The Baby Gang Blog

A Treat for Eating Your Veggies

This week was a good week for Emily!

I was a full 5 days of school this week and Emily was feeling better and getting over her ear infection. She went to school every day and finished her lunch every day!
The other week I talked about how I was trying to figure out what Emily likes and doesn’t like for her lunch and that I want to pack food I know she is going to eat. Last week I decided I would try something different with Emily. At the beginning of the week I made a deal with Emily. The deal was if she ate all of her veggies every day for the entire week, then on Friday I would make her a special treat. Her special treat was Jello!

Day ` - Oct 2
We took this picture after school and I thought Emily looked so cute with her sweater tied around her waist! 

We picked up 5 different flavors of Jello and Emily was able to choose the one I would make for Friday. She picked the grape flavor for her Jello!

I know it was probably not the best thing to reward eating veggies with a treat because I don’t want Emily to think that veggies are bad or to think that she will be given a treat every time she eats them, but it worked! She was excited to tell me after school that she finished all of her veggies. I do think that it was better to offer the treat at the end of the week instead of each day, that way she had something to look forward to.

Day 2 - Oct 3
Day 2 with her sweater around her waist! I realized I need to buy Emily some more sweaters!

Have you ever made a deal with your kids to get them to eat something? Did it work?

I do think that I will make a similar deal with Emily again. In the end if she eats her veggies every day and I then give her a treat of her choosing at the end of the week, I think it is a pretty good compromise!

Day 3 - Oct 4
Emily had to stand on the fence to show off her rain boots!

On another note, I think I am settling in to a good routine and I have found one that really works. I can always tell each morning if I am on time or running late when I look at the time. Last week I felt on top of everything, even when I wasn’t feeling good and we made it to school on time every day, which I have found plays a big part in how the rest of the day goes.

Day 4 - Oct 5
The cutest pants! They have smiley faces on them! Emily’s hair was a little crazy because we forgot to brush it before we left, so we had to put it up in a pony tail!

The biggest thing I changed to make my life easier and to also keep us on schedule, is to make breakfast for everyone first. I have been making scrambled eggs for Emily, the triplets and Axel and I’ve learned to make them first while I am packing up Emily’s lunch, so they are ready and cooled down by the time I am finished her lunch. Before I was making them after everything else was done and then rushing to feed everyone 10 minutes before we had to leave.

Day 5 - Oct 6
Emily wanted to make a funny face! This dress was from Old Navy on sale for $8 and it was so cute with a pair of tights and black boots!

It’s crazy how something so simple and the slightest change in your routine can make such a big difference!

If you would like to check out our everyday lives, head over you The Baby Gang on YouTube for all of our vlogs!

To follow along with us day to day, find us on Instagram.com/Thebabygang

KEEPING KIDS HOME FROM SCHOOL

I was originally going to share with you a week of lunches for Emily and I started out great for the first day, but it quickly ended Tuesday after Emily and Jackson got sick! I did get a picture of her lunch for Monday so I will share that for proof that I did have good intentions!

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Emily’s lunch Monday…Sausage rolls, celery and broccoli, strawberries, watermelon and blackberries, chocolate chip owl cookies and granola balls. FYI she only ate the fruit!

So instead of lunches, I thought I would ask all of you a question…

How do you feel about keeping your kids home from school?

As some of you may already know from my first post about Emily and school, The First Week of School Changed Me, I was originally planning to keep Emily home every Monday and Friday. That then changed after the first week of school because I saw how much fun she was having and I found myself really enjoying the new routine of getting up and out the door for a specific time.

Day 1 - Sept 25
Emily picked some flowers for her teachers on the way to school, I think she was almost slipping when I took this picture, hence her face ­čÖé

After that first week, I also made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let Emily miss any day of school, unless of course it was necessary, because I would feel bad thinking of what she would be missing out on at school. I also thought that it was important to make sure she went everyday, especially at the beginning so she would become custom to our new routine.

Well this week, Emily missed her first day of school! After school on Monday Emily started crying because of a sore she had on her tongue and I couldn’t make it go away. She then became very tired from crying, maybe a little over tired even, and just needed to sleep. After a long night, with Emily constantly waking up crying, Tuesday morning came around and she seemed to be okay. I asked Emily how she was feeling and she said she felt good and was ready to go to school. While we were getting ready she told me she didn’t feel good again and she didn’t want to go to school.

Day 2 - Sept 26
This was her outfit for school, but instead we posed at the doctor’s office!

I thought about it for the next hour and I went back and forth deciding if I should still send her or not. I really didn’t want Emily to miss school, but at the same time I couldn’t send her if she wasn’t feeling good. I decided she was going to stay home to relax and take the day to feel better.

Around 11:00 am I asked Emily how she was feeling and if she wanted to go to school now. She said she was good and wanted to go to school, so I quickly packed her a lunch. I was so happy she was feeling better and would still make it to school for a half day. As I finished packing her lunch, Emily said she wasn’t feeling good again and that’s when she noticed the blood in her ear. I panicked and then called the doctor to see if I could get her in that afternoon. I knew for sure she wasn’t going to be going to school now.

I couldn’t believe Emily was missing her first day of school only 3 full weeks in!

Day 3 - Sept 27
I couldn’t let such a cute dress go to waste, so Emily wore it the next day as well! (If no one sees you in it, did you actually wear it?!)

It does make me sad to know she missed a day, but I’m glad I did keep her home. If Emily went to school in the morning, it might have been worse with her ear and I probably would have had to go and pick her up.

When it comes to sick days, I do think it is important to keep kids home to let them rest. School is such a busy place with so many activities, I think it would be hard for them to really focus or have fun if they were there while sick. I also think it would be unfair for other students to catch something from another student. This then gets into the hard decision if you are a working parent. What do you do when your child is sick and you have to go into work? It can be a very hard decision to make and a lot of work trying to find someone to watch if you did have to go back to work.

Day 4 - Sept 28
Emily was getting bored, so she fell back on purpose! Note: I will have to take a picture inside of her outfits when the cold weather come, so you can actually see it!

