When Does the Easy Part of Parenting Start?

Parenting Twins Series on Bambini Travel

“It just never gets any easier does it?” my husband commented to me the other day.

One of our twins was having a meltdown about taking a shower – because obviously it is the absolute end of the world to not be stinky and covered in dirt.

The other one was near tears after struggling through their homework for over an hour. (Parents whose kids don’t naturally do well in school – I feel your pain and theirs. It’s so hard.)

My husband who had been helping with reading walked back into the kitchen with this defeated remark.

“Nope.” was my reply. “It changes but it never gets easier.”

affiliate links may be included

I’m sorry. If you’re holding out hope that parenting will at some point get easy. I don’t think there’s an easy part coming.

I could tell you know about how much I love my kids – because of course I do. And I could tell you that it goes too fast and you’ll miss thing you didn’t realize you would – because yeah that’s true too.

Instead, I think it’s important to just state it: parenting doesn’t get easy.

Here’s the thing about kids though – whatever is annoying you now? That will pass.

My mom spent most of my childhood repeating two mantras to me:

One was “Patience is a virtue.” (Sorry Mom, I’m still failing on that count.)

The other was “This too shall pass.” At the time I thought she was talking to me but now I’m not sure. Sometimes at least I think she was reminding herself. Regardless, I repeat it to myself often now.

Diapers don’t last forever.

Sweeping every time they eat will end too – or so I’m told, we aren’t there yet.

Some day they’ll move out and some quiet will return too.

also read: How to survive the first 3 years with twins

 

But just like everything in life there is good and bad about every age and while yes, it will pass – don’t wish this time away.

If you spend all of your days waiting for the hard bits to pass you miss the good.

In our house, the diapers are finally gone but now my kids cannot seem to remember to flush the toilet. Ever.

My kids make their own lunches but the result is a kitchen in utter chaos and me trying very hard not to yell “please close the refrigerator!”

My kids can tell me what’s wrong now, but they also tell me absolutely everything that is on their minds from 7 am until 7 pm.

My twins are not easy at 6, but it’s a different hard than 6 months.

It’s more of a mental exhaustion instead of a physical one. It’s much more chatty but there is less crying. It’s more letting go and a lot more worrying.

However, just like babies smell great, learn awesome things like how to suck their toes, and are adorable when they sleep – 6 year olds have good parts too.


CLICK TO LEARN MORE

And I guess for me that is the point. Easy isn’t coming. Easy parenting isn’t a thing. Raising a person was never intended to be a simple or brief task.

Stop waiting for the easy. 

The bad things – they will pass. I promise they will eventually sleep. They will eventually learn to use the bathroom. They will eventually feed themselves and do some things without destroying your house.

I’m pretty sure mine will eventually master reading, learn to flush, and remember to close the refrigerator door.

But instead of waiting for those things to get easy, I’m enjoying the things that already are. I’m enjoying the moments when they learn a new word. I’m enjoying when they laugh at my jokes. I’m enjoying the moments when I get it right or when they do.

In between the mess and chaos and the noise there is good at any age. It’s not easy, but it’s life and it’s good.

The Easy Part of Parenting from Bambini Travel and the series on Parenting Twins

Subscribe Below for Weekly Posts

 

Kellogg’s NYC: Kid Friendly and Allergy Friendly Snack Spot

New York City truly is a place with something for anyone – even cereal fans. The Kellogg’s NYC restaurant is located across the street from Union Square Park and is my new favorite snack spot for kid friendly eating in the city.

If we’re being honest, I may have counted their bowls of cereal for a meal once too.

Kellogg's NYC kid friendly and allergy friendly restaurant    

This inconspicuous little spot sits on a second story store front just off Union Square.

Once you get inside though, it is surprisingly spacious.

affiliate links may be included below.

Kellogg's NYC kid friendly and allergy friendly restaurant

This is a cereal joint. That was obvious right?

We highly recommend it for breakfast and even more for a fun snack. This is a perfect mid-adventure day stop.

Eat a bowl of cereal.

Hang out for a bit.

Then hit the city again.

