Have Baby, Will Travel- traveling with an infant under 6 months

First post in awhile! Life’s been pretty busy with five kids, go figure 😉
I’ve actually written a few travel posts previously because I love traveling and we frequently travel with our kids but, let me tell you, I was quite stressed about traveling with a five month old! We had a trip to Florida planned when Jules was about five months and then a trip to Puerto Rico planned a few weeks after that, just shy of her turning six months. What did I really need? How would I keep her on any type of schedule? Would it be enjoyable for any of us?
Well, after the two previously mentioned trips, I’m here with exactly what you need and what worked for us.
The Gear, Specifically For Babies 6 Months and Under~
Infant car seat and base
Snap and go (or similar)
Large bag to gate check car seat and base
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Travel Sound Machine- a lifesaver!
Packing for the Baby
I packed each “day” outfit, complete with socks and a headband (of course), as well as pajamas, separately, each in large ziplock bags. At this point I didn’t see a need for “night” outfits for her.
I also packed in 4 separate ziplocks—
1. Three extra complete outfits
2. Swimsuits, swim diapers (two for each day), her sunscreen, and her bug spray
3. Bibs (two bibs for each day)
4. Medicine (thermometer, teething tablets, gas drops, cough syrup, vapor rub, saline spray)
Ziplock full of medication- none of which we needed, thankfully!
In our checked bag, I packed an entire, unopened can of powered formula, her daily food (not much at this point), extra spoons, an entire unopened pack of diapers and wipes, the mat that she loves to lay on, and quite a few toys. I picked up this mat for our PR trip and I can’t say enough about it! It was perfect for her at six months because she was rolling all over the place and it’s huge. I can see us using it later at the park and beach as well.
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Jules on her favorite mat in Florida, before she was rolling over
Traveling
First, check everything you can. We checked our own bags, including a suitcase packed exclusively with the baby’s stuff mentioned above and her travel crib (I highly recommend the Lotus crib- super light weight and very easy to put up and take down). We carried on a very well-stocked diaper bag, plus a backpack with extra bottles, formula and the ziplocks with the medicines (all under 3.5 ounces) and the extra clothes just in case we were delayed or our bags were lost.
We elected not to buy her her own seat. I figured at this point she’d be in my arms regardless. I was lucky enough to have a friend who had a spare infant car seat and snap and go so I borrowed that instead of bringing our own. Most people will need to bring their regular car seat and base and snap and go, which would still work beautifully. We used this throughout the airport and gate checked it right before we boarded the plane. We put the car seat and base in the travel bag to keep it clean and prevent damage.
On the plane, she was pretty good. We timed the flights to coincide with her nap time so I fed her during take off and she fell asleep shortly after. Normally she sleeps for two hours but she slept for about 45 min both times (one sleep cycle) and then was up. I don’t normally use pacifier clips but they are so necessary when traveling so the damn pacifier doesn’t keep falling on the floor. I definitely had to walk her back and forth a bit when the crankiness began but overall all she did great.
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I’m in love with this travel crib!
Schedules
I am the first to admit I can be a bit neurotic when it comes to schedules (this is what works for us; no judgement whatsoever to all the non-scheduled babies and mamas!). Jules is a great napper and sleeper and I attribute that to her consistent daily schedule so I wanted to keep to it as much as possible without sacrificing our vacation. Here’s what worked for us~
  • 7:30am- Wake up at normal time. Because there was an hour difference in PR, that meant an hour later- score!
  • 7:30-9am- After her morning bottle, I’d get her dressed and take her down for a walk around the hotel while I grabbed coffee and breakfast. We’d check out the beach and pool area and it was nice and quiet. This was actually one of my favorite times of each day.
  • 9am- Time for her morning nap. I’d put her down, then quietly sneak out for my alone time by the pool/beach (leaving my hubby sleeping- must be nice!)
  • 10:30- she’d typically wake around 11 so I would come back up at this time. By now, my husband was up and ready to go down to the pool. He’d leave, I’d get her up and fed and then bring her down to hang with the family at the pool/beach. We’d all have lunch and by the time she was ready for her afternoon nap around 1, I was ready for a break from the sun too. I’d put her down and read my book or take a nap, depending upon how many cocktails I enjoyed by the pool 😉
  • 3pm- She’d wake up, have her bottle, and then we’d do our afternoon activity (we checked out the rainforest and Old San Juan in PR and visited family in FL)
  • 7pm- Dinner for all of us. I’d already have her in PJs and feed her her bottle at dinner. She’d typically fall asleep during our dinner but transitioning her to her crib wasn’t an issue.

