Easy Kid Lunches

If I could change one thing about Paisley and Carson’s preschool it would be to have them provide lunch for the kids. Along with the struggle of “What’s for dinner?” I have to combat the “What are you making me for lunch tomorrow?” struggle too. Paisley is adamant on asking every day what I am making her, and if it will contain any “surprises” – aka candy. ha

The biggest obstacle I have is avoiding any peanut butter (for Paisley and Carson’s class) and egg products (Carson’s class). If I could use peanut butter, it would make packing a lunch way easier! But alas, kids have allergies and I do not want to be the parent to put another child in danger.

I have made up a few of my kids favorite options for lunches and am sharing the wealth! I pin a TON of lunch options, and am working on which ones my kids like the best. I love the Bento Boxes I bought the kids. They keep everything sectioned out for my semi-ocd kids and they do not spill! Plus they come with a cute spork and a flexible lid for the circular/dressing spot. The one down side is there is no room for their drink, it isn’t a problem for now with my kids but next year I am going to get Paisley a Bento Box lunch bag so it acts as a one stop shop for her lunch box and drink.

Here are a few that are sure winners in Paisley and Carson’s book!

20171128_200532

  • Pretzels
  • Snap Peas
  • Hummus
  • Clementine
  • Cucumber
  • Pasta Salad – Chopped ham, peas, cheese cubed, macaroni noodles, italian dressing

20171129_215747

  • Turkey and Cheese Roll Up – Cut up for Carson
  • Snap Peas
  • Strawberries and Blueberries
  • Chocolate Chips

20171129_215810

  • Turkey and Cheese Roll Up – Cut in half for Paisley
  • Snap Peas
  • Strawberries and Blueberries
  • Chocolate Chips

20171204_205531

  • Turkey and Cheese Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Snap Peas and Cherry Tomatoes
  • Hummus to dip

20171205_194048

  • Ritz Crackers
  • Turkey sliced
  • Colby Jack Cheese sliced
  • Celery and Cauliflower
  • Boiled Egg (already peeled)
  • Fruit Snack for “surprise”

I finally found some Silicone Cupcake Liners at Ikea which are the cheapest option, but they only come in pink. I found some multi-colored ones for my Amazon Prime peeps here, and for my Target lovers click here to find yours!

I would love to have more ideas to try! If you have any kid lunch ideas shoot them my way! Good luck pleasing those kiddos and have fun with it!

~xo~

Flying with Kids- Updated!

Another week, another flight! This time we surprised my dad for his 50th birthday!!
By this point we do not consider ourselves experts, but with 10 one-way trips this year (all with kids) we know the ropes.
 
I previously wrote about how we flew with 2 kids, and now that Elizabeth has joined the club it is a whole new ballgame. Brian and I are outnumbered, so we put together a run down of how we make it through a flight with them all. 
 
-Side note: These are tips to fly on Southwest. Brian is A-List and he has companion pass. There are also affiliate links throughout that I make a slight commission off of, but do not charge you anything extra if you choose to purchase an item-
 
Night before:
-Charge Electronics
I am typically in charge of collecting all the electronics (Brian gets stuck folding the laundry or doing the dishes or loading the car!). Our kids don’t typically get electronics while at home, so this is a huge treat. They aren’t bored with the games or shows and love to have control over what they watch or play during the trip. We have an iPad for each kiddo – one with just shows and toddler type games for Carson, and the other with shows and games to meet Paisley’s skill level. Each kiddo has their own headphones, so they can watch their show and we can have some peace and quiet. We download shows and movies from Amazon Video using their app. Once downloaded, you can view the shows for 48 hours from the first time they are watched – you can access Amazon Video with your Amazon Prime Membership
 
Paisley also has a LeapPad Platinum that has a bunch of games on it for her to play. Check the App Store on the Leapster for good deals for downloads. I recently bought 12 full games for under $100.
 