Then there are the fun days where you may be going somewhere and decide to take your kids with you too. For myself, every yea, with my mom and sisters, we take a shopping trip to the Toronto Eaton Center at the beginning of December to start our Christmas shopping. It’s a full day event and this year if I do go, Emily may have to miss a day of school. I still haven’t made the decision if I would go this year because, again, I don’t want Emily to miss school, but at the same time its a little family tradition we have. Luckily, I still have a couple of months to decide!

What are your thoughts on fun days during the week with your kids?

Day 5 - Sept 29
Friday was a rainy day in the morning, which meant Emily got to wear her new rain boots to jump in muddy puddles! (Extra points if you can guess where she got that from! Hint: a cartoon family of pigs)

I hope you will share some of your thoughts on keeping your kids home! Here are a few more questions to consider as well:

Does it depend on the age of your child or the grade they are in?

Did your thoughts changed when your kids started going to school?

Leave your comments down below!

-Corrie

 

EXTRA

If you would like to see how our week went, check out our week long vlog over on The Baby Gang YouTubeStarting Something New

I’VE LEARNED MY LESSON

Week 2: Sept 18-21

Last week was a short week for Emily and she had her first P.D Day on Friday.

I don’t know if it was because I was so prepared for the first full week of school or that I knew it was a short week, but I felt so behind all week-long. I believe what put me behind was not planning Emily’s lunches out. I was scrambling each morning trying to put together her lunch, when I should have prepared them the night before.

I am still trying to figure out what Emily likes and doesn’t like in her lunch and what items she will actually eat during the day. I know she likes all the food I put in her lunches because she eats them all the time at home, but for some reason she just doesn’t want to at school. It seems like such an easy concept, pack food that she likes and she will eat it, but it’s proven to be a bit of a challenge.

Day 1 - Sept 18
Emily on Monday morning showing off her picture spot!

The first week I packed Emily cucumbers, celery and carrots over the 5 days to see what she would eat. She ate the cucumbers for the first day and then slowly picked at them the next day. I think Emily ate 1 celery stick and didn’t even touch her carrots. Last week I decided to switch up her veggies, so I packed some broccoli and red and yellow peppers. As I was cutting the peppers up, Emily came over a few times asking for a piece, so I thought she would love them for her lunch. After school on Monday, I checked her lunch and she ate 1 piece of broccoli and only a few peppers. I couldn’t let them go to waste, so I continued to pack them in her lunch for the whole week and each day she would bring them home. My attempt to get her to eat them each day failed and I ended up throwing them out on Thursday!

Although I felt behind all week, Emily did so well when getting ready for school and actually going into school. My sister took Emily to school on Monday, as we had Olivia’s doctor appointment, but she told me Emily didn’t cry. She was also excited to go to school on Tuesday and Wednesday, with no tears!

Day 2 - Sept 19
We found a rock, which also makes for a great place to take a picture! 

Thursday was a whole different story!

We started the day off great. I was ahead of my morning schedule and it was an exciting day because it was pajama day and Emily got to bring in her favorite stuffed animal. We were all ready 15 minutes before we had to leave. I don’t remember what we did for those 15 minutes, but as soon as it was time to leave Emily decided she needed to go to the bathroom. So she went to the bathroom…okay, not too worry we still had lots of time since I try to leave earlier than we need to anyways. We go outside and Emily says it’s too bright and she insisted she needed her sunglasses and would not leave without them. She just had them in her hands while we were getting ready, so we quickly went back inside to try to find them. Obviously they are nowhere to be found so after convincing Emily she would be ok without them, we were ready to go. I looked at the time and we were now leaving 12 minutes later than we should have, so I know we needed to run. I’m tried to hurry Emily along, but it was like she wanted to go slower than she ever had in her life! I think we all know what that is like! She then got frustrated because I was too far ahead and she couldn’t keep up. I had to continuously stop and wait for Emily to catch up.

Day 3 - Sept 20
Emily had to wear a dress today after wearing shorts 2 days in a row! This was option #2 for her first day of school outfit.

We were just outside of the school yard and heard the bell ring, so then we really needed to run. Emily then started to cry. We made it to the school and everyone had already gone in. I knew we only missed everyone by a minute, but when you get there and everyone else is in, it just feels like you are so late. I tried to give Emily her backpack, but she wanted nothing to do with it. She had a little bit of a meltdown, said she wanted to go home and even tried running away from me.

At that point I really considered walking back home with her, but I knew how excited she was for pajama day and to show all her friends her stuffed animal. We finally made it to the door; Emily was still crying. A teacher opened the door and held her hand to bring her in, while I was behind making sure she wouldn’t run out. I waited a few minutes and watched through the window to make sure she was ok. I saw Emily with her teacher and she looked like she had calmed down. I knew that she would be ok!
Just to make sure, I messaged Emily’s teacher and she said she was great and calmed down as soon as she showed her friends her stuffed animal. She also told me Emily said she was sad because she was scared she missed school. I felt so bad because I think it was my rushing and showing a little panic that got her worked up.

Day 4 - Sept 21
It wasn’t all tears on the way to school because we still made time to stop and take our daily picture! These are Emily’s Minnie Mouse jammies she wore fo pajama day!

Now looking back, I should have just stayed calm and if we were a few minutes late then that may have been better than stressing Emily out and having her get so upset. I know it’s only JK, so if she was a few mintues late it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, I just hate to be the one who makes her late!

My lesson learned from the second full week of school is that being unprepared makes things a lot harder. Even if it’s just preparing lunches the night before and planning out lunches for the week, it totally makes a difference in the mornings. If I ever feel too lazy to plan it out, I’ll think back to this week and remember how it felt!

I hope you are all having a great time with school and your kids are loving every day!

Don’t forget to sign up with your email (in the right hand column) to be notified when a new blog post is up!

-Corrie

 

*Sidenote: If you would like to follow along with us daily, check out our Daily Vlogs over on our YouTube Channel – The Baby Gang! Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already!

THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL CHANGED ME

Well, we finished the first full week of Junior Kindergarten for Emily and we survived! We are now into the second week and I hope it is just as exciting and fun for Emily as the first week was. Sidenote: The first week of school for us was only 2 days, so our first FULL week of school would be everyone’s second week of school!

Here I was thinking this week was going to be so hard for me, I was going to miss Emily and she wouldn’t make it the whole week, but I was completely wrong. The week went by pretty fast and it was a good change from our regular daily routine. Emily did cry for the first three days, but Thursday and Friday she went into school with the biggest smile on her face.

The first week has completely changed my plans and my idea of what school would be like for Emily. At one point I was even considering keeping Emily home for the year of JK and she would then start a year later in SK. Here in Canada (from what I have read) junior and senior kindergarten are not mandatory, so kids technically don’t have to go, but are required to be in grade 1 by the age of 6. As much as I would have loved to have Emily home with me for another year, I wanted to make sure she experienced everything she could and wouldn’t miss out on that extra year of meeting new friends, socializing and learning in a new environment. I thought if she waited until SK to start school, chances are most of the kids in her class moved up from JK and had a whole year to make new friends. I didn’t want her to be going in to SK not knowing anyone while all the of the other children did.

Day 1 -Sept 6
Emily Sept 5th, 2017 – First Full Day of Junior Kindergarten

My original plan, after we determined Emily would start school in JK, was to keep her home Monday’s and Fridays. I thought the full week of school would be too much for her and since most of the learning is play based, it wouldn’t make a difference if she was in school or not for those days.

Boy was I wrong! And after this first week of school, it is safe to say, I don’t want Emily to miss a single day of school!

Emily has had the best week ever and even in that short amount of time, I feel like she has already learned so much! I look forward to taking her to school each day just so I can hear all about the fun she had that day and what they did. She has already made friends, even a best friend! She can say both of her teachers names and she has to give them a hug goodbye at the end of the day!

Day 3 - Sept 11
Emily starting her first full week of school! She wanted to share some of her favorite things!

It truly makes me so happy to have her in school and to know she is having such a great time when she is there. It was a little hard when she would say she wanted to stay with me and go home when it was time to line up for school, but I knew how much fun she would have during the day that I couldn’t let her leave with me. Emily would have little tears in her eyes and a sad face, but I knew they were just fake tears and her hesitation was from everything still being so new for her. As soon as one of her teachers mentioned an activity they would be doing that day, her face lit up and suddenly her tears turned into a laugh and she was ready to go in!

I have to give so much credit to Emily’s teachers and all of the teachers out there! They are really the ones who have made school so much fun for Emily and also for Dan and I. The first few days were hard for a few kids and they were always there to hold their hand and comfort them when going in to school. Emily gets so excited to see them in the morning and if she is wearing a pretty dress she tells me that she is going to show her teachers, which I think is the cutest thing ever!

Day 4 - Sept 12
Emily was a little sad on Tuesday. I had to capture her sad face because it is part of reality. 

Emily’s teachers are also using an online app which allows them to send us messages and pictures of Emily during the day and the various activities they do during the day. I had no idea apps like this were used in schools. I think it is such a great tool to have and as her teachers pointed out, it allows the parents to make a connection from school to home with their kids. If I asked Emily what she did at school, there’s a chance she wouldn’t remember, but if I am sent a picture of her playing with play-doh or drawing a picture, I can ask her questions about it and even show her the picture to spark her memory.

I have to admit that every time we were sent a picture, I just looked at it with the biggest smile on my face. At one point I think I almost cried happy tears because I was just so happy to see her having so much fun and just seeing Emily out there on her own made me realize how much she has grown. The app has helped a lot with the start of school and knowing that things are going well!

Day 5 - Sept 13
Emily was so excited to show her pretty dress! This was also taken before the tears when we got to school.

I know it has only been the first week, but this week has been such a great experience and I am so happy with how things are going so far. I was prepared to keep Emily home every Monday and Friday, but now I would feel so bad keeping her home and having her miss out on a full day of fun. I know that what she is doing at school is far more than what I could provide her here at home, so I am happy she is going to school everyday!

Day 6 - Sept 14
Emily loved her flower dress on Thursday! It was her first day of no tears before school!
Day 7 -Sept 15
This is actually Aunty Gaga’s dress from when she was a little girl. Emily was all smiles finishing off her first full week of school!

I am going to keep a little update each week of how school is going. My goal is to get the blog post up every Monday with a little recap of the week and how it went. I’ll share a variety of updates, from how Emily is doing, what I am doing to make things easier and anything else I think would be fun to share. I’ll also share Emily’s outfits from the entire week!

I hope you will check back every Monday! If you would like to be notified when a new blog post is up, be sure to sign up with your email! You can find the sign up in the right hand column of this page.

I hope everyone had a great first and second week of school!

My kids left me for 12 days…AND I HATED IT!

My kids left me for 12 days and I HATED IT!

It seems like my entire life has been full of adventure and crazy excitement. I mean, I am a parent of 4 kids 3 and under which includes triplets – so that says a lot! I am just one of those guys who could never settle and always loves to try new things – Maybe that is part of the reason why The Baby Gang social channel grew at such a “rapid” pace. I say this all the time and I would have never thought in a million years we would be where we are with the way everything took off. When we hit 10,000 views on our first major video I thought that was “viral” and it continues to blow my mind.

Since Emily was born in 2013 and the triplets Jackson, Olivia and Levi following mid May of 2015. Life has been a non-stop on-the-go chaotic adventure. Nothing short of amazing though. It has been fun, stressful, emotional, tiring ..literally EVERYTHING. But it has been awesome. For these last few years I have been so adjusted and used to noise along with extreme craziness all of the time. Having this chaos day to day has not really allowed myself or Corrie to have a lot of “Me/US” time. Something most parents if not all parents can relate too. How ever, I will always recognize the fact that moms are the ones who usually lack or suffer from their “me” time and that is OK because each family and reasoning is different. Just know your sanity matters and I hope you are working with your family to get some time for yourself! You moms are amazing and I love you all!

