September 26, 2016

Road Trip with a One Year Old

Hello, Monday. You once again snuck up on me. The weekend seemed to fly by even though we did absolutely nothing for the first time in two weeks.

I have had this post sitting in the drafts for the last week or so and I figure it would be good to finally publish it. Just another traveling with kids post but this time, it is a road trip edition. Say what?! It is thrilling and brand new information. #sarcasm

 But in all seriousness, if you are like me and search high and low on ways to make traveling with a baby/toddler easy than this post is right up your alley. So for all those who are excited for this post, thank you and here you go!

Two weekends ago, we packed up the car (to the brim!) and headed up to Snowmass, Colorado so that Matt could compete in the 2016 Tough Mudder. If you haven't heard of the Tough Mudder, look it up. Yes my husband is crazy and no, I have zero clue why he likes to torture himself. It was his third time doing this crazy thing and he is already talking about how he is going to do it again next year! #crazyman
Anyway. We made the 4 hour drive from our house to Snowmass then back again and all I have to say is that we survived thanks to lots of careful planning. 

And since I have done a few posts on traveling with a baby when going on an airplane (read here, here and here) I thought I would share some tips to get through a road trip with a baby since there are some big differences. 

Please note, this was a very short road trip compared to others but I am of the belief that most car trips with baby lasting longer than 30 minutes is hell but this post may not be extensive enough for those traveling longer distances.

Tip Number One. Pack up the car the night before as much as possible. Everything but last minute items for Portland, food and toiletries were loaded in to the car the night before so that in the morning we weren't running around totally crazy and could focus on Portland.

Tip Number Two. Organization in the car is key! I made sure to have anything we may need in a moment's notice within reach. Only items we wouldn't need until we got to our destination were put in the trunk. In order to stay organized, we utilized the Brica i-Hide Seat Organizer to keep the essentials (diapers, wipes, sippy cups, pacifiers and snacks) within reach. We also had the carrier, blankets, basket of toys, and cooler (filled with snacks and sippy cup of water and milk) in the seat next to Portland and the diaper bag was packed and ready for our first pit stop. We also had the iPad ready.

Tip Number Three. Let baby play his or her little heart out before getting in to the car. Prior to leaving for our road trip, we let Portland play. We ran wild in both his play areas. It also helped that he was up at the butt crack of dawn. We wanted him nice and tired for the first half of the trip so that he would nap. 
If you are going on a longer road trip, the most common tip I have read, is to leave a few hours before their normal wake up time. So move sleeping baby in to car and hope they sleep for a few hours of the drive.

Tip Number Four. Make the car reflect baby's sleeping space as much as possible. This can be difficult especially if you have more than one child but since Portland is currently our one and only, we were able to get the car as relaxing for him as possible. He had his pacifier, blanket and I blocked out the sun as much as possible.
The hardest part was making the car seat as comfortable as possible for sleeping. We love our car seat but since we changed Portland over to a convertible car seat he is no longer cradled when he sits in it which means his head slumps forward and over if he falls asleep. I decided to give the Summer Infant Cradler a try and it was a big fat fail. Great in theory but didn't work to keep his head up. I also tried rolled up blankets to put on either side of his head but that didn't work either. I held up his head for over an hour each way. #truelove

And seriously, those squishy lips are to die for.

Time Number Five. Keep baby entertained and as happy as possible. This means toys! This is also the time to whip out the big guns and bend the rules a little.
This was one minute after he screamed his head off for over an hour. I waved my little white flag and put on Baby Signing Time. He then fell asleep five minutes later because he plays by his own rules and likes to keep me on my toes.

If you don't usually let baby watch the iPad, consider it (also, get this iPad Car Seat Holder for the seat, brilliant!). It could buy you precious time and make the car ride more bearable. Don't usually let baby play with your phone or the TV remote? Find an old phone and an old remote to give to baby (make sure to remove any batteries or dangerous pieces). Hit up the dollar section at Target to get some new toys for baby to play with too.

Since you're most likely not going to be sitting in the back with baby unless absolutely necessary, take all these awesome cool toys you brought along, stick them in a basket next to baby's car seat so that he or she can pull things out as wanted/needed. The basket we kept next to him was filled with all of his favorite toys and some new toys as well. 