Kellogg's NYC kid friendly and allergy friendly restaurant

Eating at Kellogg’s NYC

know before you order
  • DIY cereal bar where you choose your cereal type or types and then a buffet style area with tons of toppings. with over 30 playful toppings.
  • They also have a menu with some suggested creations that you might want to check out before you start loading your bowl.
  • You pay per bowl, not by weight, so feel free to load up. I do wonder if this will change – so make sure to check their current prices.Kellogg's NYC kid friendly and allergy friendly restaurant
dairy free / allergy tips for kellogg’s NYC
  • Buffet style areas always make me nervous with my kid’s severe allergy. Know your child’s severity and know that just mixing a bunch of different cereals together can be super fun and colorful.
  • They have a variety of milk options. We had soy but there were other options as well.

Kellogg's NYC kid friendly and allergy friendly restaurant

one more thing!

*Don’t miss the Instagram station along the wall behind you when you check out. I was too amused by this idea. It is complete with a light source and props.

*Read more on their website.

 

 

find all of our dairy free tips + posts here

Kellogg's NYC Kid Friendly Family Friendly and Allergy Friendly eating spot in Manhattan

Don’t Miss a Post! Subscribe Below

Preschool Fairy Tale Princess Unit

Project Based Unit Ideas

When my daughter was about a year into her boycott of pants she discovered a book at the library. It was a version of Rapunzel with stunning illustrations by Sarah Gibb. We read this book together every day for a month, renewed the book and read it every day for two more weeks. She returned it to the library regrudgingly and then checked it out one week later for a whole other month. Clearly, she was in love.

At this point I wasn’t sure, was she in love with the story? The character of Rapunzel? The illustrations (easily swoon worthy)? or Something else entirely.

Not being a huge princess fan, I admit I waited a while before venturing down the road any further with her. At the end of the day, however, I am a big believer in following a child’s interests and my daughter is more of a little of everything kid, rather than a fixate on one idea kid.

But Princesses? Where to go with princesses?

Preschool Princess Project

Our Preschool Princess Project

(This post includes affiliate links)

Field Trip Ideas

  • A Castle – obviously if you live in the US this isn’t going to happen, but if you could this would be the ultimate field trip for a princess project.
  • A Play – look into what your local kids theater or high school is performing. Maybe you’ll luck out and it’ll be a Fairy Tale.

Activity Ideas

Our princess project started with Rapunzel. The Rapunzel version written by Sarah Gibb to be exact. My daughter asked the librarian for help finding books about fairies and given that there were few, she came back with some fairy tales including this book.

My daughter was hooked.

She obsessively read the Rapunzel story and requested we read it to her multiple times a day. I found more versions of Rapunzel and soon she was hooked. We weren’t talking about fairies anymore.

Now we were talking about princesses and fairy tales.

Rapunzel Picture Book Versions

Rapunzel by Sarah Gibb
Find it Online
All of Sarah Gibb’s renditions of fairy tales are lovely, but her Rapunzel is special. Stunning illustrations, which really make all the difference when you are retelling a story for the hundredth time. Hands down, this is her favorite.

Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky
Find it Online
This is another classic version of the Rapunzel story illustrated with stunning oil paintings. Traditional, but stunning.

Rapunzel by Rachel Isadora
Find it Online

I completely adore Rachel Isadora’s books. Her unique takes on fairy tales are inspiring. This followed almost the exact story as the other traditional versions we read, but the gorgeous illustrations of the Rapunzel story  set in Africa transform it into a different tale.

Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox

Find it Online
What if Rapunzel couldn’t quite understand the prince shouting from way down below? That is the premise of this humorous take on the Rapunzel story. It led to a great discussion about the differences.

Tangled
Find it Online
Our kids both loved the Disney version of Rapunzel. Although it does go way off the traditional path with Flynn and the horse and the whole she’s-actually-a-princess part, our kids love it. The songs are fun. Rapunzel is spunky. This cheap Golden Book version gives a brief version of this story.

Literacy Activities

Art Activities

  • Open ended drawing prompt : All you need for this is a piece of white paper, a sharpie and some markers. I drew the crown on the paper and then left it as pictured for them to find. I often make copies of drawing prompts so they can do it again if they are interested.
  • Paint with glitter.

  • Bathtub art / engineering : Bathtime is a favorite in our house and I love coming up with fun things to do in the tub. My very first was this DIY Foam Counting Train. For this one I simply cut some rectangles and triangles in varying sizes from purple and white foam along with a couple “royalty” (which admittedly turned out a little abstract). These are presented at bathtime and the constructing that had taken place for weeks downstairs was transferred to the bathtub and a flat canvas.

