Traveling with Babies: Our Hacks

Ok... yes, this is another one of those posts about traveling with kids. BUT, these kinds of posts have been so helpful to Matt and I as we have learned how to travel with Asa. He will be 8 months next week and so far we have visited Kansas City, St. Louis, Arizona (x2), Vermont, and a few other local places that are within a day's drive. 

We obviously are not experts, but there are some hacks I have learned along the way that I really think are lifesavers and I wanted to share them with you all. 

1. PACIFIER CLIPS. All the pacifier clips. My sister in law recommended this to me and it has SAVED us. Especially on flights, we attach Asa's toys to pacifier clips so he cannot repeatedly throw them on the ground or at the people sitting next to us. Some you can even clip to the tray table, depending on the type. You can get pacifier clips pretty cheap online, we have these and love them. 

2. CAR SEAT CART. We bought a used Graco cart that we loved. Since Asa wasn't using a stroller yet, we just pushed him around in this at our location. It was also great to not have to carry the car seat and we were able to load our bags on top of it since we carried him in the Ergo anyways (see next point).

3. ERGO. While we had the cars seat and cart, I just carried Asa in the Ergo. I fear this time is coming to an end because he is getting so wiggly, but it was much easier to get through security this way. 

4. UMBRELLA STROLLER. Now that Asa is getting bigger and doesn't want to sit in his car seat, we got this J is for Jeep umbrella stroller through Wikibuy* (here). While it means we now have to carry the car seat, we usually just check it at baggage claim anyways.  This stroller is light and easy to take just about anywhere.

5. SNACKS AND FOOD POUCHES. My kid is constantly eating. We're obviously related. We love teething wafers (like these) and food pouches (these, for example) that are easy to eat on the go and require minimal clean-up!

What travel hacks have been your lifesaver? 

*Wikibuy did send us this stroller for free in exchange for mentioning them in this post. However, all opinions are my own, and this is a product that was on our "to-purchase" list anyways. Wikibuy simply helps you find the best price for the product you're interested in purchasing.


2018 Sedona Marathon 10K Review

Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Sedona Marathon 10K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

This was my third year participating in the Sedona Marathon Series Race (10K). You can read last year's review HERE and 2016's review HERE. Last year I was 21 weeks pregnant during the run, so this year felt much easier overall!

Packet Pick-Up
There was a new packet pick-up location this year that was much more accessible and had better parking, in my opinion! Had the weather not been so nice (70s), it would have been a little cold as the packet pick-up and expo were in a large outdoor tent. As usual, everything was very clearly marked and easy to find. We enjoyed checking out some of the vendors as well.

The shirts this year were the basically same as the last few years, but kind of a tan color instead of the white and blue from previous years. They are nice shirts and I still wear mine from previous years quite often! No other swag was included but there were some vendors at the expo. The information booth was stocked with at on of important information where you could get any last minute questions answered.

Parking and Accessibility
This year we rode a shuttle to the race start from our hotel. Last year we drove to the start and parked and we have decided that the shuttle is definitely the way to go. Accessibility was tricky this year because the race is getting so large. It was really hard to get from the shuttle drop-off to the race start because of how many people were there.

Race Management
The race was well-managed, as usual. The starts were timely and everything you needed on race day was available. However, as mentioned above, crowd management was really poor this year. I think it's more a function of us outgrowing the space than anything. The aid stations were an improvement from last year  when you had to wait for water to be poured at some of the stations and others had fuel (e.g., bananas, gu) haphazardly placed on the table. We didn't use bag drop this year but in the past it has been efficient.

The hands-down best thing about this race is the scenery. Sedona can't be beat and I just love the course, hills and all! This race isn't for the faint of heart and hill training is important (I should probably take my own advice because I literally trained zero hills this year)! I love that the Sedona community comes out to watch the runners. They often bring along signs, funny outfits, and music which can really be a big help as some of the course is pretty desolate.

The medals were the same as those from the last few years and they're some of my favorite medals.

Overall, this race is a must simply because of the location. If you ever have a chance to visit Sedona and participate in this race, you won't regret it!

