Evidently air travel has changed in the past few years

I’ve had a fantastic few weeks.

This past weekend I was in Denver for a bachelorette party. The weekend prior to that I was in San Francisco for a childhood friend’s wedding.

Let me tell you, I didn’t realize how much I missed my friends until I saw them. And how much I needed a break. More on that later.

I hadn’t traveled by myself (via airplane) in over half a decade, so that was a fun treat. Hours of waiting in an airport? Fine by me. I even got a pedicure while I was waiting! And then there were the precious few hours of peace on the airplane… Bliss.

But let me tell you what wasn’t so fun… dealing with the airlines.

air-travel

My how times have changed! Now I’ve definitely traveled in the past few years, but we almost exclusively fly Southwest Airlines these days.

However, I flew Delta to San Francisco, and it was so frustrating! I got to the airport early to try to get on a standby flight, and was told that with a ‘normal’ ticket I’d have to pay $75 to get on standby, and with my ‘basic economy’ ticket, I couldn’t take standby at all. WHAT?! This made zero sense to me. They had empty seats on a plane, I wanted to get on it, and they made me wait at the airport for an extra few hours.

Then I booked a flight with American Airlines and had to pay an extra $20 or so to use the overhead bin! What travel world am I living in where this is a thing?! 

There is nothing that drives me more crazy than buying an expensive plane ticket, only to be nickle and dimed. It makes travel more stressful than it already is, even when my kids aren’t with me! Sigh.

Of course, I can’t complain (too much) because my flights were on time and they got me to my destinations safely and in the end, that’s what matters! But, I will continue to fly Southwest whenever possible because that airline allows you to cancel flights (for credit), get on the standby list, and check and carry on bags without extra fees. Plus, with kids, it’s way easier to not have assigned seats that could change before the flight. It just makes travel so much easier! Of course, Southwest doesn’t have as many direct flights from Seattle, so I may need to do some research on different airlines, too…

Anyways, that’s my travel rant! What’s your airline of choice these days?!

Posted in rantings, travel | Tagged , | 7 Comments

A quick recap of our trip to Naples, FL!

Remember that time I went to Florida? No? 

That’s because I never blogged about it! (So did it even happen?!)

I’m the worst at this. My life is going by in a complete blur.

(Sidenote: one of the reasons I love blogging is so that I have an outlet – besides journaling – to write about our adventures and experiences! Life goes by too fast and it’s nice to sit down and really process what we’ve been doing.)

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

I did mention the trip to Florida because I talked about how getting to and from there was… an experience (in this blog post).

But then I said I was going to write about the trip and I just kind of didn’t. Whoops.

HOWEVER, this procrastination ends today, because I am about to fill you in on our trip to Naples, Florida.

First of all, normally I would not take my girls all the way to the east coast for a vacation trip. Southern California is a quick trip without a timezone change, so that’s my preference. However, my dad was in Florida for a few months, so off we went to visit.

As I said previously, I could have done without the whole getting-there process. BUT we had a really good time.

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

The Good:

  • Watching my girls interact with their Grandpa (and his wife, “Grandma Mary”). They have an absolute blast together
  • Swimming with the girls in the pool at my dad’s rental house
  • Being at the beach / near the ocean
  • Spending time with Tim’s family, who live in Ft Myers. We rode a golf cart around the community and the girls read with his aunts and grandparents… it was so nice to catch up with everyone!
  • Bike riding to get coffee with Tim
  • Walking along to find lizards – such a fun toddler activity!
  • Visiting a the Everglades Wonder Gardens park where we were able to feed flamingos and all sorts of other animals. It was fun for the adults and kids! Family win!
  • Having a date night with Tim
  • Seeing a sunset on the beach near downtown Naples
  • And driving around downtown Naples… the houses are gorgeous!

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

I look forward to the day they cooperate with the idea of a family photo!

The Bad:

  • The weather. Did no one inform Florida that it’s supposed to be hot and sunny in March?! It was 60s and rainy — so basically it was the same weather as Seattle.
  • The flights. We ended up flying to Tampa (because of so many delays) and having to drive hours to my dad’s house at midnight. Soooo… not ideal.

I have such great memories of our trip and I only wish it had been a few days longer, and that Clara had been completely healthy! I also wish we could have spent more time at the beach, but it was so cold and windy we weren’t able to be there for long.

