Thursday, December 14, 2017

Traveling with a Toddler!

We took our first family vacation in August! After a quick stop in Dallas to see my family and celebrate Henley's 2nd birthday we jetted off to Detroit > Ann Arbor > New Buffalo > Chicago > Dallas! We saw many towns in between including the quaint Marshall, Michigan.

I captured some of our adventures in the video below! Hopefully, it shows off how magical it felt. 

Now for traveling tips! 
  • Don't bring all the things. For clothing, I packed mix and match basics. For entertainment, I downloaded children's books on my Kindle (Henley's favorite is Catch the Moon) + movies on the iPad, and brought crayons, paper, and stickers. You can rent things such as car seats and strollers, however, we decided to bring our car seat and used this carrier. For a stroller, we purchased a $20 umbrella stroller at our first stop.
  • Talk it up! The month before our first flight, we spend evenings airplane hunting and even arrived at the airport early (a tip in and of itself) to show her the planes taking off. 
  • The Visitor Center is your friend. We stopped into the Marshall Visitor Center and it was a life-saver. Hen needed a diaper change, water, and we were starving! In addition to water + a clean bathroom, they gave us coupons, a bag of goodies, and recommended two local, kid-friendly restaurants.  
  • Airbnb it up! We rented a beautiful home in Ann Arbor with space, a garden, and chickens in the backyard. A chunk of our trip was spent relaxing as a family, playing, reading, and even cooking meals. Plus we were able to wash laundry!
  • Kid-friendly activities. Find out what the town has for children, whether it's a children's museum or local park, make each day include something just for them. On a related note...
  • You know your child. My daughter is spirited, curious, and tactile. The Hands-On Museum was a perfect spot for her, an art museum not so much. I made one afternoon more painful than needed because I ignored what I knew. 
  • Be normal. Our daughter says goodnight to the moon each evening. We made that routine happen. It helped make nighttime in a different place a little less scary.
  • Remember your child is a person. Ask their opinion on dinner, activities, etc. We sat outside when eating because she chose it. Being consulted makes her feel included and less likely to become overwhelmed.
  • Be empathetic. Children are in new places, trying new things. Naps might be missed. Dinner might be delayed. There are so many scenarios threatening to throw your child off. Do your best and then be kind with yourself, others, and especially your child.
  • Reset your expectations. Trips aren't about everything you saw or did but how you felt. That's what you'll remember. Plan to be surprised, joyful, and present. 

What are your favorite tips? 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Becoming a Mom

Tomorrow, is Henley's 2nd birthday. It is amazing how much love, patience, and hope I have for one individual. When I became pregnant, I kept a journal of my every thought and continued until she turned one. That was when she started walking and my free moments became crafting, chasing, and "cooking". 

In the chaos, I haven’t written down that she loves to sing and dance. Right now she has a medley that consists of “Let it go” with twirling and wide-sweeping arm motions, “BODY” with purposeful marching, and ending with “Ooh Ooh Ooh Ee Ah”. In case you don’t speak Hen, that’s Frozen, Trolls, and Zootopia smushed together.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I don’t want to teach that lesson….

I’m a mother to a 21-month old little girl, Hen. I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to fully raise a child. I’m just getting started. Right now I’m trying to teach Hen how to count to 5. So far, we’ve got one to three.

In addition to four and five, there are many lessons left. Many of them I can’t wait to start. For example, the first time she has a book report! I can’t wait to read the book along with her, just like my mom did. Or the first time we bake a cake together and it’s a gooey disastrous mess. But, there are other lessons I’m not so excited to discuss. Like, the first time a friend hurts her feelings, the day I have to explain that she cannot trust everyone, when we talk about infatuation vs love. I’m not looking forward to her first heartbreak or the moment I’m standing on the sideline in fear she’s making a mistake, but trying to decide if it’s a mistake she should make. Ugh. Even just thinking through all the scenarios makes me anxious.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day! A love note to my husband.

My husband and I have been something special from the minute we saw each other. Through dating we also became best friends. And in August 2015, he took on a 3rd role as my co-pilot in the wonderfully crazy ride that is parenting.

Of all of these roles, he doesn’t get enough cred for his role as “Daddy”. So on his second Father’s Day, here’s a little ode to the guy that’s number one in my heart and Henley’s.


There’s possibly no sweeter sound that Henley saying “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” each night when she wants you to come visit her in bed. Except maybe when you walk into the room and she bursts into a fit of giggles. Her love for you is grand and vast and big.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Please don't label my child.

Being kind is hard. It takes patience, empathy, consideration, warmth, open-mindedness, curiosity, and courage. Each day I work to be kind and to raise a kind child. One thing I’ve learned is that I can have a kind heart and still not be kind in each moment because I’m not perfect.

My daughter is the same way. She has a kind heart. Each morning she wakes up with the priority to take care of our three rescues. She won't eat until they have. She’s giving. At her first Easter egg hunt, she filled her basket with eggs and then went to each of the kids still learning to walk and put eggs in their basket. We left with zero eggs. In spite of that heart, she has moments that are perceived to be unkind. And this is when the world knocks her down. This is when the world holds her to a standard that none of us could meet. This is when the world labels her as “spoiled”, “selfish”, “manipulative”.
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