The Baby Gang Blog

World Prematurity Day – Our Story

November 17th is a day where many families stop and think about how strong their little ones are. It’s a day filled with endless emotions, from sadness, anger, happiness, relief, heartbreak, joy and all the emotions in between. World Prematurity Day is a day to raise awareness of premature births and to talk about the struggles and challenges that families have to go through with preterm birth.

For many families, its a day to look back and reflect on their journey with their premature babies and also the time they may have spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They remember and talk about not only the challenges they faced but the accomplishments and milestones their little babies have achieved in order to help other families experiencing the same thing.

As you all know, Jackson, Olivia and Levi are our 2-year-old triplets and they were premature, so World Prematurity Day is a special day for us as well. They were born at 35.3 weeks and weighed 5.6 lbs, 5.1 lbs and 5.3 lbs. I delivered them via c-section, as I developed a condition called pre-eclampsia near the end of my pregnancy. We found out on Friday May 22, 2015 that I had pre-eclampsia and after returning to the hospital for more tests the next day, the doctors told us the safest and best option for the triplets and myself was to deliver them.

I trusted the doctors and knew it was the best decision to deliver them, but the unknown was very scary. We didn’t know how they would be when delivered at 35.3 weeks and we had to prepare for a stay in the NICU. I was at Mount Sinai in Toronto, Ontario and before we could go in to deliver the triplets, we had to wait for room to become available in the NICU. We were also given the option to split up the triplets and have them at 3 separate hospitals in order for them to find space in a NICU. We decided to wait for space to become available at Mount Sinai, because I couldn’t imagine separating them and having to visit hospital to hospital all while trying to recover.

On Monday, May 25th, space became available and it was time to deliver our babies! I remember being very excited and nervous at the same time. What would happen to the triplets? How would their health be when they were born? Would they be able to breathe on their own? How long would they be in the NICU? There were so many questions I had to wait to find out the answers for.

At 7:09pm, 7:12pm and 7:15pm, Jackson, Olivia and Levi were born! I remember seeing their little faces when the nurses brought them over and I was so happy. After checking them over, all 3 were breathing on their own and stable enough for us to bring them right back to our room. They did not need to go to the NICU, which was a complete shock and huge relief for me! From the moment we found out we were expecting triplets, I was anticipating their stay in the NICU and I was even trying to figure out what we would do and where we would stay in Toronto in order to be with them everyday. To hear they would be coming right to the room with us that day and even to this day, is something that I will always know how lucky I am to hear!

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Jackson in the hospital, 2 days old!

So many families face the challenges of having premature babies who spend time in the NICU and the fact that we had to wait for space in the NICU before delivering the triplets, shows just how common premature births are. Pampers knows how important the needs of preemie babies are, which is why they have developed a new innovative flat diaper designed with them in mind, the Pampers NICU Flat Diaper. The diaper provides all around absorbency, an absorb away liner to pull wetness way from the baby’s skin, a wetness shield to stop run-off from the pad and premium skin protection with its breathable materials. The flat diaper was designed to provide protection for the delicate skin of premature babies and provide comfort with minimal disturbances, which are so important.

This year for Prematurity Awareness Month, Pampers has partnered with Graham’s Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Jennifer and Nick Hall in memory of their son, providing support to families with preemie babies and will be donating a box of Pampers NICU Flat Diapers to every NICU in the country!

Together they are encouraging everyone to participate this month by sharing your #LittlestFighters story. Your #LittlestFighters story is about the first time you were inspired by your baby’s fighting spirit. Everyone is encouraged to share their story on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter before the end of November and don’t forget to include the #LittlestFighters! For every share, Pampers will donate $5 to Graham’s Foundation (up to $10,000)!

Pampers has always been there as a proud supporter for preemie babies and NICU nurses and continues to develop new innovations to meet their needs. Click here to view the Pampers “Littlest fighters” video that champions the fighting spirit of all preemies!

Premature birth is something that is unexplainable and may always be around. As hard and challenging as it is to go through, it’s days like World prematurity Day and months like Prematurity Awareness Month that are so important for spreading awareness and knowledge of what it is and the challenges that go along with it. My heart goes out to all the parents and families who have experienced premature birth, time in the NICU and being there for their little babies. My heart also goes out to all the little warriors who are fighting as hard as they can to survive and who constantly show everyone how tough they really are.

