Denver Travel Diary – 2018

Over the summer, my family and I took our first ever vacation! Now, we have done our fair share of traveling since the twins were born, but this was the first time ever for us to go on a trip that didn’t include visiting family. What a different experience it was! No obligatory visits and no one else’s time table, which for our families usually means waiting and waiting for other people.

We spent a long weekend in Breckenridge and Denver, Colorado, and I wanted to share with you some of the family-friendly things we did with our toddler twins. I hope you enjoy reading about our trip to Denver. Stay tuned next week for a look at what we did in Breckenridge.

Things to Do

We visited Denver over the last weekend of July, so the weather was warm and sunny the whole time we were there.

Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium is a great place to spend a day with the whole family. The boys absolutely love animals, so they were very interested in seeing everything this aquarium has to offer.

2018-07-31 10.40.17
Downtown Aquarium – Denver

The aquarium boasts over a million gallons of underwater exhibits, containing over 500 species of animals.  In addition to the aquarium, the complex has a Stingray touch pool, restaurant, and activities including face painting, a carousel and theatre.

2018-07-31 10.33.49

 

Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

Hubby and I visited the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities on our first visit to Denver, back when we were still dating. We absolutely loved it, and when we were planning out this trip, it was one of the first things that came to mind when we were thinking of things to do with the children.

IMG_8116
Inside the Main Gallery

The Arvada Center is located in the city of Arvada, which is about 20 minutes northwest of Downtown Denver. The Center’s facilities include art galleries, classrooms, theatres,  an outdoor amphitheatre, and sculpture gardens.

After checking out the galleries, we spent the rest of our visit in the outdoor sculpture gardens. They were so fun for the boys to run around it, and for older kids, there are tons of opportunities for them to climb!

2018-07-30-15-59-32.jpg
Squiggles, Interactive Sculpture Garden – Bill Gian
2018-07-30 15.45.52
Arvada Center Outdoor Sculpture Garden

16th Street Mall

Our hotel was located a few blocks from the 16th Street Mall, so we wound up spending quite a bit of time walking around the area. The Mall is mile long pedestrian and transit promenade in the middle of Downtown. Free shuttle buses go up and down the mall. We didn’t take advantage of it since we liked to walk.

The mall has tons of restaurants and shops, as well as movie theaters.

One of the landmarks on the 16th Street Mall is the D&F Tower. The tower is a two-thirds replica of the Campanile of St. Mark’s in Venice, Italy and was the highest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1909.

2018-07-30-20-12-36.jpg
D&F Tower

One of my favorite things about the 16th Street Mall was the public art in the alleyways.

 

Meow Wolf at Next Stage Gallery

Meow Wolf was basically one of the best things happening in New Mexico when I was living there. I found out that Meow Wolf was collaborating on a temporary exhibit, called Special Guest at the Next Stage Gallery, which was within walking distance of our hotel! I immediately added this to our itinerary.

2018-07-31-17-38-19-1.jpg

I loved that the kids got to interact with the exhibits and explore in a safe, fun and creative environment.

2018-07-31 17.23.37

 

Meow Wolf is currently preparing to open a permanent space in Denver sometime in 2020. For more information, visit them online.  Until then, Special Guest will be running until the end of this year.

City Park

After arriving in Denver, getting our luggage, getting our rental car and eating, the boys really needed to have a chance to run around since we were immediately continuing on to Breckenridge. We stopped by City Park in Downtown and played in some of there beautiful open fields.

2018-07-28 18.15.54
City Park

They had a run of the place and had a lot of fun. The park was surprisingly clean for an urban park.

2018-07-28 18.13.12
City Park – Denver

Sleeps

2018-07-31 20.06.27
View from our room at the Hyatt Place Denver Downtown

For this trip, we made our home at the Hyatt Place Denver Downtown. This is a great option for families because of the central location, amenities and moderate price.

We loved how convenient the location was. This hotel has great freeway access and is within walking distance of the 16th Street Mall. We were playing it pretty easy this trip so we did not mind that the majority of eateries along the 16th Street Mall are national chains. We just wanted convenience since we were traveling with the twins and another family as well.

Pros: indoor pool, fitness center, high quality hot breakfast buffet included with your stay, free wifi, location, clean. Our room also had a nice view of Downtown Denver, which the boys loved.

Cons: Parking fee. Pack n Plays provided, instead of cribs.

2018-07-30 16.44.03
Enjoying the view!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Denver. Let me know if you have any favorite things to do in Denver with kids! Our stay was so short that we weren’t able to even scratch the surface!

