Toddler Travel Tips: Brace Yourself + Have A Drink

Optimistically or naively, we decided to take our first official family vacation (or trip as some of my wiser mama friends have told me – vacation is just the two of you) to Maine. This meant a two flight journey there and back (four flights total) with our strong-willed two and a half year old toddler. I know, I know, you probably think we’re crazy…jury’s still out. The trip was a roller coaster in the sky with ups and downs, but certainly a trip we will never forget. 😆 After flying with our sweet and spicy W (tantrums on the floor and all 😱😱😱), here are my tips for traveling with a toddler (tyrant):

Invest in Delta Comfort (or 1st Class)

  • Feel free to apply this to whatever airline you choose — just choose one that offers some kind of upgrade 😃 First things first, there are drinks for mommy and daddy. 🙌🏼 Second, it’s closer to the front and you have more leg room (especially nice for the tall hubby). We chose aisle 10, which is the first seat behind first class, to ensure even more leg room and the closest seat possible to the front.
  • While the ticket may be a bit pricier (not wildly different from coach), is there really a dollar figure to keep you sane? Exactly. 😜

Buy a Jetkids

  • This little invention is definitely worth the investment. It’s a BOGO — a riding suitcase + airplane bed. Need I say more! W was definitely the talk of ATL – everyone from flight attendants to travelers asked about this amazing contraption. It kept him busy and entertained, provided a fun ride, storage for toys and books and a bed on the plane. Now, if they only made these for adults 👌🏼

Sky Club It

  • If you have a long layover (we had a 2+ hour layover), do yourself a favor and go straight to the Sky Club (or airline equivalent). It is much more safe and intimate than the gate and provides a welcome change for parents and toddler.
  • Outside of the food options, coffee, juice and water, there are complimentary adult drinks to help you deal with toddler travel. I enjoyed some white wine, while the hubby partook in Bloody Mary’s. Another win, the private bathrooms with a nice changing table and plenty of space for toddler play time. W enjoyed his time in the Sky Club and it paid off majorly, when he fell asleep on the flight. With a Delta Platinum Amex, it’s $29 per person. Best $60 I’ve EVER spent.

Tire Them Out

  • First, make peace with the fact that you will have two kinds of people to deal with: the sympathizers (those who have been in your shoes and totally understand) and the judgers (those who have selective memory or have never been in your shoes). Once you have come to terms with that, focus on your give zero f$&@s attitude and let your kid run wild in the airport, sky lounge or wherever. Trust me, this paid pay off BIG when he immediately passed out upon boarding the plane, sleeping for 2 hours. 👌🏼🙌🏼🙏🏼

Board LAST

  • When I travel for business I’m happy to board early with Gold Medallion. As a traveling mom, zone FAMILY (aka last to board) is a blessing in disguise. Our strong willed toddler is equally awesome as he is restless. We learned during our first flight that early boarding was not a good thing. He wanted freedom and was not interested in his seatbelt. Our second flight, we waited until last call, making the wait one before take off minimal. You live, you learn.

Gummy Bears FTW

  • This was a Pro Tip from my work wife BFF, KA who suggested gummy bears during taxi, take off and landing. As most kids don’t know how to pop their ears and can’t chew gum that young, gummy bears are a welcome treat that will keep your child occupied and chewing during critical flight times. Since W doesn’t often get to enjoy candy, this was a highlight for him and avoided any ear issues. Win, win.

Overall, travel days were better than anticipated. I set expectations low to then be pleasantly surprised. W is not scared of flying, which is awesome and between our four flights, the first was the toughest, but after that it was smooth-ish flying.

XO,

Ivette

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Motivation MOMday: Kimberly Hand

Motivation MOMday is back with one of my favorite mamas who is also an old friend. While we’ve traded clubbing for playgrounds, this Southern doll always keeps it real. Enjoy my dear friend Kimberly Hand’s profile and the sweet pic of her family. Hilton is a total ham 🙂