It is so amazing to see and hear stories of premature babies who are born weeks before their due date, who are so tiny, sometimes weighing less than a pound, fight for their life and go through so many procedures, to beating the odds and living a healthy life! I truly believe babies are so much stronger than we may think and days like World Prematurity Day are here to bring awareness and to also showcase their stories!

We would love to hear your #LittlestFighters stories, so don’t forget to share and use the hashtag #LittlestFighters on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Thank you to Pampers for sponsoring this post. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

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The triplets coming home from the hospital! It was the scariest drive ever and I told Dan to go no faster than 20km an hour! 

How to Adjust to Daylight Savings Time

Are you ready for Daylight Savings Time? Here are some tips for making the time change easier on everyone!

This weekend coming up is Daylight Savings Time (DST), here in North America. That means we are pushing our clocks back an hour and for many that means an extra hour of sleep. In a perfect world, that means an extra hour of sleep for parents too because we all know how much we could use it. As much as we would love for that to happen, many of us will face the challenge of adjusting our kids to the time change. I wanted to share some of my tips, as well as some tips from sleep expert Kylee Sallak, on how to make the adjustment easier for you and your kids.

1. Stick to Your Routine

My first tip would be to stick to your current bed time routine. Children, especially my babies love routine and by following your everyday routine it will help them to understand that it is still bed time.

Although it wasn’t DST, when we were adjusting Emily and the triplets to an earlier bed time, we followed our same bedtime routine and just changed the time of when we started. By sticking to our routine, they recognized that it was still bed time and started to adjust to the new time.

Expert Tip

Along with routine, sleep expert Kylee Sallak has laid out a schedule for both good sleepers and problem sleepers. She suggests starting a week before DST for problem sleepers and pushing their bed time forward by 15 minutes every 2 days. For those who are good sleepers, start on November 5th and push bedtime forward by 30 minutes then wait 3 days and push bedtime forwards by the remaining 30 minutes. I like this approach because you are dividing the time change up gradually rather than an entire hour all at once, which may be a very drastic change for young children and babies.

I think this tip would also work well with adjusting your baby’s sleep schedule anytime of the year. We did something similar with the triplets and Emily every time we changed their bedtime. If you can believe it, they all once had a bedtime of 10pm, I think at one point it was even 11pm, and now they all have a bedtime of 7:30pm, so it can be done!

2. Use the Darkness to your Advantage

My second tip would be to use the darkness to your advantage. This tip is directed more towards your toddlers between the ages of 2 to 3 who are more aware of things and understand bedtime better. Now that it is going to be getting darker sooner, you can associate bedtime with the sun setting.

Emily, who will be 4 in December, has been associating bedtime with darkness for a while now. This past summer was sometimes difficult to get her to bed at 7:30 pm when it was still light outside. She would say to me, “it’s not bedtime yet because it’s still light outside.” With the time change and an earlier sunset, it will be darker outside sooner and I will have an easier time letting her know it is time for bed.

Expert Tip

Kylee Sallak’s first tip is to make sure you have a solid sleep foundation in place for your baby, which includes a dark room, brown noise and an earlier bedtime between 6:30 to 7:30pm. I have found that a dark room really does help with getting everyone to sleep and staying asleep. You can take advantage of the nights that get darker earlier to make your baby’s room dark just the way they like it and hopefully it will help to get them to bed between the 6:30 – 7:30pm timeframe that Kylee suggests.

3. Don’t Stress

My third tip would be to not stress yourself out. Every child and baby is different and may require a different amount of time adjusting. Some may adjust right away and others may need a week, it just depends on the child.

As with any change you make to your baby or child’s schedule, it takes time for them to learn. The same will apply to this DST, so make sure to give yourself the time you and your baby need and to be aware that it may take a full week to sink in.

Expert Tip

If you find that your child or baby is not adjusting easily to the time change, Kylee Sallak recommends seeking help from a local sleep expert. They can offer you advice specifically for your child to help make things easier and to get them back on track.

Bedtime is so important for babies and young children and you always want to make it a relaxing and calm process. Daylight Savings Time and other sleep adjustments don’t  have to be a stressful or scary time and although the adjustment may be harder for some babies and young children, it won’t last. One element of bedtime that shouldn’t be forgotten about is your baby’s comfort. Along with a comfy bed and dark room, a diaper that will keep them dry and last all night is key to a successful night’s sleep.