So my kids have gone on a road trip with my wife Corrie taking the kids, along with her two sisters Auntie TayTay, Auntie Gaga with BABY AXEL ­čÖé and their Nanny. Sadly due to my work schedule and shortage on vacation time I was unable to go. I would have LOVED to be there, especially after just doing a road trip from Ontario Canada to Las Vegas and California with the kids, after doing that I feel like I can do anything.. I mean that.

Corrie is a stay at home mom, Tay-Tay ┬áis on her summer vacation, Gaga is coming towards the end of her Maternity leave and Nanny is retired – so why no take advantage of such a great opportunity to get away! As much as it worried me – I knew they would work well together (like they always do) and watch over the kids to their best ability. The main thing that worries me is always the possibility of something dangerous or scary happening and having no control to do anything about it – It has been keeping me on edge their entire trip!

You know, most dads or moms based of some of the conversations I have encountered with other parents may feel like they would be in heaven given this same scenario I am in. Honestly, for me, total opposite. I missed the kids instantly! I thought maybe it was going to be a good break away and it was…for two days. From going to crazy chaos EVERYDAY for the last 3+ years to extreme quiet was such a dramatic change to my daily lifestyle and routine. I was not used to it at all and I HATED IT! There are some pluses I must admit and it just makes me feel like I am a teenager/college student again. I can do stay up as late as I want (A different type of stay up, not the one parents go through), I can leave the house when ever I want, I can plans when ever and do what ever. No denying these are great benefits to have but I am a family man now. I love coming home from work everyday and being greeted like a super hero, I love when the kids cry and have a boo-boo and they need a kiss from me to make it better, I love having a wife to come home and talk to – listening to all of the crazy events that happened that day, I love watching them communicate with each other and all of the funny things they do, I love tucking them into bed a night, I love being someone my family counts and relies on – and I will always be there to do that.

I just love being a dad.

I could not wait for my family to come home!

That being said, 2 weeks was a long time without the out the kids, so I am sure you are wondering what I got up too – so to help pass the time here are a few of my amazing highlights.

I was lonely without the kids and got new kids

 

I did a photo shoot BY MYSELF also of my cat Harvey.. Turned out pretty well in my opinion. It is amazing on the magic a camera timer can do.

 I went for a hike.. that was funhike

I did some rock climbing

rock climb

I played with my action figures… For someone reason I was reminded of the kids.minions

I tucked my new kids into their beds EVERY NIGHT

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finally… WE REUNITED!

family

 

The end…?

 

 

 

Is This Actually Happening…I Don’t Think I am Ready!

I find myself thinking about all the times I’ve heard the advice of “enjoy this time now because it won’t last or it will go by way too fast.” I always thought “Yea okay, I have lots of time,” but now I realize that time really does go by way to fast!

I cannot believe the is finally here…Emily’s first day of school!

I knew this day was coming and I am filled with so many different emotions and thoughts. I am happy, excited, sad, nervous, scared and even a little overwhelmed. I think about Emily and how will she adjust to a full day of school, will she make friends easily and will the other kids like her, what if something happens and I’m not there or will she remember to wash her hands? There are just so many things to think about when your first baby starts school.

A part of me is still in denial that her big day is finally here and in some ways it still doesn’t feel real. I don’t know why I feel so emotional about this day because everyone goes through it themselves and then again with their kids, but it just happens. I find myself thinking about all the times I’ve heard the advice of “enjoy this time now because it won’t last or it will go by way too fast.” I always thought “Yea okay, I have lots of time,” but now I realize that time really does go by way to fast!

I have been home with Emily from the time she was born. When my maternity leave was over, I worked at night so I could stay home with her during the day and of course to avoid the costs of daycare. I pretty much don’t know remember what life was like without Emily, so to think about her being at school for an entire day is a very weird feeling. Emily is seriously like my little best friend and in a way she is my comfort blanket and to not have her there with me during the day will definitely be tough for the first little bit.

meem1

I feel like starting school is such a big deal because essentially your little one now has to gain their independence and won’t have you there to help them or do things for them. I know they have their teachers and teacher assistance, but with a class room of 20-30 children, they don’t have that one to one ratio. I know Emily will love school and it will be something so fun and new for her to experience, but to me it feels like she had to grow up overnight.

I also find myself thinking of the fact that I now have to be somewhere everyday. For the last 4 years I was at home and had no schedule, nowhere to be and could decide that day what I was going to do. Yes I had my routine I would follow with the kids, but never a set time that I had to get up, get ready and be out the door. Now I have to get up and make sure Emily gets to school on time, that I have her lunch and anything else she needs ready and most importantly, that I am there everyday to pick her up from school.

When your kids start school, it really is a life changing event. There is so much involved outside of school and in school and we have just started the 13 year journey with Emily!

As much as I am nervous and worried, I am truly excited and happy for Emily. She is such an amazing little girl and brings so much joy and happiness to everyone’s lives, so I am excited for her to experience school. I know junior kindergarten is more play-based learning than anything, but as many other kids who have been home with their parents, Emily is going to learn so much more. From learning to play with other kids her age, communicating with them and following instructions and rules from her teacher, there is so much more for her to learn then what she has learned or experienced from being at home with myself and the triplets.

I know it will take some adjusting to with not having Emily here during the day, but I hope she has a blast at school and is able to really gain her own independence. I think the biggest thing that will amaze me, is to see how much she grows over the next year, even within the first few weeks of school. I hope she will always remain our sweet little loving girl, who is so bright and caring and just loves life and everyone she meets!

We love you Emily and we cannot wait to watch you learn and grow during your first year of school!

