Road Trippin'(with a toddler)

We are embarking on a road trip in a few weeks and I am so excited! Brian and I LOVE road trips. When we were dating, he traveled a lot for work and I would tag along with him on trips whenever possible. You really get to know a person when you are trapped in a car with them for hours on end. ūüôā We love driving so much we even road tripped on our honeymoon!

I love the flexibility of driving to our destination as opposed to flying. We can stop whenever we want to, or explore a different route, and take lots of pictures. I find it much more relaxing. Traveling with kids, however, has kind of changed everything. We have lost a little of the spontaneity from our trips. We have to schedule a few more stops and pack a lot more stuff, but I want our kids to love road trips as much as we do.

Hollis, who is 2 1/2, is quite familiar with long car rides. Since we moved out here to the farm, I try to visit my family back home in Kansas City about once a month (some months they visit us). The drive there is about 4 hours depending on traffic and how many times I have to stop. I have made the drive so often, that I have it down to a science. I can usually do it these days without any stops and our drive gets cut down to about 3 1/2 hours with traffic. Our road trip this summer is going to be about 8-10 hours of driving, so it will be a bit of an adjustment on our little ones. Here are some of my tips and tricks for making traveling easier with littles.

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  1. DVD Player.¬†I know, I know,¬†t.v. will rot your¬†brain. ¬†I don’t want my kids to rely on electronics to keep them entertained all the time, but sometimes it is a life saver. My toddler will watch a movie (or most of one) and then fall asleep. Sleeping kids on a road trip is like the holy grail. At the very least it usually allows me a quiet hour or two on our trip.
  2. Backseat Organizer. We were gifted one of these, and it has been really handy. Ours hangs on the back of the passenger seat and keeps things within reach of the me and Hollis. I can keep toys, books, snacks, drinks, dvds, wipes, diapers, etc. up off the floor and off the seats. It also keeps dirty feet off the back of my seats!
  3. Water Coloring Books.¬†My daughter looooves these books. I think we have all the ones Melissa and Doug make. She loves that she can¬†‘paint’ and I love that there is no mess. The paint brush¬†holds water inside and only shows up as ‘paint’ when applied to the pages of the book. When the¬†pages dry, they erase and she¬†can start all over again. I like these for the car bc they are a lot easier to maneuver than coloring books and crayons. She doesn’t need a hard surface to use it on and if¬†she drops her paint brush, it’s no big deal because it’s just water.
  4. Wipes.¬†Obviously¬†these are a must. Messes happen, especially when toddlers are involved. I swear the harder I try to keep the car¬†clean, the more messes we end up having.¬† I like to¬†keep one of these universal wipes in the front seat¬†in the console and one in the back where Hollis can reach them. I feel like I’m constantly reaching for these; to clean hands after stopping at a park,¬†after using a rest stop bathroom (they never seem to have soap!), wiping sticky hands¬†after a snack….the list goes on and on.
  5. ¬†Cooler Tote.¬†It¬†does not matter how long of a drive we are going on, my child will ask for a snack. Sometimes we don’t even make it out of our driveway without her¬†requesting something. Stopping for food can really add up on a trip as well as slow you down.¬†I pack¬†things like, apple juice, milk, water, string cheese, sandwiches, apple slices,¬†and grapes to snack on. I like to keep some paper plates and utensils handy too¬†so that we can stop at a park¬†or wherever and¬†eat. They are also really nice to have for when¬†you get to the hotel or wherever¬†you are staying.
  6. Treats.¬†Snacks can make¬†or break a road trip for me. I like to¬†pack a lot of healthy options to keep us from stopping at every fast food joint we pass. BUT I also like to bring along a few treats that we don’t normally get to snack on. Sometimes sugar is totally necessary when you’re trying to stay awake to drive or stay awake to make sure¬†your significant other¬†stays awake to drive. It also makes a good bribe for when you do have to take the little ones in somewhere and need them to behave. I try to stick with things that are individually wrapped and that don’t melt too easily onto little toddler fingers.
  7. & 8. Magnetic Boards. This house board and this farm board are in my Amazon cart right now. I like to grab a couple of new toys for Hollis when we go on a long trip. I also like to hide a few toys she loves for a couple of weeks before our trip and then bring them along so they feel somewhat new to her. I let her help me pick out these magnet boards so she has something to look forward to playing with in the car. I like that the pieces are moveable, but stick to the board so everything stays together and we’re less likely to lose things in the seat.

My biggest tip to road tripping with little ones is be flexible. We like to look ahead on our route and take note of places really¬†want to stop at, places we don’t mind missing if the kids are asleep,¬†and also places that would be good to stop at if the kids need an extra break. It’s important for them to get out every couple of hours to stretch their legs and run off some energy. We like to stop at parks, but rest stops and deserted shopping malls (when it’s super hot or raining out) work too. Anywhere that we can play a game of tag or run around a bit are good. The best part of taking a road trip is that the journey there is just as much part of the vacation as the destination is. You can make it as fun as you want!