Advertisements

Tips for Visiting Disneyland with Twin Toddlers

We recently had the chance to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California as invited audience members for the 2018 Disney Parks Holiday Special tapings. I wanted to share my thoughts on things we did to make our visit to Disneyland with twin toddlers enjoyable. While we spent the majority of our time waiting for and attending the taping, I still think many of our experiences could be helpful for a variety of situations.

2018-11-15 09.09.30
Visiting with Mickey Mouse
2018-11-15 10.50.25
Cameraman set up for filming on Main Street

Tip 1: Stay overnight

Since we live an hour-plus away from Anaheim and we were visiting on a weekday, we decided to stay overnight in Anaheim the night before our visit to Disneyland. The great thing about Disneyland, compared to Walt Disney World, is that there are a ton of hotels that you can stay at that are within walking distance to the park entrance. This time we stayed at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort, which is a 6-minute walk from Disneyland (no joke)! Another great thing about staying off property was that we were able to leave our car there even after check-out time, we just had to pay the parking fee for an additional day, which was less expensive than Disney parking.

Tip 2: Get to the park early

Disneyland has added additional security measures in recent years, which makes getting into the park a little more time consuming. My recommendation is to get there early. If your toddlers are like mine, they are up and ready to go around 7 AM! You never know how long getting through security and the gate will take, so get there early and start your day of magic!

2018-11-15-08-38-13.jpg
Checking in for Disneyland

Tip 3: Take advantage of the Baby Care Center

The Baby Care Center is located on Main Street and has so many amenities for parents with infants to toddlers, including high chairs, toddler potties, changing tables and nursing rooms.

Tip 4: Get Fastpasses

Unfortunately, Disney does not offer Fastpasses for the majority of the little kid-friendly rides in Fantasyland. Making our kiddos wait in lines for at least 45-minutes sounded like torture for all of us, so we took advantage of one of the rides that did offer Fastpasses. We got Fastpasses for “it’s a small world” Holiday, and it was so worth it!

2018-11-15 13.32.33
“it’s a small world” Holiday

I love “it’s a small world,” but it is honestly one of my favorites during the holidays.

2018-11-15-13-43-30.jpg

2018-11-15-13-49-21.jpg

For a current list of rides offering Fastpasses, check here.

Tip 5: Pack you own food

We didn’t have the chance to plan or meal prep for this visit to Disneyland, but hopefully, we can next time. While there are some good food options at Disneyland, when you are desperate to find food for your hangry toddlers, you might find yourself in long lines for mediocre and extremly pricey food!

Tip 6: Keep the kiddos occupied

Mickey’s Toontown is a no-brainer for letting your high-energy toddlers run around and have fun! There are lots of places where they can explore hands-on.

2018-11-15 14.02.28
Mickey’s ToonTown

My sons loved Goofy’s Playhouse. Goofy’s backyard has a toddler play area with a slide and play structures, including a giant watermelon and pumpkin! Goofy even came by to visit with guests while we were there!

2018-11-15 14.02.36
Goofy’s House

Tip 7: Make memories

I discovered that the memories you make are not necessarily the ones that you expect. My husband was very adamant about having our sons participate in character greetings, while I was thinking, they will never remember this! Little did I know, that meeting Mickey and Goofy were their favorite events of the day! Plus, we will forever have these photos of them!

2018-11-15-09-27-32-1.jpg
Hanging out with Goofy

Waiting for the parade was rough because we had over an hour before the thing actually started. There was a lot of juggling kids, getting up and walking around, and generally trying to get through it! Once the parade finally started, they loved it for the first 30 minutes or so, but little brother wound up falling asleep in my arms!

2018-11-15-10-55-00.jpg
Waiting for the parade
2018-11-15-11-19-09.jpg
Disneyland Christmas Parade

The parade was probably a little bit of sensory overload for them, but it is certainly something hubby and I will remember!

Tip 8: Keep your expectations reasonable and be flexible

We kept our expectations low for our trip to Disneyland. We just wanted to see the parade and go on maybe one or two rides, and make it home at a reasonable time. This was very doable for us and we did not feel the need to “do everything.”

2018-11-15-09-16-31.jpg
Main Street Christmas Tree

I hope these tips help you if you plan on making a trip to Disneyland! The Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade will be airing on Christmas Day: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 (10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00-11:00 a.m. CST/MST/PST). We will be watching to see if we see ourselves!

Thanksgiving 2018 with Chinet

Thanksgiving is always such a hectic time of year! This year, it was especially so because we had visitors from out of town for over a week to entertain, and I somehow was given the responsibility of organizing Thanksgiving dinner for everyone!

To my surprise, I received a VoxBox from Influenster and Chinet earlier in the week, which made our Thanksgiving table a little prettier and clean up a little easier!