More Arts & Crafts

Fine Motor

Pretend Play

STEM Activities

  • Rapunzel Tower Challenge : We built and measured towers for Rapunzel. This was a fun activity that ended up inspiring a LOT more building. First with the Fairy Tale Blocks we used for this activity and then duplos, Magna-tiles, and more.
  • Estimating & Counting with Gems. I have a collection of glass “gems” that get used for various purposes. For this unit, we used them as a math manipulative for a few different activities. The first and most popular was estimating. I filled a glass jar with gems. They took turns guessing how many we inside. Then we poured with out and counted together. Later, I placed the gems and some different sized containers in a tray on their shelf for further exploration.
  • Cardboard Box Castle : from Here Come the Girls
  • Kid Cardboard Castle Fort : from Learning and Exploring Through Play
  • Princess Counting Cards : from Living Life and Learning
  • Shape Recognition Castle : from My Mundane and Miraculous Life

Science + Sensory
*Castle in the Clouds : Go Science Girls
*Frozen Play Dough : Here Come the Girls
*FREE Princess Printable & Sensory Play : Life Over Cs
*Frozen Sensory Play with Shaving Cream & Ice : Theres Just One Mommy
*Princess Popsicles : Mini Monets and Mommies
*Playdoh Princesses : Here Come the Girls

Social Studies Activities

  • Castle study: We made a book about Castles. I used a blank book (You can find a pack here) and wrote a title on the front. We looked online and found some photos of castles. I also printed some pictures I had taken of castles they had made. They gave me descriptions of their castles to add to the book. We added a few more pictures to the book over the coming weeks of their creations.

Gross Motor

*Princess Yoga : Kids Yoga Stories

Today, she is still interested in princesses although her favorite changes. This project eventually seemed to naturally merge with a more general building project that has taken over our play spaces for the past few months. She has, however, started adding pants into her wardrobe again and, with Winter approaching, for that I am grateful.

30+ Princess Unit Ideas for Preschoolers including Literacy, STEM, Gross Motor, Math and More

Click for More Thematic Units

ADD LINKY


How to Get Out of the House with a Newborn

Parenting Twins Series on Bambini Travel

“I need to get out of the house.”

A couple weeks into my maternity leave with twins and I had reached the point where I needed some fresh air.

But where?

How?

I remember pondering this second question in particular as my twins lay snoozing on their breastfriend pillow.

How on earth was I going to get these two babies out of the house?

affiliate links may be included below.

I could see the plusses.

  1. My sanity.
  2. Little ones are incredibly portable once you figure out the logistics. I think the unpredictable schedules of newborns and the mountains of newborn essentials make leaving the comforts of your home daunting. For me, however, getting out of the house did so much for my spirits and sense of normalcy. And once we were out, they were typically content or asleep as long as we were moving. These mini-escapes broke up the day and quite simply helped me feel like a person, not just a nursing machine.
Read also: How to survive the first 3 years with twins

But how?

After a while I figured it out and there are definitely some things that make it easier.

How to Get Out of the House with Newborns

Timing

It is super hard to predict what a little one is going to need and when. (This gets easier with time!)

For newborns, once your baby is fed and changed, get them in the car seat and GO!

NOTE: This means you have to have your diaper bag ready to go before you start feeding them (or have a handy helper) so that once they are in that magical happy fed, clean diaper stage you can take advantage.

What to Bring

There are two schools of thought on this.

As the mom, I tend to pack for all possible eventualities.

My husband on the other hand is more of a wing it – there’s always a store nearby – kind of guy.

If you are more his speed, you with have a lighter diaper bag with a bottle, milk or formula, diapers, wipes.

If you are more my speed, listed below is what I had in our diaper bag at all times (I have adjusted the amounts to reflect what ONE child needs. We obviously doubled everything).

NOTE: Depending on the specific needs of a season (say adding sunscreen for summer time) or a specific outing (swim suits and towels for the beach) I might add things to the bag, but for an average trip to the store or story time at the library this bag covers your general bases.

