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Archive for the Category "Emma"

Road Trips with Young Kids Jul 15

I’m going to continue to ignore the half dozen draft posts that have been staring at me for months. Daydreaming about fiction books can wait, because lately I’ve been not just dreaming, but planning an east coast road trip for our family of four.

We are not strangers to road trips with kids. We took a similar trip to the one we’re about to embark on when our oldest was just 22 months old. The youngest took her first 8 hour car trip at 14 months, and has repeated it every year since. Some say we’re crazy, but we enjoy the freedom traveling in our own car gives us.

My daughters are now 6.5 and 3.75 years old, and this might be the hardest age to plan a trip for. Well, other than infancy when feeding and changing occurs every two hours or all hell breaks loose.

Both girls are potty trained. Neither have life threatening allergies (that we’ve discovered). So why is this the hardest age?

Because the little one copies the big one, and the big one asks, even on trips around town, “Are we there yet?”

So here are 4 ways that I hope to avoid hearing “Are we there yet?” on our next trip.

    1. Planned stops. As an adult or even a teen, you can just drive until you absolutely must use the restroom and then get right back on the road. With young kids, this can be a recipe for disaster. Their bladder control is just not that good. So I have planned stops in active areas ever 2 hours throughout the trip. Why search for active areas and exits? Clean bathrooms. If any of you have ever had young kids refuse to use a public toilet before, you understand how crucial clean bathrooms are to a happy trip.
    2. DVD player. I know there are all kinds of studies calling screen time the devil, but it helps the sections of the trips fly by for kids. I’ve picked a surprise new movie, they picked a new movie, and we’ll pack 3-4 favorites to take with us as well.
    3. *NEW* Map reading skills. Now that the oldest can read and has studied basic geography, we’ve spent a lot of time this summer talking about the map and our route. The girls both know all the states we’re going to, the order we’re visiting them in, and where they are located on the map. Where are we? Are we there yet? Let’s check the map!
    4. *NEW* Surprise toys. In the past, I have allowed the girls to pick whatever toys they want as long as it fits in a certain bag or bin. This trip, since our only real downtime is in the car, I’m packing for them. Colored pencils and paper, Crayola Wonder markers and paper, school workbooks, Busy Books which include a play mat and mini figures to play with, a soccer ball for exercise at our planned stops, and – the biggest surprise for them – a new LeapPad (the youngest broke ours over a year ago) and the use of my old Nintendo DS. They will be allowed to top off the bag with their comfort items – blankets, stuffed animals, iPods, and one item of their choosing.

Have you tried any of these before? Were they successful? What have you done successfully on a road trip? What has been an epic fail?

Category: Alyson, Emma, travel  | Leave a Comment
The Big “1” Oct 19

I’m not usually one to write monthly letters to my kids, or even blog much about their stats as they grow, but for some reason, I feel compelled to write about my baby’s first birthday.

One year ago, right now at the time of post publish, my second baby girl was born by repeat c-section. You can read a little about our first days here.

From the moment contractions started as I was being prepped for my c-section, this little girl has known what she wanted and does whatever it takes to get it. She has developed language skills unlike any other I’ve seen at her age, constantly batting at hands and faces and handing us items or food, squeezing and reaching to get hugs, pulling hair and screeching to display displeasure.

She loves so fiercely and lives so happily that when she IS down (for example, when she suffers from allergies like the rest of the family), you just want to snuggle her until that grin returns to her face.

She’s SO DIFFERENT than her older sister. They are about as opposite as siblings can be, and I’m beginning to think this will work out in their favor as they grow older. So far, the story is that my older daughter will be a cheerleader, dance team member or color guard member, while the younger will have a sport for every season and a dress for every occasion.

Where my older daughter sleeps with a traditional night light, has a long cuddling bedtime routine, and must listen to the radio as she slips off to dreamland for 12 hours, the younger wants the equivalent of a big hug, a tight tuck (she prefers to sleep in her infant car seat), and sweet dreams and lasts about 6 hours before she needs something. Oh, and did I mention darkness? And white noise? These two should NOT be sharing a room, but we’ve managed, through much trial and error, to make it work.

Before she turned 6 months old, this second daughter of mine did things only to prove to me that she wasn’t developmentally delayed. If she was supposed to do something at 2 months, she did it all day the day before her 2 month well visit – and then only rarely after that. I remember this most vividly with rolling. By 4 months, kids are supposed to be able to roll at least one way, and while she’d made attempts, she hadn’t proven that she knew how. Until 2 days before her well visit, when, with much grunting, groaning and fanfare, she decided to spend most of the afternoon rolling.

Once she hit 6 months, it was like a switch flipped in her brain, and from then on, she couldn’t be stopped. She went from rolling to sitting to crawling to cruising to walking in just over 3 months. At 9 months 2 weeks, she took 3 steps on 3 different occasions and since then, has chased her sister at high speed.

While she is slightly behind in her ability to chew solid food (we’ve only just started chunky food), it hasn’t kept her from eating, or keeping the nickname “Chunky Monkey” – which is kinda sorta where I got the theme for her party from. It happened to be a super cute theme that blends well with the fall season. 😉

The amount of love that I have for these two very different girls of mine is astronomical. For every frustrating thing they do, they come back with a hug or snuggle that manages to right all the wrongs. I foresee many wonderful adventures with these two in the coming years.

But today? Today I wish my Emma Bear a happy first birthday. It’s been a heckuva ride, and other than a little more sleep, I wouldn’t change any of it.

Wordless Wednesday Flashback Apr 18

Disney with the cousins before Thanksgiving

Wordless Wednesday Flashback Mar 28

The Welcome Shower for our newest addition 🙂

Wordless Wednesday Flashback to Halloween Feb 08
(Almost) Wordless Wednesday Feb 01

I’ve not been hiding, but I HAVE been extremely busy…

Hopefully I’m back and there will be more posts to come in the next few weeks!