November 20, 2012

Holiday Travel & A Giveaway

Allie shared some holiday traveling tips on her blog last week and it made me think about how much different our holidays have become since having kids.

Before we had kids, Tyler and I would do a lot of traveling to see all of our families and we were rarely ever home on Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Our families live about 4 hours apart and I have three families - mom's, dad's and step dad's - and we like to see all of them plus Tyler's mom and dad over the holidays.  We could come and go as we please, driving long distances whenever we wanted or needed to.  We would do our best to "take turns" on where we were each year for each holiday.

Now, with two little kids, that is just not realistic.  Before even having kids, we both agreed that when we had them, we wanted them to wake up in their own home Christmas morning.  It's just a tradition that we have always both wanted for our family.  For our kids to wake up in their Christmas pj's, see Santa came and ate all the cookies, open presents, and have a yummy breakfast as a family.  This year I'm going to start a tradition of making something fun for breakfast.  I'm thinking a good breakfast casserole with some cinnamon rolls or something :)

We go to my mom's Christmas Eve because it's only about 45 minutes away and we can be home early enough to put the kids to bed.  My step dad's family is going to get together the weekend before Christmas.  And I'm not sure yet about my dad's family or Tyler's family.  Hopefully we can pick a day to see all of them too!  Even though we can't all get together on the exact day, I think the most important part is spending time with family.  So it shouldn't matter what day it is.

This week for Thanksgiving we will be spending Thanksgiving day with my dad's family and heading out Saturday morning to go up to see Tyler's family. We'll spend the night at his mom's that night and come home Sunday.  Friday I'm going to go shopping.  No, I'm not going Thursday night like I did last year or even early Friday morning.  I am going to wait until all the crazies have gone home and gone to bed.  If you want to know why I will not be shopping Thursday night, you can read last year's experience here.

We haven't spent the night anywhere away from home since Kase was born.  He will sleep in the pack and play and I'm sure will be just fine.  It's Kyla I'm worried about.  Anytime I have attempted to have her sleep in a crib other than hers, she refuses to sleep.  Cheryl (Tyler's mom) has a crib so that's where she'll be sleeping.  I predict lots of crying, but I figure she will eventually be so tired that she will give in.  And I'm hoping she'll surprise me and just go to bed as easily as she does at home.  Fat chance though.  I will be back to blog about it all next week :)

Although we don't travel a lot with the kids yet, there are a few things I've learned in the traveling we have done.

1. Travel early in the morning when they have just woken up and eaten breakfast.  Or at night around their bedtime.

2. Make a list.  Or two or three.  Even when we're just going somewhere for the day, there are so many things I need to pack.  And this weekend for two days/one night, I will definitely be triple checking my lists!  You can never be too prepared!

3. Be calm.  Don't stress.  When we're stressed, the kids are more likely to be fussy.  Just go with the flow and don't worry about the little things.

4. Don't rush.  Tyler never liked to make stops before.  Once he's on the road, he wants to just keep going.  But we've quickly realized that pit stops are necessary.  And can be a life saver.  A bottle for Kase, snack for Kyla, two clean diapers and we're back on the road in no time!

5. Realize that we can't please everyone.  My kids are and always will be my #1 priority.  I really am a people pleaser and like to make sure everyone is happy, but at the end of the day, my kids will always come first.  We will always do our best to see everyone at some point over both holidays.  But unfortunately, I've learned that this isn't always good enough.

But you know what IS good enough?  GIVEAWAYS!  I had two bloggers ask me to participate in giveaways and I didn't realize they would be within two days of each other.  So I posted about the other one yesterday.  This one you can enter here or go over and visit Shanna's blog.  Lots of cool prizes up for grabs!  If you usually just ignore these giveaways and think they're a waste of time, you're crazy.  It only takes a second to enter and I have won 3 giveaways already.  It's worth it, trust me!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

What tips do you have for traveling with little ones?



  1. tip is "don't do it" :-P Honestly though, Anything more than an hour trip is pretty miserable. I actually think it was easier when my kids were younger. Now with Raya if she's in a mood it doesn't much matter what we do or when we leave, she has the ability to make the drive pretty miserable. Thankfully my family lives mere minutes away. We only go to Lee's family when absolutely necessary.

    We actually have Lee's parents come to *my parents* house for Thanksgiving on Sunday. If someone has to drive we decided it could be them, with no kids :-) We've done that for 3 years now.

  2. Great tips! I need lots of tips (and prayers) since I'll be flying solo w/Morgan next week. I think we've resolved to not travel with them long distances while they're so little. The short trips we've made - and if it goes badly - we end up paying for it and just regretting the whole thing. Boo. I remember the days of being carefree and going whenever, wherever....fondly ; )

  3. Great tips! We're leaving as soon as we get up tomorrow for the remaining 6 hour car tip with our 2 year old....wish us luck. The first three hours to the pit stop tonight were met with a lot of. "No, noooooo!" to our music choices. Really, do we really need to sing Old McDonald the whole way? Have a great Thanksgiving Amy!

  4. Mom makes an awesome breakfast casserole, you'll have to ask her for the recipe!

    And I cannot wait to meet Kase and see Kylra again :)

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