How to Survive a Beach Trip With Babies

emma backYes, a beach trip with babies and toddlers is completely doable. When my parents approached me a year ago about my thoughts on “spending a week at the beach” next summer, my only response (in thought of course) was “Are you flipping crazy?”.

Here is why:

1. I only get ONE PAID WEEK of vacation a year – and you want me to spend it all at one time?

2. Three kids ages 4 and under?

3. No pool?

4. A FULL WEEK? What will happen to my desk at work? It will take me 3 weeks to recover!

Ok. Ok. Once the automatic “No.” was decided upon, my husband sat me down and made me think about it. How often will we get the opportunity to spend the week at the beach? AND paid for?

So… we decided to go. And because it was not last minute (nothing with my family is unplanned), we had the chance to prepare the Dave Ramsey way. We saved a little each week for a year so that we wouldn’t have to worry about spending money while we were down there.

We are notorious for believing we are millionaires while on vacation.

So, my point here is to show those scared mothers and fathers that a beach trip is totally doable. AND, with proper planning, it should not break your piggy bank either.

SOME TIPS:
  • Plan to cook your meals at the beach. Not only is this a piggy bank saver, but a trip saver. We turned into so-called “beachbums” that week. We woke up bright and early for those inspiring sunrises (and because we usually had a kid screaming), ate our breakfast, then headed to the beach. We did not leave the sand until it was time to head in for supper. Cooking our meals allowed us to savor each moment in the beach breeze.
  • Don’t stay at a place with a pool. I was downright frightened about this lack ofbeachbums amenity. Our daughter has been on sand before (not during the summer) but we had never spent anytime at the beach in our 4-year parenthood journey. I have always heard horror stories about kids hating the sand / afraid of the ocean / stung by a jellyfish… what was I going to do with three young kids at the beach for an entire week if they hated the ocean and sand? So – my answer to this is to not give them the option to hate it! My oldest now looks like she is of a south-of-the-border ethnicity (I guess she already is a 1/4 Italian though) and could be a certified beachbum for the rest of her life.
  • Don’t overpack. Wow – you should have seen our van. I am now regretting not having a photo to hang in my house to remind me never to overpack again! Because I didn’t realize my family would turn into beachbums, we had enough clothing and toiletries to dad and twinslast us at least a month in our normal lives in Birmingham. If we were not in swimsuits, we were in swimsuits with coverups. The fancy outfits I brought to clothe my children in for the quintessential beach photo opps remained in our Vera Bradley bags for the entire week. I only remembered I packed them when I was repacking everyone on the last day. Geez. I can be very silly sometimes. I guess the saying down at the beach is true, “No shoes. No shirt. No problem.”.In that same vein – you don’t need $100 worth of toys and beach accessories to keep the kids happy. My four-year-old literally spent an entire day sitting on the edge of the water while scooping and pouring sand over her legs. The buckets and nets and frisbees and kites and sand tools all remained under our ez up with the adults and babes.
  • Don’t overplan. I know. I know. I just finished saying how important “proper planning” was… What I mean here is that you don’t have to have a slue of activities planned to occupy your crew. I mean, it costs a small fortune to head to the coast anyway. Jet-skiing, parasailing, deep sea fishing, etc. will not make the trip any better if you are hopping from one activity to another. My best takeaway from our trip is that my brain went to Jell-O for 7 days. Thank you Jesus for such a great blessing!
  • Swimsuits not required! haha… no, I am not an aspiring nudist. BUT, my babies – thetwins real babies (14 months) – did not, I repeat, did not need the 5 sets of swimsuits I bought and brought with me for this trip. They also did not, I repeat, did not need the swim diapers. They wore regular old Pampers for the duration of the trip. I did put them in a t-shirt at bedtime, but they were semi-nudist for a week. And they loved it. And the pictures are adorable because of it.

