Friday, November 30, 2012

18 months old!

Happy 18 months girls! For some reason, 18 months has seemed like such a milestone to me. Maybe it is because daycare kids are considered official toddlers at 18 months or because I can now sign them up for gymnastics class.

  • Quinn has started telling me when she has pooped. It seems to really annoy her now and so she wants me to change her diaper immediately. My plan was to start toilet training Teagan first, but those plans might be changing! 
  • They have a recent baby obsession. Whenever we see a young baby, they point and babble. If they're able to get to the baby, they will attempt to stroke his/her hair and give kisses and hugs. Up until now, they haven't shown too much interest in stereotypical "girl" things. Funny though, they also love planes and bulldozers. We spent a good 10 minutes the other day watching a bulldozer work away. 
  • Dancing and music continue to be BIG hits in our house. Music is almost always on in the background. If they hear a song that grabs them, they won't hesitate to stop what they're doing, jump up and bust a move! I took them to a drop-in music class recently. Teagan stood in the middle of a circle of 15 moms and their babies entertaining the crowd and dancing up a storm!
  • Both girls have become interested in reading once again. I will sit in their chair with one on each knee reading several times per day. They especially enjoy the dictionary-type books because they love to identify common foods/animals/objects. 
  • Their vocabulary is improving. It's tough to remember what words are new this month. I guess I should keep track. They're attempting more words and phrases - baby, Papa (Grandpa), oh-oh, 'yes please', nana (banana), cat. They also make monkey noises and scratch their underarms at the sight of a appropriate! I've introduced the sign for please and help. I was finding that they were often whining or yelling at me when they needed my help. Quinn has started using both. 
  • They've become much better about eating with a spoon and fork. While it creates far more mess for me, I try to give them one or the other for at least 2 meals per day. Quinn can actually eat an entire bowl of food and spill very little on herself. Teagan, on the other hand, will often purposely make a mess. She loves to transfer food from one bowl/plate to the other. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


As a child, I have fond memories of my Mom buying pomegranates around this time of year. I would eat an entire pomegranate in one sitting. If you've ever eaten one, you know how labour intensive extracting those little seeds can be. It's worth it though!

I introduced the girls to pomegranates about a month ago. Since then, the sight of the delicious little seeds causes them both to go nuts. You'd think that I was offering them chocolate chip cookies. Quinn shovels handfuls of them in her mouth and quickly begs for more...

I can't say I mind that pomegranates have become baby crack to the girls. They are considered to be a superfood and have numerous health benefits. While the juice is good, the actual seeds will provide you with more nutrition bang for your buck (and will cost less!). Here are a few reasons to eat 'em:
  • Loaded with antioxidants (2x more than green tea!) which fight free radicals that contribute to chronic diseases and cancer.
  • Packed with vitamin C - we can all use a little bit more of that now that cold/flu season is upon us once again.
  • The edible seeds are high in fibre (so you will not get the fibre benefits by drinking the juice)
  • Other vitamins and minerals: b-vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper
  • Proven to help lower cholesterol

Monday, November 26, 2012

Petites Artistes!

Mes petites artistes!

We got the girls a little table and chairs recently. My intention was that we could start doing some arts and crafts. I started out with some basics; paper and crayons. As with most 17-month olds (I think), it took only minutes before the paper was being ripped off the table and the wall was receiving some crayon love!

Any arts and crafts recommendations for 2 almost 18-month olds?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for protective big brothers

I had my first real scare with an unknown dog and the girls today.

The girls, as I've mentioned, are in love with dogs. ALL dogs. The problem is that they don't realize that other dogs might not be as friendly and tolerant to ear and hair-pulling as Riley and Finn.

Every morning, after breakfast, I head out with the brood so that the dogs can run free and burn off energy. I've been going down to a path along the water because it is usually quiet enough for me to let the girls out of the stroller to walk. There aren't too many other dogs running around.

While we were walking along the boardwalk this morning, Teagan was a little ways ahead of me and Quinn was just behind me. Out of nowhere, a fox-like dog came running at Teagan. I could tell that something wasn't right, but my sweet dog-obsessed little girl was clueless and went running towards him. The fox was clearly on edge and unsure about the little person in front of him. He started barking at Teagan as he got closer. I grabbed Quinn and started moving quickly towards T, calling her name. She wasn't hearing me at all. Then, out of nowhere, both Riley and Finn came flying in barking, making a barrier between Teagan and the fox. They continued to bark at him, moving him away from their little sister. By this point, I had grabbed T and was letting the boys handle the fox.

