Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Please excuse the crazy

It's official.  We've decided to take our whole family on all of the trips out for Bryan's interviews.  Am I excited?  Yes!  Am I going a little crazy?  Yes!  Truth be told, Bryan and I really haven't traveled much in our married life.  With the exception of a few very fun trips home to visit each of our parents on various occasions, one rather lame road trip to Las Vegas, and the California road trip fiasco, we really haven't gone anywhere.  Bryan is a student who, well, puts a heck of a lot more into his studies than someone else I know.  Ahem, that would be me.  Which means it's kind of a big deal for him to miss class.  Which means we are kind of homebodies.  Which means that I have practically no experience planning trips, let alone figuring out what to do with a one year old on an airplane all by myself for multiple hours on multiple flights. 

Sadly, it worked out cheapest for Bryan and me to fly separately on most of our flights, so I'll be going it alone with the big O on all but one of our trips.  Ayi yi yi.  (Or however you spell that.)  My sister is being nice and lending me a portable DVD player to keep Olivia happy (thank you!) which I couldn't be more thrilled about.  I am typically a no TV mom and, thus far, that whole bit of my take on parenting is going great.  But when it comes to keeping this busy little girl entertained for hours and hours on long, boring flights, I'm not above mellowing her out with some digital entertainment.  Bring on the Baby Signing Time and Disney movies.  It's all about sanity and happiness here, people.  The same kind sister who's lending us her bit of sanity has also suggested buying some toys at the dollar store before we go and getting one toy out each hour.  I plan to do this for our first trip and see how it goes.  If it works, back to the dollar store we go before our next trip.  If not, I'll have to try something else.  Any great ideas you'd like to share?  Because I'd like to hear them. 

Also, in case you didn't see it in the comments, thank you SO MUCH to all of you who left such fantastic, helpful comments when I asked you all about trying to figure out where to move.  You are all so nice!  I do try to share nice things for you all to make, but from time to time I think it's okay to shamelessly use my blog as a way to learn expert advice from all of you.  And expert advice is exactly what you gave me.  Speaking of which, Erica wasn't kidding about that Hertz #1 Club membership.  Free to join and it waives the underage fee.  Totally awesome.  And totally saving us a tush-load of mulah.  These are the kinds of things you share with me.  I really couldn't be any more grateful.  Thank you!  Thank you!  You are all so wonderful and nice.

Okay, so back to why I'm crazy.  Basically, I'm brand new at traveling.  And choosing a new place to live.  And all of these cities are brand new to both Bryan and me.  And it's not just the cities we need to research, but the schools too.  Oh, and did I mention the big O will be in kindergarten or first grade or something by the time we're done with wherever we go next?  Yeah, so it wouldn't hurt for the place we pick to be in a great public school district. 

Umm... hello!  I have no idea how to figure all that out.

So, in an attempt to curb the craziness, I did the only thing I knew to do: organize.  When I was going a little crazy trying to figure everything out a few nights ago I mentioned to Bryan that I needed to at least write down a few things to remember for the next day or else I'd be up all night thinking about those things, trying to make sure I wouldn't forget.  In response to this, he informed me that he's great at "relaxing his mind."  Uhh... thanks, honey.  I'm glad he can do this since, honestly, he's the one that deals with the more stressful part of our life (ya know, school, work, etc.), but I have not yet achieved this whole "relaxing the mind" technique.  At least not just by telling my mind to relax. 

I do it by organizing.  Everything.  Or at least everything necessary to be able to sleep at night.  I organize in different ways, but for this particular set of trips and all that they entail, the organizational method that has set in includes a small binder, some self-made folders/pockets to go in said binder, and 3x5 cards.  Lots and lots of 3x5 cards.  All color coordinated, of course.  I'm really not usually such a nit-picky person about most things in life, but when things start to stress me out my organizational nuts-o side tends to kick in... and kick in it has.  And I am happy to report that not only are my little folders highly functional and doing exactly what I was hoping for (letting me sleep at night), but they have also turned out to be pretty cute.  And super mega easy and simple to create.  I've been thinking about sharing a teeny tiny tutorial for you on how to make them, but then I never know if that would even interest anyone else.  I guess we'll see if I even have time for it.

