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Can't buy me love

My oldest is about a month away from turning four years old (where has the time gone?) and my twins are 14-months old. We love to get out of the house, play at a park or indoor play area, walk at the mall on hot or rainy days, and go, go, go! Since my husband is so occupied with his classes, most of the time it is just me and the boys. With such an active young family, I love baby gadgets that make my life easier (in case you haven't noticed all my must-have lists!). Here are my latest trial and error products:

1. Buggy Bench
This is my most recent buy... I absolutely love this product. I've posted a few pictures on Facebook and some of friends commented that there doesn't look like there is much room in the cart. Agreed. It does take up a good portion of the basket. However (a very big however), going into the store with the Buggy Bench was much, much easier than pushing a stroller with one hand and dragging a shopping cart with the other or wearing a baby and putting the other baby in the cart. The picture from a Target trip was from a time that I ran into the store. I was able to get in and get out without assembling and disassembling my stroller. I love that. For larger shopping trips, yes, this might not be the very best thing. But don't disregard its usefulness. There is a lot of room underneath the shopping cart, a fair amount underneath the Buggy Bench (it is suspended in the cart), and a fair amount behind the Buggy Bench. It is painfully easy to use and holds up to 40 pounds. My wild child (pictured in the Buggy Bench at Target) figured out immediately that he could stand in the cart while strapped in the Buggy Bench. I had to tell him to sit down a few times, but he had no mobility and was safely strapped in. Thank you, makers of Buggy Bench, for this great product!

2. Duo Splash Float
While we are on the subject of products for twins, I bought the Duo Splash Float a couple weeks ago for pool trips this summer. It arrived at our home two or three weeks ago and was moved from room to room, still in the box. Neither my husband or I could summon up the energy for a pool trip. Finally, the beautiful weather and our three-year old's constant requests to go somewhere with water (the beach or the pool) forced us to cave. We spent three hours getting ready for our pool trip only to spend 40 minutes actually at the pool, already ready to go home. My husband and I felt we had to stay for at least an hour, after doing that much work to get there, but the babies were exhausting. D had a fabulous time, doing his three-year old things in the 18-inch deep water. C didn't want to sit in the float. O wanted to walk around the shallow swim area in the float. C wanted to pull on the float; O didn't want C pulling on the float. C wanted in the water, out of the water, back in the water. When we were sitting with our things by the pool, one baby would go in one direction, the other would take off somewhere else. Meanwhile, we still needed to keep a close eye on our water logged three-year old. It was exhausting. The pool float was great when both babies were in it. One adult could safely supervise both children in the float while the other adult watched the three-year old. I don't know how people go to the pool with one-year old twins. I am bound and determined to figure out the trick; it was painfully obvious at the pool that we do not know the trick yet.

3. TOMS Shoes
Now, I love $20 shoes that do a world of good (buy a pair, they give a pair to children in need). I also think that they are absolutely adorable. But notice how the soles are completely peeling off? This is what happens after a month--yes, 30 days-- of a three-year old wearing TOMS shoes. Total let down. It kills me because I love their purpose and I love supporting Christian companies. More than likely, I will buy him another pair (good price and he can put them on easily), but they will not be outdoor play shoes.

4. National Zoo Boonie Hat
Very specific, I know. But I love these hats. They sell them at the National Zoo in Washington DC. (I did make the header a link so you can buy them online.) Buying hats for boys is hard. The chin strap is usually Velcro or tie strings-- my children tear both of those off their heads immediately. I also have a hard time finding wide-brimmed hats for boys. The last wide-brimmed hat I bought that wasn't a National Zoo one was dubbed a "bonnet" by my husband's co-workers:
Hawaii August 2009
I had a couple problems with the "bonnet" hat, bought at Target three years ago. It tied, which I don't like, and, while water resistant, it did not keep its shape when wet or in the wind. The National Zoo hats keep their shape when they are wet, so you don't have the problem of the brim in their eyes-- a big motivator to rip the hat off-- and it still keeps the sun off their faces. The best thing is the chin strap... it has a plastic piece that slides up and down. I can get it right underneath their chins where it isn't easily reached and you can quickly adjust it-- wasting time tying just draws attention to the fact that you are attaching something to their heads. D had his first National Zoo hat bought for him two years ago; since then, I have bought three more, another for D and one for each of the babies. (Look at the picture for the Duo Splash float and you will see the babies wore them in the pool.)

5. Pandora
I absolutely love this service. On our Blue Ray player, we can access Pandora in the Netcast menu. I play Pandora all day long. I don't have to waste time making playlists or uploading music or even buying music-- it's free! I have a few favorite stations: Disney radio, The Beatles radio, Creedence Clearwater Revival radio, The Black Keys radio, Ludwig van Beethoven radio, and Praise Baby radio. My three-year old wants to be a "rock and roll guy" when he grows up, so we are working on his musical education. It is fun dancing around the family room playing air guitar or doing our little piano lessons to inspiring artists. You would think I have enough "background noise" in my life with all these kids and their toys, but it is very nice to choose my own calming background noise.

D sitting on the glider board
6. The Baby Jogger City Select: I still love my stroller
I rave about our stroller constantly on my blog, but it just fits our lifestyle so well. Since buying a double stroller is an investment, I am pleased that ours has paid off so well. I feel like that it makes getting out of the house easier. I've really come to appreciate how easy it is to clean. It is amazing what I can do with 5 minutes and a baby wipe or 30 minutes and a wet wash cloth. I also really like the full-coverage hoods. I can safely spend extended times outdoors with them in the sun because of how well the hoods protect them. I don't know how I would manage wild one-year olds with a difficult stroller.