All in all, the trip was better than I could have ever imagined it. For a woman who works full-time, I was slightly frightened at how my system would react to being around all three of my kids 24/7. I did MUCH better than how I imagined myself – not that I don’t believe myself to be a good Mom, but I am definitely not accustomed to hearing my name five million times in a day. 😉

sandcastlessand hillemma sandcastle

So, if you are on the fence about a beach vacation with your youngin’s, I am here to witness that a parent can survive and make memories. Best of luck to all of you parents, grandparents and guardians out there. Summer of 2015: I am looking at you with eyes wide open. You better be ready for the Romano crew!

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Prayers For Rain On Your Wedding Day

78_526597033435_7508_nYes, you heard me correctly. Rain on a wedding day is such a blessing. I remember counting down the days to my wedding day back in ’07. I was obsessed with checking weather.com for updates on a daily basis. April weather in Alabama is so unpredictable. I take that back. Weather in Alabama is so unpredictable. It really does not matter the time of year – you never know what you are going to get.

All of the planning and expectations could not have prepared me for the actual day. The beautiful, bright floral arrangements – because it was SPRING after all! The dogwoods were blooming. The azalea bushes were exploding with color. My wedding day pictures were going to be perfect. Perfect.

All week the forecast had been warning me of rain for Saturday. But, it was Alabama after all – so I believed in the forecast about 50%. The weather the night before our wedding was beautiful. 65 degrees. Zero humidity. The cute, cropped sweater I bought to go along with my dress would have been totally optional. I thought to myself, “self – we may get through this with rainbows! Oh, rainbows – what a magical touch for those flawless, colorful outdoor photos. Right.

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At our rehearsal dinner.

I woke up on my wedding day around 5am. My two best friends from college had spent the night with me and were going to help me get to the hotel where I would be getting made into the bride who was going to look amazing in front of those blooming azalea bushes and dogwood trees. We dodged the sprinkles as we loaded up my friend’s car with all of my bags, wedding dress, veil and shoes. It was gray and dreary. I wanted to cry. My friends kept assuring me it would probably clear up by my 3pm wedding and not to worry. I worried anyway.

I can’t remember if it was that morning or later that day that I received a text message from my soon-to-be-partner-for-life. He had done some research regarding superstitions of rain on your wedding day. He said he found that the Hindu believe that rain is a good sign as a “wet knot is harder to unravel than a dry knot”.

So, for all of you brides-to-be out there fretting about rain on your wedding day. Here are some other thoughts to help ease your worries. And, if you don’t get the wedding photos with the blooming trees and bright azalea bushes – it is not the end of the world. I would much rather have the luck of rain bring me 80+ years of a committed marriage.108_518339776045_3174_n

OH RAIN… How I love thee. Let me Count the Ways!

Rain renews. It feeds and brings new life. It hydrates our Earth. How can a life-giving and life-sustaining thing be bad?

Fertility. There are some who believe rain on your wedding day is a symbol of fertility. Well, my three tiny blessings are living proof of this theory/superstition/belief.

Fresh Start. Most religions believe that rain is symbolic for a new beginning. I am Roman Catholic. I baptized all three of my munchkins shortly after birth. The Holy Water was used to cleanse my little ones at baptism for their fresh start in the Catholic Faith. Also, if you have ever lived in a place where blooming trees and bushes paint the sides of streets and fronts of houses every spring, you also know how welcome rain is to wash away all of the pollen that is making you and the rest of your house ill from allergies. 😉 Rain washes away the impurities and allows for the air you breathe to be fresh.

God bless you rain.

10253801_10102192903685505_2461846037452914752_n (1)So, as you can see, rain on your wedding day can bring so many blessings to you and your significant other. It is raining, once again, on my 7th wedding anniversary. I feel just as blessed today as I did 7 years ago. Our knot is strong because it started off drenched with rain.

Happy Monday everyone!

-Cissy

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Making a Marriage Survive in 2014

First, I’d like to start off with a disclaimer. I am not perfect. My marriage is not perfect. I do not know it all.