Photo 2017-09-04, 2 18 28 PM

Can You Really Take 4 Kids on a Road Trip? | #ForBetterBeginnings

As you all know, Emily, Jackson, Olivia, Levi and I went on a road trip to Florida and we left Dan behind. We were gone for a total of 13 days. That included 7 days of driving and 6 full days in Florida and although it was a lot of work, the whole trip was so much fun and definitely a great learning experience. I was hesitant to go at first and thought about whether it was really possible to take 4 kids on a road trip. I did; however, find a way to make a long road trip with 4 toddlers a success. Be sure to continue reading to find out! I do want to say thank you to PlaytexBabyÔäó for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

This trip was something my sister Jessica (aka Aunty Gaga) and I had been talking about from the time she started her maternity leave last October. It was so tempting to just pack up and drive somewhere, knowing we both had all the time in the world. After months of the idea coming up over and over again, we came to the conclusion that it should actually happen! We booked the resort on a Sunday night and then had to wait a long 3 weeks before the road trip began.

Originally it was just going to be Jessica and I taking on the challenge of a road trip with 5 kids to Florida, but since it was summer break for our sister Taylor (aka Aunty Taytay), we thought it would be fun for her to come along too. Then after spending the day with our Nanny, who is retired, we convinced her to join us as well.

I was so excited to go because who wouldn’t be excited to go on a vacation, but I was also very nervous because this was my first time taking all 4 kids on a trip without Dan. Dan and I had recently experienced a long road trip with the kids when we went to Las Vegas and California back in May. It was a lot of work for the both of us then, so I knew I had to prepare for it to be tough for just myself. Luckily, I did have my sisters and our Nanny there to help as well as the experience from the Las Vegas and California trip. As long as I was prepared and ready for anything, I knew I could do it!

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The biggest thing we found that helped to keep Emily and the triplets occupied for the long car ride was to give them snacks while watching a movie. I set up the portable DVD players with one of their favorite movies and then gave them a piece of banana bread. It was such a big hit on our Las Vegas trip, so this time I made 6 loafs, 5 of which were gone by the time we made it to Florida. I also packed lots of other snacks that included crackers, veggie chips, bear paw cookies and also cut up watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe. Bringing lots of snacks was also a big help with saving money and eating a little healthier on the drive. I made peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and now looking back, I think I only bought 1 or 2 fast food items during the entire drive down.

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Of course,  giving Emily and the triplets snacks in the van meant we needed little snack cups for them to hold and keep the snacks in. We used the Playtex® Flip Top Snacker on both road trips and they were great. I filled the Playtex® Flip Top Snacker up with their snacks and then they sat there quietly eating away while watching their movie. I do have to say that I love the lid on the Playtex® Flip Top Snacker because Emily and the triplets had to work a little bit to get their snacks out, which made them last a little longer and prevented us from having to stop more often to fill them up.

The Playtex® Flip Top Snacker itself was good at stopping their snacks from spilling all over the place, but once those snacks are out and in their hands they can end up anywhere. This would explain the condition of the van when we got home and the mess of food everywhere in the van. We also used the Playtex® Sipsters® Cups on the drive down and I can honestly say we were 100% spill free on both trips!

Once everyone was settled with their snacks and a movie, it was smooth sailing for a good chunk of time. Most times they would all fall asleep for a little nap afterwards, which then let us drive a little longer before we had to stop.

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If I am being totally honest, I was a little bit scared, worried, excited and everything in between before we left. I was worried about the drive down and how Emily and the triplets would be, what it would be like getting gas, making it to the hotels we booked and driving in general. I was also excited for a vacation, a new experience and the fun we would have. There are just so many things to consider and think about when travelling and with being so far away from home so many unexpected things can happen.

Knowing that we were 4 women with 5 kids driving from Ontario to Florida, was a little worrisome. I had 100% confidence that we could do it, especially since Jessica and I have driven down to Florida so many times and have done a lot of travelling, but there was still the thoughts in the back of my mind that something could happen without Dan there with us.

I do have to say that in a weird way, the trip was an empowering experience. Knowing that we had such a fun, exciting and memorable trip with 4 women and 5 kids, with all the stuff that we did while we were gone, is just such a great feeling.

As a #PlaytexMom I think it is so important to be there to encourage other moms and women to do whatever it is they want to do and to show that you can do it! I think that sometimes as ┬ámoms, we think all we should be doing is staying home following a routine, which is good, but sometimes it is fun to break away from the routine a little bit and do something you wouldn’t think of doing. If you have ever thought about going on a trip while on maternity leave and with your baby, I would encourage you to really consider it and just do it! If you are prepared and bring everything that you would need with you, then there is nothing stopping you from going.

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If you have a trip planned or are in the midst of planning your first trip with your little ones, whether it’s a road trip or not, you can always trust PlaytexBabyÔäó to make your travelling experience enjoyable and simple with products that have been designed with both mom and baby in mind. From the time your first baby is born to the time you head out on your first trip with them PlaytexBabyÔäó will always be there to help #ForBetterBeginnings!

In the end, even after all the work it took, it was so much fun and I can say you really can take 4 kids on a road trip!

Now it’s time to start planning our next vacation!

-Corrie

Why I love FATHERHOOD

Fatherhood changed my life, my kids are my greatest accomplishment and I want to share why.

 

 

Prior to having children, I never imagined my self as a dadÔÇŽespecially a young dad with multiple children including triplets and a toddler. If you had asked me about kids, I would have said that I wasnÔÇÖt ready and I wanted to wait. Now I hear that phrase and I think to myself, are we ever really “ready” to have children?

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For us there was no plan. My wife and I had been together for 6 years before we had our first child, Emily. I am not saying it was out of the blue ÔÇô as we had many conversations about having a baby ÔÇô but it became one of those things where we said that if it happened, it happenedÔÇŽand then it did.

Finding out I was going to be a dad was terrifying! I had just graduated school, I still lived at home with my parents, and I was only 3 years in to working my full time job as a bank teller. Hell, I had never even changed a diaper in my life! Looking back, I had no idea what I was in for. I think what worried me the most probably from portrayals of parenting in movies and on TV was the thought that suddenly your life and freedom come to an end when you have kids (theoretically speaking, of course). I was more worried about all of the judgement from friends and family about our living situation, financial situation, and that fact that we were young parents. I could have not been more wrong.

