Weekend Snapshot: Fall Fun!

I haven’t blogged in awhile! Mostly because I’m adjusting to the new rhythms of life with fall back in the swing of things! I thought it would be fun to do a weekend snapshot of what our weekend looked like and an update on the Lopez Twinsies and what’s been going on in our neck of the woods!

Lopez Twinsies:

  • Slaying preschool: Amazing teachers, new friends, learning so much – I LOVE PRESCHOOL. I will miss this school deeply when they have to move on to kindergarten. They’re learning to read which is awesome and I feel like my babes are so loved.
  • Fiercely Protective of Each Other: Mess with one twin, you are messing with the other. “Don’t do that to him! That’s my BRUDDER [brother]…” this is a line you can hear them saying often. I love how they have each other’s backs.
  • Extremely Entertaining: If you want to be entertained, listen in on a conversation between four-year-olds. In the morning, Micah stands over Josiah’s bed shouting “WAKE UP JOSIAH! WAKE UP! THE SUN IS OUT!” We have unplugged the light in their room, removed the lamp, done all we can to try to keep it dark (room darkening shades) and buy us more sleep time in the morning. They are still up at 7 am or earlier every day. Yes, I know some parents are up earlier but what we wouldn’t trade to sleep until 8 or later!!
  • Fighting/Whining is Super Real: You haven’t lived if you haven’t listened to toddlers fight and whine for 48390284 in a row. This part of this age is not too fun! We have been working on how not to be a whiny baby all day long. They are still works in progress.
  • Snugglefests Going Strong: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it a thousand times. One of the things I love most about this age is the unrestrained, uninhibited love, snuggling, and just affection these boys shower me with. It hasn’t stopped at four (as it shouldn’t!) and hopefully it never stops. Love being a mommy to these two!!

 Weekend Snapshot: 

This weekend was really nice because it consisted of a lot of family time! Hubs and I can have a schedule that can be opposites at times, so it’s a really fabulous thing when we can be at the same place at the same time and dedicate time to some solid uninterrupted family time!

Friday night we decided to carve the pumpkin we got from on the boys’ field trip this week to a farm, which was a blast!

Friday Night:

Spent time carving the pumpkin, as mentioned before. The boys were super excited, even though daddy obviously did most of the carving. It was fun and a nice tradition that we started last year and plan to continue with them.

After pumpkin carving, towards their bed time, mommy got to catch up with one of her besties and have a night out which included in typical mommy fashion: Panera Bread and Target. AND I’M NOT MAD ABOUT IT. Praise Him y’all.

Saturday:

The boys and I spent some time meeting up with a friend and her daughter at a local park! They had the chance to walk through trails and explore which they love to do. This also gave Dad some time to do some things for work and around the house without having us all follow him all the time (which is honestly what we all do haha).

Sunday: 

Favorite day of the week for so many reasons! First off, it’s the day we have our church service. I love Jesus and love my church! Sundays are a huge highlight for my family. Today I had the opportunity lead worship, which is always a blessing! My highlight for this weekend though, was heading down to the shore with my babies. We told them that we had a surprise for them and were taking them to a “surprise.” After church finished and we got in the car and told them where we were going, THEY WERE SO EXCITED. Like their mom, the beach is one of their absolute favorite spots to go to and I knew this was probably going to be the last hurrah as the weather starts to cool down. I’ve written about it before but it is our fave!

We wanted to grab a bite at our favorite pizza spot, but we couldn’t get to it because it looked like the boardwalk had been torn up and it was blocked off around that area! Because we were starving, we went to Manco and Manco’s instead (which is our second favorite spot for pizza) and made do.

Manco and

After that, we went to grab some ice cream!

The boys decided they wanted to walk around on the beach. They insisted on being able to run into the water, which meant drenched jeans and rolled up pants, but they had a blast! It was such a breath of fresh air being able to take some time as a family and go to our favorite place. Especially before we dive into a really hectic week!

 

As the boys were playing in the sand and I was watching them play together, all I could do was just be GRATEFUL. Grateful to have a happy, healthy family. I’m a blessed woman.

Hoping to get back on the blogging bandwagon regularly again soon! Until next time!

And then they were…FOUR?!

I blinked and my babies became toddlers who became small children. Weren’t they just born? Didn’t I just celebrate their first birthday? Didn’t I just write an open letter to them after their first year? WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Mommies and Daddies: Hold on to every single second. Cherish every moment. Document less. Just be. Soak in every moment. Hold their hands, kiss their boo-boos, snuggle with them every day. You blink and they’ve moved on to the next age.