 

Teething Essentials

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My little man is four months old already. How the heck is that possible? I swear last month was February. We can’t possibly be nearing the end of June right now, can we?! I’ve learned a lot the last four months about my little guy. He is quite a bit fussier than his big sister. He does NOT like his carseat. He’s not crazy about the swing. He is chubby and pudgy in all the right places.¬†He loves to be held…all the time. I call him my little hot tamale because he puts off an insane about of body heat. And like his sister, he laughs and smiles easily, which I love so much.

I try so hard not to compare my children to each other, or to any other children, but it is really, really hard. I love how different they are, but so much the same too! One thing that they both started at the same time is teething. They both started the teething process at 4 months. Just when we were getting into an awesome night time routine and sleeping almost through the night, BAM, teething rears its ugly head.

Here is what is worked for us so far…

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  1. Terry Teethers.  One thing both my babies loved was when I wet a wash cloth and freeze it for them to chew on. They much prefer soft over the plastic, freezer teethers especially in the early months of teething. I stumbled upon these terry cloth teethers that you freeze. I love that they are soft and so easy for baby to hold and are much cuter than wash cloths.
  2. Hyland Teething Tablets. I tried all the tablets and all the gels, and this is the only one that worked for us. I have a bottle upstairs, downstairs, and one in the diaper bag. These are a must.
  3. ¬†Bandana Bibs.¬†With teething comes drool…lots and lots of drool. I love these little bandana bibs. They are¬†so soft¬†so baby doesn’t mind wearing them¬†all day. The prints are cute¬†with pretty much any outfit and I’m not¬†constantly having to change¬†out¬†wet¬†shirts/onesies.
  4. Sophie. ¬†Normally I would say, “$20 for a chew toy?! Pass!”, but Sophie is actually worth it. My mom bought one for Hollis and we have gotten other similar ones, but both of my kids gravitated to Sophie every time. It’s lightweight and easy to hold and get in the mouth even for my four month old.
  5. Mortimer Moose.¬†We¬†have a thing for Moose in our family so we received a couple of these as¬†gifts over the years. It has lots of textures for baby to chew on. It has a good mix of¬†hard things and soft things for their gums. I also¬†like that you can hook it onto the carseat or stroller so baby doesn’t drop it on the floor.
  6. Teething Loop. Hollis loved this one for a long time. Super easy for baby to hold on to and lots of things to look at and nibble on. I was also able to loop it onto high chair and stroller straps to keep it off the ground.
  7. Teething Necklace. ¬†I’m late to the party on this one. I wish I had one when Hollis was a babe. She loved to chew on my necklaces and I would have happily let her chew on this. I also love that it comes in all black and doesn’t scream, “I’m a teething necklace!”.

In addition, we also¬†used an amber necklace¬†for Hollis. I was very skeptical and didn’t get her one until she was one years old, but it honestly helped her and I wish I had gotten her one sooner. I don’t have¬†one on Bo yet, but I plan to get him one when he is a little bigger. We still needed teething tablets some days, but the amber seemed to take the edge off and¬†helped us use fewer tablets.

I’d love to hear what your teething go-to items are!

UGH…That Ceiling

Before we even moved into this house, I knew I was going to have to address the ceiling in Hollis’ room eventually. I’ve been dreading it, clearly, since we’ve lived here over 2 years and I haven’t touched it yet….

My only diy experience with ceilings, is painting them. I hate painting ceilings. A lot. However,  I wish all this ceiling needed was a fresh coat of paint, but it needs much, much more.

(Sorry for the dark pictures, but I had to turn the shadows on so you could see the cracks!)

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Our house is 100+ years old, so we are very used to cracks in the ceilings and walls from settling. And if this was drywall or plaster, I could just fill in those cracks with spackle and call it a day. BUT, this ceiling is covered in paper and the cracks have been taped up and papered over time and time again. I have no idea what is under the paper, and I’m too scared to find out!

We thought about drywalling and texturing the ceiling, but we would eventually end up with cracks in it too over time. I think our best option is to find something to cover the ceiling with. We have ceiling tiles in 3 rooms in the house, so that’s definitely an option. I’ve also been searching ideas on Pinterest for other ideas and found a ton of paneled and wood planked ceilings. I love the look so much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent hours, HOURS, looking at these wood planked ceilings. There are so many and they are all so lovely. I think the rustic look will fit in so well in our old farmhouse. I’m hoping it will tie in with the wood trim and add some texture and warmth.¬†And best of all, I don’t have to paint it!