Going Back to Work-A SAHM story.

It’s been an emotional few months to say the least. After taking a full time job opportunity in the medical field and leaving my comfortable “stay-at-home-mom” gig, I feel like my emotions have been all over the board. Being able to stay home with your children is such a privilege, and obviously, not everyone is able to for one reason or another. And that’s totally fine! I got to have a little over 3 years with my babes and it was MAGICAL.

MAGICAL: -exciting, hard, discouraging, encouraging, exhausting, relaxing, empowered, chaotic

Anyways, it’s been fun. But the opportunity arose for my husband to pursue his passion and nitch. He enrolled in Grad school and is getting his aster’s degree in teaching. He plans to teach high school History.ย  I could say I am proud of him, which is true, but I am really envious of his ability to change careers and go for what he really wants. That takes courage and strength in a whole different way. In order to support him and make the next year and a half go by much easier, I took this new career opportunity so he could be home with our kids, and get his school work done at times other than 12 and 1 am.

The first few days were awesome. It was like all the things I did complain about, about being a stay at home mom were fixed. I got to drive alone in the car???? This had bee a foreign concept to me for many years. I actually got to listen to what music was being played on the radio- which that excitement lasted 2 hours in traffic when I realized it’s crap and very repetitive. I got to go talk to other adults all day. This was so exciting as I pride myself on being a very social person ๐Ÿ™‚ I got that little “break” every day away from the house, away from the dishes and cleaning and screaming. And then, real life sunk in about 1 month into working. I realized I was never going to get to be home again with my youngest at the age he is right now. It hurt so much! I knew he was well taken care of and getting some awesome bonding in with his dad, but me! What about me?! We had been inseparable for almost 2 years now. I remember driving home about the 3rd week of work and just bawled. Turned on whatever sad song was playing- not Justin Bieber- and bawled. I think I cried the entire drive home which is an unpleasant 50 minutes. I thought about all the milestones I was missing, the laughs, the nap time rocking, the owies he was going to get without me being there to make it all better.

Once I got a hold of myself, pulled it together, approximately 1 second away from our driveway, I felt better. I needed to grieve my former job, former self, former life. I only cried like that once. Sure I’ve gotten teary eyed a few times here and there thinking about things or hearing things I’m missing, but I needed that 50 minutes to myself to wallow. And I think that’s OK. There is no book for the emotions and trials you will deal with when you go back to work. Well there is probably LITERALLY 100 I’m sure but…not my point.

Basically things have changed and we have all adjusted. Was my husband as scared as I was to make this transition? Absolutely. Is he still figuring things out every day like I am? Yup. The pressure we all have to do our best at every “job” in life or title is so exhausting. We feel the need to be the best student, the best mom, the best wife, the best employee. We are all just figuring shit out and doing the best we can! Well most of us ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband, has completely won at stay at home chef, and maybe needs some improvement in stay at home house cleaner ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

I have re-learned the expression TGIF. I have now cleverly changed it to TGIFF. You can probably guess what that means. My weekends are SACRED. They are golden. I now appreciate Saturdays and despise Sundays just like the rest of working America ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband has now forgotten what day of the week it is. I have to now brace myself in the garage before I walk in the door. I am flooded with “MOM, mom, MOmmy, MAMMMM, MUM” before I can get my purse or shoes off. “Listen to this song I learned, listen to me read this new book, watch my new trick, look at my owie I got today, he hurt me, sign this now please, help me with my homework, why can’t we go to the park? why don’t we ever do anything fun, you never are home, can I go play? Look at this giant mess I just made!” …..etc etc etc. Then when all I want to do is go change out of scrubs and into my sweats, my little one wants to be glued to my hip. I have to stop and appreciate this because I actually have MISSED him all day. It’s such a battle in my head between what I want to do and what I feel like I need to do. UGH. Soccer games, school functions prettyย  much take up my non working time, and then I get left with the guilt of not having time to myself- me, Alison. I am hoping time will heal all…LOL or at least help me get my sh*t organized!

