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Monday, October 27, 2014

Traveling With An Infant

Traveling is such an exciting thing! It's one of my favorite things to do. But traveling with an infant can be a little stressful. The mystery of how far you can drive until you'll have to stop or when there will be a safe place for you to stop is my biggest worry. Luckily, on my last two road trips with my almost four month old son, we had good luck finding spots to stop. And on the last one, I had help in the back seat with him. The first one I did not. The last three hours of that one each way was pretty painful! Below is what I found to be helpful and cost efficient.

What to pack:
Car Seat Entertainment- add a couple of things to the handle for their entertainment.
Diaper Bag - just like you usually have it.
Formula - I used the powered kind so I put some in a container that holds three bottles worth of powder sectioned off into individual bottle amounts. I also use liquid to-go formula that come in little bottles but mostly when we go out to eat or quick errand runs. I didn't purchase the nipples that go directly on those so I just pour it into a clean bottle. I purchased a travel bottle warmer for the second trip but to my surprise, that trip he started drinking the bottle cold. It made life WAY easier. If your child still eats warm bottles, don’t forget to take your electric bottle warmer.
Water Bottles & Purified Water Jugs - I always boil the water I use to make bottles for my son. Not everyone does that so if you don't, you can skip on the water jugs. I brought the water bottles to use to mix the powder in the vehicle. I brought the jugs to mix the powder where we were staying for the evening or at our destination of the trip. I also use the Dr. Brown Formula Pitcher at home or when I know we are going to be somewhere for a while because it makes several bottles worth so you can top off a half-eaten bottle that you are going to feed to your child again. Also, the kind of formula my son eats is really foamy when it's shaken so the pitcher does a good job at just stirring it to reduce the foam.
Diapers - lots of them. Both of my trips were about a week long so I packed at least 70 diapers. I went through most of them.
Wipes - lots of them...they can clean a lot of things, not just baby butts. I also packed pacifier/bottle wipes in case they were dropped and I’m sort of a germaphobe.
Clothes - make sure to have one outfit a day including pjs or a sleep sack, socks and a bib. If your child is like mine, he is hot most of the time so I don't dress him very warm but socks help if just his feet are cold. He kicks off every blanket I put on him so he wears a sleep sack to bed to help snuggle him while he sleeps. He is also a drooler so a bib helps eliminate a soaked onesie.
Cloth diapers - I use them as everything baby rags. It is handy to have lots of them while traveling because they get put in different places and you'll always need one to wipe up milky messes or drool.
Chair/Rocker or Bumbo – My son loves his chair to chill in when we are not able to hold him. He is not quite enjoying the bumbo yet so we didn’t pack that. You can also pack a stroller for your child to sit in, if you have room (see below).
Cooler – You’ll need a cooler to store the bottle that your child doesn’t finish in one feeding.
Pacifiers – My son isn’t a huge pacifier fan but every once in a while on the trip he would take one.
Bottle Brush/Drying Mat or Grass – I use this brush and this grass. I also bought something like this to pack the dish soap, laundry soap and fabric softener I use at home. I suggest taking a big bowl with you to soak the bottles in. I use one at home but didn’t pack one so I had to soak them in the sink of where we stayed.
Playpen/Portable Crib – Some hotels have cribs or playpens that they will let you use in the room for free but we packed our own. It was a good thing because we requested one at one of the hotels we stayed at so we wouldn’t have to drag ours out of the vehicle but they didn’t have one available. Along with packing the playpen, don’t forget the mattress pads and sheets!
Bath Tub/Bath Essentials – We use this tub at home and it is easily portable. Along with the tub, make sure to pack the bath essentials such as soap, lotion, brush, wash cloths and towels.
Medicine – I have a travel kit for the basic medicines that my child might possibly need. Tylenol, Gas Drops, Gripe Water, Allergy Medicine, Rash Cream, Ointment, Thermometer, Alcohol Wipes and Medicine Dispensers is what is included in my kit.
Stroller/Baby Carrier – Packing one or both of these depends on the type of trip you’re taking. For my first trip, I was only packing for the both of us so I had room for our jogging stroller which came in handy for neighborhood walks but for the second trip it wasn’t feasible so I packed the carrier. I never used the carrier so that was one of the things I could’ve gone without.
Okay, I believe I listed everything that I found useful and hopefully you will too! Traveling with an infant definitely takes patience and organization. Good luck and happy traveling, friends!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Parent, New Journey

Four months ago I became a mother. It was by far one of the greatest gifts I've ever received in this life. It took a while to set in that I am now responsible for another human being. I've always heard, "you'll wonder what you did before you had a child" and it is so true!

I've always tried my best to be a prepared person. With a kid, you have to be. I'm a little OCD which is good but annoying. I know it drives my husband crazy. I am currently writing this while riding in a vehicle back to Kansas from Maryland. Needless to say, this vehicle is packed with stuff for my son. We used most of it but there are definitely items I could've left home. I plan on writing about traveling with an infant soon to help any of you that will be doing so and need a little advice.

I am a stay-at-home mom. I am incredibly thankful for my husband who works hard so I can raise our child. I have always wanted to be a wife and mother who stayed home raising the kids, preparing meals for the family and keeping the house clean. There's nothing I love more than a happy family and a welcoming house. I am really looking forward to when I can keep up with duties outside, like a garden, as well.
Life has changed since having a child, which isn't a bad thing. My heart got bigger, that's for sure. My love for my husband grew too. I feel like we are closer than we were before. We make a pretty good team and I think everyone needs that when raising a child. We can't just get up and go like we did before. It takes some planning. Luckily, we have a lot of my husband’s family that live close and are willing to watch our son while we go to appointments or celebrate special occasions.

Time goes by so fast now! New things happen daily. And my heart is so full. For those trying to conceive or currently expecting, I want to tell you that the best part of your life is about to begin. Don’t listen to those that say your life is over once you have a kid. I suggest soaking up all of the help when your little one arrives. Take that shower that your help insists that you take but you feel guilty for leaving the baby with them. And don’t worry that you won’t do a good job because YOU WILL. It’s funny how the baby doesn’t come with a manual but you know exactly what to do without one…or there’s always someone you can call!

Have fun my friends! What are your memories of being a new parent?

Oil, The Lifeline of Western Kansas

I am not originally from Western Kansas so the lifestyle took some getting used to when I moved here. How did I get here, you ask? I fell in love with my hunk of an oil hauler husband, who happened to be my best friend's brother-in-law. I had visited Kansas before then but never thought, "Oh, I'd like to move there someday." I've lived on both coasts but mainly grew up in Oklahoma so I was a little used to the country but I had never experienced anything like this before.

I fell immediately in love with Western Kansas the minute I got here. You can breathe. People wave to you driving down the road. Beautiful landscape to photograph. FREEDOM. I do admit it took a little getting used to not having stores right in town that I could go to if I needed things. It takes some good old fashioned driving to get things now. But that's okay because driving around here is pleasant!

One of the first things I noticed around here were the oil wells. They are everywhere. And for as many oil wells, there are truck drivers to haul the being my husband! He tried explaining his job to me but it didn't click until I went with him. I thought it was very interesting how the whole thing works.
There is a wide variety of  jobs and money to be made from oil in Western Kansas. Honestly, I feel like oil is what is keeping this part of the country alive. Almost everyone around here has some tie to it. From the land owner, the drilling rig company, pumpers, haulers, equipment suppliers, local shops that provide maintenance, etc. It doesn't look like it's running out anytime soon and I hope that it doesn't because I would be afraid of what it would look like around here. There are already too many neglected homesteads that are dilapidated on beautiful land with so much potential due to people passing on and children not wanting to continue taking care of the place.

I am grateful for the lifestyle oil provides for my family and friends. My husband and I would not have our dream home to raise our son and other future children in. This field of work is not necessarily an easy one though. It doesn't matter what the weather is like, they have to try to get out there and work. Sometimes, it is too bad for them to go out so on those days I soak up time with my husband because on the days he does work, I don't get a lot of it. But that's okay, he's home every night and I get to raise our son so it's a good life!