Anyway, that's all I have to say right now.  If any of you have suggestions for traveling or tips for choosing a place to live or something like that, please do leave your comments.  Thanks!

12 comments:

Marilyn said...

My best advice is get a leash backpack for her. That way you can carry stuff with both hands and KNOW she's not gone. It is my best airport trick. Take a stroller too, but sometimes suitcases are in teh stroller, and the kid is walking, and you can have BOTH HANDS to do all the things you need.

Leash backpack. I swear it's such a mindsaver.

Bailey said...

I'm not sure if someone has mentioned this but the Chamber of Commerce should have Relocation Packets available. It will include all the need to to know info concerning median home prices and school stats and so forth. Good Luck and Well Wishes.

The Jessee Journal said...

FOOD is key to flight survival. Lots and lots of treats -- you know, those fancy gerber baby treats that you probably would never buy (esp. the dehydrated yogurt ones... um YUM!). If she starts crying a brand new exciting food could make all the difference. Be wary of little juices though. Even some of the teeny ones are bigger than the liquid allowance for carry-ons.

Katie said...

Thank you! And I would be all over the child leash for the airport, but, as of right now, Olivia isn't walking. If she starts I may just have to buy or borrow one! And thanks for the other excellent advice, ladies. Food. Yes. I will definitely be bringing lots of food. :)

Richard and Emily said...

I don't have any child travel advice but family trips sound fun! Where are you going for all of his interviews?

Also, I'm so excited to see you in December! :)

meaningfulmothering said...

interesting snacks, like tiny candy sprinkles or mini m&m's. does she color yet, how about a small magna-doodle. We flew with arora when she was 11 months and around 15 months both times she was great and basically slept the whole time. Good luck.

Emily said...

I'm one of those silent lurkers on your site, but I do have a piece of travel advice for toddlers. Bring a role of blue painters tape. You can use the tape to childproof hotel rooms, make roads (if the big O is into cars, my daughter was but most little girls are not), and pretty much anything else you can think of. When you leave the tape cleans up easily.

Amanda said...

I've flown a lot with David when he was younger, and just in case you didn't know, you are allowed to take juices and stuff for your child that exceed the 3oz rule. It just can't be an insane amount. "Reasonable for your travel distance" I think is what I was told. Anyway, good luck. New toys and food are always winners.

Patty Walsh said...

Small picture books are always a big hit with my daughter when we travel.

Kathy Haynie said...

Checking out public school districts - their AYP data is available online, at the state education website for the state. Higher pass rates on the tests are a good sign. Also check into average class sizes. You would probably have to call the district office to get that info. Ask about average class size grades K-3, as the class sizes tend to be higher as the kids get older. Average class size is not the same thing as teacher-student ratio. The ratio gets to include counselors, teachers on prep, etc. You want to know how many little bodies are actually in the classrooms.

You can get all this data while you are still at home, which would allow you to relax and enjoy the cities a little more when you are visiting them.

Kendra Last-Bookartist said...

Since Olivia is still so young she may not be into the longer Disney movies. So Baby Signing Time or other short movies are good. She will like seeing the other babies in the movies. Go to your library ahead of time and you can also get books on CD, usually about 4 or 5 stories per CD, but they are great because they are shorter, like her attention span. You may want to teach her how to wear her baby head phones before you get on the airplane. If she doesn't like them, no big deal. The noise of the plane will be enough to drown out the small noise of her movie. Trust me, people would rather hear slight remnants of her movie than her screaming, so don't sweat it! I LOVE Holly's sprinkle idea! Try like the little star or flower shaped ones. Nice and colorful, she will like how they taste, but will take FOREVER to fill her up! That should entertain her for a while! And don't worry about a mess. Clean up what you can and your overpriced plane ticket should cover the rest! :)
If she does learn to walk before your travels are done let me know and I can send you a leash backpack. They are GREAT once the kids are a little bigger!
Best of luck and if I think of anything else I will let you know.

Anna said...

I really liked Kendra's comment and I second the idea that Disney movies may be too long for her. Soapy's first favorites were Elmo's World, but I think she was a little older than Olivia...

Good luck!