I love what I’m doing, and I love helping patients heal. I love my new co-workers and I love the providers I get to work with daily. I keep getting asked “Do you like working better? Do you think it’s easier than staying home?” The answer to both of those is yes and no. Yes I enjoy working, helping people, interacting with adults and meeting new people. No, I miss my kids, I miss being able to have my own schedule, I miss having more patience with all of them. Yes, I think in some respects it is easier to work than stay home and a big NO at times it is much easier to be a stay at home parent than work. The debate is dumb and shouldn’t even exist. Every day is different and everyONE is different. I will say, my husband has an entire new respect for me and what I did now. He expresses it daily ๐Ÿ™‚

So that’s what’s been going on around here lately. I apologize to any friends, parents, people I have ignored or forgotten to call back over the past few months. I have been a complete scatter brain trying to figure this all out and learn TIME MANAGEMENT all over again!!!

**Thank you all who have supported us/me as a family and individually in making this transition for both Brent and I, and the kids as easy as it could be!!**

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pillow Talk

Hi, hello! It’s been 2 months since I’ve last posted! I have been busy blogging over at SugarBabies about awesome kid stuff, and most recently- I started a new job! I recently started working at Virginia Mason and so far I am loving it!
Today I wanted to talk Toddler Pillows. Most of you probably didn’t even know that was a thing. It is. It’s a very good thing. I started realizing Luca, my almost 2 year old { enter sad sad sad face } whom we still bed share with, was not only stealing my entire side of the bed, but stealing my pillow all night. He hadn’t done this before. He now sleeps like a normal human, with a pillow and all. Which again, is super sad. I don’t know why but it just is! So I realized that he actually may need his own pillow. So many questions came up:

    Are toddler pillows even a thing? Are they safe?Do they fit in cribs?

Yes, yes and yes.

I always head over to Instagram these days to find any kid/baby related product I am interested in. They usually have a page, or I can usually check a hashtag and find loads of info on products this way. Sure enough #toddlerpillow brought me to ClevaMama.

When I first began researching toddler pillows, I discovered a whole new world of these tiny little pillows I had no idea existed. They do indeed make pillows JUST for our little toddlers. And yes, they fit in cribs! Even though I do have two older kids, I had never used a pillow for them until they were in their own twin bed. It didn’t even occur to me. I guess, my main reason was safety. How could a pillow, which in some cases is used for smothering, be safe for MY BABY?! There were about 5 top leading brands and pillow types in this toddler pillow category. The ClevaMama pillow definitely stood out among the rest.

There were, like I said, around 5 other brands of top rated toddler pillows. One seemed all too “fluffy” for a crib. It didn’t seem at all safe to me. One pillow seemed extremely tiny for even a kid. It almost looked like a doll sized pillow. And then just like Goldilocks finding the perfect fit, I found ours.

Behind the Pillow:

The ClevaMama brand is a Dublin, Ireland based company founded by two moms, who are also sisters. Their moto is “Designed by mums, for mums.” Seemed perfect. The pillow is made of a type of foam that is scientifically designed to reduce the pressure on the back of your baby’s head by 50%. Manufactured using fabrics and foams that are hypo-allergenic, PH balanced and toxin free makes the pillow suitable for use with toddlers who suffer from asthma and allergies. The AirFlow fabric draws away moisture and increases airflow which makes it safe to breathe. These were all HUGE factors in choosing this pillow. Luca’s head and spine would be in perfect alignment while using the pillow, and I didn’t have to worry about suffocation. I read a few awesome reviews and decided this was the right pillow for us.

Our Experience:

ClevaMama was so generous to send Luca a pillow to try out with their adorable boy themed replacement pillow covers. I was SO excited to try the pillow out that night! I think he was excited too as he tried to pry open the box before I could grab a pair of scissors!