  1. Mom 411 – a little about you and your family: My husband and I met when I was 14 years old! We were high school sweethearts and of course soul mates! Jason joined the Navy in 2000 and we were married in July of 2002. Right after we got married we moved to Washington State and then to California where he finished his Navy career in 2006. We knew we wanted to move back to the South, so we packed up and found ourselves back in the best town, our hometown of Thomasville! We were blessed to find jobs pretty quickly and started spreading our roots back down South. In July of 2015 we were blessed in finding out that we were having a baby. On March 28, 2016 we welcomed a happy and healthy baby boy into our lives! Boy….we had no idea how amazing and full our hearts would become.
  2. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by: I saw a saying once that I love…. Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own. To teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is… and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.
  3. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity: Love to escape for a girls day with my beautiful mom and go shopping.
  4. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom: Judgy moms….we are all trying to be the best mom we can be, we may all have different opinions on things, but in the end aren’t we all in this together?
  5. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention: Love any kind of good app, or anything to help keep organized.
  6. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance: I work in the fast paced environment of advertising, however, it’s so important to have a good work/life balance. You have to set time for yourself and your family! It’s hard at times…but you learn how to adjust.
  7. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships: I’m blessed with some pretty bad-to-the-bone friends…I definitely have an awesome tribe of mom friends, as well as single friends! They all help get me through this fun thing called life.
  8. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational: I think my main mom goal is to continue to be there for my family! It’s hard at times when you are a working mom to balance work, family and friends. However, at the end of the day when I look at my life, I want my son to continue to see me as a strong woman and know that I gave him my all!
  9. Mom-cation – Dream vacation: Would love a mini escape to somewhere tropical…but who wouldn’t want that?!
  10. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you: Hilton isn’t old enough to ask him how he feels about me yet. If I had to guess I would say he thinks I’m silly and make him laugh a lot! He would probably also say that I give really good hugs…but I kiss him on the face a lot and squeeze him which embarrasses himJ

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Tips for Working Mamas on the Road

I’m sitting on a plane. This is my 23rd flight of the year and I’ve logged in 22,700+ sky miles. While I love my job and traveling for it, I’m a mom too and there is always some level of guilt associated with being away from my son and husband. I especially feel bad because my husband doesn’t ever travel for work, so he’s always playing single dad, while I’m jet setting.

I know I’m not alone in the juggle and hustle of being a working mom, so I wanted to share some tips on how I parent from afar and stay connected with my family.

  1. FaceTime, Not Just Phone Time

Thank you, sweet baby technology. What would working parents who travel do without you? But seriously. We are so incredibly lucky to live in a time where a video phone call is possible. I can’t imagine traveling as much as I do and not being able to FaceTime with Westley. A FaceTime call is so much more special and it makes me feel like I’m part of his evening routine. I can hear about his day, make silly faces and see him in his PJs before he goes to sleep. He gets to see my face and I get to see his and give the screen kisses. It’s my No. 1 way to stay connected and close to Westley. I also get to see Sam, which is a bonus J

  1. Pics on Pics

This may just be me, but I LOVE a photo. A photo of Westley is worth its weight in gold. I already have thousands of photos of him in my phone (current photo roll count 6,762 and at least 5,000 feature W), which I scroll through on the regular while traveling. During my travels, Sam keeps me pretty up to date with all of Westley’s adventures with action shots, videos, etc. One of my favorite pictures I’ve ever received (a series really) was W eating my baked ziti, stuffing his face with a big ole smile and literally licking the plate. It brought me so much joy to witness him enjoying a meal I made especially for them to have while I was away. So a steady stream of photos and visual updates is a must to keep this working mama happy.

  1. Wake Up Call

No matter the time zone, I always start every day with a morning call with Sam to hear all about how Westley did the night before, his morning, etc. We time it so I call Sam right as he is leaving daycare and on his way to work for a full report. Some times it’s a very early morning, but to me it is the very best way to kick off my day.

  1. Digital Daycare

Westley has a phenomenal group of teachers at his daycare and my little charmer has definitely stolen their hearts. I’ve always made it a point to get to know all of his teachers because let’s be honest, he spends more time with them during the week than he spends at home. I feel very confident leaving him at daycare because the team there truly cares about the kids. So much so, that when they know I travel, they are more cognizant of Westley’s behavior, if he is spending longer hours there or coming in earlier because of my husband’s work schedule, their main priority is keeping W happy…and they succeed. I also keep in touch with his teachers via Facebook Messenger – they send me updates and photos. It’s awesome and makes me feel more connected.

  1. Just Say No

Once becoming a mom, I have set certain rules up for myself to keep my travel in check. Sometimes I fail miserably and have back-to-back travel, but for the most part I try and stay away no more than three nights in a row and try and avoid trips that stack up. I’ve also learned to say no more than I did before having a child. Sometimes a trip is not feasible and will be an issue for my family, so in that case I have to say no. Luckily, I have a great work family with a lot of moms who get it and clients who also are mindful of my work life balance attempt.

  1. Digital Detox

I rarely travel on weekends, so weekends for me are all about family. There is honestly nothing else and no one else I’d rather be with than Sam and Westley. So part of my being present is disconnecting from emails on weekends (I check once a day for a quick skim to ensure no client crisis have occurred). I also try and put my phone away as much as possible, although I still use it for photos and to check social media because it’s something I enjoy. Being present and not spending time checking email makes my weekends feel more free and 100 percent focused on my little family.

As my good friend Heidi Floyd put it, it’s all about the work life integration. And at the end of the day, it’s about making it work for you and your family – whatever that may look like. Would love to hear from you with any other tips!

