Traveling with a Toddler via Plane, Train, and Automobile -Part 2

Travelingwithatoddler

We got back from our big family vacation in Sweden last week (this post has been in draft mode for awhile) and I am finally feeling good after the jetlag. Little man is adjusted to the time change but it took a week and he has started to climb out of his crib since we got back. Fun! Ha!

But without further ado, here is a not so brief run down of all the traveling and preparation for the trip with my rambunctious toddler. Hope this helps others preparing for long trips with little ones too.

I was so nervous about our long flight overseas because we did not purchase a seat for Roman and I knew we would have to pass him back and forth between the two of us the whole time.  Our first flight (about 7.5 hours long) left in the evening at around 6pm and I was hoping to actually get Roman to fall asleep close to his bedtime which is usually by 7pm. However, the flight served dinner about two hours after take off and kept the lights on until after clean up so about 2-3 hours into it. We kept him entertained with the inflight entertainment tv in front of each seat. Dinner was actually the most difficult part because with no place to set him down we had to each eat separately and quickly. It was a bit of a circus act with juggling food trays, drinks, and a toddler. But he was so tired by that point that my hubby was able to rock him asleep while I ate. Our Airline was very accommodating of little ones and they were perfectly happy with us standing near the toilet area to be able to get out our seats and stand, which I needed to do quite a bit.

Here is a list of lessons I learned and items I used for this trip:

Lesson #1- Pack A change of clothes for everyone in Carry on Luggage-( Not Just for Toddler)

The most amazing part of the long flight was that we were actually able to lay our sleeping babe across our laps and he stayed asleep for about 3 hours. He awoke towards the end and daddy thought we should give him more milk . I was hesitant but let him drink a cup and we regretted that decision about 10 minutes before landing. Roman projectile vomited all over me, daddy, himself, and the plane. Y’all it was a mess and it was stinky. Thank goodness it was at the end of the flight and thank God I had packed a change of clothes for all of us in the carry on luggage. We were able to change our clothes and sponge bathe at the Amsterdam airport. I also got some new perfume out of the ordeal. 🙂

Lesson #2- Book seats with extra leg Room

We learned on our flight back home that there are seats in economy class with tons of leg room. ( I think it was called “comfort economy”) Although we had not booked these ourselves the man checking us in upgraded us to these seats and we were in heaven. After sitting in them we decided that is the way to go in the future. We were actually able to set our little guy on the floor and we still had room to stretch out our legs! Amazing! These seats are the ones located right behind the divider of the business class and economy class or at least on our Dutch airline it was. We felt like we were in first class with all the extra space!

 Lesson #3- Bring some new Toddler Activities

One of the things I had read for preparation for long trips is to bring new things to entertain your little one with. So I ordered a few items on amazon and made a trip to the dollar store before we left and kept most of the stuff hidden until the trip. I wanted things that were light weight and could also fit in his little monkey backpack harness so he could carry them around. Here are some of the little things I put inside:

  •  sticker activity books that were plane and train themed to get him excited about being on different forms of transportation.
  •  This Colorforms activity which was great because they only stick to the book so no mess or sticky residue to deal with.
  • I also got this cute Lauri Toddler Tote, a great little activity set. It is a bit little larger of an item so I stuck this is inside my carry on bag and we ended up playing with it a lot when we were not traveling around. It was just a great toy to bring along on the whole vacation.
  • I got a couple little toy cars and trucks at the dollar store and some coloring books too. You can really get some great stuff there.
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    Roman and Papa Belly walking through Gothenburg Airport. Leash was needed!