ClevaMama Toddler Pillow Review

 

I laid it at the top of his crib, which fit perfectly in to place. He struggles all night with thrashing around the crib from one end to the other and I was hoping this might help that with having a specific spot for his head to go. We used it first at nap time that day. After laying him down with is head on the pillow and walking out I quickly ran to my monitor to see what he would do. He laid on it for a while, and then sure enough fell asleep just below the pillow. I was just happy he didn’t try to use it as a toy to distract him from sleeping. That same night, I laid him down and was watching him on the monitor. He seemed to be keeping his head on the pillow….and then he fell asleep in the correct position. I was SO PLEASED!

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We have been using the ClevaMama Foam Toddler pillow for about 2 weeks now and he LOVES IT! Though he still ends up in our bed, using MY pillow half the night…the first half he stays on his own pillow sleeping soundly.

The cool part for me as a mom, is knowing he is getting healthy spine alignment and his breathing is not affected. It almost feels like a mini Tempurpedic toddler pillow. Spoiled little thing ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall Luca and I would give this pillow 5 stars and I would highly recommend to any momma out there!

The ClevaMama company not only has toddler pillows but so many more awesome baby products I would highly suggest looking into! I have linked the pillow URL below if you wanted to check it out!

ClevaMama Foam Toddler Pillow

**This products was given to us at no cost for reviewing purposes. All thoughts and opinions about this product and company are my own.

 

 

 

How To: Restrict Your Child’s iPod Touch/iPhone

The big debate happened this year on my son’s 9th birthday. Though I am against giving a child a cell phone until they can drive, I didn’t know what my stance was on the iPod Touch. This of course was all he could talk about and all he wanted for his birthday. My husband and I went back and forth whether we were ready for him to have this kind of responsibility.ย  I knew he would have access to the internet, YouTube, texting, games, videos, songs…all of which I couldn’t possibly monitor. Wrong. I managed to figure out how to completely crack down on the apple product and make it work for me, the parent.

Now, we did have a discussion about what was going to be allowed with this new investment prior to purchasing. We let him use his birthday money to buy it…but we pre-warned him about all the things he was not going to be able to do. We had decided

  • NO YouTube. There is FAR too much on there for a 9 year old to see. Even if it’s on accident.
  • NO texting, iMessage, Facetime (all which come with the newest iPod version)
  • NO full internet use…
  • NO downloading things without permission
  • NO listening or playingย  inappropriate songs, videos, games

But the problem was, how do you monitor all this? How can I make sure he wasn’t still doing all of this? I took to the internet and was so happy to find I could restrict and manage literally any part of his use I wanted. Here I will show you how to do it:

  • Go to the Settings on your child’s iPod
  • Go to Restrictions
  • You will have to create a passcode that you can only use to edit your restrictions…one your child cannot get into
  • Here you will be able to turn on and off all the applications on the iPod. Facetime, Messages, camera use, internet etc.
  • Below you will be able to allow certain applications-but restrict them. For instance: You can allow specific webpages on the internet…and only those ones you allow. You can choose what rate of movie is allowed to watch (G, PG, PG-13 etc) same with music. You can even make it so they cannot talk inappropriately to Siri.
  • You can make it so they have to ask permission to buy, download ANYTHING on their device. More on that below. (requires family iCloud sharing)

 

iCloud Family Sharing:

This is a really cool setting you can use if one of the parents also has an apple product..iPod or iPhone. You can go on your own phone under iCloud settings and create a new iCloud account- it will even ask if it is for a child. A child’s account will go under yours but it will allow them to make their own decisions…though will ALWAYS ask your permission before anything is bought-downloaded.

  • Your child will go in the app-store and try to download a game
  • They will have to send a message to your phone asking permission to do so
  • Then they will have to wait until you approve or deny the request.
  • You will have a message sent to you which you will need a specific passcode (only you would know) to approve or deny this.
  • You can read the description of the game, video or app they are purchasing and see the rating on it to help you decide if it is appropriate or not for your child
  • As soon as you do so, it will respond back to your child’s device.

