Traveling Internationally with Kids (must haves!)

We just got back from spending 2 weeks in Iceland! We had our kids (ages 3 and 5 months) in tow.

Here are a few items that made our trip a success:

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  1. Portable sound machine. I kid you not, this is the best invention ever! It is $10, it can clip onto a stroller, carseat, baby carrier, etc! It runs off batteries (perfect for going international) and you can choose to have it run for 15, 30, and 45 minutes OR you can let it run forever. 🙂 This really helped with getting our kids to nap on the go, plus we used it in our sons crib at night. You can get it at Target or Amazon. (myBaby sound spa on-the-go sound machine) IMG_4767You can spy it hanging on the stroller and laying in the crib.   IMG_4336IMG_1818
  2. A baby Carrier. We brought along our Ergo for our 3 year old and our Infantino for our 5 month old. The Ergo was perfect for our 3 year old because it’s like getting a piggy back ride without having to use your arms! haha. The Infantino was perfect for our 5 month old because he loves to face forward and look out at the world. Both works so well for napping on the go and hiking! Both of these can be purchased on Amazon or target as well!IMG_2568(okay so this photo makes me laugh! My 3 year old wouldn’t put his arms under the straps and then fell asleep and was just flopping. 🙂 It was pretty funny!IMG_4066IMG_4170

  3. Headphones for the toddler. I got these completely adorable headphones on Amazon! Its a little headband with speaker by the ears. It stays on and if your kiddo  falls asleep it’s still comfortable! (CozyPhones kids headphones)IMG_4768
  4. Hust Hat. This bad boy can block out the loud noises when you’re trying to get the little ones to nap! It was a life saver for the plane, restaurants, and just being out and about! The plus side, it keeps the babe warm!! You can get it at Target or Amazon as well. IMG_4769

(so funny, the hat did slip down and cover my son’s eyes. He is under there somewhere!! ha 🙂 )IMG_4204

5. Pacifier Clips and a Wubanub. If you have a little baby like we do, that pacifier clip will come in so handy! You can clip it onto the baby carrier, clothes, carseat, etc! That way you don’t have to worry about losing it.

6. Stroller with a rain cover. This last one really all depends on the age of your kids and whether or not you’re expecting to be around rain. We went to Iceland and the weather there is so crazy. Luckily it was nice most of the time, but it would randomly rain throughout our whole trip. The stroller and rain cover were a life saver when it was raining. It helped keep our kids warm and dry, we also were happy to stick everything else under there (shopping bags, diaper bag, camera, etc!

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Well there you have it! That is my list of MUST HAVES. Stay tuned for my next post on what to pack in your child’s carry on bag.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

…until next time! xoxo ❤

2016 in review

Even though January is coming to an end, I thought I would do a little 2016 year in review! With the arrival of baby Jack, we didn’t get around to sending out Christmas cards to all of our friends and family.

We started the year off planning our trip to Australia for my one of my best friends’ wedding. I was lucky enough to be her Matron of Honor! Since Chad and I had already been to Australia a few times, we decided to use this trip as the perfect excuse to see New Zealand!

After the wedding we hopped a flight to New Zealand. We rented a camper van and drove along the south island. We had a blast camping out and the scenery was amazing!! We were able to visit wineries, go sky diving, and just enjoy each others company while taking in the most wonderful views! It was such an awesome vacation and I always forget how much I love camping! 🙂

Chad’s sister watched Preston while we were gone. It was so nice to get away knowing he was in good hands! We sure did miss him though! Two weeks away was definitely long enough!

Shortly after returning from ‘down under’ we found out we were expecting a baby due in December!

Chad also started traveling to Nebraska for work 4-5 days a week upon returning from our trip. I definitely had my hands full with Preston and being pregnant (and sick until 27 weeks…okay, who am I kidding?? I was sick up until the day that I had Jack). The good news was that Chad had accepted a new role in Chicagoland and, thankfully, he wouldn’t be traveling in his new role. So while he finished up his days traveling, Preston and I were at home cleaning and keeping our house in perfect condition for showings. It was a crazy 6 months filled with house hunting trips, inspections, and more house hunting trips.

