ROAD TRIP!!!!!

ROAD TRIP!!!!!

Once you have made the decision to do a 12 hour drive with 3 monsters, I mean children, there some things you must take into consideration:

  1. Convenience
  2. Comfort
  3. How to keep the monsters happy … happy monsters = happy mommy

CONVENIENCE:

I kept snacks, and a small cooler full of drinks, in the passenger seat for easy grabbing and passing purposes. Also, I have learned from previous road trips to always keep plastic bags in seat back pockets in case of motion sickness.

COMFORT:

I let the kids stay in jammies and also had them bring pillows into the car. My mom was horrified that I paraded my littles through gas stations and restaurants all day in their pj’s, but hey… if they are comfy and happy, who cares what strangers think about my kids being in pajamas in a gas station at 3 PM?!

HAPPY MONSTERS HAPPY MOM:

I packed each kiddo a backpack with a drawing pad, and coloring utensils, but I’m also a realist.. so I charged up the iPad and kindles for desperate measures. My car doesn’t have built-in tv’s so I bought these little screens that clip onto the back of your car headrests and have a portable dvd player attached so the kids could watch movies. I had them all set up with headphones and everything, so I wouldn’t have to hear “Alvin and the Chipmunks” all day while driving.

Y’all… I was really feeling on top of my mom game with the pre-road trip prep…

… I mean… I had everything to ensure a smooth ride, right?

TIME FOR THE TRIP:

Fantasy—> We’ll get going, Kids will watch movies and color, Kace will probably sleep for a few hours. While they are all completely content, I will listen to the audio book I downloaded (“Crushing it”), and then when Kace is up, we will listen to some amazing road trip music. We can stop at fun landmarks, or funny signs, and take pictures to add to some amazing scrapbook. Everyone will be totally content and we’ll have the best time ever…

Reality—->

I got the kids out of bed at 6:30 AM and put them straight into the car. Now, that is super early for them compared to our usual “9:30-ish rolling out of bed lazy summer routine”, so naturally there was some whining.

Livi: “I don’t feel good…”

Me: “It’s early honey, once you eat you’ll be fine”.

Violet: “I’m huuuuuungry” …

Me: “There are pop-tarts in the backpack next to your seat” -I said with a smug grin because I was feeling so prepared.

Livi: “I can’t eat anything.. I don’t feel good”.

I immediately had a bad feeling… she gets car sick frequently on road trips, but refuses to take dramamine because she hates the flavor. Trying to give that child dramamine is a sincere form of torture for everyone involved. You would think demons were being exorcised from her body with the amount of screaming and thrashing, and gagging that’s involved. I tried to say…. “Livia, how about you just chew up this dramamine really quickly and I’ll give you a juice to immediately drink!” Before I even finished my sentence, she was moaning and crying ” I would rather barf all day than chew that DISGUSTING pill!!!!!!!!!!!”.

We were about 8 minutes into the drive, and the real moaning started.

Livi: “uggggh, urrrrrggggghhh, ahhhhhh, oh no…. MOMMY!!!!!!”

Me: “grab a bag!!! It’s right in front of you!”

Livi: “There’s a hole in it!!!! I’m not gonna make it!!!”

I reached behind my seat, snatched another bag out of the pocket, and handed it to her just in the knick of time. Here I thought I would be passing cookies back, instead Livia tossed her cookies up.

We pulled off, threw out the barf bag, and got back on the road. About 15 minutes later.. the same exact thing happened. Another hole in the bag, another frantic reach for a new bag. Only this time, my map was jumping around on this huge connection of highways and I exited the wrong highway. The little mistake added an hour to my ETA …all 3 kids were screaming… I was trying to figure out how to exit, and with all the chaos I couldn’t help but yell out my favorite choice word. Unfortunately, my little 21month old mimic decided to yell out the same choice word. Not my finest moment…

When everything started to calm down, I decided to get a movie going for everyone. To my loving surprise, only one dvd screen would work. However, the working screen wouldn’t play sound. The screen that was totally black was the only screen making sound. The headphone jacks wouldn’t work for either screen (of course). After the hysterical crying stopped over only one person’s screen working, both girls watched one screen and I enjoyed the lovely, soothing sounds of Alvin and the Chipmunks for an hour and a half.