Infant Diaper Bag Essentials:

  • 2 Diapers (we used these cloth ones)
  • Wet Bag or Gallon Sized Ziplock Bag  (for dirty diapers and/or soiled clothes)
  • Diaper Cream
  • Diaper Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer (We loved this sanitizer/lotion)
  • Diaper Changing Mat (ours came with the diaper bag)
  • 2 Changes of Clothing (make sure it is a full change – socks included)
  • Change of Shirt for Mom
  • Nursing Cover (if not nursing, bottles and formula would be substituted here)
  • Nursing Pads for Mom
  • Small Container of Cheerios or other finger food (once you get to this stage)
  • Snack + Water Bottle for Mom (especially if nursing)
  • 2 Small Toys and/or Books (these were rotated occasionally and mostly used for periods of waiting)
  • Nuk (we had one pacifier user and one thumb sucker)
  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Cellphone

How to Get Out of the House with Newborns

Expectations

Expect that you will be late. Expect that your newborn(s) will want to nurse at the least convenient moment. Expect that someone is going to need a change of clothing.

Expect that you will somehow survive any and all challenges and you and your babies will make it home in one piece.

read also: 5 baby products new twin moms need + 1 to skip

Where to Go

So you pre-packed your diaper bag. You’ve got the fed, sleepy babies. You are ready to load them up and get outside, but where can you go with a newborn or two?

  1. Neighborhood Walk. This is a great starting place. Every day for the 3 months of my maternity leave, I snuggled our newborns in their stroller and took a walk. I had a c-section so at first our “walk” was a slow (read: snails zooming past me pace) walk around our block, but by the end of the 3 months we were regularly making it 1 1/2 – 2 miles. 
  2. Park or Trail. Is there a park or trail near your house? This is a great second step outing. Stroll out and back.
  3. Lake or Boardwalk. We were in Minnesota when our twins were born so lakes were an easy find. Such a pretty place to push and walk. The tricky part with this was the distance. I would feed the babies, drive them to the lake, wait for them to wake up (bring a book or audiobook to listen to), feed them again and then we’d walk. Tedious, but worth it to me.
  4. Snack and Stroll. If you know other friends home during the day or on maternity leave, meet them for a coffee or snack and then stroll together.
  5. Zoo. Especially during the week I loved walking around the zoo. Zoos are stroller friendly and less busy during the week. They are a nice change of scenery from houses.
  6. Art Museum. This is the same logic as the zoo. Strollers fit. Babies will sleep if you’re pushing them. The scenery is pleasant and different. Bonus – you might be able to talk someone else into strolling around with you.

Little Walks Big Adventures. 50+ Ideas for Exploring with Toddlers

For more walk ideas and other adventures for toddlers, check out my book Little Walks Big Adventures!

Winter Sports Unit Ideas for Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade

Project Based Unit Ideas

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea begin Friday, February 9, 2018 and we are EXCITED!!

Yes, I agree with those of you grumbling about how the Winter Olympics are not as exciting as the Summer Olympics, but I’m still pumped. I’m not a Winter person, but skiing and skating are a blast and I’m always in awe of what the athletes at the Olympics can accomplish.

This year my kids are excited too. The Olympics are such a great learning opportunity. We’ll be learning about geography, empathy, sportsmanship, numbers and more as we watch and discuss them.

Below are some great Winter sports related activities for preschool – early elementary school kids. Share yours in the comments!

affiliate links may be included below.

Winter Games Unit Ideas

Field Trip Ideas

What better way to bring the Olympics or Winter sporting events to life (assuming you don’t get to actually go to South Korea this year) than to try your hand at some winter sports? Some little kid friendly ideas include:

  1. Ice Skating
  2. Sledding (we’ll call it bobsledding)
  3. Skiing
  4. Snow Shoeing

Winter Sports Writing Prompt Packet

Activity Ideas

The following are divided into developmental and curriculum areas to help you plan.

Literacy Activities

 

STEM Activities

Social Studies Activities

  • Find PyeongChang, South Korea on the Map
  • Don’t put it away yet – also use the map to find different competitors home countries and/or route a map from your home to South Korea just for fun.

Gross Motor Activities

Winter Sports Unit Ideas for Preschoolers and Early Elementary School Kids

Subscribe Below for Weekly Learning Ideas!


12 Walk Ideas for Toddlers

I have one toddler climbing on the couch and the other is dragging a roll of toilet paper around the house. I am running out of patience. We need to get out of the house, but where?

