Keep a Young Toddler Busy on an Airplane

We kind of fly a lot.  Probably not as much as some people. but probably more than the average people.  Ike definitely travels more than the average one year old.  Typically we are fortunate enough to be given a middle seat between two strangers who just love little kids.  They NEVER ask to be reseated when they see us coming.  Never.  Ike and I make it our mission to change their minds about traveling with adjacent to kids.  In order to be successful in such an endeavor we have to have some tools.

Our “Tools for Success”

  • Toys – Small toys, since the carry-on diaper bag will probably be packed with extra necessities, like all the milks, all the diapers, a ton of wipes for any and every spill that may happen, snacks, a change of clothes, etc.  The toys should also be somewhat quiet, so as not to disrupt our such welcoming neighbors.  A toy set with a ton of pieces is probably a no no, since they will inevitably end up in the seats in front of and behind you.  Our favs: soft books, toy phones (turned off), one or two Little People (Ike loves the super hero ones).
  • Food – pack them lots of snacks!  Puffs, crackers, bananas, string cheese, cereal bars, whatever travels best for you.  Sometimes the chaos of parking the car, getting the bus, checking the bags, passing security, etc can take longer than expected.  While we may be able to hold off for a meal, a toddler definately can not, and they do not hesitate to let you know it.  Pack lots of snacks.
  • Things already on the Plane – Part of what makes a kid so squirmy is the fact that they are in a new environment that begs to be explored.  Let them.  Within reason of course.
    • Those magazines in the back of every seat that say “take one, free”? Take it.  Let him tear it to shreds try to keep the shreds in your own seat), keeps them busy for at least 10-20 minutes.  Ignore the eye rolling when you hand over the ball of paper to the flight attendant (they said “ANYTHING you wish to discard”).
    • The tray table – figuring out whether to push, pull, turn, twist to get it to fall is a source of entertainment as well.
    • The window shade (if you are fortunate to have one) makes for an excellent game of peek a boo.IMG_9673
      ep that’s the straw from my drink, we were playing seal.
    • Ask for an extra cup when the complimentary drink service begins, the fact that it isn’t a toy and isn’t given to them by a parent makes a huge difference.  A nice, pretty, blond, flight attendant could give my son garbage and he’d treat it like treasure because he is a giant flirty ham.
  •  Hand Games – Itsy Bitsy Spider, Patty Cake, Where is Thumbkin?  Any, all, and over and over again.  These are particularly effective during landing when the patience of everyone is wearing thin.
  • ScreenTime – I saved this one for last, because I know that screen time is a Big Bad Wolf for children under two, but, desperate times.  When all else fails get out the ipad or smartphone.  We have a few Baby First shows and two or three apps for emergencies or when we’ve run out of all our other distractions.

Or you can always hold out hope that this will happen.

Asleep in the most uncomfortable position. 

There are two main times on an aircraft where a toddler needs to be kept busy.

1. Taxi/Takeoff/Landing where the child needs to be seated and relatively still.  I usually distract with food, milk, a sippy cup, my phone during this time.

2. Cruising where we are afforded a little bit more freedom.  I let Ike down and he is happy to play on the floor for a while, and work on unpacking the diaper bag.  Sometimes we take an exciting walk to the lavatory to change his diaper.


How do you keep your kids busy on long flights or road trips?


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Runaway Bay

My husband requested that we celebrate his birthday with a family vacation this year.  His birthday is January 15th, so it usually falls near the MLK holiday.   This lends pretty well to quick getaways.

There is a resort that was recommended to me through a mother’s group recently, and it has been on my mind since hearing it several months back.  The resort is called Franklyn D Resorts and it is located in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.  We booked it about a week out and I was weary when they told me that I had to pay the full stay up front without any cancellation (no cancellation is generally no good for a nonrev traveller).  I booked it anyway and there ended up being somewhat of a comedy of errors in getting there and back.   But we all made it, both ways.

Back to the resort.  It was better than I could have imagined.  Is it new? Modern? Luxurious? No.  What it is, is homey, cozy, welcoming, and perfectly comfortable.  It’s not huge, but it’s also not cramped.