Hydrating with their Thermos cups after our pool trip
7. Thermos FUNtainer Bottles
I know what you are thinking, "$20 for a sippy cup?" Well, first of all, you can find great deals on Amazon. Second of all, these sippy cups do not leak. Let me say it again so you can let that fact sink in: they do not leak. When you leave the house with one baby you can get away with a cheap Nuby no-spill straw cup thrown in your purse. Trust me, it will spill all over inside your purse. When you leave the house with two babies and two sippy cups, you do not want the hassle of dripping liquids all over your purse, van, or stroller. I used every brand of sippy cup with my oldest, trying to find a no-spill that was no-spill. The Nuby flip top straw cups were the closest that I found to no-spill, though they still did spill. I still use Nuby cups. I started with their sippy cups because they were sold in a cheap 4-pack at our wholesale store. Now I use their flip top straw cups because buying all Thermos FUNtainer bottles would be ridiculously expensive. But, on the trips where I do not want to deal with leaky cups, I stick to the Thermos cups.

At our twin group picnic; sippy cups firmly attached! :)
8. Booginhead Sippigrip and Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy
These are what I use to strap our sippy cups and toys to the stroller. It is really hard to keep track of all the toys and sippy cups two babies have when you are pushing a stroller. Strapping everything in is a lifesaver. I like the Booginhead Sippigrips because they are somewhat stylish. We used their pacigrips and loved them. I saw a friend with the Sippigrips and immediately had to buy some myself. I like the Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy because they are cheap and easy to use. For some reason, we manage to lose the Secure-A-Toy straps. We move the straps from the stroller to their carseats to the shopping cart and suddenly they are nowhere to be found! I like being able to inexpensively replace them. (We never take the Sippigrips off their stroller.)

Hawaii March 2010
There seems to be some sort of "baby wearing" trend going on. Personally, baby wearing is horrible for my back. There are times that it is unavoidable:

Sometimes on road trips, my stroller is inaccessible and baby wearing is the easiest option. The baby on my back is in a hand-me-down Evenflo Trailtech hiking backpack that can stand independently. That backpack has worked great and served me well for many purposes, such as dual baby wearing or loading and unloading twins from my mini van without a stroller or infant carriers. But nothing will ever replace my Hot Sling. When I originally bought the sling, it cost me $40 at Target. Now I think you have to buy them online (I bought my second one on Amazon). The sling carries newborns to 45 pound toddlers. It is made of a circle of fabric-- no adjusting-- that you fold in half to wear. Because of this design, I can quickly and easily put it on or fold it up to shove in a bag. It is the easiest, cheapest, and best sling I have come across. It disperses the weight exceptionally well (a good feature for this momma with a bad back). I used my sling a lot with my first; I was not a fan of strollers back then. Mostly when I use the sling now, it was for pre-Buggy Bench shopping trips or times when one of the boys becomes exceptionally upset and I need to carry him for a bit. I highly recommend this sling!

Diaper bag, purse, drink, and kids.
Welcome to my life.
Before you just mock my list, "$20 sippy cups, an expensive stroller, and now a Coach diaper bag?!" please hear me out. I would like to say that my Coach diaper bag was a gift from my mother. She bought it for me a couple years ago when I told her that we were going to be trying again to have another baby (as it turns out, babies). If you do a search for "twin diaper bags," you will find that there are a lot of-- excuse me-- ugly options out there. I wanted to share with you that my Coach diaper bag has been wonderful. It is large. Inside there are a lot of great compartments. I do not keep the changing mat inside the bag. (Mostly because I am never, ever grabbing the diaper bag, one child, and heading the bathroom to change a diaper. I always end up changing both babies at the same time, so I keep my diaper bag under my stroller and my changing mat in the seat back of the stroller.) The zipper is easy to zip closed and the bag has held up as well as my Coach bags do, even with all the use. The first couple months it was a little full, though it still zipped closed fine. I usually put our bottles in a thermal bag and carried them separate. With my oldest, I just used cheap diaper bags from Target. I went through 2 or 3 of them. I have been using this Coach bag since the boys were born and it still looks great. So, if you are searching for a diaper bag for twins and dismayed at the "twin diaper bag" options, consider a Coach diaper bag.

I'm sure I can think of more things that we use and rely on, but I feel like my last list covers a lot of the things that we still use day-to-day, such as the hand-me-downs, Bumbos, Sleep Sheep, pacifiers, and high chairs.


Amanda Drake said…
Oh no:( His skull shoes broke already? He loves those things.
Kimber said…
They survived exactly 4 weeks. It was pathetic. :(
Bridgett said…
Im a mom to 14 month identical twin boys, 4 yr old son, and 8 yr old son. I love your list but can I add a few ;) I have the kolcraft tandem stroller and love it!! its half the price of the city select, turns on a dime one handed, huge cargo room, adjustable/turnable seats, and cup holders for baby and mom. I do love a good designer bag as well since I'm the only girl in the house but I got a skip hop from target for $75 that is plenty big for 3 kids. I cloth diaper and can fit everything I need in that bag!
Kimber said…
Thanks, Bridgett! I have a couple friends with the Kolcraft as well that are very satisfied with it too! Also, very impressed that you are cloth diapering! I considered it for awhile, but eventually went with disposable. I REALLY wish I had at least tried it.
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