XO,

Ivette

Mom Hacks: Amazon Prime Music

First off, if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, then you’re missing out. Casa Faulkner is an Amazon household and Westley especially loves Alexa – the Amazon Echo. He talks to her all the time and says goodbye to our dog Lucy and Alexa every morning as we head to daycare.

As first time parents, we have struggled with bedtime and creating some sort of a routine that realistically works for our family. With both of us working full time and me being on the road a good chunk of the time, we really never expected Westley to ever be asleep by 7pm. Our family usually gets home around 6pm and selfishly we’d like to spend some quality time together before calling it a night. Between bath time and dinner, 7pm would not be feasible, but we wanted to get to a point where he was asleep around the same time every night and it’s an enjoyable experience.

Enter – Amazon Prime Music. Not only is it included with our Prime Membership (best $99 you will ever spend a year), but also it has an amazing array of lullaby play lists and stations. I tried lullabies on a whim because we were having issues with Westley actually napping on weekends. One day I randomly thought about lullabies and looked it up on Amazon Prime Music and found the holy grail of lullabies…Disney Classics – instrumental versions of some of Disney’s best songs. The best part, of course, is that I know and love all the songs from The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World” to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” – basically 14 songs that each make me nostalgic and I sing in my head, while my toddler goes down. This was a game changer during nap time and transitioned seamlessly during bedtime, making the bedtime routine way more relaxing and enjoyable for this mama.

As with all things Disney (even lullabies), it’s magic. Westley has really gotten into these songs and looks forward to bedtime. Every night between 8 and 8:15pm, he tells us he is ready for “Night Night” and with that we say goodnight to Lucy, Alexa and Elmo, turn off all the lights, grab his “Leche” (milk) and lay down to the tunes of Disney. That along with our beloved white noise maker (which we also found and bought on Amazon…obvi) creates the perfect environment for our little guy to be out within 15 minutes.

It took us a while to get here, but we are thrilled that at least bedtime has become a fun and enjoyable time. With a toddler tyrant, you have to celebrate the little victories because you never know when the next tantrum will hit.

Happy Toddlering,

Ivette

Motivation MOMday Profile: Katie Ibarra

Happy First day of Spring and Motivation MOMday! Today I am featuring one of my oldest and best friends, Tia to sweet Westley and a fierce and fab mom – Katie Manning Ibarra. Katie was my go to mama when I was preggo, she told me all the stories no one else tells you (especially about The After Birth…), helped me maneuver through the overwhelming task that is the baby registry and continues to be a soundboard for all things mommy hood. She has an adorable daughter, Bella, who also happens to be our Goddaughter and one of Westley’s favorite people in the world. Enjoy her take on being a mama!

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

We are The Ibarra Family: Chris, Katie and Isabella. Chris and I have been married for 5 ½ years and have a headstrong, sassy, fierce 3-year old daughter!

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

“Dear God, Please Give Me Patience”

Isabella is what we call “strong-willed.” I can’t wait to see how kick ass that will be when she is an adult. However, the path to adulthood is filled with independence and stubbornness as a child.

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity 

I insist on having lunch by myself once a week: Just me, my Kindle and some food. It is absolutely refreshing to not have to do anything or speak to anyone for an hour.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

When Bella says she needs to potty and then suddenly no longer has to potty once seated on the toilet. It’s tough because I don’t feel like I can call her bluff just yet. So for now, we go to the potty.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention 

When Bella was a baby, my best Mom Hack was Amazon Mom. Their discounts on diapers and wipes were unmatched and the subscription service just makes diapers and wipes one less thing to worry about.

My Mom Hack to a 3-year old is: Snacks and Netflix. We have a 25-30 minute drive to and from daycare from Monday to Friday. Snacks and Netflix give me a little bit of peace at the beginning of my day and at the end of my workday. If Bella is fed and entertained when we are in the car, I have a few minutes to prepare for the next step in our day.

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance 

I do work full-time so Bella is in daycare during the day. During the week, we are in work/school mode. During the weekend, I do my best to plan fun activities for us to do together. I am a firm believer in family time and family vacations. But, for my own personal sanity, I have been known to play “Parent Hooky” and drop Bella off at daycare, while I spend the day at home resting and relaxing.

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships 

I would say that the Captain of my Mom Squad is my own Mom. She’s the first person I call when I need parenting advice. The rest of my Mom Squad includes my friends Michelle and Catherine. They both have children older than my daughter and have already experienced all of the phases that I encounter with Bella. They are my friends, my parenting mentors and my sounding board.

Having a child changes so many aspects of your life – your friendships are no exception. I have been fortunate enough that the majority of my friendships have only grown stronger with parenthood. Girls nights out have become mommy mornings at the park or playtime at Sky Zone. Sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood with your closest girl friends is just another way to strengthen your bond.

