I’ve got two miserable children this evening, so very few words will accompany these pictures.

Four days with my fam at Chapman Lake, four days at the Dunes with his fam.  Tada!  We survived our first week long vacation as a family of four.  The car was full.  The kids were whiny by the end.  The parents were whiny by the end.  But what fun memories!







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We are hitting two and twenty months this week.  We’re also getting 2 year molars and having spurts of definite 2 year old behavior…

Maren is cooing and flapping her legs and arms with excitement.  Frankly, she’s adorable.  She also rolls onto her belly and had her first bath with Silas.  It was quite the adventure.  She didn’t mind that he dumped a cup of water on her face.  Lucky, right?  (Don’t panic–the cup was one of those medicine dispenser cups that holds an ounce at most.)

Silas is hilarious these days.  SO CHATTY.  He wakes up talking a mile a minute about daddy and flowers and elephants and all kinds of things.  It doesn’t really stop.  Ever.  He’s in a good night sleep routine and back to a longer nap during the day.  He’s making funny faces that resemble mine and it cracks me up.
Favorite foods:  hummus cakes, black bean burgers, fruit of any kind but especially applesauce
Favorite things:  elephant anything, swimming, trucks, noise, daddy!  all things daddy these days

I didn’t take real pictures because we head to the lake in the morning and we will be taking lots of pictures there, but here are a few of our morning.

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More pictures, updates, and ponderings to come this next week (I hope) since so many hands will be there to help with baby duty!  Four days with my family at the lake then four days with Tim’s at the dunes.  We can’t wait!!

Two Under Two Roundup

Now that we’re two months into rocking the family of four thing, our list of baby must haves has shifted.  A lot.  I like to be prepared and I’ll be the first to admit that even my predictions about what we would love were dead wrong.  Here’s our advice (aside from “have them at least two years apart”):

Fisher-Price Rock N Play

This thing is the berries, as my Mom says.  It’s up high enough to protect baby from sibling, it rocks without being a light-up, vibrating, swinging jazz fest, it folds flat and travels in a snap, the cover is removable and machine washable, it’s inclined for refluxy babies (which M is not, thankfully, but it would have saved us with Silas), and it’s good for napping or awake chill out times.  It also has mesh on the sides so it’s great for outside, even when it’s hot out.  This thing trumps the Boppy Lounger, the bassinet, the Moses basket, and the swing in my book.  We borrowed one from a friend, but they got it secondhand at Once Upon a Child, so they’re out there.  The newer version does have a vibrate option, apparently.


A Good Double Stroller

And now for the great stroller debate.  So, as previously mentioned, I have a stroller problem. We’ve had a mirage of single strollers (jogger, umbrella, Rockstar Baby, Chicco x2, umbrella/classic hybrid…) and we sold all of them except the jogger for Silas/Daddy outings and the robot umbrella to keep in the car.  We got a second, better-than-umbrella stroller with a sun shade, reclining seat for M, and storage basket yesterday to keep in the car as well.  The reality is double strollers are enormous and they simply don’t fit in the car if you’re packing enough crap to stay overnight with two babies.

That said, after going through a few, Tim and I equally love love love our Joovy X2 double stroller.  The sunshade is huge and wonderful, the storage baskets are huge and wonderful, the seats recline independently and the kids ride equally comfortably despite a huge weight difference.  We scored ours in like new condition from Craigslist for $100 and I was downright giddy.


This happiness comes on the heels of owning the Countours Options, which felt like driving those shopping carts with the attached car at the grocery.  Miserable.  We also have/had the older version of this InStep double jogger, and two different double occupancy bike trailer/jogger convertible trailer strollers.  I really wanted the City Mini Jogger GT double, but the price tag wasn’t worth it to me.  Heads up if you buy a used double jogger–the new InStep joggers fold up WAY smaller than the old ones because the wheels collapse inward to lie flat.  If you don’t have an SUV, this could make or break your trunk space.

Two Car Seats

We have two of the same carseat, one gray and one pink, and we like them just fine.  They are excellently rated as far as safety goes and the OCD in me likes that they are the same make and model.  We are still using the bucket seat for Maren, but I am thinking about upgrading her since she’s such a moose.  It’s becoming quite the task to carry her around in the infant seat already while trying to chase Silas.  It would be easier to just carry her around.

I wanted these car seats, but secondhand car seats from trusted people won out in the end for the sake of saved Benjamins.  The seats I originally wanted were rated highest by Consumer Reports, which is fine and all, but what really sold me was using three of them with my last nanny family.  The strap adjustment is revolutionary, easy, and safe without being annoying.  I felt like it made for a safer ride every time we left the house.  If I ever replace the seats we have, I will get the Triumph seats.  I prefer them to the Britax and Recaro seats, hands down.

In case you’re wondering, there have been a few times that I squeezed my giant postpartum behind into the back seat of our Subaru Outback in between two car seats.  It was no small task, but it can be done.

IKEA Hensvik cribs

We have two of these and are braving a shared nursery for the babies starting next week.  Maren is only up twice all night at this point, so I feel like it’s a good time.  They convert to toddler beds, which I’m not sure we will use, but it’s nice to have the option.  Wish us luck!


