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First flight with twins
Family Life, Travel

First Flight With Twins! 5 Lessons I Learned (That Might Help You Too)

Readers of this blog well know that travel is among the greatest passions shared between David and me, so we knew we’d want to introduce the experience to our twin babies early on.

In our relationship, I’m more the one who’s like, “Cool, let’s totally fly to Australia tomorrow with newborn twins! I mean you never know unless you try, amiright?!” type of deal. David is more of the realist/pragmatist. I’m sure it’s very good to have this internal family system of checks and balances, but it is also the reason it took us 15 months to get on a plane with the babes.

At last, we did it! And in the end, the trip was both chaotic (duh) and absolutely doable — especially with nuanced preparation — some of which I’d done, and some of which I’ll know for next time.

Despite the fact that I already published the absolute, comprehensive best advice for flying with babies available on the Internet, turns out I had a few more things to figure out. Here’s what I wish I knew ahead of time (that might help you too!):

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DIY Halloween costumes for twins
Family Life

DIY Halloween costumes for twins: 5 lessons I learned as a rookie

Last year, the twins were just three months old on Halloween; it was, of course, their first. I think I thought I was lucid, but upon reflection I now realize I was moving through life as a zombie impersonating a live human who knew WTF was actually going on. That’s why back then, I managed just enough brain power to buy Jordan an off-the-rack skeleton costume from Old Navy on approximately October 31. Inspired! (I was a bit more thoughtful, and emotional, when it came to Maya’s outfit.)

DIY Halloween costume ideas for kids
Jillian Sorkin

Well this year, I have my wits about me. When fall hit, the crafty spirit started swirling all around me — never mind the fact that it’s still 100 degrees where I live in Los Angeles — and I got in the mood for my first real DIY.

As a travel lover, I came up with the idea to dress my 15-month-old twins in pilot costumes. And, inspired by this blogger’s easy-to-recreate post, I would be their flight attendant. (The babes did have a travel-themed first birthday party, after all, so why not keep this motif going!)

I figured I could use cheap, navy blue onesies as the base for their “uniforms,” and it wouldn’t take much to make them official- and important-looking: just add some gold finishing touches.

I was nervous to say the least. But sure enough, with some buttons, a spool of ribbon, and a hot glue gun, I easily crafted costumes that make me so proud. I can’t wait to show them off! And with what I learned this time around, I might even become a DIY convert!

Here are a few takeaways from my first successful DIY project.

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Taking babies to hotels
Family Life, Travel

New Family Travel Traditions (And Happy Labor Day Weekend!)

David and I like to keep moving. We try to seize each opportunity to travel as a chance to visit a new country (or two, or three), ideally something we can both see together for the first time. I can’t think of a trip we’ve taken abroad that we didn’t love enough to repeat a million times — but there are so many other places we’d like to see first!

But in between the big trips, we do have some go-to minibreak destinations we visit frequently enough that they feel like home away from home for us. Specifically — as any regular reader of this blog will know — we love the Palm Springs region and travel frequently to the desert. It’s got all of the ingredients that make up a perfect little holiday: easy striking distance by car, luxe hotels, perfect pools, sunshine that won’t quit… and proximity to the world’s best outlet shopping.

I’ve stayed all over Palm Springs over the years, for all kinds of occasions and getaways. Korakia Pensione, the Avalon (nee Viceroy), and the Parker are among my favorite properties.

I now have a new favorite in the making, too. Continue Reading

Baby's first road trip
Family Life, Travel

We Did It (And You Totally Can Too)! 6 Tips for Baby’s First Road Trip

When David called on Friday to check in on his way home from work, and I told him, “You’re off the hook. I think you should stay home and relax.”

We had planned a road trip about 325 miles north up the coast of California to the Monterey area for the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends. But I knew hubs was tired, and I assumed this undertaking—our one-year-old twins’ first major road trip—would be utterly exhausting. It might be better if he stayed home and recouped some rest instead. “No way,” he said, if wearily. “I wouldn’t miss the babies’ first road trip!” So it was on.

