Family

5 Road Trip Tips with Young Children

Recently, our family of five went on a road trip from Houston to Seattle. We were in Texas for a family reunion and decided last minute to buy a car and drive back home. Seeing as we had three young children (3, 1 and 2 months; all in diapers) and no vehicle (we’d been borrowing my parent’s car), this was actually a pretty good idea. We had flown to Texas and I didn’t like it at all. So, after the fun of buying the car, now we had to figure out the logistics of transporting our family cross-country with no preparation.

First was packing our small duffel bag with all the clothing essentials for the trip. This would let us bury the bulky suitcases and not have to move them. Next up was a grocery trip. Here, we bought drinks, snacks and sandwich fixings for the journey. The grandparents donated an ice chest, so that was taken care of. All that was left was packing everything up and heading out. We learned a few things and wanted to share them with you!

1. Buy groceries for the trip

We only planned for one meal a day to be eaten out. This saved us lots of money on food in the long run. Plus, since we had bought plenty of fresh fruit, cheese, meat and crackers, there was plenty to give the girls whenever they were hungry, instead of making them wait for meal time or having to buy expensive, crappy junk food from the gas station we were at. 

2. Pack necessities in an easy to reach bag

The last thing you want to do when you stop (especially when it’s cold) is to be digging through tons of stuff to find what you need. Pack everything you need in a smaller bag, you’ll be glad you did!

3. Pack lots of extra clothes

There would be times when the children would sleep, so we’d keep driving and driving to stop and find out that the kids had leaked their diapers. We used all the clothes we packed and could have used even more! Next time, we’ll make sure the children’s suitcase is the easiest to access! 

4. Kids don’t need as much entertainment as you would think

Our two oldest barely played with anything on the trip. Neither did they have movies to watch. They both had a bag full of their new Christmas toys to play with, plus coloring supplies and books. Instead, they mostly slept or played with their clothes, legs or shoes.

5. Make sure you take a long rest stop a couple times a day

A lot of the stops were just filling up with gas, changing diapers and handing out food. However, we made a point to have a few rest stops a day where we let the kids really run around and burn off energy. This helped keep the whining at bay when in the car and kept up mama’s spirits too! 

Our family had a blast road tripping across the US and hope to definitely do it again in the future. (I’m rooting for this winter, when HoneyBear has three to four weeks off at a time…fingers crossed!) The kids were easy, the miles flew by and we had lots of fun! 

Would you want to travel with your young kids?

Family

5 Ways to Help a New Mother

 

So someone you know is having a baby. Maybe it’s their first child, or maybe it’s their fifth. While support tends to be freely available for a woman with her first child, it’s the moms with more than one child that desperately need the support. So what to do for that mom? Here are some great ideas that she will love you for!

1. Meals

When you have a baby, its a lot of adjusting and sleepless nights. You are exhausted, but fully in love with that new life. All your energy is focused on getting this right, learning to change diapers on time, breastfeed correctly, burping, and sleeping when you have any opportunity. The last thing on your mind is food. However, it is one of the most important things that a new mother needs to rest. 

The best things to bring are thick, warming and filling meals, the ones you usually eat in the dead of winter. Soups, stews, pasta dishes. You also want soft dishes, nothing really too hard or crunchy. It’s honestly just too exhausting to expend that much energy to feed yourself. 

For bonus point, prepare the food ahead of time and bring it over to mom’s house. Start the cooking of the food for mom, so all she has to do is serve it when it’s done. 

2. Easy single portions for mom

While having meals is great, since mom has to still feed everyone, single portion foods for mom is so handy! One of my friends made these breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese, bacon on sourdough English muffins. That my friend, was the best food ever. I would heat one up when I was exhausted but starving, with no energy to dig out a leftover container, serve up some food and then wait for it heat it up. They were a life saver! I treasured every single sandwich and nearly broke down in tears when they were gone. So making things like breakfast sandwiches, cheeseburger buns (basically a ground beef cheeseburger wrapped completely in dough), chicken salad sandwiches and other simple foods are so appreciated.

3. Adult time

Especially with a mom with multiple kids, they are often left at home all day by themselves. Just having someone come over and talk to them for a bit is welcome. Just don’t expect to be offered food or water, that new mom needs to rest without having to worry about you. 

4. Helping around the house

As moms are exhausted and focused on baby, the house will fall into disrepair. Washing dishes, starting a load of laundry, sweeping the floors or starting a meal for mom are all things that are very welcome and very appreciated.

5. Babysitting

This can be as simple as coming over, telling her that you are here to watch after the kids and ordering her to bed. Naps are one of the most precious commodities with a new baby. It can also be taking the older children and letting mom and dad have a few quiet hours to themselves.  

So here are some basic ways to help a new mom out. Don’t be afraid to offer your time, as Mom isn’t going to just come up to you and ask for help (unless you are really good friends). Also, don’t just assume that the mom has all the support she needs. I’m well known within my church group, but have very few close friends. I definitely didn’t have much help at all with my third child. In fact, only my mom, my husband’s mom and two friends did anything. While I highly appreciate what they did for me, I desperately could have used more help, especially around the house and with my older children. 

What did you find most useful that someone did for you in the postpartum period?

Family

Welcome!

I’m Goldilocks…a.k.a. Amanda (oh and ignore the fact that I was almost 10 months pregnant in this photo. I promise the baby has popped out by now!)

This is baby bear (yes, we’re running off an old fairy tale here), also known as Honey Bear.

We got married and decided to start a zoo.

Here are our three so far with Little Miss Giraffe on the left, Little Miss Owl on the right and Little Bear all swaddled up:

This makes up our little zoo and we plan to add more on! We hope you come and join us on this crazy adventure as we experience life, where we continue this fairy tale, in our own way!