Parents’ Summer Survival Guide

It’s that time of year. It’s not Christmas. It’s not your child’s birthday. It’s summer. Your kids are out of school. They are home.

All. The. Time.

If you’re a working parent, summer can be a nightmare….trying to find a babysitter, a camp…whatever it takes. If you’re fortunate enough to have the summer off and don’t have to find childcare, then your kids are probably with you 24/7. This can also be a nightmare in its own right. That is, if you let it.

I’m probably in the minority here, but I actually enjoy when my kids are off during the summer. It’s actually easier than all the drama during the school year. I don’t have to do school drop offs and pick-ups. There’s no running to activities and “Soccer Saturdays”. Although these are enjoyable in their own little way, they are exhausting. Anyone else agree? It’s nice to not have to inhale breakfast and rush everyone out the door. It’s refreshing to just be able to breathe a little.

While I don’t have to worry so much about childcare during the summer. I do have to worry about keeping the kids occupied and maintaining my sanity at the same time. I’m here to tell you, it can be done. Seriously.

Here’s a little survival guide:

1. Find Free Activities: Summer is full of free, “tire out your kid” activities. Designate one day (or two) as a beach day. Get the kids involved in packing snacks and toys to make it fun for them. If you can, change your beach location so no one gets bored. Build sandcastles. Pick sea shells. You can even paint them when you get home.


Spend another day at a park. Take a bike ride or nature walk. There are so many free outdoor activities that will keep the kids out of the house and happy. Take advantage of what’s nearby so you’re not shelling out a lot in gas money.

2. Keep ‘Em Learning: We all know it’s called summer break, meaning no school. That doesn’t mean your kids don’t pick up a book or practice letters and numbers until September. Designate a half-hour a day to do school stuff. Whether it’s reading, writing, or math…do something! Check out your local library for summer read programs. Many offer incentives based on the number of books your child reads over the summer. Keep their little minds learning. At least it will keep them occupied for awhile.

3. Teach Them to Tag Sale: This is a great way to clean things up and make some cash. Get some friends to join in and pick a good weekend. Make it fun. Let the kids keep some of the money you make. Your house is getting clean, you’re teaching your kids the value of money, and you’re getting outside. It’s a win-win all around!

4. Discount Movies: We all know you could buy a trip to Europe for the price of going to the movies these days. During the summer, many local theaters offer $1 movies at the theater. Granted, they’re re-releases, but still it’s in the movie theater. This is a great way to catch a movie you and the kids may have missed or re-watch one you really love!

movie tix

5. Just Play: The whole idea of the summer is to relax, isn’t it? Take some time to just play in the yard. Blow bubbles. Run the sprinkler. Draw with chalk. Throw a frisbee. Let kids be kids. Be a kid yourself! You may be surprised at how much fun you’re having and how much less yelling you’re doing.

Don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself. Some time at Grandma’s isn’t going to hurt if you want to have a kid-free meal or get your nails done. It’s all part of keeping your summer sanity!

What do you do to keep it all together during the summer?

Why Flying With Kids Isn’t So Bad

As a parent, there a lot of things I dread. Cleaning up puke, temper tantrums, kids sleeping in my bed…the list goes on and on. Up until a week ago, I would have put flying with kids on that list as well. Since we’ve had kids, all of our vacations have been road trips. Why? Well, for one they are cheaper. Secondly, you can always pull over and take a time out if the kids get a little too crazy. I really never entertained the idea of putting my two and four year old girls on an airplane. I didn’t want to be “that” family. You know what I’m talking about. The ones they do news stories about. The kids who don’t stop crying leading to all the other passengers demanding their money back. I just didn’t want to take the chance.

So, what happened? Why did I change my mind? Well, the eleven hour drive we would have had to take was starting to make me break out in hives. I could envision a symphony of “are we there yets?” with a chorus of “I have to pee” ever hour. I could feel my neck start to tense and my eyes burn with exhaustion. Wouldn’t it be easier to take a two hour flight and be able to enjoy the day when we arrive at our destination? It sounded like a lovely idea, although I still had anxiety. Would the plane bother their ears? Would they be too scared to even get on the plane?

Well, my girls surprised me…big time. They were so excited to get on the plane that any anxiety they may have had just disappeared. I never heard them say they were scared or that they didn’t want to get on. As a precaution, I gave them some Benadryl just in case their ears started to bother them. But, I never heard them complain. After about fifteen minutes in the air, my two-year-old fell asleep. My other daughter was just so excited, she just looked out the window and took it all in. Before I knew it, we were landing.

The ride home went just as well. This time I forgot to give them Benadryl, but they didn’t seem to really need it. This time both girls fell asleep for awhile! This was 100 times better than any road trip we ever took!

I know, I know. We were lucky. Things could have totally went the other way. They could have been kicking and screaming the entire way leading me to look for an emergency exit and a life vest. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case.

So, if you were like me, dreading flying with your kids, I’m here to tell you to give it a try. You won’t know until you do. I would advise starting off with a short flight(ours was two hours) just in case there are problems. In the end, we were able to enjoy the day once we arrived. It was like having an extra day of vacation. It was also nice to arrive home not feeling like a zombie!

Have you flown with your kids? How was your experience?



No Vacation from Motherhood

Vacation: noun, a scheduled period during which activity is suspended. That’s the definition from Webster’s dictionary. Vacation with kids: noun, a scheduled period of time where you will get no rest and if you think you were going to, you were an idiot. That’s my definition from the dictionary of Kristina. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I just returned from a vacation with my children. I don’t know if it was the warmer air or what, but at times, they seemed like someone switched out my kids and gave me some creatures from the planet Cling-On and Whine All the Time.

