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My kid-free and husband-free week

2017-09-17 11.06.15 - SONY NEX-6

One of the biggest changes that occurs when you become a parent is losing your alone time. Of course you still have moments here and there, but it’s not the same. Recently I got an unexpected week to myself when my trip to Chicago was cut short because I didn’t have enough paid days off with my new job. If I hadn’t been 27 weeks pregnant when I started the job I would have taken the days off unpaid, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option with my maternity leave just a few short weeks away.

The day Mr. Ice Cream and Max flew out I got a gate pass at the airport so I could go through security and hang with them before they boarded their flight. It was great sitting by the window and hearing Max gasp each time he spotted an airplane taking off or landing, which you can imagine was a lot since we were at an airport. I wasn’t sure how I would react saying bye to Max, but seeing how excited he was to get on the plane made it a lot easier. However, until they landed in Chicago, I was a nervous wreck. I was worried that Max wouldn’t sit still on the plane, I was worried how grumpy he would be if he didn’t fall asleep, I was worried they would miss their connecting flight (their layover was less than an hour), the list goes on. The flight wasn’t perfect, Max didn’t go to sleep, he was slightly grumpy, but they made it there safely and everything was okay. I flew out a week later and got to spend a few days with Mr. Ice Cream’s family and meet my new (and incredibly adorable) nephew!

Here’s how I spent my kid-free, husband-free days.

1. Slept in

I slept in until 8:45 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. In fairness, I sleep in every weekend because Mr. Ice Cream is fantastic and always wakes up early with Max. But here’s the thing about waking up to zero responsibilities: You can lay in bed browsing instagram, shopping the internet or getting lost in BuzzFeed listacles and no one needs you. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love how much Max needs me, especially since I know he won’t need me forever, but it was really nice to have a little break.

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Link Roundup – September 22, 2017

Today is the first day of fall! It’s time to think about changing leaves, warm drinks, pumpkins, and Halloween! Check out fall bucket lists, arts and crafts and more under our “fall” tag!

fall

Here are some interesting parenting links from around the web this week!

HEALTH

FDA Approves Baby Item That Could Prevent Peanut Allergies via Mom.me

Could some ADHD be a type of sleep disorder? That would fundamentally change how we treat it. via Washington Post

Football Can Damage Kids’ Brains — Even If They Don’t Get Concussions via wbur

Dad Begs Parents to Ask One Simple Question When Their Kids Get Sick via NTD

8 Pumping Hacks From Moms Who Hate to Pump via Mom.me

P A R E N T I N G

The Importance of Risky Play and What it Teaches Our Children via Almost Fearless

REASONS TODAY’S KIDS ARE BORED AT SCHOOL, FEEL ENTITLED, HAVE LITTLE PATIENCE & FEW REAL FRIENDS via Deep Roots and Home

Every new mom needs a friend with a baby the same age as hers via Babycenter

Around The World, Girls Are Taught The Same Limiting Lesson via Huffington Post

8 Things Kids Need to Do By Themselves Before They’re 13 via Red Tricycle

‘My heart is in pieces’: Father makes public plea after his little boy is bullied via Washington Post

Mom’s Genius “Hug Button” Can Help Any Kid Get Through a Day of School via Popsugar

An Age-By-Age Guide to Helping Kids Manage Emotions via Parent.co

How Not to Raise a Ray of Sunshine via New York Times

Should toddlers be banned from business class? via Conde Nast Traveler

Not drinking or driving, teens increasingly put off traditional markers of adulthood via Washington Post

P R E G N A N C Y  &  B A B I E S

You Can Now Create a Baby Registry at Costco via Lifehacker

A New Last Chance There could soon be a baby-boom among women who thought they’d hit an IVF dead end. via The Cut

How Motherhood Affects Creativity via The Atlantic

A Momcation in Chiang Mai, Thailand

For the past two and a half months, I’ve been with the kids 24/7. Their teacher left to visit her family in Canada for low season, which many expats here do, so we’ve been filling our days with lots of beach time, pool time and travel. I never thought I could be a full-time mom, but of course it is much easier now that my kids are almost 6 and 8! We’ve been having a blast, and I’m really thankful for this time we have together because they are both growing up so quickly!

I love traveling, but always travel with kids so our trips involve kid-friendly activities. But when a friend told me she bought a roundtrip ticket from the Philippines to Thailand for $100 and invited me to join her, I couldn’t pass the chance up! Our itinerary included touring temples, visiting an elephant sanctuary, taking a Thai cooking class, and going to night markets every night. Having never traveled through Southeast Asia before, I was amazed at how affordable everything was in Chiang Mai! I had $350 USD for my entire 5 day trip and was able to do everything I wanted, and do a ton of shopping. Chiang Mai was voted favorite Asian city two years in a row by Travel & Leisure Magazine and with their incredible culture, food, night markets, and nature, it’s easy to see why. It was an amazing place for a momcation, but it’s also incredibly family friendly as well. I’ll definitely be back with my kids!

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14 Tips for Traveling Light with Kids

Since we live abroad, I travel very often with the kids and always travel light. Whether we’re going on a car trip or flying internationally, I try to pack only the essentials, especially since I usually travel with the kids alone. Here are my tips for packing and traveling light with kids.

airplane

1) Take some laundry soap. This is probably my single biggest tip on packing light. Every time I shower, I hand wash our underwear and clothes and hang them to dry. It’s super easy and will save you a ton of space in your suitcase. On shorter trips I don’t worry about packing laundry soap and just use shampoo to wash clothes.