My Child’s iPod

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My iPhone

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My iPhone

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My iPhone

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I hope this helps in your decision on whether to let your child get an iPod…and know that we still have power as parents!!!!

Please share if you think this was helpful and could help another parent! Thanks!

 

 

Why You Won’t Have Anything Nice Till You’re 80

Hot damn. I have developed a much higher patience level since my little Luca was born. I’m older, wiser (hehe) and don’t have the work stressors anymore. BUT this toddler has hit toddler’hood’.ย  I was having some difficulty or inspiration on my next post. It’s been a while. But every morning I realize I have the best material for a “mom blog” post there is. Here is why you won’t have anything nice till you’re 80.

Vibrantly Living- Why You Won't Have Anything Nice Till You're 80

I really don’t think my writing anything here will help you understand what is going on in this picture. It’s very obvious. Well, obvious to a mom who once liked nice things. Like Laura Mercier makeup brushes. If you aren’t the biggest makeup lover, you will need to know, this brush costs roughly around $40-50. I know, I know. That is a ridiculous price to pay for a brush. But when you are a grown up with kids, you start asking for these things for birthday, Christmas, heck even St. Patrick’s day presents. You can’t afford to spend that amount of money on that.

on anything for yourself actually ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

SO I was upset. Upset that my adorable almost 18 month old digs through my make up drawer every time I need to get ready. He pulled looked at the brush (I’m assuming, I was getting ready) decided that he would try to use all his toddler strength, and pull out all the bristles on that nice brush.

Because it’s fun that’s why.

So that was fun. I looked down and went “NOOOOOOOOOOOO” like on of those really drawn out, cartoon sequences no’s. Then, that little bundle of joy went “NOOOOOOOOOO” back at me. And then I laughed and got over it.

RIP Laura, RIP.

Vibrantly Living- Why You Won't Have Anything Nice Till You're 80

That’s a whole lotta damage right there. OK. Here from Left to Right we have….Anastasia Beverley Hills Eye Shadow Pallet, Bobbi Brown Lip Stick, and of course a LIMITED EDITION Bare Essentials highlighter. That I might add can only be purchased on Ebay now. Why you ask? THEY DON’T MAKE IT ANYMORE. If you look closely you can see little baby fingernail markings in the highlighter. Trust me, I am still using these. I slowly open the eye shadow and I very carefully apply the lipstick. I am 28 with three kids and technically one income, you will NEVER see me throw anything away. Unless it’s something important of my husband’s that he needs the next day. Then you will find it in the garbage truck just leaving our house.

LOVE YOU honey.

Vibrantly Living- Why You Won't Have Anything Nice Till You're 80

Now this, is not because of my toddler. Can you guess who the next culprit is? Our dog. Basically this post will apply to any person/persons who have either a child or a dog in their household. Again, why you won’t have anything nice till you’re 80. When we first moved into our new house I expected some regression from our dog. That’s normal. What I didn’t expect was 3 ripped up pairs of TOM’s, 2 Dolce Vita shoes and my husband’s pair of italian leather Ferragamo’s. That one took a while to get over. And it’s your dog. So all that cuteness that makes up for it afterwards when your kids do stupid sh*t, isn’t there. All they do is run from your like you’re some psycho who is coming after them. Just me? eh. I have had my mother in law sew this pillow already. But for some reason it continues to get ripped open. God only knows what my little fur ball is doing when i’m not home to completely destroy this poor pillow. I don’t even want to know.

Vibrantly Living- Why You Won't Have Anything Nice Till You're 80

This might be my last piece of evidence for this post, but I assure you, this is not the last thing they will destroy. My couch. I don’t even know if you can technically call it that anymore. It’s like a bacteria infested, pee stained, juice drenched large piece of fabric located in the most used room in the house. My favorite part is when you explain how you need a new couch to other mom’s, or even better, people who don’t have kids but like to chime in on stuff. You start complaining how gross it is and how your kids have completely destroyed it.