-Pack Headphones
We found the cheapest, most old school ones work the best. They are easily adjustable and fit the kids ears. Our kids do not like the version that go inside their ears.
 
-Extra clothes for all kiddos
Even if your kids are potty trained, they might spill a drink or food on their clothes. It is always nice to have a back up set!
 
-Pack in separate carry on
My daughter has her own roller bag that she likes to be in charge of in the airport. All electronics and accessories plus a few coloring books, crayons and stickers go in her bag. We got her bag at Target. Her Lady Bug version is sold out, but there are a ton of different styles online!
 

I pack all the snacks (non-messy snacks i.e. fruit snacks, popcorn, pretzels, etc.) and toys (cars and books for Carson. Baby rings, rattles, etc. for Elizabeth)

 

20171101_151340
 

I make sure my nursing cover, 2 burp cloths, extra clothes for Elizabeth, and extra pacifiers for both Carson and Elizabeth are in this bag. I found it is easier to keep toys/games separate from diapers and wipes. I know which bag I need to grab and I don’t fumble through searching for it.

 

20170711_083459
 
-Child Restraint 😉

Carson is our adventurous 2 year old. He has a hard time staying in one place for too long. He hits his limit an hour and a half into a flight and wants to walk up and down the plane. When I flew solo with the 3 kids from California to Kansas City I bought this harness. It turns the airplane belt into a five point harness. Super easy to do and it keeps him in his seat. One good tip is to make sure your kiddo is NOT wearing slick pants. Carson wore slick basketball shorts and slid down the seat. I read somewhere to use shelf liner to prevent slipping. I will be sure to try that next time!

 

20171111_093845
 
-Brian’s Carry On
My husband likes to be in charge of the documents. I take the kids and he checks us all in. Brian puts all travel docs in his carry on/backpack. We usually just use our passports and stuff the birth certificates in the passports, that way they are all together for check in and security. 
 
Day of:
-Allow 30 extra minutes 
Kids come with a lot of surprises, so having the extra time allows for less stress.
 
-If you are traveling with a spouse, one of you parks the car while the other one stays with all the kids and your stuff at curb (hence the additional 30 minutes).

This eliminates some of the hassle and gives you a shorter walk to the check in counter with all your stuff! It is WAY easier to do this. Your other option is to park the car with everyone, drag your luggage and kids and carseats from the car, load them on the shuttle, unload them from the shuttle, lug them across the lanes of traffic and to the check in counter. We discovered the first version and haven’t looked back.

 

20171111_075628_1510408717187
-Bring a stroller
We love our BOB Double Stroller. It fits through a normal doorway width, and acts as our pack mule. I wear Elizabeth, Carson is in stroller and Paisley walks with her carry on. Carseats and carry ons get thrown on top to get us to the ticket counter and on through the airport. At security, you have to empty everything out of the stroller and TSA will test it. We have not had any issues and just load it back up with all our items to get to the terminal. 
-Buy carseat bags from Southwest ticket counter
Brian and I do not gate check the carseats, so we opt to place them in Southwest carseat bags ($17 at the ticket counter) and check them at the counter. The extra bonus is they are huge (this is also a downside – just ask Brian), but we typically can throw in “extras” that didn’t fit in the suitcase. We bought ours the first time we flew with Paisley, almost 4 years ago, and it has held up decent on all our flights. 

Kid items do not count towards your bag totals (carseat, pack n play, stroller). But if you do not need them at the final destination I suggest you leave them at home! Just more junk to haul around.
We gate check our stroller, just so we don’t have to carry everything through the airport. Plus it keeps Carson contained for the critical time in security line and walking to your gate. I wear Elizabeth the entire time. I have the Lille Baby Carrier and I can get through security without having to take her off.
 
-Security
Brian leads our security line (he has all documents to show TSA at once). He has A List Status, so we all get to skip the long line and tag along with him. Adult will have to have empty water bottles, but kid cups are okay to have liquid – they just test them once you get through the security screening. If you are traveling with kids, you will most likely have your snack/diaper bag flagged.