We had a two bedroom suite which gave us an enormous amount of space to spread out.   All the rooms have a beautiful balcony to enjoy ocean noises and gorgeous sunsets.

There were three restaurants, all of which are open air, and also one grill near the pool that served food in between the main three meals.  There’s one bar, but there was never a long wait.   The food was delicious.  Nothing super fancy, but everything traditionally Jamaican.  Jerk Chicken, Patties, Broiled Oxtail, fried plantains, fresh caught fish, OMG!  The restaurants weren’t huge, but they were attended very well.  There was a hostess to greet us at each, even the poolside grill, there was a person to get us drinks from the bar, and there were waiters and bussers to keep everything moving.


The beach was beautiful.  A bit small, but sunny, calm, and clear.  They had towels and chairs that we could use as well as snorkeling gear (I passed because EW fish!) and some nonmotorized water activities.



But the best, most spectacular part of this tiny little slice of Jamaican heaven?  The Vacation Nanny.  Um yes, that is a real thing!  A VACATION NANNY! A person who let’s you (the parent) enjoy the vacation.  It’s amazing.  Every resort everywhere should do this!  No they shouldn’t.  Because I love FDR and I want to go there every year.





Our vacation nanny was Shavalenne, which I am sure I have mangled both in spelling and pronunciation.  But she was great, superb,  the best thing ever.  Ike just loved her, he lit up when she arrived in the morning.  She let him pretty much lead, and she followed and did whatever tickled his fancy.  But she was also firm and made sure that he didn’t get himself hurt; no eating peoples shoes, or launching himself into the pool, etc.

I’m not sure if we can give this credit to Shavalenne, but since we got to Jamaica Ike’s been a champion eater.  He’s a big eater, generally, sometimes, like when he feels like it, no more than once or twice a week.  But we’ve been home for a week now and he’s eating me out of house and home!  Whenever he felt like it, he and the nanny would belly up to the grill and get a bite to eat.  This was in addition to the breakfast, lunch, and dinner that we at with Ike.   I probably just jinxed the whole thing and Ike will refuse to even sit in his highchair tomorrow.

We went, we ate, we lounged on the beach, we enjoyed each other’s company.  We did Jamaica and we loved it.  I cannot wait to go back.  FDR is going to become a regular destination for us.




Ike’s Playlist

My favorite kind of music to listen to in the car is general pop, the radio station that usually has a sort comedy-type morning show and plays the same ten songs all day long.  Those songs that no one likes but always seem to get stuck in your head.  You know the ones.

Ike hates my radio stations.  So he has a playlist that we listen to in the car and whenever he needs a distraction.  I have a Spotify subscription that was mostly used for work, but now all my recommendations are Raffi, Dora, Sesame Street, etc.  Because apparently I play Ike’s playlist way more often than I play my own.

These are some of Ike’s Favorite Songs made for riding and dancing and general happy baby-ing.

Ike’s Playlist

  • The Wheels on the Bus (obviously!) by Raffi (also by Dora, kid zone, baby lullaby, barney, go fish, etc)
  • Victor Vido by the Laurie Berkner Band
  • Going to the Zoo by Raffi
  • Bananaphone by Raffi
  • Butterfly Driving a Truck by Caspar Baby Pants
  • Come On In by the Laurie Berkner Band
  • Five Little Monkeys by The Kiboomers
  • Apples and Bananas by Raffi
  • I’m Gonna Catch You by the Laurie Berkner Band
  • Shake my Sillies Out by Raffi
  • Elmo’s ALphabet Rap by Elmo (duh)
  • The Fox (What does the Fox Say?) by the Kidz Bob Kids
  • Down by the Bay by Raffi
  • Rocketship Run by the Laurie Berkner Band
  • Brush Your Teeth by Raffi

I think it’s pretty clear who our favorites are.  As far as kiddie music goes, Raffi and Laurie B are the least um..make you wanna pull your hair out songs.  They are catchy and snappy too so they tend to get stuck in my head a lot.

Follow us on Spotify if you have a child who needs distracting every now and then.


