19 November 2014

Tips For Traveling With Small Children

My kids and I go a ton of places together. Usually we take a lot of local trips, and just drive to our destination. Well, except for the 14 hour drive we make to Idaho every year, that's not exactly local. lol. But the recent trip we took to California was the first time that my entire family went on an airplane somewhere together. And although the flight is somewhat short from Seattle to L.A., I'll admit that I was pretty nervous for the plane ride. You just never know what you're going to get with small kids. How will they handle the airport, going through security? Will they freak out on the airplane? What will do we do entertain them? What if the pressure bothers their ears? What if my oldest won't use the tiny bathroom on the plane? So many variables. Traveling can be stressful for an adult, so I was trying to prepare myself for what it would be like with my 4 & 2 year olds.

Along the way, I was jotting down some things I learned that I thought I would pass on to you.  :-)

ONE | Prepare and excite them beforehand
I found that talking a lot about our upcoming trip and preparing the kids to go on the airplane, was really fun for them. I printed out a calendar and drew an airplane on the day we were going to leave, then we crossed the days off as they passed. It built up quite a bit excitement and anticipation, so when it came time to actually go, they were just so excited and happy, they didn't even think to misbehave.

TWO | Get ID Bracelets for them
This is HUGE. At least it was for me. Kids have tendencies to wander and explore. And in crowded places like airports, parking lots, or theme parks, I feel like the fear of them getting lost brings on a lot of anxiety, which in turn makes traveling with them super stressful. I got a couple of ID bracelets for my kids from Road ID, and I was super happy with them. Obviously, they wouldn't prevent my kids from wandering off, but it gave me a little peace of mind that if they did get lost, all of my info would be on the bracelet.

THREE | Pack tons of snacks
This is a given, I think. But I would suggest packing things that they only get on special occasions. Pack things that are easy for them to eat and that won't be super messy. Also, this goes with #1, but take them shopping with you for their "travel snacks." Involving them in the process will help them to get prepared for the trip.

FOUR | Let them carry their own backpack
I had a backpack for each of my kids, and we loaded it up with their special travel snacks and a few other things (toys, diapers... etc). The fact that they got to carry their own bag and be in charge of it, helped them to feel a little more in control. And I strongly feel that this is one of the reasons they did so well traveling on our trip.

FIVE | Load up on kids apps and shows
iPads, iPhones, Laptops... they will be your best friend while traveling! Search for some new, fun apps for them to try out while you're at the airport or on the plane. Load some movies or shows up for them and you'll be golden!

SIX | Make a big deal of the small things
Whether it's a cab ride, shuttle ride, train ride, or just staring out the window at the airport watching the planes take off.... make it a fun and exciting learning experience. Talk to them about the various jobs people have to help facilitate your travel. TSA agents, Gate employees, the Pilot... etc. Keep them interested and get excited with them! Our kids thought that the shuttle ride over to the airport was the coolest thing ever, because we really talked it up!

SEVEN | Lower your Expectations
This is SO important. Traveling can be really overwhelming for some kids. There are lot of crowds, lines, and things to keep track of. If you expect your kids to be perfectly well behaved, you will find yourself stressed out and overwhelmed. Prepare yourself mentally, and have realistic expectations of our kids. The entire experience will be so much more delightful.

SEVEN | Give them some space
This one is really hard to do with little kids, but it's imperative. Obviously, keep them close and always keep an eye on them, but try not to crowd your kids. It will annoy them and stress them out, and they'll likely have more meltdowns. Give them a little room to breath. And by all means, let them be little. Let them giggle, play and run if they need to. I mean, it goes without saying that you need to be mindful of other travelers, but if your kids are happy, most likely, they'll be happy.

This advise isn't necessarily going to guarantee you stress-free travels, but I hope they help a little bit!!

What would you add to this list??

18 November 2014

Safe Haven.

As parents, we worry all the time, about everything when it comes to out children, don't we?? Bennett struggles a little with with anxiety, which is a hard thing to deal with, for us and for him. You can see when the anxiety is building, and sometimes he'll calm himself down and go off by himself for a minute. But other times it builds and builds and he will just explode. Mostly, I'm just always concerned with his ability to deal with his anxiety. We're working on finding answers for him, for what works and what doesn't. And Easton, he doesn't struggle nearly as much with anxiety, but he does get nervous sometimes when he's out of his comfort zone, as do most kids I think.

The reason why I bring this up, is because I've been noticing something in the past several months that makes me very happy. And that is that the dynamic between Bennett and Easton is developing into to much more than just a sibling relationship. It's becoming a true brotherhood. A safe haven.

I think we all have those people that we can be our complete selves with. We know that when we're feeling anxious or uncomfortable, those people will keep us grounded and balanced. We know we're safe with them. I think that's soooo important that we have people in our lives like that. Those people are good for us, and help us get through the tough times.

And I know that's what Bennett & Easton are for each other right now. It's such a blessing to witness their relationship and watch the trust grow between the two of them. They are each other's refuge when things get overwhelming and there is no judgement between them. I love the reliance that they have on each other, and that they understand each other so completely.

I could gush all day about these two. But really, I'm just so glad they have one another. To have a safe haven within each other.

Who in your life is your safe haven??

14 November 2014

Fabulous Fall Giveaway

Happy Friday everyone!! I'm really looking forward to the weekend, I have a couple of photoshoots, but mostly, I'm just looking forward to time with my family! It's been pretty cold here lately, it's like the temperature dropped overnight. We've even had threats of snow. I'd be lying if I said I cared, though. I love the snow, so bring it on Seattle! ;-)

I'm popping in today to give you guys the opportunity to win some amazing stuff!! Check it out!

I've partnered with Green Scene Mom to bring you this fabulous fall giveaway featuring lots of goodies that are perfect gifts for the upcoming holidays! Each of the sponsoring brands offer niche and innovative products for moms, kids and families to make life simpler, inspire creativity, and encourage natural living. Enter below for the chance to win this amazing prize package!

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Enter to win this Amazing Prize Set!

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13 November 2014

Boys Fashion - Chambray

Almost all the leaves have been blown off of the trees here in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to a windstorm that has been ripping through here and knocking out power left and right. Ours was only out briefly, thank goodness. But some of the other areas in our community have been out for days! It's crazy.

Whoops got off track. lol. Before the windstorm started, we actually had some really nice weather! A little cold, but sunny and beautiful. I took the kids our for a walk on a trail a couple of blocks from our house, and found this amazing scene. Leaves everywhere, covering the pathway. I'm so glad I brought my camera along because it was gorgeous. And, I may or may not have gotten some super cute shots of my boys together (I'll share those later!) ;-)

And of course, it allowed me to document Bennett's cute outfit.

I have never purchased a chambray top for myself (though, I'm debating it!). But I absolutely can't resist it on little boys! It's such a classic look. And perfect for layering for the Fall as well.

*I was provided this pair of shoes for this post, but all opinions are my own.

Chambray Top: Old Navy
Pants: FabKids

Let's talk about these shoes for a minute. These are the Halyard style shoe by Sperry, when I saw them while browsing Rack Room Shoes, I had to have them for Bennett. I have really grown to LOVE Sperry's on my little boys. Easton had a pair when he was little and they were the cutest things ever. They can be very casual, but can also dress up an outfit as well.

Do you have particular brands of shoes you love for yourself or your kids??