Have you been there?

The children’s museum is fun, but you went there on Monday.

The library is great, but you are going there tomorrow for storytime.

If you go to the park you will probably spend the whole time trying to talk them out of sitting on a swing the whole time.

Where can you go? What can you do? The answer is more simple than you might think.

When my twins were toddlers they were the extraordinarily busy kind. They loved to paint but there are only so many times in one day that I am willing to bath my paint covered child. The only way that would sit still was if I read to them. I loved to share books, but eventually my voice would start to go hoarse and we needed another option.

We lived in a small town with very few options for little kids. What did we do?

We went for walks. Lots of walks. Neighborhood walks. Walks around downtown. Walks in the State Park near our house. Over and over again. Every time they would find something new. Something interesting. Something to explore. They learned so much just by going for a walk.

Some of our walks were more themed or related to what we were learning and these were often our most fun. Below are 12 of our most favorite theme walks, one for every month.

12 Walk Ideas for Toddlers

1. Flashlight Walk : Fall. or Winter.

2. Listening Walk : Anytime of year.

3. Bird Watching Walk : Spring. Summer. or Fall.

4. Counting WalkSpring. Summer. Fall.

5. Car Colors Walk : any time of year

6. Fire Hydrant Walk : Spring. Summer. Fall

7. Flower Color Walk : Spring or Summer

8. Rainy Day Walk : Spring or Summer

9. Puddle Walk : Spring. Summer. or Fall.

10. Looking for Signs of Fall : Fall

11. Thankful Walk : Fall – or any time

12. Winter Lights Walk : Winter.

Little Walks Big Adventures. 50+ Ideas for Exploring with Toddlers

For more walk ideas and other adventures for toddlers, check out my book Little Walks Big Adventures!

Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego with Kids

San Diego with Kids

Cabrillo National Monument was our first family adventure in San Diego. It was a perfect spot to start getting to know our new home.

Cabrillo offers incredible views of San Diego, the mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. It also shares some local history.

It was also an opportunity for us to get our National Park passports stamped. More on this geekiness below.

affiliate links may be included below.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

Field Trip to Cabrillo National Monument

First stop: Visitor’s Center

I always stop at the Visitor’s Center first for three reasons:

  1. Get a map. The rangers or volunteers are usually super friendly and helpful. They can show you which paths are best for kids or let you know what is best to see that time of year or that time of day.
  2. Get your passport stamped! My kids both have a mini-passport book and I have a big one. We get pretty giddy about stamping them. It’s hard to explain why but we’ve definitely gotten the bug. I linked to both above on Amazon, but you can get them at most National Park Visitor Centers as well. It is a great way to get your kids excited about visiting the parks. 
  3. Get a Junior Ranger newspaper. My kids love the Junior Ranger Program. It is best for kids ages 5 and up. For Cabrillo National Monument kids their age had to complete 4 or more sections. I love that this program keeps them engaged and helps us direct them towards things they will find interesting. Bonus: I always, always learn something myself. When they are done head back to the Visitor Center to get a badge from the Ranger.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

what to see

There are a lot of options at the Cabrillo National Monument even though for a National Park it is on the smaller side.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

First – The View

Our kids are generally not overly impressed with views but since this is our new town they were a little more excited about scoping it out from up high. We could also spot their Daddy’s new work from up here which was exciting too.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

These were taken from right behind the Visitor’s Center.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

Cabrillo Monument

This statue is dedicated to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who was the first European explorer to set foot on the United States’ west coast in 1542.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

The Junior Ranger program helped us learn more about the focus of this park.

The Old Lighthouse

This was a highlight for our kids. They love lighthouses.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

It is a tiny lighthouse and we weren’t able to go up to the top, but my kids still loved going inside and seeing the recreated quarters for the lighthouse keeper.

We also learned about chamber pots which they thought was hilarious.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

read also: 52 things to do with kids in san diego

Kelp Forest and Whale Overlook

This is a short kid friendly trail that goes along the western edge of the point. The views are incredible.

We spotted whales spouting and could see the kelp forest off the coast of San Diego.

I highly recommend bringing binoculars for your kids if you are visiting during the whale migration periods. You can learn more about when and what to watch for on the National Park Website.

