5 Tips for Roadtripping with Littles

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I’ve gotten comments and questions over the years about taking road trips with children. It is no secret that Jake and I have taken road trips since before having babies and that we continued after they were born. In fact, unplanned as it was, Hadley had her first road trip at 1 week old and was an absolute champ.

Jake and I were in a long distance relationship for almost the entire first year of being together. I was studying in New York and he was working in New Hampshire. I was in Europe, he was still in New Hampshire. I was in New Jersey….you get the picture. It was not uncommon for us to drive the six hours (sans Europe) or meet half way to see each other during this time. That’s how it all began.

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circa February 2010. Jake and I had been dating for three months here and he had driven down for the annual February family birthday party. I was leaving for Ukraine for two months soon after this was taken.

Fast forward to marriage, a move to PA and our parents still living on the east coast, we continued that drive (ironically still six hours to New Jersey but now ten to New Hampshire).

First off, I am not going to lie and say that it is always easy to do these trips. Though, we DO have good trips very often. We have toned down the amount of trips we take yearly because it is just a lot to handle and accomplish. However, I don’t think road trips overall is going to ever be over.

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Secondly, I think some trips go really well and others are just going to be bad. Sometimes when a trip is planned is the same time a tooth is deciding to emerge. It might be when the toddler is learning independence or there is construction and an hour of unplanned travel time. There are so many factors that are outside our control. HOW we deal with them is what matters. Below are several tricks that we have learned over the years that help the trip go smoothER.

Please note that Jake and I do not have any experience traveling with kiddos over 2. So all of these tips are geared FOR young toddlers, infants AND newborns. Actually, bonus tip: newborns are super easy to drive with. They literally just sleep. The only hard aspect is that they need to be fed more often which results in more stops. Other than that, do the trips with the newborns!

  1. Plan around a sleep time. Generally speaking we plan our trips around the long nap time of the day or before bed time. We have done the “drive through the night” thing and it is just not for me. I applaud the parents who do that. We did that this past September with a baby who was not sleeping through the night yet and it took me about two days to recoup. To me, it was not worth it. (However, if you are driving 10+ hours, this might be in your best interest.)  I usually plan to leave an hour before nap time and they’re typically so mesmerized by the hum of the car or sights outside (I actually have no idea what it is, this is all my guessing >.<) that they fall asleep and nap! Leaving before bedtime works in our favor too because the time leading up to sleep is filled with dinner (which is a production in and of itself in the car!). 25025704_355908834873649_7499502542267613184_n
  2. Fill up your car with gas (and pee ahead of time.) This is not for your kids. This is for YOU and you might be laughing by now. But listen to this story: A fight of mine and Jake’s happened on a road trip (real talk). We were banking on Emmett napping in the car (see #1) and when he was finally napping the gas light on our car came on. We had just stopped not long before and we hadn’t thought to look at the gas tank. If we had, we would have known that the car was almost on empty and we would need to stop again. Needless to say, when we pulled over again for gas, Emmett was startled awake by the motion of the car subsiding and our “fool proof” nap plan was out the window.
  3.  Brings snacks and small activities. I think this goes without saying and you’re not looking at this one going “Lightbulb!” But I feel it is still worth mentioning. Our last trip was before Christmas and so we had our own family Christmas at home before we left. I stocked Emmett’s stocking (ha…stocked the stocking…ok…) with small activities for our trip. A small coloring book, a tin with magnets, a scratch pad, etc. They were fun SMALL toys that were new for him and inexpensive for us. As far as snacks, tiny snacks are great. When Emmett was about a year old, those puffs went a long way!IMG_6662
  4. Have a planned stop. This is not something we do much of in the winter because it is so cold. Our stops in the winter are mainly for some food or coffee. But if we take a trip in the summer, a fun thing to look forward to for all parties involved is a picnic at a rest stop. The meal is planned ahead of time and we are not at the mercy of a line at a restaurant or a new food employee (I know they need a first day and we’ve all been there, but when it takes 30 minutes to get three subs and your family is waiting for you in the car, you might find yourself wishing you’d stopped somewhere else!). 13737053_1735515886706268_1101868543_n
  5. Just drive. Ok, this is not a direct contradiction of #4. Please hear me out. Sometimes the baby is crying. The toddler is whining for something. All you can think is, “Get me out of this car!” But stopping only makes it that much further to your destination.  Sometimes you just need to drive and try your best to work things out in the car. I often end up in the backseat between both of our children. Emmett sometimes just wants to hold my hand or play with me and my presence next to Hadley calms her down. We have upgraded to an SUV which makes this more feasible to do. If you just keep driving, I promise you will get there ❤ 15538360_1301731136568676_1935945625224871936_n