Basically, the road trip that I thought would be a fun little adventure, rapidly turned into a total circus. Whether it was the car sickness, malfunctioning dvd players, gas stations with no changing tables, no naps for 12.5 straight hours; it was very clear to me that no amount of preparation could have mentally prepared me for the pure chaotic cluster express that was our road trip!

When we finally got to my parents house I wanted to kiss the ground. We made it!!!!! One of us lost the contents of their stomach, one of us lost their sanity… but we made it! Goal for the trip home: embrace the crazy 😉

xx

Stephi

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Summer Break!

Summer Break!

The kids are officially out of school, which means summer break is in full swing! I absolutely loooove summer. Summer (to me) means sleeping in, easy mornings with no agenda… days filled up with neighborhood pool fun, popsicles at all times of the day, chalk art, bubbles, 7/11 slurpees… etc. For weeks I have been dreaming about all the summer fun the kids and I will have.

Well, we have had two full weeks of summer, and reality has set in… I have a 20 month old boy! Easy summer days are non-existent! Summer fun has to be scheduled around carefully curated nap-times. When we actually do make it to the pool, I am in a constant state of panic trying to watch Violet as she jumps off the high dive, Livia going down the water slide, and Kace grabbing random strangers drinks, ready to chug! If I don’t intervene,  with ninja-like motions, he will inevitably end up chugging some (other) mom’s rosé!

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actual photo of Kace with a complete strangers drinking cup 🙂

I have tried getting him in the baby pool… not happening! Baby pools are for suckers! Kace would much rather ravage through somebody’s pool bag… throw an unsuspecting stranger’s shoes in the deep end… get a hold of somebody else’s sunscreen and launch it into the pool. Actually, now that I am thinking about it, he pretty much only wants to torment every single person at the neighborhood pool, by rummaging through their things, and launching them into the water. If I pull him away from his set intention.. all hell breaks loose. He makes noises only prehistoric birds can make.

Any tips on how to tame the pool monster, that is Kace, are MUCH appreciated….

Before summer actually started, I gathered essentials that I felt I would need for a summer full of pool fun! There is no reason I shouldn’t share with y’all, in case your 20-month olds (or lack there of) cooperate ;-).

  1. You must have a great pool bag! I have a few options… I have some cute totes that are fun for a day with just girlfriends at the pool, and then I have some bags that are “catch-alls” for all the towels, dive-toys, goggles, mermaid-fins, snacks, water bottles etc.!!! (#momlife). Of course, you can always take those cute totes and shove all of the real-life mom-stuff in it (I do it often)…

    17F1FF5B-E695-4F90-8020-6C98A6F41761
    Top to bottom: Tassel bag, Straw tote, Southwestern printed carry-all, Black and white carry-all, Fringe tote, Straw tote with pom poms, Southwestern tote
  2. HAVE to have a great pair of sunnies! Here are a few fun affordable pairs that I love ( all under $15.00)!

    677C4B93-77E2-4D8A-AC53-19A7DF41DE74
    Tan and chic, Round sunnies, pineapple fun, pink/white classic shape
  3. If you are trying to preserve that baby-face of yours, you need a great hat! Hats can also function as a disguise when your child is behaving like a monster 🙂

    B4CB2DED-2328-482A-8074-D8B653D51941
    Iridescent visor, Bandana fedora, panama hat, straw visor
  4. Cute cover-ups, that you can NOT live without 🙂

    B0CAFC70-EE34-47CF-BFC5-08CA7860AD74
    Tie-die maxi, red and white cold-shouldered dress, black and white off the shoulder, pink with pom poms and tassels (best combo ever).
  5. If you have kids, you need pool toys! I suggest checking out Target (pronounced, the fancy way… “Tar-jayyyy”), or Walmart’s water toy isles. You can always find great dive toys, water-friendly balls, buckets, mermaid barbies, etc.