Cabrillo National Monument San Diego with Kids

 

Good things to know about cabrillo
  • There are bathrooms at the Visitor Center and by the Kelp Trail past the lighthouse.
  • Bring your own snacks and water to drink, especially on a hot day.
  • Dress for the weather. You are up high and exposed so wear sunscreen and bring water on a hot day. Be prepared for wind and a bit of a chill off the water on cooler days.
next time

We heard a lot about the tide pools before we visited, but the tide was high when we were there so it wasn’t in the cards. We would love to check them out the next time we visit. If this is the must do for your visit make sure to check the park’s website before you go.

Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego with Kids

Don’t Miss a Family Field Trip Idea! Subscribe Below

Moving with Kids Road Trip from NYC to San Diego CA

Moving with Kids

On January 5, 2018 our family started our move from New York City to San Diego.

After school, we loaded up the car, said some final goodbyes, and road across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge out of Brooklyn NY headed to San Diego with tears in our eyes.

New York City is a hard city to say goodbye to, but in truth saying goodbye to any place we’ve lived is always hard.

coast to coast move

Our little family kicked off the new year by moving from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast. Our 5th move in 7 years.

coast to coast move

We were prepared as we could be – my tips for getting kids ready to move are in this post – but moving is hard. Every single time.

This is our story of getting from one coast to the other.

Warning: This is a long one so grab a cup of tea or mug of cocoa before you dive in.

Affiliate links are included below. Thanks for your support.

The Road Trip Plan

mapping our move with kids

This is the map that hung in our kitchen for about a month before our move. It always looks so easy when it’s drawn out on a map, doesn’t it?

This is the longest road trip and most continuous time in the car we have ever attempted with our kids. They have a lot of practice at traveling, but I was still a little nervous when we mapped out our plan.

Due to Google Maps suggestions and Winter in the North, we decided to swing South pretty quickly as we headed West.

Our route took us:

  • Ocean to ocean
  • Into 13 states
  • 45 hours of driving
  • 3,097 miles
  • and 9 days

coast to coast move

Activities for the Car

I had a massive tote bag in the car filled with all kinds of toys and activities and games for us to play in the car. We ended up only using a fraction of what I packed. Below are the items we actually used in the 45+ hours in the car with two six year olds.

Road Trip Coast to Coast

New York to Pennsylvania

The first day we left immediately after their last day of school and we drove to Harrisburg PA.

There we pulled in around bedtime so we quickly got everything set up and the kids in pajamas. We read them Baby Monkey Private Eye and then all quickly fell asleep.

If you have more time I would highly recommend stopping in Philly for a day or half day.

Cincinnati OH

The next morning we got up early to drive the rest of the way across Pennsylvania. This was when I lost any remaining doubt about our decision to head South soon.

Originally I had pushed to drive straight west and then South. We haven’t been to the western part of the US much yet and I am eager to explore it, but Winter is not the time to drive across the northern part of the country.

Our wiper fluid froze. We had to stop a few times to clear the windows so we could proceed safely. It was frigid cold outside every time we had to stop.

We finally made it to our friends’ home in Cincinnati a little before dinnertime.

coast to coast move

We stayed an extra day to enjoy the weekend with friends.

They took us to the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky just outside of Cincinnati. The highlights for us were the touch tank and the shark walk which is one of the oddest things we’ve ever done and yet fascinating to my kids.

coast to coast move

Afterwards we had brunch at Taste of Belgium which is incredible. I had the Nutella crepe and it was one of the best I’ve ever tasted – Paris included. Our Dairy Free allergy kiddo had eggs and bacon.

Nashville TN

On Monday morning we headed South through Kentucky towards Nashville. We stopped briefly at Carmichaels Kids in Louisville, Kentucky.

coast to coast move

 

This is such a cozy little children’s bookstore. There is a quality collection of all kinds of books for kids and some games and toys.

We arrived in Nashville to spend the afternoon and evening with dear friends. There are a million family friendly things to do in the area so even if you don’t have people to visit I highly recommend a stop in Nashville.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

 

Jackson MS

In the morning we headed a little further South through Memphis to Jackson MS. This was our home before New York.

We stayed with dear friends near Jackson MS and they gave our kids the best gift – time outside. It was our first rain free few hours and they took full advantage racing around outside. By dinner time they were covered in mud and completely delighted.

