to the car, once they’ve calm down, we talk. We talk through that when they threw a fit, it made mommy upset and we walk through what we should have done instead. Over and over and over again, until they can tell me. Back to the example I used earlier, for the past two days when we’ve talked about school Greer has told me his projects stay in Ms. Perla’s class until she sends them home. We talked about it so much and I had him tell me about the where the project stays, that I know feel like he understands, (we’ll see how pickup goes today, wish me luck!)

I hope this helps any of you that need to try something new when it comes to meltdowns. They are so, so hard to deal with, but know that you standing your ground and being firm, makes you a great parent!

Fashion

The First Week of School – How it went

When I tell you that I’ve been looking forward to the boys starting school this fall for the longest time, its an understatement. Especially the two weeks before they started, whoah, did these two give me a run for my money. My pediatrician jokes that it’s mother natures way of preparing you for them to go. So true!

But to be completely honest with you, their first day, after we dropped them off, I went home and paced around my house for THREE hours. I literally didn’t know what to do with myself. I walked from room to room wondering what to do, where to start. I had no idea how lonely and useless I would really feel. I called Adam almost in a panic, and asked him what I should do, he laughed. I think I’ve said this in a previous post, but I had never been in this home without my boys for more than twenty minutes or so. It was the strangest feeling. So, that’s how the week went for me, as for the boys, they did great! They came home singing songs they learned and telling me about all their friends. It made my mama heart so happy.

A lot of people ask about them being in the same class and if I will keep them in the same class through school. As for the first question, yes they are in the same class, and as for the latter, I still go back and fourth. I am going to do a “twinning tuesday” post about once a month and discuss certain twin debates or fun facts, so I will for sure put all my thoughts down and explore with all of you more on that then.

Here are a few picture from their first week. I can’t believe we are already here and know I’ll turn around in May and wonder where this entire year went. And yes, I’m sure the following years go even faster.

IMG_5863

IMG_5875

IMG_5887

IMG_5909

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen the below picture (picture me rolling my eyes right now). This was the very first “project” the boys brought home from school and to be honest, it did not surprise me one bit that Grayson answered “good” and Greer answered “nothing.” Boy do I think I have some fun homework years ahead of me.

 The bottom picture below was an idea for “back to school” teacher gifts I posted on Instagram. I am a huge Swell fan! They keep water cold for hours and are great to knee refilling through the day. And they’re cute and functional to boot. I was super excited they started a line for Target, which is where I found these. They made for a great teachers gift that I know they can use all year long in the classroom and outside of the classroom. My friend and I discussed the idea of this gift and she came up with the cutest saying for the card… ” We’re excited for a SWELL year in your class!” How cute?! ( She’s a teacher herself, wink)

IMG_5941

IMG_5855

I hope everyone’s start to the school year went smoothly and that your kiddos are settling in to their new routines!

Fashion

Recipe – Baked Lemon Chicken

Happy Thursday everyone! Who else is counting down the days until the weekend? We’ve had a busy day with the boys starting school this week, my part time job being busy and prepping to go out of town twice in the next month. I’ve been looking for easy, delicious, healthy dinners for us and stumbled upon this one last week and made it a few nights ago for dinner. It was delicious ! We paired it with sweet potatoes and asparagus, but this dish is so versatile, you could put it with pretty much anything! I’ve also been trying to cut out non-essential dairy (and by essential I mean my flavored coffee creamer in the morning!) so I substituted the butter for ghee!

Lemon-Chicken-13

Author: Dina from SimplyHomeCooked.com
Serves: 10 Drumsticks
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp black pepper
  • 10 chicken drumsticks
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ large onion or (1 medium)
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional) or ghee
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the salt, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  2. Add the drumstick to the bowl and toss to coat evenly.
  3. Slice the lemon and onion.
  4. Heat olive oil over high heat in a large skillet and brown each side of the chicken. Don’t fully cook them.
  5. Line the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish with the sliced onions.
  6. Place the browned drumsticks into the baking dish and add half a slice of lemon and a small slice of butter on top of each drumstick.
  7. Bake at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour or an hour and 15 minutes.

enjoy!

