Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Call Of (Motherhood) Duty

I've learned that being a Mom is all about expecting the unexpected. If you keep that in the back of your mind, you can learn to merely laugh when parenthood throws a wrench in your carefully laid plans. (And really, the only other option you have is to curl up in a ball and cry. Which doesn't really help the problem.)

The kids and I are off on a camping trip tomorrow. We're meeting my parents at a campsite about half an hour from our house. We'll be there until Wednesday afternoon. I'm leaving at 9am on Thursday to go to NYC for BlogHer12. I had everything carefully planned out. Lists written, schedules for packing, errands I needed to squeeze in. We were even going to my cousin's graduation party today, an hour away. I knew that if I could accomplish everything on my list this morning and tomorrow morning it would all get done and I wouldn't have to worry about it. Both trips would be executed without a hitch.

Then last night Stephanie seemed stuffy. When we put her to bed we noticed she was having a lot of trouble breathing out of her nose. When I went to bed at 11:30, she had already cried out for me a few times. At 1:30 I heard her again. I went in and laid with her. She was very restless, and seemed warm. I took her temp. 100.2. Gave her some motrin, laid with her for a while longer, and left her room around 3. At 4:30 I heard her again, and ended up spending the rest of the night holding her as she tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable.

At 8:30 in the morning, as she was standing in the middle of the living room, she threw up her entire cup of juice. (Sorry if you have a weak stomach. This is parenthood for you...uncensored!)

 For the briefest of minutes, as I stood staring at her standing in the middle of her own puke, sobbing her heart out, thoughts of my to-do list and our plans for the day flitted through my head. Then the thoughts left, as quickly as they came.

I sprang into action, scooping up my sick child and putting her in a warm bath. I called the host of the party we were attending to explain why we wouldn't be there. I spent the rest of the day alternating between giving her lots of TLC and crossing items off my to-do list. (Thanks goodness it was a Saturday that Dan didn't have to work.) Everything got done, but most importantly I was able to give my little one the attention she deserved during her time of need.

Motherhood is a balancing act. It requires the flexibilty to alter your plans at a moments notice in order to tend to the needs of your child. It isn't always easy, and it can be extremely challenging to let go of all the other stuff that you need and want to do.

But in the end, these trips will come and go. All the hard work and planning will soon be forgotten. But years from now, as Stephanie cares for her own sick child, she will (hopefully) remember how her mother reacted when she was sick. How it seemed like nothing else in the world mattered except her needs. How she spent the day in cozy clothes, and rocking in the glider, and eating "sick" foods like saltines and chicken soup. How her mother dropped her endless lists the second she said, in her sad, plaintive voice "Mommy, I need you." I know these things are what I remember from my own childhood.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

$20 for $40 Worth of The Honest Company Products

As a mom, I'm always on the lookout for great deals when it comes to products for my children. As a blogger, I get excited when I find a deal I can pass along to my readers. Today I bring you a fabulous deal for The Honest Company!

The Honest Company sells all natural, non-toxic products for children. It was founded by actress Jessica Alba, who discovered that when her daughter was born it was challenging to find eco-friendly supplies for her little one.

The company offers a full line of products, including diapers, household cleaning products, personal care products, wipes, laundry detergent, and much more. And they are all non-toxic, eco-friendly, free of harsh chemicals and, most important of all, effective.

In addition to making such awesome family-friendly products, The Honest Company donates a portion of it's proceeds to, a non-profit organization that provides families in need with essential baby gear and clothing.

I'm excited to announce that Plum District is offering a deal right now, where for $20 you can buy $40 worth of products! This is a fantastic deal for moms and dads of little ones to take advantage of. You can choose individual products or really make your life easier by choosing the bundle and save option, which is a monthly subscription where you can receive products on your doorstep every month.

You can find this amazing deal here:

Hurry...offer is valid now through July 31st!