DSC_0381Exploring the rainforest

Bottles
This was the part I had the most difficulty wrapping my head around before the trip for some reason but it really wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. I picked up this great travel bottle washing kit and drying rack and these microwaveable sterilizing bags and packed enough bottles for a full day, plus one, which meant we had to wash/sterilize bottles every day. I designated my husband in charge of this and he did great. He set up a nice area on the counter (bathroom in FL/small kitchen in PR), using lysol wipes to wipe everything down, and made space for clean/dirty bottles. Then, every night, he’d wash the bottles in the sink and then sterilize them in the microwave using the bags. It worked perfectly. We stocked up on bottled water upon arrival and filled the bottles with water so they were ready to go for each feeding. She is ok with taking bottles at room temperature so we didn’t have to worry about heating them.
Fun?
My final concern was would these trips even be enjoyable. Admittedly, traveling with a young baby is definitely more work and not as relaxing. However, what can compare with your baby’s first time going into a pool or watching their expression as waves touch their feet for the first time? Nothing! The older kids had a blast and we created some very special family memories, which to us is the point of family trips. It was fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
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First time on the beach
I hope these tips help if you are planning a trip with a young baby.
xo,
Tanya
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What’s your MISSION?

A Mission Statement

 In most businesses and schools, a mission statement is developed to help ensure that everyone is focused on a uniform goal. It’s always been my belief that if we don’t know what we’re working towards, we’re standing still. I’m a mover and shaker so standing still isn’t my thing.

After becoming a stay-at-home mom three years ago, I struggled a lot with my purpose. Now by purpose, I certainly do not mean the day-to-day to-do lists that fill all of our lives. Go grocery shopping. Drop off dry cleaning. Get a car wash. Ughhhhh. Yes, these things have to get done but they definitely do not provide anyone with a sense of true accomplishment. I was looking for more. I felt I was blessed to have this time with my children but wanted to have a clear understanding of my goals related to myself and my family. Hence, the idea of drafting my personal mission statement.

Now, what goes into your personal mission state is, you guessed it, personal but I’ll share mine with you.

Mission Statement

To nurture myself, my husband, my children, and my pets with wholesome food, kind words and positive energy. To contribute to my children’s schools and my community with my own unique gifts. To be the woman I want my daughters to be~ active, educated, and cultured. To continue to read, learn, grow and be reflective and to surround myself with positive people who share the same goals.

I took this mission, typed it up and printed it and put it in a pretty frame. It now sits on my desk where I look at it often.

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It’s always a good idea to have a clear focus on what you’re working toward, especially within in your home. Have a lovely day!

xo,

Tanya

Dinnertime Organization

When I first got divorced, I vowed to continue to have sit down family dinners every night. This was a staple in my home growing up and I wanted my girls to have the same great memories of sitting around the table and discussing their days, while enjoying a good, home-cooked meal. This was no easy task given I was a single mom to two young children while working full-time and tutoring most afternoons until 5pm. I would then rush to pick my little one up from pre-school and get home around 6, just in time to face the ever-stressful dinnertime dilemma. Necessity is always the mother of invention so I developed a process of meal planning that helped me considerably. Even though I now have more time on my hands, I still use this system because hey, it works!

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On a Saturday or Sunday morning, I sit with my cup of coffee, my folder full of recipes I’ve torn out from magazines, my personal cookbook (more on that in a minute), and my computer so I can pull up recipes I’ve pinned on pinterest (follow me here!) and plan my meals for the week. I make a quick list- M, T, W, T, F and plan full meals (usually adding one or two desserts for the week) for each of the five days. For each meal, I list all of the ingredients I’ll need on my running grocery list which I keep on my phone.

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Recently, I’ve taken this one step further by listing all the meals on this great chalkboard I found at Home Goods. I also add a quote of the week that we spend some time discussing (it works great for discussing literal meanings versus the deeper meaning most quotes have). We also do something called “high/low” where each of  us talks about the high of our day and the low of our day (the lows are always interesting…I have found that here you’ll hear things that wouldn’t normally get brought up).

Now about that personal cookbook- it’s really important in my house! This blank cookbook was given to me by my grandmother when I first moved to college. She told me to fill it with the best recipes I could find and I take that task very seriously. Since I enjoy cooking and like to try new recipes, I scour recipes online, on pinterest and in magazines and try them out on my family. If the comments are “it’s ok” or “it’s good but it’s not great” we toss it. If everyone loves it, it goes into the book. The book is now filled with my family’s favorite recipes and both girls have asked numerous times about getting the book when they move out. I figure I’ll convert it into a hardcover book when the time comes and I already know how much they’ll cherish it. Find something similar here.

I usually make two to three recipes from the book that are tried and true and two to three new recipes each week. This way the girls always have a few dishes to look forward to and new dishes and foods to try.

So that’s how I do it and I have to say, dinner is one thing I don’t stress about. 15 minutes on a weekend morning and a few minutes here and there looking for recipes is all it takes to have 5 well-planned dinners throughout the week.

xo,

Tanya

If you only do one thing this week…organize your photos and home movies

We all have something that never leaves our to-do lists. Something that we just work around because, for one reason or another, it is a daunting task that we just can’t bear to get started on. For me, it’s organizing … Continue reading