Depending on the TSA agent and airport, you all can go through the metal detector as a family or they will split you up. Brian usually goes through the Xray machine, but myself and the kids go through the metal detector. Once through, Brian wrangles the kids and stuff while I get my hands tested (because I keep Elizabeth strapped on). 
 
Once you get through security it’s smooth sailing. Breathe easy! You are almost there! If you gate check your stroller or any carseats, just go to the desk at your gate. They will issue you a tag for the items and you will drop them at the end of the walk way before boarding the plane.  
 
-Boarding the Plane

Since you will be flying with kids (at least I assuming so because you made it this far on the post! ha!), you can board in between the A group and B group – as long as you have a child 12 and younger. If you were diligent and checked into your flight on time (24 hours prior to your flight!) and got A boarding group, then just board with the A group – obviously! 

Brian has his fancy A list boarding pass, so he boards the plane first and takes his carry on plus another bag. He gets on and saves us an entire row, plus the aisle seat right across the aisle. We try to aim for a row closer to the front of the plane (de-boarding the plane goes quicker, and this is the time the kids are usually the most antsy). I board with the kiddos during family boarding (between A and B groups). There is no “line” for family boarding, just kind of gather by the check in station.

-On the Plane
Because Brian boarded before us, he has time to set up Carson’s harness. It just slips over the seat back (under the tray behind his seat) and has two holes where the seatbelt slips through. Once he is situated, we set Paisley up with an Ipad or Leapster. She is a flying champ! Literally all she asks for is snacks. Carson is our wild card – sometimes we whip out the Ipad right away, or sometimes he can handle just hanging out for a bit. We bring cars, building blocks or stickers to entertain him, too. Play it by ear and do what works best for you and your kiddos. 

As much as it makes me cringe, we literally throw all “rules” out the window for flying. If the kids want to watch shows for the entire time, we let them. We bring extra snacks and some candy, in the chance they get antsy. I figure there are very few things that are more stressful than being the parent on the flight with the fussy kid (trust me, we’ve been those parents! It is NOT fun!). So instead of trying to win any “mom of the year” awards by bringing Pinterest worthy activities, we stick to what is easy! It makes the trip much more enjoyable for us, but also everyone else on board!

De-boarding the plane is a piece of cake compared to getting everything prepped for the trip. We just shove everything back into the bags, get the stroller and go. Balancing bags and carseats is always an adventure and challenge, but you have the worst part behind you…until it is time to fly home!

Have other tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them! Happy travels this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season!

~xo~

Mom Guilt- We All Have It

This has to be my biggest struggle to date. I have self-confidence issues, I would be terrible at a diet because I like candy and ice cream too much, I have a hard time following through with a workout plan, my house is not perfect and my kids might look a mess because they like to dress themselves. The hardest thing for me to overcome is Mom Guilt. It is what is the underlying issue to all of the above mentioned “problems” in my daily life.

Self-confidence issues are a result of not putting myself first (or so I think). I have always been a giver – thinking of others before myself. That quality is great, as long as you take time to give yourself something back. If you are always focusing on others, you struggle to see what is good about yourself. You struggle to develop your talents and constantly compare your achievements to others.

Sticking to a diet means putting time in to plan, prepare and stick to a meal plan, a work out plan, and not making excuses – cue Mom Guilt and being a giver – we give so much to others that we rarely put any time to focus on our needs.

I wish my house was perfectly clean and I was able to stick to a cleaning routine, but again I feel that I should be giving attention to my kids and my husband – playing with them, taking care of them, helping to relieve their stress levels.

My kids get to choose their clothes, it is not a battle I want to fight, but it also fosters their independence and confidence in making their own choices. Mom guilt comes in when I drop my kids off at school and realize all the other children are wearing matching clothes and their hair is done (haha).

