December 1, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had our first big holiday away from home this week, taking a road trip to Syracuse for Thanksgiving at GG's house. The last time we took any sort of extended drive was back in July and we learned enough then to make sure we were prepared but this time. However, it was so much easier in general, thanks to them being toddlers now (and not nursing for their main source of food). Aside from Viv's fear of the dark that kicked in at 45 minutes from home, it was a totally stress free and fun trip. It's a different ballgame with toddlers versus a baby so here are the things that got us through our road trip and holiday visit this time around:

Entertainment for the car

I know a lot of toys are no-nos for car seat safety so I made sure to pack soft things that will keep the girls entertained. We're trying not to use DVD players or tablets in the backseat until they're old enough to ask for it so some hands-on entertainment on long car rides is a must. I packed them each a taggy stuffed animal or blanket, soft and crinkly books, a sensory ball and some rings and links for them to play with if they woke up on the drive. I'd transition them out from the front seat diaper bag if they got bored. Everything worked great until the last hour of our ride home when we needed...

A cell phone for when those fail

Viv woke up screaming on our way home and despite 20 minutes of singing songs and sitting rather unsafely in my seat trying to touch and calm her I gave in and handed her my phone. Thanks to Dad using this neat little trick during diaper changes, it almost always calms them down. I really don't like doing it (for a number of reasons) and we always say, "This is so bad, we don't want them relying on screens for anything..." but we know now that you'll do just about anything to stop that screaming in the car when you're still 45 minutes from home. I need them to know that my phone is mine so I have zero kids games on it but the game Little Things Forever is awesome for toddler distraction in those much needed situations.

Boppy or other Booster Chairs for eating at the table

When I was a kid my grandmother had one of those restaurant wooden high chairs for the grandkids to sit at and eat. It worked well and we always put it at the head of the kids table in the kitchen, which usually meant that Mom or Dad of the baby had to sit there too. Coming from a huge family I JUST got the chance to sit at the grown-up table a few years ago and I hated the idea of having to go back to the kid's table with the girls. Thankfully CJ's family is smaller and when we were discussing Thanksgiving a few weeks ago I told GG and Jama that I wanted the girls to sit with us - right at the table, on real chairs with their boosters. While we did need an extra table for the first time ever, the girls fit comfortably and we were able to enjoy our meal together without babies on our laps or being segregated to another room! Big win! We'll see how it goes next year with my side of the family!

Fun stuff to keep them entertained in a new (not babyproofed) place

A lot of the things they enjoy these days are not so easy to transport: boxes, musical instruments, push and pull toys and their climber. I needed things that would keep them occupied and wouldn't bore them. I packed a big bag with two stuffed animals, our thanksgiving books, plastic balls, our caps and homemade drop-in containers, peg dolls and wooden bowls. I packed their backpacks with tool-kit bolts, foam blocks and a few "home" items, such as keys, our toy phone and binoculars and scarves. I made sure to pick things they weren't playing with a ton at home for the novelty aspect which helped get me some more adult conversation time in. I would only introduce a toy if they were needing a distraction/redirection or if they were melting down and needed to reconnect and feel secure. Although they entertained themselves just fine with GG's little rocking chair and a few stairs to climb on!

Baby Led Weaning

I have no idea what they would be doing if we had done baby food but I swear, they did so great at the table for dinner, I myself was impressed with them. I got to enjoy a full meal, lots of adult conversation and dessert without any sort if issue with my 16 month old twins. They sat right next to us, laughing and playing and, best of all, eating what we were eating, with no problem. I admit I was terrified going into it as I didn't want either one of them to end up on my lap but I also didn't bring any other snacks or food for them so I was hoping they wouldn't be too freaked out or bored with the food. They did awesome! I loved not having to have a separate meal for them either - they ate the turkey, corn, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash and fresh vegs from the salad!  Again, I really don't know for sure if not doing BLW would have made a huge difference at this point but I can't help but feel like it
 contributed to how well it went!

All in all it was such a great day. We also celebrated Daddy's Birthday (tomorrow he turns the big 3-0)! Although we are seeing a bit of anxiety when we get to new places and in large groups, they warm up quickly and love having the freedom to explore.

We followed it up with a fantastic family filled weekend of trips to Great Nana's and Papa T's houses and a visit from our friends Josh, Maddi and Chris and baby Dominick.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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