*recipe and photo from SimplyHomeCooked.com

 

Fashion

First Day of School

  IMG_4533

IMG_4532

IMG_4530

To my sweet boys on your first day of school (PreK -2),

 You two simply make life better. I am so proud to be your mama and to have spent the past three years at home with you. Watching you grow, learn and love each other have been the best years of my life. Dropping you off today, in someone else’s care is extremely hard for your mama. I am torn between sitting in the parking lot until pick up time or sitting at home among your things and remembering all the things I watched you do in this home. I’ve actually never been without you in this house for more an 30 minutes, so I’m guessing it’s going to feel pretty lonely. But you, my sweet boys, are ready for school!

Be kind to your teachers, your friends and each other. Be includers. Include every child in your class, in everything you do. Being a good friend and a good person is the best quality you can have as a human. Share toys, and play nicely. Try new things. You have a wonderful teacher, who we know and love, and she will push you to do your best and to accept challenges and excel at them. Follow her, trust her and love her big. She has one of the most important jobs on this planet.

Your Daddy and I are so proud of you. You have completed us and we couldn’t express the love we have for you if we tried, there aren’t enough words to tell you.

Love,

Momma

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Fashion

Our Ohio Trip

IMG_4929

If you were here last week, you know we flew to Ohio last two Thursday’s ago and surprised my Mammaw for her 90th birthday. She was so surprised! And to surprise her again, we threw her a surprise party with 135 family and friends, it was such a magical weekend, overall. At times( most of the time) it didn’t feel that way, but looking back, it was a weekend filled with love and family, and couldn’t have been more perfect for my Mammaw.

Last week I posted about slow parenting, and how I was trying to be more aware of how the boys were playing and watching them learn new things. I made a promise to myself that while we were in Ohio, I would slow parent, and more so be a flexible parent.  I learned a lot, both good and not so good.

We allowed the boys to skip naps, and stay up late, which turned out to be not great for them. Lesson learned. I truly believe my kids like structure, and a schedule. They’re like their mama and like to know what is happening next. They get overwhelmed easily and don’t like a lot of change. Again, like their mama. So overall, we had really crabby toddlers on our hands the whole trip, but there is nothing like being around tons of family and having lots of new people to entertain.

Most of our time in the afternoons, after the boys power napped in their car seats in the car, looked like this…

  

IMG_5453

So flexible parenting wasn’t in my favor, but slow parenting was. I let the boys do just about whatever they wanted and they had a ball (when they were in the mood)

They went to the farm, fed the goats, rode tractors, played in a bounce house for hours on end, peed in the bushes when they didn’t want to go inside, ya know, the typical boys stuff. Daddy boy and I had a beer in our hand every day around 3, but we powered through. And honestly. it was so much fun watching them do things they’d never done before. When they got cranky, we walked to see the horses, or turned the sprinkler on in the front yard and let them run through it, things we really can’t do here in Florida.

IMG_5451

IMG_5576

 IMG_5426

IMG_5450

IMG_5466

IMG_5474

IMG_5478

IMG_5481

IMG_5565

IMG_5528

IMG_5534IMG_5559

IMG_5443

IMG_5562

Speaking of that man of mine, what a trooper. The day we got to Ohio, he came down with flu like symptoms. I thought ‘oh hells bells’ this is going to be a disaster. But we got him some medicine and sleep and he popped back up and took over as the favorite parent. He carried those boys day and night and did everything he could to keep them calm and happy. He gave me time with my family and held down our little family like a champ!

Hope y’all have a great week! My boys start school tomorrow and this mama’s anxiety is at an all time high!

Fashion

Favorites on Friday – To (Pre) School We Go

This Friday we’re dedicating our favorite things to what will be helping us this year at school regarding everything we need to bring from home on a daily basis. My littles are only doing “school” two days a week in the morning time, but they do eat lunch at school, so I will be packing their lunches those two mornings. The items I chose for this week we tested out at our Vacation Bible School this summer. They were all awesome and I am utilizing them for the school year.

FF81216

Herschel Supply Co. Settlement Kids Backpack– We bought these last year for our two planes trips we did, and absolutely love them. I haven’t found another backpack that I love more. They are preppy, small enough for littles to carry and extremely durable.

Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers – These fun little ice packs keep those lunch boxes cold and are also something to add a little character to the boys lunch (that and the peanut butter M&M’s I’ll sneak them in there!)