IMG_8289
Thanksgiving with Chinet Cut Crystal Collection

The VoxBox included plastic cups, cutlery, dessert plates and stemless wine glasses, all from the Cut Crystal collection. I love Chinet products because even though they are disposables, their plates, cups and other items are sturdy and classy!

IMG_8287
Chinet Cut Crystal cups, cutlery, dessert plates and stemless wine glasses

Throughout the week, I did my Thanksgiving meal shopping and picked up a lot of pre-made items from the HoneyBaked Ham store. Additionally, I baked two pies on Wednesday night.

2018-11-21-14-58-39
Let the pie baking begin!

I made a classic pumpkin pie and a pecan pie. I must say that my pumpkin pie was the most perfect that I have ever been able to bake! It was so neat (as in tidy).

2018-11-21 16.56.22
Pumpkin pie is ready!
2018-11-21 16.54.48
Pecan pie going in the oven

On Thursday, I put together a little appetizer tray with some inspiration from Google images! Lol…it’s a turkey! I also made a green bean casserole, which is one of my must-have Thanksgiving dinner sides.

2018-11-22-16-21-42.jpg
Turkey-shaped appetizer platter

We headed over to my brother’s house once the boys woke up from their afternoon nap and helped put the rest of dinner on the table, played with the boys and enjoyed the company of family.

20181122164138_img_0169.jpg

Our Thanksgiving table was full of delicious food! The menu included a whole turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, Cope’s corn pudding (a Pennsylvania tradition), candied yams (a Texas tradition), gravy and cranberry sauce!

2018-11-22 17.22.18

2018-11-22-17-45-51.jpg
The dinner spread
2018-11-22 17.54.19
My plate was full!

Unfortunately, the boys were not too impressed with Thanksgiving dinner. They barely ate anything, although they did eat a bunch of the appetizer platter!

2018-11-22-17-55-02.jpg

2018-11-22 17.54.24

For dessert, along with my pumpkin and pecan pies, we also got a cheesecake from the HoneyBaked Ham store.

2018-11-22-19-09-13.jpg
Pumpkin pie on Chinet Cut Crystal plate

Before calling it a night, we were able to take some photos by the Christmas tree. Our apartment is too small to accommodate a tree so I am glad that we got to borrow my brother’s for some family pictures!

20181122191940_IMG_0181

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Moms Meet WOW Summit 2018 – Blogger Day Recap

Welcome to WOW Summit!
Welcome to WOW Summit!

Earlier this month, I attended my first ever Moms Meet’s WOW Summit Blogger Day. I decided to attend the summit for a number of reasons, including the location. The Summit was being held at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove, California, which is about an hour away from us. I also found this event to be smaller than other mom blogger events, which I thought would be beneficial, and finally, I have been working with Moms Meet for about almost a year now, and I love working with them!

Moms Meet focuses on “better-for-you” products, which I am all about!

Arrival and Registration

I headed up to Orange County just as the event was starting, as I had to wait for my nanny’s shift to begin. Hubby would be in charge of the kiddos for the rest of the weekend while I spent the weekend away.

I got to the site just before 10 AM and headed straight to registration to pick up my badge.

2018-11-03 10.46.05
Who’s a blogger?

Speakers and Workshops

Despite my late arrival, I was able to attend the majority of the sessions that I was interested in. So many women were there to share their knowledge and experience with other women. That is community over competition!

2018-11-02 11.23.28
Mastering the Media Kit session from Saarah Samadani of beautymomme.com

2018-11-02 12.23.27
Balancing Romance and Motherhood Panel

In addition to the speakers, there were four different workshop sessions to attend. I loved that the conference repeated the same workshops twice so that you could attend two different workshops!

Food

There were several breaks during the day to eat and network. Table 5 Pizza hosted the Blogger Lunch and Alove yogurt and NestFresh eggs hosted the afternoon tea and coffee break.

2018-11-02 11.47.36
Table 5 Pizza Blogger Lunch

2018-11-02 14.19.58
Alove Yogurt and deviled eggs from NestFresh

Exhibit Hall

The daytime activities were rounded out with time to visit the exhibit hall. This is one of my favorite parts of these types of conferences because I love learning about new products and brands.

Many of the brands that I had previously worked with for MomsMeet were represented, like PlusCBD Oil and Malaysian Palm Oil.

I also learned about many other brands such as Sambucol, Wild Planet, Good Catch and Hippo Sak. One of my favorite products that I learned about though is OCHO Candy. OMG their chocolate bars are addictive!

 

I got to sample products, talk to brands, network and take products home with me!

Goodies and Gift Bag

Now, let’s talk about goodies! This first picture is just the goodies I got from walking the exhibit hall. Before leaving the conference, I also picked up my WOW Summit gift bag which was loaded with products as well.