{{side note, we actually made an offer on a house, it was accepted, and then we decided to back out after the inspection–this happened towards the end of October. We ended up going back to the first house we fell in love with, made an offer, and luckily it was accepted on the evening of October 30th.}}

The plan was for Preston and I to stay at our house in Iowa until it sold, thankfully, it sold in 3 weeks and we were able to join Chad in Illinois. We closed on our house November 30th and were able to get moved in and settled that weekend. We had family come over to help us unpack and organize our whole house!! It was such a blessing considering I was about 37 weeks pregnant by then.

In December I scouted out some schools for Preston. We got him enrolled in a cute little school that is just a couple miles from our house! It was a little transition for him; new house, new school, new baby brother on the way…but he’s done so well! It’s so awesome hearing him tell us stories about what he learns at school.

We were able to host Christmas for my family! They were hoping Jack would make his appearance while they were all here…but of course that didn’t happen! He decided to wait a little longer.

We finally were able to meet our little bundle on December 30th. He arrived in less than 3 hours and has had our hearts ever since! He was 7 lbs 11 oz and was 20 inches long. He has been such a good baby so far. He’s very content and easy going and gives me baby fever (is that even possible?!?! haha). We can’t wait to watch him grow–hopefully not too fast though!

Preston has really taken to being a big brother. He loves Jack so much already! He’s always wanting to kiss him and hold him. He’s been a good helper too, always fetching me things, doing tummy time with Jack, helping with bath time, giving Jack his binky, or as punk calls it, his ‘pinky’. 🙂 Although, Preston has tested me on more occasions than I’d like to admit, at least he loves his brother! My sweet boy has decided to rebel against his Mom a bit. He still loves construction sites and machinery. He’s smart and silly and the perfect mix of Chad and me. We look forward to seeing his relationship with Jack grow into something special! (I’ve already gotten them 3 matching sweaters for next winter and matching bowties for Christmas!! YAY!)

We were able to ring in the New Year from the hospital and were discharged the next day. We definitely started the year off with a bang! We were able to bring our new addition to our new home for the very first time on January 1st.

Well, that was our year in a nutshell! Can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us!!

We hope the New Year brings you all the happiness. ❤

…until next time! xoxo ❤

 

 

 

Overdue.

Well, I made it to 41 weeks with our newest addition! Let’s just say I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I actually was, until I pushed him out and I told my doctor how great I felt with all of that pressure off of my back!

I didn’t get a picture at 39 weeks because it was my 31st birthday and I had other things on my agenda. 🙂 So here is a picture of me at 40 weeks on December 23rd.

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By 40 weeks and 5 days I had a lot of people reaching out to me to see if I’d had the baby, or at least any contractions. So I figured I would update them all!  Haha.

(I was 2 cm at 38 weeks and 3 cm at 39 weeks. You’d think that would have meant the baby was coming soon. It didn’t!)

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And here is the final picture of me at 41 weeks! Large and in charge for sure!!

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Stay tuned for my next post on the arrival of our sweet baby boy.

…until next time! xoxo ❤

38 weeks with Pip2

We have been SO busy around here lately, but I thought I’d do a quick post, it may be the last one I get to do before baby arrives!

 Today I am 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant! :O

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As per usual, I’m feeling huge and uncomfortable, but I’m finally feeling better! I ended up catching a pretty nasty head cold the day we closed on our house. It was accompanied with a nasty cough that hurt SOOO bad every time I coughed. Let’s just say the last week has been a whirlwind. Packing, Closing, Moving, Unpacking, Organizing, all while sick and very pregnant. Not exactly something I would recommend!!

Our house is coming together. Thankfully, all the moving boxes are empty and waiting in our garage to be picked up. I actually feel like I’m 80% ready for this baby to arrive. I just need to finish my hospital bag, Preston’s bag, and a few last minute things in the nursery. I really wish our formal dining room and sitting room had furniture, but I have a feeling that’s going to have to wait. I just haven’t had the time to do any furniture shopping.