And you know what? It turned out to be far from the fatiguing experience I feared it could be. In fact, it was manageable enough that I actually wondered why the words “baby’s first road trip” strike such terror in new parents’ hearts. We’re just back now, and I’m here to correct the record: Baby’s first road trip can be a ton of fun!

Along the way, I picked up some tips for road tripping with babies that will make our next one even better—and can inspire you to get out there, too! Continue Reading

Push present
Family Life, This & That

Yes, I Got a Push Present — and I Deserved It!

My twins turned one last month, and I’ve been reflecting a lot on the way this summer feels with them on the outside compared to how it was with them on the inside last summer. Duh, it’s a lot different.

As part of all the swirling preparations last year, I got something like a push present (even though we need to stop calling it that — but more on that later). Now I’m learning that these gifts for mama surrounding baby’s birth are highly controversial, so that’s what I’m here to discuss (and OK, defend) today.

A recent survey conducted by one of my employers, Today, showed just how controversial they really are: Among 8,000 respondents, close to half said they weren’t fans (and 26 percent said they didn’t even know what a push present was). Just 28 percent cheered the idea.

Evidently, some folks think they’re just tacky: Isn’t the baby the present? Continue Reading

Travel theme first birthday party ideas
Family Life, Los Angeles Living, This & That

Travel Themed First Birthday Party: A Festive Unisex Bash for the Twins!

I don’t even know how to approach a post about my twins turning one: No words can begin to adequately sum up the intense and wondrous and wild year after our family of two became four. All parents know this feeling, of course.

So how about if I focus instead on the babes’ travel themed first birthday party? That seems like a reasonable scope and scale. And I’m kiiiiiinda obsessed with the way it turned out.

For this party, David had one request: He wanted to host it in the backyard of our home, our first house, where we brought our babies after we left the hospital, a place to which he, in particular, has a deeply visceral connection (which is very sweet to see).

As for me, I had a few more ideas. After we got the babes their first passports and I saw how bonkers cute/hilarious the photos looked, I had this idea to make a sign that said “Oh, the places you’ll go!” and post those photos somewhere on it. From there, I loved the idea of a travel themed first birthday party. And then I thought of a “Here comes the airplane!” sign for the food table. Of course we’d have a taco cart, the crowd-pleasingest, budget-friendliest, easiest way to feed a group.

Along those lines, I was inspired by a couple of recent trips to Mexico (Punta Mita/Sayulita and Tulum), plus the availability of such great Mexican-style decor in Los Angeles. I was also pretty obsessed with this photo on Pinterest. But I knew I didn’t want the party to be too theme-y in any way. And that was about where my opinions and expertise on the matter ended.

Fortunately, I have friends in very convenient places — namely, in the event industry. My super-talented pal Sarah Granger-Twomey of PIE Productions got on board with helping me plan (never mind she’s in the throes of planning her own daughters’ celestial-themed joint birthday party in a few weeks), and helped me bring it to vibrant life.

Aaaaand her in-demand photographer husband, Sean Twomey of 2Me Studios (who also shot our maternity photos!) offered to shoot our day (while he also managed his two kids). Double score!

So after a super fun afternoon shopping for decor with Sarah in downtown Los Angeles, we were all set to go for an 11 a.m. backyard party. And then just as Sarah and our friend Rachel (who is among the most naturally festive people I know) were arriving to help set up, we heard thunder, and rain started falling. Out of absolutely nowhere. Um, what? People: It’s mid-July in Los Angeles, during a drought of biblical proportions. This cannot and does not happen. The Day After Tomorrow. Alanis Morissette. Etc.

And I would have panicked without my two seasoned event-industry friends, along with my event-industry husband, who rolled up their sleeves, pounded the coffee, and got to work.

