12 Simple Tips on How to Make Traveling With Tiny Humans Just A Little Easier.

Traveling with young children may seem scary, I get it! I know many parents who avoid traveling altogether, because they fear how their children will be, when confined in a small aircraft, away from their comfort space and off their routine. This is definitely a fair and a legitimate concern.

If you have followed me for a while, you’ll know that my husband and I both love to travel.  One of my favorite philosophies in life is that “variety is the spice of life”.  Nothing offers more variety than being able to see, experience and immerse yourself in different cultures and lifestyles from around the world. It is important to us that our children learns to appreciate the uniqueness and complexity of different cultures and understand the vastness of what this world has to offer. Not all classrooms need to be made up of four walls.

Processed with VSCO with al3 preset

Having said that, traveling with kids can be a lot of work so I have tried my best to outline as many key tips for you to make your experience as positive as it can be. Let me be clear, I have had my fair share of disastrous trips so I want to help you prevent that from happening.  Nothing is worse than spending a ton of money on a vacation and NO ONE is happy!

1. Be realistic about your travels: No one knows your child best so be realistic about your destination, activities and duration. For example, if you have a young toddler that does NOT like to walk for a long period of time, don’t plan long hiking trips unless you are fit enough to be carrying your child for most of the hike.

LRG_DSC05886

2. Accommodate some routine in your travel plans. I definitely think you should be able to relax a bit when you’re travelling. The reality is, you are on vacation and there are places you want to go, and things you want to see.  Accommodating every nap, every routine, every day, is probably not realistic. However, we all know that kids are better and happier when they on a routine.

My rule of thumb is when we skip naps for one or two days, we’ll try to accommodate naps the following day. Or if we went to bed late one night, then the following night, we would try to go to bed earlier or at least on time.  I consider this as an opportunity for your child to reset. The last thing you want is to have a tired child having an epic meltdown in the middle of the streets, while hundreds of tourists stare at you. I speak from experience! This on routine, off routine (or reset) method worked really well for us when our kids were younger. However, every child is different, so the schedule that worked for us may not necessarily work for you. You know your child best so determine a schedule/rhythm that works best for him or her.  It may take a few trials and error before you get it down so be patient! As your kids get older, it will get easier to skip the day to day routines.

3. Book flight times around your children’s schedule. If it is a long flight, book an overnight flight if possible. It will be dark and late so they will most likely be tired and sleep through most of it. If it is a shorter flight, try to schedule it around their nap time.  Sometimes the perfect flight time may cost more, so do what makes the most sense for your family financially. Any hour you can get them sleeping on a flight, the better and less stressful it is for you. If napping/sleeping is not an option, then select a time where your child is easiest to accommodate such as in the morning, after they had a full night of rest. Tired kids are often cranky ones.

IMG_4695

4. Keep them busy on flights. The older your child is, the easier it is with flights. I personally had great traveling experiences with my kids when they were babies. They slept, ate snacks and when they got cranky, I would nurse them and that usually did a great job of calming them. Make sure to pack lots of snacks if you are traveling with infants, it will come in handy.  For toddlers, if you are open to screen time, then iPads and tablets are great. Download activities, games, and shows prior to your flight so they can occupy themselves with that.  Now if you’re like me and try to limit screen time, bring activities. I always hit up the local dollar store. For $10 or so, I can get a number of coloring books, fun packs, playdoh and some simple sticker crafts that will keep them busy for hours. Reusable sticker pads and audio books were also great hits with my boys.

5. Don’t care about the other people on your flight! For some reason, this is hard for most people.  We get so occupied with not disturbing other flyers, and completely stress ourselves over it. Most people are understanding when they see you traveling with young children.  But trust me, I’ve gotten a few eye rolls here and there (definitely not often), as I walked down the aisle by the business class section by myself with two young children. You know what, I don’t care! I have the right to be on that flight with my kids just as much as anyone else does. The reality is, most of these people were once in your shoes at one point or another.  If they can’t sympathize with you, then that is too bad, and makes me want to care less about what they think.

6. Pack as much as you need (yes, this is probably different from what you are used to hearing). I’m not saying pack your entire house for all your trips, but if there is something that is going to make your trip easier, then why not bring it. For example, we went to Portugal this past summer and my husband didn’t want to bring a stroller. I thought he was crazy. Yes, my 5-year-old should be walking for most of the trip, but let’s be serious, there was a LOT of walking and he’s going to be tired, along with my 3-year-old! I am a fan of catering your trips appropriately to accommodate your family type. However, unless you have all the time in the world or a lot of money, you’ll want to get the most out of your trip. If you need a stroller so you can see or do more, then by all means, bring a stroller! Bring what makes your trip easier. If you think the benefit of having something outweighs the inconvenience of having to bring it, then bring it!