Second, I’d like to start a boycott of the term “ball and chain”. As you can see in the photo below, our photographer thought it would be funny to snap a picture of my soon-to-be-husband’s groomsmen trying to prevent him from running away on our wedding day. Why is this funny?

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Why are the marriage jokes constantly adding a negative hue around this Holy Sacrament? Because, when I read about or watch interviews of couples who have been together for 50+ years, you never hear them breathe a negative word about their partner or their marriage.

My husband is my ray of light. He is my very best friend and someone who I trust completely to be there for me. He is, as they say, my other half. He knows more about me than the woman who gave birth to me.

After 11 years, I can say that our relationship has had some really high moments and some really low moments. I remember the low moments the most because it was when we hit rock bottom that we decided to figure out how to climb out together. The two of us are better human beings today because of the hard times we’ve been through.

So, I would like to strike down all of society’s harmful jokes and replace them with some best practices that my husband and I use to help keep our relationship going. I was young, dumb and in love when I got married – so I know how lucky I am that everything worked out. Hopefully my experiences can help bring to life the reality of marriage as well as point out just how special this life-time commitment is – in my opinion, anyway.

KEEPING MARRIAGE REAL… AND VALUABLE

When I was a kid, my Dad always told me, “Cis, one day you are going to look back on your life and you will be able to count your true friends on one hand.” I didn’t hang out with bad kids – Dad was just keeping it real. You can’t possibly commit 100% of yourself to the 800+ friends you have on Facebook. (Facebook didn’t exist until I was out of college, but you get the idea). Looking back now, he is so right. I have several acquaintances that know a lot about me, but only a select few that genuinely give a crap about me and what goes on in my life. I say this, because it took me a long time to understand the idea of a 50/50 relationship. So, while these best practices are regarding my marriage, I also use these same concepts in my friendships and family relationships.

  1. COMPROMISE – I know this seems obvious, but you are not the end all, be all. There are 7 billion people on Earth right now. What works for you, is not necessarily what works for someone else. When you decide to enter into a committed relationship, all opinions matter and must have a voice. Being the alpha-female that I am (is that even a term?), I usually end up making a decision and enforcing it on others. After all, we only have 24 hours in a day and no decision warrants spending countless hours pondering over options. 😉 Any other ladies out there share my frustrations? Ok, so – I’ve had to learn how to compromise (the hard way, of course) with my husband. I think this is the most important best practice. It forces a couple to sit down and discuss both sides and come to a middle ground. We’ve done this for very large decisions, like deciding to grow our family, to very minor decisions, like “what is for dinner?”.
  2. BE HONEST – Lies have no productive place in a marriage (or a relationship). Not only does it take communication out of the picture, but it leads to a lack of trust when the truth eventually comes out. And the truth always comes out. What I love most about being in an honest relationship is that I have someone who I can share with without feeling judged. Having an outlet that you can trust to be completely honest with is the very best feeling in the world. It is an awkward path to get to the point where you share these thoughts, but when you finally arrive it is the most freeing feeling you will ever experience.
  3. NEVER GO TO BED ANGRY – Long, over-fought fights are so unproductive and a such a waste of energy. Now, I am not saying that arguing and fighting is not necessary. Living with another person is bound to lead to tension every now and then. Add kids to the picture and you can quadruple the tension. I have quite the temper, and there have been some airborne frozen veggies and laundry baskets in our house every now and then. The past two years have been especially trying on my marriage – a multiple pregnancy, 10 weeks of bedrest, and two infants plus a three-year-old all at once. We are tired and we get on each others nerves. BUT, if we have a fight – that just means we will have to stay up later to clean bottles, feed babies and get ready for the next day. Which means we lose more sleep – no bueno! Once we get the emotions out – we eventually (sooner than we ever have before) get over our anger and come back together. For sanity’s sake!
  4. CONTINUE TO DATE – I am the pot calling the kettle black here. We have not been on our own in a long time. But that is just natural for our situation right now. Eventually, we will be able to leave our children with a sitter or family member and take a much-needed adult time-out. Side note – we are actually going out this Saturday night to celebrate our anniversary – YEAH! But, if you search YouTube for interviews of 50+ year married couples, they all say (in their own way) keep dating. I believe this is a common best practice because it reminds you to keep your relationship a priority. As you get older you are naturally pulled in several different directions. Learn to put each other at the top of the list.
  5. RESIST THE URGE TO VENT – Every now and then my man does something that really gets my temper going. I usually vent this frustration on the first human being willing to listen. This is a bad habit. Just remember – negative thoughts beget more negative thoughts. We make a conscious effort not to bad-mouth each other to anyone. Usually – if I am in the right state of mind – I will resist the urge to spout off something ugly about my man and replace it with a compliment. This helps remind me of all the things I am grateful for about my husband. And there are many. I am lucky – I know this. For example, if I harp on the fact that my husband is the SLOWEST HUMAN BEING ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET, I am completely forgetting that this is why I LOVE him so much. He helps slow me down and teaches me how to make rational decisions. He takes the time to do things correctly the first time. I was a hot mess in my early 20s – I am now a better human being because he taught me how to slow down and appreciate what is right in front of me instead of blowing past it.

