Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday is Daddy Day

Rob works crazy hours every week.  On average he works 70 hours a week, so we take advantage of every minute we get with him. Sundays around here are referred to as Daddy Day. We started off Daddy Day with some berries and french toast.  This was the kids first encounter with french toast, and they were big fans.  

The majority of the day was rainy out, so we were inside until the evening hours.  We took advantage and started working on some of our Fourth of July treats.

Once the rain clouds cleared, we were greeted by the sun and perfect temperatures.  While we grilled some kabobs on the grill, the kids played with their water table.  Daddy was great at helping them with the squirt guns and wheels.

After dinner they got to run around naked in the back yard and enjoy a blueberry, pineapple, spinach popsicle.

Of course this happened. Typical little boy.

Once the popsicles were finished, a meltdown occured.  Bath time involved screaming, crying and more screaming. "Elmo's Song" got things settled down enough for us to finish baths and get them to bed.  We're now enjoying R rated comedies and adult beverages while the kids snooze.

Rewind to Friday.  We got some extra daddy time on Friday afternoon at my cousin's wedding.  Thanks to stacking cups, blocks and a few snacks, the kids made it through the wedding with barely a peep.

My gorgeous cousin Rachel.

The beautiful bride and her dad.

With Grandma and Grandpa after the ceremony. I love this picture.

After the ceremony was an adults only reception.  Thank you to the kids' Godmother for watching them for the night. They had cow's milk for the for the first time before bed, and went down without a fight. 

We got to go out and enjoy a delicious breakfast for dinner buffet, dancing, a few cocktails and most importantly, wedding cake. Being the huge party animals we are, we broke curfew and didn't get home until 10:10.  It's crazy to think that in years past we would just be pregaming at that time of night.  Oh how things have changed.

I'm looking forward to this week and the Fourth.  I'm hosting a small cookout for some friends and my daycare girls. More on that later.  

I hope everyone's weekend was as fun as ours.  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mommy's New Toy

High school photography class = easy A, blow off class to me.  I had fun in class and really enjoyed working in the dark room, but when it came to shutter speeds, apertures and photo composition, I tuned out.  I knew enough to get by, but I really should have listened to more of what Mrs. Hopper had to say.  I've used either my iPhone or a point and click, Power Shot and Cool Pix, since my days in P101. 

Once the kids were born the amount of pictures taken on a daily basis went into overdrive.  In the beginning I probably took 20 pictures a day.  When you're looking at that many pictures each day, you start to notice that the iPhone camera you always thought was so great, really isn't that wonderful. Enter the Nikon D3200

After doing a little research, I settled on this bad boy, in red.  I've had it for about a week now, and I'm in love. The automatic settings make for wonderful pictures.  I haven't had the time to sit down and really get acquainted with it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.  I'm excited to get back into photography and learn everything I should have learned 15 years ago. Has it really been that long since I was a junior in high school?

Having a couple really cute subjects to shoot makes it super easy.

Brooke has taken to hugging, tackling, wresting, Harrison.  Sometimes it results in giggles, other times tears.

 Brooke is kind enough to share the water table with the dogs.

He even looks cute when he's crying, which is often. I love my sensitive little man.

I seriously love these two, and I love that I'll have these pictures to look back on to remind me of all the fun times we have together.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Muffin Tin Quiches

For this weeks recipe I thought I'd go with a breakfast dish. Our breakfasts usually consist of fruit, more fruit and some Cheerios.  Occasionally we mix it up with some toast, pancakes or a scramble.  

I originally made this recipe when the babies were 7 months old.  It was the first muffin tray dish I made, and it was a hit.  They liked it, and I caught the hubs stealing some muffins for a quick breakfast on the go. While it's not technically a quiche, that how we always wind up referring to them in our house.  

This recipe is another one that is really easy to change up the ingredients in depending on what you have on hand.  I had bacon and green peppers that needed to get used, so that's what I incorporated.  

Muffin Tin Quiches

Yields 24 muffins or 48 mini muffins

4 cups frozen shredded hash browns 
2 tbsp butter
1 green pepper
6 slices bacon
1 cup cheddar cheese
10 eggs
1 tsp pepper (optional)

1. Preheat over to 375*. Grease muffins tins using cooking spray. 

2. Defrost 4 cups hash browns in microwave.  Pour 2 tbsp melted butter over hash browns. Stir. 

3. Spoon has browns into muffin tins.  Press hash browns into muffin tins creating a hash brown cup.  Bake at 375* for 15 minutes.  