Here are some fun facts about my boys:

micah:

1. He Is such a dreamer and has such a powerful imagination.

I love to quietly observe him. My Micah gets completely lost in his world of superheroes and toys. He goes on wild adventures, his imagination is seriously astounding. You can give him a box and he’ll turn it into an imaginary castle for all of his toys. He will envision a world. The TV stand becomes a cliff for the Justice League to jump off to save the day. He inspires me to imagine and dream on a daily basis. He is such a kid in the best way.

2. He takes an eternity to like anyone.

Micah is the kind of kid who won’t hand out his love for free. If you want him to be in your corner you have to earn his affection. He doesn’t smile for strangers or talk to them. If you want an in when it comes to his heart you better get to know him and be entertaining. Otherwise, expect stares and scowls. The best part is that once he DOES like you, you’re in for good. He’ll give out his million dollar smirks like they’re free candy. It just might take you a year to earn it.

3. He lives for the tease and likes to prank people.

I know I probably shouldn’t love this, but it’s actually funny sometimes. He likes to play jokes on people and trick them. I see it as someone who’s creative and clever. He does it to Josiah the most and Josiah HATES it the majority of the time, but he gets a kick out of driving people nuts at times and mostly Josiah.

JOSIAH

1. HE’S OBSESSED WITH MUSIC LIKE HIS PARENTS. AND HE’S REALLY GOOD AT IT.

Josiah loves the drums and is actually quite good at playing them for a toddler. He has his own kid set upstairs and will play hours on end and when he doesn’t want to go upstairs, he will play on the couch. My favorite Josiah moments are when I hear him humming loudly the songs that we’ve sung in church. On Sundays, he says, “Mommy are you singing today? I like when you sing” and my heart pretty much melts right into the floor.

2. HE WAKES UP HAPPY.

I’m not a morning person at all. Early bird catches the worm? Forget the worm. I don’t care about it if it means I can sleep for a few extra hours. That being said, Josiah wakes up with a grin whether it’s in the morning or it’s after his nap. He’s one of those kids that wakes up with a bounce in his step. He’s ALWAYS been a happy little guy even when he was a baby! It’s funny how they say that you can see the personalities of kids as babies because for my boys it was mostly true!

3. HE IS A MOMMA’S BOY AND LIVES FOR THE SNUGGLE.

My Josiah is a shameless snuggler. He will snuggle with me all day long without any apologies or cares. If he’s watching a TV show, he loves it when I sit close to him and hold him. He’s a momma’s boy through and through and I love it so much! Whereas Micah needs his space, Josiah is usually good with me being in his space and welcomes it. He also has a harder time when I go anywhere: “Mommy, don’t go to work! Stay with me!”

Guys, I LOVE THIS AGE SO MUCH. I don’t care what anyone says, for me, each age gets better and better. This stage is probably my absolute favorite. 

Here’s a glimpse of three through the year!

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First day of preschool was approached with mixed feelings by the boys.

They started to find their place in Sunday School and grew to love it! They love going to church and learning about Jesus.

 

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My babies started off as little shorties with their pants rolled up. By the end of the year, the same pants were high waters.

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One of their favorite activities is to play at the park together!

 

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Micah the model. I like this picture because he’s starting to look like a little boy instead of a baby. God help me!

 

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Dress up for school!

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For a school assignment, they had to dress up like old men! Another day in the books for preschool.

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New tradition – tree cutting for Christmas!

 

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This year they became more cuddly with each other. They’re super protective of one another and yell at anyone who goes against a brother. They have each other’s backs.

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Just another hard day in the life of a toddler.

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Micah became quite the little photo lover this year. This is his favorite facial expressions for taking pictures.

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Oh boy – you can read more about Christmas pictures gone wrong [spot the jelly beans?] in one of my previous posts!

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Snuggle king Josiah doing what he does.

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Most kids like their cider in a cup…not my kid.

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Love this picture that captures the dynamic of their relationship so well!

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By the spring, they were preschool pros and came to love school SO MUCH!

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A mommy surrounded by her handsome sons! My babes!

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Birthday party fun for one of our faves!

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They like to unwind with a cup of “coffee” and night time chats.

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Their first pair of Jordans courtesy of our dear friend Sabrina! They felt so cool and love their ‘basketball shoes for basketball!’ they remind me.

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Zoo hangs are our favorite!

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Probably my favorite Easter outfit they’ve ever worn!