*Note: This offer is only good for new The Honest Company customers

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Project 10: Upcoming Vacations

I'm still on a losing streak, down another pound! I've also finally figured out how to stay within my calorie range on My Fitness Pal. For one thing, I've been eating healthier food. Also, I've trained my body to not eat all day long. I used to eat constantly. Not because I was hungry, but because I wanted to. Now I snack when i'm hungry, and I eat one reasonable snack at a time. I also eat meals until I'm full, and then stop. It's been a big challenge, but I haven't binged on food in a long time. My water consumption is up, but not quite where I want it to be. This will be another week of working on that goal!

I'm very happy with the progress I've made, but I'm getting nervous about the fact that I have two vacations coming up. This weekend I'm taking the kids camping with my parents. There will be a lot of food. Snacks, homemade (elaborate) breakfasts, smores, ice-cream, etc. My hope is to continue tracking, so that I'm aware of what i'm eating. But i'm not going to deprive myself. I go camping once a year, so I'm going to eat what I want, in moderation.

Then as soon as I come home i'm heading to NYC for BlogHer12. I have no idea what the food is going to be like there, and to be honest I have no intention of tracking what I eat. I'm there to learn, network and have fun, so I don't want to stress out about what i'm eating. I'm just hoping that I'll be so busy I won't have time to pig out, and that there will be a lot of walking for exercise.

I'd love for you to share some of your tips on how to stay healthy on vacation! Because although I refuse to stress out about my food intake while I'm away, I don't want to come home 5 pounds heavier. I've worked hard losing these 6! :)

As always, thanks to Stephanie from Stephanie's Mommy Brain for putting this project together. And feel free to link up your own health/fitness post! I love to read them all. Gives me extra motivation. ;) 3 hours ago · Like

Sunday, July 22, 2012

If you take your kids dress shopping...

I don't think I've mentioned it on here yet, but I'm going to BlogHer12 in NYC in less than two weeks! I couldn't be more thrilled for such an exciting opportunity to network, learn, and, ok, have a LOT of fun. I'm heading down with a group of my local blog friends, and rooming with two of them. (I think the road trip will be one of the best parts of the conference!) Since I've been steadily losing weight, and the conference is a week and a half away, I decided it was time to go dress shopping.

I'm happy to report that today I happened to find two dresses at Target that I love and that fit great. But it was quite an arduous process to get there. Starting with last week's trip to Marshalls. I thought for some reason that it would be a good idea to bring the children with me. HAHAHA.

If you bring your kids with you to Marshall's to dress shop, here is what could happen:

-Your 2 year old daughter might use the pile of dresses you're collecting in the shopping cart as a comfortable place to lie down. Which might pull them all off their hangers so you have no idea how many you have. It also might bunch them up and cause them to wrinkle.

-The same daughter might ask you 500 times what you're doing, why you're doing it, and when can she hold another dress.

-When you get to the dressing room, the attendant might not like it that you hold out a pile of bunched up dresses to show how many you're taking in.

-The same attendant might also direct you to a family-sized dressing room in the men's fitting section. Which is fine, since there are no men around, and it's away from anyone else trying anything on.

-The attendant may fail to mention that there is a huge rack of clothing blocking the way. She might give you the hairy eyeball as she watches you struggle to move it, while simultaneously pulling the shopping wagon and instructing your children to put their hands and heads in the cart! (For the 15th time.) (Oh, but don't think she'll actually help you. That would be silly.)

-Once you're safely inside the fitting room, your daughter might demand to be let out, climb onto the bench and jump off onto the hard floor. She might narrowly avoid slamming her head onto said floor.

-She might also take all the clothes you just stripped off and smear them around on the piles of dust in the corner of the dressing room floor.

-As you throw the dresses on, decide they don't look right, and toss them off again, you might slowly start to feel like you will never find anything that fits or looks nice. You probably won't have a lot of time to dwell on that though, because your daughter might slam the shopping cart, with her baby brother inside of it, into the glass mirror on the wall. You might hold your breath as you wait to see whether the mirror cracked. (Miraculously, it probably won't.)

