The phrase “vacationing with kids” is pretty much an oxymoron when you have small children. Traveling is usually so much work that vacation is just not the right word. But the adventure and memories made are almost always worth it. At least, that’s what I tell myself each time I’m planning a trip.
I’ve traveled with one kid, with two kids, and now with three. It’s funny how it felt really tough at each stage, and now looking back I think “what was hard about traveling with one kid? Traveling with one really IS a vacation!” And while it doesn’t get any easier the more kids you have, you do get better at it. So I thought I’d share a few lessons learned about “family vacations” and traveling with small children. Read More
I don’t know about the rest of you, but meal planning and preparing used to be one of my least favorite parts of this motherhood thing. My husband can make a mean PB+J and reheat leftovers, but that’s as far as his culinary skills reach. I’d say I have basic cooking skills but I’m more of a ultilitarian cook — I do it because it needs done but I don’t love it or find it relaxing. It isn’t something that I do simply because I enjoy it. I think one reason is we are renters and city dwellers, so we don’t have a great kitchen. It is separate from the living space so it removes me from the rest of the family and prevents me from keeping a good eye on the kids. I often do a lot of back and forth between them and the cooking, which can get annoying. Also, I’ve always been really intimidated by planning meals ahead of time. It has never been a strength of mine but especially not since having so many kids. Sometimes I feel like I live minute-to-minute and don’t think about what to have for dinner until about 4:30 pm when it is usually too late to make anything that needed some extra time or planning (like thawing something). But now that I finally have a handle on having three kids I set a goal for myself to start meal planning on a regular basis. I’m three months in and it is going really well! Once you get a handle on it things are much more manageable.
If you are a busy parent and are struggling with how to prepare and cook healthy, homemade meals for your family without spending a ton of time or money doing it, then this post is for you. Read More
I remember being pregnant with Calvin and worrying so much about how Charlie was going to handle it and if I would be able to show enough love and attention to both of them. Charlie was three years and 9 months old when Calvin was born, so he understood what was happening and was pretty pumped to meet his baby brother. But still, he had been our whole world for almost four years and I was feeling all of the emotions. A few friends who had already had second kids gave me some different pieces of advice for introducing Charlie to his new baby Calvin, and I took what worked for us and used it again when we had Quincy. I thought I would share what seemed to work well for us when introducing our older boys to their new baby brother(s). Oh, and scroll to the bottom of the post for just about the cutest video of all time when Charlie first met Calvin 🙂 Read More
Traveling as a family with small children is never easy. I wish I could just let go and do it more often and not worry about how hard and exhausting it is going to be. It’s almost always worth the fun and memories made, but there are just so many variables and logistics to figure out that sometimes just the planning itself starts to make my brain hurt. We had only taken one trip since Quincy was born, and that was to visit family back in Ohio and West Virginia where we grew up. But to “vacation” (and I use that term loosely since travel with small children is never really a vacation) and stay at a hotel or resort means figuring out a whole slew of things: where will everyone sleep? Is there a crib or high chair available? Is the property family-friendly? Are the rooms baby-proofed? How many stairs are involved? Is there a refrigerator for keeping milk cold or a microwave for easily heating food? — the list goes on and on. And that is exactly why I love staying at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. It is the most family-friendly place I have ever stayed! If you’ve been a reader for a while, you might remember our first stay here when I was very pregnant with Quincy. It was the most amazing visit and I was so glad we had the opportunity to go back and experience it as a family of five.
Bathtime is probably one of the most challenging times of day with three kids, especially since two are toddlers. I don’t know if it is because they are all boys, or because of their ages, but when we try to bathe all three together it is just a crazy mess. There is way too much boy energy in that little tub and they get really bonkers, all the water ends up in the floor, and someone inevitably gets hurt. So my husband and I tried out an assembly line style of bedtime routine: He bathes one, then I put that one to bed while he bathes the next one, and so one until all kids are clean and asleep. But doing them one at a time can sometimes make the process go long and someone ends up staying up a bit too late. The happy medium that is now working for us is the two toddlers in the bath method. We bathe the littlest together, then I take Quincy and nurse and put him to bed while my husband takes Calvin and reads and gets him to bed. Meanwhile Charlie is finishing his dinner (he’s the slowest eater of all time) or doing homework or if that is all done, watching one 20 minute show until it is his turn. I think the key to this method’s success is the fun distractions we have in the bath for the toddlers. So I thought it would be fun to share my favorite tools, toys, and tricks that makes bathing two toddlers a much easier and more pleasant experience.
If you follow me on Instagram I’ve been teasing this new at-home workout series for a while. But in typical fashion since becoming a mother, things always take me longer than I anticipate. I’m 6.5 years in, so you think I would learn by now (eyerolling at myself). But I’ve finally got part one ready to help get us all started on our fitness journey to get our bodies moving. And if you haven’t seen my posts about this, here’s my mission with these workouts: all of us, but especially moms of small children, have a hard time finding time to exercise. Those of us that have no help REALLY have a hard time, because it means our little ones are always around. Most of us are sleep deprived and just trying to get through the day the best we can. The only free time we probably get is when our kids are sleeping, and we usually choose sleep ourselves during that time. Or we’re too tired to workout. Starting fitness programs at home can be problematic because we are easily distracted, we don’t hold ourselves accountable to stick with it, we don’t have equipment, and/or we don’t have someone there to help with proper form or remind us to breathe.
That’s why I wanted to share these workouts. My friend Amanda of Balanced Method Pilates is a really wonderful pilates instructor here in Los Angeles and I’ve done workouts in her studio off and on since I was pregnant with Calvin. I really enjoy working out on the reformer and pilates in general because it feels good on my body. Instead of bunching things up, it lengthens me out. Moms tend to be bunched up anyways — breastfeeding, baby wearing, stress, pregnancy, childbirth — our bodies go through so much. While I was working out with Amanda one day we were talking about how hard it is to fit in workouts and Amanda was explaining what a misconception it is that you need 45-60+ minutes to get in a good workout and that if you do a few specific exercises correctly you can get the same benefits from 10 minutes or 20 minutes. And that is how “When You Have 10 Minutes” was born. I have 10 minutes a few times a day. I think we all do. So we wanted to share how you can start small and fit in good toning workouts into each day. It is doable. These exercises require no equipment (although if you have a mat or bands, etc. you can incorporate those too). Our hope by the end of this series is that you will have a good foundation for full body workouts that you can easily and effectively do at home, on your schedule and within your circumstances. And they motivate me to keep up with my fitness on the 6 other days of the week that I’m not with Amanda. And on top of that I’m trying to fit in walks or other cardio and a hike once a week. Of course, always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially postpartum.