We all deal with mom guilt (dad guilt) all the time, every day. Our house did not get clean because we were playing with the kids. The house got clean, but now we feel guilty because we did not play with the kids. Mom and dad have a date night because we need it. Mom and dad should be there to tuck the kids in bed. I am still in my pajamas, but my kids are dressed to the nines. I got ready today and my daughter ate dinner in her pajamas. There is no way to win.

Today I went live on my Facebook page talking about the mega dose of mom guilt I had for taking a shower. I am a big believer on spending quality time with your kids. I try to avoid using the TV as a babysitter, but today I woke up in a terrible mood. I forced myself to spend time with the kids prior to my shower- playing cars, building Magnatile houses and coloring. After putting Elizabeth down I made the choice to take a shower. Momma need an attitude adjustment – aka time alone to relax and check something tangible off my daily to do list. So I put on the TV (it was at least an educational show) and took a little me time. The kids watched the show and built with Magnatiles for about an hour – and this momma got dressed, did my hair and makeup. It felt great!

20171025_095050
Carson’s Car House (and yes, that’s a purple pacifier in his hand…)

As soon as I got done though I was hit with some mom guilt. I should have woke up before the kids and got ready. I should have taken the shower during naptime. I should have blah, blah, blah…you know the drill. So many reasons how we could have done something different, better, etc.

I decided that it did not kill them to watch an hour of TV today. The saying “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is a true thing. In our house, I feel that my mood sets the tone of the home. Taking it upon myself to get in a better mood was what needed to happen today. I took the shower. I did my hair. I even put makeup on! And I am giving myself grace.

So this is me, giving you grace the next time you want to take a shower because you NEED it! You need to take time for yourself, even if it is only 10 minutes. Self-care is a big deal. I wrote a few different posts about self-care, the importance of self-care and different ways you can take some time for yourself. We must fill our cups before we can fill others – an empty cup has nothing to share.

20171027_221045
My little bucket heads aka my bucket (cup) fillers

You have my permission to leave the dishes in the sink and take a bubble bath while you read a good book. You have my permission to sleep in, just this once, because you want to. You have my permission to snuggle those babies a little bit longer and let the laundry sit in the dryer another day. We all need to take a step away from being a mommy, a wife, a whatever- and remember what it is like to be YOU.

Picture 2
My little ghost baby (PS- my sweater is on sale right now!)

~xo~

Love & Logic: Review Part 1

One would think that a clinical social worker can handle herself and her children in the best manner – at all times – how not true that statement is!

Parenting and motherhood is THE hardest thing I have EVER done in my entire life! I taught multiple parent trainings that centered around self care, emotional awareness, regulation skills and cognitive stimulation. These trainings only grazed the surface on what all went in to parenthood, but I felt like I knew more than the average person about child development and what to do in tricky situations. Boy was I wrong…ha

Making the decision to start a family is a HUGE decision in one’s relationship. It comes with life style changes, husband and wife challenges, and oh yeah…those cute little babies! The thing with babies is they grow up and turn in to toddlers, threenagers and beyond – all with their own challenges.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I our oldest daughter has given me a run for my money lately (check out these posts here and here to get an idea of what I’m talking about). The two kid challenge has really tested my social work skills and mommy brain – now with the third on the way (within 2 weeks!) – my stress level has peaked.

With all this going on I decided I need to stop complaining and start doing something about all my miscues and stress level. I went back to some training material and was reminded about a few different parenting books that were used to give tips and tricks during parent training. One of which was Parenting With Love And Logic by Cline and Fay.

I have not opened this book since my early social work years, and have yet to finish it – there are so many good points that I figured a mid book summary was okay! I will say, I am not TOTALLY convinced on EVERY.SINGLE.THING they promote, but the general gist of the book and the ability it has already had to make me stop and think about my words is working for me.

