Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Warm Days

We've been enjoying the warm weather this past week by spending "yots" of time outside. This weekend was especially fun because MJ was there, too.

There were bubble-blowing lessons:

Which CC has mastered now:

Sweet Pea loves drawing on the sidewalk with chalk:

And Little Man even lets himself have some fun now and then.

(What twin childhood would be complete without hand-holding pictures?)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Photo Friday

An attempt to take a (rare) picture of myself with the kids while we were at the farm show this week ...

Not our best, that's for sure. But it's better than nothing!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Farm Show

This week Susan invited us to join them at an annual farm show put on by our state university's agriculture program. We'd never been before, but it was great! We went with my mom too, and arrived early to beat the crowds.

Parking was in a cow pasture. Literally. Two minutes after getting out of the car, CC tripped and fell into a cow patty. We had all worn rain boots in anticipation of mud, but the boots were even better protection against manure.

Seconds before the cow patty incident

CC recovered like a champ -- thanks to plenty of wipes from my mom -- and we all had a blast. Well, except for Little Man. He wasn't having his best day, and he cried in my arms for much of the morning:

There were lots of different tractors on display that the kids could climb on:

All kinds of farm animals for the kids to see and touch: turkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, bunnies, cows, horses, pigs, and a two-ton bull named Bo.

Dane and CC checking out the turkeys

CC loved the goats so much, we went back for a second look at the end. She started crying, and when I asked her what was wrong, she said, "I want to see LOTS of goats!" Apparently four wasn't enough for her.

Since it's spring, most of the animals had babies:

CC refused to hold a baby chick, but she was fascinated by them and could have stood there all day smiling at them and occasionally patting their heads.

Sweet Pea loved the bunnies. The stuffed animal she sleeps with is a bunny, so I wonder if that's why she was drawn to them?

Look, Mom -- BUNNIES!!

And -- best of all -- free ice cream made by a local creamery! Seriously, could it get any better?

I think we'll make this an annual tradition. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

I loved the shirts I made for St Patrick's Day, but once the holiday was past, I knew the kids would never wear them again. I didn't want to waste the nice white shirts, so I re-decorated them:

I wanted something cute (of course!), coordinating, and -- most of all -- simple. I had to get this done fast, because pretty soon the hot weather will be here, and they won't be wearing long sleeves anymore!

It was tougher than I thought to remove the shamrocks, but with the help of a LOT of Goof Off (basically paint thinner), several days airing out on the deck, and several cycles through the washer with bleach, the shirts were basically plain white again. 

A few bits of fabric scrap later, they were done! The only difference this time is that I sewed around the edges of all the letters to keep them from unraveling or peeling off.

Rory, of course, wanted to photo-bomb the picture. So be it.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I purchased some cute pink sports sandals for CC this week, and I was excited to show them to her when I returned home.

"I bought you something special!" I said. Her eyes grew wide and a big smile broke out on her face.

"What is it?" she said, excited.

"Look at these new sandals!" I showed her. She ran over to me and wanted to try them on right away.

I put them on her feet -- they fit perfectly -- and stepped back and said, "Great! They're so cute! Do you like them?"

She turned to me with a smile and said, "No, I want different ones. You can bring these back to the store."

Wait ... what?!

I was completely floored. Never before has CC not wanted an article of clothing that I purchased for her (because I have such great taste, naturally). She was calm but adamant -- she did not like the pink sandals. She stuck to her guns all day. When MJ got home from work, she happily greeted him with the news that she did not like the sandals Mommy got for her.

I don't know how she knows that there are "different ones" available. Or how she knows that returning things is possible. But I definitely don't want a battle every morning about getting dressed, so I've decided that it's okay if CC picks her own shoes. Within reason.

The next day I loaded everyone into the car and drove down to Kohls, where CC proudly told the saleslady that she did not want the pink ones, and picked out "different ones" -- in purple.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Photo Friday

Oh, the joy of unexpected coordinating outfits:

Sweet Pea is wearing a shirt that used to be CC's. Little Man is wearing a hand-me-down from dear friends. How excited is this mama that they match?!

(Sheer coincidence, by the way, that they happen to be striking the same pose. I just got lucky!)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Car Seats

Sweet Pea is finally in her convertible car seat! "Now we all match!" says CC (a huge fan of all things that match).

This new "big girl" seat does not mean Sweet Pea is facing forwards, however. She's still facing backwards, as are Little Man and CC.

Why, you ask? Allow me to explain ... at length ... and if any of you aren't interested in car seat safety, you should stop reading now. 

I didn't know the importance of rear-facing until this past year, and I know that many other parents don't, either. So I want to share some facts that might make other parents reconsider -- like I did. All parents want to do the best for their children. So if there was one, simple thing you could do to keep your children so much safer, wouldn't you do it?

Most people turn their children's car seats forward-facing at age 1. That's the law, right? But the law is just the minimum. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend that children remain rear-facing up to the limits of their car seat -- which, in most cases, is between ages 3-4.

I know, you might think it's crazy. How on earth is a 4-year-old supposed to fit facing backwards in a car seat?

Easier than you might think. And it's well worth the effort. Click here for the detailed explanation, if you're interested in the science behind car seat safety. But the bottom line is that young children's bodies are much different than adults'. Their heads are much larger and heavier, proportionately. Their bones haven't hardened yet. And their vertebrae still contain cartilage instead of bone.

Under two years old, it is five times safer for a child to be rear-facing during a crash (source). There haven't been any official crash-test studies done on children older than 2 years, but the cartilage in children's vertebrae doesn't turn to bone until sometime between ages 3-4 (depending on the child). And in countries like Sweden, where children rear-face until age 4, there are dramatically lower child injury and death rates than in the USA.

Myths about rear-facing children:

- "My child can't fit facing backwards, because her legs are too long." You might be surprised to learn that children are perfectly comfortable putting their legs up, bending them at the knee, or sitting cross-legged. CC, for example, has never complained that her legs are uncomfortable, even during the long rides we've taken.  Many children complain that their legs are more uncomfortable when they sit forward-facing, because the legs dangle with nothing to rest them on.

- "My child's legs would get broken in an accident!" The most immediate answer that comes to mind is: better their legs than their neck! But actually, more leg injuries occur in forward-facing children. There are ZERO recorded instances of a rear-facing child sustaining any leg, hip, or feet injuries in a crash.

- "My child hates facing backwards in the car." At around 1 year to 18 months is when babies start to assert their independence and opinions, usually by screaming. So this is when parents start to think their children hate rear-facing. In fact, the child is likely screaming because he/she doesn't like being restrained at all. Turning the child forward-facing might help the screaming -- temporarily -- while your child is distracted by the novelty of a new view in the car. But it's not going to solve the problem for long. Try special toys in the car, a new book, or -- if all else fails -- just wait until this frustrating phase passes.

I know, parents get conflicting information and advice about everything, from everyone they know. But car accidents are the number one cause of childhood injury and death.  It isn't like the formula-vs-breastmilk debate. It isn't like comparing cloth diapers to disposables. In fact, it confuses me that pediatricians hammer home the message about laying babies down on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS, yet a pediatrician has never once asked me whether my children are still rear-facing in their car seats.

The bottom line is, in order to stay as safe as possible in the car, every child should remain rear-facing until they hit the maximum height or weight limit for their car seat. 

I return to my original question: If there was one simple thing you could do to keep your child significantly safer, wouldn't you do it?