“Well, my kids aren’t allowed to drink in the living room” Oh really? I actually tell my children to have a free for all in the living room on the most used furniture in the house. Trying to monitor and control three kids and friends is dumb. I agree, I could enforce this “rule” more but I actually have twenty other things I am doing. The toddler, likes to run away when I am changing his diaper. He starts crawling all over the couch with his little “peepee” touching everything. While I am still on the floor waiting for him to return to get his diaper on, he looks over at me, sticks out his belly and little manhood and pees. On the couch. Then laughs.

So I am sure you understand by now why if you have children or a dog you won’t have anything nice for a while. But why 80?

My husband and I figured this out one night as we were looking around our kid trashed house. Right now we have babies and kids who obviously ruin things. Then we will have teenagers who will be smearing pizza grease and cheetoh’s on everything. Not to mention our son ruining all my towels (ahem). Then just when you think you can breathe for a minute and go out and by yourself a new Sellens couch…

BAM

They return with THEIR kids. The cycle starts all over. So when we are 80 or so, maybe we can invest in something nice. But then we will probably die a few years later and our kids will get it and then let their kids ruin it.

Cue music…… “The circle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife.”

END SCENE

“Are you really still nursing?”

*Quick disclaimer. I am writing this with a light heart, and no hard feelings. I do not honestly care what people have said, will say, I am purely writing this for fun. And for the other mom’s who do feel self conscious about this subject. *

That being said…

“Oh my God Becky, look at her boobs. They’re so big. She’s like one of those toddlers moms or something. Ew.” That’s basically what it feels like right ladies? We have all seen the buzzfeed videos and the “viral” 5 reasons why you shouldn’t breastfeed. But I feel like it is worse than just random people staring you down. I personally do no nurse in public. I did, when my baby was very little and he needed to be fed every couple of hours. Do you want me to stay home all day and do nothing? But even so, I usually did it in a restroom that catered to nursing moms or in the car parking lot. I did this because it made ME feel more comfortable. Not because of other people. Does it bother me when other moms did it? No. Not one bit. Did it bother me when I was at the mall play area and a woman whipped it out with no cover, no shelter no care in the world that my 7-year-old son was staring at her? Yes. Yes it totally made me uncomfortable. There is a common courtesy people should give…I mean come on.ย  But like I was saying, it goes beyond strangers.

I nursed my first-born for 6 months, my daughter for 6 weeks and yes, yes I am still nursing my 15 month old. Did I plan on going this long? No. My goal was a year. I am a stay at home mom and I felt that it was best for my baby and our family. Now 5 months past my goal it’s still happening. Whether it’s my comfort or his it is still working. He is still a baby, hardly a “kid.”ย  I still enjoy it and so does he? I usually only nurse at night-time, and during the night. This wasn’t planned, but it’s what we do and that’s OK. I’m sorry, does my nursing in the privacy of my home, at night bother you??? Oh I didn’t realize I was affecting other people, by doing this.

“Are you going to be one of those people who nurse their baby till he is 5?

“Are you going to be one of those moms who nurse until the kid starts asking for it?”

“Were you planning on nursing this long?”

“Please don’t be one of those moms.”

WHAT is one of those moms? Who are these horrible mother’s feeding their kids? I want to meet one and give herย  a piece of my mind. It’s truly disgusting that a mother would enjoy feeding and bonding with her child past the age of 1. Ugh.

I love my family and friends that are so concerned for my baby and mine well-being, but I think we got it covered. I think we will manage. No, I personally will not be continuing past 18 months. For my own personal reasons, not for YOUR reasons.