Cline and Fay begin the book by talking about the basic premise of being a “Love and Logic Parent”. This meaning that the parents are raising responsible children who learn from their mistakes and consequences – whether positive or negative – (they call them Significant Learning Opportunities). A Love & Logic parent helps their children “move from total dependence on us to independence, from being controlled by us to controlling themselves.” This theme carries itself throughout the entire book and is referred back to throughout the scenarios and tips given.

They jump next in to different parenting styles – and here is my disclaimer: I am not promoting any of these nor am I trying to make anyone feel guilty about which one they “fall” under. I think each person needs to find what works best for them and focus on improving that skill as a parent. I find myself in different categories that they describe at different times in my motherhood – I’m trying to focus on changing some things I do personally that works best for my kids and my family and so should you!

  • Helicopter Parent – Cline and Fay describe these parents as those who are always coming to rescue their child. They run lunches, permission slips, homework to school. They are always pulling their children out of a jam. “Whenever their children send up an SOS flare, helicopter parents, who are ready hovering nearby, swoop in and shield their children from teachers, playmates and other elements that appear hostile”.
    • Cline and Fay feel that these types of parents are loving, but depriving children from learning. “Such children are unequipped for the challenges of life. Their significant learning opportunities were stolen from them in the name of love.”
  • Drill Sergeant Parents – They love their children and the more they “bark orders and the more they control”, the better their kids will be in the long run. They are constantly told what to do.
    • “Kids of drill sergeant parents, when given the chance to think for themselves, often make horrendous decisions…these kids are rookies in the world of decision making”. Cline and Fay claim that these types of children are followers because they never learned how to make decisions for themselves.
  • The Consultant Parent – “Love & Logic Parent” As children grow, they move from being concrete thinkers to being abstract thinkers when they are teens. Children need thoughtful guidance and firm, enforceable limits. The authors state that as children grow into adolescents, this parenting style becomes even more important.
    • Children have been taught to make their own decisions. They are offered choices while young (but can still be started in teen years) which forces them to think about choices and the consequences. “In order for children to succeed, their kids need to learn to make their own decisions.”

According to Cline and Fay, being a consultant parent is “the” way to go – again to each their own, and I have found myself at times in all three of these categories. I’m stating again that I am LOVING this book for the fact that it is making me stop in my tracks, reflect on how I interact with my children, and forcing myself to make a better choice of words or actions next time the situation arises.

Multiple examples are given throughout the book which help with understanding – most of which pertain to a little bit older children, but the underlying meaning is still relevant. The authors also put in “Love and Logic Tips” that are excerpts of personal stories they use as teaching moments. These are SUPER helpful and easy to refer back to when needing a refresher.

I think the hardest part of parenting, which they nail on the head AND encourage, is that we as parents have to see our children fail. I mean how hard is that?!?! Look at these cuties and tell me you don’t want to help them not ever have to feel trials!

IMG_8369

IMG_8377

However, through these failures come consequences (they refer to them as Significant Learning Opportunities) and are the lessons that children need to learn. The positive end of this for us parents is through these SLOs, children learn responsibility and independence. “Children who grow in responsibility also grow in self-esteem, a pre-requisite for achievement in the real world…there is a direct correlation between self-concept and performance in school, at home , on the playground, or wherever children may be. Kids learn best and are responsible when they feel good about themselves.”

So far I am enjoying this book. The many examples and phrases they say NOT to do, I have done – and they couple that with what I should be saying to create a lasting relationship with my kids. I love that it is making me stop and think – as that is how I best learn as a parent – and learn new ways to interact with Paisley and Carson. It is helping me step towards my goal of 2017, which is to become a better mother, wife and friend.

I will continue to post reviews of this book as I get further in to it. If you have any questions along the way, do not hesitate to ask me! I’d be happy to give my opinion (and it is JUST that…my opinion – you are the expert of your own life!) and what the book suggests one to do.

Thanks for reading!