It all happened so quickly. While I don't think the fox would have done anything to Teagan, I don't know for sure. I'm thankful that Riley and Finn had the good sense from afar to know that something wasn't right (and the speed to get there faster than I could!). I've wondered over the months if the boys see themselves as the girls' protectors. They clearly do :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Surprise Kid-Free Getaway!

On Saturday morning, I surprised Jenn via a clever poem that we were going away for the night sans babies.

She had been suggesting it for a few months but didn't think I was ready to be away from the girls. She even suggested it on Friday night. I blew her off convinced that she had somehow found out about my surprise. It had been a good 6 weeks in the making. Fortunately, I was completely wrong!

So, courtesy of my brother, Rob, babysitter extraordinaire, and his supporting cast of my parents, my brother, Michael, "adopted brother," Lennan, and my friend, Helen, Jenn and I headed off for some much-needed R&R. While I wish I could say that I happily skipped off, carefree, on our getaway, that wasn't the case. I tried to keep my anxiety in check. I had never left the girls for a night before. What if they wake in the night? What if they won't go back to sleep and keep my brother up all night? What if they get sick? What if they are horribly behaved? What if....? Kristen, at More Than Words wrote a blog entry last Friday about being a "helicopter mom." While reading it, I laughed because I could totally relate.

I had already written my brother a schedule/tip sheet when he called on Thursday to ask me to quickly jot down the girls' basic schedule. I could have easily written three pages, including every little detail to make his time "easier." That's the thing, I reminded myself. All of those little details make my day easier, but it doesn't mean that they are the only way of doing things. While some details might be important to share, it was also important for me to let him find his own way. Admittedly, it was (/is!) hard to tame my inner control freak.

Our ride down to Niagara-on-the-Lake was a bit tough for me. Fortunately, once we arrived and checked into the Prince of Wales, we had to rush off to the spa. It was just what we needed to truly relax. After a fantastic treatment, I was calm and comfortable. We wandered through the town for a bit and then headed back to our room to get ready for dinner. We had the most incredible dinner at Tiara Restaurant in the Queen's Landing hotel. If you're ever in Niagara-on-the-Lake, I highly recommend it! On Sunday, we had a great brunch and then walked around town a bit more. It was just what Jenn and I needed!

And, of course, the girls had a fantastic time at home with their uncles, grandparents and friends. Rob and the girls didn't even get up on Sunday morning until 7:45am! How civilized! He sent me the occasional text or picture to keep my anxiety at bay.

This definitely doesn't look like the face of a little girl missing her mommy!

It's funny because there is always so much talk about babies and their separation anxiety. What about the mother's separation anxiety? I think that I did well for my first time away from them and believe that Jenn would attest to that.

All in all, I think our getaway was a huge success. Jenn and I spent some quality time together with no little people vying for our attention. I would love to make it a more regular thing, but with twins it is tough. It takes a village to raise a child, the quote says. I guess it takes a city(?) to raise twins!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lunch Spotlight: Sweet Potato Hash

A few weeks ago, I had The Chew (cooking show) on in the background while I was cleaning up during the girls' nap. With Thanksgiving coming up in the US, they were talking about clever uses for that leftover turkey. Having lived in Boston for a few years, I can attest to the fact that Americans do it up for Thankgiving, making the next day a write off! This recipe was perfect for that lazy day-after-Thanksigiving brunch.

A few weekends ago, I gave a version of this recipe a whirl because I had several sweet potatoes on hand. While I didn't have any leftover turkey, I did have chicken.

Here is my version of The Chew's Sweet Potato Hash:


- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 2 large sweet potatoes (cubed)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 2 Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chipotle spice to taste
- Leftover cooked chicken
- Hot sauce (garnish - optional)
- Chopped parsley (garnish - as desired)
- Olive oil


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cube sweet potatoes, toss in coconut oil and bake for 20 minutes
- Melt butter in large pan and add chopped onion
- Add sweet potatoes, Worchestershire sauce, salt, pepper and chipotle to the pan.
- Cover and let it cook (I turned it up to medium-high briefly so the sweet potatoes would crisp)
- Add cooked chicken, mix well and let it warm for a few minutes.
- Garnish with parsley and hot sauce, if desired.
- If the mixture starts to dry out, add more butter or a bit of olive oil.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Was Played a 17-month old.

If there was a show called Are you smarter than a 17-month old? and I was a contestant, I would lose miserably.