 

 

My family, my wife’s family and our friends were extremely excited and supportive. I remember telling my mom and watching her break down in tears of joy in celebration of our news. I am not saying my dad and stepmom weren’t excited or supportive, because they were. ┬áBut after breaking the news to them did not go the way I had expected it to (details aside), they eventually expressed their happiness.

One thing I learned about expecting a baby was that it ÔÇťmannedÔÇŁ me right up! I knew I had to get my priorities in order, ┬áincluding, among other things, getting prepared for buying my first home with extreme excitement and focus around setting up our nursery.

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Despite everything I was worried or concerned about prior to having children, I could not have been more wrong. Fatherhood changed my life in the best possible way and to this day it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. My kids are my greatest accomplishment. I know it sounds clich├ę, but it is 100% my truth!

Growing up, my brothers and I had been through many unfortunate events that no child or children should ever go through. My mom was a single mother of 4 who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and my dad was an alcoholic. I suffered abuse and neglect. I have been through foster care where I was separated from my twin brother and my other siblings for over a year. I remember a very dark past. I never had any real guidance on what life had to offer, or ways to get ahead. My first bank account was opened at the age of 8, and I had no education savings like an RESP. When it came to finances and bills, I often learned things the hard way. In hindsight, it really helped me become more responsible, resourceful, and appreciative of everything I had and everything I worked for.

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I have shared very little details about difficulties in my past, but with everything I have been through and the struggles and battles people like my mom have experienced, I always vowed that my life and my familyÔÇÖs life would be different. I promised myself that they would never experience difficulty or struggle like the hardship I knew from my childhood. I have used the memory and experience of those struggles as motivation to be the best provider I could be so that my kids would not go through anything close to what I had been through. Despite all of the struggles, my mom and dad are wonderful people. I can remember so many amazing things growing up with my family that would truly warm your heart. We all have our battles, and we all have our way of dealing with things. After being addicted to drugs most of my life, my mom has been clean and sober for over 7 years. She is very present in my life and my kidsÔÇÖ lives as well. She is an amazing grandma!

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One of the truest sayings I have every come across says, ÔÇťWhen a baby is born, a dad is born.ÔÇŁ I never imagined my life as a father to one baby, let alone to four. Being a father of triplets has me in awe every day. It has been two years since their birth and I am still blown away that my wife and I conceived these 3 babies naturally. The last 3 years as a dad have been the best and most rewarding years of my life so far, and I expect that to continue in leaps and bounds as my kids learn and grow.

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Fatherhood for me created such a huge spark in my life and has kept me so motivated! I want to be the best influence and as involved as I can possibly be in my children’s lives. My kids represent everything great about me and they are my greatest accomplishment. When I became a dad, I became a million things. I became a doctor, a comedian and even became a superhero! Dads are there to make things better. To heal wounds, to cause laughter and ultimately give advice. I just love learning about my kids and cannot even begin to express how blessed and happy I am to be a father to my children. They have changed my life.

 

To conclude this blog post, I want to express that fatherhood is amazing! We have such a vital role in our children’s lives and we need to be aware of how important we are and how much we truly mean to our kids. I want to express great wishes and send an honorable fatherly salute to all of you amazing dads out there!

Happy Father’s Day!

Dan.

How to Survive Feeding 4 Toddlers | #PlaytexMoms

Now that the triplets are 2, we can finally say we are living with 4 toddlers. They are always on the go, I feel like they never stop and they are always looking for the next thing to eat. With the amount of energy they burn when constantly running around, it’s no wonder why they eat so much!

It’s a big job to feed 4 toddlers, so I am always trying to find ways to make it easier for myself when it comes to feeding them. Everything from being picky one day with food that they would normally love, to not wanting to share with each other are almost everyday occurrences. I have to think of creative ways to make their meals fun and make sure they are actually going to eat. I think it is a great idea to try to make mealtime fun for everyone that way your kids don’t start to think it’s something they have to do, but rather something they want to do!

As you have watched many mealtimes happen through our vlogs you would have noticed that we use the Playtex┬« Mealtime Bowls, Plates and Utensils. They have become a key part in our mealtimes for Emily and the triplets, which is why I am excited to share my personal review on them. We are happy to be partnering with PlaytexBabyÔäó and to be a #PlaytexMom. PlaytexBabyÔäó has sponsored this post and all the views and opinions in this post are my own, from my own experiences.

I am also going to share three simple tips that I have for each meal, that I think will help to successfully survive feeding toddlers.

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(Left to Right) Jackson, Emily, Levi and Olivia enjoying one of their favorite snacks, banana bread!

Over the course of the day, we generally have three meals and two to three snacks. I love to cook, so when I have the time I always like to try something different, even though most times Emily and the triplets aren’t as excited as I am. Most mornings, I usually make them eggs or something that involves eggs, such as French toast. Both meals are quick and easy to make and I know everyone will always enjoy them. Eggs are still a little difficult for them to eat on their own, but they are getting better each time. If I am being truthfully honest, I hate letting them eat eggs on their own. It never goes well and it usually ends with a big mess of scrambled eggs all over floor with barely any actually eaten!

Although I know they make a big mess with the eggs, the Playtex® Toddler Utensils have been great for helping the triplets learn how to eat with a spoon or fork. I love that the utensils have a soft, non-slip handle which makes it easy for them to hold with their little hands. I also really love that the spoon part and tongs of the fork are metal because it makes it easier to pick up food. I always found with the plastic utensils, it was hard to actually pierce a piece of food to pick up and eat.

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(Left to Right) Jackson, Olivia, Emily and Levi eating a french toast breakfast on their Playtex® Mealtime Animal Plates and using their Playtex® Sipster Cups

Even when I do feed them myself, I like to use the Playtex® Toddler Utensils because they are the perfect size for their little mouths. They also help to control how big of a bite I give them, so I know I am not stuffing their mouth with too much food and preventing any choking from happening.