~xo~

A Nice Little Reminder

Last night I received a text from one of my besties – and it literally made me tear up. It was the SWEETEST thing ever and just the right thing I needed to hear. The gist of it was that she was super impressed at my ability to have 3 babies (soon!) in 3 different states and not even blink an eye…..if she only knew! ha. But seriously…who sends these random messages to their girlfriends at just the right time?!? It was so needed and made me feel like all my doubts need to be pushed aside. So thanks lady (you know who you are!)

This got me thinking the about the last few months and if I have been working my best to improve myself. If you have kept up with my blog, you know that I’ve made a commitment to myself this year to stop comparing myself to others (BIG TASK…I know…ha) and to be my own person. Begin to discover who I truly am and what makes me feel special. I continue to get sucked back in to comparing myself to others (see this post, this one,  and this one if you need to see this recurring struggle happening in my life) – It’s a vicious cycle that I keep finding myself in – struggling to make it out.

But this text, just a simple 2 second thing that my girl sent me – just because she was thinking of me – got me back on track. As many of you know, I am currently pregnant with our 3rd kiddo…and I’m freaking out a bit. I find myself struggling daily to keep my cool with Paisley and Carson, only to realize I blew it…again…and the day starts over – me trying to stay calm and patient. Most days I feel pretty successful, but there are times where I think back to how my day went and feel ashamed. Ashamed at how I yelled again…ashamed at how I put myself first, rather than taking the 2 minutes to address their needs…ashamed at the satisfaction I feel when it is finally naptime!

I think to myself “how am I going to do this with 3 kids?” This is a daily struggle and concern. My feelings of inadequacy run deep – not just around raising children, but in most facets of my life. As much as I don’t like to admit (and as weird as it feels to say/write them down), this blog is actually helping me realize these negative thoughts and feelings I have about myself and my abilities. Just scrolling through these posts, you can see that I think about these things a lot. I tend to share them a lot too (a lot more than I had intended), but for whatever reason it makes me feel better. So they will continue.

Me 2

When I realize these self-doubts, I have to remember that they come from a dark place – the adversary is a tricky guy and he gets very good and getting in to our hearts and minds. This text I got last night is the reminder I needed – I Am Enough! I can do this. Someone out there thinks I am a wonderful mother and example. She has faith and trust in me that I can do this, that I am not alone. That I am strong. I’ve proven it time and time again – multiple moves, multiple children, multiple life changes – and I’ve done all of them! I grew stronger with each new step. I am becoming my own person and we as a family are continuing to grow closer and rely on each other. I am a mom to 2 (almost 3!) amazing and wonderful children. They are the reason I was placed on this Earth. To guide them, teach them, show them the way.

A little pep talk for myself this lovely Wednesday afternoon. Thanks for hanging with me throughout my self-discovery process. I promise not all posts will be this heavy, but just felt that this needed to be shared. It gets it off my chest – so if it only helps me, that is good enough for me!

The next time you feel the need to call or text a friend, please do! Act on that prompting. It may seem small to you, but it may be just what that friend needs to hear.

Happy Wednesday All!

~xo~

2 Kids + Airplane = Travel Chaos

To say that we travel a lot is an understatement. With all our family outside of California, holidays and other times throughout the year you can find us on an airplane or buckled up for a long journey.

I wouldn’t say we are “experts” in this whole traveling with kids thing, but I would say we are pretty good at it by now (ask me in a few months if traveling with 3 makes me change my tune. ha).

IMG_2520

Carson has been traveling back and forth to California since he was 7 weeks old ( I do NOT recommend traveling with a baby this small…or at least don’t expect to get much house hunting done with a baby this small. Their no-schedule phase is not a pretty one when trying to navigate a new area, with WAY more traffic than necessary, and “sight-see”). When it was just him and he was that young, I needed way less stuff than I do now. I could get by with the diaper bag, a carrier or wrap, a few changes of clothes (for him and I…just in case), snacks for me and a good book. Things have changed now that he is 18 months and Paisley accompanies us on all our flights!