Again, I am not truly offended by the comments I get when I mention I am still nursing. I laugh and smile. But for all the other women who are enjoying this VERY SHORT period of time with their baby and are getting crap for it…WHO CARES! ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t let the boobies fly but let the milk flow

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Baby Carrying & Things My Kid’s Say

It’s that time again. One week, actually 6 days. The iconic Adam Sandler chime is on repeat in my head… “Back to school, back to school…” I mean we all love our kids…but come on. 3 months of one on one??? That would drive any person crazy. This summer was a bit easier than last summer when I was trying so hard to figure out how to manage 3 kids. This summer I had that part down…it was how to control all of them! Nap time is twice a day. Which means this can be accomplished if we don’t do ANYTHING that day. Trying to get your baby on a routine when you have 2 other children is extremely difficult.

8 am: “Mom, mom, mother, mommy…what are we doing today? Where are we going?” Me: “You mean we have to go somewhere again today? Monday we were at the pool, Tuesday we were at the lake, Wednesday you played with a friend all day, Thursday we went to the park, and today? Today we are staying the eff home so your brother can take a friggn NAP!”

And that gets me… “You might as well be like a foster parent.”

*HEAD in palm. GO BACK TO SCHOOL CHILDREN. *

Today…the baby is sleeping, the older ones are playing with friends and I am writing. It feel so good to write!! At least you listen to me, and I don’t have to repeat myself fifty times. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

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Now that I have summed up our summer I wanted to share with you guys something I have used a lot this summer and how it has been a game changer! My Ergo baby.ย  I had never used a baby carrier before with the older kids because a) they weren’t that popular back then and b) I couldn’t have been bothered trying to figure them out. When I was doing research on all the BEST baby gear to get for this new baby this was definitely something I wanted to try out. I have some disc problems in my back and I really wanted to find something that wasn’t going to aggravate it. I needed to be able to carry my baby e=places like the soccer field, zoo etc because I have other kids I needed to keep up with. I went to Sugar Babies down in Sumner- The baby experts- and tried a few on. They had the Baby K’tan which is more like a Moby wrap with a pouch in the front, and they have the Sakura Bloom Slings. I found the Ergo to be the most comfortable and easy to use. They have a wide variety of adorable patterns from anchors, to owls and my favorite the Petunia Pickle Bottom black floral.

*How can you use it? I was able to use this carrier for my newborn with the newborn insert. I watched a youtube tutorial and it was SO easy to figure out. I was able to use this when I was by myself without help from anyone. My baby instantly fell asleep whenever he was put in it. This was aย  LIFESAVER for the first few months when he wanted to be held while I was trying to make dinner and cook. Now that my baby is 15 months I find it easiest to use on my back. Again very simple to put on and get him in and out while I am by myself. We just went back to school shopping. This is a feat for any mom with 3 kids. I brought the stroller which did it’s job for an hour and then he was done. Instead of putting him at my front which I knew he would be pissed, I put him on my back and he was HAPPY.

*Is it Pricey? Yes a little. My theory is you get what you pay for. It has VERY high quality material and clasps and is extremely;y comfortable to wear. It is heavy duty! I would buy this over and over again, and If I could afford it, it would be the gift I would give at baby showers!

I do feel a little bit educated on what baby items actually work, are worth it, which ones you should splurge on and not and what brands are good. This one is one. Go try it on, test it out and see if it works best for you and your baby.

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I am off to 6 days a week of soccer, ice cream socials and classroom volunteering–aka Stay at home mom life…and couldn’t be more excited ๐Ÿ™‚

But seriously though- as long as they are gone for 6 hours it will be ok ๐Ÿ˜‰

How to survive & enjoy traveling with three kids

I hardly can believe it has been 3 months since our trip to Scotland. I feel like it went way too quickly…from planning, packing and going and returning it is such a whirlwind. Especially when your travel plans include an 8, 6 and 10 month old. Long gone the days of packing an hour before you leave and sleeping on the plane. LONG gone. Mom is now responsible to remember her own hair brush, toothbrush and 3 other human beings 17 day packing list. How do you do it? Well..I am still not sure but I am here to make a few tips that CAN make it easier.

