7 Minute Workout With Toddlers


My sister turned me on to this seven-minute workout. The idea is you work really hard for seven minutes–pushups, planks, jumping jacks, crunches, etc–but it’s only seven minutes and then you’re done. Seems like it should fit my toddler-twin-mom, freelance lifestyle. So far I’ve done the workout twice. The first time I did it M and E were asleep. The second time, I tried it when they were awake…

I started up the app, which I’d downloaded onto my phone. A Siri-like voice instructs what exercise to do while the screen shows a little animation of a “wall sit” or “side plank,” whatever the exercise is, and beeps when the time is up. “Now rest” it instructs after each exercise, as a yellow timer ticks down ten seconds.

The first exercise was jumping jacks. When M saw me doing them, she jumped right in. She’s been working a lot on jumping and is pretty good at it now, but trying to put her arms in the air at the same time was an exciting new challenge.

Next up was the wall sit. I rushed to find a place on the wall as the timer ticked down. M came and leaned against the wall next to me. E did, too, and for a second we were all leaning against the wall together in the living room.  But then E got distracted by my knees and trying to climb in my strangely suspended lap. Wall sit ended a bit early.

For pushups, M lay down on the floor next to me, doing her own version of pushups (something like a seal) while E tried to climb on my back. Then they both tried to climb on my back, giggling. Abort.

Stepping on and off a chair, E came right up to the chair and put her hands on it, wanting to climb up, too. This is the chair next to the sideboard, the one the twins like to climb up on and press all the stereo buttons. I kept pausing to make sure I wasn’t going to step on her fingers. I also worried I was encouraging this climbing-on-chairs behavior. Suddenly Siri was saying, “now rest,” but i hadn’t done enough stepping up and down. To continue and cut short my ten second rest, or abort? Quick time is ticking!

Triceps dip on chair, in which you face away from the chair, feet on the floor while gripping the seat with your hands and lowering your bottom slowly up and down, stopped very quickly because E was trying to climb onto the chair behind me. The chair is a bit wobbly even without me straining at a precarious angle off the end of it. Visions of disaster. Next!

High knees running in place. This was more like it! “Who wants to run with me!?” I yelled, getting into the spirit of this collaborative toddler workout. But by then M and E were starting to lose interest.

Around five minutes, when we got to the second round of pushups, I ended the seven minute workout early because I was breaking a sweat and didn’t want to leave the house smelling like a dank underarm (I was fitting the workout in before we had plans to go out, which is the whole idea, right?). I still consider the workout a success and I love the seven minute concept. Maybe that’s what I should be doing right now, while M and E are napping, instead of eating cookies and writing this blog. Hm.

Arty Creative Games for Kids Age 2 to 100

Here’s another arty creative game to try with kids or just to do yourself. This is in the same vein as my post on drawings from scribbles and hair.

I just came across this idea here (and in her blog she links to other really fun blogs of the same). Here’s what you do. Draw some random blob with watercolor. Let it dry. Take a pen and make it into something. Here’s what I came up with. And I’ll admit it took four pages for me to get a whole page of them I thought were okay enough to share here (I’ll spare you Elvis Donkey, Upside Down Backpack Man, Rat Dog and the other characters from first few pages 😉 ) Here’s the before and after. Hope they inspire you to a few moments of creativity! It’s pretty addictive.




First Birthday Party for the Twins, A Summary



This weekend was the babies’ first birthday party. I thought I’d take a moment to record what happened. 

Earlier in the day we had given the babies some presents. They were all over each new object instantly, turning knobs, putting things in their mouth, banging, exploring. E stood over a new walker, gesticulating wildly and making such happy sounds as if to say, “Look at this! What?! HOLY COW!” They loved unwrapping the presents, too. E tore tissue out of a bag and ruffed it in the air like it was wings to take off. They were both so completely thrilled by the novelty it made me want to buy them new things every day. 

We had invited a few new friends for the party. There were a lot of kids, who ran around happily in the back yard. We made carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, blueberry muffins, tea sandwiches, both egg salad and cucumber and cream cheese. There was Orangina to drink, and other tasty snacks. We had a red checked tablecloth, Happy Birthday banners on the walls, party hats, and a pretty clean house. 

The babies wore their new matching party dresses, E in blue stripes and M in orange. M ate a blueberry muffin and an egg salad sandwich and they both ate a lot of fruit salad. We put them in the highchairs and everyone gathered around to sing happy birthday, which I think was mystifying to them. Then we placed a cupcake, each with a candle in the shape of “1” on each of their trays. It took them a while to warm up to the cupcakes, but when they did they each grabbed the whole thing, frosting and all, and mashed it into their mouths, devouring every last crumb. 

By the end they were completely giddy and full of smiles. Even though it was really past their bedtime, they were perfectly happy until we put them in their cribs, at which point they fell fast asleep. 

