Memorial Day 2014

When I worked for the Girl Scouts a few years back and when we lived in Dayton the first time, one of my tasks was coordinating Girl Scout participation for the annual grave decorating at the Dayton National Cemetery.

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We have gone to some sort of Memorial Day observance every year since Kelsey was born but I was happy to be able to bring her out to this event this year. I think it is important for her to have some sort of foundation for understanding the sacrifices that others in her fathers line of work have made.

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I know that it was just fun to her to put the flags at the tombstones but it also gives us a moment to explain why we where doing it and that the flags doesn’t touch the ground, etc. Of course, there was also time to roll around in the grass and do a letter scavenger hunt while we waiting.

My husband’s grandfather was career military as was his father. What I think is an interesting fact from his family is that everyone one of this aunts and uncles (there are 8 of them total) served for at least some time, as well. For me, I think the military is a sort of family tradition and would not be surprised if our daughters went into the service when they were old enough.

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The rest of the weekend we will just be a regular family enjoying some time together and hanging out with neighbors. It is good to remember those that do not have their family members with them anymore but it is also good to celebrate the family we do have.

What did your family do this weekend?

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Traveling with Two Kiddos

“Yay, I’m going to visit family!” was my first thought when my parents and I made a group decision to fly me and the two girls, a 3 year old and a 6 month old, from Ohio to Florida for a visit. “Oh, wait a minute. How do I do it by myself?” was my second.

Answer: By thinking ahead and utilizing what we had. All of our flights would be less than 2 hours but we had to have layovers. Here is what I did. It worked out pretty well, overall, so hopefully it will help you on your first trip with more one child.

This is how NOT to pack.

This is how NOT to pack.

What should I think about when booking seats?

If you have a child under two years old (flying domestic) you don’t have to pay for a ticket but can fly riding on your lap. You won’t however, be able to sit in the exit row or one row in front or behind it. Personally, I opted for sitting as far back on the plane as possible so I would be near the restrooms and also have a little standing room if need be. Thankfully, I didn’t need either on this trip.

There are pros and cons to this. Sitting in the back usually means getting on the plane first but I believe most airlines will allow people traveling with small children to board towards the beginning anyways. It’s good because you can get everyone situated and get your bag(s) into the overhead compartment while there is still space. Plus, time for a photo op, of course. Downside here is that there is more time to have to keep little corralled into little seats.

Another thing to consider is leaving yourself ample time between flights if you have a layover. I found it easier to wait until just about everyone was out of the back rows to get my bags and baby loaded and then walk off without worrying about running into people. Of course, this will have you taking a little longer to get off the plane before getting to your next gate.

What gear should I use?

While at certain moments I wished I had something else, I was happy with my choices overall. I took a  soft structured carrier, a ring sling and a small collapsable stroller. If you only have one type of carrier, it will all still work out.

Soft Structured Carrier – for carrying my 6 month old through the airport. One airport didn’t make me take her out. Side note: Whomever is carrying the baby at security will likely get there hands swabbed and tested because it happened when my husband was holding her and when I was holding her at a different airport. Very handy for keeping her secure while having my hands free for bags, snacks and my three year old.

Ring Sling – I mostly used this one on the plane. I put it around me and my 6 month old since I figured she’d likely fall asleep while nursing and I felt it would be helpful in keeping her cradled on my lap during the flight. At the start of my last leg of travel an attendant told me that I couldn’t have her tied to me during take off and landing, which I don’t quit understand but it’s easy to work around. I got the sling into the normal position then just took it off over my head so I could put right back on while we were in the air. I don’t typically nurse with a cover but the extra material on the sling helps as a cover or a sunshield.

Small or Umbrella Stroller – If I was just flying with the baby, I likely wouldn’t have brought this along, but it came in handy with both children. At certain points, it held the baby so I could put shoes on or eat. Other times, it was a luggage carrier to toss my backpack on, plus smaller bags were always in the undercarriage. Most of the time it held my 3 year old in as we walked from gate to gate. She was capable of walking but it was piece of mind for me to strap her in and go and not worry about her getting separated from me or having her veer off into a store because something caught her eye or try to hop on the luggage carousel. Plus, it was easy to maneuver with a smaller stroller and fold it up at the end of the ramp and have it returned to you when you got to your next stop. The caveat here is that I was visiting family that picked up a larger stroller for me to use while we were in town if needed. There are stroller rental programs at many locations if you think you’ll need it but I used the same carrier/small stroller arrangement all through Disney World and made out just fine (you can’t take the stroller in most of Disney World and other large amusement parks anyways).

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What should I bring for the kids and how should I carry it?

I ended up going with three bags. We were allowed 4 carry on bags since we purchased a ticket for me and my 3 year old but I only have so many hands.

Bag #1 – The huge backpack. Held my laptop, cords, DVD player, extra snacks, birth certificates, small blanket, diapers, etc. It went in the overhead compartment during the flight. (Our DVD player only works while plugged in so I saved it for while we were at the airport to keep my preschooler corralled since she loves her favorite cartoons. I know that this is not the preferred entertainment for everyone but it worked for me.)