IMG_3761

7. A little planning goes a long way. As romantic as the idea of being spontaneous may sound, routine and structure are good for kids. Plan ahead the various activities that you would like to do or places you would like to visit and create a travel itinerary. This way, you can accommodate some of your children’s routine as outlined in tip #2.  For example, you don’t have to go back to your hotel everyday for your kids to nap, but if you are going to have a car, plan for your kids to nap while you drive from one destination to another or in the stroller as you push them to the next location.

8. Hand sanitizers are a must. Make sure it is in each bag. Let’s get real, kids are gross! Prevent germs from spreading or kids getting sick so pack those hand sanitizers.

9. Be flexible with the your travel plans. Now if you created an itinerary as suggested above, realize that with younger kids, you might not be able to tackle everything on that list. Prioritize your list of things to see and do each day, and try to get through the ones highest in priority first. Be flexible to move things around if you can’t get to something on a certain day. I think we often forget that we’re not able to move as quickly with younger children.

10. Make sure to include kid friendly activities or attractions in your trip. Most kids don’t get excited about art galleries, museums and sight-seeing. We took the kids to the aquarium in Lisbon in Park of Nations and they had a blast. They are on vacation too, so plan something fun for them as well.

11. If your child is old enough, give him or her a camera. I did this with Lucas in Portugal and it was probably one of the best things I did on this trip. He felt empowered with his camera and it provoked his curiosity wherever we went.  He was excited to go sight-seeing because he could capture the experience himself.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

12. Last but not least, JUST HAVE FUN! Enjoy yourself and not stress over everything. Traveling is about being present and immersing yourself in new experiences and having cool stories to tell later on. Appreciate the people you are with, in the surrounding you are in, so go have some fun!

XO,

Kim

 

Simple Ways to Bring Fall Inside Your Home

As you know, I reside in Florida so the closest things we have to Fall at this time of the year are pumpkins and various colors of mums found in grocery stores in mid 80 to 90 temperatures. So it doesn’t really feel like Autumn around here and you MUST know that this is my absolute favorite season!!!

I miss being able to dress for this time of the year with all the layers, cozy  sweaters, jackets of all sorts and BOOTS! I MISS MY BOOTS!!! I remember the first year I moved to Florida, the day after Labor Day, I totally had my OTK boots on. I couldn’t tell you how silly I felt, as not only was I sweating in them but EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE were in flip flops, even the men, which you almost never see up North. But that’s not going to stop me from embracing all the warm hues and beautiful rustic elements of this season. I  might not be able to rock the oversized cozy sweaters and booties that have been blowing up my Instagram or take evening strolls watching the leaves grow old in vibrant colors of yellow, orange and red. But I can definitely sit inside the comfort of my cozy Autumn home sipping on a pumpkin spice latte in my super fuzzy slippers.

Here are a few easy ways to bring the beautiful season of Fall into your home:

1. You know Pumpkins were going to be on my list so it might as well be the first one. I can’t seem to resist them at this time of the year despite knowing very well that they will NOT last long given the Florida heat and humidity. Nothing screams Fall more than pumpkins. They come in various sizes and colors so make sure to grab a few and scatter them on your mantle, coffee table, entry way table, shelves and/or front porch. Instantly Fall has found its way into your home. If you prefer more of a neutral decor like myself, then white pumpkins/gourds are perfect for you.  IMG_6502.JPG

2. In fashion, plaid is a big hit at this time of the year.  This is when I love rocking button down shirts/flannels, my way of incorporating the season into my wardrobe even with the lack of cooler temps. This same trend can also be applied to the interior of your home. Plaid throw pillows and towels can easily be staples in every house and will allow you to maintain the color scheme of your decor. They never go out of style and really can be used anytime of the year. Texture and layering is quintessential to a cool Autumn day so this is a great time to add hearty texture to your decor. Bring out the faux fur, chunky knits and velvet throw blankets and pillows to add that touch of coziness.