And that was it, nothing complicated, but we celebrated M and E and this milestone. I think we started this birthday thing off right. 

Overheard: Two Four-Year-Old Girls at the Playground


I pull the double stroller up to the swings. Two young girls, maybe around four years old, are playing by the swing set. One of them has long brown hair and bangs. She is standing behind one of the baby swings pushing it roughly. The other has short blond hair and is wearing a white dress.  Following is their conversation. I’ve omitted my contributions, which were only extremely minimal.  

Brown-haired girl: Oh, man! That baby is going to take the baby swing. (Then, to me) My name is Madeline. 

My name is Nina. 

I wish my name was MadeLYN. I’m in Kindergarten. …wait, am I in Kindergarten? Or am I in nursery school?

This is my Easter dress.

I like that dress. … Is it your Easter dress, or is it your BUTT dress? 

(High pitched laughter from girl in dress) It’s my EASTER dress!

I HATE high school! High school is SO BORING! High school musical (singing). 

(High pitched laughter again)

I want to take my pants off up to my butt. (Both girls now sitting on the ground, swinging themselves around the base of swing set). 

I’m not wearing pants (girl in dress).

Let’s take our clothes off. 

I have Ariel on my underpants (announcing, generally. Then, to brown-haired girl) What kind of underpants are you wearing?

I’ll show you my underpants if you show me your underpants. 

How old are those babies? My brother’s name is Max. I’m not cute, Max is the cute one. 

Which one is older? … That means they were both in your belly at the same time? My mommy only had one baby in her belly. 

I don’t have a twin. 

I don’t have a twin. People say I’m like a twin with my brother, but he’s a BOY and I’m a GIRL. He has hazel eyes and I have hazel eyes. He has brown hair and I have brown hair. My daddy puts spikes in his hair. 

(Woman comes over and tells the girls it is almost time to leave)

This is my new best friend. (Looking at Dress Girl.) 

(Woman walks away again)

When my mommy tells me to do something I say, “Talkie Mama Rama Lama.” 

My Mommy’s name is Lisa. 

(Woman comes back again and the two girls leave with her)


…Names have been changed. I wonder what M and E will say when they can talk. 

Extremely Easy, Arty Creative Games for Kids (or Adults)

Here are two extremely easy, fun creative games that take no supplies at all. When I was younger I used to do these both with my middle sister. Hours of entertainment, I’m telling you.

The first may be a bit easier to take. All you need is two people, a piece of paper and a pen. Here’s how it works. The first person makes some random scribble on the page not resembling anything. The second person then has to make that scribble into a picture of something. That’s it. And actually, you don’t even need two people, you can do it by yourself: I did this evening and quite enjoyed myself actually. Here are my results:









The second is, wait for it…drawings made of human hair! On the shower wall! What, you’re not convinced? Well I’m telling you when my sister and I were little, we used to be quite impressed by each others’ hair drawings. Though I will admit it led to a lifelong bad habit of sticking shed hair to the wall during showers. At least that keeps it out of the drain. But anyway, I digress. It works similarly to the scribbles. The random hair stuck on the wall suggests the shape of something. Behold a hare of hair:


Hard to take good photos in the shower.


Here’s a little perspective.

And a slimy frog:



Hope you enjoyed. You probably won’t believe me, but the first idea for a blog I ever had was to do a hair picture every day and post it. Probably for the best I didn’t follow through on that one. With twins, I don’t have time for standing around that long in the shower, anyway. Looking forward to when mine are old enough for drawing.

The Dweebs, Halloween 2013

The Dweebs, Halloween 2013

I had to post this photo because it makes me laugh. Who are those dweebs, anyway? Oh wait that’s us… What has happened to us? I love the creepy halloween hand coming in stage left, the haphazard gray moby on the floor. The kneeling, the dweeby smiles, the bad hair, one coat on one coat off, and of course the twin cows… I really should have made us dress up as farmers to match–we just need overalls.

Here’s how it happened. This weekend we went to a little kids Halloween event put on by the neighborhood parents’ group. There was someone there taking pictures of the parents and kids so we got in line. Why not. We don’t have many pictures of the four of us.

When we got to the front of the line we hurriedly took the babies out of their wraps. I unwound my moby wrap, drapes falling everywhere, and tossed it like an octopus on the floor. D kept his on, and also his coat. Everyone was posing in this gold frame. We couldn’t fit in the frame standing, so we knelt with the babies. We had no hands free to hold the frame anyway. “I’ll hold the frame!” volunteered a voice behind us. D had just gone to a new barber around the corner, because who has time to travel around to the barber you like anymore? I haven’t gotten my haircut in since forever and probably never will again. And the babies are wearing cow suits.

But maybe this is all just excuses. What I want to say really is, I guess we’re parents now! Perfectly ready to embarrass our kids.

Happy Halloween!