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Married without Kids to Married with Kids: Friendships

I had initially intended for this post to include my perspective at the time I started it (Married without Kids) and a friend's perspective (Married with Kids), however, it has just ended up sitting in my drafts forever. I had written the beginning of this post almost a year ago. So, instead of finding a guest for the second part, I am going to write it now that I am married with kids (even if he's only 7 months old). Enjoy.

Married without Kids
As I look towards June, I have been thinking a lot about how my friendships may change once I become a parent and how to prepare my friendships for this change. When many of my friends started to become parents, I started to feel really alone. Of course I was happy for them, but I also realized the implications of their new roles.  All of a sudden my once easily accessible friends became impossible to meet up with, rarely returned my text messages, and seemed completely distracted once we finally found a time to hang out together. Friendships I once treasured started to fade away. All of a sudden I became the "flexible" friend. I go 90 and you go 10.

I realize that parenthood is hard (of course my understanding is limited) and it's all about learning how to balance your child, marriage, and other obligations. I'm not trying to discredit that. Instead, I'm hoping to share my experience as someone on the other side of that friendship, the side of being married without kids so that maybe people in both seasons can understand the other side a bit better and strengthen their relationships as a result. I felt as if I became less valuable of a friend to my friends with kids and that's the feeling I absolutely don't want others to feel when I become a parent myself. I didn't know, and still don't know, what it looks like to be a good friend to my friends with kids. I'm not sure I have ever had a blatant conversation with a friend about this.

It's really important for me to stay relevant to my single friends and friends without kids once I become a parent. I realize my priorities will change and my schedule will be dictated by someone other than myself, but it's imperative to me that my friends don't feel the way that I did when my friends started to have kids. I don't want them to feel alone and I want them to know that even if our friendship doesn't look the same, I still treasure our friendship. I need our friendship. I can't promise that I won't sometimes talk about my kid or need our plans to be different than they might have been beforehand, but I can promise that I will be honest about where I'm struggling and I will try not to leave you out. I hope that I will be able to communicate with my friends when I'm struggling to balance everything so they know that it's not them, it's me. I hope I will be comfortable enough to invite my friends into these tough spaces rather than assume they don't want to be included or that I'm burdening them. I also hope that I can realize when my friends are going 90 for me, so that I can maybe try to go further than a 10 for them sometimes. So I can at least express appreciation even if I can't go more than 10. We're all trying our best here, right?

One year later... Married with Kids
Here I am, almost a year later, married with an almost seven-month-old! The transition to parenthood has been hardest on my marriage, if I am to be honest. We have had to figure out how to balance parenting, each other, our jobs, and our personal care (e.g., gym, time with friends). I feel like now that we have figured that out a bit more, friendships have returned to where they were pre-baby in terms of quality time (of course my friends my have a different perspective).

I have realized that, even after having Asa, my friends are still so important to my own mental and spiritual health. I need community to be a good parent. Sure, many of my friends ended up going 90 while I went 10 in the past few months, but I think we are returning to some sort of balance. It's natural for friendships to ebb and flow between who might need more at one time, and who might need more at another time. All relationships are that way. That's the beauty in having friends that stick with you through those times. You can pour into them when they need it, and they can pour into you when you need it.

In all honesty, I don't think the perspective I shared above has changed a whole lot now that I am a parent. I have realized, though, that finding the balance is harder for some than others so there are natural differences in my relationships because of that. I might see some friends with kids far more often than I see others, and that's alright for this season. I'm trying to practice more grace for others in these situations. The one thing that has changed, though, aside from my perspective, is simply the amount of time I have. I do have less free time on the evenings and weekends which has certainly limited the amount of time I can give to friends within those windows.

I am thankful to my single friends and friends without kids that have stuck with me through a time where maybe I needed a little more than I did before and wasn't able to reciprocate in the same way. Also, I might be guilty of talking about my kid too much, to be completely honest (sorry friends).

Which season, if either, are you in? What are your thoughts and feelings about friendships in your season?

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