L.L. Bean Lunchbox– These I’ve also had since last year when I started taking the boys on longer excursions that required me to bring lunch with us. Again, extremely durable, wipe clean, and keep everything nice and cold. One boy has red, one has navy! Come in TONS of colors and can be monogrammed.

Earth’s Best Organic Blueberry & Banana Breakfast Pouch -My kids are STILL pouch lovers and they are also late breakfast eaters. With school starting at 8:30am for them, they might have mornings when they don’t want to eat anything. These are perfect for them to eat in the car or throw in the backpack in case they get into class and get hungry. Quick and easy for teacher to handle.

Contigo Kids 14oz Gizmo Water Bottles – my love/hate relationships with water bottles. To be honest, in almost 3 years, I still haven’t found a kids water bottle I love (and I’ve tried almost all of them, ask my Amazon account). But the first Contigo’s we had were great until the straw started popping out inside the bottle. Then they came out with the Gizmo, with a new and improved straw system and these have been great so far. (Been using since June). We bought two 3 Packs and bought vinyls with their monogram for labeling! Dishwasher safe, BPA Free!

California Home Goods 3 Compartment Reusable Food Storage – We bought these before VBS this summer, and everyone asked where we got them! They are perfect for all sized lunches, come with bright colored lids (the boys pick out which color they want in the morning) dishwasher safe, microwave safe, BPA free AND parents can use them too!

Well – there you have it, what will be keeping me (closer) to sane when trying to get two 2 year olds off to school in the morning and out the door by 8:15.  I’ll let you know a good way into the school year how we still feel about these products.

Have a great weekend!

Parenting

What being at home for three years has taught me….

I remember vividly having to make a quick decision as to what we were going to do with the boys, childcare wise, after my maternity leave. I had full intentions of returning to work after my leave and we considered everything child care. Long story short, with my job including travel and Adam having a sports schedule job, when our one (reasonably priced) nanny, fell through, there just wasn’t a better choice than me staying home. And once the boys arrived and I started my work as their mama, I knew the decision we made for our family, was the right one.

3 year collage

The boys start a two year old class next week (couple days a week in the morning) and the amount of sadness I feel about not being with them ALL the time is equal to the amount of pride I have in myself for all that I have accomplished (and majorly failed at) to this point. I’ve thought long and hard on the lesson’s I’ve learned in staying home to raise babies the past three years. Here are the top 10 things I’ve learned while being a stay at home mom.

I’ve learned . . .

