Woohoo, my new bicycle

I am sooo happy. This weekend my brand new bicycle arrived. Now I can finally cruise around Brussels together with our boys. They are really snug in their basket on the back and absolutely love it. Will write a review after a few weeks of use, but for now I just had to share this picture!

Finding the right stroller for twins

Somebody recently asked me how I had chosen and bought our twin stroller and it made me rethink all the things that have lead to our decision. Twin strollers come in 3 different types: with seats next to each other, with seats behind each other or with seats ‘on top’ of each other. You can choose them in many price categories, the cheaper ones starts around 100 euro, the most expensive one probably is the bugaboo donkey twin (around 1700 euro).

How to choose the stroller that suits your needs the best? These are the things that we took into account:

  • Size. Will it fit through your door? (some are too wide so measure the smallest door in your house that it needs to go through) Will it fit in the building elevator? (strollers can be too wide and too long!) Will it fit in the boot of your car when folded?
  • Where do you use it? Do you take public transport a lot? Then make sure you pick a model that fits in the tram/bus/metro. You can easily check this with other twin mums in your city to see what they use (social media is a great source for this). Do you travel a lot by car with the kids (on your own)? Then make sure you look at how easily the stroller is folded and if you can actually lift it yourself.
  • Where will you use it most? Now think about where you intend to walk to with your twins. Brussels has a lot of of cobblestones and walking on those with thin swivel wheels is horrible. The same is true for forest walks. The more expensive strollers have strong air tires, which takes away a lot of the ups and downs of bumpy roads.
  • Then of course there is the budget question. Spending more than a 1000 euros on a stroller is not a light decision to make for most people. The only thing I want to add to this is that if you take good care of your stroller you can resell it for quite a bit of money after 3 years. There will always be new twin parents looking for a bargain. This is also something to consider, you can buy yours second hand as well and save money that way.
  • The last thing to think about is what model you actually like. Do you want your children to sit next to each other or not?

I recommend you answer all the questions mentioned above before you visit a shop and then try out different models. Walk with them and especially turn some corners. Or ask other twin moms if you may try their stroller. My opinion changed completely after trying several strollers.

We ended up buying an Easywalker Duo. More than 3 years later I am still very happy with our choice.

The first sunny day of the year

Yesterday it was the first sunny day of the year in Brussels. Blue skies, freezing cold but loads of sunshine. We took the boys to a park and WOW, they could not be happier. While we sat in the sun they ran around, putting their hands in the sand to make piles and throw them over again. They found little stones and flowers to show us. They found sticks and leafs to play with, ran up and down on little hills, felt the trees and plants and looked at ducks. Time flew and we did not feel the cold at all. We go outside everyday but they usually don’t last that long. It’s incredible how much a little sunshine can do. It was like a whole new world outside had opened up to them.

Shoe presents

Sinterklaas has come and gone. The boys were quite impressed, especially with the recurrence of getting presents. They also were lucky enough to meet Sinterklaas in person this year. That was not something they liked too much. Especially meeting Zwarte Piet made them frightened. The reason for this was that Piet repeatedly threw candy on the floor. This caused them a lot of stress, especially when other children started running around to collect the sweets. I explained about Piet being naughty and nice at the same time and how he liked to have fun.
But when they got sweets themselves they started warming up to the idea. One of them even dared shaking Piets’ hand 🙂
But the best surprises for them were the ones they got in their shoes in the morning. Waking up and finding presents to unwrap, a chocolate and some pepernoten to eat before breakfast… that was what made it all worth it for them!

Sinterklaas

The boys are now old enough to really understand and enjoy my favourite Dutch holiday: Sinterklaas. For those who don’t know this, Sinterklaas is very similar to Santa Clause, but his day is celebrated on the 5th of December. On this day (or a more convenient day around that day) Sinterklaas will bring presents to families. He arrives on a steamboat a few weeks prior and from that day on it is possible to put your shoe in front of the fireplace (or radiator haha) and hope that you’ve behaved well enough for Sinterklaas to bring you a gift.

I love this holiday so of course we told our kids about Sinterklaas and about the possibility to receive presents. This was very much to their liking. They love presents! So we starting by teaching them a few Sinterklaas-songs, which they can now sing by heart.They sang the songs several times… as loud as possible and then they wanted to eat the carrot that we had put in their shoe… yes, the raw and unwashed carrot meant for Sinterklaas’ horse.

The thing I had underestimated about this whole event was the shoe part. The boys took forever to decide which shoe they would use. All their old and current shoes and slippers had to come out of the cupboard. Even their wellingtons. They kept changing the shoe that they wanted to use. When I told them that Sinterklaas would not take their shoe but rather use to shoe to put a present in, their attitude changed. Once more they had a good look at their pile of shoes. One of them decided on the biggest shoe (a boot), the other one rather showed Sinterklaas his nicest shoe. Even for two-year old boys fashion can be a thing…

 

Back from holiday – elbow pains…

I apologise for the silence here. There was a school holiday in Belgium and we took the boys to a holiday park last week. We had a great time, although with every holiday we somehow don’t end up very rested. Haha, as if!

It was the first time we did not use our buggy at all, we walked everywhere with the boys and they did really well. I did discover something interesting though. You can have muscle ache in your elbows!

It took me a while to figure out how this came about. But in the end the answer was simple. It was the walking of course, one boy on each side holding my hand. You’re not just dragging them because they walk slower… when they get in a mood and don’t want to walk (faster) they will work against you and pull. So this week no pain in my shoulders due to pushing a heavy buggy, no, this week my elbows had their turn… 

The twin shopping trolley

I first heard about twin-shopping-trolleys in a Facebookgroup for twin moms in the Netherlands. More and more moms seem to have asked their local supermarket for one and all over the Netherlands they appeared in the supermarkets. Sadly nothing like this ever happens in the customer-unfriendly supermarkets of Brussels.
So when I visited the Netherlands I was so glad to actually spot a twin trolley and use it before the boys will be too big. I really loved it!

So a big THANK YOU to all the Dutch supermarkets making the life of twin moms easier.

(Our boys liked it a lot but actually prefer walking around the supermarket themselves now…)

Car free Sunday in Brussels

Car free Sunday is not my favourite event in Brussels. Mainly because it always happens in the weekend around my birthday, which means it’s really difficult for my family from the Netherlands to visit.
This year our boys could really enjoy the car free aspect for the first time though. They were big enough to go out ‘cycling’. So far they were not that great at cycling, but now that they had some space they suddenly understood the balancing a bit better and managed to gain some speed.

That said, it was surprising and sad to see how many cars (mainly foreign licence plates) were still driving around the city center. We quickly gave up on the bigger streets and had them drive on the sidewalk again.


© Carien Touwen 2017