2018-11-02-19-04-521-e1542504669914.jpg

Seriously, these blogger conferences are the only places I go where I arrive with 3 bags and leave with 6 bags!

2018-11-03 11.23.06
Goodbye, WOW Summit!

 

WOW Summit Blogger Day was so educational both in terms of learning the blogger business and learning about new-to-me brands and products!

Next year’s Moms Meet WOW Summit will be held on September 27 and 28, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. For more information, visit MomsMeet.com

To read my previous Moms Meet reviews, visit:

 

Happy 1st Blogiversary!

2018-11-11-13-16-38.jpg

Today marks my one year blogiversary! My first blog post on SoCalTwinMommy.com was published exactly one year ago today!

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting me and following along on our adventures here on the blog and Instagram.

It all started with my first blog post: Free Hanna Andersson pajamas on the #hannajamstour

Since then, 43 other posts have been published, which is an average of 3 to 4 posts per month.

Top 5 Posts

Over the past 12 months, these blog posts were the most popular:

1. San Diego Stroller-friendly Summer Runs / Races 2018
2. Highlights from Wonderspaces San Diego 2018
3. Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch 2018
4. Fuel For Fire Fruit + Protein Smoothies for the On-the-Go Mom
5. Freebies and Discounts for Twins and Multiples

Looking to the Next Year

I love sharing our life with you guys on this blog.

Over the next year, I hope to:

  • Continue to post at a minimum of once per week
  • Transfer relevant content from my previous blog to this platform
  • Go self-hosted
  • Provide more content that you want

That leads me to this question, what do you guys want to see more of on this blog? I would love any feedback you can give!

Thank you again for reading along!

2018-11-11 13.17.22-1
Happy First Blogiversary!

Irene

 

Celebrating Halloween with Twin Toddlers

Today, I am looking back at the twins’ second Halloween. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, and as you know, I love creating new traditions with my family, involving them in activities and making memories together. This year, I planned out, sourced and created our family Halloween costumes, we painted and decorated pumpkins together, we went trick-or-treating at a local shopping center and spent Halloween day playing at Kid Ventures.

Continue reading for all the details on our Halloween 2018. Since I did not start this blog until after last Halloween, I also wanted to share with you a look back on the twins’ first Halloween.

Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers

Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite fall activities. I have made it an annual tradition in our home since I was a young adult. I’m sure there were years, here and there, where we missed pumpkin carving, especially when we were in graduate school or traveling, but it has been a consistent activity for years.

This year, we tweaked our pumpkin carving tradition so that we could enjoy it with the twins without worrying about the mess or the safety of trying to carve pumpkins while getting our twin toddlers involved.

Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers
Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers

Earlier in the month, we purchased four pumpkins during our visit to Bates Nut Farm. Unfortunately, one of the pumpkins developed mold, so it had to go before we got the chance to paint it. When it was time for our painting activity, we were left with only three pumpkins to decorate.

Painting Pumpkins for Halloween
Painting Pumpkins for Halloween

I purchased some last minute supplies from Target, including kid safe paint, paint brushes and googly eyes. The pumpkin decorating supplies were pretty slim picking since it was the weekend before Halloween.

I also had some leftover tablecloth from a previous party that we used to cover the kitchen floor and smocks from Ikea that are perfect for arts and crafts with the twins.

Painting Pumpkins for Halloween
Painting Pumpkins

We noticed that older brother was a little bit more adept and focused when it came to painting the pumpkins, but little brother had a lot of fun too!

Overall, I would say our pumpkin painting activity was a success and they even turned out pretty nice!

Finished Pumpkins
Finished Pumpkins

DIY Halloween Costumes

We decided to go as our own little zoo for Halloween this year. I purchased a lion and a giraffe costume from Carter’s for the boys and sourced my and hubby’s costumes from our closets and Goodwill.

2018-10-28 15.15.22

I found the perfect khaki dress for myself and a khaki dress shirt for hubby from Goodwill. They were $4.99 each. To complete our zookeeper uniforms, I found the logo for the San Diego Zoo online and then re-sized and printed them onto iron-on t-shirt transfers. Finally, all I had to do was figure out the placement for the transfers and iron them on. Super simple!

DIY Zookeeper Costume
DIY Zookeeper Costume

Then, we were able to finish our looks with items already in our closet. I added a brown belt and black flats, and hubby wore brown khaki pants and a hat. I think our costumes come out so great, especially considering the cost!

Trick or Treating at the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch

On the Sunday before Halloween, one of our local shopping centers held a trick-or-treating event for the kiddos and we decided to make that our Halloween activity for this year and skip trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Trick or Treating with Toddlers
Trick or Treating with Toddlers

This year, the boys were able to walk to the stores by themselves and carry their Halloween buckets by themselves. We led them to each store that was participating, but they could find the person giving out candy, pick a piece and put it in their bucket.