4. While the hash browns are baking, cook the bacon in a frying pan.  Dice the bacon and green pepper. 

5. Whisk the eggs, and optional pepper, together and set aside.

6. When the hash browns are lightly browned around the edges, pull out of the oven.  Fill each hash town cup with a small amount of bacon, green pepper and cheese.  

7. Pour eggs on top of hash brown cups and filling.  Fill 3/4 of the way full.  

8. Bake at 375* for 15-20 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean when they are fully cooked.  

Notes: The first time I made these I used ham and no peppers.  They were really good.   If egg spills over the side of the hash brown cup, it's ok.  I've made them both as regular and mini muffins.  I think I prefer the regular size muffin for this recipe.  You can melt the cheese on top of the quiches instead of putting it on the inside.   Both ways taste good.  

Both kids are enjoying them for breakfast this morning. Brooke insisted on holding all of hers at once. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Things We Love @ Twelve and Thirteen Months

V-Tech LapPup - We have two of these, Violet and Scout, and they are lifesavers.  They are easy to hold onto, the noises aren't too annoying, the puppy face lights up, and it teaches colors and numbers. It's a great interactive toy and perfect for in the car.  When we load up into the car they get two things, their sippy cup and their LapPup.

BabyGanics Sunscreen - I know I've raved about this sunscreen before, but it's amazing.  Last summer we tried Burt's Bees and California Baby sunscreen.  They are both great, natural products, but they both leave a chalky residue.  The BabyGanics is chemical free, rubs in well leaving no residue and it's priced really well.  If you receive the Target Baby coupons there is a coupon for BabyGanics in this month's booklet. Last week we used Neutogena Kids sunscreen and it was a big fail. Brooke's poor skin was all red and splotchy. BabyGanics all the way.

Corolle Calin Doll - We love our baby dolls.  They were a birthday gift and they both adore them, especially Brooke.  She will carry them both around at the same time, one in each arm.  She also likes to do this with her stuffed animals.  I really like these particular dolls because of the boy doll.  A lot of the boy dolls are somewhat creepy looking.  The Corolle doll is cute in both the pink and blue, plus the size is perfect.

Footless Pajamas - Thank you Baby Gap for making super soft cotton footless pajamas.  I really love Carter's fleece footed sleepers, but they are difficult for kids learning to walk, at least for my kids they are.  They wind up with their feet in the legs, and then they step on the extra foot fabric.  Maybe we're just at an awkward in between size, but these are the perfect solution.  No stepping on extra fabric, they're a perfect weight for the summer months, and you can pair them with a pair of socks if you're worried about their feet getting cold.  We may wind up stocking up on these before they go out of season.

Little Tikes Cozy Truck - These were another birthday gift.  They adore these.  They will push them around in the garage, crawl into them on their own, basically do anything they can to entice me to take them for a spin.  There are cup holders, a fun horn, and a trunk for storage space.  Even though the suggested age on them is 18 months+, I think one year is the perfect time to introduce a ride on toy.  An added bonus to these is that there is a foot tray you can keep in place until they're old enough to Fred Flinstone it on their own. As a side note, these are a bitch to put together and they require a power drill.  They are worth it in the end, but plan an hour and a beer per truck.

Nuby Straw Sippy Cup - We tried lots of sippy cups before we found these.  First we tried the Avent soft spout cup, next was the Munchkin straw sippy, we tried traditional hard plastic sippy cups, finally I bought the Nuby brand. They were able to use them right away with no issues.  They can use the Munchkin ones now too, but they leak.  The Nuby ones never leak unless I didn't assemble them properly.  They drink water nonstop.  It's like there's a water shortage I don't know about and they want to drink as much as they can before there's none left. Having good sippy cups is essential.

Little Tikes Kitchen - This is probably their most used toy right now.  This was their other big bithday gift from us, aside from the trucks. There are constantly spoons, pizza slices, a hot dog bun, and maybe a cupcake or two littered around the house.  It's the perfect height for them to stand at and it's wide enough that there's room for them both.  It converts to a taller, more slender kitchen as they get older. I am looking forward to the day they serve me a slice of plastic pizza on a little white plate during a pretend picnic.

Both the kitchen and the trucks are usually available at garage sales and on Craigslist in  late spring. The first big garage sale weekend here was the weekend before their birthday, so I didn't have time to find used ones. Not that they're super expensive toys, but they clean up easily and they aren't too hard to find used.

