Friday, April 29, 2011

Our family vacation in a nut shell.

When my husband and I travel with kids, we take a collective deep breath and know there is a 50% chance we will wonder why we did it and a 50% chance we will be off-the-charts proud of our BIG kids. Our trip started off with a very early morning…a 4am departure for the airport…the reason for the aforementioned "deep breath".

In my "perfect trip" mom head, I hoped we could quietly transfer our sweetly sleeping kids to their car seats and they would continue their slumber to the airport. Fat Chance. They were fabulous on the first flight until walking off the plane in LA. Spider wanted to walk off by himself but at the same time, wasn't walking. (4am wake up coming back to haunt us.) So, we had to carry him kicking and screaming off the jetway.

Besides these few little understandable meltdowns, the flight to Mexico was fine and dandy. We met my family in LA, waited 3 hours for our connection and once in Mexico had a cold beverage in hand about 15 minutes later. And now that I have a chance to reflect, our kids were awesome, they were just tired!

We were at Club Med in Ixtapa. I have been going to Club Med's since I was 11 years old. It was an easy vacation for my dad to take us, 2 tween-age kids. This was the first time I had brought my own kids and it was amazing! The kids club had everything…trapeze, kiddie pool, toys, games, theater shows, sports, trapeze, trampoline, tight-rope walking…and more. Only problem, my kids kicked and screamed about going. The other problem, our nights were way too late to be getting up early for the kids club activities. It took us about 3 days to recognize we needed a change of schedule.

We arrived Thursday and after my dad's big 70th birthday celebration on Saturday night, we re-evaluated our game plan. Instead of 7:30 dinner, we tried to start a bit earlier and then went straight to bed instead of watching the nightly show. Life was still full of 3 year old behavior but we felt like better parents.

In the end, our kids soaked up every second of the ocean. They thought it was absolutely magical, exciting and at times a bit scary. They both went to the kids club and did the trapeze which I thought was amazing and even participated in the Kids Club show…Spider was supposed to be a dancing dog but instead was the sad doggie sitting on the side! :)

The kids had so much fun with their cousins and Erik and I had a great time with my family. The memories we created is what makes me smile as I write this….watching my dad teach Spider to fly a kite…watching my nephew Ryder kill it on his Skim Board..watching my niece, Scout get caught on the trapeze… and competing in the kayak race with Skye and Erik! All these memories are priceless. When you are knee deep in it, you don't appreciate it as much. But now that we are home, we can't wait for the next family vacation. Neither can Spider, he proclaims at least once every day that "He is moving to Mexico"…I guess that settles it, we have to go back!

Friday, April 8, 2011

How cool are you, really?

There was a time when I was cool. Or so I thought. But I have to say I am not completely, "down with" the cool lingo these days so I have a tendency to nervously make up my own.

It started about a year ago when I responded to someone's crazy story, IN EMAIL, by saying, "That's whacked." I was quickly corrected by the cool police and told I should have replied, "That's whack." My mistake. And so, I took that as a sign to not attempt to be cool…in other words, be myself. Find my own little happy medium between cool and downright strange.

I like to think I came from the generation of the REALLY cool lingo…I mean, like, you totally have to remember Valley Girl talk. I remember having the stickers to remind me of all the cool phrases….maybe even a pair of jeans with the phrase on the back pocket. For Sure. Gag me with a spoon. Come on, you know what I am talking about. I don't remember using this speak all that much but it gave me a little confidence to know that I had the correct phrases in my back pocket, literally.

Every now and then I will throw, Rad into the conversational mix and most kids look at me like I just farted…both disgusted and confused. Instead, I now say words incorrectly almost on purpose…Oh Snack, instead of Oh Snap is one of my favorite examples. Life is a whole lot cooler when you keep people guessing and wondering, "Did she just say the right?" Hells yeah I did!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Aiplanes, Kids and Spring Break travel tips.

Flying with kids is no easy feat. My kids have been flying since they were each 4 months old. Most of our trips together, I am outnumbered….2 kids to 1 mommy. It is never easy but I can give you all a few tips to make it more manageable and sometimes even enjoyable.

Pack light….but pack what you need. It is not easy when you have a baby and toddler. That is probably the most difficult stage of mommy travel. One child actually needs you (can't get around without you) and the other one wants you and lets you know it. Babies require tons of stuff, always carry-on enough diapers in case your flight is delayed overnight. Same goes for snacks and formula (if you aren't breastfeeding.) Pack an extra change of clothes for babies and toddlers that are still in diapers or just newly potty trained. It is amazing how a kid suddenly has to use the bathroom when we are jamming down the runway or just about to land. And, they don't really need toys, just some activity books, crayons and story books.

If you know your kiddo is going to push, kick or mess with the person in front of them, offer them a drink before they even sit down. I do this for the person in front of my son. I try to stay on top of him but he is just a bit more rambunctious. When I offer them a drink, they are immediately more understanding.

Don't be afraid to bribe with a little candy. I always bring Starbursts with me when we travel.(they are the perfect candy as they take awhile to eat but are not as messy as a lollipop) I only use them if the kids are having a rough time staying in their seats or boarding the plane. "When you sit down in your seat and get buckled you will get a Starburst."

Load up your computer with their favorite movies and/or TV shows. My kids are just now able to keep their headphones on long enough to watch a movie. I have the special double jack connector so they can both watch the same movie. It works out really well, they are occupied, having fun and I can even read a book! AMAZING!

A drink for take off and landing. Some kids have a harder time with this than others. I still carry a sippy cup so that my son can suck on it during landing. It is a great way to pop their ears. If they are older, gum is a great trick as well.

If people offer to help, TAKE THEM UP ON IT! Don't try to be the hero. If they offer to carry something, hand them the car seat! It makes a big difference in the end. They wouldn't offer if they didn't want to help.

Speaking of car seats….as much as they are a pain in the ass, I just stopped putting my son in a one on flights. I waited until he REALLY understood he couldn't get up from his seat whenever he wanted to. There is too much freedom for a kid who can't sit still to be sitting in a regular seat. When they are sitting in their car seat, they know they can't get out. He graduated to a big boy seat when he was 3! That was a fun day!

We are heading out for our Spring Break next week! You never know, you might be the lucky one getting a free drink in front of Spider! Have fun, good luck and travel safe!