This leads to my TIP #1 – Keep it Simple

From what I have learned, toddlers don’t like overly complicated meals. They like what they know and that is something simple. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to add seasonings to recipes to make it taste better or try something new to an old recipe, just to be given a look of disgust and a whole lot of wasted food. Just keep it simple and make what they know and you will have a toddler who will eat!

The second meal of the day is, of course, lunch and this one I find is probably the most difficult of the three. Breakfast is pretty good because Emily, Jackson, Olivia and Levi are hungry first thing in the morning, but lunch is in the middle of the day, in the middle of their play time and usually falls around their nap time. It can sometimes take a lot to get everyone to sit and eat, so I usually have to think of something fun. Having dishes that have a fun and colorful design on them is such a big help, which is where the Playtex® Mealtime Plates come in to play. The Playtex® Mealtime Plates have some many fun designs with bright colors that really do attract the attention of toddlers. Every time I give Emily and the triplets their plate of food they point out the different animals on the plate. It definitely helps to keep them focused on their meal and eating a little longer.

Now that Emily, Jackson, Olivia and Levi are self-feeding most of their meals, the design of the Playtex® Mealtime Plates are so great.The Playtex® Mealtime Plates edges are slanted upwards and the height of the slant is high, which helps to keep food on their plate. The rubber rims around the plates and the non-slip base on the plates is another feature I love because, as we all know, tipping and spills are pretty much inevitable with toddlers, but with the non-slip base it takes a little more before they tip the plate over. As much as I try to get everyone to sit still to eat it is virtually impossible, so to have a dish designed like the Playtex® Mealtime Plates is so helpful and saves a lot of time cleaning us a mess.

Now it’s time for TIP #2 – Be Creative

When it comes to creativity, being creative with food can be fun, but like I said in tip #1, keep it simple. When I say be creative, I am referring to how your toddler is going to eat. If you can get outside and set up a picnic style lunch or if you have a little bench or table for your kids to eat at, it sets a different scene for meal time. If it happens to be raining the day you decided to have a picnic, don’t let it stop you. Just set a blanket out on the ground and tell your toddler you are having an indoor picnic. I have done this multiple times, and we almost always have a picnic lunch!

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The final meal of the day is dinner and this is where I pretty much combine everything I do during the day into one. Dinner is our biggest meal of the day and where I really have to focus on keeping things simple and keeping everyone engaged and focused on dinner. I could get away with feeding the triplets and Emily myself for breakfast, but by the time dinner comes around they want to be little independent people, so it’s better if I can make something where they can self-feed.

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Everyone loves to eat dinner outside. They are using their Playtex® Mealtime Bowls and Forks for yummy pasta!

Depending on what I make, we either use the Playtex® Mealtime Plates or Bowls. Sometimes it can be hard to judge how much your toddler should be eating, especially when they will eat everything and more one day and then the next they want nothing to do with their food. The Playtex® Mealtime Plates and Bowls are both portion-sized, which is a tremendous help because it takes the guessing and thinking out of serving the right amount for your toddler. There will always be days when what your kids eat varies, but to have a guide right in front of you of what a portion looks like for your toddler is a life saver.

I find that dinner is the best meal out of the three to really focus on teaching the triplets how to self-feed with a spoon and fork. It is usually the meal where we have a variety of foods that can easily be picked up with the Playtex® Toddler Utensils. Since they are also wanting to be more independent, they are more receptive to using the Playtex® Toddler Utensils.

As crazy as it is, we still try to go out for dinner with all 4 kids. It is a lot of work, but we manage and when I remember, I like to bring the Playtex┬« Toddler Forks out with us. The forks at restaurants are always so big, which makes it difficult for Jackson, Olivia and Levi to eat on their own. If they have their Playtex┬« Toddler fork, they are able to eat dinner on their own, which then allows Dan and I to eat some of our meal while it’s warm.

And for my final TIP #3 – Eat What They Eat

Any parent out there who has a toddler or who has gone through the toddler stage, knows that they can be picky eaters. Dan and I have found that no matter how good their meal may be, Emily and the triplets always want to have what we are eating. We have tried the whole feed them first and then eat dinner after and unless we are eating dinner at 10pm when they have all gone to bed, they still want to eat what we are eating. So to save yourself the time of double feeding, make a meal that you would eat and that your toddler can eat. If they see you eating something 9 out 10 times, they will eat it too!

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Playtex® Mealtime Animal Plate

Feeding toddlers can be a challenge for any parent and every day is going to be different. If you can introduce products in your life to make things easier, such as the Playtex┬« Mealtime plates, bowls and utensils, everyone wins. I have loved using the Playtex┬« Mealtime plates, bowls and utensils and can honestly say they have helped me to survive feeding 4 toddlers. They are very durable products and I have seen them put to the test with 4 toddlers who love to run around and throw things. I am happy to have partnered with PlaytexBabyÔäó and to share with you products that I actually use and love and that I know will help to make your life a little easier too.

I also hope that my three tips will help you out as well. Although they may seem like standard tips, sometimes it is nice to be reminded of little things that you can do and to help show that you don’t have to complicate your life when it comes to feeding toddlers. Just remember to 1. Keep it Simple, 2. Be Creative and 3. Eat What They Eat!

To find out more information about the Playtex® Mealtime plates, bowls and utensils you can visit playtexbaby.ca. If you would like to purchase any of the Playtex® Mealtime plates, bowls and utensils you can find them all at amazon.ca

If you have any tips that you use or have used when it comes to feeding toddlers, please share them below!

You Can’t Always Be “Supermom”

As we start to share our vlogs from our trip to Las Vegas and California, I wanted to share a moment during the trip that you won’t see through the pictures we post.

Throughout the trip we posted pictures that capture a single moment. A moment where Dan and I are smiling, the kids are smiling and everything seems perfect. In that moment it is perfect and we really did have a great time throughout the trip, but it was hard.

