Monday, February 29, 2016

Tips for Long Car Trips

Our boys have logged 50,000 miles in the van in the last 15 months, so they've become pretty good at traveling. The younger one has a little to learn still, but he's getting there.

I guess you might say by now we've become experienced at traveling with toddlers and infants. I thought I'd share some of what I've learned, so take it or leave it. I realize none of these are remarkable or anything, but it's what we do. (I'm writing this during the last hour of a 14.5 hour roadtrip.)

1. What works for Aiden doesn't really work for Anders and vise versa. Example... right now, Aiden is watching Cars on the iPad for the 2 or 3 hundredth time and we have a Mickey Mouse cd on for Anders to listen to. 

2. We have two favorite movies (Cars and Planes) on the iPad and we try to put off turning it on as long as possible. We usually make it an hour or two with no screens, but then we are all ready and it works for us. 

3. I do my best to pack healthy snacks. Bananas, grapes, popcorn, carrots, ham or turkey, cheese sticks, and raisins are some of my Go-Tos. When we go into the gas station to change diapers and let the kids run around, we'll usually let them pick out something. A bag of chips to share or some juice for their sippies. Sometimes Dave spoils them a little and gets a little bag of m&ms to share among the three of them. I know it's cheaper to buy this stuff anywhere besides a gas station, but it's the whole experience that makes it a win for us. A break from the van and looking at all the colorful things on the shelves helps their moods. :) 

4. We researched a lot before getting their convertible car seats because we wanted to make sure they were safe and comfortable. If they aren't comfy enough for my boys to fall asleep in, they're complete fails. Aiden has the Britax Boulevard from a few years ago, and it worked so well for him, we got Anders the newer version when he moved out of the infant seat. 

5. You never know which toys are going to be hits for which trips, so I've started having Aiden fill up his little monkey backpack with some toys before we leave. He loves holding his backpack and pulling different things out and putting them back in. When Anders gets a little older, we'll find a little zipper bag for him to do the same thing. 

Don't mind Anders's chocolatey face! I couldn't reach him, and when I gave him a wipe, he used it on his neck, ears, forehead, top of his head... Basically everywhere except around his mouth. 

Aiden somehow missed the side of his mouth too. Oops. ;)

6. If we are splitting the trip into two days and aren't stopping to stay with relatives, we leave with a general idea of where we want to get, but we never book a hotel early. We start the drive and see how it goes and when we feel like we want to stop in 2-3 hours, we start looking for our hotel. These days there are so many hotels out there, it has always worked out for us. We don't want to have a hotel booked, then end up with a sick child and still have to drive three hours to get there. 

Midnight checking in to a hotel to get some sleep. I told Aiden he was going to sleep on the couch that night, and he started snuggling up on this couch in the lobby. Haha :) 

Nothing beats this sight after a long day on the road!! 

7. Weather! Check the weather at various spots on your journey. We've found new ways to get where we are going due to bad weather elsewhere. One time, we left home with great weather, and our destination had a great forecast so we felt like we were all set. Well, it was springtime and we ran into a big blizzard in Minneapolis. We stopped two to three hours earlier than we planned, but we had to get out of that storm. I was kicking myself for not checking the weather ahead of time because we easily could've avoided that storm. 

8. When I was still nursing Anders, we'd stop and I'd hop into the back seat and nurse him, then change his diaper. Dave would take Aiden into the rest stop or gas station. Those were some quick stops! 

9. My general rule of thumb for clothes for the boys while in the van is an outfit a day for Aiden (he's 3) plus his jammies, and two outfits a day plus jammies for Anders (he's 19 months). 

We think the ac vent above him was blowing on his head so he improvised. :)

I hope you get something helpful from this! If you have other good tips, please let me know! 

Side note... I've already thought of a couple more things we always do on road trips, so maybe in a few days I'll do a part 2. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Favorites:: Brothers

Today I'm linking up with Andrea at for Friday Favorites. 

This is one of my very favorite things in my life right now. The relationship between my two boys that we witness every single day is so amazing. When we found out our second baby was a boy, I started thinking about Aiden having a friend. Slowly they've become friends as Anders has gotten bigger and more able to participate. 

Anders has started teaching new things to Aiden. Aiden is so laid back and low key, there were many things he hadn't done or tried until Anders did. Anders loves wrestling on the floor with Aiden. Aiden learned that he likes it too :) 

I love matching their clothes. There will come a day when they won't let me match them so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity now. Look how cute in their matching fleeces from Auntie Heidi! 

This was a couple weeks ago on the day of the Super Bowl. Aiden was wearing his football shirt so Amders really wanted a football shirt too. The little tie pin on his shirt is a football. :) 

Right now they are both too scared to try the slide at Chick-Fil-A. They love going up high, climbing the steps, but that's as far as they get. 

We went into Old Navy one day and they both instantly saw the puppy statue. They were so excited! I had to let Anders out of the cart so he could pat the dog's head. Over and over. Aiden pet the dog very nicely. 