Lesson #4- Bring a lightweight and sturdy Stroller

I knew our everyday stroller was going to be too big to be bringing on an airplane and too heavy to be carrying around when not in use too. So I did some research for awhile on a good umbrella stroller and ended up with Joovy Groove Ultralight which really did end up being great! It is light and folds up small and it’s tall enough for both my husband and I to push around without tripping on it (I am 5′-10″ and he is 6′-1″). My main concern for an umbrella stroller was the wheels on all the stone paths of Europe . Most strollers you see there have giant wheels that are made for that purpose. But this stroller held up, it probably was not the smoothest of rides but my babe didn’t seem to care. I also purchased the rain cover to go with it because I knew it was going to be rainy while we were there. Good decision 😉

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Our stroller held up well to the streets of Copenhagen

Lesson #5- When checking a Car Seat, put inside a travel bag

We brought our car seat with us because we knew we were going to be traveling in cars once we were in Sweden. I ended up buying this Britax Car Seat Travel Bag for our seat which was awesome for getting in and around the airport with. It has wheels on the bottom of the bag. I had read that airports can be rough on a car seat so I wanted to make sure the seat was protected as possible. It seems to have held up to the expectations.

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All our luggage at the airport, We packed so light 😉

Lesson #6- Fill up your handheld device with your Toddler’s Favorite tv shows

Our train rides from Gothenburg Sweden to Copenhagen and back went pretty smoothly. (even though we almost missed the returning train) It was about a 4 hour trip and I had loaded up our kindle with tons of “Sesame Street” and “Wonder pets”. Roman was pretty content watching his shows . Even though I don’t like letting him watch that much TV, there are certain times when it really helps that he will just sit still and not whine.

I learned that I could not download more shows from my prime account once I was outside of the US so we were stuck with the 10 shows I downloaded for the whole two week trip. Roman didn’t seem to care too much but I wish I had downloaded a few more for my own sanity.

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Roman enjoying Sesame Street on the Train


 

Once again, I hope this list helps others in the future and I might need to reference it again in the future. Although I think traveling with two toddlers would bring up a whole other list of lessons and tips.

I hope to post more about the actual vacation soon. Stay tuned.

In Christ,

Mama Belly, Lili


 

* I purchased all items that I have mentioned above and all opinions stated are my own. However, the post does contain affiliate links.

 

 

 

6 months pregnant with baby #2

6 months pregnant

Wow! Time is flying by and I am so behind on keeping up with the blog. I am actually 28 weeks ( Third trimester!!) pregnant as I am typing this up but I will talk about the 6th month for this post. I definitely felt great through the whole second trimester. The exhaustion was gone from the first trimester and I was not uncomfortably big yet. Although I am starting to get there now!

SIZE OF BABY: At 26 weeks, baby is approximately 1.5 pounds and over a foot long! Baby could survive outside the womb with medical help!

BABY BUMP: The bump has rounded out and is popping out for all to see. It has been fun dressing the belly in some new maternity clothes. I have had to get alot of new stuff because my last pregnancy was mostly in the fall/winter. So a new summer maternity wardrobe for me 🙂

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN: At my 24 week appointment I had gained an additional 4 pounds. So total I had gained 8 pounds! I have already gained a few more since and I have a feeling I am going to end up gaining more weight in this pregnancy than my first. ( I gained about 35 pounds with Baby #1).

MAIN SYMPTOMS: Still Frequent Urination and also random nose bleeds. I don’t know if that last one is a pregnancy symptom?

FOOD CRAVINGS/AVERSIONS:  Still eating pretty normally but been on a major chocolate chip cookie kick! I make some every week and my hubby enjoys it too!

CRAZIEST MOMENT: My pregnancy hasn’t been that crazy which is a blessing. But with an impending huge trip at the end of the month I think there are bound to be some crazy moments in the last trimester!

My toddler makes each day seem a little crazy especially in the afternoon. Here are a few pictures of his shenanigans that keep me chasing him and laughing all day!

RomanCrazy1

BEST MOMENT: I got a few “Big Brother” books for Roman to start getting him used to the idea of having a little baby around and after about a week of trying to get him to look at them, he finally picked them up himself and brought them to me. He now loves these books! It melts my heart every time he kisses my belly when I ask him where his brother is! I am not totally sure he doesn’t think my belly button is his brother…but that’s okay for now!