If you follow me on Instagram (@justjm03) then you've already seen these pictures.

Brooke strutting her stuff at the pool with her Nuby sippy cup in hand.  She often carries around both hers and her brothers'.

 Going for a ride in their trucks the first time. Brooke of course has the pink and purple one.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Homemade Mac and Cheese

One of the kids' favorite recipes, mine and my husband's too, is homemade mac and cheese.  I mean, pasta and cheese, how can you go wrong? As much as I love me some Velveeta Shells and Cheese, it's not something I want to be giving H and B on a regular basis.  Too much sodium and processed food, not enough real cheese,.

If you search the internet for Mac and Cheese recipes you'll find hundreds of different variations. Bread crumbs, sour cream, Gruyere and other fancy cheeses. The list of add ins and special ways to make it are endless.  

We prefer a really simple recipe that has 3 ingredients. Pasta, cottage cheese and shredded cheese.  It is simple, delicious, and if you want to add in other items or change up the flavor with different cheeses, you easily can.  

A few nights ago I tried to turn my trusty side dish into a main course by adding mixed veggies and chopped chicken.  The results were good, but I'll probably stick to keeping it as a side dish. 

When I used to make this for just Rob and I, I would use elbow macaroni.  Now I usually use cavatappi.  It's easy for the kids to grab onto and I like the flavor. Rotini is another option that's really great for little hands.  

I usually use a combination of sharp cheddar and colby jack cheese.  Use whatever type of shredded cheese you have on hand.  I also usually use 4% milk fat small curd cottage cheese since fat it important for the kids.  I have used 1% large curd, and it works just as well.  

1 box cavatappi or other pasta
1 16 oz package cottage cheese
1 16 oz package shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Fill large, Dutch oven size, saucepan 2/3 full with water. Generously salt your pasta water and bring to a boil.

2. Add pasta to water and cook over med-hi heat until pasta is fully cooked. Drain pasta.  

3. Mix cottage cheese, cooked pasta and 8 oz shredded cheese.  Spread in a greased 13x9 baking dish. 

4. Sprinkle remaining 8oz of cheese on top of pasta mixture.  Bake at 350* for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. 

Notes: Make sure you salt your pasta water.  It makes a huge difference in the flavor of the pasta.  If you want to add in chicken, veggies, beef, do so after mixing the pasta and cheeses.  Adding milk or heavy cream to the mixture if needed still yields a good result.  I have not frozen the max and cheese before, but I can say it does keep well in the fridge for up to a week and reheats well in the microwave. I have never added breadcrumbs, but I'm sure they would add a good textural element and nice flavor.    

Happy cooking!

Monday, June 17, 2013

One Year Check Up

Friday was the kids' one year check up. We really like our pediatrician, and especially like his nurse. Our trips to the doctor are always good, until there are shots involved.  We do an alternate vax schedule, so we wind up going to their doctor's office a lot. 

Harrison weighed in at 22lbs 12oz and measured 31 1/2 inches long.  Brooke is 30 1/2 inches long and 22lbs 7oz. It's crazy to me how close they've stayed in both weight and height as they've grown.

There have been quite a few changes and developments with both kids over the past month. Harrison finally got his eighth tooth after months of back and forth with it. He is also now walking all the time. He's still a little wobbly on his feet, but he is getting steadier every day. 

Brooke's hair is starting to grow like weeds. It's coming in really light, almost blonde. There's almost enough to wear hair clips! She has started biting, me, her dad, her brother, when she's scared or angry. Obviously something we want to stop, so we are going to start implementing time outs. 

They are both starting be be stingy with their toys, so we are working on sharing. Separation anxiety is at an all time high right now too. This age is a lot of fun, but we are definitely experiencing our first real trials. 

Over the last couple weeks it started to become evident that the kids' current nap schedule wasn't quite right. It was taking Harrison an hour to fall asleep at nap time, they would often only nap for 45 minutes and then wake up angry, some days they would refuse their second nap. I thought maybe it was the start of transitioning down to one nap. It turns out that we just needed a later bedtime. Once bedtime was moved back an hour, naps fell inline and we're back to 11-12 hours of night sleep and two 60-90 minute naps each day.  

They are both thankfully still eating really well. We haven't hit the picky phase yet.  We've starting incorporating local honey into their diet to hopefully help with Harrison's allergies. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches have become a new favorite. Fresh fruit, especially blueberries, and homemade mac and cheese are on their list of favorites too.  

