Five Ways to Make Traveling With Kids Easier

Running errands with kids in tow.  Not my idea of a good time.  Someone should have told me the five ways to make traveling with kids easier when my twins were born.  It would have been nice to know.

When I had just one child, I thought shopping was hard.  Seriously.

You have to haul the baby and all that junk with you.  You have to plan nursing/bottles and diaper changes.  You have to bring along baby food and bibs and baby spoons.  Restaurants don’t provide that stuff.

You have to lug around that huge car seat and diaper bag.

Or worse.  You have to wake a sleeping baby because he’s too big for the carrier, and you can’t leave him in the car.

Gone are the days of quickly darting in and out of stores.

And then I had twins.

And believe me, I had no idea what hard was.

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Seven Steps to Bonding with Your Baby

seven steps to bonding with your baby

Seven Steps to Bonding with Your Baby


Your little bundle of joy has finally arrived! You look at him, lovingly, as he snoozes in his little bassinette, oblivious to the world around him. You notice his sweet breathing patterns, the little baby noises he makes, his cute little cheeks, adorable little dimples, perfect little lips. Your heart swells with love.

But you can’t help but wonder….

Now what?

I remember that very same feeling, when my husband and I brought our oldest home from the hospital. He was asleep, wrapped in a blanket on the living room floor. My husband was stretched out in front of him, face propped in his hands, just admiring his brand new son. He looks over at me with a goofy smile on his face and says “Now what?”

Now what indeed!

Parenting starts the same way nearly every adventure begins….by building a relationship.

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I Can Assure You, That’s Not Yay!!

That’s what I heard, last night.  My husband had taken the boys downstairs to play so I could do the dishes in peace.  He mentioned he felt like a nice “family night playing together downstairs”.  I haven’t actually played with the kids for a while.  I let them run around and play while I’ve been busy with Christmas preparations.  It takes a lot, to get this house ready for Christmas, because I have to do it in such tiny little increments of time.  A few minutes here, a few minutes there, after the dishes are done, before I fold my fifth load of laundry for the day…..  😉  So playing sounded nice.

I was listening to all the clapping and all the “Yay!”s as the boys bounced balls, made baskets and ran cars down a long, narrow tube.  They were having a blast.  And then, as I was scrubbing the floor (I have to do that after each meal and snack – the twins feed themselves.  Nothing more needs to be said.) I heard my husband say, sternly, “I can assure you, that is not “Yay!” and I literally LOLed!  (I love “LOL” because, really, did you really ‘laugh out loud’?  Don’t write it unless you really did it!)  Yes, I really laughed out loud.  It was hilarious!

And I thought to myself, “ahhhh…….”

This is it.  This is the time in each of my boys’ lives when my husband falls madly in love with them.  And I absolutely love it.  Up until now, they were infants.  They didn’t do much.  They didn’t react much.  And they were (and still are!) a lot of work.  It is harder for a man, I’ve learned, to bond, with such a small, helpless little creature.  Us moms seem to do it right away.  But we carried them for nine months and felt them grow within us.  There’s a connection there.  A man, he watches it happen.   And knows the child is his.  And loves it from the get-go.  But that connection isn’t the same.

I’m not sure exactly when it happens for my husband.  But I can see it.  He raced home from work the other day because it was snowing so beautifully outside.  He wanted to get the youngest three dressed up to go out and play.  (It is sooo much work for me to do alone.)  By the time he got home, it was getting dark. And I had to be the fun-killer, by pointing out that I needed him to shower and go pick up the 11 year old from basketball practice.  That night, in bed, he reminisced about a winter wonderland he took our oldest out to play in at night, back when we lived in town.  Seventeen years ago.  Maybe 16 or 15.  He was probably two or three.  It was so much fun.  Such a good memory for him.  Such a fun age.

I realized, as I finished scrubbing the floor, that my life is about to get a little more fun.  My husband has always been the fun-initiator.  He has always been the one to tell me to put down my work and play.  He is the one who has taught me that playing with the boys is the absolute most important thing we can do.  And what can be more fun, than playing with the man I love, three big boys, a three year old, and two bubbling little twins?  🙂


Merry Christmas!!


She Seems Perfectly Sane…..

I was at a football game with my boys last night. In the fall, we have elementary football games to attend, Junior Varsity football games to attend, Varsity football games to attend, College football games to watch and/or attend (my nephew plays) and the Vikings to watch on TV. It is a season of football for us! My boys love football season….even my biggest boy (my husband!).