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Good Friday they had to look sharp too of course!

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Long park walks and explorations became a really fun way to hang out for us!

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Probably one of my favorite pictures ever – Micah’s face says it all when it comes down to how much he loves his brother.

Prep's Pizza Ocean City, NJ

Pizza and glasses at our favorite pizza place.

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ZOO FUN!

 

Ocean City, NJ

Favorite family spot and the home of our vacation – Ocean City, NJ. This was after school when we all decided we needed some time at the boardwalk!

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Most happy by the sea.

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You’ve got a friend in me.

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I love how tan my boys get every summer! They are my little cookies!

 

Ocean City, NJ

Beach Vacation 2017.

Smithville, NJ

Riding through life together one mile at a time.

 

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The best I can get with toddlers. After all, they’re only…four!

 

Our Ocean City, NJ Vacation and Why You Should Visit

Ocean City, NJ Vacation

This year for vacation we went to a local spot and one of my favorite places: Ocean City, NJ. This is my absolute favorite beach! We stayed here once before when the boys were around one and it was a fun experience! When I was thinking of places to vacation I wanted to stay local and have a stress free vacation. Ocean City, NJ for us was a no-brainer. We are only about 45 minutes away and yet it feels like a world away. We rented the same beach house we stayed at before and it was AWESOME.

What’s the point of vacation, after all? For my family, it’s pure relaxation. We are the kind of family that likes to breathe and not run from one place to another. You know how some people like to hit every attraction? Yeah, not us. We are lazy vacationers at best, but I’d have it no other way and this year was no exception.

From the time I was a preteen, Ocean City, NJ has held a really special place in my heart! I used to vacation here with my best friend and her family during my preteen into teen years. I have so many warm fuzzy memories. Long walks around Ocean City, the bay area, beautiful neighborhoods with a Vanilla Pepsi in hand talking about our hopes, dreams, and crushes. When I think back to my teen years, my OC vacations with my best friend and her family are a clear highlight. We always said we wanted our children to love the beach and Ocean City as much as we did and we succeeded.

See, when your life feels like it’s going about a million miles a minute regularly it’s so beautiful to take a week where all of that is on pause. My husband and I literally said we aren’t going to talk work, business, church…anything. We aren’t going to stress or worry. We are going to relax. That’s pretty much what we did as much as possible, except for hubs doing some real estate work (which I have found is practically unavoidable – since he’s become a realtor we’ve never had a trip where he didn’t have to work a little). It was fantastic and we are likely going to do at least one beach vacay a year we are thinking.

If you’re not from the South Jersey Area and aren’t familiar with Ocean City, I’m going to give you some reasons why you should consider an Ocean City, NJ vacation.

Reasons you should consider an ocean city, nj vacation:

  1. It’s family friendly.

    Ocean City - Gillian's Pier

Where we vacationed, the people below us were parents of triplet girls. If you go to the boardwalk or to the beach, you’ll see families galore. There are tons of things to do including Gillians Wonderland Pier, mini golfing, bike riding on the boardwalk, and more. Also, Ocean City is a dry town and smoking is prohibited on the boardwalk.  It’s just so family oriented and you feel it!

2. It’s a Close walk to the beach.

Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk

Ocean City has a fantastic boardwalk that’s really close to its beach. You can walk right off the boardwalk and the next thing you know, you’re on the beach and don’t have to go far to find yourself in the water.  I don’t want to feel like I’m trekking across the great unknown to have my feet touch the water. I love the fact that everything is in close proximity. Let’s face it, the boardwalk food is 95% of the reason I even go to the beach, who am I kidding?

3. It has an Awesome boardwalk with tons to do.


Mini-Golf, Escape Rooms, Rides, Bumper Carts and all of your essential boardwalk activities are available. I never get tired of walking the boardwalk because there’s always something new to do or something new to see. During the summer on Thursday nights, they have ‘Family Night’ where there is tons of live music and a lively atmosphere. My favorite nights of the summer!

4. it’s Budget Friendly.


Some people might scoff at that, but an Ocean City vacation can be quite affordable actually. Here are a few tips: go in with another family or another person on a beach house. When you do that, you can split the cost. So if a beach house will cost you $1250 for the week, divide that by two and you get the idea. What we did was we ate breakfast at the house, usually grabbed lunch on the boardwalk, ate dinner at the beach house and went to the boardwalk for desserts or any snacks we wanted. If you hit the grocery stores and cook half of your meals, you’ll save a fortune. When it comes to the rides, Gillians Wonderland  Pier offers different specials throughout the week. If you hit the rides during the three ticket ride days/hours, you will get more bang for your book. This helped me as a mom of multiples! We bought one book of 150 tickets for $100 and that was enough to last us throughout the entire week with a few tickets left over.

