Traveling with Kids

Next week is my 38th birthday, and Nora’s 3rd. We’ve been in the habit of trying to do things for birthdays, rather than giving lots of gifts, although we’ll still do some gifts for Nora to open:) So… we’re going to Kansas City next week. For the first time ever we went through VRBO instead of a hotel, and rented a house seven blocks from Country Club Plaza. We’ll be eating, drinking, shopping, and hopefully finding lots of activities for the girls as well! I think it’s about a five-hour drive from our home, and we’ve leaving Monday and coming back Friday. So ya know, plenty of time for lots of toddler meltdowns! But hopefully a lot of fun too!

I’m sure I’ve posted about traveling with kids… but I’ll refresh your memory… Vacations with toddlers rarely feel like vacations, from my past experiences anyway! Ugh, naps, bedtime, meals, all the messes, all the whining. Ugh. But… with Eric having every third week off, and the girls not yet in school, I feel like we should take more advantage of our time off together. Starting small though, driving as I’m not yet brave enough for planes with kids! I know, it’s doable, but even the thought gives me anxiety! Someday!

In preparation for our trip, I’ve been looking at a few things on Amazon. But… please, if you have any tips or awesome products that make traveling with kids easier, please comment! Keep in mind my girls are three and 18 months 🙂

Sleeping – This is huge to me, as I love, and need sleep. I’m willing to purchase whatever it takes to get the girls to sleep on vacation. In the house we rented we’ll have a bedroom for each of the girls, so hopefully quiet, dark, and will mimic their own rooms at home. We have sound machines we use every night at home, and we’ll make sure to take those. Both girls still sleep in cribs, so for Nadia, our 18 month-old, we’ll take our 4moms® breeze® Playard which is really just a slightly larger version of a traditional pack and play. It’s super nice, but very heavy, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you happen to decide to purchase one!

For Nora though, who will be three next week… She is technically still sleeping in her crib, as still hasn’t figured out how to climb out… So… I found this on Amazon, what do we think? She wouldn’t be ‘contained’ as she is used to in her crib, and in a strange house. I don’t know… thoughts?

hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed with Safety Bumpers | Portable Blow Up Mattress for Kids with Built in Bed Rail71gGtYurUbL._SL1500_

Potty – We’ve been working with Nora on potty training. So far though, still not going great in my opinion. She will go pee if I take her to the potty, but won’t really ever tell me she has to go and she doesn’t ever initiate sitting on the potty. Also, her diapers are always wet, so clearly she isn’t holding it. Do either of these look helpful for travel? The aqua one folds flat so also fits over a toilet seat, and comes with bags if she just wants to sit on it and go.

Gimars Upgrade Large Non Slip Silicone Pads Travel Folding Portable Reusable Toilet Potty Training Seat Covers Liners with Carry Bag for Babies, Toddlers and Kids, Pink81YVFx-NYEL._SX522_


OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty for Travel – Aqua51vnjmYXOpL._SX522_

Packing – Last topic, before this post gets too long and I lose everyone’s interest! What’s your opinion on kid’s luggage? I’ve seen some, just like at Target, like this one, for example, but the quality seemed really poor. I like the idea of keeping each girl’s stuff separate though, and think that would make it easier for me to pack and organize. If I’m going to buy them luggage though, do I buy real luggage, just small items? In the past I’ve either used lots of smaller duffel bags or tried to also throw some of their items into my suitcase. I felt like we had their stuff all over though, and ended up with lots of small bags, many of which didn’t securely close. Real luggage is expensive though, even the small items. Thoughts?



I’ve kept no secret of my struggle with (postpartum) depression over the years. I’ve been on several different medications but most recently have been taking Zoloft, 50mg a day.