It was a little challenge getting this picture. Anders wanted to run away and Aiden won't look at the camera. 

I just love this picture of my two sweetie pies! 

Another tough picture to get. Anders would rather be running! 

Aiden looks out for his little brother. If he sees Anders running away (which happens all the time - he keeps me on my toes!) he'll say "Anders!!!! Get back here!" Or he'll run up to him and grab his hand. 

These two are going to Disney World next week, so we had to make sure they had good Mickey Mouse shirts to wear. Perfect! 

I'm sure these two will continue to keep me on my toes. We are lucky to have our two little guys! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Our Big Boy Aiden

When I stop and think about the fact that my big boy is 3 and a half, I am amazed! My little guy who arrived 15 days early and spent the first 19 days of his life in the hospital is such a big boy now! 

His little scrunched up smile is my favorite. :) 

Mickey Mouse is one of his favorite things. Anytime we go to Target, we have to go through and find all things Mickey. Hats, shirts, stuffed mickeys, blankets, stickers, etc. We cover it all! 

So big! 

He loves the playground. He's timid and holds back when he's unsure, but when he figures something out he jumps right in. 

There's that smile again! 

Best buddies! 

We went shopping at a mall the other day, and we let the boys play in the play area. Aiden has been asking to go back to the "mall park" ever since. 

So big and full of love for his family. At night when he goes to bed, he lists the people he loves & who loves him. His list is long. :) 

Sweet shades, Aiden! 

So fun seeing this little guy grow up. I'm so lucky to be his momma and get to stay home with him everyday. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sweet Anders at 19 Months

Anders sure is growing! He's not my little baby anymore.

He loves the park. He'll go and go and go and won't stop until we (basically) drag him away. He'll walk to the top of the slide, and keep walking until he falls and slides down the slide. No sitting at the top and taking it easy for Anders! 

I had to snap a picture of him here. He's such a big boy! 

Silly silly Anders. When he sees me pull my phone out to take a picture, this is what he does... Such a great grin! :)

A rare picture of Anders and Momma. 

I was looking for sunglasses at Target, and Anders insisted on trying on every single pair I tried on. 

I got my boys each a Mickey Mouse balloon from Meijer for Valentine's Day. I think it was the happiest day of Anders's life. (Aiden was pumped, too, but dutiful about holding on tight. He didn't want it to fly away.) 

Another great smile courtesy of Anders. :) 

Like I said, he's in a super silly stage right now. We were walking around Hobby Lobby and he found himself a hat. Haha! 

So fun climbing at the mall park! 

Last but not least, I think Anders's favorite character is Minnie Mouse. It's so cute! We went to Party City, looking for water bottles ($2 each, can't go wrong!) and Anders loved all things Minnie! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Love Language

Today I'm doing a Show and Tell linkup with Andrea from Every other Tuesday she has something fun planned, and today's is all about love! How do you feel love, what kind of gifts you like to receive, and how your partner won your heart. 

This is a subject my sisters and I have been talking about for the last year and a half. We've learned so much about love languages and how we all feel love in different ways. This isn't just romantic love either. It's love and appreciation from family and friends also. So, let's dive in!  The number one way to get to my heart is through words. Letters, cards, texts, emails, Facebook messages (all of the above!). I'm not sure if it has always been this way, or if I feel this way as a result of circumstances. Dave and I started out long distance. Even before we started dating, we were sending messages to each other. That's how we really started getting to know each other before our first date. Then once we started dating, I was in Michigan and he was working in Mexico City, so we relied on emails, online chatting, and the occasional phone call. The first three years we were together (dating, engaged, and marriage), we had periods of long distance. We had to rely on all the different ways you can communicate. 

Now, six and a half years since we first started sending those messages, the best way to make me feel the love is a hand-written card, text, or email. Dave sends me an email every morning, even when we will see each other at lunch time and all evening long. We are pretty busy with our two boys in the evening and we don't have the best bedtime routine, so sometimes we don't have a chance to talk. Those morning emails help me feel like we are connected and get me through when I might want to pull my hair out. 

Every month or two, I will usually go home for an extended period of time, so even now we do some long distance stuff. Going back and reading those old emails (documenting our entire relationship from the very very beginning!)  is like GOLD for me. :) 

Dave is also really good at picking out the perfect card for birthdays and holidays. I love opening that envelope to see what he has written for me. 

And for fun, here are a few pictures from when it all began! 

Here we are at our first Tigers game together. (This was a month after our first dates.) We've been to a lot since that first one! 

And here we are, a month later. It was the night before school started and Dave was home from Mexico City for awhile. We went to the lake to watch the sunset. 
The next few years, we kept up that fun tradition. We watched the last sunset of the summer before it was back to reality for me. 

Here's one more, taken in the middle of a day exploring some trails and waterfalls around our area. This was two months after we started dating. 

And one short year later, our wedding day! 

Have a great Tuesday!