-As you put your own (filthy from the floor) clothes back on, your daughter might throw a temper tantrum because she is having so much fun in the fitting room that she doesn't want to leave. Since it's a large, mostly empty room, her screams will echo loudly, which might cause your uber-sensitive baby to start crying.

-You might feel the start of a headache coming on.

-You might un-ceremoniously toss your daughter into the cart, and leave the room. Where you might be met with the same rack of clothing. You will probably say a lot of bad words in your head as you struggle to move it again.

-The delightful attendant might sigh loudly as you hand over the dresses (which you've put back on their hangers.) She might also demand you give her back the "number of clothes I took in" ticket. When you explain that she never gave you one, she might glare at you like you're some kind of ticket thief (because who wouldn't want a souvenir from their shopping trip?), sigh loudly again, and huff off in the opposite direction.

-You might make it out of the store in one piece.

-You will probably need a large glass of wine that night.

-You most likely will laugh as you look back on the day and think "well, at least it's a topic for a blog post!"

Friday, July 20, 2012

Joseph's 9 Month Letter

Dear Joseph,

Happy 9 Month Birthday!

It amazes me that you have officially been outside as long as you were inside. Wow. Time is flying by, and every day your personality shines through more and more. And boy is it a good one! You're the happiest baby I have ever met. I'll catch you giggling to yourself for no reason. You also laugh at me, you laugh at Daddy, you laugh at Stephanie, you laugh at your toys. And your laughter is contagious! Nobody can stay in a bad mood around you.

This month you truly blossomed. It felt like you turned 8 months old, and from there just kept hitting milestone after milestone. You:

-Started crawling on all fours
-Started crawling FAST!
-Started pulling yourself to standing
-Started letting go while you were standing
-Stopped eating puree food because you much prefer table food
-Started spending every night in your crib
-Got two more teeth
-Started saying "Mama" and "Dada" when you see us
-Started saying "uh-oh"
-Started getting very demanding at meal-times
-Started giving kisses when we kiss you
-Started clapping

First time standing in your crib
Wow. I don't know if it's because you finally sleep now, but it was just an explosion of development this month. I'm sort of reeling from it still. You went from seeming "newborn"ish (ok, you weren't a newborn. But I still thought of you as an itty bitty baby) to being....a bigger baby. A baby who will be a toddler before I know it.

I look at you and watch you grow and am so amazed that we've made it this far. (Seriously, when you weren't sleeping, I wasn't sure if we would make it to the next day. But we always did.)

You are so attached to me, and cry when I leave your sight. (I've taken to making sure you're distracted by something so I can sneak away to the bathroom. If you don't see me leave, your reaction isn't quite as strong.) When someone else is holding you and I walk in the room, your face lights up and you throw your arms out to me. I love our bond. Your sister was attached to me, but not like this. She was much more independent right from the start, so I'm not used to all this attention. And since I know you won't always think of me as the most beloved person in your universe, I take advantage of it whenever I can. I rock you just a little bit longer. I hold you a little more than I need to. I soak up every ounce of baby love!

You bring such joy to our lives, and I can't thank you enough for being such a wonderful baby. I love you a million billion!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Project 10: Another Pound Gone!

I've lost another pound, which makes a total of 5 since I started Project 10. I owe it all to My Fitness Pal. Recording my food, knowing other people can see what I ate, and seeing what other people are eating is helping me eat less. I love the app! (And website. I do a lot of it on the computer, not just my phone).

However. I've noticed that i'm still going slightly over my calorie allotment for each day. I'm also slowly eating more junk each day. I'm rationalizing the junk by saying "Well, as long as I stay close to my calorie goal, it's ok." But to compensate for the junk, i'm eating less fruit, veggies, lean mean and whole grains. Which is not what I wanted when I started this project. Yes, I wanted to lose weight and i'm accomplishing that goal. But I also wanted to eat healthy so that I would feel better, have more energy, and be a positive role model for my children.