Several months ago my general practitioner in Cedar Falls suggested I increase my Zoloft dose to 100mg a day, as I’d still been feeling a bit down, very overwhelmed with caring for the girls so much alone, and possibly experiencing what I think is anxiety most days. I tried 100mg for several weeks but honestly felt much more anxious, so dropped back down to 50mg. A few weeks ago I decided maybe it was time I see a doctor who specializes in depression and anxiety medications, at least to re-evaluate what I’m taking.

Yesterday I met with a psychiatrist here in Cedar Rapids. He was very nice and very open to helping me find a medication that would make me feel happy and ‘normal’ instead of ‘coping with life’ as I had described to him my current state. I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy, but I certainly still deal with depression some days and more recently lots of anxiety. My doctor assured me there is something out there to make me feel a bit better.

I started taking Viibryd yesterday. I have to slowly lower my dose of Zoloft while slowly increasing my Viibryd dose to 20mg a day. And it could take a month to really notice any changes, but I’m excited. Honestly, a part of me still hates to rely on medication to feel okay, but another part of me really wants to feel happy and a bit calmer. I’ll keep you updated on how I feel, and if anyone else is on this medication and willing to share insight, I’d love to hear from you, my email is I’m told Viibryd doesn’t really have any side-effects… so here’s hoping its the miracle drug it’s made out to be!

Laundry and Catch Up

I’m playing catch up this week, lots of laundry, emptied out my voicemail, returned a ton of calls, rescheduled some doctors appointments for the girls, you get the idea.

Nadia had her 18 month (15 ½ month adjusted) check-up Wednesday. She is now only three pounds behind Nora!

At Nadia’s appointment we talked a bit about her development, revisiting the idea of speech and physical therapy. Nadia is obviously not at the level of an 18 month-old, but we don’t expect her to be at this point. Our doctor was a little concerned though, so she asked we work with her at home and re-evaluate in a few months. Problem is, I have no idea what to work on! The doctor gave us a few suggestions, but beyond that, I’m a bit at a loss… Our pediatrician said Nadia should have 15 words, with meaning at this age. Hum… she definitely has way more than 15 words, as she will repeat most words I say, but I’m not sure 15 of them have meaning to her. Our doctor said she should be walking up stairs, with help, at this point, throwing a ball with a forward hand motion, rather than just dropping it, and now I forget what else. Ugh. Sometimes I think maybe getting her back into speech and PT would be easier. I mean, I know it’s two appointments a week, but at least then I’d know what to focus on each week.

Also, Nadia still isn’t sleeping through the night consistently. It seems she wakes maybe every-other night, and whines/cries in her bed until I take her a bottle. She’ll suck down 7 oz and then go right back to sleep. Our doctor suggested trying just water instead of the toddler formula I’ve been giving her, but I assume because she is worried about the sugar from the formula sitting on her teeth all night. Honestly, maybe that should be my concern, but I’m just happy she is growing well, and I contribute that to her nighttime bottles. She does eat well during the day, but she is obviously hungry at night, or wouldn’t want the bottle, right? I know we need to ditch bottles soon though… Maybe one day I just throw them away and not look back!

I should go… I planned a playdate at my home tomorrow morning. Do I frantically clean the entire house? Or let them see how we really live? And Eric left this morning for another week on-call, so it’s just me and the girls for the next seven days. I guess I should do some kid-friendly meal planning!

18 Months

Nadia is just over 15 months corrected! A few pictures from our very informal photo shoot this morning 🙂 She’s talking a lot more, points, usually for juice or her ‘binkie’, and shakes her head no often! Her hair is finally long enough to put a bit up in clips, if I can sneak them in while she’s playing. Nadia is walking pretty well now, but hasn’t quite mastered running just yet. Nora loves giving Nadia hugs… but Nadia hasn’t yet realized these aren’t assassination attempts. It’s hard to believe that Nadia is now the age Nora was when Nadia was born… I can’t even really remember Nora at 18 months. Maybe because I had too many things on my mind!  Nora’s 18 month picture is at the bottom for a fun comparison 🙂