A recap on our trip to Naples, FL with our toddlers

There’s always next time, though!

Did you travel anywhere this spring?! How was it?!

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Visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers!)

The girls and I went on our annual trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival today – and at least one of us had a blast! (It was me, I may have been the only one to have fun. Typical.)

Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!

This is our third spring in Washington, and my third time going to see the tulips. The first time I went was for my 30th birthday, and I went with five girlfriends (and my very pregnant belly). Last year I dragged Tim and the girls along with me on a beautiful sunny day. This year I went with a friend and her two kids. It was cold and windy and a completely different experience than my last two years!

So I have some tips for you.

Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!

Tips for visiting the tulip fields with toddlers:

Go to Roozengaarde or Tulip Town in Mount Vernon

Chances are that if you live in the Seattle area and have done any minimal amount of research about tulip fields, you have seen these two names come up. Last year we went to Roozengaarde and this year we went to Tulip Town. I prefer Roozengaarde in nice weather because there’s a really nice garden near the parking lot where you can take beautiful pictures of your toddlers without needing to walk through the fields. However, there is quite a bit of walking you’ll need to do. Tulip Town is nice because the fields are closer to the parking lot and there is an indoor display of tulips, which is nice on a cold/rainy day.

Don’t go on a weekend

I almost want to advise not going on a Friday, either. When I went on a Saturday two years ago we waited in tons of traffic for an extra hour (or more!) just to park and go see the tulips. Last year we went on a Friday in nicer weather and there was traffic but nothing memorable. This year, again on a Friday, we left Seattle early and cruised right into the parking lot of the tulip fields without ever needing to stop and wait for other cars.

Consider going on a bad weather day

The last two years when I visited the fields in the sunshine the crowds were bad and so was the glare in my pictures! The fields photograph better on cloudy days, and there will be much fewer people around you if there’s a little rain or wind in the forecast. I will caution that this year I heard a lot of “I’m cold! I want to go home!” from my toddlers, but honestly we go to the fields because I love them, not because they do! If it was sunny they would have been whining about something else.

Bring appropriate clothing and lots of it

Even if it’s sunny, bring rain boots and rain jackets because there will probably be mud if there was rain in the last few days – and since this is spring in the PNW, there will have been rain!  Also, bring a change of clothing – for everyone! Last year, like the naive and hopelessly optimistic parent I am, I dressed the girls in cute outfits, hoping to get one good picture of them in the tulips. Well, of course, Clara lasted about 10 minutes in her adorable dress before she wiped out in a mud puddle. Did we have a change of clothes for her? Nope! So this year I brought extra shoes and outfits for everyone, and we were able to get into clean outfits before going out to lunch.

Don’t bring a stroller

Trust me on this one, if you bring a stroller it is going to get stuck in the mud immediately! If you have a baby, put them in a carrier. If you have toddlers, try to bribe them to keep walking.

Keep your expectations low

Let’s be honest, seeing flowers is not the most fun activity for most kids. However, I personally love going to see the colors and to try to take some pictures and to get out and do something outside of the city with my family. If you go into it with the expectation that you may be the only person who enjoys the experience, you’ll probably leave feeling more satisfied that the outing was a success!

Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)! Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!

I fully intend to keep dragging my kids to the tulip festival every year. I think it’s such a fun way to spend a day! This year it was extra-fun because my friend and I drove up to Mount Vernon together and had some quality talk time in the car to talk while the kids entertained each other. Win! We also went out for lunch at Calico Cupboard in La Conner, which is a long wait, but has great food and atmosphere for kids. Because we were feeling extra generous, we even let our little ones play on a small playground near the main street of La Conner, which they would probably agree was the best part of their day!

Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!

(See, the pretty pictures are worth the glaring toddlers and the amount of laundry I now need to do!)

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What I Learned in March

It’s never too late to talk about what we learned in March, right?! Right. I feel like I need to write it all down to prove to myself that I’m evolving as a human – slowly but surely. Without further ado…

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Things I Learned in March

Traveling/adventure is always worth it (to me).