Mommy had a Tantrum

…and got a mani/pedi.  Everything is fine now.

I’ve been feeling a little bit stressed lately.  About almost everything I guess.  I didn’t realize how stressed until the exhaustion kicked in though.  Long story short, there was a little melt down.

We traveled to visit Grandma this weekend.  The flight to South Bend was delayed several hours Friday night, so we elected to go to Midway instead.  That flight was wide open and everything was going along splendidly, except Ike was not sitting in the giant honking carseat I had Isaac lug through the airport.  Then I remembered that in my infinite wisdom I had put Ike’s and my coats in the checked bag so we wouldn’t have to carry them through the airport.  The checked bag that was currently en route to South Bend, as we were beginning our decent into Chicago!  Where “the current local temperature is” 15 BELOW ZERO!  Again I must praise my mothering skills here.

Anyway, we made it without any baby frost bite.  Isaac and I even got to sleep in on Saturday morning while Ike got all caught up with Grandma and his best friend Jetta (the dog).  Then we were going to go out with some of Isaac’s friends to watch one of the playoff games, when I noticed that Ike’s little fake cough was starting to sound awfully real.  We stayed in, got a pizza and were pretty much up all night with a very pissed off baby.  We went to urgent care first thing Sunday morning.  Ike’s sick, with RSV again.  I’m worried, as well I should be as his mother.   The doctor was much more relaxed about it at urgent care, he prescribed an oral steroid and told us not to worry.  He said to give him steam baths and honey for his cough and wait it out basically.  I’m very grateful for his coolness.

On top of the sick baby and the blatant motherly ineptness, we met with a realtor last week and the whole “we need to move thing” became very real.  He wants to come to our house to evaluate it’s resale potential.  Our house!? Wait, a stranger is coming to our house?  We have to hid the crap!  Wait, this stranger knows where people hide their crap and would like to see those areas too?! And have them professionally photographed!?   (steam literally escaping ears as eyes spin around in my head).  We have too much stuff.  None of it has a proper home.  Most of it probably doesn’t need a home so much as it needs an extra large garbage can (or donation site).  I don’t even know where to start.  I still feel a bit overwhelmed thinking about cleaning out this house.  I’m going to stop rambling on about it now.  I’ll work on a plan.  Tomorrow.

With the realtor obviously came a mortgage broker.  I was feeling pretty comfortable with our price range for a new home.  Until I said it out loud.  To a person who now has access to all of our deepest, darker, financial secrets.  Crap.

All of this to say, I sort of blew a gasket.  I was all “oh my god I cannot get anything right, I’m failing at everything, someone save me from myself, no just leave me, save yourselves!”  Isaac suggested that maybe I take the afternoon to go do something for me.  Maybe I let him handle Ike, and dinner, and some of the daily clutter.  Maybe he has a point.

So I got my nails done.  I feel much better now.  Plus I got to take a power nap in the massage chair.

Rather looks like someone’s tried to put lipstick on a pig wouldn’t you say?  It’s an improvement at any rate.  Plus the nap was awesome.


And Ike and Daddy?  They were home doing boy stuff and cooking me delicious shrimp tacos!


I love them.  But I was very glad to have a break to get my head together.  I’m ready deal with the clutter and the house hunting.  Anything’s possible with pretty finger and toes!

Christmas Budget Wrap Up

I had a budget, I had a plan, and I had all the tools for success.  How’d I do with Christmas shopping?  Let’s see.


After careful consideration, I have chosen not to repost the original spreadsheet, as so protect those who may feel short changed or overly gifted the way that the numbers fell out.  Nobody was I promise, I was just a better shopper for some items.  Anyway, I’ll speak in mostly general terms here.