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Our huge summer adventure in Scandinavia! We are heading to Sweden to meet up with all of my hubbies family at the end of this week! It will be a two week vacation to remember! Pray for our travels and my sanity with a toddler on some long flights, train trips, and car rides! I have been busy trying to get ready for this trip and will hopefully have some good advice about traveling to Europe with a 18 month old! My mini trip last month was a good trial run and I learned a few things but I know this one is going to be a whole new level of traveling adventures.


In Christ,

Mama Belly- Lili

 

Traveling with a Toddler via Train, Plane, and Automobiles- Part 1

This past weekend, Roman and I took a trip up to Long Island to see my family. We were all up there to see my very talented sister perform in the musical, “Nice Work If You Can Get”. It was fantastic and she was amazing, as always! I was stoked I got to see it twice!

nice work1

Here is a little synopsis of our mini vacation and traveling shenanigans.

Saturday morning, we took a plane out of Baltimore airport and landed in Long Island. It may have been the shortest trip I have ever taken. I think we were in the air for 40 minutes. Perfect! Roman was entertained by a straw and cup of water for most of the flight. We also lucked out and got the whole row to ourselves. It helps that people do not want to sit next to babies! I had packed a giant bag of snacks, milk, books, and a kindle with sesame street downloaded. He did not even have to use any of it. I was so proud of him. But, less than 1 hour on a plane really isn’t that bad for anyone I guess. (Our train ride was a different story)

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My parents rented a house in Bellport for the week and I was so happy to join them Saturday through Tuesday. We had not seen my dad since Christmas (saw my mom briefly in March) and Roman was in grandparent heaven. He did so great while we were there. I was super worried about him sleeping in a foreign place and bed but I think he was so excited from all the stimulation everyday that he was ready to go to sleep by 7pm each night. The house was walking distance from the little downtown area, the water, a playground, and the Catholic Church. Ideal. We went to mass on Saturday night and I have never been to a more friendly parish and met such an inviting priest. He announced that our family was visiting at the beginning of mass. Very sweet.

playgroundcollage

On Sunday, we drove up to the Hamptons and looked at the beautiful gigantic homes along the water. We ate lunch at a restaurant that charged $21 for a BLT. Whoah! Yep, that was memorable. I will pretend that it was the best BLT I ever ate to make it seem worth it. We walked around the town area. Roman had a great time hanging with Grandma and Pop Pop!

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hamptons2

Monday morning, my parents drove us up to the West tip of Long Island, Orient Point. My grandfather vacationed there as a child every summer. So it was fun driving around and imagining him in that place.  My dad had discovered that we still had some relatives living in the town just south of Orient in Greenport. He had met his cousin a few days before I got there but my dad was really excited to show me the house my great grandfather grew up in and I was too. It was a very cute little town as well and we had to stop and get some souvenirs to remember the place. Roman ate his biggest meal while we were there and entertained himself with the jelly packs on the table the whole time.

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On Tuesday , we headed into NYC Penn Station via a commuter train that took about 1.5 hours.  Thank goodness I had my parents with me for that part of the trip because it was around nap time and he was refusing to take one. They were able to help entertain him until he finally passed out on Pop Pop. When we got into Penn Station, we walked over to Chelsea and saw my sister again. We got to see her cute apartment and walk around the neighborhood. We found Chelsea Park and let Roman play and run off some energy.

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I was hoping to let him get all tired out before our next long train ride back to Northern Virginia (5 hours) , and I guess it kinda worked…because he ended up taking his long nap before we got on the train. Boo. He literally woke up right as we pulled out of Penn Station. I pulled out Sesame Street pretty quickly and it worked pretty well for about 1.5 hours. Then, we walked down to the dining cart and grabbed some food, that took up another 30-45 min. He was happy for about 10 minutes after he ate and then all hell broke loose. He did not want to sit in my lap anymore and he was crying his eyes out. At this point I decided to go change him into his pajamas and tried to read him some of his favorite bed time books. He was not having that. I walked up and down the train with him a few times. He screamed the whole time, so I got the evil stare down from just about everyone as I walked through each car.  I also got a few sympathy looks from fellow mamas. When we pulled into DC station, we were able to get off for 10-15 minutes and that helped a lot! He was happy to see the other trains in the station and get some fresh air. For the last hour of the trip I was able to spread out a bit and let him sit on the floor. When we arrived at our final stop, papa belly was waiting for us and Roman was happy to see him. When we put him in the car, he passed out in his car seat immediately. Of course! LOL!  I survived is all I can say!