From yesterday afternoon until a bit early today, Teagan was a blubbering, clingy, cranky, seemingly miserable little girl. She only wanted to be in my arms or else she was crying uncontrollably. With no fever, signs of sickness and a normal appetite, I assumed a molar was making its descent. With Jenn being away for the week at a conference, I had a friend come by last night to keep me company. If my friend (who Teagan knows) came within three feet of her, she lost it anymore. As you can imagine, after a few hours of this, I was wrecked. This morning started out somewhat normally but quickly turned into much of the same from the night before. I attempted to take the girls for a walk and to a drop-in centre to play. With Teagan being miserable from the get-go, she rode in the Ergo (carrier) while Q was in the stroller. She continued to cling to me at the drop-in centre. She was whiny and miserable. Fortunately, Quinn was an angel and happily entertained herself. After carrying by 25lbs-ish toddler for close to four hours, I felt like I had had a month's worth of weight workouts.

I had someone coming to watch the girls this afternoon, so I could have a few hours off. I came so close to cancelling because I worried that my clingy little mess would drive her insane. My poor little Teagan clearly needed her Mommy and no one else. But, then it hit me...there is a chance that I'm being manipulated by my clever little tot. But still, when she arrived, I told her that T has been very upset and for her to definitely call me if she was inconsolable in my absence. I reluctantly left.

I texted a short while later to check in, which I never normally do. Sure enough, she was happy as can be!

Eva's words popped into my head, T knows how to get you.

While she could still be teething, she was clearly not that uncomfortable if she was all smiles for Stefanie. My 17-month old cleverly manipulated me into carrying her around for hours.

In my own defence...If you're a mother, you can hopefully relate. Rationally, I know that it isn't the smartest move to jump on a child's every cry. I've seen the result of this as children get older. A whiny, clingy, demanding 6-year old isn't the cutest. But, as a mother, there is this visceral need to grab my crying toddler, hold them close and tell them it will be ok. If you know Teagan, you'll know that she has the saddest sounding cry. She looks up at me with tears streaming from those big, blue puppy dog eyes and I can't help but scoop her up. As exhausting as it is, the feeling of her body relaxing, her breathing regulating and her little fingers playing with my hair, instantly drops my stress level.

Teagan fell asleep in the Ergo today. I stared at my sweet toddler sleeping and realized that it had been many months since either of them fell asleep on me. Maybe I'm already seeing the last two days through rose coloured glasses. Maybe Teagan just wanted some Mommy cuddle time. But, yes, I was still played by my 17-month old!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Little Skaters

I will never forget the day that we found out that we were expecting not one, but two little blueberries (their size at our 7-week ultrasound). As we walked to our car in shock, the first call I made was to my Mom. Mom, it turns out that you're going to have to buy TWO pairs of skates! And, that's how she found out that she was having twin grandchildren.

38 weeks plus 17 months later, our two little girls skated for the first time! My Dad discovered Baby Skates a few months ago. If you skated as a toddler or know someone who did, Bob Skates (double blade, attaches to shoes) were most likely worn (and hated!). We didn't want the girls wearing those, but couldn't find a regular figure or hockey skate small enough for them. While they've only used the Baby Skates once, they seem pretty great. They provide the support of an actual skate boot and the balance of the double blades.

Teagan flipped out when we tried to put on her helmet. Once that was on and she hit the ice, she was in love! She instinctively started walking and proved to be a natural. She did not want to come off so my Mom and I kept taking turns. Every time we tried to take her off the ice, she would frantically sign 'more'. By the end of the session, my Mom didn't even need to hold her up. She was holding on by two fingers.

Skating conflicted with nap time so the girls' nap was cut short. Quinn needs her beauty sleep so she wasn't herself. She was clearly cranky and tired and had no interest in learning something new. We'll try again on another day!

Teagan definitely surprised us all by loving it as much as she did. I think I'm excited as she is to get back out there!

She refused to put on her helmet at
first, so we watched her sister.
Surprisingly, Quinn wasn't into it this time. We think it is
because she only had a very short nap.
You'll love it next time, Q!
 I don't think the smile ever left her face!
Happy as can be!
She didn't want to come off! She kept
signing 'more' to my Mom!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rest In Peace, Aunt Gillian

Gillian was the beloved furry aunt of Teagan, Quinn, Riley and Finn. We had to put her down last night at the age of 12 because she was in acute renal failure. She hadn't eaten in days so my Mom took her to the emergency vet yesterday. He said that she was in quite a lot of pain. At 12 1/4, no one wanted her to suffer. Her bravery and strength was incredible.

