My favourite season of the year is here and, as I do every year, I vow to enjoy it. I don’t complain about the endless heat because, sadly, it isn’t endless in Southern Ontario. I do my best to leave the comforts of an air conditioned house and experience some of the amazing activities, events, and memories that can only be found this time of year. Though summer has my heart, it also has a few challenges and when adding two children into the mix, it can get tricky. But, now that we are into the full swing of the season, I have found my groove and am sharing with you my favourite things to do with two! Whether you choose to beat the heat or bask in it, there is something here for everyone!
I’m not sure how any of us every grew up in a time when splash pads didn’t exist, but I think they may just be one of the best inventions ever. Each child can get as wet as they are comfortable with, they aren’t weighed down by floaties or a life jacket (but are being supervised closely by an adult), and they can run in all different types of water sprays that are so much more exciting than your lawn sprinkler. Both my 9 month old and 4 year old can play at the same time (in different ways) and I don’t have to worry about them being at different ability levels. Perhaps the best part is that most are FREE! And the second best part is that they aren’t swimming in a pool that is filled with equal parts chlorine and urine. Score one for the germaphobes!
Next on the list of things that I was deprived of growing up are these awesome indoor play spaces. When the heat and humidity is just too much to bear, head to the cool comforts of an indoor energy zapper. Kids can climb, slide, jump and dance for hours in these places and there is usually nice seating and coffee for parents to enjoy. Most play spaces have dedicated areas for smaller children and babies so we can take a cruise through an area of sensory play or smaller slides and when babe gets tired of that, I can feed him or snuggle him while big sister plays her heart out.
Who would have thought that writing on your driveway and your sidewalk could be such a thrill? I think because I forbid crayons and markers to exist anywhere play tables, drawing on the ground seems really rebellious and that means my daughter is all in. There are so many great chalk sets now that contain the chalk to a holder and make it possible for babies to play too. We trace everything, including each other, play tic tac toe and write our names with colourful flourishes. This kind of art is such a fun way for kids to express themselves and it keeps the mess outside! One rainfall or a sprinkle from the hose and you have a blank canvas.
The level of excitement over this one must stem from the same reasons as the chalk drawing. Since it is a universal fact that children are rock hoarders, the idea that they get to both hunt for a special rock AND keep it to paint on it is like Christmas in July. For my older child we use traditional paint and she can spend at least an hour combining different colours, patterns and words to make the prettiest garden stones. For my baby Picasso I use food colouring tinted water and help him transform his rocks into works of art. We keep some of our favourites and then also place others in parks and gardens where others may find them and get some enjoyment out of them too. Also, it addresses these hoarding tendencies at an early age.
When I was a child, I would visit my grandparents and wherever we would go we would pack a picnic lunch and eat it on the way. Fast food was never an option and I have such fond memories of my grandma’s triangular sandwiches and baked goods packed away in large margarine tubs. I love sharing this with my own kids now. We pick a fun place to spread out- sometimes near a playground, other times near the beach, and often somewhere where we can just people watch. We unload our spread and are free to get as messy as we want. Eating on a blanket is liberating, especially when you shake the crumbs onto nature’s floor instead of your own.
Whether you brave the beach or fill up a bin with sand, this is one activity that can keep little hands busy for hours. Grab some plastic sand toys and watch as your kids work together to fill them up, bury one another and just dig. The freedom to play in a more sophisticated form of dirt makes kids feel like they have pulled one over on you, meanwhile you sit back and read a magazine for two glorious uninterrupted minutes (to stop the next sand meal from being eaten).
Another cool spot for a hot day, your local library is a great place to spend a blistering afternoon. With all kinds of free programming geared to different age groups and abilities, there is usually something for everyone. We join the Summer Reading Club to instil a love of books (and winning prizes) early and my young readers love the independence of picking out absolutely any book they want to within the children’s area. Most libraries are equipped with so much more than books now and we spend a good part of the day playing games on the computers, putting together puzzles and even making crafts.
