Tag Archives: traveling with kids


What an eventful week and weekend we had! Last week was full of visitors, hanging out with friends, and pumpkins. The weekend was a road trip to see my family in Georgia. We ended the trip with a virus that seemed to go through everyone but EK, and we are getting over today as we drive home. More details to come!

I’m linking up with Becky at Choose Happy for today’s edition of Currently. Join us and let us know what you’re up to!IMG_0614

Traveling || seven hours in the car back to NC. I’m literally typing this on my phone while Hubby drives. The trip would take Hubby and me only five and a half hours, but it takes seven or more with the kids, depending on traffic and hopefully well-timed naps and meals. Our new car has been a huge blessing because everyone is comfortable, and I can reach the boys without getting out of my seat. We love the Acadia!

Healing || from a nasty virus that was mostly fever, but included a slight rash on the baby boys. EK managed to escape it, but the rest of us have had a crappy day or two.

Photographing || our pumpkin patch experience! A little hectic, perhaps, with three, but they had a great time! Here’s a little of what Hubby shot that morning:


Loving || some good time in Georgia. My kids love my family, for which I am grateful.

We also got to see a few good friends, eat at our favorite restaurant there (here’s looking at you, Schroeder’s Deli) and drink a few beers at the new bar downtown. It’s getting to be a nicer downtown than when I was growing up, and that makes it easier to hang out there now!

Anticipating || the busy season of holidays! The first thing I did when we got settled in the car was open my calendar and see the madness that’s building, culminating at Christmas. I’m excited, but also a little nervous we just won’t be able to get ourselves together to make it all happen. We are notoriously late all the time right now, since, ya know, only a couple of us can do anything by/for ourselves. And every time I think I’ll get up earlier to help the process along, it’s a terrible night for at least two kids, or I battle stress-induced insomnia. I’ll sleep when I dead, right?

Preparing || our Halloween costumes! We have D and EK nailed down, but we are still determining J’s outfit. You’ll see some pictures soon!

Well, there’s our crazy week, fevers and traveling and all. What are y’all up to? Any Halloween plans?

Potty Training Update

Here’s a TMI post for you if I’ve ever written one…

Our potty training has been extremely lax. Our philosophy has been that when EK is ready, she will start making moves. So we bought a little potty, put her on it a couple of times each day, asked her several more times a day if she’d like to use it (usually receiving a “no” for a while), and otherwise let her tell us how interested she was – or wasn’t. She’s just now two and a half, so I haven’t been terribly worried about it, especially because in the past month or so she’s been doing a GREAT job.

((Side story: Hubby and I traveled with the kids to GA for my high school reunion. On the way back to NC, we were, uh, really tired, from the party the night before, so we just put the kids in the car in their pajamas, and hit the road. We stopped at a Subway for lunch and hydration and rest, and EK decided that she HAD to use the potty. At Subway. Gross. And guess what she was wearing? One piece zip-up pajamas. So I’m in the Subway bathroom, exhausted but giving my A+ parenting game, stripping my daughter to her skin to hold her over the toilet seat, that I’ve completely covered with toilet paper but I’m still not letting her touch. After she has successfully done her business, I’m trying to get her back in her (dry!) diaper and zip-up pajamas with no changing table… aka standing up… without letting anything touch the floor. Blerg. That was a long ten minutes. Now back to regularly scheduled posting.))

She’s started mentioning using the potty more, so we’ve started asking her a lot more often, and it’s been working! We keep a dry diaper a lot of the day, and use the potty several times, so we’re feeling great. On Thursday, she even (wait for it…) POOPED in the potty! And even my limited potty training experience tells me that’s a milestone!

Funny little thing about the past two weeks… EK has decided she no longer wants to use the little training potty. She only wants to sit on an actual toilet. Okay, great. Except she can’t really keep herself from falling in all that well. It takes a little more help from whoever is with her. But it’s pretty cute to see how proud of herself she is when she’s tinkling in “Mommy’s potty”. We’ve been rewarding her with a couple of jelly beans each time, so she’s extra excited to get those!

So now we’re to the point that we need to really buckle down and get her from using the potty most of the time to all the time. We just bought some Pull-Ups, so that should help. What are you suggestions for completing the process? And then, how do we wean her off the jellybeans?!

Family and Food – Hsus Do New York

More New York City fun… Here’s what we did Sunday and Monday!

On Sunday (our second day), my mom and I woke up with the kids, packed them up, left Hubby in bed, and went to search for bagels. Thankfully, we found a DELICIOUS bagel place  less than a block away. It was inexpensive and had more than just bagels (fresh fruit, good coffee, juice, pasta salad, etc).   I think it was called “Bagel Express II” but I’m not sure. When we had eaten and collected Hubby, we visited FAO Schwartz and hung out on the east side of Central Park. It was great weather to just peruse the area, eat some street food, and think of some things to do during the week.