Bag #2 – Baby and in flight essentials. Wipes, burp cloth, toys on a string for the baby, water bottle (filled from the fountain after we went through security), etc. This went under the seat in front of me and basically held what I wanted at arms reach without there being too much in there to dig through.

Bag #3 – Kelsey’s bag. She has a small backpack which she loves to wear anyways so this was her responsibility. I packed it with small puzzles I found a while back, a couple lacing cards with string, a few board books that were mainly pictures so she could use them by herself, a coloring book and crayons in a tin, and snacks that I was ok with her having at any time like goldfish crackers, baby carrots, raisins and fruit strips. I tried to pick food that she would need to do some chewing with and got her to eat them during take off and landing to help with the ear pressure. Everything was small so it would fit on the lap tray or just on the seat next her so everything was in reach.

What about crying babies?

The best advice I found for babies is to nurse or be given a bottle during take off and landing. Nursing* worked for us and had the added perk of working out just right so she slept through most of the flying and then got to stretch out on the floor on a blanket between flights. As I mentioned above, a purposefully brought some items, like baby carrots, along for take off and landing times to get my 3 year old to do some chewing. Healthier than gum and I didn’t have to worry about her swallowing it or it falling out of her mouth.

*A note on nursing on airplanes: Delta had taken some social media heat shortly before our trip. However, I did not have any issues. I would review the policy for your airline but generally, you can nurse where ever you are allowed to be. A big thanks to the people out there that sat next to me and simply averted there eyes (not that there was anything to see) and enjoyed the quiet flight.

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Lessons learned:

  • Ask for wings and to meet the captain. I mentioned as we were getting on our first flight that it was both of the girls first time on an airplane. I assumed the attendants would bring them wings or say something about seeing the cockpit but nothing. On the second flight, I asked for the wings and the attendant got us some and my 3 year old thought it was the coolest thing. However, I waited until we were on our way off to ask about seeing the cockpit but the cleaning crew was already working on the front end of the plane so they said no. On our return flight, I was having trouble getting the stroller folded up so an attendant asked if it was ok if she watched Kelsey for me since I was wearing Aubrey. As I was still struggling with the stroller, which usually only takes a second, she asked my daughter if she wanted to meet the captain and whisked her away. Jaw drop. Of course, by the time I got in there, they were done and people were coming down the ramp so no photo op for me. Lesson: Just ask for what you want, they aren’t mind readers but they will usually try to make kids happy.
  • Check and check again. I thought I caught a whiff of something coming from Aubrey’s diaper while we were waiting at the airport but I had just changed her diaper and see seemed happy plus she’s kind of becoming known for a stinky toots. We were all settled on the plane (the one were I was fighting with the stroller already) with people starting to fill in when I smelled it for sure. There was a number 2 in there and it needed to be dealt with. I decided to try to change it quickly on the seat since the third person from our row hadn’t arrived yet. Of course that is when Aubrey pulled out her most impressive alligator rolling and there I was fighting with a baby to get her changed without getting poop anywhere while I was being asked over the speaker to get in my seat and someone put their bag where I had had mine before. Ugh, not my best moments. Some people were trying to be helpful but just getting me more flustered. Lesson: Get a visual, and there has to be a better place than the seat to change a diaper on a plane if you really need to.

 

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Tea Collection’s Memorial Day Sale!

Tea Collection’s Memorial Day Sale: Dresses, Leggings, Pants, Shorts and Tees

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

 

It is here! Not only is this weekend the official start to summer, but it is also Tea Collection’s Memorial Day Sale! Starting today (5/23), and running through Monday (5/26), sweet summer dresses start at $15, patterned or plain girls’ leggings are only $12, surf and sand-inspired tees for boys are just $12 and adventure-ready boys’ pants and shorts start at $15! What a great opportunity to outfit your little citizen for a summer full of parties and play-time! And with all of these great deals, you can finish all of the kids’ summer clothes shopping and be stress free and poolside for the weekend.

 

Giveaway Round Up! (May 2014)

Check out some giveaways going on around the web.

Click the image above.

Click the image above or here to enter the Intentionally Me Hand Stamped Jewelry Giveaway!  Winner will win a $150 store credit for Intentionally Me Hand Stamped Jewelry. Contest ends July 31, 2014.

 

 

Sally Beauty Supply is celebrating 50 Years of Beauty by giving a special someone the opportunity to win up to $5,000 cash. Click here to enter.  Not only will the Grand Prize winner receive cash, but The Winning Nominator of Grand Prize will receive a $200 Sally gift card, Top Five Voted Finalist (5) will each receive $1,000 cash, Finalist Nominees (50) will each receive a $50 Sally Gift Card, and each of the five (5) Weekly Spotlight Selection winners will each receive a $50 Sally Gift Card. In addition, anyone who visits the site can get a $3.50 off $10 coupon. Nomination ends June 22nd, Voting ends July 20th.