  1. Nothing is easy, but it gets easier – In the crazy world of parenting, nothing, nothing is easy. Everything at one time is new, its an adjustment, but everything gets easier. You figure it out and it’s onto the next hill to climb, and that hill will in time also become less painful. My friends and I often talk about how something each age gets easier, but something else gets harder. For instance, when your child learns to walk: easier: they can move themselves around the house and follow you around, giving your arms the much needed rest from the past 12-15 months they needed. Harder: you child is walking, and will walk anywhere they want to, into the street, to the toilet to splash around, walk into a mud puddle. Gone are the days of idleness on the baby mat, but also say goodbye to that back pain and sore arms.
  2. To take my time- Countless times, I have been the mom saying yes to everything, over scheduling myself and the kids, which ultimately leads to a trip to meltdown town for both the boys and I. In the past three years I’ve notices how much more the boys flourish if I go on their schedule, and let their mood decide what we do from day to day. If I take my time and don’t rush myself or them, our day turns out wonderful.
  3. To go easy on myself– Have I lost my temper? Yes. Have I said things I shouldn’t have? Yes. Have I missed a whole day of good nutrition? Yes. Did I tear myself apart each and every time I did those things. Yes. Every time. But every mama/parent does it. If they say they haven’t, they’re lying. Point blank. We are all human and we all make mistakes and do things we know we shouldn’t have done. But forgiveness is one of the best tools you have in your mama tool belt, for you, your children and your spouse. Forgive,especially yourself. It’s free, and makes your world so much better.
  4. To ask for help – I had a really hard time the first two years of the boys life. We don’t really live close to any family, which has made parenting a little more challenging for both Adam and I. I finally started using a sitter that lives down the street for date nights, appointments and when I just need an hour or two to get things done around town. It has made all the difference. The boys get something out of it (a young, fresh play mate) and I get a non stressed few hours to myself.
  5. To take time for myself-  This was something else I had a hard time doing. I felt as though when I made the decision to stay home that all 24 hours of my day were to be devoted to the boys. WRONG! That didn’t make me a very good mother or wife for that matter. Taking time to go out to dinner with friends, go get my nails done, walk around the mall by myself, made me feel like myself again. Being thrown into baby life from having a career is huge adjustment and I felt as though I had lost part of who I was. When I learned to give myself the time I deserved, I was a better person for everyone.
  6. That children need to be taught – This may sound obvious, but I see a lot of of our generation parenting in the way that they expect children to know how to behave, and when they don’t, we as parents get worked up. One day I had a serious discussion with myself after a very trying two weeks with the boys. I felt bad for them. I expected so much from them without teaching them how to do what I was asking. I told myself “children need to be taught.” They don’t come into the world with a brain full of knowledge on how to behave. We have to tell them, show them. Do I still lose my patience from time to time, you bet. But I’ve learned to talk to the boys so they understand and show them what I need from them.
  7. To say what I mean- This is something I still struggle with. When I tell the boys they won’t be getting the cookie they’ve been asking for all day if they don’t stay in their bed at nap time, I rarely stick to that, one, because they’re so darn cute when they ask, and two, I want to avoid the enevitable melt down that comes after I tell them why they aren’t getting it. But giving in can lead to a not so cute child if this habit continues. I’ve learned there is much importance in sticking to what you say.
  8. Playing with my kids is my most important “task” all day- I know. It sounds cliche. But honestly, the dishes, the laundry, the picking up, none of it is as important than actually playing with my children. When they decide to pick up a toy and hit another because it’s a ‘bad guy,’ it’s important that I am there to tell that other toy to use its words when it’s upset with the other toy. This is how are children are learning to communicate and problem solve. And being by their side while they discover and work out these conversations is my most important role of the day.
  9. Everything is a phase- Four words. This too shall pass. Your child is not going to go to school peeing his pants, not sleeping through the night, biting. It’s all going to be over soon. Chin up and power through!
  10. Every child is different- One would think having identical twins would be easy when dealing with their personalities, because they are the same. Wrong! My two boys who look a like and have the same DNA, couldn’t be more different. This is something I have to remind myself every day. One of my cousins with grown twins told me this past weekend ” Fair is not always equal.” I made her say it again, which lead to her explaining, they both have different needs, giving them what they both need is fair, but that doesn’t always have to be equivalent to what the other twin gets. This goes for any child, any amount of siblings.

What are some lessons you parent/live by? Leave in comments below!

Fashion

Back to School Shopping

The thing I get asked most about when it comes to the boys is where I buy their clothes. It is so much harder to shop for boys. Companies typically have about three times as much for girls than boys and finding simple, preppy boys clothes seems to be really hard in most cases. So, I’ve put together a little back to school clothing round up for boys. As I typically do when buying a “haul” for the boys is pick 2-4 pairs of shorts (we live in Florida that number can be upwards to 6 shorts sometimes) and then find a bunch of coordinating tops to go with them. In this group, I’ve pulled items from our most frequented shops to give you an example. Under the picture I’ve linked each item directly to their page on the companies website. Happy shopping!

BTS Shopping

Shorts: Red twill shorts , Navy dock short

Shoes: New Balance for Crewcuts

Gap: Navy Gingham button up , Striped pocket tee

J.Crew: Ringer t-shirt with double stripe , Heather ringer t-shirt

Zara: Toggle sweatshirt , Striped t-shirt

Old Navy: Slub knit pocket tee , Crew neck pocket tee

H&M: Mint green polo , Melange jersey t-shirt

Shop Small: Guitar tee , Man Cub tee

 

 

Food

Family Favorite – Shrimp Boil Foil Packets

For the longest time, I cooked two dinners every night. One for the boys, and one for Adam and I. While I love to cook and its extremely cathartic for me, two dinners each night was exhausting. Especially when the boys ate three bites and didn’t want to eat anymore, only to have them show up while Adam and I were eating our dinners and eat everything off our plates. So this spring I really challenged myself to find family recipes that we could all eat together and enjoy. This was life changing.

