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Jul 152011
 

Travel, Children

I remember before we had kids we would wake up on Saturday morning wondering where we’d venture off to. Back then all we had to worry about was holiday traffic and then maybe who would dog sit for us. Of course, it was just my wife and I so there was little planning required and any stops we’d have to make were short and infrequent.

The Baby

Wow, having a child changes everything and I would argue it does for the better. Better doesn’t always mean less challenging though. I think that’s the case when it comes to travel and weekend getaways as we’ll explore.

Food

I found out very quickly after having O and then Jake that babies need food. I’m not sure why this wasn’t obvious to me but I guess they need to eat and lots of it. ;-)

Bringing snacks for the car trip is really important. I highly recommend bringing a small cooler or insulated lunch sack with some fresh or dried fruit, cereal, and other snacks that transport easily. Jake is allergic to dairy so we have to be very careful that we ensure we have plenty of dairy free snacks. Often times and especially when traveling it’s hard to find a variety of foods for him.

Stopping along the way can be a very good thing. I’m one of those Travel Nazis that just likes to get where we’re going. So, if I can get there without stopping I will. Of course, when the wife starts slapping the back of my head or one of the kids have crapped themselves so bad I gag on my own inhales it’s time for the pullover. Once pulled over it’s refreshing for everyone. First, the car gets aired out but it’s important for the little ones to get out and stretch on those long drives.

Eating while on the road can be a messy affair. Whether baby is eating in the car or in a restaurant it’s not the same as eating at home . As if they’re not messy at home, right? ;-) My favorite all time bib comes from Bibagogo. There are many things I love about this bib and one of them is it’s ability to travel. It folds up very easily, stores two cloths for cleanup and even a pocket for a utensil. Make sure you throw a couple of these in your diaper bag or trunk of your car and you’ll be on your way to fewer clothing changes.

Naps

Naps are a tricky thing on weekend getaways. Usually you’re feeling stressed for time because of the short nature of the trip and of course, you may be in the car a lot. Some kids do really well sleeping in the car and others not so much. Both O and Jake are great car sleepers and have no problem doing so. We do try and time our drive (if possible) around their nap times. In otherwords, we may leave a little later in the morning so they pass out soon after we leave or we may drive at night so it’s their bed time. Of course, if your children don’t do so well sleeping in the car you’ll want to plan the opposite having them nap first and then leave.

Napping while at your destination can be a challenge too. Especially if baby doesn’t sleep well in the car you’re going to be relegated to naps at the hotel or place of stay. Again, I think it’s important that children (especially small babies) have some sort of consistent routine/schedule they can keep. They’ll feel better and be more prepared for the unexpected if they can at least keep to the schedules they’re familiar with relative to eating and napping. Obviously things come up and I’m all about teaching children to adapt to change and to be flexible but really do you want them to learn while you’re on your first weekend getaway? I didn’t think so….

Potty Breaks/Diaper Changes

I mentioned a little earlier how I’m a Travel Nazi and don’t like stops, remember? Well they are important no matter how stubborn your driver is. Not all locations have changing stations all though most do. Feel free to consider places to stop that aren’t obvious along your journey. Yes, it’s convenient to change your baby’s diaper at a Restaurant but you may have already eaten. Consider stopping at a Target or Walmart too. They’re all over the place, have plenty of changing tables, and if you forget something you can always buy it there. No matter where you stop make sure you pack plenty of wipes both for hands and for bottoms. A lot of places you may be forced to stop are dirtier than dirt. Guess the first place baby puts their hands after they touch something dirty? Yup, their mouth! Yuck!

Do yourself a favor and check out a portable potty. We found one that works great! It folds up very compactly, has bags to hold the poopy and pee, and can be stored in the trunk. We’ve actually used it at the park and other local stops.

Warning: There’s nothing you can do about this but be prepared to pull over 4 times in a 20-mile radius. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been told they went in their diaper only to pull over, let them out, pull down their pants and find out they’re dry.

Cribs/Beds

Obviously, you’re not taking your crib with you on your weekend getaway. However, this doesn’t mean baby doesn’t or won’t have a place to sleep. Call ahead to the hotel as many of them keep them on hand for us parents. Just make sure that the crib is very sturdy and not loose in anyway. If you think it may be don’t hesitate to question this and request a replacement or for them to tighten it.

Another option is to bring your own travel play pen but I would highly recommend baby has slept in it beforehand. It’d be bad to find out he/she can’t stand it the first night on your trip. If that’s not possible, you’ll just have to go in to it prepared you may not be sleeping.

The other choice is for baby to sleep in bed with you. This is a personal choice and one that parents choose at home as well as on the road. I won’t recommend for or against this but I will say that if you choose to have baby in bed just make sure he/she is in the middle of you and your spouse and not on the end of the bed. We’ve had two separate occasions where my wife was breastfeeding one of the kids and in the middle of the night without realizing they wound up on the outside of the bed. Moments later the loud *thump* sound heard followed by a scream was them hitting the floor. Yes, they were perfectly okay but there is no worse feeling than knowing your baby just fell off the bed and it’s YOUR FAULT!! Okay, there are many worse feelings but I think it added a nice touch to this post.

All in all I think it’s just important to remember that your weekend getaway can be a ton of fun but not without some planning. If you allow yourself to accept that your travel may take a little longer and it’s not going to be exactly like it was before children you can and will have plenty of fun. Weekend getaways can be great for the kids too as they get to see and explore unchartered territory. They’re probably used to the neighborhood parks and malls. Giving them the opportunity to see and visit new places will help them see that they live in such a vast and ever changing world with lots of new sights and sounds. Plus, I guarantee that the more you travel with them the more flexible they’ll be with change. So get away for the weekend and show baby that we all have so much to explore and really what better way to explore than to do so with your family?

