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How to Travel with Littles | 7 Tips for a Successful Road Trip

on December 6, 2016

It’s that time of year again.  Before too long, we’ll be making the fourteen (yes, you read that right) hour trek to Illinois to visit family for the holidays.  Honestly, we’ve made this drive so many times, that by now, we actually look forward to it.  Because it means fourteen whole hours of being together.  No work, no stress (except for my husband’s slight case of road rage), no house to clean, no laundry to sort, no meals to prepare, no dishes to wash.  Just the four of us and our dog, together, all day long.  It’s a rarity these days… all of us being together for more than an hour or so in the evening.  I think we’re all aching for quiet family time.  A break from, well, LIFE.  To be honest, it doesn’t happen as often as we’d like it to.  I’m guessing that many of you are nodding your heads in agreement, or letting out a long sigh because your heart aches for a quiet break together with those that you love the most.

A road trip gives us all an opportunity to have a little adventure together.  We make it fun.  Don’t get me wrong, there are tears and at least one dreaded blowout, but our kids have always been troopers.  A huge blessing, no doubt.  It’s a much needed recharge to prepare for a busy week ahead.  Spending time with our family and friends is something that we all look forward to, and enjoy.  But, if I’m being completely honest, it’s also tiring.  Sleeping in different beds, trying to adapt to different routines (while doing our best to keep the kids on their schedules), attempting to meet up with each and every family member and friend, chasing our toddler around every non toddler-proofed house, and living out of suitcases.  It’s exhausting, but so worth it in the end.  There are so many moments treasured and memories created.

Since we’ve done this long-distance traveling thing a time or ten (although this will be our first time with two littles), I thought I’d share a few tips for those of you who also have plans to travel for the holidays.  We, by no means, have it all figured out, so I’m eager to hear your suggestions as well.  My husband and I know firsthand that all children are different, and that each child’s needs are going to be met in different ways.  These just happen to be a few things that work well for us. Continue reading

Holiday Traditions

Posted in FAMILY
on November 19, 2016

‘Twas the night before Christmas…. Or Thanksgiving.  I know, I know.  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and here I am, posting pictures of my family cutting down our Christmas tree.  Since moving to North Carolina, we have had to start celebrating Christmas a little earlier than we used to.  We spend a good bit of December visiting family in Illinois, so we want the extra time at home, snuggled up on the couch next to our beautifully lit tree.

Growing up, my parents took my sister and I to a tree farm every year on the day after Thanksgiving.  My dad and I would wake up before the sun and brave the Black Friday crowds.  We would spend the night before strategizing and planning which items were on our most wanted list, and how we would make it to each stop before everything sold out.  My dad was always a trooper, and would go to the department stores that he most likely had no interest in going to, but I think he just enjoyed our time together, and our little tradition.  I did too.  Which explains why I would also go along with him to all of the “dad stores”.  You know which ones I’m talking about… Best Buy, Menards, Circuit City.  After we checked all of the items off of our list, we would grab a bagel and a coffee and sit and reflect on all that we had accomplished before 8am.  Then, we’d go home and enjoy our finds from the morning, and have leftover Thanksgiving turkey for lunch.

My mom worked on Black Friday most years, so we would eagerly wait until she got home to head out to the tree farm.  In Illinois, the weather is quite chilly in November, so we would bundle up, and set off on the hunt for the perfect tree.  Go big or go home was our family motto…. well, at least when we were searching for a Christmas tree.  My parent’s home has a large great room, with two big circle-top windows.  The tree would sit right in the middle of the windows, and if you couldn’t look in from outside and see the tree through both windows, it wasn’t big enough.

Cars would drive by our house and slow down (some would even stop for a few minutes) to look at the giant beauty, lit with hundreds of colorful lights.  I remember many nights where we’d be sitting on the couch, watching the cars slowly drive by, admiring our tree.  We were so proud.  When I think about it now, I laugh a little, but it really is such a special memory.  This day was something that we had looked forward to every year, and boy did we live it to the fullest.

Thanksgiving is a little different for us now that we live so far from family.  We are starting new traditions of our own, so that our boys will be able to look back and have good childhood memories filled with family, love and laughter.  We want to carry on the tradition of cutting down a fresh Christmas tree because it is something that was so special to me.  And while we are no longer doing it the day after Thanksgiving, we enjoy it all the same.  Honestly, who want’s to take a toddler and an infant out of the house on Black Friday?

Friendsgiving is a new tradition that we started last year.  We gather with several of our friends a week or so before Thanksgiving, and we enjoy good fellowship and food together.  This year, we are also looking forward to cooking a traditional Thanksgiving meal at our home.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Love + Hugs,