In the past year visiting California and since moving here, we have flown at least 5 times with children. Typically with both children and a WHOLE bunch of luggage.

IMG_2389

Our last trip, we met up with our family in Las Vegas and spent a few hours driving to Phoenix for Spring Training (which was a blast, check it out here). We finally had an ah-ha moment when packing for this trip. Previously, we used a shuttle service, lugging all our bags and 2 car-seats from our car to the shuttle, from the shuttle to the check-in counter – which is a nightmare when you only have 4 capable hands to really do all the work. It is a miracle if we travel with less than 5 checked items (3 suitcases and 2 car seats), add in two kids and we definitely look like a hot mess. Brian came up with the genius idea to drop myself and all of our junk at the airport prior to parking the car at the shuttle company. That way it would eliminate the biggest hassle of 2 unnecessary loading and unloading of junk – and the balancing act of getting all that cargo from the shuttle drop off to the check-in counter.

This little idea has saved us so much stress. You do have to account for an extra 30 minutes or so in your travel time, but it is well worth the headache. Paisley, Carson (that way we can get car-seats out, too) and I wait at the curb while Brian  parks the car and hops on the shuttle. Once he meets up with us, we only have a short commute to the check-in.

We don’t typically bring our stroller, as it is one more thing to mess with, but on the Arizona trip, we had our BOB Double Stroller, which came in big time – carrying more than just Carson. We stacked both car-seats, clipped on our carry-on bags (using this handy Mommy Clip), and threw on a few other smaller bags, so we had more hands available for pulling the larger bags. Paisley is also a huge help and loves to pull luggage, so she gets a bag to take to the counter as well (always a helper!). Once bags are checked, the rest of the trip is easy-breezy.

IMG_2410

For the actual plane ride, Paisley again is a champ. Just give her an iPad  loaded with some fun games and she is set (not even embarrassed to admit that this is our go to!). Carson is fine flying as long as there are enough snacks to pass the time (seriously he might eat the entire time). My travel bag of choice is Stella & Dot’s Getaway Bag and here’s what inside (and yes it ALL fits in this bag!):

  • Snacks – I can’t say this enough. We as adults get bored and want to munch, so it’s no surprise our kids are the same way. Go with the most loved and least messy. There is nothing worse than gunk all over your pants or your stuff. We love applesauce in these reusable pouches made by WeeSprout (click here for my more in depth review). Throw in extra fruit snacks, crackers and always have a water bottle for each kid. We love this Munchkin Snack Container and this these Munchkin no-spill cups!
  • Books – Carson is in to textured books, flap books and interactive books. His favorites are First 100 Trucks and Things That Go, On the Farm , and Moo Baa La La La (really any book by Sandra Boynton, she’s amazing!)
  • LeapFrog LeapPad – Paisley refers to this as her “green iPad”, but it is full of educational games, a note pad and music player. Her favorite is the camera feature!
  • Color Wonder Markers and Books – These are super kid friendly and virtually mess free. They make a bunch of different character themed books and markers, so you can easily customize this to meet your kiddos loves!
  • iPad – This is easily Paisley’s favorite accessory we bring on the trip (Carson is slowly realizing it’s amazing power! ha). But we load it with some fun games and shows that she gets to control. I am sure to download a few of her favorite movies (just be sure you have enough storage) from the Plex app. Her favorite games involve puzzles, matching, sorting and coloring (and it makes this momma feel less guilty knowing they are “educational”…right?!?)
  • Pacifiers – I am admiting that our 18 month old still relies on his paci to self-soothe and relax. And I’m not ashamed of it. He is so much different than Paisley in that respect. Getting rid of the paci is just not a battle we are ready to fight yet…so we typically have 3 on us whenever we travel. It’s just a good rule of thumb!
  • Blankets – Each kiddos gets to bring a blankie with them, and both typically opt for their aden + anais muslin blankets. Huge perk for momma is that they weigh practially nothing!
  • Headphones – Nothing special for Paisley, just a set like this to help her hear her games and movies better (and it saves this momma plus the others around us from having to hear them!)