So what I need to do now is find a balance. Figure out a way to incorporate more healthy foods, stay within my calorie goal range for each day, drink more water (another healthy habit that has slipped lately) and cut out some of the junk. I think that I can do it! I mean, I don't need to split a donut with Stephanie every time we hit Dunkin!

On the plus side, i'm snacking SO MUCH LESS than I ever have before. This is a huge success for me. Yay!

I would love to hear how some of you incorporate "treats" into your daily menu without going overboard. And feel free to share your successes. We can celebrate together. :)

As always, thank you to Stephanie from Stephanie's Mommy Brain for putting this project together. If you're a blogger and have a health or fitness post, feel free to link up below! I make a point to read every post that is linked and do my best to comment on them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happiness At The Core

I love blogging for so many reasons. Topping that list is the fact that blogging opens up a whole new world of connections, people, and support.

Last week I wrote about my dear friends who lost their baby girl. (You can read that post here.) The outpouring of love and support that I received from that post was truly heartwarming. I am blessed to have such wonderful readers, who took the time to offer words of comfort to my beloved friends. It meant so much to me to read all of your comments, and I thank you for them, from the bottom of my heart.

When I sat down with my friend Annalee last week, she told me she has decided to write a blog about her experience. I hope for her sake that it becomes a healing outlet for her. I'd love for all of you to check out her blog, and share it with others if you feel so inclined. Her writing is beautiful, and I cried the entire time I read what she's written so far.

You can find her at Happiness At The Core. (And read the About Me. It explains the reason behind the title of the blog. My friend is an amazing person. Truly.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Saturday's Top 5 Laughs...on Sunday

I'm a little late with my laughs this week. OK, i'm late by a few weeks. It's been awhile since I've linked up with  Melissa from the Mommyhood Chronicles, but i'm excited to be back there this week! (Better late than never, right??)

1. A few weeks ago I was tweeting my friend Kameron from My Wrinkle In Time. Stephanie asked me who I was talking to, and when I told her it was Kameron, she started laughing hysterically. When I finally asked her what was so funny she said "Mommy, you can't talk to your camera!"

2. At breakfast one morning, I gave Stephanie a breakfast bar, and walked into the kitchen. A minute later, Dan walked into the dining room and asked her where her bar was. She gave him a withering look and said, somewhat condescendingly, "It's in my tummy Daddy." Total "duh" attitude. We both cracked up. Apparently she's 2 going on 15.

3. Now that Joseph is on the move, he crawls everywhere. He also wakes up at the crack of dawn, way before Stephanie. After his bottle and diaper change, I put him down to play. He immediately crawls to Stephanie's room. If her door is open a crack, he'll push it open and crawl in, giggling when he sees her sleeping in her bed. If the door is shut all the way, he sits right outside waiting for her. He loves his big sister so much!

4. Whenever I ask Stephanie how old Joseph is, she says 3 months. I tell her he's 9 months now, and she says "No Mommy. He 3 months." There's no changing her mind. She even told a woman in Kohls yesterday that her brother is 3 months. I wonder what she's going to do when it's his birthday...

5. Tonight I was putting Stephanie's pajamas on and said "Come on, put your pants on." She laughed at me and said "They not pants mommy, they pajama bottoms! Silly Mommy." I'm so lucky to have her around to correct turns out i'm wrong quite a bit. ;)

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Enjoy your upcoming week. And if you have time, check out the other funny posts in the link-up, and link up your own if you have one!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Baby Maya

For all intents and purposes, it wasn't my loss. I didn't carry the beautiful little angel for 8 months, I didn't painstakingly prepare a gorgeous nursery, I didn't deliver her and hear the horrible, devasting, life-changing news that she wouldn't make it. I can't even begin to imagine or try to put into words what that experience must have been like.