5. fantastic places to eat.

My absolute favorite part of the boardwalk is the food. I don’t care what anyone tells me, it’s the best part of the boardwalk! I’ve had friends try to convince me to go to other beaches and the first question I have is: are there good places to eat? If the answer is no, I’m not interested. I’m not talking about high-end places if you want that go to Atlantic City. I’m talking about simple food that just tastes good in my belly. I have favorites and you can check them out below.

 My Favorite Places to Eat In Ocean City:

  1. Brown’s Donuts. [Expect a line but it’s worth it!]Brown's Donuts - Ocean City, NJ
  2. Prep’s Pizza. [Just as good as Manco and Manco’s but with better seating and they give the kids dough to play with.]Prep's Pizza in Ocean City, NJ
  3. Piccini’s Wood Fire Pizza. [Fab Italian food!]
  4. The Hula Grill. [Probably my favorite! Hawaiin food – yum!]The Hula Grill in Ocean City, NJ
  5. OC Surf Cafe [New spot for me, great for breakfast or brunch!]

My Favorite Boardwalk Food:

  1. Polish Water Ice.
  2. Shriver’s Gelato – THE CREPES ARE LIFE CHANGING.
  3. Monkey Bread.
  4. George’s Ice Cream.
  5. Johnson’s Popcorn.

6. Insanely relaxing.


Have you ever been on a vacation that was so jam packed you needed a vacation after it to decompress? I feel like beach vacations are so relaxing and a vacation in Ocean City, NJ  is no exception. As mentioned for us, we would wake up, head to the beach for a bit, come back to the beach house for a nap, and then head to the boardwalk for the evening if we felt like it. We also incorporated date nights, courtesy of having my mom with us, movie nights, and mini golf nights. No pressure, no time constraints, and a go at your own pace vibe. The epitome of relaxation.

Overall, an Ocean City, NJ vacation was the perfect vacation for us! We had an amazing time, as evidenced by the smiles!

What are your favorite family friendly vacation spots? Share below! We are always looking for new places to visit! 

My Top 10 Places in and Around South Jersey to Check Out if You have a Toddler

Top 10 Places to Visit with Toddlers in South Jersey

I’m the momma to two very active three-year-olds who will be four this summer. As a teacher, summer is EVERYTHING! I try to make the most of my time with my boys and since they’ve been born, I’ve gathered some of my favorite things to do with them and my favorite places to go.  Majority of these places work fine in the spring, summer, fall, and even winter. This list is compiled with things that we’ve personally enjoyed in the past and recently. This is not an all inclusive list though, so share what you love to do with your little people! Most places, except for two, are located in South Jersey! All located in the TriState Area. Please comment and let me know what places you enjoy and what activities you like to do over the summer!

My Top 10 South Jersey Places to Visit if you Have toddlers

1. Ocean City, NJ – the shore.

By far, my absolute favorite place to go in the summer is Ocean City. Maybe it’s because as a teenager I vacationed here with my best friend and her family or maybe it’s just the amazing food – Ocean City is a win and when you have kids, it’s a double win. First off, the beach is reasonable and if you buy beach tags for the summer, you’re good to go. Second off, Ocean City is super family friendly and there is a lot out there for toddlers including rides, strolling the boardwalk, surrey rides, parks, and more. We spend out time on the boardwalk and beach and it’s our favorite!

Toddler Fun in Ocean City, NJ

2. The Cape May Zoo.

It’s FREE. FREE. FREE. You can make a donation of your choice if you choose. Cape May is a fantastic zoo for toddlers. It’s very walkable because it’s not insanely big. It’s perfect. On top of that, it has an awesome park for the kiddos! There are plenty of pavilions so you can pack a lunch or you can buy lunch there. It’s not far from the Cape May beach area either, so you can do a combo day where you spend half the day at the zoo and half the day at the shore. Score!

Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo

3. The Philadelphia Zoo.

We are pass holders here because by the time you add the price of the tickets together, it makes sense to buy a season pass and reap the benefits: free parking, 10% off your food purchases and gift shop purchases, and free parking. This zoo was the FIRST real zoo in the US. It’s spacious, has tons of animals and sites to see, and is really easy to walk – though because it’s so big we bring the stroller just in case! You can spend a good portion of your day here!