So there you go. Take what you want from my rambling. I feel if I have done anything correctly in my life – it is that I have really worked hard at my marriage. Marriage is not for the faint-hearted. The love between a couple makes it easier, but it will not save you from experiencing really low moments. Setting your expectations too high will blind you from keeping it real and making it your purpose in life to be constantly aware of where you are as a couple so that you can see when the dips are about to happen. Working with the best practices I mentioned, as well as others you pick up along the way will help you be proactive so that when the low times hit, the blow is cushioned some because you are prepared for them.

Marriage is the most beautiful gift I have been given. Even more beautiful than the gift of motherhood. Marriage has taught me so much about the world and it has equipped me (and continues to do so) with the tools to discover how to be the best person I can be.

If you are in love, congratulations. If you are engaged, best wishes. If you are married, you are blessed.

Help me squash these terrible connotations our society has placed on such a beautiful thing. Marriage is AWESOME.

– Cissy

Real Life Mom | Gwyenth Paltrow Has A Tough Life

I mean, Gwyneth Paltrow has it rough. And for a minute, I was wondering how I was going to survive the day. Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 9.29.22 AM

Recently, Ms. Paltrow sat down with E! News and discussed taking a break from her demanding job so she could go back to being a mommy. I definitely pat her on the back for getting her priorities in line. However, I never realized that all of the stress I experience as a full-time working mom is NOTHING compared to the stress she experiences from being on set 2 weeks out of the year. Gosh, I bet those 12 consecutive 14-hour days are hell!

See, I thought I had it hard. Waking up to screaming babies at 2 am. Taking an hour to put them back to bed just to turn around and wake up two hours later to start my day at 5. Then dropping my kids off at daycare when the doors open at 7am so I can make it downtown to sit at my easy office job for a mere 9 hours – head back to pick my three cranky, lovelies up – make dinner for my family of five – clean bottles and dishes and pump parts – make bottles for the next day – somewhat “clean” the damage from the tornado that hit the inside of my house – bathe all 3 children – feed babies – read stories – fight with three year old about going to bed – put babies to bed – then…. look at the clock, it’s 9pm. Time to do it all over again. I have it soooo easy compared to Ms. Paltrow.

Maybe her marriage failed because her life is so demanding. I’m sure Ms. Paltrow doesn’t have any help with the cooking and cleaning and butt-wiping and temper tantrums. I’m sure she never gets any alone time to recover from being needed 110% of the time. It must be terrible to have to miss school-events and the carpool pick-up. I wouldn’t know anything about that.