But I do know how much I loved that precious angel. How much I dreamed about her playing together with my children, growing up as cousins. Because even though her mommy isn't technically my sister, she is. We grew up together, we've been best friends for over 12 years. Maya was my niece. 

And so I grieve. I grieve for the loss of this precious life, ripped too soon from our world. And I grieve for my friend. Seeing her pain causes me pain. Watching this woman that I love so much experience such a great devastation causes actual physical pain. My heart aches for her, and I feel powerless to help. All I want to do is wipe all of the heartache away, but I know that isn't possible.

All I can do is sit there with her. Talk with her. Listen to her. Cry with her. Laugh with her. Hug her tight.

She's so strong, and I am in awe of the way she's handled her grief. The way she can get through each day, and begin the next. How she can look ahead to a brighter future and know that, while she will always remember and love her angel baby, life will go on. She will go on. She will live on.

In three days, it will have been one month since Maya died. I ask all of you, my readers, to continue to send your good thoughts, well wishes and prayers to my dear friend, her husband, and their little angel. And if you have kids of your own, give them an extra tight squeeze. Play with them a little more, listen to them for a few extra minutes. Read one more story, kiss them one more time. Tell them how much you love them, over and over again. Life is precious, and the children in our lives are little miracles that we should never take for granted. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Project 10: Down Another 2 Pounds!

It's Wednesday again, which means time for a Project 10 post!

I had another great week. And despite the fact that I'm sitting here eating left-over movie popcorn at 7am (my husband went out last night and brought some back for me) I feel healthier than I have since I started this project.

I'm down another two pounds, I have a ton of energy, and I feel positive about my ability to continue losing weight and getting healthy.

The biggest reason for my weight loss has been the My Fitness Pal app. I mentioned previously that I enjoy putting pen to paper to record my food intake. However, when I realized I needed to do something else to kick start my loss, I discovered that merely recording my food wasn't helpful.

When I plug entries into My Fitness Pal, it tells me how many calories I'm consuming. I was appalled by how much I was eating. I've cut down A LOT and I still go over my calorie allotment on most days. (Although not by much. I'm getting better) The best part is that since I'm determined to record everything, I count out my servings for every food that I eat. It's amazing to see how small an actual serving of food is.

Snacking is still my biggest hurdle. The worst time of day is nap-time, when I seem to want to eat the entire time the kids are asleep. Even if I'm busy doing housework, laundry, cooking, blogging, etc. I still eat. But, since I count out my portions, I'm slowly decreasing the amount of food I put in my body.

I've cut night-time snacking down to almost nothing, because by then I don't have many calories left, and seeing it there in print prevents me from reaching into the fridge or cupboard.

Goals for this week include:

1. Keeping up with my My Fitness Pal app
2. Drinking more water (I've gotten lax with this again)
3. Continuing my daily walks with the kids
4. Getting back into my ab work routine
5. Eating just one snack in the afternoon
6. Increasing my vegetable intake

It seems like that is a lot of goals, but I already do most of them, I just like to keep writing them down so I don't start getting lazy!

I highly recommend using the My Fitness Pal app if you are curious about how much you're consuming. It has really helped me, and I'm thrilled with the fact that I've lost a total of 4 pounds since starting Project 10. (And they've all come off in the last two weeks.)

If you decide to use the app, friend me on there! My user name is MegRtaylor. (It's fun to see what others are eating, and making my diary visible to my friends helps keep me on track.)

As always, link up with us if you have a health or fitness post this week, and tell me in the comments what your biggest success has been this week. I'd love to be inspired. :) Keep up the good work everyone!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4th of July Re-cap

She refused to smile nicely for me. "I makin funny faces mom!"

I've been meaning to write this post since Thursday. It's now Sunday. Better late than never, right??

In the days leading up to the 4th, I talked to Stephanie, in child terms, about what the 4th of July means. I told her that we live in America and that the 4th of July is America's birthday. She was thrilled by this news, and sang "Happy Birthday America" over and over again.

