Archive | August, 2014

REVIEW: One Last Hug… Bring Tissues

25 Aug
One Last Hug... and Three Smooches

One Last Hug (…and a few smooches)

With tonight being Emmy night, and because I work at the PDC where the post Emmy party-of-all-parties is set to go off, I thought I’d get into HBO-Go’s Emmy Nom category of watchable things over the weekend, and my best choice landed me 10lbs lighter thanks to water elimination by tear ducts.

Seriously.

One Last Hug had me ugly crying less than ONE minute into the 35 minutes of film.

Kids + parents dying + grief camp = SADDEST THING EVER. Of course, there were a few happy moments of resolve at the end, but from start to almost finish was a tear-fest in between.

On a very serious note, however, I’m in love with Camp Erin. Talk about life-changing, honorable and amazing work. The people of Camp Erin all have a special seat reserved for them in the sky for the work they do to help these kid’s grow and thrive amidst the heaviest challenges of their little lives. Kids who’ve lost parents to cancer, suicide and murder (!!!) are all unified through their grieving experience, being encouraged to share their hurt with other kids their own age. Through the comfort of knowing they’re not alone, they find healing and a way to move forward from their individual tragedies, with forgiveness, acceptance and the camaraderie of other kids in their same age group, enduring the same unfair situations.

Camp Erin, created and funded by The Moyer Foundation, is the largest nationwide network of free bereavement camps for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

A truly brilliant film, this exposure to the healing available to kids suffering from loss, was both enlightening, endearing, and heart wrenching. It made me want to give them all of my money, time and resources. It also educated me on the process of grief for children. And, as a mama, I would want this experience for my own child, should something ever happened to me (or my husband). The thought of a young mind in the process of being shaped by their experiences, having to deal with this type of tragedy before they’re even able to understand the word “death” is crippling, but Camp Erin gives them hope.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who’s looking for something to have their heart moved by. Then, do something to help keep this organization alive and thriving, so kids for years to come can have the same opportunity to have a bright future, regardless of their unfortunate and dark past.

Donate to Camp Erin.

Watch the Camp Erin trailer.

Get involved with Camp Erin.

10 Tips for Flying with a Toddler

19 Aug

Last month, I nervously researched “flying with a toddler” in about every Facebook group, Insta-hashtag and mommy blog I could find. What I found was that everyone prepares like mad, and just hopes to survive the few hours – or way too many hours – they’ll be mid-air with a squirmy-wormy, little monster on their lap.

I was the same.

Instead of making official “busy bags”, I packed a special backpack full of fun stuff for the flight, then a separate diaper bag, with all of the diapering essentials, sani-wipes, essential oils (who knows why), and medicines (Tylenol, Advil, Hyland’s Baby Vitamin C and Teething Tablets – again, who knows why). We were lucky enough to have only pee diapers on the plane, thank goodness, but we were prepared, just in case shit hit the fan… literally.

Anyway, we had a GREAT flight both directions and though that might be because I have an awesome kid, here’s my recommendation for flying with a toddler:

1. Get seats next to your partner (I recommend aisle and middle). This also means GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY!!!

We didn’t want to splurge on the ‘extra 4″ of room’ fees, or bulkhead seats, and got to the airport for both flights way too late to be too choosey, but having seats next to your partner is really great. That way, you can have more room on your laps, lift the arm rest between you, and just kinda share the wiggle. I also felt like having a window (which I typically prefer) would have made us feel too trapped and when little mister needed to walk the aisles for a few, or I needed to grab something from the overhead, and it would have just been a giant bummer for the person in the aisle.

If you’re flying solo, it’s probably best to try to get the aisle, so they can hang their legs off the side and squirm as much as needed too. Plus, kids seem to think that the rolling carts are pretty cool and flight attendants really like chatting with good babies. Any second that passes time in a positive way, means any time without tears.

2. Bring a stroller, but wear your baby! 

We almost opted to rent a stroller in Hawaii, but had recently purchased a BOB from our neighbors who were no longer using theirs. We paid $80 for it (what we would have paid renting) and it was a LIFESAVER in the airport, plus, we got to use it all over the place on our trip, and even more so at home. Best $80 ever.

I wore Remy in the Ergo, and put all of our carryon’s in the stroller, which was great, because we spent most of the time in the airport running to catch our flight (we’re TERRIBLE at getting to airports early). When you wear your baby, they basically pass you through security, and just check your hands for chemicals… which, duh. Why would a mom with a baby have bomb chemicals on her? I guess there are still bad people in the world.

IMG_7723.JPG

Baby/backpack wearing, travel fam.

3. Bring a packed lunch, and if you have time, buy more food at the airport. 

Airline food sucks and it’s not toddler friendly, unless your kid likes nasty roast beef and mayo sandwiches, or can chew almonds and stuff like that. Like I said, we are TERRIBLE at getting to airports when we should, so we weren’t able to buy food in advance of the flight, which meant that the snacks I packed were all we had… and the nasty roast beef and mayo sandwich that we all tried to stomach, but struggled with. My best friend had said “bring snacks, snacks, snacks, and more snacks” and she was dead on. We didn’t bring sugary snacks (god forbid it create a sugar high monster on the flight), but we brought all his favorites and didn’t limit how much he ate of them. Gold fish (organic, of course), organic peanut butter sandwich/cookies, fruit shreds, teensy fruit, and Plum Organic baby bars. All of his favorite treats, all healthy, and all we had for a very long time.