Lion costume from Carter's
Lion costume from Carter’s

They totally got the concept, but at 19 months old, they still don’t know what candy is.

We went to the majority of the stores that were participating before we got exhausted and took a break in Starbucks.

When we got home, the boys played with the candy for a little while before we took it away from them. Most of it wound up being shared with hubby’s co-workers the next day!

Photo credit: Keane Studios

I had so much fun trick-or-treating with the boys because I could tell they were having fun and got the concept of it all. Plus, they were so freaking adorable in their costumes!

Halloween Day at Kid Ventures

On the day before Halloween, I got an email that Kid Ventures was offering 50% off admission for those dressed in costume on Halloween Day. Since we needed something to do anyway, I decided to take the boys there for a few hours. Kid Ventures is one of the local indoor play gyms for younger kids, and I had never been before and wanted to check it out.

Halloween at Kid Ventures
Halloween at Kid Ventures

The twins had a blast and could have stayed there much longer, but we had to attend a birthday lunch.2018-10-31 09.36.41

 

2018-10-31 10.13.13-2

Kid Ventures was also doing some activities throughout the day, but the boys were more interested in playing and running around.

Trick-or-treating – Halloween 2017

Last year’s Halloween was very different from this year’s mostly because the boys and I were still living at my parents’ house in Los Angeles, while hubby was living and working in San Diego and would come to visit us on the weekends.

My parents and I took the boys trick-or-treating on Halloween night at Del Amo Fashion Center, near their house in Torrance. They were only 8 months old at the time, so they had no idea of what was going on. When I look back, I cannot believe how little they were! We stopped by only a handful of stores, ate dinner and headed home with our little astronauts!

 

 

 

 

2017-10-31 16.10.52

Hope you enjoyed reading about our Halloween! I cannot wait to see how grown up they will be next year. Now on to planning for Halloween 2019!

Read about our visit to Bates Nut Farm here

Fit Foodie Festival and 5K 2018 – Race Recap

Some of you might not know this, but I have been running for the past 6 years. Having my sons put a bit of a gap in my running, but I finally laced up my running shoes for a race last weekend.

Over the past 6 years, many of my personal goals have been centered around running. My most recent goals actually included my twins (sort of). Before the boys were born, I had the goal of completing a half marathon while pregnant, and this year, I had the goal of completing a race with my sons in their jogging stroller.

I am proud to say that I achieved that goal!

Last Saturday, hubby, the boys, our BOB Duallie Stroller and I headed down to Liberty Station in Point Loma for the Fit Foodie Festival and 5K.

Arrival and Pre-Race

We arrived at Liberty Station around 7:15 AM, and there was plenty of parking! We loaded up the stroller, and then headed down to the festival area. I still had to pick up my packet since I skipped packet pick up on Friday night, as I did not want to drive down during rush hour traffic with the boys in tow.

The lines were a little lengthy but moved quickly. After I got my bib and got situated, hubby headed back to the car to try to take a nap, and I wandered around the festival. Many of the booths were already set up and handing out samples. I was lucky because I could stash so much stuff in my stroller. We had food samples, drinks and snacks for the boys and hooded sweatshirts in there!

Another difference between this race and other races that I have run is that since it was a 5K, I didn’t really feel the need to go to the bathroom before the start. It would have been hard for me to do anyway, since I’m not sure how I would keep an eye on the boys while I was in the port-a-potties!

We took part in the pre-race warm up and then headed to the starting area. Participants with strollers were told to line up in the back, which I did. The start was a wave start, so we wound up being in the 8th wave.

2018-10-20 08.03.38
Getting ready to start!

Fit Foodie 5K

2018-10-20 08.10.38
Almost at the front of the start

Running with a stroller proves to be quite difficult when you are doing a road race. The beginning mile of the course had lots of narrow spots so it was basically impossible for me to run. This section was by far the worst in terms of bottlenecks. It was so narrow and it irritates me so much when walkers insist on starting in early waves and block the entire path. Anyway, I was super frustrated that I couldn’t run or pass people.

A fun element of the Fit Foodie 5K is that the race features snack bites at each mile, but since I was running with the stroller and did not want to stop a bunch of times on the course, I skipped the first and last bite and all of the water stations.

The first bite was a donut, the second was a brownie, which was yummy, and I did not see what the third bite was.

I did not get to take in much of the course as I was more concerned with no running over walkers and trying to make my time goal. There were some pretty spots along Point Loma and we passed this neat ship. Excuse my ignorance, but I’m not sure what ship it is.

2018-10-20 08.33.57
Navy Ship? Not sure!