Total Budget. $1100

Actual Amount Spent. $1,136

Extra Gifts Purchased (unplanned). 6

Total Cost of Extra Gifts. $89

Total number of gifts under budget. 13

Total number of gifts exceeding budget. 7

Lessons Learned:

  1. Factor in Tax – DUH.  Of the 7 items over budget, 5 of them are tax/shipping costs, because I didn’t account for either of these.
  2. Plan for a few extras for floating present people and kids we may have forgotten overlooked.
  3. Try to have some of the list ready for black Friday and Cyber Monday.  I got my best deals during cyber week, but I was unprepared for several people so I missed quite a few good bargains.
  4. Start early for stocking stuffers.  I got lucky this year, finding the bag of stuffers in the coat closet which saved me about 10% on each stocking.  That will not be the case next year.  Unless there’s a forgotten bag hanging out in the garage somewhere.
  5. Do NOT buy any more wrapping paper.  I purchased a wrapping paper organizer bag last New year.  And I pulled it out to pack up the wrapping stuff this year.  I have so much paper!  I must hoard it before and after the holidays.  I do not need anymore until Ike is old enough to remember that it was the same wrap as last year.
  6. Make extra room for more Christmas wine.  I didn’t have nearly enough this year.

*Linked at Thrifty Thursday.

Typical Toddler Eats

At Ike’s 12 month checkup the doctor was a little concerned about his weight.  He is not underweight really, in the 32% for his age, but he’s sort of hovered around average or slightly above for a while, so this is a pretty sharp change.  Anyway, she asked what he ate and how often and I, as usual at the doctor, stared at her blankly because “i dunno he eats some, sometimes, whatever I put in front of him, unless he doesn’t want to eat it, or he doesn’t like it, or he finds it more entertaining to throw it on the floor, sometimes he comes back for the things on the floor later“.

Since then, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to what, how much, and when Ike eats.  He generally falls into one of the following three typical days.

Typical Day 1

Ike nurses at 5:15am before I go to work


  • one egg, scrambled with sour cream
  • one pancake with butter
  • strawberries

Bottle before morning nap


  • cheerioes
  • half a banana

Bottle after snack


  • 2-3 ounces pureed chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup stars pasta
  • cracker or two

Bottle before afternoon nap


  • entire avocado
  • yogurt with berries or mango
  • string cheese

Bottle while waiting for dinner


  • ounce or two of salmon pinched up
  • 2-3 broccoli florets, pinched up
  • as many potatoes as you give him

Nurses about 30 minutes before bedtime

Typical Day 2

Eats nothing at all

Throws food on the floor with manic sweeping motion of highchair tray before waving the sign “all done” wildly and banging head on the back of the high chair.

Screams to high holy hell for a bottle every hour

Typical Day 3

Somewhere in between a typical day 1 or a typical day 2

Toddlers man.  Pshh.


“Mom-mom, I can have more spaghettis?”

Mom-Mom and Dad-Dad

Every parent anxiously awaits the first time their sweet little baby says “mama” and “dada”.  We practice with him and get all in his face saying “MAMA SAY MAMA BABY MAAAA MAAA MMMAAA MMMMAAA MAMAMAMA!” as the baby stares blankly back.  We did the same thing.  And Ike says both.  Sort of.  I’m sure every parent thinks that their baby’s “mama” and “dada” are the cutest words ever spoken.  We are no different.  Except Ike does not exactly say “mama” or “dada”.  He says “MomMom” and “DadDad”.  Two distinct words mushed together twice for emphasis.  It’s adorable.

He walks around (holding his bowl or coasters or whatever) and repeats “Mom-mom” over and over again.  And I reply “Yes Ike Ike”  over and over.  And he smiles and continues “Mom-mom” “Mom-mom” all the way to the kitchen and back again, now holding the bowl, coaster, a spoon and a few magnets.

I know one day he will only say “Mom!”  or “Maaaa!” And I won’t think that is nearly as cute, so for now I will savor all of the precious “Mom-moms” and “Dad-dads” he wants to share.

There’s also “bob-bob”.  That is the xbox.  Isaac has to speak especially loud when giving commands to the xbox, because Ike is also shouting commands to the xbox.  “Bob-bob goooo!” “Bob-bob tickle tickle ahhh prffft!” We are so winning at parenting.  Another gleaming example?  Ike can also mimic the sound of a wine bottle being uncorked.  Parents of the year ya’ll!