The Pampers Baby Dry diaper is designed to keep your baby dry for up to 12 hours of overnight protection. With three extra absorb channels, the wetness is distributed evenly across the diaper, reducing the sag of the diaper and keeping your baby dry. The Pampers Baby Dry diaper gives you the relief of knowing that your baby won’t wake up throughout the night because of a wet bum.

I think the most important thing to remember is that no one is the same and you and your partner know your children best. If you find your baby is having a hard time adjusting, don’t be afraid to spend a little more time staying with them and putting them to bed. As long as you stay calm and relaxed, your baby and young children will sleep and sleep with the new time change!

I hope these tips will help you and your baby take on Daylight Savings Time this weekend. To see sleep expert Kylee Sallak’s full list of tips and her schedule for adjusting your baby’s sleep, you can find that here – https://www.pampers.com/en-us/pregnancy/trending-now/article/expert-advice-adjusting-babys-sleep-for-daylight-savings

Thank you Pampers for sponsoring this post. All comments and opinions are my own.

-Corrie

Top 5 Essential Items For Breastfeeding

Over the last 4 years, I was breastfeeding for almost 3 years. It was a big part of my life for a long time and I am finally sharing some of my insight on it! I am surprised I haven’t shared much about breastfeeding and some of my experiences, but today I am and I hope to share more in the future as well!

I have linked the products I talk about throughout. If you click on the underlined words it will take you to their product page where you can find more information on each item.

Before I share my essential items, I just want to share a little bit of my experience with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding did not come easy for me. It was a very big struggle at the beginning with Emily and it took almost 2 weeks to really get a good grasp on what to do. I was determined to make it work, but it was a lot of work and so very exhausting, both physically and mentally. I cried almost every day from the pain of trying to latch and from feeling so drained emotionally that I wasn’t getting it. Although I wasn’t at the time, I was happy to go through that struggle because it helped me when it was time to start breastfeed the triplets. I knew what to expect those first couple weeks, which allowed me to stay calm and relaxed when getting started with the triplets. I breastfed Emily for 10.5 months and had to stop because of her milk allergy and the triplets I breastfed until 23 months. I did supplement with formula for the first 2-3 weeks until I was able to build up my extra supply of milk and until I knew I was producing enough.

This leads us to my first essential breastfeeding item; FORMULA. It may seem odd to have Formula on an essentials list for breastfeeding, but I think it is important to have it has a back up if things don’t go as planned. Whether you have difficulties at the DSC00089beginning with your newborn latching or waiting for your milk to come in or just want to top up your baby after nursing them, it is good to find a formula that you like and that your baby likes. Don’t ever think that using formula while breastfeeding is a bad thing! I used the Similac Advance Step 1 formula, which is available in powder and ready to use format, with Emily and the triplets at the beginning when I was learning to breastfeed and then again with Emily when I had to switch after finding out she had her milk allergy.

Of course when you use formula you will need BOTTLES, which is my second essential breastfeeding item. When I was pregnant, Dan and I set up our baby registry and just like I read, we added one of each bottle to try out and find the one Emily would like. DSC00165After trying almost every style, we ended up with the Playtex Baby VentAire Bottles. What I found great about the Playtex Baby VentAire Bottles, was the anti-colic bottom vent. It helped to prevent the babies from sucking in air while feeding, which was important for me because I bottle fed them for the first 2 months and I don’t know what I would have done if I had three fussy babies with upset tummies to take care of! Finding a bottle that both you and your baby like is important if you are using formula or pumping and bottle feeding, so you know your baby will actually eat. It also helps to give you a little bit of freedom when someone watches your baby and then allows your partner to participate with feedings too!

My third item is an item I never actually used, but everyday I wished I did and even regret not purchasing; A NURSING BRA. I really don’t know why I didn’t take the time to buy a nursing bra. I think about the convenience and help a nursing bra would have provided while nursing and I think it would have made it so much easier, especially with the triplets. I was recently introduced to the company ThirdLove and their new line of nursing bras. (Pictures below from ThirdLove.com)

They thought of moms when they created the bras, so they are functional, but look great and come in 3 different colors. Along with the easy front closures, the straps also undo to allow the cups to drop down for nursing and pumping. I also have to point out that their bras range in size from A – F (DDD) and they also offer half-sizes. As moms we all know our body changes drastically during pregnancy and after, so I think it is great they offer such a wide variety of sizes. For myself it has been hard to come across a bra that is the right size and still looks great. When the times comes and I need to purchase a nursing bra ThirdLove will be my go to shop!