I know you’re thinking I should have been doing this from the start, but I just didn’t know the boys tasting limits. Turns out, they’re pretty fond of everything, besides olives and tomatoes (unless those tomatoes are in a sauce form on pizza). I will continue to share recipes here and there, especially the ones we absolutely love and eat as a family.

These Shrimp Boil Packets I discovered while looking for a grilling recipe for the 4th of July. They are SO good! And the boys devour them. With sausage, shrimp, potatoes and corn, it’s the perfect, easy, summer grilling recipe. The only thing I switch out in the boys packet is the andouille sausage. Its a bit too spicy for them, so I use a chicken sausage that isn’t spicy at all. The original recipe calls for parsley but I’m not a huge fan, so I use cilantro in mine. Another plus, the easy peasy clean up!

Enjoy!

IMG_3641edit

Shrimp Boil Foil Packets

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • 2 ears corn, each cut crosswise into 4 pieces
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons cajun seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste ( I omit this for the boys packets, as to not overload them with salt)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

 

  • Preheat a gas or charcoal grill over high heat.
  • Cut four sheets of foil, about 12-inches long. Divide shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes into 4 equal portions and add to the center of each foil in a single layer.
  • Fold up all 4 sides of each foil packet. Add olive oil, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste; gently toss to combine. Fold the sides of the foil over the shrimp, covering completely and sealing the packets closed.
  • Place foil packets on the grill and cook until just cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.*
  • Served immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Notes: *This can also be baked for 15-17 minutes at 425 degrees F.

*photo and adapted recipe from Damn Delicious

Lifestyle Parenting Twins

Slow Parenting

IMG_2638

Have you heard of slow parenting? I heard the term used at the beginning of this year and I decided to read a bit about it. After reading numerous articles about the benefits of slow parenting, I reflected on my own parenting style and where I was carving out unhurried time for my boys. I realized this wasn’t just a term, it was a movement. A movement to, as the Boston Globe describes loosely as  “no more rushing around physically and metaphorically, no more racing kids from soccer to violin to art class. Slow parenting cherishes quality over quantity, being in the moment, and making meaningful connections with your family.”

Mine are far from soccer and violin practices, but this movement really resonated with me. I am definitely a “fast parent”, I feel the need to always be on the go and to be entertaining the kids every hour they’re awake. Adam and I fell into the habit of taking turns when we’re both home. I will take an hour and go run errands and he’ll watch the boys, and he will take an hour to go outside and do yard work while I watch the boys. Our weekends look a lot like a game of tag team. He’s in, then I’m in. We looked at our time at home together and noticed we hardly did anything together as a family of four unless we were in the pool or going somewhere.

John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Available Parent,” says to “take some time to just watch their children, whether they are playing, doing homework, or eating a snack. Take a moment to drink them in. Remember and remind yourself how remarkable your children are. That pause alone, even if momentary, can drive a shift in the pace.”

This statement alone hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t remember the last time I actually stopped to watch my children just play and learn. I’ve now made it a point to watch them different times of the day. Even if they are playing well together and I have 5 minutes to do the dishes, I stop, and watch them. And you know what? I learn. I learn so much about them in that 5 minutes. It sort of shocked me, what I noticed. The things that would have passed me by, the things my memory would have missed stamping into my mental memory book. I watched them splash their feet in the pool, share licks of each others popsicles, watched them learn to work a push pop, and then watched them drink down the juice from the bottom of the pop holder. These little things on two year old boys, are just precious.

Here is the Boston Globe article I originally read, if you want to read or are curious.

We’re implementing slow parenting while on our trip to Ohio. Saying ‘yes’ more, leaving phones and even cameras to the side and let our eyes and hearts take all the pictures. I’m letting the boys do what they want to do without a whole lot of limitations and without a schedule or rushing. It’s amazing. They flourished and I felt as though my mama tank was filled to the brim. I am going to post next week on exactly what we did and our experience on this trip in particular.

In the meantime, give it a shot. You’ll surprise yourself!

Wife, Mama to identical twins boys. Lover of travel, rosé, and entertaining.

My Former Blog (for twin mamas!)