A few months before we left I started researching “How to travel with kids” on Pinterest, which led me to many mom blogs. I read all the tips and pointers that I thought best fit me and my family. There are the blogs that focus on having one kid…who sits perfectly in their seat for 10+ hours because you packed them a coloring book and organic granola bars.  Then that one blog that features maybe 2 kids..yet their best tips are flying first class, staying in 5 star hotels and bringing your nanny along…Yea that would be helpful for all of us, thanks. So when you are researching, find one that suits your needs..not wants. I am going to itemize out the tips that DID work for me and then some that absolutely did not and made life hell- sound fun?

GREAT/GOOD/LIFE IS EASIER TIPS:

  • Pack a small backpack/bag for your child– or each individual child. If you have more than one child they need their own. Their own specific to them, their personality bag.

For our 6 year old daughter I packed a coloring book, her Melissa and Doug sticker doll book, a small booklet of homework from her teacher, and a pencil pouch filled with crayons, markers and colored pencils. These were items I knew could keep her entertained… Another small bag inside her back pack was a snack bag. I know my kids. Every ten seconds it’s “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty..” and traveling for 20 odd hours would be a feat. So I packed granola bars, pirates booty, raisins, bottled water, juice pouches, and a treat. I tried to stay clear of too much sugar because she turns into a gremlin, for realz. One more small bag I packed into the back pack-toiletries and essentials. I found a cute toiletry bag and put toothpaste, toothbrush, Melatonin, Kids Tylenol, small hairbrush, gum. The following items were also stuffed in her own bag- comfy kid headphones, her tablet loaded with games and Netflix, a small pillow, her blanket. These were all LIFESAVERS when it came to 4 hours layovers, and train rides.

For our 8 year old son we (I mean I, I packed) packed a coloring book, his school assignments, a few of his favorite chapter books, (should have packed a small lego set to build or create), and a Melissa and Doug boy version sticker book. The same snacks were packed for both kids. You think I wanted to deal with THAT battle?! We decided since I would be busy with baby, and my own bags, and my husband would be doing everything else that the older kids could carry their own bags. Thus the backpacks. SO much easier for this age. And it makes them responsible for their things and helping out.

For the 10 month old baby I packed the following  items- His favorite book that got us through MANY take off and landings, His teething Sophie Giraffe which he didn’t care about at all, His plastic toy car which entertained many airport travelers and plane goers. These were the only toys I brought for him as I was trying to pack lite. Food- Puffs and puffs and lots of puffs. I had to plan out just how many meals I needed from the time we left our house to the time we arrived at our destination. I ended up bringing numerous organic food packets that he sucked out of. Easy to use, easy to pack and no spoon or bowl required. I also packed Mum Mum’s. DO NOT pack teething biscuits. They will be EVERYWHERE on everything and everyone. Mum Mum’s are rice cakes that dissolve fairly fast and don’t make the mess. I also had to pack numerous outfits, bibs, diapers for him. I know he is a messy one so for each small trip we did I packed roughly 3 pairs of pants, 7 bibs, 3-4 onesies, and 4 shirts. This was just a day trip. But I knew he would be eating everything, spitting up, peeing and what not on everything so my biggest advice for a baby- BE PREPARED/OVER PREPARED. Another tip would be if your baby takes a pacifier…not only pack some in the suit case but pack 3-4 in the diaper bag as well….they get lost. AND pacifier clips were my best friend the entire trip!