We are definitely enjoying the start of summer. The pool, park and zoo are definitely keeping us busy. I am loving every day that I get to spend with my sweet little munchkins. I had someone at the pool today tell me that I was blessed, I actually have a lot of people tell me that, and I couldn't agree more. I'm so lucky that these little guys call me mommy.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

I am lucky to have an amazing father who helped raise me and my four siblings.  I'm even luckier that I still live close to him and that my kids get to see him on a regular basis.  This morning we got to take him out for a Father's Day breakfast.

The rest of our day was spent with my wonderful husband, who works his ass off for us everyday.  Not many men can work 80 hours a week and still find time to be a wonderful, hands on dad, but he does.  

After a quick stop by the in laws, where Harrison discovered how awesome a basketball is, and an afternoon nap, we went out for some Mexican grub and ice cream. 

Harry decided to go face down into a plate of rice and beans.

The face of pure happiness.

Happy Father's Day to the most amazing man I know.  H, B and I are so lucky to call you our own.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Breastfeeding Twins

If breastfeeding, images of it, or talk about it offends you, this post is not for you.  I will be candidly talking about my experience nursing my twins and sharing a couple pictures of them nursing.  You've been warned.

Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Tank - I have been wearing these nursing tanks basically every day since I came home from the hospital.  They are super comfortable and have held up really well over time.  They are great to wear under a t-shirt, tank or sweater.  I was a 34B pre-pregnancy and went up two sizes. Some of my mommy friends with larger chests said they didn't offer enough support. I haven't had that problem, but it may be something to consider if you're well endowed.

BeBe Au Lait Nursing Cover - This nursing cover was a godsend for the first few months while we were getting comfortable in our nursing relationship. It's lightweight and has a firm yet flexible band at the neckline which makes it easy to look down and see if your baby is latched properly or needs re-positioning.

Boppy Pillow x2 - The Boppy gets my vote for the best piece of baby gear ever invented.  It's the perfect support pillow for nursing a singleton.  We used it to prop them up while bottle feeding. It's a great aid for when they are still a little wobbly sitting up.  We, kind of by accident, found that the Boppys provided the perfect support for tandem nursing in bed. I position the Boppys on my sides and they offer enough support for my arms that I can tandem nurse both babies while lying on my back.  I know I didn't explain that well, but there's a picture further down that shows the babies positioning while nursing. While you don't need two of everything for twins, you do need two Boppys.

Medela Pump In Style Advanced - A double electric pump is a must, in my opinion, especially if you plan to go back to work at anytime.  Even before I went back to work, I used the pump on a daily basis.  I would pump once a day while giving the babies a bottle. They were never great at taking a bottle, but they would always take it.  Sometimes it just took an hour for them to finish 4 ounces.  My favorite part about this pump is that the bags attach to the flanges so you don't have to pump into a bottle and then pour it into a bag to freeze it.  There are also nipples that screw directly onto the pumping bottles.  Easy and less dishes = win.

Bella B Nipple Butter - This nipple butter is great because you don't have to wipe it off before nursing.  It's soothing, natural and safe for baby.  Enough said.

My Brest Friend Twin Nursing Pillow - We used the twin pillow for just about every feeding until 2 or 3 months.  It was really great with helping us tandem feed in the beginning.  It's made of a firm foam which is perfect for supporting little, floppy babies. It was especially great when I needed to burp one baby and keep the other happily nursing. Added bonus, it has a pocket on the side where you can put your phone and a burp rag.

Lansinoh Soothies - Your nipples will be sore in the beginning even if your babies have a great latch.  Keep a few of these in the fridge and pop them on whenever your nipples are sore, instant soothing.

And now for our breastfeeding story.

Long before we even started trying to get pregnant I was sure I was going to breastfeed my children.  When we found out we were having twins, I knew that it might be more of a challenge to exclusively breastfeed, but I was still determined.  I ordered the My Brest Friend Twin Nursing Pillow, read Mothering Multiples and started researching twin nursing success stories. 

I knew that each week I was still pregnant gave us a better chance of successfully nursing. When we wound up in the hospital at 32 weeks, I adjusted my expectations.  When the NICU nurses come in and talk to you about feeding tubes, any preconceived notions of how you plan to feed your babies go out the window.  I remained hopeful, and thankfully we made it to 37 weeks before delivering.