Preston and I have visited a few ‘schools’ for him to attend. I thought it would be really nice for him to have something to do a couple mornings a week once the new baby arrives. I really want him to have that social interaction with other kids, structure, and discipline! He has a trial day tomorrow from 8-1pm. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he does, and having 5 hours to myself! But who am I kidding? Those hours will be filled with last minute baby prep, finishing up the Christmas shopping, making a run to the grocery store, etc! I’m sure it’ll fly by, but I know it’ll help not having a toddler in tow.

(our most recent trip to target for organizational purposes. lol 🙂 It guess nesting and moving create an angry organizational monster!)

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My birthday is on Friday, so I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with family and enjoying the last week(end) as a family of 3. Hoping baby will stay put until Monday the 19th. 🙂 But who am I kidding, as long as he’s healthy, I’ll be happy!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

…until next time! xoxo ❤

home is where ever i’m with you.

We are finally all moved into our new house! We closed last Wednesday and we had family here all weekend helping us unpack and get settled. There is still a lot to be done, but I do feel like we’ve made a lot of progress–which makes me rest easy knowing we could have a newborn join us any time now!

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One of the first things we did was unpack the kitchen, so we could get back to using dishes and cooking meals! I’m loving all the cabinet space–I’ve never had empty cupboards and drawers before! I just need to get a few barstools to fit our counter height island.

While the girls organized the kitchen the boys hung blinds in all the bedrooms and bathrooms, installed our mailbox, and hung the hardware in our bathrooms! You know, all the crazy things you need to do when you first move into a new house.

The living room is all ready to host Christmas! We are having Christmas at our house this year since we will either have a newborn or I could still be very pregnant at that time (hopefully not!) so I wanted to make sure there would be a place for us to hang out and tree to put our gifts under!!

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Next on the task list was our Master bedroom, so we would have a place to sleep, get ready, and have accessible clothes for hubby since he has to go to work everyday! Our master closet is still a work in progress and so is our bathroom. I need to get some drawer and closet organizers before I unload the rest of the boxes! That’s on my list for tomorrow though! Our bed is looking pretty sweet. We recently updated to a king sized bed. It is heaven. Seriously! I finally feel like this 37 week prego body finally has enough room to be comfortable in my nest of pillows.

My Dad helped me add new hardware to our side tables and we got some glass cut to add to the top of them as well. I wanted to get them chalk painted this weekend while my Mom was here but my #anniesloan chalk paint was all gone. 😦 That’ll have to be a project for another day.

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We also got a start on Preston’s Dino room this weekend. It still isn’t perfect but we got everything taken out of the boxes and quite a bit of it organized. It’s hard to stay on task when I have a tornado going behind me and making messes with toys as I work! My mom painted Preston’s dresser white this weekend. I wanted it to be white to match the rest of the furniture I had already painted before I was even pregnant. The other furniture is blue and his bed is white. I’ll have to share pics another day. I do have a picture of the cute dresser though!! I just need to finish his room and get some things hung on the walls. I really wanted Preston’s room to get done so it would make the transition easier. The first 4 days here he wouldn’t nap (I’m hoping it was from all the excitement though). He did nap the last 2 days, thank goodness! When my parents left yesterday Preston asked if they would take him back to his old house to sleep. 😦 He hasn’t asked for his old house since then though, thankfully.

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I was able to organize the boys’ bathroom today. I put Preston in the bathtub so he was having fun playing while I organized the towels, cleaned the baby tub, and scrubbed the toilet. It was a win win for both of us!!

We were able to enjoy the first snowfall of the year in our new house!

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Preston wanted to play outside in it all last night and all day today. He was having so much fun building a snowman, shoveling, playing with his dump truck, and making trenches with his backhoe!

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Next on my list is to get the nursery ready for Pip2 and to organize the mudroom/laundry room. But after the week we’ve had, I’m ready to curl up in a ball and not move for a LONG time. It’s too bad that’s not how life works. lol

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our boy Bentley has the right idea though! 😉

i think that’s all for now! I really need to get an updated 37 week belly pic. Hopefully soon enough 🙂

…until next time! xoxo ❤

34 weeks!

Hard to believe I’m already 34 weeks!!! This pregnancy has been flying by! There is no baby bump picture this week because selfies in the bathroom mirror are not near as fun! oh, and the fact I can’t seem to put a bra on. Like ever.