 

 

Enter today, click here, for the chance to win 4 tickets to Busch Gardens® Tampa, where the new Falcon’s Fury™ drop tower is waiting for you! Open to Florida residents only. Contest ends May 25, 2014.

*Post contains affiliate links. Domesticating Michelle is in no way associated with these giveaways or prize fulfillment.*

A Day at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The USO of Central Ohio, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Pepsi, and Kroger partnered to donate 10,000 tickets to the opening weekend of Zoombezi Bay, a water park on the grounds of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, to military members and their families. I know we were thrilled to find out about this great offer and I know lots of other families were, too.

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As much as I was looking forward to it, mid-60 degree weather was just a little too chilly for us to enjoy the water but thankfully it included entry to the zoo and aquarium as well. Turns out sunny and a little cool is great zoo weather! We had a great day and it was really nice to be able to take Kelsey to see the animals, since she loves looking at them and take Aubrey to her first time to a zoo.

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Not only is there the zoo, but there is an aquarium, a separate area with amusement rides, and, finally, the water park, Zoombezi Bay. We’ll definitely have to try to make it back since they are opening their Heart of Africa exhibit this coming weekend which happens to be my favorite area, as far as zoo animals are concerned. Check out Columbus Zoo and Aquarium online for tons of other events, programs, and information.

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I can’t thank businesses enough that give military families these types of opportunities. If you are military, find your local USO on Facebook so you can find out about activities in your area (Sesame Street should be coming here next month!). If you are near Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, I would recommend checking them out – Military Family Free Days June 30-July 6, 2014.

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Tea Collection Memorial Day Referral Event – Win clothes!

Tell Your Friends About Tea Collection and Win 10 Summer Styles
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Have a lot of friends looking for summer fashions?

Telling the world about Tea Collection is easy — unique, global designs for kids and affordable prices — and now doing so could win you 10 of their Memorial Day styles! Enter to win the Tea Collection Memorial Day Referral Event by just liking Tea Collection on Facebook and you could win a Tea Collection wardrobe set (valued up to $149)! Then tell your friends about Tea Collection and you could win 10 of their Memorial Day styles! Imagine finishing all of your kid’s clothes shopping for the summer in one sweep! On Wed. 5/21 (at noon PT), the person with the most referrals will win 10 Memorial Day items (dresses, pants and shorts starting at $15 and $12 leggings and boys’ tees) and the next three people with the most referrals will win 5 Memorial Day styles. Not only do the winners get free clothing, but they also get the first pick from this incredible summer sale and set themselves up to be stress-free and poolside that much sooner. What are you waiting for? Shout it out to the world: outfit your little citizen for the season of the sun at Tea Collection!

Good Bye School Year, Hello Summer: Five Below Giveaway and Hello Summer Blog Hop

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The end of the school year will be here before we know it. Kelsey’s preschool is through the local school district so they will be breaking over the summer. She has only been there since January, but her teacher and all the faculty have been great and she has learned so much. I want to give them a token of my appreciation for taking such good care of her.

I headed to my local Five Below for some teacher gift ideas. Five Below has tons of items, from games, to arts and crafts sets, to apparel, etc. You name it, they may very well have it. They also have a lot of seasonal items so right now they have a great selection of summer items like floats, water toys, and all the summer essentials. The best part is that everything is $5 or less.

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I finally decided that tumblers would be nice. Great for the summer and the car and I knew I’d be able to find or make some cute printables to go with them. I let Kelsey pick out one for her teacher and the aides in her room. I intend to pick up some single serve ice tea packets to put in them and I found these adorable tags from Lisa Storms that I think I will be using. Hopefully, they are practical without being candy or a plant that needs to be taken care of. Plus, we picked three different ones so if they all happen to bring them in on the same day they won’t get mixed up.

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The folks at Five Below want to help you get ready for summer, too! Whether you need an end-of-the-year teacher gift or some summer party supplies (I also got some paper umbrella picks and water balloons) or anything else for your summer camper, Five Below is for you. They aren’t nationwide yet, so you may want to check if there is one near you, first. Then, enter below for your chance to win a $25 gift card! Then, keep scrolling to check out the Hello Summer Blog Hop! #HelloSummer

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Contest ends May 27, 2014, 11:59pm. Winner will be notified by email and have 24 hours to claim their prize. Must be 18. US only.

*I was not compensated for this post but Five Below is providing the prize which will be fulfilled by Domesticating Michelle. All opinions are my own.*

Hello-Summer

Welcome to the Hello Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network. The days are getting longer and hotter and we’re saying Hello to Summer in fun giveaway style! Beat the heat and hop around to all the participating bloggers’ giveaways at the bottom of this post. And don’t miss out on the fabulous Summer Vacation Savings Account Grand Prize sponsored by Outski!

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So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Hello Summer participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

 

 

 

 

 

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