Immediately after delivery, the babies' blood sugar dropped and they were taken to the nursery to be given formula. The nurses fed them with a syringe since they knew we hoped to breastfeed.  Brooke joined me in recovery first and she latched immediately. When Harrison joined us, he latched right away as well but had some issues with latching properly.

The lactation consultants, LCs,  at the hospital were great at helping with Harrison's latch.  Both babies were consistently latching well and eagerly nursing by the end of day one. The babies roomed in with us and continued to nurse well overnight.  In the morning they went to the nursery for their pediatric check-in and they had lost enough weight that the doctor was slightly concerned.

The LCs brought us in a Medela Symphony pump, a great pump if you're interesting in renting a hospital grade pump, and we began pumping to help stimulate supply.  The babies continued to nurse well that day and night.  When they went into the nursery the next morning for their check-in, they had lost even more weight.  Over 10% of their body weight.  In hindsight this is partially due to inflated birth weights from my being hooked to an IV for hours before they were born.

We continued nursing and pumping that day and also began manual expression/massage while the babies nursed to help stimulate production.  By the end of the day the babies were becoming fussy and nursing constantly.  That night we got to the point where the babies were hungry and I wasn't producing enough to satisfy them.  Around 1am the babies were crying because they were hungry, and I was crying because they were hungry and I couldn't satisfy them.  During this time the nurse on call came in and told me I shouldn't expect to be able to exclusively breast feed twins.  This got me crying even more.

So there we were, the three of us crying and poor Rob is trying to say the right thing.  We decided that the babies needed more than what I could give at that time, so we had the nurse bring in some formula.  They each sucked down an ounce right away and then passed out.  While Rob fed them I was crying hysterically thinking I was a failure. By their next feeding, I had enough milk to keep them satisfied. When they went for their morning check-in they had lost a bit more weight but the drop wasn't as severe as it had been the previous two days.

Our day nurse sent us home with tons of formula samples.  It was great to have them as a back up, and there were a few time where I got frustrated and really considered using formula, but never did.  We were able to donate the samples to friends that needed them.  By their one week appointment they were back above their birth weight and they continued to gain quickly.

Tandem nursing using the My Brest Friend

Harrison had problems with spitting up/reflux for the first three months.  Our pediatrician didn't think it was serious enough to warrant any meds, so thankfully we didn't have to do that.  I was just constantly covered in baby barf for 3 months.  I tried cutting out dairy which didn't help.  It did seem like avoiding soy made a positive difference.  

I think a large part of our problem was that I had an oversupply and overactive let down.  We started going to the nursing moms support group at our hospital each week.  If your hospital offers one of these, I highly recommend going.  It was great to be able to discuss any nursing issues with a registered LC and with other moms going through similar difficulties. 

After talking to the LCs we decided to stop alternating breasts and assign each baby their own side. This made a big difference for us.  The babies each regulated their own side and the constant spitting up slowly got better.

This is how they nurse while we lie in bed.  We still nurse in this position today.

We had one bout of oral thrush around 6 months.  Since they both had their own side, only Harrison got thrush. (That was a blessing) It took us a couple months, and finally Diflucan for me, to finally get rid of it. There were a couple clogged ducts here and there as well, but thankfully no major hurdles for us.  

Here we are, just past a year and still nursing strong.  They are down to only nursing before naps, bedtime and once overnight.  I say only, but it's still 4 times a day.  They were nursing 4 times a day and 4 times at night as recent as 3 months ago.  It made for a very tired mommy, but I definitely think co-sleeping and nursing on demand throughout the night helped my supply.  I am planning to let them self wean when they are ready, or start the weaning process just before they are two, whichever comes first.

A few pieces of advice to new moms trying to establish breastfeeding: 
  • Seek help if you're having issues.  The advice and knowledge of a trained LC will benefit you more than you know.
  • Don't hurry to set a schedule for your baby.  Let him nurse on demand until your supply is well established.
  • Drink, drink, drink! I have a Bobble which has constantly been at my side since I was pregnant. If you think you've had enough water, have another drink.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself if things don't go exactly as planned.  There is nothing wrong with having to supplement, exclusively pump, or having to feed formula exclusively. Only you know what's right for you and your baby.

I feel very fortunate that our journey has been as smooth as it has. The first couple months were exhausting, but the constant nursing was so worth it. I hope I am this lucky with any future kids that we might have.  If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking with me through a super long post.  I probably could have written more, but wanted to keep it as brief as possible.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Zucchini Mini Muffins

I am by no means a cooking expert, but I really enjoy cooking for H and B.  Finding new, nutritious options for them to eat has become somewhat of a hobby. I am sure they would be happy to consume all of their vegetables in pouch form, but I'd go broke and a little variety is a good thing.