Front-Entry-mirror-wreath-600x900

(Image found on todaycreativelife.com)

3. When I think of fall, I think of nature, being in the woods surrounded by trees with tons of leaves, some on the tree and some scattered on the ground. So add some rustic elements and wood tones to your decor. Replace a ceramic planter or vase with a wooden one and you’ll be surprised how warm your space will feel. LRG_DSC06354

4. Flowers are always a nice touch to every home. If you’re like me and can’t keep plants alive to save your life, flowers are a great way to add life and a pop of color to your home. To celebrate this season, add some mums to your front porch in rustic planters and you are set. Fresh cut sunflowers in a vase is another great way to showcase that warm Fall hue  in your decor.

Processed with VSCO with al3 preset

5. Yellow, Green, Orange, Red and Brown are the probably the colors that come to mind during this season. If that is your thing, by all means, incorporate these colors to your home. If you are like me and prefer a more neutral palette, instead of introducing bright orange pillows to your couch, find a more subtle way to introduce these tones to your home, such as adding amber glass jars/vases for your shelves or in my case, hand soap/lotion bottles. It doesn’t have to be extreme or over the top, subtle touches are often the most impactful!

Processed with VSCO with al3 preset

Also try shopping from your own house. It is likely that you have something stored away that you can reuse or repurpose and that is really the best way to shop! I brought out my olive-green hunter boots and placed it by the entry way for that extra touch of Fall. The reality is I NEVER wear them but you know what, that’s ok because it makes me happy! I also have an oversized plaid scarf that I’ve had since my days in Toronto and now I use it as a throw blanket for this time of the year.

I would love to hear what you have done to incorporate Fall into your home. Please feel free to share your tips in the comments below.

XO,

Kim,

 

 

On your 5th Birthday

January 12, 2018

Dear Lucas,

On this day five years ago you changed my entire life! I still remember when the midwife placed your slippery 9 lb body on to mine and I started screaming “Oh my gosh, HELP! He’s slipping off of me!” like it was just yesterday. You were this wrinkly old looking little baby with swollen eyes, so tiny yet so perfect. I loved you before you ever entered this world. When I finally managed not to have you slip off my arms, I loved you even more, more than I ever thought was humanly possible.

Both your dad and I opted not to sleep that night. We didn’t really speak to each other because we were both exhausted. We just sat in silence and stared at you through the glass bassinet making sure we saw your chest go up and down the entire night. We didn’t know what to expect as first time parents.  The one thing we did know was that we desperately wanted you to be healthy and strong.

Before you were born, I had all these ideas of how I was going to be the perfect mom to you. I was pretty certain I was never going to raise my voice at you, say things I didn’t mean, make empty threats, be overprotective, bribe you with candy or just give into whatever it is you are doing so I could avoid the potential of a meltdown . Well, we all know how that went!

Just like that, you are 5 today! Now you have to use an entire hand to show people how old you are.  I know you’re pretty ecstatic about that. I know you’re going to continue to grow up a lot faster than I will ever be prepared for.

I want you to know that I am sorry for all the times I raised my voice at you when it was probably not justified or because I was having a bad day. I am sorry for the times where I was not able to give you the undivided attention you needed because I was preoccupied with something that was far less important than you are to me. I am sorry if I ever made you feel unimportant because there is nothing more important to me than you, your brother and your dad.

I hope that as you grow older, that you will not remember me for those moments but for all the tears I cried silently when you came home crying because someone at school was not nice to you; for all the guilt I felt for not being the perfect mom that I had hoped to be; for all the nights I chose not to sleep so I could watch over you and make sure you were ok while you were sick; for the countless hours I played playdoh with you despite how much I hate playdoh; for all the scooter and bike rides we took daily no matter how tired I was, for the endless hugs and kisses I gave you everyday; for the times I built courage to initiate our first conversation after a fight and for how I devoted my entire life to provide you the happiest experience I know how. By no means am I perfect, I have made many mistakes but I am only human. I am still figuring out this whole motherhood thing, so I hope that you be patient with me as I am patient with you. I promise you I will only get better with time.

Today we celebrate you, celebrate the happiness that you have brought into my life and the unconditional love you have taught me. Thank you so much for changing my entire life starting this day five years ago. There are going to be some bumpy roads along the way as you walk through life. I might not be strong enough to lift you up physically when you fall, trust that I will be there by your side. I am hurting as much you are hurting. I promise to provide you the support you need to get up and stand on your own two feet. Because I am your mom. Despite how tough some days are, I would not have it any other way.

XO,

 

Your mom

IMG_2738IMG_2739IMG_2811IMG_7112DSC09379DSC09453

 

IMG_9078