I have a boss who thinks its totally cool to miss half a day on Valentines Day so that I can make it to the preschool Valentine’s Day party – NOT. And I probably would think less of him if he was cool with it. He would also probably laugh in my face if I told him I needed to cut out 3 hours early every day to make the carpool pick-up line at school. Most businesses operate in 6-hour day, right?

I bet it is hard to have so much flexibility with your job that you can cram all of your year’s work into two weeks so that you can free up the remaining 50 weeks of the year to dedicate to your children. I bet thats why it is so hard to appreciate those gruling 14-hour work days.

Ms. Paltrow, you should definitely quit your career and pick up an office job. You are right – it is so much easier working a 9-5er (more like 7:30-5:30er). Thank you for bringing it to my attention of how ungrateful I am.

Mamas Know Best. It only took me 30 years to understand that.

32056_815193803195_1880974_n“You’ll understand when you have your own kids.” Man, I must have heard those words spit from my mother’s mouth a billion times when I was growing up. I say “spit”, because I she was in a constant state of being pissed at me because I was ALWAYS in trouble – for my mouth. I never got into normal teen-trouble growing up because I was constantly grounded for the way I fought and talked back to my mother. How she manages to love me today is beyond me because I was terrible!

So, the day before her 57th birthday, I am reflecting on how appreciative I am of the Mother I have been so blessed with. She is a quiet woman who has an inner strength capable of moving mountains. Although, she does not believe this. She is gorgeous – the kind of gorgeous that will never fade. She is not materialistic because she never had the liberty of learning what it would be like to be materialistic. She raised three kids with only a mere year31998_805085829655_6648410_n spread in age between them each. She worked hard for a very long time so that we were able to have the very best opportunity at education. She is only just now learning how to take time for herself and indulge in small luxuries – like reading a book in peace and quiet.

She spent countless months away from her life, her husband, and her family to be with me and my brother’s family for the birth and the few months after with each of my children and my brother’s children. Stepping in to help when we needed her the most.

Did I mention how terrible I was growing up?

For me, she is the best example of a woman.

Life With Twins | My Secret To Survival

My commute to work in the morning is about 20 minutes. It is just enough time for my mind to wander while I listen to whatever Pandora station I’m in the mood for that morning. This morning, while listening to some awesome soul music by NEEDTOBREATHE, my mind wandered to my husband. We had a tough night last night. Our second blessing, Rosie, had 103 fever yesterday afternoon. I’m crediting this fever spike to the two red, swollen buds on her top gums. Poor kid. She’s congested too – so she can’t breathe and her mouth is throbbing in pain.

My partner-in-crime with his girls.

My partner-in-crime with his girls.

Anyway, back to my husband… so, I am constantly asked “How do you do it? How do you manage work, home and twin babies?”. No matter how many times I am prompted by this question, I still feel a pit in the bottom of my stomach. The initial thoughts that cross my mind are, “What do they mean? How do I answer that?”. I’ll be honest, what my house has experienced since October 1, 2012 (conception) has been a difficult. I am a short woman with a short waist that carried over 12 pounds of baby. These babies then brought an entirely different dynamic to our house (like most new babies do) which caused us to switch gears and learn how to manage a house of five instead of a house of 3 – overnight.

Of all of the crazy twin questions I get asked, “How do you do it?” is my least favorite. Mainly because it implies that I am some sort of heroine in my crazy life story. Why don’t they ask “How do we do it?”.

I’m a pretty analytic person, so of course I’ve spent some time (probably too much time) pondering the psychology behind this question. I’ve come to realize that I’m an extraordinarily lucky woman. See, I don’t do anything by myself. There are times I feel I put too much on my plate responsibility wise (I am still a woman – and women like me do these things to ourselves. Its in our nature).

I am never alone in anything I do.

1390778_10101810035631155_1014133044_nI have a partnership with this man who was crazy enough to spend the rest of his life with me. Responsibilities are shared. Personal weaknesses are made up by the other person’s strengths. I do not do more than he does and he does not do more than I do. He is not above changing more diapers than me or washing pump parts in the middle of the night. He does not complain. He is tired. He is just as tired and worn out as I am. And he did not carry two babies at the same time to term.