This is one kind of grocery shopping that can actually be enjoyable with kids. There is usually room for a stroller, you can often taste test the goods and there is always an animal or some interesting thing making an appearance. Letting kids pick out your produce increases the likelihood they will eat it and also gives them an education about where and how food is grown. With a renewed pleasure for local and home made goods, we love to discover great baked sweets, beauty products and toys that have been made by human hands and are often the best kinds of treats.
You can find them in zoos, pet stores, friend’s houses and on trips through the country, so you don’t have to travel far to find some animals for kids to love up on and delight in. Kids and animals seem to have a unique chemistry, likely due to the fact that they have the same opinions on cleanliness, indoor voices, toilet training and smiling for a camera. And they are both pretty cute to look at, so grab a candid photo while you are at it.
Though this list is by no means filled with new and innovative ideas, perhaps it will give you some inspiration on those days when bedtime can’t come soon enough and kids are melting down like an ice cream cone. Remember that summer is short so take advantage of the sticky kisses and sweaty brows while you can because, before you know it, you will be back in the season of extra layers and hours to leave the house on time.
Katie is a new mom of two and will be sharing her experiences in parenting a toddler and a newborn though this series “New with Two”.
With only four sleeps left until the big man comes, many of us are scrambling to find some last minute stocking stuffers. Since toddlers and bigger kids are usually pretty verbal about what they want for Christmas, it is often much easier to fill (or overfill!) their stockings. With our tinier customers though, it can be difficult to figure out what they would like to receive from Santa. We’ve been there and know that even though babies may be too young to remember or realize what they are opening, they deserve a visit from jolly ‘ol St. Nick too! We have compiled a list of great last minute items that your littlest love is sure to enjoy.
Your trusty Snuggle Bugz Elves.
Our boy’s names are Kellan and Myles. You may not like either and that is okay, it doesn’t bother me. I have come to grips that not everyone will like my child’s name. Yup, I am sure someone said “what were they thinking naming him that??” To be honest I do not like choosing names – it is the one thing Adam (hubby) and I both struggle with…do we go trendy? Classic? Unique? Will it work when they are older? Can you butcher it? Is it easy to pronounce? Does it work with our last name? Does it work with other siblings? Bah! There are so many things to consider when naming your baby.
I also find that there is a lot of pressure – this will be their name for life! We are making this decision for them – Gulp!
So where do you fall??
Are you a people-pleaser name chooser? – Not wanting to offend anyone you go safe and name after family members?
Follow baby name books faithfully? Trust the author’s opinion on what is cool or uncool.
Childhood name hog? Go with the name that you scribbled in your highschool agenda. All your friends/family know this is your name and wouldn’t dare steal it!
Name eliminator? Find out the sex and delete half of the battle.
Name over-thinker? You can’t sleep at night; your baby has been named and renamed about 100 times by the time he/she is born.
I am a name procrastinator, over-thinker with a dash of people-pleaser. I never liked the name Kellan. Adam really did and he said if I could come up with one that I liked more we would use that name. Obviously I didn’t find one and by the time I was 9 months preggo ‘Kellan’ grew on in me….and now I love it. It suits him to a tee. We are bad with nicknames and I thought Kellan was pretty nickname safe but we do call him Kelstar, K-master & Kels.
When it came to choosing Myles we procrastinated. We were still brainstorming during contractions and had a vote with our midwives post-delivery whether we should name him Gavin or Myles. Myles won. I am so happy we chose it and I like how Kellan and Myles work together.
Another name tester Adam and I do is pretending that we have that name. Our conversations go something like this:
Lydia: “Hello my name is [insert girl name here]”…….
Adam: “well, hello my name is [insert boy name here] so good to meet you”………
If it feels awkward we know that it’s off the list!
How did you choose your little ones name?
I am a huge fan of baby wearing/carrying, and who wouldn’t be? It is such a great way to bond with your new bundle and it is also super convenient. Both boys found it soothing to be right next to my heart and I love having my hands free to get things done chase my 2 year-old! 😉
Just like any baby purchase, finding the perfect carrier for both you and babe can be pretty daunting. To help you out over the next few weeks I am going to be blogging about different carriers that are on the market. I will put each one to the test with mister Myles and go over the pros & cons.