As a tangential recommendation, we are using the Aden+Anais swaddle blankets to swaddle Maren and Silas uses them as blankies.  We pretty much are a walking ad for muslin blankets.  And elephants.  Love ’em.

EDIT:  Baby Carriers!

How could I forget?  The only way to be a hands free mama with two babies is to wear one of them.  We have or had the Maya Sling, Moby Wrap, K’Tan, Bjorn, Bjorn Active, and Ergo carriers in the last year.

With Maren I am using the Maya sling a ton right now (and so is Tim) but we are going to be graduating to the K’Tan carrier (much, much simpler than the Moby Wrap).  We have the Ergo, which we never really loved when Si was smaller but we do love it now that he is bigger since he can ride on our backs with it.  I still love the Bjorn instead of the Ergo for smaller babies.

So that’s what we’re using these days.  Something that is driving me nuts at this point is our diaper bag.  It has an across the body strap option, so that may solve it with a simple switch.  If not, we will be converting to a backpack.  We already use a backpack for going to the water park, but not for full time diaper bagging.

Any other tips for life with two babes?  I’m all ears.

Our Holiday Weekend in Photos

We went to Bloomington for the long weekend.  I’ll be honest, we didn’t want to come back home.

 Friday we drove down and struggled to find parking for the parade, but managed to walk up to the procession just as Elizabeth Cure, our old neighbor, rode past in a dazzling yellow Mustang since she’s running for judge again.  I cried when we saw her and Silas was in awe of the parade since it was his first one.  We missed the firetrucks–wait til he sees them at the Heritage Days parade!  It felt very much like home to see familiar faces interspersed with kooky floats you’d only find in Bloomington.

By the time we drove through to grab fast food lunch (everything else was closed for the 4th), Silas had conked out so we headed to the lake.  It was a perfect day for the lake!  Silas played in the water, Tim swam, Maren slept, and I relaxed in the sunshine.  Doesn’t get any better than that on a summer holiday in my book.

For dinner, we had a hard time finding something that was open, but we ended up at Feast which we had meant to try the entire few years we lived there.  Weird how that works.  It was awesome!  Inventive and beautiful food–we shared a black bean goat cheese tamale.  Silas wasn’t a fan, and we were not at all devastated that we got it all for ourselves.  Poor Silas lived on granola bars and fruit most of the weekend because he was too busy to be interested in anything else.

It was a happy surprise that M slept her usual six hour stretch and Silas slept all night without moving the first night in the hotel!  The second night was a different story, but the first night was glorious.  Good thing because Saturday was hectic.

We met Matt, Lyss, Layna and Eyan at the Farmers Market for coffee and a walk.  Our old Farmers Market made us wistful and happy at the same time.  (I totally forgot to take pictures–bummer!)  Si and Eyan are only a few months apart and it was so fun to see them toddling around enjoying each other.  We headed to Brown County State Park afterward to have a picnic lunch on our own and then met back up with Matt and Alyssa’s family to play in the afternoon.

We headed back to Bloomington for dinner with our old neighbors, Karma and Elizabeth, who got married a few weeks ago!  Congratulations to two of our favorite souls!  As usual, Elizabeth whipped up a dinner that was to die for: fresh linguine with chantrelle mushroom sauce (picked from our old hill in the woods), arugula salad, and fresh blackberry cobbler with hand whipped cream.  Elizabeth never, ever fails to blow our minds with food.  The company wasn’t too shabby either, complete with bluegrass, a new (and very baby-affectionate) canine, and some nostalgia about being in our old woods right next door to our old home.

After a rocky night, Sunday brought us some good vibes.  We grabbed Starbucks (we usually vote for local coffee shops, but ‘bucks has amazing and always fresh decaf that is strong and not at all bitter) and headed to our old church.  It was SO lovely.  We left feeling connected and peaceful and inspired and those are things we have struggled to find since moving, so it was much needed.  Then it was time to leave town which left us a bit somber, but that’s alright.

We loved our weekend away and our children were total troopers.  They both slept well last night, which I feared might not be the case, and we are off to a good start to the week.  We are gearing up for two family vacations in a row in a few weeks, so this was a good road test.  We’re excited!


Between the drivel and drama on Facebook and the very, very narrow windows of free time that arise when parenting Big Baby and Little Baby, I’m feeling a little inundated with mental chatter.  And by a little I mean totally.

I can’t help but dwell on the sweeping changes for good this nation could make if they used their free time differently.  I’m not excluded–I’m spending time thinking about things that have nothing to do with paying attention to my babies who are growing like weeds over here before my very eyes.  “Babies don’t keep” as our friend says.  You know what this means.

It means it’s time to make lists.  Long and painfully organized ones.

It’s time to play on the floor and pretend the house isn’t messy just for the sake of Si’s giggles.

It’s time to use nap time for actually finishing Hands Free Mama.

And it’s also time to do another month of the Minimalist Challenge because it’s the perfect season for a huge rummage.  Who’s in?  Aunt Sarey?