When the day arrived, it was the first time in a long time that Dan didn't have to work. It's been a long few weeks of him being out of the house for 15-20 hours at a time, coming home to sleep for 2-3 hours and then going right back to it. Very frustrating and tiring for all of us!

We started the holiday with a family walk to Dunkin Donuts (of course) and then put the kids down for an early nap.

When they woke, we headed to the farm to pick blueberries. (I never got around to making a bucket list like I did for last summer, but if I had, blueberry picking would have been on it. We love picking food fresh from the vine, and there's nothing quite like a sun-ripened blueberry!)

Originally we had planned to go into town and see fireworks, but Joseph was cranky, we were all tired, and so we decided to just stay home. We put the little guy to bed, and had a barbecue outside, just the three of us. After we cleaned up, Stephanie stood at our sliding glass door, peeking at the fireworks that were visible through the trees. She was enjoying them so much that Dan took her out to the end of the street so she could see them clearer.

When she came back, her eyes were shining with wonder and she tripped all over her words in her eagerness to describe all that she had seen. She headed off to bed with her head full of the delights of the day.

 It was a relaxing, low-key holiday spent with my little family of four. I'm always so thankful and proud to be an American, and I love that we get this day in the middle of summer to celebrate and be grateful for the land we live in. I hope all of you had as wonderful a day as we did!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Project 10: Week 4 Update

I finally had a good week! There were definite slips, and days where I didn't get my wine at night. But in general I felt like I stuck to my healthy habits and am proud to say i'm down 2 pounds!

I've been drinking a lot of water, eating extra fruits and vegetables, walking with the kids every day, and curbing the snacking a little. Knowing that I can't buy new clothes until I lose the weight is a big motivator. I still need to buy a few things for BlogHer12 at the start of August, so I'm really determined!

In addition to sticking with the healthy habits I've been doing, I have two additional goals this week.

1. Cut down portion sizes at dinner. I have a tendency to go back for seconds, and I really don't need to. So I'm going to stick with one plate of food, and if I really can't resist going back for more, i'll get extra vegetables.

2. Use the calorie-counter app that I downloaded on my phone. I actually downloaded this a few months ago, but was never able to make it through an entire day. I remember from my first week of Project 10 that keeping a food diary was helpful. I've gotten lax with that, and so I thought doing this might be a way to make it new and fresh and stick with it. I did it all day yesterday and discovered that I can scan bar-codes of foods and it will automatically find it without me searching. And once I've searched for a food on the app, it saves it so I can quickly retrieve the data if I eat the same thing again. So easy! It's nice to know not only what i'm eating, but the number of calories i'm consuming. It helps me stay on track.

I'm still using wine as a motivator, and hoping I get to have some more often this week!

I'll leave you today with a recipe I found from Good Housekeeping magazine. It's a pasta dish, which isn't the healthiest, but we are big pasta eaters in my house so I figured a dish that is loaded with vegetables is healthier than just eating it with sauce and cheese! Here is the link for the original, and below is how I made it.

Rustic Pasta Toss
-1 box Barilla whole wheat penne (I think it's a 13oz box instead of 1 lb)
-1 zucchini chopped
-1 summer squash chopped
-1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
-dried parsley
-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 clove garlic
-1 5oz pouch of light tuna in water

1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Add squash and zucchini during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, garlic, 1/4 teas salt & 1/8 teas pepper. Stir in tomatoes.

3. Drain pasta. Add the tomato mixture to the pasta, squash and zucchini. Add tuna. Mix well.

We discovered that this dish is better cold. (It made enough for us to have two nights in a row. The second night we ate it right out of the fridge and enjoyed it better!)

If you've written a post about healthy living or fitness, feel free to link up with us below! As always, thank you to Stephanie's Mommy Brain for putting this project together.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Successful Grocery Shopping With A Toddler And Baby

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked how I manage two little ones in the grocery store. After I talked her ear off for awhile, I realized this was something worth blogging about. Because taking two kids (especially a toddler and a baby) to the store is not easy!

