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!

YouTube Has What?!

About 6 months ago I did a google search on Dave Ramsey’s “envelope system”. My husband and I decided to hop on the “Money Makeover” bandwagon. We are pretty fortunate that we aren’t in terrible shape. But we’ve been what Dave calls “normal”. We financed our TV and our mattress. Because who wouldn’t – zero per cent for 5 million months??? Ha. Anyway… we love his ideas and his program. But we both had NO CLUE how to create an “envelope system” for our family’s budget. So, I turned to Google. Oh Google, you are so much a part of my education. Much more worthy than my college degree. (ROLL TIDE). Ok, maybe not more worthy than my degree, but definitely a major contributor.

From my Google search, I came across the YouTuber DebtisDum. I was hooked. Like, the kind of hooked that happens when you taste cinnamon-sugared pecans. I just could not stop. How could I have gone through 31 years of existence and not known about the wonderful world of YouTube?

After combing through DebtisDum’s video library and educating myself on all things Dave Ramsey (which I highly suggest for anyone of sound mind to do as well), I looked over to my “suggested videos” box. My next YouTuber was Alejandra’s organization videos. My life is a chaotic mess at the moment and I needed some steady ground to help kick me in the rear to grab ahold of. So, I was naturally attracted to a video about home-organization. From my viewing history on Alejandra’s channel I was suggested to go check out Organized Jen.

It was all over after that. Organized Jen sealed the deal. I was officially hooked – never to be broken (unless YouTube has a complete makeover).

Now, I’ve never been into fashion or makeup. Ever. I have always worn eye makeup (since probably my junior year of high school), but those were mere attempts at fighting off the terrible consequences of a baby face – say, of a 12 year-old. What kind of 16-17 year-old wants to look like they are middle school. It was tragic to say the least.

So fast-forward to early fall 2013. I am 31. I only owned one foundation – a Bare Minerals powder that I’ve owned since right before my wedding in 2007. In addition, i had maybe 4-5 makeup brushes that I had absolutely no clue how to use or what their purpose was. I thought money spent on makeup products was wasteful for me. Unless of course we were talking about some serious mascara or eye liner that would add a few years to my baby-face.

While I was making my way through Jen’s video library, I noticed she had another channel called the Busy Bee Buzz. It was suggested to me by YouTube that I go check it out. I will do anything YouTube tells me to do. There it was – a beauty favorites video. And she was completely real and down-to-earth. She wasn’t a make-up artist, or someone in high-fashion. Needless to say, I dug it. Not only did I dig it, but I was inspired. I wanted to be able to share my thoughts and feelings on the things floating around in my head.

So now jump-ahead to present day – I started this blog today. I made the jump after reading a blog post on the 18 things highly creative people do. It says they take risks. So, this is me, a working mother of three, jumping in face-first. I hope you enjoy.

Thank you YouTube for the education and the challenge.

Sick of Being Sick… the woes of managing three kids under the age of 4

I’m really hating the fact that for my first blog I am called to write contains negative content about being a mother. I try – most of the time – to stay optimistic about our current situation. Having twins when your oldest is only 3 is no joke. I understand that I am stating the obvious. People tell us all the time, “I don’t know how you do it!” Yup, BINGO! You win the prize! Because, we don’t know how we do it either. I also was naive enough to believe that because we chose to breastfeed, our kids somehow were enabled with superpowers. Our kids will never be sick – being glued to my breast pump is totally worth it.

OK – breastfeeding IS totally worth it. If not for just the money savings.

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Sick babies are so pitiful!

I digress. Back to my pity-party. I’ve decided – when we become millionaires – we are moving to Hawaii. I never want to see weather that dips below 65 degrees again. It invites sickness, depressing gray colors in the sky, and empty wallets (thank you America – for selling the holidays). We have managed to have one sick human being in our house for the past 4 months! How does that happen? Why don’t people wash their hands everywhere that go?!? Don’t they know that I don’t sleep through the night because of a constant state of sick-child? Geez.

So, new moms, if you are discouraged by my post. Don’t be. It’s just the reality of the situation. What I failed to mention earlier, is that I am OBSESSED with the emotional pay I receive from being a wife and a mother. It’s like a drug. I am addicted to the high that comes from my babies locking eyes with me or hearing my oldest say “I lush you mommy”. I would lay down on railroad tracks if someone said it would give my girls a better life. Which it wouldn’t – but the metaphor popped into my head so I went with it. IMG_1328

AGAIN, breastfeeding is worth it. If you work, or plan on returning to work, pumping breast milk is worth it. That is all I will say about that.

To the people with kids, without kids, oh heck – to all people: WASH YOUR HANDS! Or I will come and personally wake you up on an hourly basis at night.