Archive for June, 2010

It seems like just a few days ago that I was announcing that there would be a lapse in posts due to our trip to Wisconsin.  Remember that?  Wasn’t it like last Tuesday?

And here we are again.  We will be hitting the road bright and early Wednesday morning for three fabulous (I hope!) days in Memphis, Tennessee.  I just hope I’ve planned enough things to keep the kids and me busy while Chad is in all his business meetings.  The last few years, I’ve thought it would necessary to have a all clad copper core to withstand three days with these children in a hotel room.

This year, they’re older and I feel comfortable with them by myself in an indoor pool (PLEASE let there be an indoor pool!).  I’m also bringing books, non-messy art supplies, and a few other surprises.  Plus, we’re bringing the laptop and we can play Netflix on it.  They won’t even have to sacrifice Dora and Diego on vacation!

And when I get back?  There won’t be any posts about travel until the middle of July!  Aren’t you glad?

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
– Sigmund Freud

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!  Especially to my dad and my husband Chad.

It has been so much fun watching Chad develop into the father he is today.  He is such an awesome dad to the kids and they love him so much.  Nothing gets them excited like hearing that Daddy’s almost home from work!  He makes every day fun for the kids (and me!)….whether we’re just going to the grocery store or getting ready for an Orlando vacation like we will be this fall.

It’s such a blessing for me as a mother to have him as my teammate in this parenting journey.  We really balance each other out, even though we don’t always agree on everything!  🙂

This morning, the kids got up early and made him Father’s Day cards and tonight we’re taking him out for dinner at his favorite restaurant, HuHot.  Though I’m not sure who’s more excited about that, him or the kids.  HuHot is their favorite too!

We travel quite a bit, especially in the warmer months of the year.  Every time we’re about a week away from our next trip, I start scouring the Internet for new ideas for streamlining the packing process.  Sometimes I find great new ideas, sometimes I just stick with what I know works.

This time, Quatro Mama happened to write a post on this very subject…..How to Pack for Family Vacations.  If anyone knows how to streamline packing, it’s her….she has quadruplet boys!

I thought I’d pass that link on to all of you.  She has some very valuable tips that I plan on using on our trip to Memphis next week.  My favorite is to shop for travel distractions at the Dollar Store.  That is just pure genius and I have no idea why I didn’t think of that sooner!

She also has links to packing checklists….my favorite!  I hate making my own lists because I’m always afraid I’ll forget to write stuff down.  Or write too much down….I’m known for trying to pack the Kohler kitchen sink! I’d rather start with someone else’s and add and subtract things to suit our family’s needs.  There is also a link for a Disney World packing list, which I’m very excited about since we’ll be going there in September.

Alright, time to stop writing about it, and actually start packing!

This week is Ava’s second week of swimming lessons.  She’s practicing putting her face in the water, blowing bubbles, floating, and moving her arms “like a windmill”.  She loves going to them every morning…I think she asks me about 20 times a morning if it’s time to go yet.

When she’s there, though, she seems a little cautious and uncomfortable.  I’m not sure if the water is too cold for her or if she doesn’t like being away from me or what.  I know that she’s the youngest in her class (she’s skipped over Preschool Level 1 and went straight to Level 2), so maybe that has something to do with it.

As long as she’s participating and is excited to go back, I’m not too worried about it).  We’re going to skip the July session because we’ll be going to WI in the middle of it, but we’ll try again in August.

Over the last few years, Chad’s parents have developed a small hobby farm.  They have sheep and quite a few chickens and the kids insist on going to see the animals every time we visit.

Last week, we happened to be visiting on the day they were having the sheep sheared!  Ava was more interested in playing with her cousins than watching the sheep have a haircut, but Kelvin watched for quite awhile.

After the sheep were all sheared, they moved on to the chickens.  By the time they were done, those cute little light-colored short Kelvin is wearing had mud/chicken poop all over the backside.  Eek!

After a morning on the “farm”, you wouldn’t think they’d need a sleep aid to get them down for their naps!  But that happened to be the day Kelvin learned to climb out of the pack n play, so we had very overtired kids by bedtime!

Getting kids to eat enough vegetables is a problem that plagues almost all mothers at one time or another.  Many moms have at least one picky eater in the family.  In our family, it’s Ava.  She was willing to eat all kinds of veggies when she was a baby, but then the terrible two’s hit and vegetables fell out of favor.  Kelvin, on the other hand, is still willing to eat any vegetable I cook.  That’s him in this picture with a giant asparagus we got at the farmer’s market!

Even though our kids view veggies as the enemy, we moms know how important they are for growth and development, health, and even for avoiding the need for future acne treatment gel.

Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful:

  1. Try serving vegetables in different ways.  If your child boycotts one recipe, find a different one featuring the same vegetable to try the next night.
  2. Sneak vegetables in.  I’ve been using The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals for the last few weeks and I absolutely love it!  It’s so easy to make kid-friendly meals into super-healthy meals without them even realizing it!  Of course, I still serve vegetables in their natural form (i.e. not pureed and mixed into other food), but at meals where they skip over the steamed broccoli, I know that they still got lots of nutrition from their other food.
  3. Try, try, try again.  Experts say that children often need to be served a food several times before they are willing to accept it.
  4. Get them involved.  The kids and I planted beans and tomatoes this year and I know Ava’s already excited to eat them, even though she typically doesn’t like fresh green beans (only canned).  Simply getting them involved in cooking them works well, too.
  5. When all else fails….ranch!  I can get Ava to eat almost anything by giving her ranch to dip it in!

What are your tricks for getting your kids to eat their veggies?

We did it!  Even though I brought a pack of disposable diapers for backup, we didn’t even use one disposable diaper during our entire trip!

All the nervousness on my part turned out to be for nothing.  Everything went exactly according to plan….no stink issues, no running out of clean diapers, and it wasn’t even a hassle.

I did end up bringing too many Flip disposable inserts.  I brought 2 packs, but we only used 1 pack (plus a couple extras I had from a previously opened pack).  I’d rather have too many than too few though!  I ended up starting to use the cloth inserts at the perfect time….when we got home, we had 2 left.  I also brought too many blankets for changing him on….I brought them to lay on the bed mattresses to keep from messing anything up, but ended up just using the changing pad from the diaper bag every time.

One thing that really helped was bringing all my wetbags and diaper pail liners.  I used the smallest wet bag in the diaper bag (I would air dry it between uses and pour a little baking soda in the bottom so it wouldn’t smell).  On the way home, though, I used the medium size one because we were using cloth inserts then which take up more room.

I brought two diaper pail liners and used one at each destination.  Then the diapers from the first few days could simply stay in the car instead of potentially stinking up our second destination.  They really didn’t stink though….I used baking soda in every bag and stuck in a wipe with a few drops of tea tree oil on it.  Between that and the essential oils in my wipes solution, everything stayed sweet-smelling.

I definitely plan to do this from now on.  Now that I know that it’s not only possible, but very easy, I don’t foresee ever going back to disposables on vacation!

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