By the time we fly anywhere again, we will have 3 kids and Carson will have his own seat. This could be a game changer for us, so I’m anxious to see how that goes for the first time. All I know is I get my own row with the new baby and Brian gets to share the row with Paisley and Carson…what could go wrong?!? haha

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for flying and/or traveling with kiddos. The more ideas we share the easier it will be for everyone!

~xo~

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

We’ve all heard this phrase a million times, but for some reason today it hit me a little more than usual. I am working on stepping out of my comfort zone, to push myself and grow. It’s scary, it’s hard and sometimes not fun. What I have found is that it causes a whole bunch of self-doubt and necessary recovery from that, AND an entirely new, positive perspective on life.

I sat down this morning to read my scriptures and happened to be on Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon (it has been WAY too long since I’ve done this and trying to get back in the habit…again…for the umpteenth time!). The number of times I have read or heard from this chapter is probably among the hundreds, but for some reason it felt different today.

We had the missionaries over for dinner last night and their message to our family was about faith. What is faith? How do you grow your faith? They too referred to this chapter (coincidence, I think not), asking Brian and I to describe how we have gained faith, what it means to us and how we play on that every single day.

A general understanding of faith is something that is hoped for, but not seen. There is also the understanding that without works, faith is dead. Faith is not something you have and then it grows. Faith is something you believe in will grow, and you work towards doing the necessary things to make it grow.

This can be with anything in life, not just religion or spiritual growth. Take my example of growing this special child for the past 7 months…wow, ha! There have been multiple times, especially of late, where I have to stop and calm myself down because the thought of having three kids truly freaks me out. I know people do it all the time, but there is just something about this time around that is making me REALLY nervous and anxious. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t feel like I am handling myself  very well with two, maybe it’s that pesky little self-doubt creeping back in my mind, maybe it’s the fact that we are still trying to get settled here in California all the while having our sites set on a new opportunity on the horizon…so much unknown in our future is apparently starting to get to me.

I am trying my best to create and establish a well-balanced life for my family and myself, running a side business, and this blog. All of which are definitely giving me a run for my money. I struggle to meet my own demands with these hats I wear, and I often find myself wondering if it is worth the stress. After all of these negative thoughts, comes the light at the end of the tunnel.

The phrase “feel the fear, and do it anyway” is played out a lot with various twists that all generally mean the same thing. There is nothing wrong with being afraid, being anxious about change, or the unknown. What is important is to have the faith and hope that things will be okay. Even if we just have the desire to have that faith, that is enough to build upon. None of this is going to be easy, but with this desire to find the good and push through trials, things will get better. It takes work, it takes effort, but what good thing doesn’t?

“Feel the fear and do it anyway” is a motto for a lot of people. It gives us permission to set aside our uncertainties, find the faith and push towards that goal. We find ways around obstacles and support from those who want to help. We find answers to the questions “Why is it so hard?” and “what’s in it for me?”. Having the desire to find faith is enough. Just the smallest amount of belief is all it takes.

As for me, reflecting on the joy and unconditional love I have for my kids is where I start. I have the desire to be a better mother and wife, the faith to know that three kids will not break me (although that may still take some convincing, ha!), and the hope that my future will be okay and better than I imagine. These three things help me to continue to push myself, to grow and learn new things. To get up at 5 am so I can get my head on straight and have a few hours to myself. To take time out of my daily to-dos and spend it with my kiddos. To put down the electronics and talk to my husband. I am still striving to be better, but I know that with time, all things will be okay.

~xo~

*featured image credit to Imagefountain Photos*