2) Pack clothes that are easy to mix and match like solids. I usually pack dresses for Olive since that means not having to worry about a matching top and bottom. And I pack solid colored shorts in neutral colors for Charlie so they can be mixed with any top.

3) Forget the pjs. Charlie is happy to sleep in his underwear while Olive wears a dress. One less thing to pack.

4) Share toiletries. I pack a bar of Dove Sensitive Skin soap that I use as a body wash and face wash for all of us. I don’t pack shampoo because we usually stay at an Airbnb, and they almost always provide shampoo. If a place doesn’t provide shampoo, use your kids’ shampoo to avoid having to pack two different kinds. I also bring toiletry samples like conditioner or face lotion if I have them on hand. While I was very particular about products when I was younger, I find that convenience trumps all when you have kids. The only thing I always do pack is toothbrushes and toothpaste for us.

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Practical Tips for Life with Babies and Toddlers

I’ve been on the baby shower circuit lately with lots of discussions about infant feeding and sleeping, understandably so. But when I was a new parent, I wish I had been tipped off to some everyday, little tricks to manage life with babies and toddlers. Here’s my quick list of practical tips for babies and toddlers.

  • Consider parking near the cart return at the store. If your baby is asleep, the infant carrier is a beast to carry, especially post-partum when your stomach muscles are like jelly. It’s easier to swing open the car door, and set the carrier right into a cart. It’s also convenient when you have a preschooler and baby to wrangle in a busy parking lot. And it’s especially nice if you are sleep deprived and forgot where you parked. You will at least have narrowed your search. You will risk getting a dent in your car, but it hasn’t happened to me yet.
  • Rearrange the furniture and toys when bored and stuck in the house. When heat waves or blizzards hit, we’re trapped in the house and searching for ways to stay sane with the kids. My best trick is to rotate their big toys to another room in the house. Usually, I move their toy kitchen, doll house, or train set from our basement toy room, to the dining room or bedroom. And poof! An old, boring toy is new again. I also do this with furniture too. We push the dining room table to the side of the room, or move their small desk to a different window. The kids become giddy with the change of scenery, and are entertained for hours.
  • Play the shape game with your little one when you are in a public bathroom, which is all the time. Life with little toddlers and preschoolers means we spend a lot of time in public restrooms. I’ve come up with a game to keep their little hands off the disgusting bathroom walls and floors; the shape game. It’s like “I Spy” but for shapes. I ask them to look for a circle shape, and they notice the drain. I ask them to find a rectangle shape, and they notice the tile or door. It works surprisingly well. Most importantly, the kids look with their eyes and keep their hands to their sides.

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Rhythm and Rhyme Children’s Books

The rhythm and rhyme of children’s books is the soundtrack to my days with little ones. Hearing my toddler repeat phrases with the story, and watching my older kiddo create silly rhymes are my favorite memories to make. We have shelves of book we inherited from family members or found on hunts through Goodwill. Here are some of our favorite children’s books to read with rhythm or rhyme.

Rhythm-and-Rhyme-Childrens-Books

Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane – With Halloween coming up, this counting book of goblins, witches, dragons, and mummies is well-loved in our house.

Go Dogs Go! Dr. Seuss by P.D. Eastman – Hearing my kiddos shout “Go, dogs go!” at the beginning of the story makes me laugh every time. There are so many fun Dr. Seuss books to choose from, but this is one of our favorites.

 Oh My Gosh, Mrs. McNosh by Sarah Weeks – This is another silly, short story for dog lovers.

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Mission Moving While 38 Weeks Pregnant: Complete!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated on our house selling/buying saga…but the good news is, we’re all moved into our new home! We love it here so far—the house may be smaller than our previous digs, but it is full of charming quirks and we can’t wait to personalize it to our own style. Our new neighbors couldn’t be friendlier, and there are tons of kids on the block for Little Cotton Candy to play with. We even set up a short play date at our house yesterday (more on that below)! Believe me, getting Little CC’s bedroom set up in time was not easy, but we’re all so happy he has a place of his own to play and sleep now.

living room fireplace

Living room progress

I naively thought that once we got into the new house and were done with packing and cleaning our former residence that life would magically be awesome and stress free again. What was I thinking? On Monday evening, after the move, I walked right into a huge mess. Boxes piled in every room, nothing clean (the house isn’t gross or anything, just in need of a regular deep clean), and I had no idea where to begin. Each day since then has been a roller coaster of emotions as I simultaneously feel the accomplishment of getting things unpacked and organized—and despair that we still have so much to do and not enough time to get it done.

As I’m writing this now, I have 12 days until my due date. How did that happen?! I know people who have moved and had a baby in practically the same day, so our situation isn’t unique. But dang it feels hard sometimes. I’m still technically working two freelance contracts through either the end of the month or until I go into labor, though they are both fairly chill about letting me ease up when I need to. Plus, of course, there is Little Cotton Candy to consider—he needs constant attention, even more so now that he is dealing with his big feelings relating to our move.

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