This pregnancy has been a little rough on me!! Not only was I sick until like 27 weeks (and I still get sick on occasion at 34 weeks) but we are in the middle of a move and relocating. All I want is a huge glass of wine! Seriously, the days are long, the nights are short, nap times are shorter, and my wine glass is empty. {only 6 more weeks until I can kick back with a glass of my favorite ALDI wine!!}

My hubby has already started his job so Preston and I have been staying at our house while he lives a Bach lifestyle without us. Let’s just say the day to day is exhausting!! Chasing after a 2.5 year old, organizing for our move that’s happening in #2weeks 😳, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog… you get the picture! Daylight savings time sure didn’t help… my only saving grace is that Preston is in bed by 7pm now! #Hallelujah

I do know hubby feels bad he can’t help out more. He’s working so hard for our family and we appreciate it so much!! He is such a huge help when we do get to see him. He cooks me meals, does nap time and bed time routine with Preston, and cleans… it’s glorious!

However, something always seems to go wrong when hubby is away: faulty smoke detector that likes to go off at 5am, a spider infestation in my car, bentley’s 🐶 Collar breaking as I’m trying to tie him up at my parents house before making the 5 hr drive to see hubs with Preston.

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I am thankful I have a house with smoke detectors, a car to drive, and parents who will watch our pup. ❤

As much as I’m going to miss our gorgeous beloved home, I am excited to get settled into our new house. I can’t wait to get it all decorated and cozy feeling just in time for the holidays! {It brings me back to when I was pregnant with Preston and we moved when I was about 27 weeks pregnant! When we closed on our house Nov 15, 2013, the first thing I did was put up my Christmas decorations!! This time will be fairly similar, except I will be 36 weeks pregnant and we close on Nov 30, 2016! I can promise that the first thing I do will be to put up my Christmas decorations again!! I am sensing a theme here….lets just say next time I get knocked up we aren’t relocating to a new state like the last 2 times. lol!!}

I’m trying to enjoy the time with just Preston and I before Pip2 to arrives. I’ve also been working on some ‘busy bins’ for after the new baby arrives and Preston needs some new and fun things to keep occupied!

I’ve been doing a bit of nesting lately, too! I’ve gone through and sorted and organized all the baby clothes, gotten baby items together, and got the infant carseat out and ready to use–just in case Pip decides to arrive a bit early!! I don’t want this stuff lost in the move and have no clue where it’s at!! I even got my hospital bag started, just with a few things for now, but that’s another thing I want to have ready and organized before the movers come and pack us up and ship us out! haha.

Next time I’ll try to have a baby bump picture to include! Even though I’m feeling huge and uncomfortable…I really don’t remember feeling like this with Preston… second pregnancy probs maybe! Hopefully I can do one more post before we move and the crazy begins!!

Okay, edited to add a selfie bump pic! 34w5d

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…until next time! xoxo ❤

 

 

 

The single parent life.

To say the last few months have been busy would be an understatement. It has been so crazy around here!! Chad has been traveling to Nebraska for work every week–so during the week it’s just been Preston and me. Every weekend seems packed full as well!

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I’ve been watching our cute little neighbor boy 3 days a week. It’s definitely been great for Preston. He loves Joey so much and they have so much fun playing together. I love watching them interact. They do such a great job sharing and taking turns. I’m hoping this will prepare Preston for being a big brother, too!

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(^^ready for a bike ride, mom!!)

Little Preston is such a ham! He reminds me of when I was young. Looks and silly-ness!

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I think Chads traveling has been wearing on me. Not because Preston is a handful, he’s absolutely not! He’s actually SO very good for me 95% of the time. My sweet boy. But it’s all the other things that come up while your husband is away.