It’s also a mindset, friends. Jake and I go, “OK, we are doing this. If this is a bad trip, we can just take a break from trips.” And, trust me, we have. 😀

What are you road trip secrets?

xo, bethany rose

2017: The Growing Moments

This is a continuation of last post’s 2017 highlights. However, I really did not want to call this the “2017 low-lights reel.” Instead God is working on my attitude this week in general, so why not put it to work here too?

2017 stretched us for the better though it definitely did not feel like that during. Here are [3] of those “growing moments”:

  1. Hadley’s Birth. Yes, this makes the top in both categories.  I really don’t want to drone on and on about this because I’ve talked about it before here extensively.  But going from a mom of 1 to a mom of 2 is NO JOKE. Everyone says these are the “motherhood trenches” but I feel like I needed a lot more than just that phrase to understand the intensity of  what life with 2 would be like. I love them. Fiercely. But man, has life changed all over again. At around 5 months I felt like we were finally getting into a groove but by no means does that mean it is easy! We still work hard at this everyday just trying to survive! So thankful to have my husband to do this alongside of!!IMG_0014.jpg
  2. My grandfather’s heaven birthday, August 4. My grandparents were/are grandparents to everyone. I have had the storybook set of them and have always been so beyond proud to say they are “mine.” So the end of his life hits our family hard. His love for God was undeniable and I know this separation is only temporary because of it. He is the first person I  have lost that was significantly close to me. I am so thankful for God’s grace as he prepared me and worked inside me to be more accepting of his death this past summer. I have always feared death and loss like this. But God has been so good and blessed our family throughout this time.  “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted…” Psalm 34:18
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  3. Jake’s job. Gosh, I don’t know where to start. First off the company he quit last April is the company that landed us here in western PA FIVE years ago. It helped pay off my student loans. It paid for our trips. It allowed me to be a stay-at-home-mom. It was a good job financially. But right after we bought our house (in March) and I was about to hit my third trimester of pregnancy, the job went south. I don’t need to go into it. But let me just say it took every ounce of me to not write an e-mail or make a phone call with rage seething out of me to his bosses. The way Jake got treated at the end was wrong and we knew it was time to quit. But, again, God is so good. Because right when that was happening there was a job opening up at a very amazing company here. He applied and was working there about a month later. The timing was amazing for many, many reasons. But it has allowed me to be a stay-at-home-mom still and has given my husband the opportunity to thrive in more of his talents and less work stress. He loves his new job so, so much!IMG_3092.JPG

So here is to 2018! And enough about the personal posts! What do you guys want to see on the blog this year!? Let me know below!

xo, bethany rose

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2017 : Top Five

2017 was a monumental year for our family but one I am grateful to put behind us. While it brought the birth of my sweet baby girl, it also was the final year for my grandfather. There were so many emotions and roller coasters Jake and I navigated together. It brought us closer together, stressed the importance of teamwork even more than we knew already and allowed us to experience the beginning of dreams we did not know existed.

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number 1. The birth of Hadley Rose. I was able to experience the natural birth I had hoped for with Emmett. Her birth was healing for me as I realized (due to it) that I had experienced some trauma after Emmett’s birth. Though shifting into life as a family of 4 was challenging (and still is often times!), we learned this year to slow down and take this year for what it is: a season.