There are 2 different ‘styles’ of carriers:
- Slings/wraps- wearing baby with the help of fabric
- Structured carriers- wearing baby with the help of straps & clips that can be adjusted
Both are great ways to carry baby and it’s just about finding what works best for your lifestyle and needs. I always tell customer to get educated and then come in after baby arrives and try a bunch on with baby. Not all babies like the same style so it’s best to see what they are most happy in (that’s most important) and what fits you (without your belly ;)).
This week I put the Cuddly Wrap to the test – love that the super soft fabric is 100% organic cotton!
I know that a lot of you loooove your wrap and it is easy to see why- The wrap is one piece of fabric that you tie on yourself (there is a manual and after a couple of times it is a breeze). When you put baby in there is hardly anything between you and baby.
Here is my list of pros and cons:
– One size fits all. Both my hubby and I can wear Myles without having to adjust straps/clips etc…
– Hands free. I could cook, clean, make my bed, change Kellan’s diaper all while wearing Myles. I also know a lot of Moms who sleep with their newborns this way.
– Many different positions to use. The wrap really grows with your babe- from cradle, facing out, to wearing your toddler on your back (Kellan even went for a ride)
– Washable. Who’s kidding who there will be spit-up or poo explosions so having a carrier that you can just toss in the wash is a HUGE bonus!!
– Baby loves it! Myles was so content to be snuggled right next to me with no clips or straps jabbing into his thighs. He was instantly soothed and very happy to be tucked into the wrap
– Great support. You wouldn’t think this but the fabric can be fanned out over your shoulders distributing the weight plus you get great lower back support.
– Not convenient to just slip on. I found I would put the wrap on before going out so I don’t have to play around with it in the mall/grocery parking lot.
– It can be hot. Since there is quite a bit of fabric things can heat up quickly. Perfect for in the winter not so perfect while walking in the summer months.
Overall I loved this carrier and would highly recommend it to any Mom (or Dad). There are sooo many advantages to baby wearing. After carrying your babe for nine months, there is a sense of security found nowhere else except close to Mommy! I am still kicking myself for not coming up with the wrap idea myself, such a simple design that works!
Well ladies and gents that’s a wrap! 😉
Check in next week to hear why a sling may be perfect for you!
Travelling this spring to visit the hot southern sun for a little vacation? As much fun as it is to finally feel that warm sun again, there’s a lot of preparation to take your little munchkin to visit some of these warmer climates. Top of my list is protection against any of those harmful rays , although we love the sun we also need to be incredibly careful around it.
UV Protected Swimwear
My children spend a lot of time in the sun and I always feel at ease when they are wearing their Baby Banz UV Protected swimwear. My daughters have these adorable two piece swimwear sets (skirt and top) that are UPF 50+…. for absolute maximum protection. The skirt and top are both fully protected and look absolutely adorable on! There are boy options also, with great blue graffiti.. or a little simpler.
As adults we very rarely go into the sun without wearing sunglasses. As important as it is for our own eyes to be protected, our children’s are equally as important. The Baby Banz eye wear for both children and kidz is the answer for incredible eye protection. They are made with lenses that are a category 3 UV 400 lenses….. which means that it eliminates 100% of the UVA and UVB rays!! This is peace of mind for all parents.
I wouldn’t even think about going outside in the sun without Sunscreen, especially in the Southern sun where it is just that much hotter and more intense. I just spent an incredible week in the Caribbean and wore 50 sunscreen every day, while reading outside I could still feel my skin tingle from the sun. Safety is imperative, and there are way too many risks to not take care of our skin. Our little ones skin is even that more sensitive, which is why I recommend the Green Beaver Sun Products. I have been asked for quite a while to add this line to our current products, and I finally did it!!
If a vacation is in your near future.. you may want to check out my Travelling Mamma blog, with a few more tips!
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