Jet Set Dadstreet 2

Jun 142011
 

If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series you might want to do that first.

Picture taken with iPhone 4 and edited with Camera+

I am a coffee drinker. In fact, I might even say I have a problem. I’m drinking it the moment I wake up, some point during the day and then again at night. This is why what I’m about to tell you is so shocking and just plain ol’ wrong!

Are you sitting down? Do you have some coffee?

Go get some and come back…

Okay, are you ready?

PEOPLE, THERE IS NO COFFEE IN ISRAEL!!

Holy What The What?

That’s right, God has banned coffee from the Holy Land. Okay, this might be a stretch but it’s true. Well not the God part but the no coffee part. I searched high and low and low and high. The closest they have to coffee is instant coffee sold in grocery stores. Yes, the have cappucino and espresso and those types of drinks but I’m talking good old fashioned coffee. I was mortified and to be honest my mornings were all screwed up. I even broke down and bought a jar of instant coffee for about $13 US Dollars. Now, I’m no coffee snob but this stuff was awful. So that was the end of that. I even went to Jerusalem where they had a Coffee Bean & Tea Company store. Yes, an American store in the heart of Old Town Jerusalem where Jesus Christ himself once walked. Surely they’d have coffee at the Coffee Bean & Tea Co. Did I mention the word “Coffee” is actually in the name of the store, “Coffee Bean & Tea Co.”? Well guess what?

NO COFFEE!! <–What? Is this some cruel joke played on American tourists? Ughh….

Picture taken with iPhone 4 and edited with Camera+

One of the things I loved most about visiting Israel was walking around Tel Aviv. The streets were alive with people, cafe’s, fruit stands, and plenty of benches to sit and take in the sites and smells. It truly is an amazing city and in many ways resembles what you’d find in America and/or Europe. I’ll have to admit I was a little cautious around the buses as they drove up and down the street. If nothing more than the simple fact that two weeks prior there was a bus bombing. I will say though, there were hundreds of buses going every which way. It’s obviously a very common form of transportation and the chances of you actually being near one should that happen again are slim to none.

[Slight Break For Tangent] I will say that after visiting, my fears about any type of terrorism or bombing or the like were grossly exaggerated due in part to our wonderful media outlets in America.

Picture taken with iPhone 4 and edited with Camera+ (Jake wearing Bibagogo Bib)

Anyway, what an amazing experience it was. With so much walking you had to have a stroller or carrier with you for the little ones. My feet were killing by the end of the day whether or not I was carrying one of the kids. Whenever you did get tired there was never a shortage of cafe’s to stop in to get a drink or something to eat. It reminded me so much of Europe in that sense. The cafe’s were bustling with people throughout the day. Some patrons would be sipping cappuccino (note, no coffee) while reading a book and others would be enjoying food among the company of their friends. It was something I so wished we had here in the States.

Picture taken with iPhone 4 and edited with Camera+

The impetus for our trip was actually to see my sister get married. My sister was born in Israel over 30 years ago and has been living there the last four. She met her husband in Israel and now call it home. Since I had lived in Israel (I’m older than my sister) this was my first visit back. It held special meaning for me. While I was not born in Israel (we moved there when I was one) I spent a good portion of my early childhood (or Toddlerhood) there and have many fond memories.

Picture taken with iPhone 4 and edited with Camera+

The wedding was spectacular! It was set on the rooftop of a very old building in the city of Yaffo. This is the same city where Noah’s Ark set sail. You remember? Yeah, all those animals in pairs climbed the ship and when the floods came it took off? Yeah, this is where it happened. Only this time there were no animals, no floods, and no Noah.

Everything about the wedding was amazing. This may sound funny but one thing stood out as very emotional for me. O was a flower girl and her job was to walk down the aisle throwing rose pedals from a little basket. I was standing at the Chuppah with my sister and the minute I saw O walking up the aisle I freakin’ lost it.

Yeah, like I cried.

I don’t know if it was the emotions of the whole wedding overall or what. I also think it was the fact that here was my daughter, who’s now old enough to partake in something like this, and actually is. One of the most significant things in my family’s life and my little baby girl, my princess, my everything is contributing. It’s a small contribution overall but a very large one for her and one that hit me over the head like a ton of bricks.

Call me a softy. Not in the, “He’s totally a fat dad.”, kind of way but more of the, “I’m so grateful I’m a dad one!”

Stay tuned for my next installment of DadStreet Goes To Israel.

 Jet Set Dadstreet

Mar 242011
 

There are many some things I actually do around the house. Cleaning the floors is not generally one of them. However, I have been known to turn on the vacuum from time to time. Fortunately, (the wife would argue different) I don’t find too many times when I need it.

Enter Hoover.

Hoover’s name is actually Cody but I don’t think they make a vacuum cleaner called Cody. I suppose I could’ve gone with Dyson since that’s what we have but Hoover is just a classic. Do they still make Hoover? Ummm…

Okay, I think that was officially just a tangent.

Anyway, Cody Hoover loves to wait just outside of O and Jake’s chairs while they’re eating. He’s just hoping for that little bit to be tossed on the floor. He’s such an animal! My favorite bib in the whole wide world is Bibagogo. Even on those occassions when those cheerios slipped past the Bibagogo’s pocket I know I have my faithful Hoover to do the dirty work!

Do you guys have pets? Do they help out with the cleaning?

I would be humbled and honored to have your vote for the Top 25 Daddy Blogger. You can vote daily should you be absolutely bored or just very nice.

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