Another thing that seems relevant here, before I go on with all the photos: As Sarah, Rachel, David and I stood in the living room formulating a rain plan, our friend (first) and neighbor (second), Dwayne, ran up the front walk in his jogging clothes talking about, “Hey, I have an E-Z Up tent. I’m bringing it by.”

This to me was a moment among so very many — nearly infinitely many in our love-filled first year — that have crystallized the idea of “It takes a village.” And we’d be absolutely lost without ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the helpers and everyday heroes in our lives. 

(By the way? The rain held off during our party’s exact mid-day window.)

Now onto the photos… Continue Reading

Photo: Angelo Sgambati
Family Life

10 Things Parents of Multiples Just Can’t Do (but Parents of Singles Can!)

“I just don’t know how you do it!” As a new mom to nearly one-year-old twins, I get that a lot. Frankly, it’s a reasonable thing to say, coming from parents managing one single baby at a time. Of course, all parenting has its many challenges (and rewards!), but managing life with two babies at the same time is a niche that requires a lot of finesse. And if your situation is three-on-one, four-on-one, or more for all you higher-order multiples moms and dads out there, well, I know you look at us twin parents like we’re silly amateurs. (And we’re in awe of you!)

With that in mind, I have compiled some of the key differences, based on my own experiences and the feedback of other moms in my local multiples club. Here are some things that singleton parents do that we multiples parents watch from the sidelines with equal parts amazement, jealousy…and maybe a little smugness, too! Continue Reading

Best advice for flying with a baby
Family Life, Travel

Bingo! The Best Advice for Flying With a Baby Is Right Here

If you’ve read between the lines of this blog, you’ll have duly noticed there’s one travel-related “first” I haven’t yet done since the twins were born: I haven’t brought the babes on a plane. I probably don’t need to tell you why this is true. But mainly I’m looking forward to the day when we pack up these babies and get those first stamps in their pristine passports.

Meanwhile, as I gather data ahead of their first trip, I’ve been scouring the web and personal sources for the best advice for flying with a baby. And, thanks to a lively conversation in a professional group online this week, I just hit the advice jackpot — and it’s only fair to share it with all of you.

In this post, you will find the absolute best advice for flying with a baby, because it is crowdsourced from the hive mind of people who know it best: travel writer moms of all stripes (as well as some non-moms with plenty of exposure).

These are moms who are motivated and unstoppable (even if daunted). Women who don’t accept dirty looks from strangers. Women who have a great career and a family and also travel and therefore (if I may) — women who absolutely have it all. So without further ado… Continue Reading

La Quinta Resort & Club at sunset
Family Life, Travel

Twins’ First Holiday! 5 Things I Learned About Taking Babies to Hotels

After you have babies, it’s all about firsts: first foods, first consonant sounds, first time crawling, first time pulling up to stand.

When it comes to travel, I’ve written here about our firsts as new parents since the twins were born: my first business trip at 12 weeks postpartum, our first couples’ driving trip away without babies, our first trip by air since they were born.

At last, just as the twins turned 10 months old, I’m excited to share about our first holiday together as a family of four… which also included the twins’ first hotel stay, and their first time in the pool. (Spoiler alert: too, too fun and such a special and cherished family memory!)

Here’s what we did: Continue Reading

Hiking Runyon Canyon with stroller
Family Life, Los Angeles Living

Hiking Runyon Canyon With a Stroller: Yes You Can!

Ever since I was pregnant with my twins, I have been dreaming of stroller hiking with the babes. Yesterday, nine months since they were born, we did it at last!

One of my favorite fast weekday-friendly hikes in Los Angeles is Runyon Canyon. (It’s also the go-to hike for half of the rest of everyone who lives here, but whatevs.) I figured that hiking Runyon Canyon with a stroller was essentially possible, though every time I went alone, I assessed: Would this part of the terrain support a stroller? Can you get from here to there pushing wheels? Just how much harder is this hike when you’re hiking for three?

Yesterday, I finally got up the chutzpah to try it. Continue Reading