12 Things I Learned While on Vacation With My Two-Year-Old

Last week, I took Charlotte on her very first vacation! There is nothing like taking a brand new two-year-old on a trip … without HOS … To visit family six hours away. But seriously, I made precious memories with my sweet baby, and I learned a lot.

What I learned while on a five-day vacation with my two-year-old:

1. If Charlotte is sleeping in the car, do NOT wake her! Sure, she refused to eat lunch and the only food in her belly may be seven donut holes (don’t judge!) but once she is awake, there is no going back to sleep.

2. Don’t be cheap about audio books. I don’t know. Maybe you enjoy listening to one chapter read by a British woman followed by one chapter read by a gruff old man followed by a chapter read by someone whose accent is so heavy you simply skip the chapter in its entirety. If you don’t enjoy some odd woman reading in strange little voices that make you seriously consider listening to local, rural Nebraska radio stations, then I recommend paying for the audio book on Audible or using an app from your library.

3. Charli is afraid of men. She seemed to develop a leeriness of men overnight. She has never met you? She doesn’t like you. You’re her papa whom she talks about constantly? She doesn’t like you. You’re her cousin who plants a sweet kiss on her forehead? She dislikes you so much she cries.

4. The need for naps is real, people. Trust me, you don’t want to test this!

5. Charli is afraid of trains. She will stand in a completely empty room and begin telling me, “I scare. I scare! Twains, mommy!” An hour later, she sill stand in a room filled with toy trains, a conductor hat placed backward upon her head, and she is happy! I can’t pretend to understand this child.

6. Sugar is not a source for sustainable energy. Charlotte tried to prove me wrong all week long, and failed every time.

7. Charli is afraid of farm animals. I’m fairly certain this is due to the fact that all animals have faces. This is apparently very scary, especially when said farm animals look Charlotte in the face.

8. There are few greater feelings than your baby (two-years-old counts..) falling asleep in your arms. There are few greater workouts for your thighs than climbing two flights of stairs while carrying that 27 lb “baby!”

9. Charli is afraid of curtained windows. … For this, I have no explanation.

10. Tantrums thrown by a “two” are not at all like what you people describe! They are worse.

11. Charli is afraid dogs. Again, they have faces.

12. If possible, always leave for a road trip at the beginning of nap time, preferably when Charlotte has a full belly! Driving solo with a toddler trapped in a car seat is no easy feat! (And remember #1!)

What lessons have you learned on your family vacations?


Charlotte’s Slippers

If only I could see the world through Charlotte’s eyes for just one day…

As adults, we are caught up in the fast-paced rat race we call “life.” It’s all about stuff! Nothing is ever good enough.

We want bigger, clearer, smarter TVs.

We want faster cars.

Bigger houses.

Longer vacations.

The list is ridiculous, and it is long.

Even if we received everything we wanted, we would be disappointed.

Because nothing is good enough.

Tonight, I gave Charlotte her first pair of slippers, regular ol’ slippers. She was genuinely happy!


She danced and smiled and couldn’t stop looking at her slippered feet!

I want to be like my daughter. I want look at life’s experiences the way Charli looked at those slippers – with joy and wonder!

When was the last time you felt and acted genuinely blessed by the little things in your life?

On Being Schooled

This may come as a surprise to you – I know it did me! – but parenting is all about lessons.

You may have rolled your eyes or considered leaving the blog all together after the first line. OF COURSE parenting is about lessons.

Did you know YOU, the parent, are the one being schooled?



If you don’t believe me, you either don’t have children or you’ve been blinded by empty nests and adorable grandchildren. 

Charli has been my greatest teacher. I don’t mean to discredit my parents, family or many teachers who had the pleasure of educating me throughout my life. She challenges me in subjects not taught in school.

To demonstrate, I’ll highlight two major events from last week.

Friday, October 25

HOS was at a bachelor party, so I made plans to spend time with my sister and my niece. Naturally, we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner since the man was out, so we loaded up and went to Outback Steakhouse. Now, I’m not naive enough to think eating in a public restaurant will ever go smoothly with a toddler, but things were off to a good start! The waitress brought Charli some animal cookies (WHAT?!), which was awesome! Then she wanted some of the bread. … Oh, and the blooming onion looked good.