My fourth item would be for women who love to and want to nurse anywhere and everywhere, but may not feel 100% comfortable doing so. This item is a NURSING COVER. I used mine all the time with the triplets and it was such a life saver. I am all for women who breastfeed without a cover in public and I think it is so great they feel

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Picture from Toysrus.ca

comfortable enough to do it. I myself have never been comfortable enough to do that, but I was able to with the nursing cover. I had no idea that nursing covers even existed with Emily. It wasn’t until I went shopping for items for the triplets that I came across nursing covers and I felt like my whole life changed. I used the Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover – Nest and purchased it at Babies R Us. With Emily I breastfed for 10.5 months and every time she had to eat, I would have to find a private place to feed her. I would leave all my guests downstairs while I breastfed up in my room, I would sit in a bathroom stall if we were out for dinner and I would hide in the car if we were out shopping. With the triplets it was a whole different story. I used the cover all the time and it allowed me to stay around people while feeding and I felt so much more comfortable in public places.

 

My fifth and final essential breastfeeding item would be a NURSING PILLOW. While you

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Picture from Toysrus.ca

are breastfeeding it can be very strenuous on your back. The pillow helps to lift your baby up to your breast which reduces the strain on your back from bending forward. I also found it helped with all the different positions for breastfeeding and it gives you the support you need to hold your baby. I used the Jolly Jumper Baby Sitter Nursing Cushion. I couldn’t find the exact style I had, but they are all the same! I wouldn’t go anywhere without my pillow and I remember turning around if I forgot it; I used it all the time!

 

One thing I would suggest, if you have multiples, would be to look into purchasing a

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Picture from BedBathandBeyond.com

nursing pillow designed for twins. I used my regular nursing pillow with the triplets and I found it was difficult to keep them in position as they got older and bigger. From what I have seen they look to be larger and have a flat top, which would be very helpful when positioning one baby and then reaching for the second one. There was a couple of times I remember one of the triplets rolling off the pillow onto the couch or bed! Here is one I found called My Brest Friend® Twin & Plus Size Nursing Pillow in Fireworks from BedBath & Beyond, but I’m sure you could find them other places as well. 

 

As I was writing my fifth item, I realized that there is one item I completely forgot about and had to include! I won’t go into too much detail with this one, as I will save it for a review later, but my bonus essential item is a BREAST PUMP. There are so many out there to choose from, which can make it very difficult and overwhelming, so I think it’s important to read the reviews and listen to what you hear from friends and family and their experiences. This it one of the bigger ticket items I would say to spend the money on, because I really do think you get what you pay for. I know the Medela breast pumps are expensive, but from comparing my experience using it in the hospital, to the one I purchased and had at home, it was a huge difference. I did get good use out of the one I had but I do regret not spending the extra to have the Medela pump at home too.

Well there are my top 5 essential breastfeeding items plus a bonus one! I hope you found all of my items helpful and my thoughts insightful! Breastfeeding it a big job and it comes with a lot of challenges, but if you have the right items to make your experience easier than they will also help to make your experience enjoyable. I know everyone’s experiences and preferences are different, so your top 5 items may change, but I know these items made and would have made my breastfeeding experience enjoyable and do able. There are so many products out there to choose from and I found the biggest thing was to listen and read reviews from others. I hope by sharing my insights and preferences with you ,I can bring some light and answers to something you were unsure of!

If you have any essential items, please share them down below!

-Corrie

A Treat for Eating Your Veggies

This week was a good week for Emily!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEEPING KIDS HOME FROM SCHOOL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave your comments down below!

-Corrie

 

EXTRA

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

I’VE LEARNED MY LESSON

Week 2: Sept 18-21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday was a whole different story!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Corrie

 

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

THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL CHANGED ME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just love being a dad.

I could not wait for my family to come home!

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

I was lonely without the kids and got new kids

 

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

 I went for a hike.. that was funhike

I did some rock climbing

rock climb

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

I tucked my new kids into their beds EVERY NIGHT

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finally… WE REUNITED!

family

 

The end…?

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

meem1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Corrie