Read Also:  20+ Best Things to do in Jackson MS with Kids.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

Dallas/Fort Worth TX

We were now about halfway and we turned West towards Texas and the West Coast.

From Mississippi we drove to the Dallas – Fort Worth area.

It is a long, flat drive across Louisiana and into Texas. We’ve made this drive many times because when we lived in MS my Cystic Fibrosis doctor was near Dallas, but that probably only made it a little more dull.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

We stopped at a playground near our hotel to run around a bit.

Note to Self: packing a football in the car to throw around was a genius idea. It got us all running around and laughing.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

El Paso TX

The next day was one of the longest. We drove from Dallas to El Paso across the rest of Texas.

We saw endless sky and cattle farms and long freight trains and listened to several audiobooks.

That night we all went to bed super early. The time changes were started to catch up with us.

The flip side of the time changes of course is that our kids were waking up SUPER early. The bonus of this is that we got on the road before the sun rose the next day.

We saw this gorgeous sunrise from the first rest stop inside New Mexico. Desert sunrises are now one of my favorite things.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

New Mexico was a lot more endless flat desert and big skies, but the drive to Phoenix was quicker.

This was one of my favorite days. The sunrise was spectacular. The drive wasn’t too long and when we got to Phoenix we still had plenty of time to explore.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

Phoenix AZ

My sweet friend from high school lives near Phoenix and she recommended hiking at Papago Park. We loved it.

The path itself is pretty easy and gives you a nice view of Tempe and Phoenix. My kids of course “needed” to climb up the rocks so our hike was a little more strenuous, but a ton of fun.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

Then we met my friend and her family for dinner at a fun little spot in Tempe called The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen. The food was good (and had good allergy options) and there were fun things to do on the outside patio for our kids which the grown ups chatted.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

finally onto California.

The next day we were up before the sun again and headed West one last time.

This drive was fascinating. We had never driven through this part of the country at all and the hills and rocks and mountains were so cool.

It took us about 6 hours to weave through the mountains and desert, but it felt quicker despite our serious desire to be out of the car once and for all.

Coast to Coast Road Trip

and we have arrived in San Diego CA!

Finally, around lunch time, we pulled into San Diego. We found tacos and walked a few blocks to the beach. We all looked around kind of in disbelief.

We are here.

Coast to Coast Our Road Trip from New York to San Diego California

If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom here – wow. Thank you!

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for all the comments and love on Instagram and Facebook and everywhere as we made our way across the country.

We can’t thank you enough for your support of our little family.

 

Everything You Need to Know About New York City with Kids

New York City with kids is an experience. Whether you are visiting or relocating to one of the 5 boroughs it is important to start with that knowledge.

Like everywhere we’ve lived, there is good and bad.

New York City is overwhelming and exciting.

It is loud and busy and full of opportunity.

It is smelly and dirty and also glittery and full of light.

New York City is an experience.

New York City with Kids

What I love most about moving as much as we do is the opportunity to really delve deep into wherever we are living. It’s kind of like immersive family travel.

We know wherever we are now is temporary and so we explore and see as much as we can and just experience it in a way we might not if we were settling in for good.

When we moved to New York City we were determined to experience the city as much as we could. This is the culmination of our year and a half living in one of the greatest cities in the world.

New York City with Kids

Resources

Things to Do

I divided this area up by borough to hopefully make it more navigable and helpful.

Start with: 10 Must Do Things for Families in New York City

Manhattan

Brooklyn

Queens

The Bronx

Seasonal Events

Complete Guide to New York City with Kids

4 Steps to Prepare Kids to Move: NYC to CA

Moving with Kids

Preparing kids for a move…honestly I feel a little silly writing this because even though this is our 5th move with kids in 6 years I still don’t feel like I have answers.

Moving is hard.

I’m a grown up and moving is still really hard for me.

That being said, since this is the 5th time we’ve moved with kids I do feel like I have learned some things that make me feel more prepared this time around. Hopefully they will be helpful for your family too.

this post may contain affiliate links. thanks for your support.

The Move

Are you thinking “Wait, you’re moving…again?”

Then yes! – we are moving! My husband got offered an awesome job in San Diego so we are headed west to sunny California in January.