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  • Almost every international airport has a kids play area-FIND IT. This little tip I made up. I had no idea this existed. And I didn’t know existed until our return flights home. We had a couple 4+ layovers at London Heathrow which the first time around would have made my life so much easier. Find the information booth and ask if they have a kid play area and then go there. Your kids, your husband and all other travelers will thank you.iphone pictures 994
  • Most international flights provide free alcohol/wine-GET IT. That’s fine if you don’t drink, I get it. But if you enjoy a nice glass of wine at the end of a rough day..yea you will want it. In fact, every flight we went on the flight attendants kept stocking us up every time they went by..I did not feel guilty.
  • When reserving your flight ask for a baby cot. If you are traveling with a child under 2 you do not have to pay for a seat for them. Letsbehonest they are on you the entire time anyways. You do have to pay the tax of what your ticket was but that’s all. After you reserve your flight whether online or on the phone make sure to speak to a customer service rep and request a child cot. I believe each airline is different but they go up to 18 months of age or a certain weight. This was completely FREE. Most people don’t know about them though. You have to request it or they will not reserve one for you. Basically they make sure you are sitting at the front row so there is a wall in front of you—extra leg room–and a table pops down from the wall where they place a cot/chair. For infants it is a boxy thing that has a mattress in it for the baby to lay, and for a bigger baby it looks like a bouncy chair that can recline to laying down or sitting up.

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  • Bring a little of home with you. Being gone for 17 days, in numerous hotels, house and bedrooms and having to get 2 naps in and bedtime, this made all the difference. I have a baby who doesn’t sleep, nor sleep well anywhere other than his bed at home. So to say I had anxiety about this was an understatement. At home, I have a cricket noise machine always on, a turtle that plays music and has lights that goes in his crib and a special “bed time” blanket. I brought all of them. I wanted to establish a place for him to sleep wherever we were that was reminiscent of home. Though I did not actually bring the noise machine- trying to save suit case space…I downloaded an app on my phone that had the same cricket noises and I left that in his nap/bed area.
  • Have an agenda but not an itinerary. You don’t want to go into something blind when you are responsible for 3 kids. It is good to have an outline before you go of what you are going to do. The major site seeing attractions you are going to see, the hotels you are staying at (and requesting high chairs and cribs in all rooms) and a general idea of your surroundings. BUT the last thing you want to do is create a play by play of what your day will look like, because it won’t look anything like that. You have kids, everything is bound to change. Be flexible, open to new ideas.

Tips I took with me and regret to this day (Bad/no good tips):

  • Bring a damn stroller- If I could go back and do one thing it would be to bring an effing stroller. I feel very strongly about this, can you tell?! I LOVE Solly Baby. Elle and her entire family are amazing. A few months before we went on our trip they traveled all around Europe with their three small kids. She said “Don’t bring a stroller” she said what a hassle it would be getting it on/off airplanes, trains, hotels, site seeing etc. And I was like “oh my gosh that’s such a good idea,  don’t want to be weighed down with another large baby item.” Carry your baby everywhere you go, it’s so much easier- she said. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. I still have yet to wear Luca in a single baby carrier since we have been back because I get anxiety. I carried this energetic, want to get down and explore, sweaty, crying, messy baby through 3 different airports, 12 hour plane rides, 6 hour train rides, 7+ miles a day and let me tell you, don’t do it. I love baby carrying just as much as the next Seattleite mom but this is too much. I needed my own space, he needed his own space, he wouldn’t sleep, I couldn’t go to the bathroom, I had never in my life needed a massage so badly. In Europe no one where their baby! Everyone has strollers, and it’s easy! Everything was stroller accessible, even ancient castles! You can even take your stroller up to the second before you get on the plane…and then the second you get off they have it for your. EASY. When it comes to stress there is going to be a lot when traveling through customs, security and what not with that many kids and this made it so much more work. Stroller= yes.

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  • Rent a damn car– We thought traveling by trains would be our easiest form of transportation in Europe, No. I would highly recommend renting a car. You aren’t bugging other people, your kids can sleep if it’s a long car ride, you don’t have the stress of trying to make a train schedule or finding the damn station. It would have made life a whole lot easier. And when we did have the chance to use a car-it was crazy how much less stress everything became. So, RENT A CAR!!!

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Luckily for us we had family to stay with for the majority of the time which was extremely helpful. Having a place to come back to, setup camp I guess or a home base. But we did planes, trains, automobiles and boat and it was safe to say we had a blast. A memory our kids will take with them for the rest of their lives. It only took my husband and I about a month to recover ๐Ÿ˜‰

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