I am living my best life when I’m doing something new or going on an adventure or traveling… unfortunately this is not always the easiest thing to do with toddlers, and sometimes it’s downright frustrating! However, it’s almost always worth it for me to go. While our trip to Florida wasn’t quite an ‘adventure’, it was definitely a trip, and while I questioned multiple times whether it would be worth the hassle – it definitely was!

what-i-learned-in-march

People in Florida like their coffee HOT.

I cannot explain this one, but we tried coffee from three different places in Ft Myers, and they all served our coffee SUPER hot. Even Starbucks! Now I generally like my lattes a little more lukewarm than hot anyways, but even Tim had to wait a few minutes to start sipping his drinks, and I had to wait what felt like FOREVER. Maybe I’m spoiled by the coffee in the PNW, but coffee in Florida definitely seemed off. Can anyone else verify this to be true?!

Grove Collaborative is one of my new favorite things.

I discovered this site and am thrilled. I’ve been transitioning to more natural household cleaners, but I don’t always love making a trip to specialty stores to find them. However, this site makes it really easy to find my favorite natural cleaning supplies, plus there are quite a few products on here that I haven’t thought of before. Yay! I love the extra gifts I got for signing up, too. Word of advice: if you’re going to order through them, buy the dishtowel. Tim’s already requested we get a few more from them, and I readily agreed because somehow, the one we received seems magical. We’d clearly been living life wrong before. (Use my referral link for a $10 discount)

I should have read ‘Come As You Are’ 10 years ago.

I feel like I’ve already recommended this book a bijillion times, so I’ll just say that I learned a lot of things, and I think it should be required reading for all women and maybe men!

What did you learn recently?!

Posted in consciously evolving, favorite things | Tagged | 6 Comments

The girls are now sharing a room!

Well, it happened again. As Tim and I were lying in bed one morning, we saw Isabelle just walking around the hallway. Which shouldn’t happen, since she’s in a crib. Or at least she was supposed to be in a crib.

Some kids don’t ever try to climb out of their cribs, but mine seem to think it’s their sole mission to escape whatever confines they’re in. Isabelle first climbed out of her crib in late December, and we lowered the mattress all the way to the ground (with the crib around it) to buy ourselves some more time. (Well, first we tried to move her into a ‘big girl bed’ but that was DISASTER, so we went back to the crib.)

But, once we saw that she had managed to escape again, we knew it was time to do the big girl bed transfer 2.0.

Our experience transitioning our toddlers to a shared room!

I decided we should move Isabelle into Clara’s space, because I thought it might encourage Isabelle to stay in the room, since she wasn’t alone in there. And let me tell you, I was right!

The first time we tried the transition from crib to toddler bed – back in December – Isabelle would promptly get out, run to the door (which was locked from the outside) and bang and bang on it until we lost our minds and went to go get her. By that time she would have woken Clara up and the whole house would be in chaos. This time, however, we’re able to rock her until she’s really drowsy, and then transfer her into her bed, where she’ll stay. Miraculously!

Of course, it helps that at this point Isabelle has better sleep habits in general. But still! Success! Clara also loves having a sleepover buddy, although a few nights she has told us that Isabelle is too loud and she wants her out of the room. Oh well, kid.

I don’t have a sister so I never experienced room-sharing, but I think it’s going to be great for the girls. I’m not sure how long it will last, but hopefully they appreciate having a buddy with them. It’s also nice that we have an extra bedroom that is now a toddler ‘reading room’ for quiet time. And if the girls need to spread out one day, they can! Or if one of them is sick or having a tough time sleeping, we can move them into the other bedroom for a while. I’m all about keeping our options open and flexible…

I don’t have any tips about how to transition toddlers into sharing a room, because our experience wasn’t very difficult! Bedtime routines do look a little bit different. It seems to work better to put Clara into bed, and then rock Isabelle in a separate room until she can be quietly transferred. However, we have had Clara stay up later than Isabelle, and that works fine, too.

The most challenging part is that in the middle of the night if one of the girls starts yelling because they have to go potty or need water or any of the million things they come up with, we feel extra pressure to respond before they wake the other girl up.

The moral of the story is, if you’re thinking about having your kids share a room, go for it! There are not many experiences in parenting that I feel are easier than what I anticipated, but this was one of them.

Do your kids share a room? Did you share a room when you were little? Thoughts?!

Posted in motherhood | Tagged , | 14 Comments