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    mermaid fin, mermaid barbie, puddle jumper, splash bat and balls, torpedo dive sticks
  6. Last, but not least, my random favs! I love this Sunbum leave-in conditioner spray for hair. My neighbor told me about it last summer, and I’m obsessed. I feel like it helps fight against the nasty things chlorine does to hair! Also, loving the Target suncreen, Sunbum suncreen, baby organic face-stick, and water bottles 🙂 
    FBF6EA0D-0AEF-476E-A98C-E99B244629FD
    Babyganics SPF face sticks, “I was told there’d be wine” water bottle, SunBum sunscreen, SunBum leave-in conditioner, Swell bottle, Target kids sunscreen, Corksicle drink cup 

    ** Important things that are not listed: A fun girlfriend to go to the pool with you for moral support. They must be able to wrestle alligators! Lots of caffeine, to keep your energy levels up and ready to chase a monster for at least a few hours (or however long your sanity can hold up). Also, don’t forget SNACKS! The only thing that might give you a moment of stillness… and if the baby doesn’t want them.. you can stress eat 0:-).

Happy Summer!!!!

xx,

Stephi

Flying With Kids

Flying With Kids

Flying with kids… not for the faint of heart. If you ever feel like putting your patience to the ultimate test, bring three small children on an airplane and roll with it! I have a few things I do to try to help the trip be as easy as possible. “Try” being the key word 🙂

Early morning flight?

Have your kiddos go to bed in something super comfy that they can go straight to the airport in. For my girls, thats a simple t-shirt dress, and then I have their easiest slip-on shoes right next to their beds. That way when they wake up, all they have to do is roll out of bed, slip on their shoes, and hop into the car!!

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Keeping the kiddos occupied:

We do have kindle fires that the girls received as a gift from my Grandparents, which is always an easy go-to. However, sometimes games don’t work, batteries die, etc. so I always try to find some fun little items for their carry-on bags before each trip. If it’s stuff we have in the house already.. they get bored of it in 20 seconds. This is where Target’s dollar section comes into play! For our most recent trip, I found some cute little sketchpads, a little clipboard with notepad paper, pencil case and fidget spinner. I think I spent about $7 per child, and it occupied them throughout our entire trip.

I brought their little sketchpads everywhere. We would have drawing contests at dinner, we had them bring them along throughout the day to draw what they saw, sometimes they would create checklists of things they wanted to do.. The possibilities are endless ;). I also pack snacks!! If your kiddos are anything like mine.. the second the plane starts to taxi down the runway, they are crying about being hungry and thirsty. I always have a couple little treats in their bags and fill up a water bottle in the airport (after security of course) for them to have on the airplane. When all of my fun little treats and activities fail, I give in and let them play with their kindles. Sometimes you just need a little quiet-lol!

For the baby!

First… get hand sanitizer! Airplanes and airports are full of who knows what kind of germs, and those little hands are going to need a little spritz of germ killer here and there throughout the trip 😉 Second, need bottles ready-to-go at a moments notice, and baby snacks (Kace loves those little yogurt melts). Third, any kind of baby toy that doesn’t make a lot of noise, and wont hurt strangers when they hurl it through the air at them :). I found his banana toothbrush/teether seemed to be a great choice. Also, a couple of his stuffed animals were a good choice :).

Don’t forget to pack your patience!

Kace is not the biggest fan of sitting still… also not a fan of not being able to crawl around anywhere he wants. While waiting for our flight, I try to let him crawl around a little (why I need hand sanitizer) to tire him out before the flight. Then, I let him have a bottle while we’re taking off in hopes that it will help his ears and soothe him enough to fall asleep. It has worked in the past, however, this trip he wasn’t having any of my “tricks”. He wanted to grab everyones hair in the seats in front of us, bang on the seat tray tables, climb, roll, squeal, make as much noise as humanly possible, and more! I honestly felt like I was wrestling an alligator for 3 hours straight. While said wrestling was taking place, I glanced over at Kevin, reclined in his seat relaxing, reading a nice article.

He had time to stop, scratch his head a little, got lost in thought and glanced out the window at the sky for a while… Flash back over to me getting hair pulled, smacked in the face, spit up on, a 6 year old tapping my shoulder whining because her kindle game wasn’t working.. MOM LIFE!!! Am I right??? It was honestly comical, all I could do was stop and laugh. Finally, I snuggled that little baby boy up, and walked the isles back and forth a little and got him to fall asleep for the last 20 minutes of the flight-lol! Don’t worry.. it was still pure chaos, as Violet was hysterical because she ate all of her snacks and wanted more! Plus, her virtual pony lost in a race making it her ” worst. day. EVER!” (her words).