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So happy to be home. We have our really big summer trip to Sweden at the end of July and that will be Part 2 to the train, plane, and automobile travels. Here are a few lessons and tips I have learned from this mini trip.

#1 Make sure to have plenty of entertainment downloaded on the kindle. I think I will have more children’s books on there next time. He got bored with the videos.

#2 Have enough milk and snacks. I was good with snacks but I ran out of milk on the train and that was bad! Also, I purchased a little Insulated Lunch bag to store cold milk, I placed an ice pack inside to help.

#3. Bring at least one comfort item. We had his stuffed animal, Paul the Polar bear. He loves carrying that guy around.

#4. A giant beach bag for a carry on item works perfectly. This one, was big enough for all his stuff and mine and fit under the seat in front of me. It also had a few side pockets in it for the important stuff you need quick access to…like a cell phone and ID.

Hope this helps others this summer or at least makes them feel better about their travels with babies. It is a big adventure and worth doing just for the memories!

In Christ,

Mama Belly- Lili

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 months pregnant update with Baby Boy #2

5 months collage

I cant believe I have entered into my 6th month of pregnancy. The Second trimester has been awesome so far! I think my belly looks about the same in those pictures above but I feel like when I am out in public, people have finally been acknowledging that I am pregnant in the last week.  I love being asked “when are you due?” and it’s because I really enjoy the whole pregnancy thing. It is such a miracle and I want to enjoy the relatively short 9/10 months that it is. I feel like I am already getting to know this little person growing inside of me. I love feeling the little flutters and even though it can be kinda painful when I get a kick to the ribs, I try to make it positive. My little man just wants my attention 🙂

SIZE OF BABY: At 22 weeks, #2 is approximately 1 pound and almost a foot long! He still has a lot of growing to do!

BABY BUMP: Like I said above, it looks about the same in all the pics but I have definitely popped and people are noticing 😉

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN: At my 20 week appointment I had gained a total of 4 pounds. But I think I have gained an additional 2-3 since then. My doctor said to start gaining a pound a week from and I think I am on track for that.

MAIN SYMPTOMS: Frequent Urination. Seriously. I think that is honestly been the biggest thing. I run to the bathroom a lot during the day and usually can make it through the night with only getting up once.

FOOD CRAVINGS/AVERSIONS: Eating pretty normally again. Not having any issues with meat or fish anymore which is good. But I have been having some major sweet tooth action. For example, I have been really craving some chocolate sprinkle donuts this week…have yet to find a good one in this area though…wah wah.

CRAZIEST MOMENT: I cant think of anything too crazy related to the pregnancy. Maybe that is part of “pregnancy brain”, to forget the stuff you don’t want to remember. Life has been kinda crazy in general just trying to entertain a very active toddler. I have been trying to take him to different activities around the area just so he stops rolling around on the floor out of boredom. Also, I might be going crazy because I read the same books to him everyday 5 times!! Memorized most of them word for word. My husband is impressed by it actually.

BEST MOMENT: Finding out we are having another Boy at our 20 week ultrasound! We obviously would have been happy no matter what but I love that Roman is going to have a little brother to play with! See our gender reveal. We have been running into more families with lots of little boys and it has been great to see all that brotherly love even though it can be a little rough at times. I see a lot of living room wresting in my future.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Meeting this little man of course, but also just getting through some summer travel plans. I love the vacation and seeing family parts but am stressing over the travel. I will keep the blog updated on traveling while pregnant with a toddler in tow! Hopefully I will have some helpful tips to share and not to many “don’t do this” situations. We will traveling via plane, train , and automobile over this weekend so…Please pray for my sanity.