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number 2. We bought our first home! What not many people knew a year ago is that Jake and I were contemplating leaving western PA. We were given the opportunity to move back to New England and really wanted to (mainly because of family). But it was through praying and researching for the potential move that we felt God calling us to stay put. We spent ONE day with a realtor here and bought the fourth house that we saw. This house is a haven and most importantly the one we call home. (We moved in March.)

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number 3.  Hawaii vacation. We had the awesome opportunity to vacation on Oahu with Jake’s parents. It was such a fun week complete with Hawaiian food, hiking, swimming and just being a family. What a beautiful island and place to be!

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number 4. We started to pursue new dreams. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, becoming a stay at home mom has granted me more opportunities and ways to pursue my dreams…sometimes dreams I did not even know I had. So what does this look like? For me it was photography and writing. I started my own small photography business taking family photos. My Instagram exploded (in my terms) from 500 followers last November to 3000 in less than a year. The real clincher was when I started making money off of some posts. Jake and I then decided to really give this Instagram thing a “go.” (Look out 2018!) For Jake he continued making his paint cans but also continued making drink openers. He also has another really, really huge idea but we are keeping that one a secret currently.

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number 5. Two week vacation. Since before Jake and I said “I Do” we have never had a full two weeks off together. Even though I taught for a couple years and had my summers free, Jake still had to work. We were blessed with an awesome week long honeymoon and several other week long vacations, but this year topped it time wise. Jake had off a total of 16 days in a row….perks of him working for a college and getting Christmas week off! We spent it mainly in NJ and NH visiting a ton of family and some we hardly ever get the chance to see. It was so fun and Emmett had a blast with all his cousins. He was without want of a playmate for 2 weeks. Thankfully since being home he seems to be doing all right overall ❤

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2017 was a huge year for us, but it was also very trying. I think I will share those moments next time! Until then, See ya 2017!

Hello 2018.

xo, bethany rose

Hadley Rose: month six

Half a year has passed since our beautiful daughter enter this world! I am always in awe of how time passes so quickly and the fact we remain in awe of this.

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This month has been good overall for Hadley. She has had some of her first bites of “food” and is not quite sure about it. She made a face at banana which made me slightly nervous. Like, what baby does not like banana?! But she seemed to enjoy banana mixed with apple and other things. I’ve chosen to only start her off with fruits and veggies and later on we will incorporate different hings in. I just want to do whatever I can right now to avoid her having any sensitivities like Emmett does/did.

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She got moved back to the office in a pack n play to sleep when both kiddos got sick just before Thanksgiving.  We tried putting her back in the crib once and she was not having it…..so our office is still being taken up by a little baby!

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Some Hadley Stats

weight: 13 lbs and 2 oz….she is tiny and in the 5th percentile.

height: 24.5″

diapers: size 2

clothing: She is in a mix of 0-3 and 3-6. Well…..nothing has changed……Her Christmas dress is 6-9 months but the bloomers are huge 😦

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What Hadley is up to:

-she is sitting! It is so cute to watch. It happened to quickly too!

-drama llama. This is what I call her at least once a day probably. She is a typical girl through and though!

-rolling. She definitely prefers to be on her back still though and I’ll find her rolling over to be on it.

-sleeps all night, but wakes for the pacifier several times a night. HELP!?

-trying some pureed foods!

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Hadley Photo Dump:

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Entering a New Year with Purpose (prayer calendar for your child)

~This post may contain affiliate links but all opinions are my own. I only promote what I love here. ~

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Being a parent means a lot of different things. It means being chef, playmate, ‘healer’ of booboos, listener and teacher. We knowingly teach our children daily, and often times, unknowingly as well (as I am learning quite well lately as my son repeats the last word of every sentence he hears!).

This is why when I was approached by Bear and Squirrel  to share this prayer calendar, I knew I had to do it. Ever since Emmett has been a baby we have made it a point to read to him the Bible and pray with him every single day. I know he did not understand at first, and honestly, he probably still does not get it 100%. But my son knows that we pray to Jesus, we believe in Jesus and Jesus is part of our lives each day.

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This calendar–I am SO excited about– because it is a prayer guide for parents on how to pray and encourage their children to pray. Each day has a specific prayer that relates with a Bible verse. The prayers are repeated every months (same prayer for January 1st, February 1st. etc.) So you are essentially focusing on 30 +/- prayers a month to pray with your child(ren).