By the time our dinner was served, Charlotte was full.

Lesson 1: Toddlers really need to eat real food, not the junk I fill up on every day.

Of course, now that she was full, she was bored. Her favorite past-time while stuck in a high chair is to throw as much food on the floor as possible and then lean over and point at it. She points to the food on your plate and says “mmmmm!” Puts the bite in her mom, and then BAM! on the floor.

Sippy cup? SMASH! on the floor.

Adhesive place-mat? FLUTTERS! on the floor. (That was not nearly as dramatic, but equally frustrating.)

I quickly became “that mom who brought her baby who made a mess so she tipped me extra because she felt bad.” Honestly, do waiters/waitresses love/hate me as much as I think they do?

Lesson 2: Patience. (This is an ongoing lesson that I doubt ever really ends.)

Sunday, October 27

HOS was picking up a conference table for his new office and I needed to run to The Toy Store to find a book for a baby shower that afternoon, so Charlotte came with me. I LOVE books. I may have been a little distracted because I found a series of books made out of recycled paper and the green side of me became far too excited. I kept glancing over at Charli who was playing with the books on a wall shelf. Then it happened. It had to happen. She tripped. … Fell … And smacked her head on the wire shelf holding the books.

Lesson 3: Don’t leave children semi-unattended in the store (or ever, really).

That’s not even the worst part. I saw all of this happening, and what do I do? Drop the books and yell,


and swoop her up into my arms in time for her to progress from open-mouth silent scream to actual, real-life blood-curdling scream. *sigh*

Lesson 4: Cussing loudly in a store filled with parents and kids is not socially acceptable (even when warranted).

It is important to note that while Charli sustained a minor indention and subtle bruise, she was ok!

So you see, parenting is filled with lessons.

You’ll learn to be more patient than you ever imagined. You’ll learn what you should and shouldn’t do for/with/to your kids (I didn’t even mention the buffalo chicken incident. Oops..). Most importantly, you’ll learn to not care what other people think about your style of parenting. You’ll occasionally forget that you don’t care, but you’ll relearn over and over that you are the only one who knows what’s best for your child.

Even if you do embarrass yourself and your child in the process.



Lessons Learned (with more to come, I’m sure)

I hope HOS doesn’t read this and get upset, but we had a little tiff a week ago. That little tiff taught me a big lesson in parenting, one that I’m afraid I will fail many, many times.

The argument itself was trivial, but it was the situation surrounding the discourse. My lovely, 13 year old niece was hanging out at the house and sitting just inches away from me when they altercation occurred.

We didn’t raise our voices, throw things at each other or spit hateful things (out loud) (I kid!). But we still put my niece in a very uncomfortable position by letting that disagreement happen in front of her.

I quickly followed HOS when he left the room and we talked about the minor problem at hand. It was resolved painlessly and without the need for me to send him passive aggressive texts while he was with friends. … Not that I would EVER do that. …

Anyway, this story is about what I learned. I don’t want to be that couple that fights openly in front of other people. We are happy together. I want people to know that we are happy together. And I definitely want my daughter to see happy, healthy relationship between her parents, friends, family, etc. I want these same things for my niece.

After I talked with Shane, I sat with my niece and apologized. I told her that she shouldn’t have been in that situation, and it hopefully (no promises) won’t happen again. I also explained that despite our disagreement, Shane and I are happy. We love each other, and I don’t want her to worry or think that something is wrong. I explained that even the happiest of couples will fight sometimes. The sweet thing just asked if everything was ok after I talked to him and went back to her iPod.

Every situation we experience yields a lesson. I don’t think we always know, understand or agree with the lesson, but it is what it is. In this situation, my niece taught me the importance of being aware of surroundings and how we want to be represented before showing some hostilities.

This is not me condoning lying or hiding feelings because there are people around. This is about finding the right times and right ways to communicate.

For only 13, this girl sure does teach me a lot. 🙂