Thursday, June 30, 2011

Flying & Cruising With Kids

One of the things I found most helpful in preparing for our trip was reading other mom's blogs about travelling with kids. So I thought I would return the favor and write up some of my thoughts on travelling to maybe help someone else out there. First off I will say I know we were pretty crazy to take an 18 month old and a 4 year old all the way to Alaska for 10 days. And there were a few moments where we thought we were going to loose our mind. But overall it was a wonderful experience. We did have lots of help from family. If we had been doing it just us I probably would have ended up in a straight jacket. I also have to remember that we have 2 of the best kids in the world so that makes it easier!! Flying - I was not at all worried about Ben because he is old enough now that I knew he would do great. It was Kate that I was most worried about.

  • We did not have her own seat but I don't think that was a big deal. She is so wiggly that she would have needed to be held anyway. I read lots of people saying to get them their own seat. I don't think this is necessary.

  • I had brought lots of little things for them to do on the plane. They played with none of it! There was just not much room to maneuver to pull the stuff out. And it would have just made a mess. I say skip the toys. Go straight for the electronics.

  • An iPhone, iPad or DVD player is a must. We had a 3. It worked great. Every flight Kate would be fussy until we got to 10,ooo feet but when we could pull it out she would settle down. Our kids love movies though so that is helpful.

  • SNACKS!!! I brought tons of snacks and it was a lifesaver. I brought individual bags of all sorts of things. And little things like raisins that take a long time to eat are wonderful.

  • Neither of the kids had any problems with take offs or landing. We did have a sippy cup for Kate that she sipped on the whole time.

  • TSA lets you bring juice for kids. I would say skip it. It takes too long to go through security with it. Just buy it once you are at the gate.

  • Limit your carry on bags. It is too much to juggle with kids. We had learned this from previous flying experiences. Try to keep bags to a minimum because your hands will be full!

  • Benadryl is your friend! Especially on overnight flights. That is the only time we had to use it but it allowed the kids to sleep for 6 hours straight which was awesome.

Cruising - We had cruised with Ben when he was 2 so we were a little prepared. But things were so different this time with the time change and just being in Alaska so I do have some tips for that as well.

  • BE FLEXIBLE!!!!! Our moto was eat when the kids are hungry and sleep with the kids are sleepy. Kate took 2 naps most days just because she was tired. We let her sleep whenever she wanted. If they got fussy we found food. We figured in the end it would make life easier to do it that way. There were nights they stayed up until 11 but as long as they were happy we were good. There were no real schedules.

  • Limit the amount of stuff you bring. I had told myself not to overpack. Of course I did. The rooms are so small you just don't have room for a bunch of stuff.

  • I was very worried about the time change because Alaska was 3 hours behind. But it was so not a big deal. They adjusted very quickly and did great. There was nothing we really did. I think being flexible was the key.

  • Take a stroller. It is great for airports but also for getting on and off the ship. I would say take the smallest you have. We just took our little umbrella stroller and it worked perfect.

  • Have snacks handy when getting on the ship. We had to wait in some long lines that took a while. I so wished we had some snacks to pull out at the time.

  • We did not bother with car seats. We just didn't want to lug them around everywhere. We just talked to all of the shuttles that we were taking and asked that they provided them. They all did and it worked wonderfully!! I would highly recommend that. Each time Matt would be the one to install the seats to make sure it was correctly done but it was great.

  • Everyone loves kids on cruise ships. All of the staff and other people. So don't be afraid to take them to lots of different activities. They paid just as much to be there as anyone else so they deserve to be involved. The kids had a blast and got to experience lots of different things.

  • I was a little worried about how they would do at the 2 hour dinners but they did great! The wait staff was wonderful to bring them food if they got fussy. There is also lots to see in the dinning room so that kept them entertained.

I guess those are the big things. It was an amazing trip and I was so proud of how well they did!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Ben's Latest Adventure

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekend Catch Up

So Friday night was the highlight of the weekend of course!! But we did do lots of other fun things. Saturday morning we went and ate our bagels. We hadn't done that on a Saturday in a long time so that was awesome! Then we went over to the Carlisle's house for a going away party. Our friends the Koonces are moving far far away. We are sad! But we did have a good send party. There was lots of water fun for the kids.