Enjoying some street meat - lamb gyro to be exact.
Enjoying some street meat – lamb gyro to be exact.
EK in her princess crown with her beloved cockatoo (cah-ah-too)
J deciding if he wants a new tiger.
J deciding if he wants a new tiger.

For dinner, we decided on the Italian restaurant on the corner near our hotel, Tony’s di Napoli. It was delicious, however very crowded and slow. We didn’t anticipate having a two hour dinner that began at almost 7:30. We ended up giving J a bottle to put him to sleep and sending EK back to the room with my mom for a bath while we waited for the check and boxes for our food. It was a little hectic, but their food was truly delicious.

On Monday, lots more things were open again, and we could really get in to some fun things! First, we visited the Natural History Museum with Hubby’s cousin Becca. She’s an awesome lady – a jazz singer in NYC who always makes time to hang out with our littles. (Her website, by the way, is here. Check her out because her music is ridiculously amazing.) We looked at tons of animals, and watched the show in their planetarium (totally amazing) and both the babes even loved it!

Cousin love.
Cousin love.

We followed that up with an delicious Vegan lunch at Peacefood Cafe, coffee at Irving Farm, and then Mom, the kids and I went back to the hotel for naps. (I won’t lie… an afternoon nap schedule suited me JUST FINE because I was pooped by then also.) Hubby went with Becca to a famous guitar store and played zillion-dollar guitars all afternoon (he came back a very happy camper). Miranda (another of Hubby’s cousins, who had lunch with us) came over to the hotel for dinner (take out) and brought us some teeny-tiny cupcakes, which we ate on all week!

Miranda snuggling big J, the hippie.

That night, Mom kept the kids so Hubby and I could go out on the town. We went to the East Village to a favorite spot of yet another of Hubby’s cousins (Katie – sister of Becca) who used to live in the city. Drop Off Service used to be a laundromat, and kept the name when the space converted to a bar. Small, intimate and homey, lots of good beers on draft, and in a trendy neighborhood for the piece de la resistance.

This is the pic stitch we sent to Katie to guess where we were!

We walked from Drop Off Service to a little Irish pub, O’Hanlon’s Bar, where we played some darts. I won both games, of course. It’s worth bragging about because it’s the only thing I’ve ever beaten Hubby at. Just give it to me, okay?

Stay tuned for one more NYC post in the series… I’m having a blast writing about it! Check out some of those links, and leave some comments about places we should try next time!



Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Hsus Do New York

Traveling with kids is no joke, friends. They require a lot of… stuff. Entertainment, food, drink, clothes, loveys, and more. Think you can pack your family into one suitcase? Think again. Think you can pack your family into two suitcases? Think again.

We took one GIANT suitcase – I’m talking L.L.Bean rolling duffel in the largest size that Hubby took skiing as a kid – and one regular large suitcase full of our stuff, two backpacks, and a regular diaper bag. Oh yeah, and an umbrella stroller. All of that didn’t include my mom, it was just Hubby, the kids, and me.

I posted on Facebook that I needed some travel tips from friends with kids… mostly about the airplane segment of the trip. You guys really came through with your tips! Everything from stroller vs. babywearing and how to keep their ears from popping to keeping EK occupied and myself sane (not to mention a few hilarious responses of valium and xanax!) Here are a few of things things you suggested that we found success with:

1. Flying out early in the morning. My kids were packed into their car seats at 6:00am, still in their pjs. This was the best ever, because EK ate a little breakfast on the way, J nursed right before we left, and no one was really awake until we were on the plane. That time frame suited us perfectly.

2. Starburst candy during take off/landing. Someone suggested to me that if EK couldn’t chew gum (We’ve never tried, but didn’t want to.) she should have Starburst in her mouth during take off and landing. Because it’s so chewy, it lasts a while, and it creates a lot of saliva and causes you to swallow often. And also, she loved it. Total win.

3. Dollar Store treasures. As I’m writing this, I realize most of this seems to be for EK, but she’s the one who needed the most entertainment. This ended up being Target $1 Spot treasures, but they worked the same. Her favorite ended up being mainly stickers. But kept her occupied waiting for dinners, on plane rides, etc.

4. Extra changes of clothes. This was obviously a necessity because I have a drooly teething 7 month old and a messy mischievous toddler. They each wore more than one outfit a day, not counting pjs, and J went through about 17 bibs. Luckily someone had gifted a pack of 6 disposable bibs to me at some point, and I had never used them, so I took them along during the day (we used them all). They were great, because when they were drenched or covered in pear puree, I tossed them.

Here are a few things that we found out through trial and error:

1. Babywearing is the best and easiest way to lug babies/young kids around. We took a ring sling, a Boba, and an umbrella stroller as means of getting the babies around. J spent 85% of his time on the trip in the Boba, simply because he can’t yet sit in a restaurant high chair, we were on the go during his morning nap time, and he is “mommyfied” right now, at best. EK was usually either in the stroller or walking with us, but whenever she got restless, or J got hot, we just swapped them. Best plan ever, because neither had a chance to tire of their location too much, I didn’t have a bulky double stroller to deal with, and J could nap while I wore him, so he didn’t tire out too quickly.
One side note: Subways are tricky. Lots of stairs (elevators were present, but often farther away), and strollers don’t often fit through turnstiles. Just plan a few extra minutes if you’re traveling that way.

