Monday, February 22, 2010

Packing List for Trips with Kids

A few friends recently asked me to share my thoughts on what "should" be brought on a trip with kids. As I started to prepare a list for their use I realized that there are multiple factors that can alter the list such as mode of transportation, a child's age, and the number of children traveling, but there are some basics that apply regardless of these factors. With that in mind here are a few lists that I hope you find useful. Yes, first time parents will benefit most from these but even for those parents who have multiple kids and trips under their belts it is always nice to try to pack less and to compare lists to ensure you're not forgetting something.


Whether you are traveling by land or air some items are so bulky and awkward to carry that you should consider renting or buying them once you arrive at your destination. This will save you frustration and possibly money (no extra baggage fees, or less weight= less gas). What about borrowing? Well, if this is your only option due to finances then you have to make due but borrowing creates a lot of possible problems. The items may be recalled, damaged, or dirty or even worse you may damage the item during use and depending on who you borrowed from it can make for a very sticky situation so using a reputable service is always best. No feelings to hurt.

(at location or through service)
Stroller / Pram
Car Seat
Portable Crib or Play Yard
High Chair or booster
CARES harness
Carrier (front or back) or Framed back carrier
Baby Food
Bath items
Reusable plates, & utensils

Two outfits per day. (Regardless of age young kids are messier and more prone to food and potty accidents so it’s best to be prepared)
Something to sleep in each night
SUNBLOCK & Insect repellent
If they're still in diapers: Enough for your travel time (minimum 1 days worth- more if your trip will be longer than 10 hours)
A small bag with toys, books, stuffed animals. (these can be in your diaper bag for babies and a separate bag for toddlers & older
Medicine for kids (gas drops, diaper cream, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, teething tablets or gel, Neosporin, band aids, allergy meds, nail clipper, hydrocortisone, Imodium, any prescriptions)
Music (compilations of songs your child likes that are grouped by upbeat, slow, and favorites... these can be on each child's music player or CDs you play in the car)
DVD player, video games, other electronic games (for the babies a DVD of their favorite like Mickey Mouse or Elmo can help settle them down... for the older kids any of these can entertain)
A small digital camera and/or small video recorder are great to have. Hopefully they are small enough to fit in your diaper bag or purse.
Light blanket & pillow (heavier if traveling in cold climate)
A light sweater or long sleeve shirt and a few pairs of BabyLegs (even in hot climates most buildings can be very cold so being able to throw on an extra layer without having to re-dress will be very helpful)
Weather appropriate items: coats, hats, gloves, rain coats, rain boots, flip-flops, bathing suits, etc.
Shot records & passports (if traveling out of country)
Hair accessories or hats for girls, hats / caps for boys

With these little ones you will still be breastfeeding or bottle feeding formula; they may not be walking yet or be new walkers; if they are six months or older they will be eating some solids.

 If you're breastfeeding: nursing cover-up (or nursing shirts for mom); pump and storage bags; pads, nipple ointment, other nursing essentials such as pillow etc.

 Bottles, portable cooler, Powder or Ready to Feed Formula (enough for travel time) and distilled water for powder formula

 A cooler (buy or use hotel mini fridge) to store open RTF Formula

 Bottle warmer for the car if your child prefers liquids warm

 Pacifiers and/or teething toys

 Enough baby food for travel time (buy additional once you arrive or use a service to ship to your destination)

 Items for basic baby proofing if your baby is mobile (outlet covers, door pinch guards for interior doors) If you're staying for an extended period of time or will be in a vacation home you should try to include at least one gate, door knob locks, window locks, etc.)

 Changing Covers & Changing Pad (You want to place the disposable cover between the changing table and your pad)


These little ones are mobile, eating solids-usually table foods- and drinking cow's milk. They may be good talkers or just starting to talk. They appreciate having choices and anything that allows them to assert themselves. Imaginative games and LOTS of patience should be at the top of the list.

 Snacks for the trip. Healthy items like fruit (dried or fresh cut appropriately by age) peanut butter or almond butter sandwiches, dried cereal like cheerios, & other cookies, crackers, etc.

 Sippy cups or bottles & baby sized utensils

 Antibacterial wipes for hands

 Antibacterial wipes for surfaces

 If you're traveling by car: a cooler with ice or dry ice for milk & other perishables

 High Chair/ Shopping cart cover (nice to have so you don't have to bring your own chair to restaurant)

 Changing Covers & Changing Pad (You want to place the disposable cover between the changing table and your pad)

 Items for basic baby proofing (outlet covers, door pinch guards for interior doors) If you're staying for an extended period of time or will be in a vacation home you should try to include at least one gate, door knob locks, window locks, etc.)