In Christ,

Mama Belly- Lili

 

 

My Catholic Summer Reading List

Catholic Reading list

Well it has been a lot longer than I realized since my last post. Whoops! Time flies when you are entertaining a 16 month old that barely naps. I also have been using my spare time to read a few of my favorite catholic mom blogs and get a good list of catholic books that I would like to read this summer ( You know, in all that extra time I have, ha!) Well there will be some traveling time later this summer, so I am hoping I will get to read a little on our long plane, train, and car rides. I am also starting to make an effort to read more and watch less Netflix in the evening ( after the babe is asleep). Although sometimes all my brain can handle after a long day is some Sherlock Holmes or Chuck.

I also have been praying and thinking a lot about the future education of my babies and have found myself heavily contemplating homeschooling…insert shock faces here. I know, I know, it scares a lot of people including all my family members that I have told. But I am at the stage of inquiry and doing a lot of research about it and a lot of praying. Right now, I feel a calling towards it and the idea truly excites me.( So if anyone wants to comment with positive words and encouragement that would be appreciated.) So… I mention this because a couple books on my list are for homeschoolers.

And without further ado, here are the books that have gone on my summer reading list (I should probably call this my Hope to Read List):

American Saint: The Life of Elizabeth Seton
by Joan Barthel

I have already started on this one and am loving it. It’s a great novel about Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton who is a great inspiration to all mamas out there and especially converts like myself. She went through a lot of struggles and overcame them all in her brief life to become a founder of a religious order and the first American Saint. As a recent convert, I don’t know any saints that well and I want to start learning more about them. They are meant to be our role models! Afterall, isn’t our ultimate goal as Catholics to become a saint? Yes or I sure hope so!

Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood by Gregory and Lisa Popcak

This looks like a great one for the time period of my little families life. “They recommend rituals, routines, and tips on how to manage feeding, fatigue, and finances and how also to prioritize marital bonding and faith”. Catholic parenting advice…I’ll take it please!

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

This book has great reviews on Amazon and I have found on several reading lists for people who are interested in homeschooling and for those that have been doing it for awhile. I am excited to read someone’s very positive and real perspective on the homeschooling experience.

Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the rest of Us by Rebecca Frech

This is another great homeschooling book. I have already read the sample on Amazon and am very excited to read the whole book now.

Rosaries Aren’t Just For Teething: Reflections on Mary by Mothers Edited by Michele Chronister

I have been looking for a great devotional book about Mary and this seems like a great one. As a catholic convert I am very new to concept of having a devotion to Mary but I would to start my journey on better understanding the deep relationship so many catholics have with our holy Mother. Who could be a better inspiration for a new mother than her?

Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour by Michael Foley

Ok Ya’ll, this one is just for fun! I stumbled across this suggestion on one of the blogs I read and it just looks like a great little book to own and get some fun liturgical year inspired drink ideas from. Why not? Well…I’ll have to actually wait to use it till after baby #2 comes but it will be right in time for advent and Christmas season …you know a great drinking time 😉 I also think this looks like a cute and fun book gift for your fellow Catholic friends and family that enjoy a good adult beverage or two or three.


 

And here are some links to some great Catholic Blogs that I have found recently.

Carrots for Michaelmas– “Cultivating a Catholic family through literature, liturgical living, and urban homesteading”

Blessed is She– “we help foster community, through daily devotions straight to your inbox”. This blog sends out great devotionals from the daily readings

A few Homeschooling blogs to inspire me for the possible future. They also have great ideas for activities to do with your young children and organizing your home.

Wildflowers and Marbles

Catholic Icing

Amongst Lovely Things

 


 

Well that’s it for tonight. Getting close to me bed time and I would like to do some reading now 😉 Hope this inspires others to do some extra reading and maybe a daily devotional too! 🙂

Peace be with you all!

-Mamabelly- Lili

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.