Before you think I had some horrible vacation, I honestly didn’t. It was a good time. But, let’s just say there were some trying times that I really wasn’t expecting. For the most part my girls are pretty good at home, even my little rowdy one is usually okay, although some would tend to disagree. But, during our week at the beach, they did things they usually don’t, which got really annoying.

For one, the defiance of the nap proved to be public enemy number one. My older daughter refused to nap after a busy morning at the beach. Therefore, by the time dinner rolled around, her whine-atude was amped up and she wanted to be attached at my hip, my leg, my arm…you get the picture. Just take a damn nap! That’s all she had to do. But no, she had to prove she was some type of non-sleeping superhero. Epic fail.

As for the little babe, she napped, but was still a terror. At times, she was even worse after a nap. I just don’t get it. She would wake up with such a bad attitude that I wanted to ship her back home. Her fearlessness also made me wish I had eyes behind my head. She became an expert in diving off furniture and even thought she could walk on water. She scared the bejesus out of me when she tried to walk to her father who was in the pool. Luckily he was right there to catch her.

Don’t even get me started on the ride home. My older daughter actually slept for most of the ride. She must have been tired from all those naps she didn’t take. But,my younger one needed a straight jacket and a bottle of Benadryl. She wanted no part of her car seat nor the wide variety of DVDs I brought along. Neither Dora, Caillou, nor Barney helped. So needless to say, it was the ride from hell.

After telling some of my vacation stories, someone told me I need to bring a “children’s helper” along next time. Yeah okay, are you going to pay for that? I didn’t think so. Someone else also told me it gets better. So I’m going to believe that for now. One thing I did learn was that there is never a vacation from motherhood. There’s always poop that will need to be cleaned, mouths that will need to be fed, boo boos that will need to be kissed, and fights that will need to be broken up. On the flip side, there will also always be bottles of wine to drink to help deal with all that! So, we’ll see what happens next year. Stay tuned!

Flying with Kids

   Before having kids, planning a trip was as easy as having a plan, then making sure you had the money to pay for it. After kids, it became a bit more complicated. There are a lot more things to consider. Is the destination kid friendly? What kind of restaurants are there? And the big one…can we drive or do we have to take a flight?

   I know a lot of people who have taken flights with their little ones with no problems. In fact, they swear by it.  I have not yet been that adventurous. So far, we’ve only tried our luck with road tripsand it hasn’t been so bad. I’m a little apprehensive to fly because of all the baggage and extra stuff that comes along with packing for kids. Car seats and strollers don’t exactly fit in the overhead storage bins! But, a lot of parents say they’re easy to check and retrieve. They also say the kids are so fascinated with flying that they actually behave pretty well. There’s also no stopping every five miles to go potty. That must be nice! One of these days we’ll take to the friendly skies with our kids. I’m sure they will be super excited!
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The Wheels On the Car Go Round & Round…Until Someone Has to Pee

   If you have kids, you know vacations ain’t what they used to be. You can say goodbye to sleeping until a decent hour. A child’s body clock has no respect for the fact that you are on vacation. Accept it and move on. Forget about romantic, candlelight dinners that don’t include chicken nuggets and crayons. It’s not happening unless you have a sitter with you. Your table for two is now set for at least three. There’s no turning back now. Whether you travel by train, plane, or automobile, fasten your seat belts, it could be a bumpy ride!

   Seeing that I only have experienced travelling with kids by car, that’s what I’m going to talk about here.We recently went on a road trip with our two kids and a family with two kids of their own…all in one vehicle. Yes, I know, some of you may think we’re crazy, and maybe we are! In case you’re hitting the roadways this summer, here are some tips I picked up that could help make your ride a smoother one. Here we go…

1. Travel during the night when the kids are usually sleeping
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT travel during daylight hours. Even if you have to hook up a caffeine IV to your steering wheel, it is well worth travelling at night .

2. No matter how many videos you bring for that damn DVD player, it’s never enough
You’ll be watching Barney’s adventure until your face turns purple and Dora will still be exploring. Trust me.

3. If you buy a Happy Meal for one child in the car, buy one for all
Don’t worry if they won’t eat the apples or if the toy is stupid. Failing to do so will make an unhappy meal for all.

4. Children will have to pee every five miles even if they’ve had nothing to drink for an hour
They must be hardwired to do so. I really have no other explanation.

5. If you have a baby, he or she will pick your super long car ride to decide to poop like an adult
It won’t be pretty. Enough said.

6. You can not breastfeed your baby while he or she is in the car seat
Your body is not made that way and if it were you would be on the next Jerry Springer show.

7. Your car will look like it belongs on “Hoarders”
It will be packed with all kinds of crap. There will be crumbs and toys on the floor and the seat. There are also bound to be spots from some kind of spilled junk. That’s why there are car washes.

8. If you need gas and the kids are sleeping, ride it on “E” for as long as you can
There is a 100 percent chance one, if not all, will wake up pissed off once the vehicle comes to a stop.
Pretend you are Kramer from “Seinfeld” and you’re in that episode where he rides as long as he can without getting gas.

9. You will hear your name non-stop.
Don’t plan on relaxing or reading a book. It’s just not going to happen.

10. You will make some great memories.
Trust me here. After all is said and done, it really is a lot of fun ,despite the bumps in the road.

Happy Trails!