One of the best things about the course in my book was that it was super flat. There was just one spot where we ran over a bridge and back over again that had an incline. My biggest con for this course was the narrow spots and difficulty in passing people.

0035312_063161ba-69e3-4bbe-bd7f-bdcea204a335
Finish Line Photo by RaceWire

My official chip time was 37:51

I started my running app early and stopped it late, so my time on the app was 38:21. I was more interested in my split times though. As you can see, we definitely suffered from the blockage of walkers and narrow course because each mile got faster as we went. I also met my time goal of 12:30 per mile! Woohoo!

Mile 1 – 13:06
Mile 2 – 12:20
Mile 3 – 12:17 *fastest mile*

As we approached the finish line, I saw hubby on the sidelines and he met us when we crossed. I loved it! My fellow runners get how romantic this gesture feels! I was handed my avocado medal and then another volunteer handed me two more for the twins. So glad that they got medals too! They were amazing troopers through the whole race.

2018-10-20 08.52.15-4
We did it!

Festival

After we finished the race, we headed to the festival. There were cooking demos and lots and lots of food and a beer garden. We visited some of the booths that I had not already visited before the race.

2018-10-20 07.46.24
Cypress Grove Cheese

By this time, many of the lines were super long and we wanted to take the boys to the park before brunch, so we only went to booths with no or short lines and we also did not see any of the demos or visit the beer garden.

2018-10-20-09-14-03.jpg
Salad sample

If I do this race again, I will allow for more time to spend at the festival.

Post-Race Brunch

We had brunch planned for 10AM with my brother’s family, so we had to bow out pretty quickly. We headed to the park and then to Swami’s Cafe in Point Loma.

2018-10-20 10.37.23
Swami’s Cafe in Point Loma

I ordered the chilaquiles, and they hit the spot! After brunch, it was time for naps all around!

2018-10-20 10.45.41
Chilaquiles at Swami’s Cafe

Swag and Medal

I had lots of food samples to try and share! In addition to the booths, finishers also got a tote bag full of samples and coupons as you cross the finish line! Yum!

2018-10-21-08-40-23.jpg
Lots of food samples

Overall, this was a great, fun race to do to meet my goal of running a stroller-friendly race with my twins! I might even consider doing it again next year if this race returns to San Diego!

2018-10-21-08-40-42.jpg
Avocado medal

 

A Rainy Visit to the State Fair of Texas and Frisco, Texas

2018-10-12 15.56.28
Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas

Last weekend, we headed to Dallas to visit my sister, brother-in-law and their two pups. My sister lives in the bedroom community of Frisco, Texas, which is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Frisco was the fastest growing US city in 2017 and has grown a huge amount ever since she moved there about 10 years ago. Notably, the Dallas Cowboys moved their headquarters and training facilities to Frisco in 2016.

To be honest, the weather was horrible the entire time we were there. We are so spoiled in San Diego. It was raining on and off the whole weekend, so we had to time our activities during less rainy times or find indoor activities to keep us occupied.

State Fair of Texas

On Friday, we headed to Fair Park to attend the State Fair of Texas. The fair has taken place annually since 1886, except for some breaks during the First and Second World Wars. Over 2 million people attend every year, and it is considered one of the most attended and best state fairs in the country.

I have attended the fair numerous times in the past as a child and visiting my sister and always have a fun time.

2018-10-12 12.54.18
The Champ at the State Fair of Texas

Attending the fair with the boys was slightly different than what we are used to. We spent a greater amount of time visiting the animals and doing a couple of kids’ activities.

We started off our day at the Home on the Range exhibit, where we could feed and pet different animals, including cows, donkeys, goats and pigs.

2018-10-12 13.20.19
Home on the Range Petting Barn

2018-10-12 13.21.55
Home on the Range Petting Bar

2018-10-12 13.29.47
Goats at the Petting Barn

2018-10-12 13.31.36
Feeding the goats

2018-10-12 13.32.56
Exhausted mom with her piglets

2018-10-12 13.34.36

Next, we took the boys to the Little Hands on the Farm activity. They each got to put on an apron and get a basket to act as little farmers! It was seriously the cutest thing!

2018-10-12 13.46.48
Little Hands on the Farm

The twins collected different produce, eggs and milk and then took them to the market to sell their products. The boys like to collect things, so they had a blast doing the tasks.

2018-10-12-13-54-40.jpg
Little Hands on the Farm

2018-10-12 13.59.39
Little Hands on the Farm

One of the highlights of the fair is, of course, eating insane fair food. New this year was the “Cotton Candy Taco,” which I did not partake in but did take a photo next to the replica of it!

2018-10-12 14.08.04
Cotton Candy Taco

Every time I visit the State Fair of Texas, I have to have a Fletcher’s Corny Dog. This baby was first sold at the fair in 1942 and claim, as others do, to have been the original corn dog. I don’t know who was the first, but Fletcher’s is delicious!