When Joseph was a newborn, I never took both kids with me when I needed to shop. Dan was home for 6 weeks, so I either went by myself, sent him, or just took Stephanie. Even when he went back to work, it was another few weeks before I ventured out with both little ones. (One of us would grocery shop at night or we would all go together on the weekends.)

Once I decided it was time to bite the bullet and take them both out by myself, I found the Ergo Carrier to be a lifesaver. I plopped Joseph in that thing, put Stephanie in the front of the cart, and was able to shop no problem.

If Joseph was sleeping, I kept him in his car-seat and put it in the back of the cart, with Stephanie up front. (This method doesn't leave a lot of room for groceries, but I can't bring myself to put the car-seat up front. It just doesn't seem safe, and our Combi Car-seat doesn't have the right ridges to fit correctly up there anyway.) On trips where I did this, I would shop several times a week and only buy a few things at a time. I was able to squeeze some things next to the car-seat in back, and put others up front with Stephanie.

Now that Joseph is older, he sits up front and Stephanie sits in the back. (Dan lectured me for this, saying the carts say right on them "Do not let children ride in the back." But you know what? It's the easiest way to shop, and she is super well behaved back there. It works for us for now!) This allows me to do a big shopping at one time, which is so nice because I don't have to run to the store 3 or 4 times a week.

I'm lucky that my kids are both typically well behaved in the store. Some of the things I do to stave off tantrums include:

-Timing it right. I go in the morning when everyone is rested from the night and has a belly-full of breakfast. (Joseph typically snoozes on the way, so he's extra rested when we get there. That's the one benefit of living at least 15 minutes from the nearest grocery store.) If we don't make it there in the morning, we go after naps. The same rested principle applies.

-Snacks. When Stephanie was younger, she always had a snack-trap during grocery trips. Now, she enjoys getting a piece of cheese and/or turkey at the deli. I don't typically bring a snack from home in for her anymore, since she doesn't really need it. But I plan to bring one for Joseph as he gets older and isn't quite as amazed by the lights and people as he is now. (I firmly believe that Stephanie is well-behaved because I exposed her to stores when she was little. She's always been in that environment, and has learned how to behave while I shop. I'm hoping the same principle will apply to Joseph as he gets older.)

-As I mentioned above, Joseph has so many things to look at that he doesn't get bored. I also chat with him as I shop, which keeps him entertained.

-Stephanie loves to be my helper. I hand her items and she stacks them, groups them together, and sorts them. She also helps me put things on the conveyor belt when we're finished. She always chats with the cashiers and baggers, and often charms them so much that they give her a sticker.

-Once in awhile we use the big cars for Stephanie at the store. (The "beep-beep" cars as she calls them.) She does great staying in them, but they are SO difficult to maneuver! I'm always glad when there isn't one available for our use.

-On the occasions that Stephanie (or Joseph) does get cranky, I use distraction as a technique. I hand Joseph something from my purse to hold, or use his pacifier as a last resort. With Stephanie, I can typically just talk her out of it, by reminding her that if she has a tantrum she doesn't get to help me load the groceries onto the belt. She loves doing this job, so that reminder is usually enough to curb the crankies.

-Lastly, I make sure to praise both kids for a job well done. On the way home we talk about what a nice pleasant trip it was because everybody was happy and nobody had a tantrum. I know Joseph doesn't understand what I'm saying yet, but it's never to early to talk things through with them!

If you take two or more kids grocery shopping with you, feel free to share some tips and tricks that you find useful!

This picture is from Joseph's first time in the front of the shopping cart. I thought this double seater cart at BJs was a great option, until Joseph pulled Stephanie's hair, grabbed her hand and just generally annoyed her the entire time. We haven't repeated this option since ;) 

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