So we were at the game and the twins were running around, playing. My oldest had practice but no game, so he was watching his brother play and visiting with us as well. He just naturally helps out when he is around, so my husband and I were relaxing a little and my oldest was keeping the twins from running out on the field. It was nice.

And then he stops and looks at us and says, “You know, that lady in the mall…with the leashes….I’m starting to think she was perfectly sane after all!” We laughed!

When the twins were still babies and in their strollers, my two oldest and I went to the mall to buy shoes for track. It was a chaotic shopping trip. We had the twins and our then two year old. It was hard to keep track of everyone, keep the youngest three happy and quiet, and still be able to concentrate on what we were buying.

We were exhausted. As we were packing up to leave (it is a time-consuming process), we saw a mom walk out of Scheels with two toddling children….on leashes. They were pulling on her and the leashes like a dog pulls on the leash when his master is just not walking along fast enough. And she was (gently) yanking back, trying to reign them in a bit. One boy, one girl. Cute as buttons.

Behind her, at a leisurely pace, was the daddy.

We just stopped and stared. All of us.

She saw us looking. So I hollered over, “We are just taking it all in. We have twins in the stroller.”

She laughed knowingly and hollered back (because she was still walking with her twins) “It’s never a dull moment!”.

“I bet not!”, I answer.

After they pass, I turn to my boys and say “I will never put my kids on a leash.” And then I correct myself and say “I hope I never put my kids on a leash!”

They just laugh, and agree with me, that it looks totally wrong. But who knows, they suggest, it might be necessary.

So now, at the football game, my oldest explains his suggestion, “They just need enough room to run, with a little bit of restraint.”

I’m still not running out to buy a couple of leashes…..just yet. 🙂

Confessions of a Momma…..If I had a Dollar

Oh…..if I had a dollar for every time I have heard the words “she sure has her hands full!”, well, I’d have a lot of dollars!  Not enough to be rich, but enough to maybe buy me a burger at McDonald’s!  😉

Every Monday for the first year, my mom tried to be there to help me with my grocery shopping.  My mom would take the two year old in her cart and go. She’d run her errands and he’d love that time with grandma, away from ‘the babies’.  I’d take the twins, one in the front (in his car seat) and one in the basket (in his car seat).  And then I’d pile my groceries around them.  I used to think shopping with one baby was difficult.  It’s funny – “difficult” is just your perspective.  Looking back, shopping with one baby was a breeze!

It didn’t always work out, though, for my mom to be there.  And on other days, I was simply just too stubborn, and didn’t want to have to rely on her. I wanted to manage on my own.  And manage I did.  Just barely.  😉

The first time out, I was prepared for it to take all day.  And it did.  Loading and unloading alone took almost a half hour in the beginning.   I don’t remember which Grandma timed it, but one of them did.

Halfway through Walmart, that first time out, we had to take a bathroom and bottle break on the bench in the back of the store. Other times, I simply pushed one cart with my hip, balanced a bottle on a blanket (that was so hard for me to learn! I always believed a baby should never have a bottle “propped up”. After having two, I learned it is a necessity!) and pulled the other cart behind me. Yes, we shopped with two carts. The two year old was not quite able to walk along in the store. He did think we made a lovely train though!

Sometimes, I’d have a baby in my arms, because they don’t always just sit nicely in their car seat carriers, unfortunately. And then I’d push one cart a step or two, reach back and pull the other a step or two, and continue on. I’m sure there is an easier way to do it, but I didn’t know it. And was too exhausted to be creative.

And I’m sure we were a fine sight to see!

Thus, all the comments. Some people would just come right up to me and tell me that it looked like I ‘had my hands full’. Others would whisper it as I passed by. For the first few months or so, I thought it was funny. I thought, “Yes, that’s right! Look at me! I can manage just fine!” as I inched along through the stores. I imagined their awe as I passed by.

But eventually the feeling of ‘super mom’ wore off. And I got tired of hearing their comments. I’m not sure why, really. The onlookers all meant well. They weren’t saying anything to be mean. And I wasn’t taking it as anything mean. I was just tired of being the “side show”, as my husband describes us. (Everywhere we go now, we are a spectacle. Try sneaking in to church a little late with eight people – it just doesn’t happen.) I just wanted to go to the store and go home without drawing so much attention to myself. Is that too much to ask?

Yes. Because I really do have my hands full. There’s no doubt about that! And if I had a dollar for all the times I heard that….

One of these days, when I have time to visit with those folks in the store, I’m going to tell them, “You don’t know the half of it! It may look like I have my hands full now, but I actually left the other half of my family at home!”