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

My parenting inspiration comes from my own parents. Looking back on my childhood, I have so many fond memories of adventure. My parents were spontaneous and fun. We traveled all the time – even if only to the Keys for the weekend. My father would create these challenges and my brother and I would rise to the occasion. We biked, snorkeled, fished, swam… There wasn’t much we didn’t encounter as children. I have so many great memories filled with love and laughter. My parents just had so much love to share. Not one person came into my parents’ house without becoming an immediate “adopted child.” There was always room and always food and always time. I am forever grateful to my parents for the way my brother and I were raised. I want that for Bella. I want her to travel, to experience spontaneous adventures, to be challenged, to volunteer, to have laughter, to have unconventional traditions that she will always remember, to be brave, to be open-minded, to be loving, and most of all, to be loved unconditionally.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation 

I don’t know that I have one specific place in mind for a Mom-cation. I kind of want to do it all! However, I think I want our family travels to stay within the United States. Traveling abroad is great, but I think that there are hundreds of places in our own country that I want our daughter to see. I would say my top 5 are: New York City, The Grand Canyon, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia.

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Yep. Totally forgot to do this one!

If you’re interested in being featured in an upcoming Motivation MOMday, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com!

Motivation MOMday Profile: Heidi Floyd

Happy Motivation MOMday! This week, I’m featuring one of my sweetest friends —  a fellow PR Pro who juggles media relations and mom hood on the daily. Hope you enjoy her mama advice.

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

Wife to one handsome dude named Keith / Raising 3 littles in the south with the sweet tea and green grass – Grayson (4), Oliver (3), Lucy (1)

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a no.

 

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity

 

Coffee. In Silence.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

Sanctimommies.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention

    GROCERY DELIVERY!!!!!!

 

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance

 

Lucky to do a job I love (head operations for healthcare PR firm based in NJ), and do it from home where I stay connected to the littles. I don’t believe in work/life balance – work/life integration makes working and raising babies possible in my world.

 

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships

As necessary as air. To the tribe of women who keep me grounded, honest, and upright – you have my heart, and all the gratefulness I can muster.

 

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

 

Throw kindness around like confetti.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation

Machu Picchu.

 

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Grayson — “I like that you build electronics with me. And you give me apples. Oh, and you love flowers. I will pick you all the flowers.” #winning

 

 

 

 

The Law of the Modern Jungle

When we were kids, we were in a huge rush to grow up, thinking adulthood was where we wanted to be. And now that we’re here, it doesn’t involve nearly as many jet skis and margaritas as I was hoping it would. It’s cold in these streets, but here’s my top 5 list of pointers for making it work:

  1. Be mindful of how you occur in social media.

Going viral isn’t always a good thing. It can sometimes mean this or it can mean blowing up your life with a stupid tweet. Just ask Justine Sacco.  Accidents can happen, but the consequences of making bad choices- especially after a few cocktails- can linger.

  1. Talk to your children about how they interact in the digital world.

It’s not just a matter of cyber safety, which is still a real issue. Your children’s conduct online can affect your entire family in more ways than one.

  1. Watch your side hustle.

Look at your own social media feed.  What would a stranger see?  Is it all MLM sales pitches?  Are all of your “friends” just contacts for skin care, essential oils, and body wraps? Is your side hustle kosher with your day job?  Many employers have secondary employment rules.  Did you clear that up front?  If not, you could be subject to disciplinary action. Stories like thisthis, and this are embarrassing and could negatively affect your reputation, if not your career.

  1. Whether it’s personal or not, it’s all personal.

Declaring an account to be “personal” doesn’t immunize you from the consequences of your content. A County Councilman in Maryland ran his mouth off on Facebook.  He then had to learn a hard lesson about boundaries in public.  Then he had to issue a very public apology.

  1. Make good choices when it comes to textual intercourse.

Just because a photo of an intimate nature is locked in your password protected phone doesn’t mean it’s safe.   You may remember this story of the massive phone hacking which resulted in hundreds of celebrities’ nude photos being leaked on the internet.  The perpetrator in that case was caught, but it took two years to bring him to justice. Shared iCloud accounts are a new frontier in catching cheating spouses, handing divorce lawyers all the ammunition they need to take to court (including one iconic couple for those of us of a certain generation). Whether you’re married or single, it’s worth bearing in mind that 1) hacking happens and 2) you lose control over these photos once you send them to someone else.   Remember the “Cookie’s cookies” incident on a recent episode of “Empire?”  We can’t all bounce back as easily as she did.

Alexis Lambert is an attorney, endurance athlete, and curator of funny things on the internet. Her hobbies include power vinyasa yoga, SoulCycle, PureBarre, and GoRuck.  Her fantasy girl squad would include Morticia Adams, Ouiser Boudreaux, Emily Gilmore and RuPaul.