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Traveling With Kids // Updated Edition

May 29, 2018

After our recent trip to Idaho with a baby and preschooler in tow, I think it’s time for a little updated edition of traveling with a baby and toddler. Not because I know all the things, but we have done air travel with two kids a couple times now, with another trip coming up soon. I considered our most recent trip a success because I didn’t say “I’m never doing this again!” event once on this trip. That, friends, is the low bar that I set for traveling with little kids, because it’s hard, sometimes crazy, and a little bit nuts but it’s worth it. And with the right mindset, it doesn’t have to be miserable, either.

So, here are a few thoughts and take-aways about traveling with little kids.

Age Matters // 
The girls are at totally different stages in terms of how easy they are to travel with. Collins is currently just over a year old and in, what I think, is the hardest age to do air travel with. She isn’t able to walk well yet, so she crawls all over dirty surfaces like the airport floor, and she isn’t easily entertained with toys, stickers, media, etc. Yet she isn’t a sleepy newborn anymore, either. She mainly just protests being held and squirms around a lot. Just remember that things get easier and better over time.

Pick Smart Flights // 
I know this isn’t always an option because price is a factor, too, but I suggest trying to travel in the morning vs. later in the day when everyone is exhausted and weary. My girls aren’t super great at napping on the plane or in the stroller, so while “nap time flights” seem like a great idea in theory, it really backfires. We took a very early morning flight on our way home (think 5:30 am) and it was surprisingly great. We were all pretty exhausted after a 12 hour travel day and 3:45 am wake-up, but Ainsley was super sleepy on the plane, they dimmed the cabin lights and Collins even napped for a little bit as well. We had breakfast when we got to our destination and then hopped in the car for the drive home and everyone slept + early early bed times so mom and dad could recover, too! Early morning flights not be for everyone, but finding flight times that work for your family really does help make the experience easier. Also, if you can fly direct, by all means do so! You reduce the risk of getting stuck

Check Your Bags //
We’re pretty light packers, so we typically only have a couple carry-on suitcases with us, but we learned a long time ago that having our hands free in the airport to wrangle kids is key. We check our bags (and our car seats) when we get to the airport so we only have our stroller and a couple backpacks to deal with through security and the airport. If you fly Southwest, the first bag is always free and on all airlines the car seats are free to check. If you typically fly another airline, look into getting that airline’s credit card, which typically gets you a free checked bag as well. We borrowed this awesome car seat bag from a friend and I bought two of them today because they are SO good. Car seats are so awkward to carry and this backpack carry option helps tremendously!

We travel with our double stroller because we *need* a way to contain both girls through the airport and love having our stroller with us when we reach our destination. We gate-check the stroller when we get on the plane and it works great!

Get on the Plane Last //
If you check your bags, then you don’t have to worry about getting on the plane early to ensure room for luggage overhead. And if you’re not worried about that, then you can get on the plane LAST. We say “no!” to getting on board early because we’ve had too many times stuck on the plane super early while boarding takes forever and the kids have already been on the plane an extra 45 minutes by the time the plane takes off. So wait until the last minute to board and keep everyone running around and fresh until absolutely necessary.

Buy What You Can There //
Things like diapers, wipes, and formula can really take up a ton of space. Don’t waste that space packing enough of those things for your entire trip. Pack enough for your trip there, and buy what you need once you get to your destination. With so many Targets and Walmarts and more available to you, chances are you’ll be just fine getting what you need when you arrive. And if you are staying with family, you can always ship your items ahead of time!

Madison

Family

Donut Wednesday

September 10, 2016

AinsleyDonut

This summer Ainsley and I started a tradition called Donut Wednesday. If you follow me over on IG, chances are you’ve seen a few photos of our weekly donut dates, where I take my coffee along with me to the bakery (because the bakery has such bad coffee) and Ainsley orders a sprinkle donut and proceeds to eat all the sprinkles off the top of the donut.

I’m convinced she is my child because she loves sweets just like her momma and has taken to waking at ridiculously early hours, just like her mom.

As Ainsley has gotten older, I’ve been working on being more intentional in my parenting. Slowing down, pointing out the little things, letting Ainsley walk down the street ridiculously slow while she points at every little rock and crack in the ground.

And it’s not the most natural thing in the world to me – doing the same puzzle fifteen times or going to the park for the third time of the day or looking at rocks in the landscaping. Sometimes it feels dull. Sometimes, when Ainsley is having a day and seems dissatisfied with everything, including me, I can let that little voice in my head tell me that I’m just not very good at this motherhood thing.

When I’m at work I consistently feel good at what I’m doing. Sure, I have days where I question things, but figuring out the right words for a freelance article feels easier than negotiating with a toddler who isn’t sure what she wants.

I’ve been thinking a lot about slowing down in all areas of life, working hard at things that don’t come naturally and giving myself grace when it doesn’t come right away. I’ve been reading Present Over Perfect, which came at the perfect time in this season of slowing down.

In the past I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve lacked discipline. I’m a procrastinator by nature, pushing off the hard for what’s fun, easy, and provides instant gratification. But motherhood isn’t about instant gratification. It’s a season of watering the ground, again and again, waiting for the seed to come up. Believing that all the watering, day after day, will eventually yield the fruit you dreamed about when you planted the seed.

And it shows, very little by little. A “thank you” or a random show of affection. When Ainsley puts her toys away on her own or shares a toy with a friend. The glimpses are fleeting at this age, hard to come by for sure. But I’m waiting, being patient and believing that the fruit will come if I continue to water the seed, day after day.

In recent months I’ve been inspired by women who are modeling  intentionality in their posting, their motherhood, how they interact with social media and others. If you’re looking for resources yourself, I’ve listed a few of my favorites below!

Laura Wifler // How Intentional Mornings are Changing My Life 
Shauna Niequist // Present Over Perfect 
Risen Motherhood // Ep. 27 Intentional Motherhood: It’s the Little Things
Design for Mankind // Well Done (every mom needs to read this!)
Food Loves Writing // An Essay on Parenthood, One Year In 

Madison