I’ve never thought of my husband as being extraordinary. Mainly because he has made me believe that all men in the world are like he is.

Did I mention that he does not complain?

So my answer to the dreaded question that hits the pit of my stomach when asked “How do you do it?” – Well, we don’t think about it because we don’t have any time to think about how much it may suck to wake up in the middle of the night – twice – every night for 9 months.

We wake up everyday and power through. At the end of the day we collapse into our sheets after putting our oldest to bed and give thanks to the Big Man upstairs for trusting us with so many blessings. We look at each other and know that these tough times will pass and the fruits of our labor (legitimate labor) will be so abundant in our future.

I love my partner. I trust him with my life. I trust that he will always be by my side fighting the trials that life throws our way.

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Now, I am going to bring up something controversial. No matter your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg and her “Lean In” movement – her opinions on relationships/marriages are so parallel with mine. I think personalities like mine have a hard time letting go of responsibilities and control. This can lead to problems in a marriage with so much going on in the background and behind closed doors of homes. In order to “make it” or “survive”, there must be a shared burden of responsibilities.

My spouse is TERRIBLE at most domestic responsibilities. But, that does not mean he is not capable of getting them done!

A good parent doesn’t allow their young children to say they can’t do something without trying first. Why would you have the same expectations for your adult spouse?

I am still learning to give up some of the burden of house and allow him and trust him that he will get it done. He may not do it the way I think it should be done and it may take him twice as long to do it – wait, scratch that, it WILL take him twice as long to do things as I would take – but at the end of the day, he does it. And I don’t have to do it.

A day only gives us 24 hours. The amount of work required to run our house requires more than one person is capable of giving. If you try to do it all, you will fail. Give the spouse in your life a chance to learn and take some of the burden off of you. They may surprise you!

So, if you ever happen to run into a multi-tasking mother or father and you are curious of how they do it – be sure to ask them “How do y’all manage?”. Because behind every Wonder-Parent, there is a Wonder-Supporter. No one manages it all alone.

Happy Thursday – now, go hug a parent!

How to: road tripping with babies!

When I was thinking about what I wanted to title this post, I thought to myself: Self, you should label it “Road trips with babies – DON’T DO IT!”. Ha – but that would be unreasonable. Because, as I found out and I’m sure others before me discovered as well, you sometimes just don’t have a choice.

My Sweet Emma

My Sweet Emma

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Rosie!

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Laid-Back Lorelei

The beauty of being raised by parents who encourage you to take charge of your life and make the most of your oppotunities is that you end up experiencing some of the coolest places, people and things that you wouldn’t ordinarily if you lived life day-to-day. With all things, the are downsides to beautiful things in your life. My family is scattered across the United States. My brother moved to Indiana from D.C. a couple of years ago for grad school and I have yet to go visit him and his family. Thankfully – life forced me to head up there this past weekend. He was baptizing the newest addition to his family, baby Patrick. I’m pretty sure I would not earn any points with St. Peter if I didn’t even attempt at attending such an important event in a little Catholic’s life!

So, last Friday, my husband and I hurried through a half-day at work and then took 2 hours (we had planned for 30 minutes) to load up the 8 Vera Bradley bags, two Graco pack-n’plays, 1 sparkly backpack loaded with God-only-knows toys, 2 iPads, 3 sets of ear phones, three car seats, bags of pump parts and bottles and cleaning supplies, boxes of snacks and sippy cups, red bull and other forms of caffeine, no gas medicine or teething medicine for the babies, and two stressed and fighting parents. We left behind the 3 huge boxes of clothes that I was pumped about dumping on my brother for his 2nd daughter to use as well as baby Patrick’s Baptismal gift.

MOM fail #1: Plan breaks into your ETA.