And yummy homemade ice cream...

All of the kids had a blast (and this is just some of them)!! We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends that have great kids that our kids enjoy hanging out with as well.

Sunday morning we had church. It was great to be back in church after being gone for several weeks. Always great to worship with friends! These were my silly kids before church. I don't know what they were doing!

Sunday evening we went over to Matt's parent's house. Aunt Joanna's nephew Asher was there so the kids had a good time playing with him. Kate always love to ride her horsey at Mema and Opa's house!

Monday, June 27, 2011


There is a certain little guy in our house that is a little Cars obsessed. Cars the movie that is. He loves to watch it. He also has a CD of the music and the story and that is all he ever wants to listen to in the car!! Needless to say when we heard there was going to be a Cars 2 we circled June 24th on our calendars. We knew it was a must see movie (sad that is a must see movie for us these days!)
Ben was so excited on Friday. He dressed in his Cars shirt and him and daddy even put on Cars tattoos! Kate had to show off too. Her big thing right now is bracelets. She can't leave the house without a bracelet on! She is even getting good at matching them to her outfits.
We met our friends the Ezells and Johnsons at Little Rosies for a little pre movie dinner. It was great to get caught up with everyone!

Then it was off to the movie for the big boys!! They had a wonderful time. All the boys said the movie was great. I think the Cars obsession continues.

While the big boys went to the movies, Kim and I took the little ones to the mall to do a little shopping and playing. They had a good time. I don't think they would have enjoyed the movie all that much! Although Kate does walk around saying KA-CHOW all the time!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alaska Trip Day 10 - Wasilla & Anchorage

We woke up ready for our last day in Alaska. After a great breakfast of reindeer sausage at the inn we headed off for a fun day before flying out. We loved our rental mini van.
Our first stop was at the Iditarod Trail Race Headquarters in Wasilla. I have always been fascinated by the Iditarod. I remember reading books about it as a kid. It is such a great story. We all really enjoyed getting to experience the parts of the race firsthand.

Kate loved the statue of Balto!

The winner's trophy.

We got to take a ride on a summer sled. It was awesome to get to ride pulled by dogs.

Ben just kept saying wow over and over. He loved it!

We then got to play with some of the dogs.

They were gorgeous. And they love to run!! They would bark restlessly until they got to run and then they would just take off when the driver called "mush."
We enjoyed checking out an old time sled.

We then got to play with some 10 day old puppies. They were so cute!! Ben was so nervous to hold it but he did a great job.

Kate was a little rough. We had to watch her!

I think Matt was in love.

After the racing headquarters we went over the to Saturday farmer's market in Wasilla. We got to enjoy some local goods. We bought some handmade soap and pottery.

We had to stop by the Wasilla city hall. This is where one Sarah Palin got her start.
And just in case you were wondering you could not see Russia from Wasilla. We checked.

Ben got a cute little puppy friend to take home. He named him Sled.

So we took a little side adventure to this town we were told was really cute. It was a total dump. All there was was this old ship in the middle of the water. Oh well. It was funny and the kids got a good nap.

We then headed into downtown Anchorage. We ate lunch at the Glacier Brewhouse and then walked around downtown.

It happened to be the Summer Solstice Street Festival. I guess this is a big deal for Alaskans because I think everyone of them was there. It was a gorgeous day - sunny and about 70 degrees. It was the peak of their summer. They were all wearing shorts and tank tops. We still thought is was pretty cold.

We enjoyed checking out the different exhibits and vendors.

After that we went up to an overlook of the city. There were some amazing views.

I love this picture.

It was then time to start heading to the airport. We did stop by the lake beside the airport to watch the sea planes take off and land for a little bit. This is the way the majority of Alaskans travel around.

It was then time for the long journey home. We went to Detroit then Memphis and then Huntsville. We left Anchorage at 8 pm and got back to Huntsville at 11 am. It was a long night travelling but the kids did awesome. A little Benadryl and they slept great!!

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a little bit of our amazing trip. It really was a trip of a lifetime. We had so much fun seeing all of the amazingly beautiful sights. It was great to see God's beautiful handiwork and be reminded of what an amazing God we serve. We had so much fun getting to spend time with our awesome family! Thanks so much mom and dad!!!!!!!!!!!