Toddler Fun at the Philadelphia Zoo

4. The Garden State Discovery Museum or Please Touch Museum.

I LOVE the Please Touch Museum. It’s a bit pricey at $19 per person (unless your child is 1 and under). HOWEVER, they offer $2 admission on the first Wednesday of each month from 4 pm to 7 pm. My husband and I like to arrive as soon as it opens. By the time we’ve gone through the whole museum and are ready to leave, that’s when it’s starting to get busy. The $2 fee on the first Wednesday of each month from 4 pm to 7 pm is unbeatable at that price, so if you’re on a budget that would be a good time to check this place out. The Garden State Discovery Museum is cheaper and discounts on Groupon are frequently offered. If you don’t feel like dealing with Philly traffic or driving into the city, The Garden State Discovery Museum is a fun spot too!

 

Toddler Fun at The Garden State Discovery Museum

5. Storybook Land.

This place is essentially designed for toddlers and for small kiddos. It’s a load of fun, lines were short when we went in the summer, and it’s not hard to access/park. Tickets are around $23 if you buy them online and are a bit more at the door! I would choose Storybook Land over a place like Six Flags any day of the week. It’s not as packed and my boys could pretty much get on anything. Also, it’s themed after different classic children’s stories. FUN!

Storybook Land in Mayslanding, NJStorybook Land in Mayslanding, NJ

6. Sesame Place.

In my opinion, if you’re going to go, summer is definitely the time to go! They have awesome an awesome water park! We took the boys here for the majority of the day and we were pooped! Check out my post about Sesame Place for more detailed information about our experience here!

7. Parvin’s State Park.

Located only fifteen minutes away from where we live, we love going to Parvin’s State Park. There are plenty of nature trails that we explore as a family and so many outlets where the kids can skip stones, dip their feet into the lake, and even bicycle. One of my favorite places to go and best of all it’s FREE. I think they charge in the summer to swim/go in the beach area, but I wouldn’t know because we never go to that part.

8. Sahara Sam’s or Diggerland.

We have done Sahara Sam’s in the past but haven’t checked out Diggerland yet, though according to my friend’s, it’s a must. In fact, Diggerland has made it into Redbrook and some other magazines as a destination to check out on this side of the coast! I can speak for Sahara Sam’s and say that we had a fun experience here over the summer. It is an indoor and outdoor waterpark. It’s best to get here early because it gets really packed with different groups and camps coming through. I felt like there was enough for my boys to do at their age and the pool was fun because we could swim with them.

9. Smithville

Smithville is a really cute little historic town located in Atlantic County. When we go here with the boys, we spend maybe about two to three hours here tops. It’s not geared towards toddlers but we still have fun here! It’s quaint, cute, decorative, and a good place to hang for a few hours and do breakfast/lunch/dinner. My kids get a kick out of the ducks that walk around. There’s also a carousel and train rides. They also have different activities and events, so check out their calendar. Price wise: free. Can’t beat that.

10. Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ

This is a new one for us! We literally have JUST had the chance to check this place out. You can spend a good portion of your day here and your little ones will have a blast. This aquarium has plenty for the boys to see and do and they absolutely loved it. Price wise, it’s pricey! $28 per adult and $21 per child. As a teacher, we get discounts through ticketsatwork.com which saved us $30 from the total bill. Definitely worth a visit!

Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium

This summer I’m looking forward to creating new memories with my family and also discovering new places and things to do while revisiting some of the things we’ve done in the past! What about you? What’s your favorite summer activity or place to visit? We love to travel and I’m always looking for new places to check out!

7 Ways to Make Date Night Happen – No Excuses

Some of my favorite nights ever are the date nights that I have with my husband. As insane as life gets, whether the budget is fantastic or terrible, whether we “have the time” or not, Jose and I try to make it a priority to go on a date and have that time together without the kiddos. I wanted to share 7 ways to make date night happen regardless of your budget or busyness. For my husband and I, it’s really important!

Why?

Because before there were kids, there was US.

When the kids go to college, it will be US.

I’ve watched so many people have children and literally put their love lives completely on pause. Not for seconds or minutes or even days or weeks, but for YEARS. Then the kids go to college and there are two adults who barely know each other. I strongly believe that if mom and dad are happy and the marriage is healthy, the kiddos will feel the ripple effects of that. I know many who idolize their children to the point where their children consume every aspect of their lives above all things and anything else (even God). There is no room for anything or anyone else. Friendships dissolve and more. I don’t want to be that way! So I’ve decided I won’t.