2. Never underestimate the power of cell phone games/videos. I have several educational games/videos on my phone that EK can play or watch, even without internet. That was super helpful all the way around, everywhere we were. I typically don’t let her indulge in too much screen time, but there were a few times that she was fussy (read: tired) or we needed her to stick in the stroller a bit longer (because we were almost to our destination) that the cell phone did the trick for a few minutes. Because she doesn’t play on there all the time, she didn’t get bored when we needed to occupy her for a few minutes. (Favorite apps: Grandma’s Garden, Pitch Painter, Peekaboo Barn, The Wheels on the Bus and ABCMouse.com A-Z Music Videos)

3. Make time for nap time. I know it seems like a pain when the kids get sleepy and you’re in the middle of something – believe me, that was pretty much our whole week. But I really do think our week was better because we stuck to a little bit of a routine with the naps. Every afternoon, we’d go back to the hotel for EK’s nap time. Sometimes it took extra effort to get her down, but it was always a nice respite for all of us. Some of you seasoned mamas are clucking at me, saying “Of course you should’ve known that!” and you’re right. But when EK didn’t seem tired, and she loved the boat ride, we needn’t have tarried, because the brick wall of exhaustion was hovering, waiting to crash down.

4. Snacks upon snacks upon snacks. This was the key to our happiness. Fruit purees for both kids, bottles of milk or juice, pretzels from the street carts, all were life savers. My kids get it from me… hangry is their worst mood.

5. Always bring the lovey, no matter what. My kids love swaddles. Neither of them were actually swaddled for that long, but they love having one while they sleep (mostly to stuff in their mouths. Weird, right?) We don’t let EK have hers unless it’s naptime or bedtime, because she would just walk around with it in her mouth and dragging behind her. We’re a little more lenient with J right now since he’s younger, but still he doesn’t get it all the time or EK would just take it. We always had one in the diaper bag when we left the hotel because if one got really upset, I knew that would be a way to help calm them down, or help them fall asleep while I was wearing them if they got really tired and we near the hotel.

Do you have some stellar travel tips I didn’t hear before my trip? I need to know them for the next one!

Hsus Do New York!

This past week, we Hsus took NYC by storm. Hubby had a college friend who got married on Saturday night, so we packed up our fam (and my super flexible mama) and flew up to make a week of it. This week will be a series of posts about the trip – traveling, things we did, places we ate, etc. for your enjoyment and future trip planning!

We arrived in NYC Saturday morning, so we had most of the day to bum around and settle in before the wedding. Our first stop was our amazing hotel, Affinia Gardens. On East 64th between 2nd and 3rd avenues, it’s situated in the upper east side (of midtown – right on the cusp), convenient to the subway and several delicious restaurants and cute shops, and filled with the nicest folks you’ll meet. Every single employee of the hotel, concierge to maid, were incredibly helpful and nice. Our suite was huge, clean, and well-kept all week. It also had a mini kitchen with some dishes, a full-size fridge, a microwave and a DISHWASHER! Crazy talk for a NYC hotel. I forgot to take a photo of the room, but check out their website here.

We spent that afternoon before naps in Chinatown for some dim sum. Hubby’s brother Hartley said the best dim sum in NYC was at Golden Unicorn. I’m convinced he was right. Dim sum is definitely an experience, and however fast-paced and crazy it may feel, it was delicious and actually not too expensive (at least at this location). Servers with carts stop by your table with the little bamboo containers full of steaming food on them, and you just say what you want or don’t want. It’s right there on the cart, so you just eat and get more and eat more. It’s the best fast food ever! Visit Golden Unicorn’s website here.

The wedding itself was incredible- at the Yale Club in Manhattan. Easily the most glamorous and delicious wedding I’ll attend… for a long time anyway. A beautiful bride and handsome groom who love each other and their friends/family very well made for a gorgeous ceremony and fun evening.

Hubby (right) and his oldest brother, Hartley, classing it up big time.
Sunset from the Yale Club’s rooftop (22 floors up) during cocktail hour.
A little hard to see us, but the only (non-wedding-photographer) picture of Hubby and me from that night.
Yes, I took a picture of the ceiling. Isn’t it gorgeous?!
Can someone tell me what this building is? Because it was gorgeous from a block away.

I wish I had some pictures of the band that played the reception. They were a party band for sure, about ten of them, amazing singers and fabulous instrumentalists. They played R&B and pop and blew it out of the water. Hubby and I danced all night. ALL NIGHT.

Whelp, that’s our first day in NYC in a nutshell. Stay tuned for the next installment of “Hsus Do New York” tomorrow!