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For example: a few nights (mornings?) ago at 5am the smoke detector in our bedroom went off and continued to go off every 30 minutes. At first I thought it was from the humidifier in our room (i was also battling a horrible head cold), I drug a barstool in from the kitchen and I had to balance this 25 week prego  body on a high barstool to get the button pushed for temporary silence. (The bad thing about high 14′ ceilings). The alarms were going off and it eventually woke Preston up, (of course, chad was gone), I was so frustrated, tired, and sick (and pregnant) so I started crying and Preston crawled on my lap and gave me a huge hug and said ‘it’s okay, mama’. He’s just too sweet!! I finally got the ladder hauled inside from the garage (a huge heavy metal/steel? one) to change the batteries (Chad had to talk me through putting the latter up while i sobbed uncontrollably over the phone) but as soon as I unhooked the smoke detector and the alarm went off Preston goes ‘yay!! You did it Mommy!!’. He’s my little cheerleader for sure. Later, Chad was talking to Preston about it on the phone, Chad asked Preston about it and he said ‘it woke me up in my crib and scared me. I cried in my crib. Mommy was sad and crying. Had to change batteries’. Gosh he is just so cute. I seriously can’t get over how sweet and cute my little boy is!! The funny thing is that they went off again this morning! OMG (chad’s gone) it really was my humidifier (just getting over my week long sickness). At least this time I knew exactly what needed to be done. (the darn ladder below)

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We’re trying to get our house ready to put on the market as well. So I’ve been over working myself trying to scrub our walls, trim, and floors. I’ve organized the inside of all of our closets and under the sinks. Lets just say by about 3pm I can no longer move! It’s been killing my back for sure! I’ve been making many trips to the Salvation Army and lifting things I probably shouldn’t be lifting. My mind won’t stop running about everything that needs to happen before December when Pip2 will be here. I’m just praying we can sell our house and won’t be living out of a hotel with a toddler and a newborn. 😮

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Come buy our house!!

Preston has been his cute little self lately. He is so into learning it’s crazy! I’ve read a few things about teaching children (for example, teaching them to identify letters rather than just memorizing the alphabet and teaching kids to actually count during that time, rather than memorizing to count to 10.) Well, Preston has known to identify the letters in the alphabet since he was a little over 18 months. Lately, I’ve really noticed that he’s knows how to count, too! Which is great, because I’ve felt like a slacker Mom lately. The other day we were driving by wal-mart and they are doing construction outside to build a new bigger one. Preston said, “Mommy, I saw 3 diggers, 2 bulldozers, and 1 semi at the construction site’. After that he told me 1 digger was red, 1 was orange, and 1 was yellow. Once we got home he told me we got to go over 3 railroad tracks, too! (which was true, we went over 3 sets of tracks on our drive to and from our CSA–took a different route on the ride home).

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Last night I let Preston stay up until 8:30 (past his bedtime) because he was so focused on reviewing his letters of the alphabet! He kept going through all of them telling me what they were. This morning Preston woke up and wanted to learn about money. So I got out some quarters, pennies, dimes, and nickels. He knows what a penny is and a dime. Still working on quarters (or quarts, as preston would say) and nickels.

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I had my Glucose test at my prenatal appointment last week. I passed, YAY! Pip2’s heart rate was 140’s. Can’t wait to meet this little guy, but glad to keep him in and cooking for the next 3 months!

24 weeks

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25 weeks

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Tomorrow the hubby and I will celebrate our 4th anniversary. We are hoping to hit up an apple orchard/pumpkin patch and then have a babysitter arranged for a date night! Time has flown by, but I can honestly say, this has been the best time of my life! Four years in and I still feel like this marriage thing is…don’t hate me…but it’s easy. Chad and I get along, we agree on things 98% of the time, we share parenting styles and views on spending vs. saving, we have our own likes and interests, yet enjoy hanging out together and as a family. It’s been a crazy fun adventure and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!

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Today Preston and I did some painting (handprint/footprint art) to make a card and picture for Chad and the little stinker spilled the beans to him on the phone today. “i made a lion with my feetprint. Card for daddy” “mommy painted my hand. Made a fish”

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Every night before bed, I sing to Preston. His favorite is the Itsy Bitsy Spider. But I LOVE hearing him sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (or Tinkle Tinkle Yee-ole Star). Preston is so cute that he can’t say his L’s very well.

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Yesterday my uncle John passed away. It was very unexpected. He was always such a joy to be around! My favorite memories of him are from the houseboat we used to rent every summer growing up! His funeral will be next week in my hometown. Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight!! ❤

Enough of my rambling. Time to fold laundry! Hubby will be home tonight, thankfully! I hope everyone has a great weekend.

…until next time!! xoxo ❤