Gillian was my family's third Wheaten Terrier. My parents got her at the age of one, after she had been a show dog for a year. I was already at university at the time. Both of our previous Wheatens passed away when I was at school. I remember coming home to my new "sister." I was still grieving the loss of Kimmee and Romeo and wasn't ready to accept Gillee just yet. But, she lay on my bed and looked at me with those big eyes and easily won her way into my heart.

Aunt Gillian wasn't like most dogs. In fact, she despised other dogs (except for Romeo and eventually her nephews). Going for walks with her was a careful art of avoiding all dogs in our path. She was small but fierce. Both Riley and Finn crossed Gillee in the early days and quickly learned that she was the boss. They clearly had tremendous respect and even love for her. This summer, I spent a week at the cottage on my own. Gillee stayed up there with me (and the girls and boys). It was obvious that a mutual respect between Gillee and the boys had developed. They were her pack and seemed to bring her some comfort. She was even able to eat dinner right next to them, a huge change from the dog who used to eat 100 feet away from anyone. She also seemed to develop love for her young nieces. While at the cottage, Teagan had become reliant on someone patting her to sleep. It was taking longer and longer so we decided one night that we were going to have to let her cry and learn to soothe herself again. Gillee lay in front of their door and refused to move until all was quiet.

She loved her family. She was my Mom's dog without a doubt; an absolute Mommy Suck. She adored my brothers and would happily sit in their arms or on the chair next to them at the dining room table! I quickly became her walk ticket. Before the girls were born, I would pick up Gillee and take her for walks with her nephews. While she could be standoffish to some, she would be happy and almost puppy-like around her family. We will miss her terribly.

Rest in peace, Gillee. Say hello to Kimmee, Romeo and Sunnee for us (from a distance, if you would prefer!).

Baby Finn, Riley (top), Aunt Gillian (right)
Gillian, Finn, Riley
Gillee gets some love from Teagan at the cottage

Playing horse with Quinn

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Royal

My parents and I took the girls to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this morning. It is an annual event for Toronto and is considered to be the largest agricultural and international equestrian competition in the world. I remember skipping school with a friend of mine when I was about 16 to go down to the Royal to watch our other friend compete in a horse jumping competition.

My animal-loving duo was in heaven when we walked into the large hall containing the cows, goats and pigs. Their heads couldn't move fast enough to take in the sights and sounds.

Teagan gets into the spirit with a
cowboy hat
These piglets were only 12 days old!
The goats were the first animals that they saw. Their eyes
lit up like it was Christmas!
Waving bye to the cow!
One of my favourite things to do at the Royal is feeding the animals at the petting zoo. The girls come by their love of animals honestly! The animals were total pigs and have no issues getting right in your face. Fortunately, they were quite gentle when taking the feed from the girls. 

Teagan thinks that she and the goat have known each other long enough to share a kiss!

 We took a quick break to grab some food at look at what a few of the vendors were selling. We thought the Elmo hat was adorable. Quinn wasn't so sure.

And finally, we got to see the horses! This is Caden. He was a gorgeous former race horse who had been rescued. He was huge and for the first time ever, the girls were slightly nervous around an animal. 

Quinn was the side of his head!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Snack Spotlight: Coconut Banana Pudding

The girls have been on a banana kick recently. There are only so many banana and almond butter snacks to be eaten. So, while they were napping the other day, I pulled up a great, quick recipe from the blog of one my fellow nutritionists, Joy McCarthy. Not only did it contain the current favourite fruit, it also contained nutrient-dense coconut milk and chia seeds. 

This recipe contains loads of healthy fats for T&Q's developing brains and bodies. Chia seeds have become more mainstream in recent years, being touted as a superfood. They contain loads of fibre (double the amount of flax), Omega-3 fats, calcium and plenty of minerals. [Note: If you're introducing Chia into your diet for the first time, start small (1/2 tsp.) because too much, too soon can cause constipation]

I only had the pudding in the fridge for about an hour before the girls woke from their nap. It was more than enough time for it to thicken. It was a hit!


  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 dates soaked in 1/4 cup water for about 1 hour to make them plump (don’t discard the water!)
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water (add more if you want it less pudding-like)
Place the bananas, soaked dates (pits removed), soaking water, coconut milk, vanilla and the extra 1/4 cup water into your blender. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Pour your mixture into a large bowl and mix in the chia seeds. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

{this moment} Grandpa and His "Ladies"

A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.