Notes on traveling internationally with littles

A week ago, my family set out on an adventure – we moved from Georgetown, Kentucky to Nagoya, Japan. It is a great adventure and, thus far, has been full of many challenges, both good and bad. The first challenge was over 13 hours on an international flight with a 4 and an almost 2 year old – the thoughts of which, prior to leaving, induced much anxiety in this mother. The kids did amazingly well! …but more on that later 😉 During much of those 13 hours, one of the sidekicks was on my lap. It wasn’t a problem, mostly, but it meant the TV was not my own anymore. I was forced to watch what the kid on my lap chose, and since there was only one jack for the headphones, I was forced to watch the silent version of whatever was chosen. Again, not too much of a problem, it gave me lots of time to think – and pray – over our adventure. I did have my phone handy and was able to jot down a few notes on the flight. So here you have it, my thoughts from thousands of feet in the air 🙂

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  • Airplanes make the sidekickress sleepy. We had just settled her into her own seat, about an hour into the flight and the flight attendants had brought her lunch. About ten minutes later we glance over and she was fast asleep mid-chew. It was the cutest thing – little head tucked to her chin, fork in hand, snoozing away. Thus, began her first three hour nap 🙂

 

 

  • The sidekick can will himself to stay away long stretches – even when given Benadryl. Be it excitement, or the fact that mommy said he could watch as many shows/movies as he wanted, the little man willed his eyes to stay open. We finally got him to sleep around hour 8, two hours after administering Benadryl. He did sleep the remainder of the flight – until we had to move his seat back into the upright position.
  • Watching the same episodes of Puppy Dog Tails, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Mickey and the Roadster Racers hour after hour will not in fact warp your brain. (Dear Delta Airlines, please get whole seasons of these shows, 2 or 3 episodes of each is not enough on international flights. Oh, and have you heard of Paw Patrol? Bubble Guppies? Super Why? Super Wings? Veggies Tales? Thomas the Train?)
  • If flying internationally with children, business class is the way to go.
  • If traveling with toddlers, be sure to bring along enough adults so you are evenly numbered. So very thankful my husband was traveling with us. I could not have done without his extra set of hands.

 

Thoughts on jet lag (i.e. Midnight Musings):

  • No matter how much Benadryl is administered or essential oils are applied, expect to be watching your child’s favorite TV show in the wee hours of the morning. For us it was Paw Patrol – but can I really complain? At least it wasn’t Mickey or Puppy Dog Tails 🙂 (Oh and don’t worry, it was only one dose of Benadryl per child per 24 hour period 😉 )CBDB2BB1-10FE-4DB9-8A40-2AB18D2F3ADD
  • Jet Lag with toddler is a lot like returning to life with a newborn. Lots of nighttime wakings & snacks. Lots of tears and mumbles of “please just go to sleep”. But it also creates some fun family bonding that you wouldn’t normally have because you’re asleep at 3 am.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

  • Prepare for the worst, but expect the best (Murphy’s law anyone?) I packed 2 changes of clothes for everyone in one carry-on, because 2 months ago I heard a story about a child getting sick on a flight and the parents didn’t have anything to change him into. Did we need them, nope – didn’t even open that bag until a couple nights ago when I unpacked it. We had another duffle bag carry-on packed full of activities and in-flight entertainment for the sidekicks. It got opened twice – between naps and their personal TV, they were kept entertained … oh and the walks up and down the aisles.
  • Take events (life) in stride. I cannot even explain to you the amount of anxiety I had regarding the sidekicks, the flight, the crazy schedule we had upon landing, their reaction to a new culture/country, etc. But what is anxiety? It’s worrying about a situation because you don’t know and can’t control the outcome. A control freak by nature, I could not predict the outcome and thus became nervous about the situation. I fretted. I lost sleep. I overpacked. But in all this, do you know what I learned? My sidekicks are troopers! They can handle a lot more than I ever thought they could! We’ve had chaos. We’ve had meltdowns. I’ve lost my cool. I’ve shed tears. The sidekicks have shed tears. But through it all, and with much prayer, we have survived!

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We are settling into life in Japan. We are waking up less in the middle of the night and sleeping later in the morning (Thank you, Jesus!!).  We have found some great shopping, eating, and play areas within walking distance of the house. We have spent a lot of time with the in-laws, and the kids have even met a cousin! There is much we rejoice in and much we miss! BUT God is faithful…is there anything more we can ask for?

Until next time…

 

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Airplanes, Watermelon, and Edible Sand

This week was loads of fun for mommy & her sidekicks! Daddy even enjoyed hearing our tales and seeing pictures as we recounted our adventures over dinner!

August 19th was National Aviation Day. To celebrate, I found these little airplanes on Pinterest. (Love me some Pinterest!!)

Airplanes

They were super easy to make. Ingredients as you can see were simple…grapes, cheese, graham crackers, and carrots. I used toothpicks the first two times I made them, but by the third time I got tired of poking the grapes with toothpicks, only to turn around and take them off so the sidekick could dig in. The sidekick isn’t a big fan of raw carrots which made the four-legged sidekick, Indy, very happy! After the first day, we just left the propeller off and fed Indy a few carrot pieces.

Getting the carrots out of the way!

Getting the carrots out of the way!

After our snack, we pretended to fly around the living room like airplanes. Indy even joined in, by chasing us airplanes around barking (I’m sure the neighbors loved that…oops…)

August 3rd was National Watermelon Day. I had planned to celebrate that day with a little watermelon play dough, but with such gorgeous warm weather earlier in August, we took full advantage of the pool. This last week the weather was cooler (and I finally remembered to pick up cream of tarter), so we whipped up a batch. I used the actual watermelon flavored jello mix… boy, oh boy does it smell delicious!

Watermelon Play doughWe did a lot of play with number cutters, and a rolling pin that came from a play dough tub we bought at Kroger several months ago. By the end of the week, the sidekick enjoyed just rolling little pieces into balls, and then into worms. I love pushing his abilities to see what he picks up, and marveling at how quickly he masters each new challenge!

Watermelon Play dough

I took the advice of the blog and stored the play dough in the fridge. We pulled it out several times throughout the week and enjoyed hours of fun.

Edible Sand Bin

We had a little free time on Thursday morning and a pile of graham crackers, so we throw them in the food processor (we made sure to keep out enough for our afternoon airplane snack though) for some edible sand. I throw some dinosaurs and trucks that I found at the Dollar Tree into the bin, but the measuring cups, and can strainer won out. I did get a slight copycat dinosaur roar out of the sidekick between scoops…but try as I may I couldn’t get him to play with the dinosaurs or trucks. Oh well, more toys for mommy to play with 🙂 LOL! He’s just all about the scooping and spilling and transferring from one container to another.

Measuring

Once the sidekick found out that the “sand” was edible, it was all over. Between scooping it into the measuring cup, fingers found their way to his mouth. It was hilarious to watch! If you have a kiddo that likes graham crackers, maybe keep some bigger pieces, that can be snacked on as play commences.

When we were done playing, I throw the leftover “sand” in a ziplock bag and tossed it into our go to toddler entertainment drawer for future play.

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Discovering the world with this little guy…that’s my life! And I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

So I have a blog…

Where does one start when one has a blog? I’ve read a lot of blogs, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a “first blog post”. What does one say in a first blog post?

To be honest, I’m not sure where this blog will go, or even how fast it will get there. I created it with the thought that I would share my random take on life with sidekicks.  There is perhaps nothing I do better then random, so hold on to your hats! Here we go…