Just when you thought it was over…

The flight may be over, but you still have one final test.. deplaning, and getting out of that airport! Just when baby goes to sleep, its time to wake him up, gather all carry-on items, shuffle kids off the plane, through the airport (usually whining because they’re too tired to have to walk-those poor poor babies 😉 ), get whatever checked luggage you have– which if you are flying with kids, you will have checked luggage due to carseats–and occupy those kiddos until their carseats are finally added to the luggage belt (usually always last!). This is when “I Spy” comes in handy! You distract them from having to walk, and carry their own backpacks.. by picking out random things in the airport and having them guess what it is! They loooove it! Finally, you have your bags and you can bust outta there!!!

By the time the entire travel ordeal is over with.. you have definitely earned yourself a glass of wine! Unfortunately, it’s only 8 AM and not socially acceptable to drink at that time-lol!

Happy travels!!!

xoxo

Stephanie

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We made it!!!!! (The guy in the background knows how crazy we are…lol!

 

***Little random tip… For some reason Kace was completely enamored with me blowing bubbles with my chewing gum. On our flight back to Dallas, he was entertained for probably over an hour with bubble gum- mom win!!!!

Nice, France: Day 2

Nice, France:  Day 2

Woke up on day two, and headed to breakfast solo while Kevin was off to meet with a fellow shoulder doc for the morning. The hotel had a cute little breakfast set up, complete with croissants, fresh baguettes, jam, honey, eggs, sausage, assorted cheeses, prosciutto, and most importantly… espresso. While I enjoyed my breakfast, I planned our day’s itinerary so we would be ready to take off as soon as Kevin was back from his meeting.

The Plan: First, we would walk through the beautiful Parc du Chateau, along Port Olympia, over to Le Petit Marais (a trendy area off the beaten path from the tourist-heavy area) and that’s where we would have lunch. When Kev got back,  a few hours later than expected, we did exactly that.

The hike up to Parc du Chateau was steep, but beautiful. We had to stop several times just to gaze out at the Promenade des Anglais ( famous stretch of beach) in awe…

We strolled through the beautiful park, imagining how fun it would be to have the kids there! We meandered through winding trails down to Port Olympia, where beautiful boats were docked and cruise ships come in and out.

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Port Olympia

Just as we were approaching the end of the port, it started to rain, so we ducked into our intended lunch spot, Déli Bo for a very late lunch. It was the cutest coffee shop/bistro that had great sandwiches, salads, and sweet treats. IMG_3171We sat out on the covered patio and enjoyed a delicious Niçoise salad, while watching the rain come down. We ended our lunch with some delicious little desserts. Just as we paid the bill, the rain stopped. We were able to stroll down Rue Bonaparte, to Rue Bavestro, and Rue Lascaris. The 3 streets were recommended by The Lonely Planet, and did not dissapoint. They were filled with cute/trendy boutiques and cafes.

Afterwards, we wandered Back towards the historic area of Nice, AKA Vieux Nice. We strolled along the Promenade du Paillon. A long stretch of  jungle gyms and reflection pools, perfect for families. All of the jungle gym equipment was designed to look like different sea creatures. It is the perfect spot, if you are visiting Nice with Children, to stop and enjoy! Even without kiddos, it is worth the walk-through.

After that, we headed into Vieux Nice for gelato at one of Nice’s finest spots, Finnochio.

Finnochio was located in a square area that reminded us of a piazza in Rome. There were street musicians playing the most beautiful music and we sat and took it all in! It was the perfect finish to our second day. At this point it was about 7, and the jet-lag was hitting us both. We decided to head back to the hotel and call it a night. Eze, France tomorrow!!!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

 

The Details:

Where We Went: Parc du Chateau, Port Olympia, Petit Marais, Promenade du Paillon, Vieux Nice

Where We Ate:

  1. Breakfast at Hotel Nice Exelsior
  2. Late lunch at Déli Bo- excellent!
  3. Gelato at Finnochio- Must try! go for the passion fruit (steer away from the mint)

Where we slept: Hotel Nice Exelsior

What I Wore:

Dress- Free People

Sandals- Hinge

Purse- Jcrew (sold out, linked similar)  Similar 1 , Similar 2

Earrings- Bevello