2018-10-12 14.29.08
Fletcher’s Original Corny Dog

Another of my must-do activities at the fair is seeing the butter sculpture and the Creative Arts Building. This year’s butter sculpture featured Big Tex’s head and was made from 1,000 pounds of butter!

2018-10-12 14.54.53
Butter Sculpture of Big Tex

I love looking at the crafts and food items that regular folks create and submit for the Creative Arts contests. There is so much talent and so much to look at!

It was getting pretty late in the day and Dallas traffic is the pits, so we made our final stop at the Midway to check out the games and rides.

2018-10-12 16.37.43
Midway

A section of the Midway is referred to as the Kidway, where there are rides for the little ones. The twins were too small to ride the majority of the rides, but we found a little whale ride to go on with them. They tolerated it, but did not enjoy the ride!

2018-10-12 16.30.15
Ride in the Kidway

Little Humans Big Fun

On Day 2 of our visit, we stuck to things that were in Frisco since it was supposed to rain all day long. We started the day off at Little Humans Big Fun. Although they are only open from 9 AM to 10:30 AM, it was definitely worth the $24 that we spent. The twins loved every minute of their time there. That is, except for when little brother got pushed by a mean girl and started to cry.

2018-10-13 09.31.02
Grocery store play area

There was a good variety of things for them to do. They were especially obsessed with the grocery store and shopping carts.

2018-10-13-09-42-55.jpg
Giant Lite Brite

2018-10-13 10.05.52
Auto shop play area

2018-10-13 10.23.06

For parents, there is no admission charge. I seriously do not understand why other places, like the Children’s Museum, charge admission for adults. It makes no sense. Additionally, Little Humans Big Fun also provides free coffee and espresso drinks, tea and wifi!

2018-10-13 10.19.14
Foam building blocks

Sci-Tech Discovery Center

We stayed until Little Humans Big Fun closed and decided to head to the Sci-Tech Discovery Center next. Had it not been raining, we would have done a different activity, but our options were limited. I read some pretty unimpressive reviews before we went to the Discovery Center and was not expecting much.

Honestly, it was not that great, but did keep the boys occupied for a good hour or so before we went to lunch.

They loved the bubbles, fire show, and ball drops!

2018-10-13 11.38.36

2018-10-13 11.38.52-22018-10-13 11.39.10

2018-10-13 12.01.41
Having fun with auntie!

2018-10-13 12.10.44
This looks like a good place to sit!

Bye, Auntie and Uncle

I am so happy that we got to visit my sister and brother-in-law, especially while we were able to still take advantage of the twins’ lap child status for our flights! We don’t get to see them that often, so it was nice spending a whole weekend together!

2018-10-13 10.46.37

And of course, we also loved seeing Waffles the Corgi and his sister Cinnabon the Chowgi!

 

2018-10-12 21.26.09
Waffles the Corgi

2018-10-13 17.22.22
Cinnabon the Chowgi

 

Preventing and Treating Diaper Rash with Boudreaux’s Rash Kicking Kit

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

img_8237.jpg

There’s nothing worse than going in to change your baby’s diaper, only to find that they have developed a red, horrible, uncomfortable diaper rash! It makes me so sad to see my sons so uncomfortable and in pain.

Thankfully, we started using Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Diaper Rash Ointment soon after my twins arrived, and their rashes are normally gone within a couple of days. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste gets their little tushies back to normal so quickly. We also exclusively use Boudreaux’s Butt Paste as a preventative in our household to keep those awful diaper rashes at bay as much as possible.

In addition to its Butt Paste products, Boudreaux’s also has the Boudreaux’s Rash Kicking Kit. This kit includes a 2 oz. tube of Boudreaux’s Original Butt Paste, a 2 oz. tube of Boudreaux’s Maximum Strength Butt Paste and a Diaper Cream Applicator. It makes a super useful baby shower gift!

IMG_8212
Boudreaux’s Rash Kicking Kit

The Original Butt Paste is recommended to prevent diaper rash and to treat mild diaper rashes. The Maximum Strength Butt Paste is recommended for prevention and to treat moderate diaper rash. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is also formulated free from dyes, preservatives, parabens and talc.

IMG_8211
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Original and Maximum Strength

Now, I have always been one to just use my fingertips to apply diaper cream, but let me tell you, the Diaper Cream Applicator is a game changer! Applying diaper cream can make a total mess and the cream is sometimes hard to wash off. The Diaper Cream Applicator makes applying the product mess free! Plus, the applicator is BPA free and made of soft silicone so it is gentle on babies. My sons didn’t even notice a difference. Diaper changes are messy in and of themselves, so eliminating additional mess is a good thing!