 Night -extra absorbent- diapers (one per night you will be away)

 Paper towels or napkins

 Trash bags for car

For kids older than 3 years old your packing list shrinks as you need less specialty items so you can use the Universal list and consider their interest as well as your destination. Obviously you can add items that are for specific locations such as beach toys or ski gear but remember that less is more. You can wash items, buy when you arrive, and remember to interact with your kids and not solely rely on toys to entertain them. MOST importantly... pack at least 3 days prior. Last minute packing almost guarantees you will forget something. Trips allow us to learn and grow so make sure to "teach" your child at every opportunity and hold on for the ride.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Loving Life

About a month ago I stumbled upon a beautifully designed blog that upon closer inspection seemed interesting.  I wasn't sure what was so cool about it exactly but I skimmed and found myself discovering the story of a mom who's not quite herself yet and a family who loves her VERY much.  When I first read it the blog was being updated by her husband because she was in the hospital so it tugged at my heart.  Some of you may know it: The NieNie Dialogues.  In brief it is a blog written by Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson.  A mother of four adorable children who returns from an almost fatal plane crash. She is happy to be blogging again from Utah and recovering too. It is a simple diary of her life in her recovery stage.  Some entries are short and funny others are a little longer and painful to imagine but in all honesty it is brimming with optimism.  

I bring this blog to your attention because on a day (or month) when many of us are thinking about the love and friendships in our lives we should be aware of the many many blessings we are given everyday.  

Stephanie (NieNie) recently wrote an entry Can you...? that brought me to tears.  It did so not because her words were especially sad but because I take for granted the many things in life I can do... especially those that involve my child... that she currently can't.  For instance last night my daughter (GG) scratched my face while playing and although I wanted to yell and tell her to stop it I actually hugged her tighter and rough-housed with her... placing raspberries and tickles everywhere I could and she laughed until she cried happy to play with mami.  I sit on the floor with her when she pats the area next to her and says, "ven mami, ven" to build towers or "read" books.  We chase each other around the house laughing nervously at the thought of being caught by the other and joyously climb into bed to "hang out" and whisper before we fall asleep.

NieNie wishes for the days before the accident... she wishes she could be the mom she used to be... the one who could jump on the trampoline or play army men with her boys.  The beauty in her entry-  that she reminds herself that those days will come once again.  She is sure of it.

If you haven't read her blog yet I highly recommend that you visit it.  She loves life and family regardless of her physical pain.  When I read her blog it fills my day with hope.

May your life be filled with this much love.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Hope Is Contagious: Trusting God in the Face of Any Obstacle (Letters to God)Hope Is Contagious: Spreading Optimism in the Face of Any Obstacle (Letters to God)
Music for Healing & Unwinding: Two Pioneers in the Emerging Field of Sound Healing

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I heart...

Inspired by all the "I love" blogs, ads, and articles I've encountered recently I thought I'd put together my own list of faves. For your amusement and enjoyment here are 3 of my Top 10 "I heart" lists. Share some of your favorites from these lists or your own list… I'd love to hear about them. Happy Valentine's Day.
Simple things in life
  • ExOfficio Exo Dri Pointelle Long Sleeve Top , Dusty Grape, MediumMy daughter's welcome when I get home
  • A cold breeze and bright sunshine
  • Discovering new places to eat or to enjoy a lazy afternoon
  • Buying our daughter new clothes and shoes (because this means that she's growing and she gets so excited over a $3 t-shirt from Target.
  • Clothes that do double duty – UPF & Insect Repellent (e.g. ExOfficio)
  • Playing at the park with our daughter
  • Family gatherings especially birthdays & other celebrations
  • My husband's kindness
  • Zooper Disco Red Three wheeled All terrain stroller - Everyday LineThe sound of the ocean
  • Orange Cup Frozen Yogurt with walnuts and fruit

Favorite gadgets or tools
  • My BlackBerry phone
  • Our Zooper Zydeco stroller
  • Wi-Fi and Laptops
  • Canon PowerShot A1100IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD (Green)Bluetooth wireless ear pieces
  • iTunes and iPods
  • Portable DVD players for long trips
  • Digital Cameras (video & still)
  • Moleskine Pocket Weekly Notebook
  • Twitter, Facebook, & Blogger
  • Stylish & functional Diaper Bags

Lumiscope Babytherm Baby Thermometer PacifierNew parent moments
  • Figuring out what certain cries sound like and mean
  • Coming through the first illness with a healthy child
  • Seeing their first smile
  • Witnessing Mobility: from rolling over and sitting up to cruising and walking
  • Natural Wood Hedgehog Baby Rattle - Non-toxic and Safe for BabyExperiencing teething: from itchy gnawing on everything to sharp bites on skin
  • Feeding them solids: from mush to table food
  • Seeing them communicate like little mimes
  • Hearing first words and eventually conversations
  • Listening to your child sing
  • Savoring hugs and sloppy kisses

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Toddler’s Bookshelf

I love books. I love how they feel and smell. I love how a cover can evoke memories that are soothing to the soul. I have always loved reading and I guess it is because my parents (especially my dad) made a real effort to read to us. In books, I found adventures and lessons and conversation topics. As I grew older I was the child who could sit in her room and read for hours. I read the way most people watch movies... interactively. I would laugh out loud, tremble with fear, or cry as if the words in the books were affecting me personally and I guess they were.

Now I'm a parent and I'm hoping to pass on to my daughter my love of reading. I know she has inherited her father's musical sensibilities displaying a pretty sophisticated taste in music but I am really hoping she has also inherited my love of words and books in general. So how can I help her on this path? I have been searching for books that are beautifully illustrated and engaging. I want her to remember the images now and stories later so I want to fill her shelf with a handful of classics that we can go to over and over again but I also want to be mindful of culture, language and lessons so my search is far from over.
For now she has the basics probably found on most shelves of parents with toddlers:
The Runaway Bunnyr     Goodnight Moon  
r     The Very Hungry Caterpillar
r     Corduroy
r     Runaway Bunny
r     Guess How Much I Love You
r     Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?
r     Lots of Sesame Street Picture books
r     Several colors and ABC's books
She also has some not so basics that are in Spanish and English as well as a few poetry books. I'd like to add other books that are age appropriate but more divers with lots of "lessons" that we can apply to her life so here is a brief (I could list hundreds but that's why we have libraries) list of other books I'd like to add to her shelf. They are in no particular order and in very loose categories.
What I'd like to add to her bookshelf:
Classics (in English or Spanish)

  • The Carrot Seed 60th Anniversary EditionTHE CARROT SEED by Krauss, Ruth; illustrated by Crockett Johnson

  • ¿Eres tú mi mamá? (Are You My Mother?) by P. D. Eastman

  • La Mariquita Malhumorada (The Grouchy Ladybug) by Eric Carle, Eric Carle (Illustrator), Simon S. L'Hoaste (Translator)

  • CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM by Martin, Bill, Jr. and John Archambault; illustrated by Lois Ehlert

  • La mujer que brillaba aún más que el sol/ The Woman Who Outshone the Sun  by Alejandro Cruz Martinez, ilustrated by Fernando Olivera 

  • La mujer que brillaba aún más que el sol / The Woman Who Outshone the SunLos hermanos enfadados by Pedro Pablo Sacristan

  • IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE by Numeroff, Laura J.

  • OLIVIA by Falconer, Ian



Getting ready for Travel
  • Yoko (Yoko and Friends-School Days) YOKO by Wells, Rosemary

  • Cuadros de Familia / Family Pictures by por Carmen Lomas Garza

  • Las abuelas de Liliana / Liliana's Grandmothers by Leyla Torres

  • Going Home by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Díaz

  • Sopa de piedras / Stone Soup (En inglés o en español.) by Marcia Brown, translated by Teresa Mlawer

  • P is for Passport: A World Alphabet Edition 1. by Devin Scillian 

  • P is for Passport: A World Alphabet Edition 1. (Discover the World)Where is Coco Going? by Sloane Tanen

  • Charlotte in Paris by Joan MacPhail Knight (Author), Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)

  • One White Wishing Stone: A Beach Day Counting Book by Doris Gayzagian

  • The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth

  • The Big Trip by Valeri Gorbachev
Which ones did I miss? What other great books do you recommend? My child is about to be 2 yrs old but I'd love to get other recommendations that might be appropriate for kids up to 5 yrs old. We're not ready for chapter books but I'm a book lover so I want to hear your suggestions. By the way if you have suggestions on getting them to sit still and actually listen to the story or view the book let me know because as of recently I find myself chasing her with a book more than reading. Toddlers are so full of energy.
The Story of Ferdinand (Puffin Storytime)The Big TripWhere is Coco Going?Las Abuelas de Liliana: Spanish hardcover edition of Liliana's Grandmothers (Spanish Edition)
If You Give a Mouse a CookieOlivia

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly [With CD] [THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWAL]The Grouchy Ladybug (Spanish Edition): La Mariquita Malhumorada [SPA-GROUCHY LADYBUG (SPANISH E] [Spanish Edition]