I’ve faced judgment and even criticism sometimes, because God forbid if you are having fun without your kids, what kind of person even are you? Um, a human being who likes to have fun without her kids at times so she can pee in peace and have dinner without sharing.

Plus, it’ s SO FUN to continue to go on dates and do things together one on one. It keeps the romance alive and reminds me of our early years all over again. Stolen kisses, inside jokes, laughing together at something when we’re supposed to be serious. This is the stuff that my kind of love is made of!

How do you make this possible, especially if you have kids?

  1. Put it on the calendar. Once it’s on the calendar, it’s a priority! Make it one.

Put it in your calendar like you would put an actual appointment. Treat it like you would treat an appointment with a client – except your spouse is even more important! Time with your husband or wife is a worthy investment in your marriage and should be prioritized.2.

2. Have a group of reliable sitters at the ready.

Vary your sitters so you have options. We don’t like to put all of our eggs in one basket. That being said, we don’t just let anyone watch our boys. Typically it’s my mom, my mother-in-law and two reliable college age girls from church who work in the Sunday School program at our church. My boys love their sitters and are familiar with them. In the same way,

3. Don’t use your budget as an excuse.

It’s really easy to write off date night because it’s not in the budget. Trust me, been there before! However, date night can still be fun and free. There are a ton of resources and ideas available on Pinterest. Some of my favorite things to do:

  • Watch a movie: rent one through iTunes, watch for free on Netflix, TV. I have even borrowed movies from friends – talk about budget friendly!
  • During warm weather, lay a blanket in the backyard, put on the firepit: talk, listen to music, stargaze, ask silly questions.
  • Read together: call us dorks, we love to read books together. We pick out a book we both want to read and go through it chapter by chapter.
  • Game night: we don’t do this as often, but back in the day we would play board games and get really competitive. Scrabble and Bananagrams were favorites.
  • Park: Going to a park, walking the trails or riding bikes while having a conversation is relaxing and easy to do.
  • Free Events: Look up what’s free in your area and you would be surprised!

4. If you can’t go out, date night in.

I’ve already listed a few ideas/suggestions that have worked for us. Feel free to borrow one or suggest one in the comment section!

5. Swap babysitting services with another couple for date nights.

We are in a bracket where a lot of our friends have babies/toddlers the same age. This is something we haven’t done but would be willing to do! I think it’s a pretty easy way to score a date night and to add a couple to your babysitting catalog.

6. Push guilt aside.

I know a lot of parents suffer from this! I think mom’s especially feel this type of guilt. Parents who feel awful for doing something without their children. I am NOT that parent, but if you happen to be, then realize this: it’s okay to have a night of fun without your kiddos. It doesn’t make you a bad person. A relaxed, happy, set of parents are better parents for their children.

7. Make FUN the priority.

Don’t get worked up over what doesn’t go right: keep in mind the primary goal of date night with your spouse is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. I remember the days of dating during high school and the college years. I could literally be sitting next to Jose doing nothing, but the fact that we were together was just so NICE. As adults, life has only gotten more hectic as each year passes. It’s a beautiful thing to have fun and be reminded of where it all began.

My husband planned this one. After an obsession with Heartland, he took me horseback riding because I fell in love with horses.

Sunday afternoon date.

This date night we planned in advance. We bought concert tickets as our Christmas gift in December but the actual concert wasn’t until April 1st.

Couples date night out. This was something planned about a month in advance which gave us an opportunity to plan a sitter and budget accordingly.

A day at the beach is fun, cheap, and my favorite!

Even though the pictures you see are pictures of us actually going out – there are plenty of times we stay in! I guess I just don’t take too many pictures of those times! Ha!

These are some of my suggestions but I would love to hear some of yours! What do you and your spouse do for date nights? How often do you try to make date nights happen? Comment below!

 

 

 

“So Do You Want More Kids?” and other “Fun” Questions

When I was dating Jose for awhile, the line of questioning was as follows:

When are you getting engaged?

After we were engaged, the next question was:

When are you guys getting married?

Shortly after we were married the question was:

So when are you guys having kids?

*Insert struggle with infertility here which made for a really ‘fun’ time of questioning*

After we had the boys, TWINS might I add [this means two babies came out of my belly]:

So when are you guys having more kids? Don’t you want to try for the girl?

