Hellobee

5 Tips for Solo Traveling with a Toddler

I just took my second and third solo flight with Bunny. Last time I wrote about flying with her she was 15 months; this time she was 18 months, and boy, oh boy, what a difference three months make. I held her as a lap child last time, but this time I opted to buy her own seat. With a growing bump, I wasn’t too keen on holding her for three+ hours, so letting her have her own seat was the best option for us.

This option was amazing. Not only did my arms get a break for three hours, but I actually got to read AND take a nap during one of the flights. I can’t remember the last time I felt that relaxed, especially on a flight. Oh, and get this: she even fell asleep before we took off. Thank you very much, airplane white noise!

With more flights under our belts, I wanted to share five things I think helped:

1. Get Organized:

This trip lasted around one month long and was through the tail end of summer and the beginning of fall, which posed a little bit of a packing conundrum. My goal is always to take as little as possible on trips, so this is what I packed:

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TTC Story: Our Final Installment

I last left off in our TTC story staring at an email from a woman who possibly had vials of the same donor that we used to conceive our daughter, Ohana. She also happened to be the mother to a half sister of my daughter. Big stuff. I had been searching for more vials after using up all of the previously purchased vials. Thus far, I was having no luck and we had moved on to other donors. And even now, looking at an email response, I had no idea if this would pan out.

I opened the email and hoped that this woman was not scorning me. I was so relieved that it was quite the opposite: she was open and friendly and genuinely happy to hear from me.

Missus Scooter had come home by this time and I didn’t even make it through the whole email before I thrust the computer in front of her and said, “read this!” I cried as I watched her read, not having any context for what she was reading or who it was from. When she figured it out she just looked at me and said, “no way.”

For confidentiality, let’s call this woman Becky. The gist of Becky’s reply was that she had purchased three vials of Donor #1 sometime in 2010. She conceived on the first try and had two vials left. I’m not going to share the details of her personal story, but she was pretty certain she would not be having another baby. However, she was not fully prepared to make a final decision about something that had always been an option for her. There were a lot of emotions tied up in this and I totally got it. She said she would like to think about it and when I replied to her email, I genuinely asked her to take all the time she needed and that we were just thankful that she was open to the possibility.

Normally, I would not have been so brash with such a big decision. A million things could have occurred to invite drama or complication into our relatively (by design) calm life. I knew absolutely nothing of this woman and now I was opening a channel. I hadn’t even talked to my wife about it! What was I thinking? But from the very outset, I had a good feeling and I trusted it. I really try to balance my heart/gut with my head in major decisions but in this case it really was all instinct.

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Easy DIY Feeding Tube Backpack

As I’ve mentioned at great length, D is reliant on a feeding tube. He uses it mostly overnight, but he has a few hours during the day where he needs to be hooked up. That means he’s attached to a bag full of formula/liquid and a small pump, either in a bag or on an IV pole. Our insurance gave us a backpack sized for adults – which was great when he was little and we were the ones hauling it around! When D first started crawling, it was super annoying chasing him around with the big backpack, and we were always worried K or someone would mess with or trip on the feeding tube wire. I decided to make him his own little backpack (which he’s been using for a few months), and recently got around to making a spare.  I am not a great seamstress, but it’s a pretty straightforward process!

The features that are important to me are: A close fitting backpack, a way to secure the feeding bag (I prefer velcro, but tried a carabiner clip in the 1st one), a hole with a grommet on the side to run the wire out of while keeping the backpack zipped closed, and a clip on the back so I can hang it upright in the car. I don’t secure the pump down (although you could stitch some elastic or more velcro), and don’t have an opening on the front of the bag to access the pump — I just open it from the top. I try to minimize possible openings, since I think it would be more tempting for K (or other kids) to mess with!

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20 Delicious Holiday Treats

Every year as the holidays approach, I can’t help but want to start baking (and eating!) delicious treats. They’re in stores, on magazine covers, and all over my Pinterest feed. Yet even with access to so many yummy-looking recipes, time and time again I end up baking the same frosted sugar cookies. And don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious, but I’ve decided that this is going to be the year I branch out and try a few new recipes.

In case any of you are in the same boat, or are just looking for something new and delicious to bring to a holiday gathering, I thought I would share with you my top 20 holiday treat list. I’m shooting for trying at least 3, which shouldn’t be too hard considering how tasty they all look. Cookies, cakes, marshmallows, and milkshakes… there’s truly something for everybody! Since we’re not heading home for the holidays this year, I think most of my baking will be for our neighbors (and our own weekend desserts of course) but I’m excited to possibly find some new favorites.

Hope some of these recipes inspire you to make something new and sweet this holiday season!

Hot Chocolate Floats - This is definitely on my must-try list, oh my goodness.

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18 Acorn Crafts for Kids

Fall is here and Drake and I love exploring our backyard and neighborhood as the leaves change colors. Like a lot of kids, Drake loves collecting things and in the fall acorns are abound. Drake used to bring me acorns all the time when we were outside, so one day I decided to let him collect them in a bucket so we could do some crafts with them. We spent the next few days filling up our bucket with the best acorns we could find.

Acorn heaven

I learned from Google that after washing and cleaning your acorns, it’s best to bake them for a while to kill any buggies that might have burrowed their way into the acorns. I lined a baking pan with tin foil and popped the acorns in the oven for 2 hours at 200 degrees. I would check at the one hour mark and shift the pan a little so the acorns don’t get burned, and continue to let them bake for the next hour. After cooling down, they were ready for crafting!

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Growing a Reader, Part II – Multicultural and Social Issue Books for Kids

One of the most amazing benefits I get from my job is getting to work with people who know children’s literature in and out. I grew up in a different country, so my knowledge of books for the under 12 age group was pretty much zero before I started my job. But when Baby Carrot appeared, my fellow book nerd coworkers gifted us a huge starter library, and on a daily basis, I have the privilege to learn about classic kids’ books and what’s coming out that’s good to read. Although she’s still a wee toddler, Baby Carrot already has a big library, and I have started keeping an ever-growing list of books I plan to add to her library as she gets older.

One of my recent work projects has been to help build a collection of books for kids that focus on cultural diversity, multicultural experiences, and social issues, such as different family structures, bullying, identity development and beyond. This has been an amazing and transformative experience in many ways. I fully believe that early exposure to cultures and experiences are the best way to ingrain sensitivity, understanding and curiosity, so on the list I started for Baby C are a lot of books about travel and lots of variety that will get her exposed to different cultures, countries and beyond. The books I got to read for work went beyond this, tackling what seem like incredibly heavy topics, but I’ve found in these recent works I’ve sampled that they are handled beautifully and appropriately, so I wanted to share some of the favorites that made my list for Baby C’s future reading.

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Family Travel Review: Puerto Rico

If you live on the east coast and you’re looking for an easy tropical get-a-way this winter, I’d say check out Puerto Rico. You don’t need a passport (so if you have a new baby, you don’t have to worry about getting them one), and as I mentioned in 5 Tips For Your First Time Traveling With a Baby, it’s a relatively short direct flight and the currency is the same.

W H E R E   T O  S T A Y

We decided we definitely wanted to rent a house for this trip, so we began our search on VRBO and airbnb. We use these sites often when traveling and have had great luck, always making sure to scour all possibilities and read all user reviews. We were open to locations, searching the island for what seemed like the most affordable, family friendly surf spot. My husband and his family have experience traveling to Rincón, Puerto Rico for the waves, so that is where we ended up.

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