IMG_8235

Boudreaux’s Rash Kicking Kit and other Boudreaux’s products are available to purchase on amazon.com.

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

#IHadaMiscarriage – My Miscarriage Story

Today, October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and the month of October is designated Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan first dedicated this month in October 1988. 

October 15th is a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, still birth, SIDS or the death of a newborn. Each year this day is observed with remembrance ceremonies and candle-lighting vigils.

My Miscarriage Story

In April 2016, I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks, 2 days gestation. It had been 1,208 days since we started trying to have a family, that is 3 years, 3 months and 22 days. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been pregnant, and my heart broke into a million pieces.

After trying to conceive naturally and with medical assistance, we decided to begin the IVF (in-vitro fertilization) process as our last resort in 2016.

We had a successful egg retrieval and decided to transfer two frozen embryos, the two highest quality, on March 8, 2016.

2016-03-08-07-31-42.jpg
Babies’ first photo!

After a few days of bed rest, I went back to normal life. Nine days after my FET (frozen embryo transfer), I was scheduled to get a blood draw to see if I was pregnant. I know lots of women start taking home pregnancy tests every day after their transfer, but I refrained from doing this since I knew it would drive me nuts. However, while I was waiting for my blood results to come back, I could not stand it any longer and took a home pregnancy test. It was POSITIVE! My blood draw also confirmed that I was pregnant!

2016-03-17 15.07.17
My first ever positive pregnancy test!

I took another home pregnancy test two days later, and then had my second blood draw two days after that. Still pregnant! However, my blood test results did not have the numbers my doctor was hoping for. This was the first sign that things were not progressing as it should be.

Two weeks later, I returned to my doctor’s office for our first ultrasound. This was super exciting for me because we should be able to hear a heartbeat. Look! It’s my old friend Wanda!

2016-04-04 08.37.35

We found out that only one of the embryos stuck. The other one did not make it to implantation. We were able to hear a heartbeat but the doctor pointed out that the ultrasound was also not as expected because the area around the embryo was so small. If you look at the ultrasound, the black area surrounding the embryo is usually much larger than this.

2016-04-04 10.02.11
First ultrasound

I headed back home after and carried on. There was nothing to do but see what happens. Although my doctor did give us an indication that the pregnancy might not progress normally, all we could do was hope for the best.

Hubby took my very first baby bump photo for me at 6 weeks gestation.

2016-04-07 20.28.34
6 Weeks Pregnant

Two weeks after my first ultrasound, I was scheduled to see my OBGYN who would be taking over care of my pregnancy. We had a long conversation about what to expect in terms of my prenatal care, and at the end of my appointment, she wanted to look at the baby with a portable ultrasound machine. I knew something was wrong because there was no heartbeat coming from the machine. She didn’t show me any pictures of the baby and then she said she wanted to send me to the high-powered ultrasound machine. I waited and was taken to the ultrasound room later. The ultrasound tech did not really say anything to me and again, I heard nothing from the machine in terms of the heartbeat. The tech sent me back to the exam room, and I was told to wait for the doctor.

That is when I finally got the news. The baby had basically stopped developing right after my first ultrasound and it had no heartbeat. It was shocking and crushing to hear this. Even though we had been warned and I kind of knew something was off today, I was so sad.

Going through something like this is so difficult but then to have to decide what to do next is truly the worst. The doctor gave me three options: wait, undergo a procedure or use medication. For me, I could not fathom walking around with my dead baby inside of me for an unknown time period and I would rather try the noninvasive approach first before undergoing another procedure.

I left the office with a dose of misoprostol to induce miscarriage at home. I remember having a number of events that weekend including my friend’s bachelorette party and bridal shower. I decided to wait until I came home from the bridal shower to medically start my miscarriage. It happened relatively quickly and I felt pretty normal physically later that day, but the mental effects of having a miscarriage stayed with me.

For me the worst part of having the miscarriage was how it affected my second pregnancy. I came to terms that my first pregnancy was not viable, but the prospect that something could go wrong at any time haunted my second pregnancy.

Every time I entered an ultrasound room, I had a deep fear that there was not going to be a heartbeat. I bought myself a pregnancy journal but could not bring myself to write in it out of fear that the pregnancy would not make it to term. I did not buy anything for my twins until after my baby shower because I was afraid that there would not be any babies to use the items.

I went through my entire pregnancy with fear and I wish that my miscarriage had not robbed me of the joy that being pregnant should have given me.

Miscarriage is so, so common. In fact, one in four pregnancies result in a miscarriage, but it is seldom talked about. I hope by sharing my story that we, as women, can be more open about this issue and support each other through the difficulties of pregnancy loss.