I have been guilty of this line of questioning myself. It’s rather obnoxious though, isn’t it? Just a tad? Yet, I wanted to share my thoughts especially on the last one.

I will admit, I always without a shadow of a doubt thought that I would have a girl. I thought this because I knew that for the life of me, I was as girly as all get out. I wanted life to be sprinkled in glitter and covered in pink. I sulked for awhile when I realized I couldn’t paint my entire house pink and all of my rooms pink, because marriage is about compromise isn’t it? Just trying to paint a picture for you. Literally. I also figured God knew I wouldn’t even know what to do with boys. However, a day before the ultrasound to determine gender, I had a dream and woke up knowing with all that was within me, I was having boys. And it was OKAY. Better than that, it was an amazing blessed. I was pregnant with twins, healthy, and the boys looked fantastic.

When they were born, they stole my heart and I never felt sad, bummed, or like I missed out on something. Yet, people didn’t wait long before the question:

“So are you guys going to try for the girl?”

My heart is full, content, and COMPLETE with my little boys. I am a boy mom and proud. My house is chaotic, full of superheroes, sports, and lots and lots of wrestling. I am open to God’s plan, but feel completely fantastic about where we are as a family at this point in time!

That’s all folks.

Expectation vs. Reality – Christmas Pics 2016

Christmas pictures. When some people hear this phrase they feel excited as they anticipate taking family pictures and choosing from a variety of lovely photos. When I hear this phrase, I feel…slight dread. You see, I am a twin mom of two toddler boys. Getting two energetic little guys to stay still, smile, and pose for an indefinite amount of time is nothing short of mission impossible.

Still, I put my best foot forward and decided to do a portrait studio this year if only for time’s sake. My favorite picture takers are my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who typically take our Christmas pics but I decided to give them a break since my SIL is preggers. So, off we went.

On the way up, JoJo was in a bit of a mood. “This was a bad idea, wasn’t it?” I asked my husband as we drove along, regret lacing my tone. He shrugged in resignation and sighed, “We’ll see.” When we got to the place, all was going well it seemed. Both boys were playing with some of the toys left out and having a good time. TOO good of a time, I started to notice.

“Um, do you think it’s going to be easy to get them out of this section to take pics?” I asked my husband nervously.

“I don’t know…” his voice trailed off unsure. Uh-oh.

So off I went in search of reinforcements. I.E. bribery tools, I.E. candy. After I purchased some favorites, it was our turn. Immediately, Josiah wasn’t having it. He started to cry and my hopes of an easy picture session were dashed. The more we tried to get him to smile, the worse it became. I went in for the reinforcements, grabbing the jelly beans and offering them up as a token of peace in exchange for pictures. Here’s the thing – Josiah didn’t want to let go of the jelly beans. So he didn’t. So they were in literally the majority of our pictures because we’ve learned early what battles to fight and knew this wasn’t one of them.

Josiah – One.

Parents – Zero.

Meanwhile, Micah was striking a pose like he was David Beckham, being a complete ham for the camera.

Nonetheless, the pictures appropriately captured what being a twin parent of three years old is like and overall, I’m happy.  We did get some pretty good ones! But I had to laugh because of expectations vs. reality. Here’s what I expected….

Here’s what actually happened:

Here were my expectations…

Here’s what reality delivered.

Thank goodness we can laugh about it! Here’s to another Christmas session checked off the list.

And here are some of the solid ones:

Until we meet again, photographers.

Tattling? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That.

So I recently have had a love/hate relationship with this stage of the age of THREE. Oh, there are so many things I LOVE about this stage. But gosh, there are some things that I literally can’t even deal with. I think this may be super specific to raising twins.

THE.CONSTANT.BICKERING.AND.TATTLING.

#doesitEVERstop

#noSeriously

#helpmeJesus

The boys have been at a stage where they love each other so much than two seconds later are airing out each other’s dirty laundry to us. We are the lucky recipients of their complaints which are super logical and include statements such as:

“Mommy, Micah said chair. MOMMY, MICAH SAID CHAIR!”

“Mommy, Jojo said dinky. MOMMY, JOJO SAID DINKY!”

In which our responses have been super patient and along the lines of:

“Guys, no one likes a tattle.” [From Mom]

 

*Ignore and avoid eye contact in hopes that tattler will become distracted and not tattle.*

They have fought long and hard over toys, over what shows to watch, over what clothes to wear, down to the pajamas. Connor McGregor would be proud. These parents though? Not amused. This has felt especially long and drawn out now that we are forced inside due to the early darkness and colder weather we’ve gotten. Because they are together in a closed space known as home, they are in each other’s faces all the time. img_0846

Evidence as follows:

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The highlights of this age?