One of the best options I've found so far is making vegetable "bites." They aren't really bite size, but pretty much every recipe refers to them as bites. Vegetables mixed with a grain, eggs, cheese and a little seasoning.  We've made bites with quinoa and carrots, broccoli and cheese, and most recently zucchini, onion and cheese.  

They've all been super easy to make and have been huge hits with the kids.  I usually make a double or triple batch and put them in the freezer.  They're super easy to heat up, less than a minute in the microwave, and they taste just as good as they did when they were fresh out of the oven.  

You can use any muffin or mini muffin tin to bake them.  You can even have fun with it and bake them in shaped silicone trays.  Little hearts or stars would be so adorable. 

When these were done cooling the kids went to town on them.  They each had a couple with lunch and then 3 or 4 more each as a snack. 

Zucchini Mini Muffins

Ingredients (yields 36 mini muffins)

2 small zucchinis
2 small yellow squashes
3/4 cup diced red onion
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 large eggs
Pepper for seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 400* F. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray, I use Pam olive oil spray, and set aside. 

2. Shred zucchini and squash (I used the medium size on my cheese grater) soak up excess moisture using paper towels or a dish towel.  If you don't blot out enough moisture the muffins will be soggy in the middle.   There should be approximately 3 cups of zucchini and squash once shredded and blotted.  

3. Dice red onion

4. Whisk eggs in large mixing bowl and then add all the ingredients.  Stir ingredients together until we'll combined.   

5. Spoon mixture into greased muffin tin, filling each cup to the top.  

6. Bake at 400* for 18-20 minutes or until the top and edges are crisp and brown. Remove from tray and let cool before serving.  

Notes: I used a mini muffin tin, so cooking times may vary if you are using a full size muffin tin or silicone bakeware. I used ingredients I had on hand.  You can use only zucchini, use yellow onion instead or red, or mix up the seasoning depending on what you have on hand. I modified my recipe from one I found on Pinterest.  Unlike baking, cooking isn't a science, so have fun with it.  

I am hoping to do a weekly post with a new recipe I've recently tried for the kids. If you're looking for ideas, search Pinterest or the web for baby lead weaning recipes. That's how I find most of my recipes. I've had luck with the majority of the things I've found, but there have also been a couple things that didn't go over well, and one particular cooking episode that should have been put on Pinstrosity.  

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and that it gets your kids eating their veggies.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes

I've been putting off getting the kids fitted for shoes until they were both walking the majority of the time.  As I'm sure most of you know if you've read my previous posts, Brooke is walking everywhere.  Harrison is finally starting to prefer walking over crawling, so we headed to Fred Toenges this morning to get some kicks.  

While we were waiting for our number to be called, we took advantage of the nickel horse rides.  Harrison thought it was ok.  Brooke was the happiest kid on the planet. I'm pretty sure she would have kept riding as long as I kept pumping nickels into the horse.  Unfortunately for her I only had $.15.

After talking to the sales associate about what type of shoes were the best to not prohibit walking and foot development, their feet were sized and we got to pick out some snazzy footwear, and by snazzy I mean Velcro. After viewing the options in their size, we decided on navy Stride Rites for Harry and white with pink Stride Rites for Brooke.

H was so excited about his shoes that he insisted on carrying one around with him after they were done getting fitted.  He found himself in the mirror and decided he needed to check himself out.  Meanwhile, B was headed back up to try and get back on the nickel horse.

Our sales associate had some great advice for picking out shoes for toddlers.
  • Shoes should have a flexible heel and a stiff, supportive back.
  • It's best not to wear hand-me-down shoes since they are molded to someone else's feet.
  • Shoes should last approximately 20 weeks. Make sure to get your children's feet measured every 4-5 months.
  • Don't use socks with rubber grippers on the bottom when wearing shoes.  They tend to make kids' toes curl under.
This next bit of advice is not from the sales associate, but I figure it's good to mention anyway.  It's best for foot development if kids only wear shoes when necessary.  Bare feet are ideal.

I'm sure they aren't excited about their shoes, but I am. I'll finally be able to let them get down and walk around while we're at the zoo or the park.  Glad I won't have to fight that battle anymore.  

And now my shoe obsession can be transferred from buying shoes for me to buying shoes for them. Does Von Maur have a kids clearance shoe room?