It will be really hard to say goodbye to New York City – especially so much sooner than we had planned. Living here has been a completely unique experience and I’m so grateful we’ve had the past year and a half to explore one of the greatest cities in the world.

More than anything, it will be hard to say goodbye to the fantastic people we have met. You hear so many awful things about rude New Yorkers and while yes the pushing on the subways during rush hour and the alarming amount of honking for little reason is hard to explain, New Yorkers in general are wonderful, welcoming people. We have made great friends here and that makes moving away so sad.

However, moving we are so we need to prepare.

4 Steps to Prepare Kids for Moving

Does anyone have the perfect answer to this? I still struggle with how to prepare myself and generally exist in a state of denial for much of the prep time, but I do try hard to talk to the kids about what is coming up and how they are feeling about it.

Here are the things we have found to be helpful in easing the move for our kids.

1. Children’s Books about Moving & Conversation

I have found reading books about moving really helps start conversations about their fears and other emotions involving our move. This is the list of books I use.

Asking open ended questions also helps to open a dialogue about the move and what they are concerned about. Some questions we have found helpful are;

  • What are you wondering about (new city)?
  • How are you feeling about our move today?
  • What are you going to miss the most about this home?
  • You seem sad today. Can you tell me about it?
  • How do you think we could stay in touch with {insert important friend’s name}?

2. Here and There: Mapping Our Move

mapping our move with kids

A dear family friend heard about our move and sent us a huge map and guidebook about coastal California from AAA. I paired this with our 50 States book.

  • First we found New York City on the map and San Diego California.
  • We found San Diego in The 50 States Book.
  • As we figured out the route we were going to take to CA we started mapping that and also read about the places we would be stopping.
  • When their Dad went out to San Diego to hunt for a home we also mapped his trip. We found their new school and home on the map and added little dots. We talked about other things like where the closest library is, how we might drive to the zoo, and best of all the shortest route to the beach.

Family Road Trip Activity Tips

3. What to Pack in the Car

If you are moving across town or in a U-Haul then your belongings are all coming with you – but in our case our things are getting put in a huge semi and then disappearing for somewhere between a few weeks to a few months.

With this type of move in mind, here are the things I recommend packing in the car although I think some of it would be comforting to a kid no matter how short or long your move.

  1. Clothes. I pack like we are going on a week long trip. This gets a little more complicated when you’re moving from Winter in New York to warmer weather in San Diego, but I try to cover a week’s worth of clothes and pajamas and such and then plan to do laundry. (Bringing some detergent is also helpful – a few of these pods is easy to pack!) Don’t forget swim suits – there is at least one perk of living in a hotel for a while!
  2. Activities for the car. (In this case a LOT of activities for the car)
  3. A box of children’s books to rotate through over the next couple of months.
  4. A box for each child with their absolute favorite stuffed animals and toys. I let them help fill this up. This is whatever is most important to them so they are comforted by the fact that it is in the car with and not disappearing onto a truck. The box stays in the car until we get to the hotel or new home and tides them over until the rest of their toys arrive.
  5. A backpack of a few things they want to use in the car and then I sneak in some other surprises the night before.
  6. Food. Snacks for the car and some basics to start our pantry stocking when we arrive. I also pack a case of water.
  7. Pillows, blankets, and sound machines. We find it comforting to have our own pillows and blankets with us when we’re living out of a hotel for a while.
  8. Scooters, soccer ball – some kind of active outdoor gear to pull out of the car and get in a little gross motor on long car days.
  9. License Plate Game – if there was ever a time we might get all 50 I think this is our shot!

4. Saying Goodbye to People & Places

This is the hardest part. I hate goodbyes and I’m generally pretty terrible at them. I am however good at staying in touch with people after we move, so I feel like “see ya later” is a pretty truthful statement and I prefer it.

Make a list with your kids. What do they want to do one more time before you leave?

What’s on our list this time?

Places and People to Say Goodbye to in New York

  • Playdates with friends.
  • Central Park. Narrowing down which playground to play at was hard!
  • Play at the playground down the block.
  • Ride their bikes on the Coney Island Boardwalk again.
  • Fingers crossed – getting to see snow one more time.
  • See their uncle one more time.

4 Steps to Prepare Kids for a Move

And here we go…

You can read about our coast to coast road trip as we moved from New York City to California.

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with us as we explore our new home.