They apologize to each other and to us, kiss and makeup.

Their vocabulary has exploded out of the park.

They are easier to take places and when we take them out, it’s usually a blast.

I JUST NEED THE BICKERING TO END. AND THE CONSTANT TATTLING. NO ONE CARES THAT JOJO SAID “BLUE.” The end.

Okay bye.

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE. Progress! Finally!

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If you’ve been following my blog you’ve read this post and this post, where I bemoaned the difficulties of potty training and how I failed because I basically didn’t really try. Well, over the summer, my awesome neighbor offered to help me train them on her days off, which happened to be the week before they were going to start preschool. Since she works at a preschool and has experience, she had amazing tips and pointers and came over to help me train them. So we went to work.

The strategy was:

  1. Put their potties in a separate part of the house, away from the TV.
  2. Time them every five minutes and have them sit on the potty.
  3. While they are sitting on the potty, read them a book. Make the time that they’re sitting on it “fun” and something they can look forward to.
  4. Time them sitting on the potty for five minutes. Five minutes on, five minutes off. You can increase to ten minutes, fifteen minutes, half hour, etc. as you see they are getting the hang of it.
  5. Rewarded them with something they don’t typically get to eat – jelly beans.
  6. Let them run around the house naked in the meantime.
  7. Be consistent, don’t give up, be prepared for accidents.
  8. It’s okay if they don’t poop in the toilet right away, it takes time.

I give all credit to my neighbor and her encouragement and willingness to help! It really is awesome having another set of hands and just someone to encourage you when you feel like giving up. She was great.

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We are a long way from where we started in the best way. I would say one is pretty much totally potty trained and the other is 85% there!  THIS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE WE ARE GROWING IN LEAPS AND BOUNDS. And I’m so proud, thrilled, emotional because they’re just not babies anymore. One wears pull-ups but stays dry the majority of the time, going on the potty while the other is in his underwear now all of the time. Hooray!

The thing with having twins is that they encouraged each other! This helped and I think going to pre-school and watching all of the other kids do it pushed them forward in a big way.

This whole potty-training thing is a journey! It is imperfect, messy, crazy…but we are well on our way!

My encouragement to you:

  1. Don’t give up like I did right away.
  2. Don’t be discouraged.
  3. Be persistent, steady, consistent.
  4. Dedicate several days, or a week to this completely.
  5. Realize, they will go eventually. Don’t be hard on yourself.

These are the things I wish I told myself! But I’m really thankful that I had someone to tell me these things! But we have progressed, and for that I am proud!

 

 

Dearest Naptime…[An open letter to the love of my life]

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Dearest Naptime,

I don’t know if I tell you often enough about how I feel about you, but here it is. I met you about two and a half years ago or so. When you first waltzed into our life, I had mixed feelings about you. Would you stay? Would you go? Were you here to tease us or would you make a permanent residence in our lives? At almost three years, you are still here. For this, all I can say is…

I love you.

Naptime, you are rather glorious to me. When you arrive, I enter into this happy place where I can actually…wait for it…drum roll please…GET THINGS DONE. It’s quite amazing actually.  Naptime is a magical little land where the dreams of a mother come true. During naptime, ANYTHING goes.

I think to myself. Should I get things done? Will I clean? Will I sleep? Will I read a book? Will I watch my favorite television show? Will I call a friend? WHAT WILL I DO? Typically I say, I will accomplish a ton. Reality hits though, and there I am laying on the couch, hair in a bun, chips by my side thinking to myself, “I think I will just soak in this quiet.”

Naptime – you are especially my favorite when you decide to hang out for two hours or so. Sometimes even three. Because you allow me to regain my sanity. You give me this time where I don’t have to share my cookies. Where I can pee in peace. And, if we are getting wild over here, SHOWER ALONE. It is a rather magical relationship we have.

There are days though, where you don’t show up. These days are sad days, followed by lots of tears from both mother and children. I realize that you don’t show up in everyone’s life, which is why I so eagerly admire your awesomeness. Like Sam Smith once sang, “Won’t you stay with me…?” Naptime, you are a good, good thing. Don’t ever leave.

For this – I must say: thank you. Hang out with us for awhile. Until the boys are in college, I’m thinking? You’re the best.

Sincerely and with lots of love and well restedness,

A Happy Twin Momma