4. Talk to your baby about the adventure you’re going on and (try to) show them the plane before you board.

Remy was mesmerized by it. It was really cute.

5. Tylenol… My hero.

I know a lot of moms don’t give their kids Tylenol unless their kid is SUPER sick with a fever, but this is an important one to understand. Your baby can’t adjust the pressure in their ears yet by elongating their eustachian tubes, the way grown ups/big kids can. Chewing gum, popping your ears, all of that is a learned skill and baby’s don’t get it yet. I gave Remy some Tylenol about 30 minutes before take off, and 45 minutes before landing, so that his ears wouldn’t hurt too terribly… especially because he was sick with a double ear infection on our way home.

6. Nurse or Bottle your baby during takeoff and BEFORE landing. 

To piggy back on the Tylenol, if you’ve flown with a head-cold before, you know that the first decrease in altitude is the worst. On our 5 hour flight to Hawaii, we coasted at an easy 35,000 feet. When we first started to decline down to 10,000 feet, my head felt like it was going to explode. I was sick when we left for our trip, and I actually cried like a baby in pain during our decent. Not my finest moment, but I learned something important; the initial decent is the worst part and if you take care of your baby’s potential for pain or discomfort prior to then, you’ll have a much happier munchkin when your feet are on the ground again.  Nursing your baby on the way up, and again on the way down, in combo with Tylenol, will save your sanity, and your sweet little babe some unnecessary pain.

7. Book your flight during a nap or bed time.

Who knew I would have hit the nail on the head with this one, but it worked! My little guy was so tired just from the time of day, and so beat from all of the stimulation of getting onto the flight, that he slept for over an hour and a half each way on our flights to and from Hawaii. I booked the flights at nap-time in Los Angeles (1:00PM) on the way out, and 4:30PM on the way back, which also helped transition back to nap-time in the PST time zone (he, of course, also napped in the car on the way to the airport).

Nursed and Sleepy

Nursed and Sleepy

8. Pack toys your baby is not used to playing with.

For us, it was stickers and Play Dough. My guy is only 17 months old, so he’s just learning how to play with Play Dough, instead of eating it. It was a really fun part of our flight. We made bracelets and snakes… he loved it. Stickers were the other hit. We found these great “reusable sticker books” where you can actually peel the stickers off the page, and re-stick them somewhere else. The Despicable Me Minions were a lot of fun to move around from page to page, but I wish I’d have seen these Melissa & Doug ones too! So cute!!

9. Don’t be afraid of screens.

We all know that the recommendations for toddlers and using iPads/iPhones/sitting in front of the TV is “no screens until 2”, but that doesn’t include air travel. Sorry. DO NOT GUILT YOURSELF for doing what’s necessary to get where you need to go, if your babe is “under age”. We loaded up our favorite family movie “Turtle Tales” on the iPad and brought it along, just in case… Turns out, I like to sleep on flights, and that’s dumb when you’re holding a baby, so I needed a break from the busyness of play time, and “tur-lurs” were just the thing I needed. Remy had never worn headphones before either. Having them on his cute little head, monkey in arm, was just the sweetest thing to me, and most interesting (read “TIME CONSUMING”) thing I could have hoped for. Also, just pay attention to your kid and try to keep the amount of time you spend distracted from their needs (ie. on your airplane mode phone playing solitaire, or reading the latest tween novel).

Turtle Tales, Monkey, headphones and my Babe.

Turtle Tales, Monkey, headphones and my Babe.

10. Have Some FUN! Wear Matching Family Outfits! Be THAT Family!

This has nothing to do with the success of the flight, other than that it may help you keep a jovial perspective if/when things get rocky. 🙂

Once upon an unmarried time, my future husband made a jokey reference to wanting to “always match when we travel, like the Royal Tenenbaums”. So, for one of his wedding-day presents, I had matching black Adidas warmups made, with silly nicknames and the date on each of our jackets, and our initials on the pant fronts, for us to wear on our honeymoon.We looked like we were from the Jersey Shore. Hilarious. That started the family trend, silly as it was.

Thanks to so many modern brands realizing how fun it is to match your family, without looking like a moron, there are so many options for looking good while matching. My current favorite is Sly Fox Threads. Their designs are awesome, and they have mom, dad and baby clothes that are all awesome. Here’s a pic of my dudes in Maui, matching as my men should.

Happy matching in Maui!

My Boys in Sly Fox, matching in Maui!

The point is, be prepared, but relax and have fun with it. Traveling is stressful with or without a kiddo on your hip, so make the most of it by creating your experience as you go.

If you have any additions to my little list, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Happy trails!

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