,It's summertime. It's hot. School starts in a month. That means it's time for family vacations and all those pretty photos of gorgeous places and happy children? Right? Not always so. If you have ever taken kids on a trip, you know that it's anything but easy, relaxing and enjoyable. More realistically, it's tiring, hard and sometimes you just want to pull your hair out. We currently have three kids under the age of 4, so you could say we live in a constant state of chaos.
We have been traveling with our children since they were little babies. Our youngest, Baker, is about to take his fourth trip (by plane) and he is almost 16 months old. We like to travel and see new places, we have conferences out of state several times each year and we think it's important for our children to see new places. I think it's so exciting for all of us to experience adventures together! Last year, we went to Disney World when the kids were 3, 2 and 12 weeks old. It was hot, busy and crazy. But the kids had a blast and it's a fun journey to add to the scrapbook.
My mom and I recently took a trip to Pawhuska, OK to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile. This was our second trip there and I loved it once again. We took all three kids with us this time. Things were chaotic, of course, but we made it through and had a lot of fun. I have learned to plan the day around the kids, not you. Schedule in fun activities to ensure the kids' moods stay happy and positive. We threw in a trip to the splash pad on our trip, which the kids enjoyed and we all got to cool down for a few minutes. It's also important to keep the kiddos hydrated and full. No one, I repeat, no one wants a cranky toddler. I also try to squeeze in nap time when needed, which can be super challenging. Even if it means driving around while the munchkins get some shut eye, it's totally worth it!
Our next family trip with the five of us will extend across three states. We will fly into Montana and drive across Glacier National Park. I am so excited to see the pretty mountains and scenery! We will then drive to Idaho and drop off our car for a week-long stay in Idaho at a Lake Resort for a State Farm Trip. my husband's company. After this is completed, we will go on to Washington state to catch a plane back to OKC. While I know this trip will be full of memories made, it will also test our patience, make us question our sanity and long for home. We have already discussed that we need to "get our game faces on". By this, we mean that we have to get our minds right, develop a strategy and be prepared. For me, this means a few things. I have learned a lot while traveling with babies for the past almost 5 years! Here are my tips:
1) Be prepared- as much as possible. Have your itinerary planned out so that you are not stressing while en route. And don't worry if things don't go exactly according to plan. There are some things you cannot control!
2) Flying with babies is actually pretty convenient. Airlines make traveling with your kids almost seamless. You can push your strollers right up to the gate, along with a car seat. You can also check your pack-n-play and other baby items. I always "wear" the youngest baby through the airport and that frees my hands up.
3) Enjoy the ride and don't sweat the small stuff. Don't expect the kids to be perfect. Don't expect a picture-perfect time. I can promise you, it will not be. Just do your best to have a good time and help your kids have fun!
I'll be posting family vacation photos soon. I can promise you- they won't always be perfect, but they will be "real".