We had planned ahead at least, dividing the trip up into two parts instead of powering through in order to make it to South Bend by 1am that morning. So glad we had some sanity remaining to break the trip up. We made it to my sister-in-laws house by 9 that night – we were supposed to arrive around 7. When you are planning a trip with children, simply add 2 hours to the duration so to plan for 30 minute bathroom stops as well as a minimum of 45 minute break for meals. A break for meals is a must – babies, toddlers and preschoolers can not keep focus for 3 minutes, what made me think that they would not need to break out of their car seats after 5 hours of driving?? Mom fail #1.

At the rest stops or gas station bathrooms – expect the changing table to be unusable (if there even is one). And once we passed through to the Eastern time zone it was much too cold to change in the van with the door open. We improvised and survived, but please equip your diaper changing set-up to completely cover the changing station in these facilities. Plus, bring along enough anti-bac to make it through a wild outbreak of the next bird-flu.

Mom fail #2 – ENTERTAINING YOUR CHILDREN FOR A LONG CAR TRIP.

I remember back to around 2009 BC (BC = before children) when I promised myself that when I had children, we would never invite a DVD player into our car. We would only play games on road trips and color and do other educational activities. Right – well, I was young and dumb… about a lot of things. We have one device completely dedicated to videos and episodes to entertain our oldest for a max of 12 hours (enough time to get us to my hometown, Houston). Do not head out on a trip if this device is not fully charged and your adapter for the car is not readily accessible. Or, prepare yourself for an epic meltdown. If you have not experienced this already – be prepared to not be able to recognize your sweet, angelic three-year-old after they have been watching movies on an iPad for more than a solid two hours. WOW. They should do a psychological study on that. For sure.

Mom fail #3 – Pack junk food.

For this particular trip, I packed protein-packed, healthy snacks like almonds and hummus and pretzels. We lasted an hour. I’m pretty sure we were still in North Birmingham when we stopped for chips and chocolate. Healthy food is a crock when you set out on a family adventure, crammed in a car for an entire day with each other. Just pack the junk food – it won’t kill you to eat crap for a day. It will make you and your spouse happy. And that makes for a happy trip.

Mom fail #4 – Check the weather.

So, Spring has already started teasing us in the South. We had a week or more of 65+ degree weather. I had already packed up most of the turtlenecks and fuzzy sweaters. Why, when I knew I was headed to Indiana, where there is still snow accumulating? I blame “Mom Brain” (yes, that is a thing). So, I improvised. We bundled our kids up in double socks and the fluffy blankets I brought to make the pack-n-plays less like a rock for the twins to sleep on. I almost thought it couldn’t get worse than the 38 degrees we arrived in on Saturday morning. The 14 degrees the next day was much worse. Plus – I had no idea what the wind chill changed to when you were near Lake Michigan. Heads up… its cold. So cold.

So, all in all. I hope you learn from my failures. If you are anything like me, preplanning is no joke while working full-time, taking care of three little ones and preparing your house to go under major renovation in the next couple of weeks. BUT, preplanning and a little organization will definitely take  you so far and make your trip so much more enjoyable.

We throughouly enjoyed seeing a family and spending time with everyone. I wish I had been less stressed. I wish I had not forgotten the gas medicine for the girls. I wish I had not eaten the refried beans at the Mexican restaurant on Saturday. But, no regrets! Just learn from the mistakes and move on.

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My Emma and my brothers girls at the baptism.

We baptized sweet Patrick on Sunday and had an awesome time celebrating such a beautiful moment in his little life. I am beyond proud of my brother and it made the trip worth it to see him so happy with his growing family. I wish little Patrick a God-filled life and I trust 100% that my brother and his wife with see to it that it happens. Lots of love filling my heart this morning. I don’t even mind sipping out of my South Bend souvenir this morning (in privacy, of course – ROLL TIDE).

My South Bend Souvenior

My South Bend Souvenir

I’d love to hear your tips for traveling with wee-ones – please leave a comment below!

Happy Tuesday!