The entire trip was a challenge for both Dan and I and trying to manage 4 kids at the same time was a lot of work. I won’t get into too much detail about what it was like traveling with 4 kids, as that will be a separate blog post, but I do want to share one particular moment from the trip.

I am always striving to be the best mom I can be and to be called a “supermom” is something I’m sure a lot of us love to hear. To me, being a supermom means you have everything under control, you are smiling, everyone is happy and you are capable of doing things on your own. I want to be proud of the mom I am and of the things I can achieve. I want my kids to be proud of me and I want to show that I am more than capable of handling things on my own.

I know a lot of you always ask how we do it, but the truth is I can’t always do it. I am not always going to be that “supermom” that I want to be and I have to learn that it’s ok.

It was my sisters bachelorette party and I planned to bring Emily and the triplets to dinner with me since we were going to a restaurant in the hotel and my nanny (grandma) would be watching them after when we went out for the night.

I was already running late and on top of that, I had my sisters outfit in my room, which then made her late for her own dinner. When I finally sat down for dinner, the triplets were very fussy and would not settle down. They wouldn’t sit and needed me to hold them. I had a little break down and started to cry. With everything going on and being late, it became overwhelming for me and it just hit me. I was able to turn my head, to avoid any attention and once I had my cry, I pulled it together and continued on with the night.

The next day it was my sister’s wedding! It was such a fun day and a beautiful ceremony. I was in the wedding party, so Dan was on his own getting everyone to and from the hotel, to the ceremony and then to dinner. My family was there as well, so they were able to help Dan and I out, especially when I was gone.

It is a lot of work trying to keep an eye on 4 kids, 4 toddlers at that, and to keep them entertained for a long stretch of time when they cannot just run around freely makes it extra challenging.

By the time I made it to the restaurant for dinner, Emily and the triplets were there, but Dan had to drive back to the hotel to drop off the van. My family was watching them and trying to keep them entertained, but now I was able to take over. It was a little stressful trying to figure out the seating, but I managed to place their high chairs right beside me.
They were pretty fussy, so I decided to just sit them in my lap, give them chop sticks to play with and give them water every time they asked, pretty much anything that would keep them calm and stop them from crying. It was working for a bit, but they would just fuss again and I felt the same feeling coming over me from the day before.

This was my sister’s wedding and with so many people there, trying to enjoy their time, I felt so bad knowing I couldn’t stop my own kids from crying and fussing. I felt like I was a burden to everyone around and it was unfair for me to ask for help after all the help they had given me during the day. What also makes it difficult is that the triplets are at a stage where they only want me. Even if someone else was to pick them up, they would cry until I was the one holding them.

I felt the rush of anxiety coming over me and the overwhelming feeling I felt at the bachelorette dinner. I thought the best solution would be to just leave. If I left, maybe it would help to calm them down and if not at least I wouldn’t be sitting with everyone while they were crying.

I packed Olivia and Levi into the stroller and picked Jackson up, Emily was sitting with my sister, so I didn’t need to take her with me. I tried to keep a smile on my face and hide the stress that was coming over me and I thought I could just walk away before anyone would notice.

I felt so ridiculous and so bad that I couldn’t keep my calm and figure out a way to settle them down. Dan was with them for the last few hours, so why couldn’t I handle the last 20 minutes? I felt like such a bad mom and I was just ruining everyone’s dinner with 3 crying kids. I hoped that by leaving, they would stop crying and I would be able to just get out of the situation and everything would be ok.

I thought I was being quick and no one noticed, but as I was trying to leave my step dad and a couple of others stopped me, trying to ask me what was wrong and where I was going. I remember saying I just need to leave, please just let me leave. I needed to leave before I started crying because the whole point of me leaving was to avoid any scene, but here I was creating one.

I just really wanted to get out, but no matter how much I tried, no one would let me leave. I remember sitting down and not being able to breathe. I never experienced anything like this before. Everything became so overwhelming for me in that moment, I was having a panic attack.

I felt so ashamed after, that I let it get to that level and I couldn’t keep it together. I was also so embarrassed that this happened in front of everyone and I felt even worse that it happened at my sister’s wedding dinner. I didn’t want to create a scene, which was why I was leaving in the first place, but in the end I did.

There was so much going on and things that were on my mind from the beginning of the week, all just piled up and spiraled down in that moment. It was my first time having an experience like that in public and I really was so embarrassed and couldn’t believe it happened.

In that moment I wasn’t a “supermom” and felt like a really bad mom. Everyone was so understanding about everything and everyone offered me such encouraging words. No one even heard them crying or were bothered by their fussiness. I created these thoughts and scenarios in my head and I let them get the best of me. It showed me that I can’t always do things on my own and no one expects me to. Everyone told me that they don’t expect kids to be quiet and sit still and they all know what it is like to have kids who get fussy at times.

It is still hard for me to think about it and know that I couldn’t handle the situation, but at the same time it helped me to realize that there will be hard times and I have only experienced 2 years of what it is like to have 4 kids and there will be many more times where things become overwhelming and I may just break down again.

I wanted to share this story and my experience to show you that there is always so much more to what you see through pictures. Dan and I love to share our happy moments and times when everyone is smiling, but that doesn’t mean every moment is like that. We don’t always want to show you the sad moments or times we fight or someone gets hurt, but they are there and we go through them just like everyone else.

Parenting is hard and 100% a challenge for both of us and for every parent out there. Someone may have all the patients in the world with a laid back attitude, but that doesn’t mean they won’t face a time when they can’t handle it. I thought I could always handle the stressful times in public, but it just goes to show, you never know when you will break.

I was so lucky to be surrounded by my family and Mike’s family who were so kind and understanding. I think it is so important to make sure you keep those who are there for you close and to always know there are people out there who care for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because no one expects you do always be able to do it on your own; a lesson I am slowly learning myself!

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-Corrie

 

To Check out all of our vlogs from our trip, head over to YouTube! We created a Playlist – Las Vegas/California Road Trip 2017, so you can find all the vlogs in one area! (they will be posted over the week!)