Here is an example of one day: Day 17. Pray that they would walk in God’s truth and fear the Lord. Psalm 86:11

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Then there is a section dedicated to having a prayer buddy each month. You can include their photo, ways to encourage them and specific prayer requests to write down. This part might be a little young for my 2.5 year old, but I am thinking about doing it anyway and putting up photos of family members on it for him.

The calendar has 12 beautiful photos featuring the adventures of Bear + Squirrel. They are so colorful and fun. There is a fun fact included as well. I won’t spoil all the photos on here, so you’ll just have to take my word on it!

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If you are interested in buying this, and especially if you want it in time for Christmas, order it today!!! Here is a link to it: Bear + Squirrel Prayer Calendar 2018. 

xo, bethany rose

 

The R family | Butler-Freeport Community Trail

I’d like to introduce to you the person who has been one of the greatest sources of encouragement (along with my husband of course!) in my photography journey. We have been friends since we were eleven and then she moved to PA when we were 17. To PA, you say…well don’t you live there? Now I do! But we grew up in NJ together and then no where near each other for seven years until Jake’s job brought us back to the same area. It is so funny to me how God works.

Now we have children the same age and got to be pregnant together twice. How fun is that?

I was able to take their family photos this year and receiving their Christmas card this week with all the photos was the coolest thing! So without further backstory, here is her beautiful family 🙂

xo, bethany rose

The Beautiful Life of Grandpa Schmidt

His voice boomed across the living room every single time I made my way down the long hallway and into his presence. “Bethany Rose! How are you?” His words were continuously filled with authenticity and genuine interest in that question. He always knew how to make the conversation 100% about me without me ever feeling selfish or that I had forgotten to turn it around to him at some point.

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His summers were spent for twenty five years camping with either me or my younger siblings and cousin. He was always ready for something new. Whether it was boogie boarding in the ocean at the age of eighty or learning to ski at seventy, quite possibly beating me to the end of the mountain first.

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His hands created carpenter masterpieces and he thought into the future with each piece. Even though my son is only two, there can be found in our home a cross that has the name “Jesus” engraved throughout it. This cross is a known piece of art amongst our extended family. One was made for each grandchild and then his first great-grandson. They were or are to be given on each one’s wedding day. He knew that he would not be around when my son got married and so he made his early on and gave it to us.

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His love for his wife and family was paramount to most love I’ve witnessed on earth. There was gentleness and kindness. Patience and strength. A quietness that calmed the room and made people choose their words wisely. For with his age came more wisdom; wisdom that was evident of time communing with God.

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He and his wife prayed as though their lives depended on it, because for them, they did. Notebooks and photos, devotionals and scripture can be found as they prayed over people’s lives. I can see the work of God in my life because of these prayers and know my life is richer for it.

His home was home to many. There was rarely a holiday that it was just our family gathering together. It was common to meet people we did not know for the first time on Thanksgiving or Christmas. His home was a haven and people recognized the solace as soon as they entered.

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His music was his ministry and he played at churches across his section of Pennsylvania. He liked to pick the instruments you don’t hear much: the tuba and accordion. His musical talent has been carried down by most of us. I think in a sense he is the musical patriarch of our family.

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His trains were his way of entertaining and sharing what he loved. It was tradition to head down to his “train room” after we had piled our plates high with food and come out of our food comas. We would all gather on one side of the room as he pushed buttons and turned knobs and made his train display come to life. He would show us new parts of his train village as he proudly displayed his work of art. I remember when he decided that he was too old for it though and I stood in an empty room where his trains used to run. There was an emptiness in that space where I thought something belonged.

And I suppose that’s how we feel today. We are standing in an empty space where you used to be, looking around thinking that you still belong here.

But that’s not the end of this story, is it? I always imagine you looking down on us, smiling and saying softly, “Don’t cry for me. I am where I belong. If only you could see.”

Happy Birthday, Grandpa. We love you always. “Gone but never forgotten.”

xo, bethany rose