One of the best pieces of parenting advice that was passed on to me was to get on the floor and play with your children daily. I'm constantly interacting with Elle and Levi throughout the day, but when I get down on their level, criss-cross applesauce it makes them feel like I am more of a playmate than mom in that moment. 

We love to wrestle, we love to play chase, and, lately, the kids have loved playing Legos. Levi does most of the demolition while Elle and I build towers and pretend we're Sophia with her Duplo Sofia the First Royal Castle set. Sometimes Elle just needs some one-on-one time with me, and we'll go play Legos in her room. It's such a good way for me to get to know her imagination and work with her on her fine motors skills at the same time.

Lego recently launch a partners in play campaign, and this video brought me to tears. It affirmed the advice that was given to me early on, and it has made me make playtime such an important priority as a mom. I highly recommend challenging yourself to become a partner in play.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer. Sofia the First Royal Castle was gifted to us. 


Levi is at that age where he can sit on his own, he can scoot places and he loves to put everything in his mouth. As much as I enjoy watching him do things for the first time, this stage in development can give you mini panic attacks left and right. I've teamed up with Fisher-Price again to share how I help Levi play safely and happily.

Levi LOVES to be outside, especially when his sister and Wendy, our dog, are running around. However, if I set him in the grass right now he just starts trying to eat it, and then, of course, chokes on it. Fire ants are also in full force, so I have had to find a way to keep him from getting bit but also allow him to enjoy the outdoors. 

My solution is to bring his Fisher-Price Ultra Light Day & Night Play Yard outside and fill it with fun toys. This works perfectly because the mesh allows the air to circulate and makes him visible at all angles. I especially love this play yard because it's a lot lighter than others on the market, so it makes it easy for me to tote it to my friend's house. 

I took Levi to Rennai's house the other day, and brought bright colored balls to fill his play yard. All of the other kids loved it so much they wanted to climb in too! Rennai's little guy, Everett, joined the party and they kept each other company all while staying out of trouble. When multiple kids are around it's easy to get distracted and not always have my eyes on Levi, so it puts my mind at ease having him in the play yard.

This design also comes with the ability to create an inclined sleeping experience and a changing table. It's such a great buy, especially because the compact design makes it so easy to store in your car. I highly recommend!

Photos by Rennai Hoefer


I don't know about you, but I feel like I have forgotten how to play. It's as if my mind is too full of tasks and reality that I can rarely use my imagination. Isn't that just sad?! I love that my kids try their hardest to keep the kid in me alive.

Elle is really into role playing right now. She's usually the mommy and I am her baby or she is Barbie and I'm always Teresa. Of course, her favorite is playing Elsa and I'm always Anna (p.s. that's fine by me because Anna is by far the coolest girl to ever be a Disney princess, in my opinion). Levi has yet to join in on the pretend party, but pretty soon I'm sure she'll make him Olaf or Hans. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, it does make playtime a challenge when my kids are three years apart. Levi prefers to have me hold his hands as he tries to figure out how to walk, which doesn't exactly leave me with another limb to play with Elle. It definitely has been a challenge figuring out how to play with my kids and spend time with them one on one. And this is what I have found that has helped so far:

1. I started Elle in preschool two mornings a week. This helped our whole family tremendously. As much as I miss her at home, she is a natural extrovert who prefers to be with friends and stay busy. This has given me an opportunity to have one-on-one time with Levi where I can just sit on the floor for an hour, and in the future, take him on special dates to the Library or to Starbucks for a chocolate croissant.

2. When Levi is napping and Elle is at home, Elle and I play together one on one. Sometimes she asks to just snuggle on the couch and watch a movie and other days we color, do an art project or we race outside. 

3. When they are both awake my attention is often more on Levi because he can't be independent right now, so I encourage Elle to do some solo play or she can play with me and Levi on the floor. 

4. Sometimes going to the park or going to Chic-fil-A is a great solution because Elle wants to play with friends and then I can still play with Levi, but that's not too often as the weather gets warmer here and when sickness is still really prevalent in the Valley. 

5. When Ryan comes home we usually spend a half hour playing as a family (if i have been able to get dinner taken care of) outside. This is our dog Wendy's favorite time of day because she gets included in playtime. 

I hope sharing how I approaching playtime with two kids. I'm sure it's going to change so much as they get older, but I hope they continue to keep my imagination and their imagination alive. Make sure to read about ways other moms are approaching playtime as part of the Real Talk Real Mom Series. 

Sarah Sherman Samuel, Apartment 34, The Effortless Chic, Parker, Etc., Sacramento Street, Our Style Stories, A Daily Something, Could I Have That, The Refined Woman

Also, as Mother's Day approaches consider supporting some rockstar moms in Uganda by shopping 31 Bits, a jewelry company featuring artisans from Africa that create beans with recycled paper. I'm wearing two of their pieces in these photos, and I have been a big supporter of them for several years. I can't say enough good about them.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer


Playtime looks a lot different now that I am a mom of two kids. In partnership with Fisher-Price, I'm sharing with you how Elle, Levi and I all play together.

I'm always looking for games and toys that a three year old and a baby would both love because when we can all play together everyone is happy, especially this mama. The reality is there is only one of me and two of them, and if I'm playing with Levi sometimes Elle feels left out. Fisher-Price gave me the perfect solution with their 4-in-1 Step n Play Piano. Now we have jam sessions and dance parties together, and Elle feels included.

Elle has always shown nothing but love for Levi. She enjoys playing mommy and taking care of him. What has been hard for her during the transition to becoming a big sister is giving up the one-on-one playtime with me and Ryan that she has enjoyed for three years. 

When Levi was a newborn it was fairly easy to give her more attention because he slept a lot, but now Levi is six months old and starting to sit on his own. He can easily hold toys and loves to move. This has made playtime more of a challenge because they both need attention at the same time, but want to play with different toys. 

The Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Step n Play Piano. is the perfect toy for our family right now because Elle thinks it's just as cool as Levi does. It's basically like a DJ station for kids. You can play a piano, tambourine, guitar and a turntable. The sounds of this toy aren't annoying like other toys. It actually has cool digitized beats like you would hear in a pop song. 


The seat turns and also slides up and down the center. It also grows with the kiddo by taking out the seat all together and making it a toy to help them learn to stand. It's safe to say we'll be using this toy for a long time.

Plus, you can take your music on the go by taking the mat, tambourine and microphone out of the stander and giving your little one a tummy time experience. Elle likes to add in dance moves with the tambourine, Levi makes the beats and I try my hardest to sing a good version of twinkle twinkle little star. Haha! That seriously what is going on in the picture above, but I can't say that I sound too great.

What has also been helpful with the transition is making time for mommy-daughter dates and daddy-daughter dates. Though they can't always have my undivided attention, I try really hard to still make myself available.

I'm happy to share that Fisher-Price would like to give a 4-in-1 Step n Play Piano to a lucky reader. To enter into the giveaway, please share any advice you have on how to help your kids play well together OR share why you need this amazing toy too in the comments below. I will choose a winner at random the end of the day on Friday at 5pm PST.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer