How we Survived an 11 hour Car Ride with 2 Toddlers

I blogged our trip to Boston/Cape Cod last week over here! In order to get there though, we had to drive 11 hours. Yes. 11 hours in an SUV with 2 toddlers yikes! I was so nervous about the trip as the twins are normally melting down after a 2 hour trip to visit my grandparents. It was so much less expensive for us to drive than fly though, so we were determined to make it work. 3 nights before the trip, I spent a good few hours on pinterest and other blogs looking for tips and tricks for keeping toddlers entertained during travel. I made myself a good little list and the next day, off to the dollar store I went!

I bought a package of small brown paper bags and bought them each little zippered bag! I told them about their special bags the night before the trip so this got them excited about the “long” car ride and all the fun “surprises” I had planned for them!

I basically planned out the whole trip with a different activity to introduce each hour, planning a park break/picnic at lunch hour and knowing they would nap for 2-3 hours in the afternoon. I kept their bags in the front with me and passed things back to them but with older children, they could probably be more in control.

Here’s the activities I packed:

  • Melissa and Doug Water Wow – my friend Noelle lent these to us and I was so thankful because the twins LOVED them and thought they were actually “painting”. It’s basically a pen you fill with water and it has a brush on the end. The books can be used over and over again so by the time they finished the last page, they could go back to the start and do it again.
  • Travel Scavenger Hunt – In this pack, was a travel scavenger hunt I found on pinterest (there are so many you can print off!) and I bought them fun spider man stickers from the dollar store to stick on each thing they found. They got it for the most part but there did end up being stickers in A LOT more places than just the boxes. haha.
  • Treats – in a few bags, I packed a healthy snacks like fruit to go and yogurt raisins and a few of them had some actually candy like a lollipop or gummy bears (balance!!) Saved these bags for when they were starting to get bored and wrestless as a yummy treat would change their attitude around immediately!
  • Finger puppets. I grabbed these from the dollar store as well and LOVED them. We told them to make up a story about our holiday and it was a riot.
  • Good old Crayons and coloring book. We got them each new coloring books so they were excited about that!
  • Movie and Popcorn – we borrowed a portable dvd player and this was a LIFE SAVER. After our picnic in the park around noon, we got back in the car for popcorn and a movie. It was a great wind-down activity and they thought this was SO cool to be able to do in the car. They both fell asleep shortly after and napped for a good couple hours.
  • Tablets – we have an I-pad and another small tablet and we loaded them with new games before we left. I saved this for a last resort and when they woke up from their nap it was a great way to keep them entertained for the last stretch before we stopped for supper!
  • Melissa and Doug Lace Toys (not pictured) – these are great for fine motor skills and the twins loved them!
  • Small toys/books – we packed a couple bins to keep between their seats for easy access! Worked great.

 

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Overall, the twins did INCREDIBLE!!! It totally payed off to plan ahead and be prepared. Before we left for the trip back, we stopped at Target to stock up on some more treats/new activities. They were a little more restless/grumpy on the way back but aren’t we all?! We just made a few more stops and park breaks.

Hope all you travelling families might find this post helpful for any long car trips you might have make this summer! And most of these activities totally work for a train or plane trip too! Happy travelling!!

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The Comparison Trap

I posted a quote on my facebook like page yesterday that went something like this: “The number one reason people quit is because they look at how far they have to go instead of how far they’ve come.” I shared this to inspire but mostly because it inspired me. I read it somewhere else earlier that day at just the right time.

See until yesterday morning, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. I am back down to my wedding weight, I’m feeling strong and confident again, I bought my first pair of shorts in 4 years (yes I lived in jeans and sun dresses for a bunch of summers).

But then I took the twins to the park for play group yesterday morning and when I wasn’t chasing the boys around or chatting with a friend, I found myself doing something horrible. Yes, horrible. I was constantly comparing my body to every other mom in the park…   “Ugh how does she not have a SINGLE ounce of cellulite on her legs?!” “I thought I was looking good but NOT compared to that girl!.” “I workout every single day and I overheard her say that she doesn’t at all and look at her!.” and it went on and on. So bad right? But I’m just being real with you guys. I know that for a lot of us girls, this body comparison thing is an ongoing battle but for me, it seems to have gotten kind of worse as I have been focusing on getting healthy and fit. Kind of ironic I know. But now that I’m actually working at toning and strengthening and clean eating on a daily basis, I am proud of the progress I have made and the changes that have occurred. BUT, I have to be SO careful not to become overly critical of myself as I continue on this journey. It’s so easy to get sucked in by the comparison trap and get down on myself because I’m not as “slim” or “fit” as someone else. But yesterday afternoon, while I was having a giant pity party for myself and contemplating a big bowl of ice cream to make it all better, I caught myself. I read that quote and realized that the only person I should be comparing myself to is myself. I need to keep my focus on my own progress, not anyone else’s. I need to remember that the next mom’s journey has NOTHING to do with my own. Different story, different genes, different body type, NOT me.

So wherever you’re at, I’m encouraging you to just take it one day at a time. Love yourself and keep pushing forward towards YOUR goals. Accept your flaws, (even the cellulite covered legs that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon) and recognize and be PROUD of all you’re doing! If you’re committed to getting healthy, that’s all that matters. I needed that reminder yesterday and I’m choosing to share it because maybe someone else needs it too?

 

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Thanks so much for reading! xo

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Happy Fathers Day

So much love and respect for this man. He’s the twins hero, their best friend, such a hard worker, a committed husband and incredible and loving father. So thankful for the example he is to them daily. Happy Fathers day to you babe and all the other dad’s out there! 13442407_10102746640507781_2250983739089173629_n

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Marriage: Love Maps

My husband and I both did our undergrads in the same city we now call home. When we first moved into our residence buildings we didn’t know much about the city at all other then where the malls and movie theatres were.  Over time, we got to know the best spots to eat, fun dessert bars and cafes, the best parks and bike trails, and shortcuts through the city. We became so comfortable and soon fell in love with this little city, so much so that we decided to settle down and start a family here after we got married.

Becoming familiar with the map of our surroundings is very similar to a term that John Gottman calls Love Maps in his book “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work“.  It’s the idea that to love someone you have to know them.

When Ron and I first started dating over 10 years ago (crazy I know) we spent A LOT of time together. We were in highschool and we were young and in love? Thats debatable because I truly don’t think you even know what love is at that age haha. We drove to school together, ate our lunch together, spent most evenings together hanging out at one of our homes. A new relationship is so wonderful and new and you want to learn everything you possibly can about the other person. I think it’s safe to say that in spending all that time together we did get to know each other well. We both had a detailed map of the other. We knew each others likes and dislikes,  each others greatest fears and what made the other laugh.  But over time, people change. They grow and they develop new thoughts and new interests. I am no where near the person I was 10 years ago and neither is my husband. We have both changed in SO many ways.

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It takes work, it takes time, it takes effort. Especially after you throw careers and kids in the mix. New stressors, new circumstances, new challenges, not NEAR enough time to spend getting to know each other, I mean really knowing each other. Not just his favourite color, sports team and what he likes on his sub. I don’t think those will ever change. haha I’m talking the thing that makes him most anxious, his newest passions and life goals, the co-worker that pushes his buttons, and how he would really like to spend his free Saturday.

In his book, Gottman says:

Emotionally intelligent couples are intimately familiar with each other’s world. I call this having a richly detailed love map – my term for that part of the brain where you store all the relevant information about your partner’s life. Another way of saying this is that these couples have made plenty of cognitive room for their marriage. They remember the major events in each other’s history, and they keep updating their information as the facts and feelings of their spouse’s world change.

So. This is something that we’ve been seriously working on. Because just like the next couple, we don’t have it all figured out and we get so caught up in the every day motions of life that we often forget to keep working at getting to know each other and putting in the effort to stay intimately familiar with each others lives. So little things like making a point to ask each other about our days over the supper table, having what we call “couch time” to connect for even a few minutes each day, going on walks together, regular date nights (not movies!) and both of us making more effort to pay attention to the little details, the ones that get overlooked but are oh so important.

I truly believe that we should never stop learning about the other no matter where we are in our relationship. Building that love map, just like a real map, is the key to truly knowing each other and then being able to love each other in the way that you each need to be loved.

Have a blessed Monday and thanks for reading!

xo Natalie

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Mondays are For Fresh Starts

A lot of us are so influenced by the people that surround us that we don’t even stop to think about doing things differently. Everyone else works for somebody else (not saying there is anything wrong with this but if you are unhappy, DO something about it). Everyone else hates Mondays.. So many people choose to own cars that aren’t paid for, choose to live in houses that put them in debt, and wear clothes that they put on their credit card thinking this will bring them happiness. In the mean time, their debt continues to accumulate, and they are left feeling forced to work in a job they aren’t passionate about just to pay for all this happiness. Would you not rather travel around the world, create a business you are passionate about, and have time for the things you love? Or are you ok with owning a bunch of STUFF that won’t mean anything some day? I used to hate Mondays too. But now it’s one of my absolute FAVOURITE days of the week! I just LOVE fresh starts. I love getting back into routine and writing down my goals for the week. It brings me so much joy to be at home with my boys but I also love the work I do that doesn’t FEEL like work to me because I love it so much!  If you hate Mondays, maybe it’s time to change something?!3524c7779ee0d16c601eaf6c186458c3

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