I kept another bin of "toys" next to me and would hand him things from this basket when he grew tired of his own toys. This basket held all the really cool stuff like the remote, phone, kitchen utensils (measuring cup and spoons, spatula, and wooden spoon), straws, and a plastic water bottle (an empty one and one filled with beads and sealed with glue). Get creative here but also be mindful of the objects and if they can pose a danger or risk.
Tip Number Six. Do your research! I did a ton of research prior to our trip on parks and activities to do at any stops we were going to take. We planned to only make one stop each way but we weren't sure where we were going to stop along our route. We were going to play it by Portland's mood so I had to have an option of a park and indoor activity at a few different locations. If the weather is good, parks are going to be your best friend. Other options if the weather is bad include museums, library, rec centers, indoor pools, etc.   

Luckily, the weather was great so we hit up a park both ways! The park we went to on the way up didn't have a playground but we were able to get outside and have a picnic. On the way back we stopped at a different location and went to the coolest park. Portland had so much fun going down the slide over and over again.

Tip Number Six. Road side safety is very important! After a flat tire on our way back home from my best friend's wedding when I was 37 weeks pregnant last summer and realizing a lot of the car repair shops were closed, I decided we were ill prepared for a road side disaster. We bought some car repair and safety essentials to always keep in the car. Some of the big items that come to mind are jumper cables, fix-a-flat, tools, blanket, water, windshield wiper fluid, coolant, etc.

All in all, it was a good trip. Would I do a road trip again with a baby? Nothing that is further than an hour and half away. I am not a road trip kind of person either (I get car sick) and when we passed Breckenridge, which was an  hour and twenty minutes into our trip, both Matt and I commented how perfect that trip would have been.

So a trip to Breckenridge this winter may be in the cards but other than that, count this girl out.

September 19, 2016

Wild ONE

I am so so excited to share details from Portland's first birthday party!
We decided to not have his party on his actual birthday (September 10th) because I so selfishly wanted him all to myself and we were out of town. In the end, it was wonderful to celebrate this little boy over the course of a week and break up the partying.

 I of course went all out. I kept justifying all the fuss to my husband by saying "he only turns one once!" He will also only turn two, three, four, etc. once as well so I am sure this won't be my last big party for our little man.

The Theme
The them of the party was "Wild One." Which is not to be mistaken for Where the Wild Things Are Theme. I picked the theme because I liked the color scheme and because my son is most certainly wild! He is all over the place and constantly on the move. In addition to the colors, I incorporated teepees, feathers and arrows into the theme. The backdrop and table was the big focus, it took me an hour and half to do but it came out even better than I imagined it.
The Decorations
I had been planning out the decorations for months and picked out each decor piece with its specific location in mind. A lot of attention was paid to the food table and the area where he would be eating his cake.
The Birthday Outfit
For Portland's coming home outfit, I purchased personalized leggings for him to wear. It was so special to have his name printed all over his pants since no one but my husband and I knew his name up to his birth. I thought it would be special and fitting that he once again had personalized leggings for his first birthday. I paired his leggings with a t-shirt with "Wild One" printed on the front.
The Food
I tried to keep the food as simple as possible. Everything was catered and it was one of the best decisions ever.
I bought platters of cold cuts, cheese, rolls, sandwich fixings and condiments so that everyone could make their own sandwiches. Side items included potato chips, salad, berries with whip cream, trail mix and then peanut butter sandwiches and apple sauce packs for the kiddos.
And let's not forget dessert. We discovered on his actual birthday that home boy doesn't care much for cake. I was not about to waste $180 dollars on a cake he wouldn't touch so I quickly cancelled his cake and ordered a $30 ice cream cake from Cold Stone. He has tried ice cream before so we knew this would be a hit. We didn't expect Portland to be so proper with eating his cake though! He insisted on using his spoon to eat instead of diving into it. #soproper
The Party
Everyone arrived between 11-11:30 and everyone mingled and watched a slideshow of Portland's first year. Everyone started to eat around noon and then it was time to smash into his ice cream cake!

After the cake smash was all done, Portland hung out for a little bit longer before heading up for a nap. He was so tired from all the partying!
We continued to celebrate with our friends who stayed behind. We had so much fun and are so thankful to all of our friends and family who came out to celebrate our sweet boy!