Last year we went to Europe for 3 months with our 3 children (then aged 4, 2.5 years, and 7 months old). I talked in this post about how we made this work and in today’s post, I’m going to talk about the eight items that ended up being the most useful equipment we took that made our lives way easier as we traveled with such young children. A few of these were last-minute decisions that we were super happy we made, and others were extremely well-researched, deeply-considered purchases that ended up being worth every single penny.
Last summer, my husband and I packed up most of our belongings into a storage unit, gathered our three kids who at the time were 4 years, 2.5 years, and 6 months old, a couple other family members and left for a three month trip to Europe.
A lot of people thought we were crazy. Maybe we were. But we did it, and we had a ton of fun! Since then I’ve gotten a lot of questions on how we made it work. To be clear, we’re not uber-rich, we’re a one-income family, we didn’t get any sponsorships or help. We decided we wanted to travel, we structured our life so that we could and then we did it. It was a few years in the planning and it involved some sacrifices but this is how we did it:
My FoolProof Tips For Helping Your Toddler When He Has a Broken Bone:
Unfortunately, due to a genetic disorder, our family is no stranger to broken bone (see here) and currently we’re on the tail-end of dealing with another one. So I thought I’d write up the tips I’ve learned over the past 18 months that help your toddler when he/she has a broken bone. Hopefully, for your family its a one time thing, but if your family is similar to mine it may be something you deal with on a recurring basis.
(This post contains Amazon affiliate links which are no extra cost to you, but help me run this site. However, everything I talk about are items and ideas that we use over and over again.)
My son is currently almost 3.5 years old but when he started breaking bones it was right before he turned 2. In that time period we’ve had 5 broken bones (see this post). There’s been a learning curve in helping him deal with the pain and find fun things to do but so far apart from the sadness of “another one!”, we have a pretty good system down of what happens and what helps! Obviously, I hope no one reading this has had to deal with a kid breaking a bone, but if you are and it’s a new experience, here are the things that have helped us the most in keeping our toddler happy!
Adjusting to a Genetic Disease: Life with Osteogenesis Imperfecta
As a parent, you envision that all your children will be “normal”. No genetic defects, intelligent, smart, normal kids… and yet it doesn’t always turn out that way. When I got married I knew my husband had a mild form of Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Type I for those interested). I grew up being friends with him and his family. He broke three bones before the age of 5 and that was it. In both of our minds, OI seemed to be a “you break a few more bones than normal” and that was the extent of it. And to all outward appearances, that really is the extent of it. For example, my husband leads a totally normal life in every way. My son looks normal and acts normal and (unless you were a doctor and knew what you were looking for), you would never guess that a fall for him could break a bone. We knew, of course, when we got married that we had a 50% chance of passing it on to our children but in our naiveté we kind of just assumed that wouldn’t happen.
We had our first child 13 months after our wedding. A beautiful bouncy fat little girl. She’s about as rough and tumble as a kid can be. And no OI there. I got pregnant with our second when she was 9 months old, a beautiful cheerful little boy and when he was 18 months old, we got pregnant with our third, who turned out to be another bouncy little boy.
Our second son was almost 2 and I was halfway through our third pregnancy when it happened. He slipped on the floor and broke his right leg (a tib-fib). And then two months later, he slipped again and broke his right femur. Reality started to set in. Based off his genetic history he was diagnosed with OI Type 1. And we still thought.. ‘oh, that will probably be it’. We were extra careful. We cut off the feet of the footie pjs which he had slipped in, we made sure slippery surfaces didn’t happen, and we did our best to let him be a kid. Our 3rd child was born, we made it through the year and the next summer. We went to Europe for 3 months and nothing happened (which I now view as not only a blessing but a miracle) and two weeks after we got home he broke his right leg again. Two days before he got that cast off, in a weird incident which shouldn’t have been a problem, he broke his left leg. And two days ago on the first day of 2018, he broke his right leg again.
And reality is continuing to set in. He’s barely 3 years old and has broken 5 bones. And although we don’t have an official diagnosis, we (and our doctor) are pretty sure our baby has it too. (In case someone is wondering, testing for this disease takes a REALLY long time to get results back)
Well, life happened.
Or rather I over estimated my ability to blog while traveling with three small children, and four adults. And then we got home, we moved into a new house, my son broke both his legs one after the other (that was fun.) and finally here it is, the middle of October.
Traveling with Kids: Planning and Preparation
Due to circumstances outside of my control, my posting has been sporadic lately. A big part of that reason is that we’re getting ready to go on a huge 3 month adventure! We’re heading to Europe! With our three little kids! Who are four and under! And yes, I’m nervous and excited at all at once!
In just under three weeks, my husband and I will be fulfilling a dream we’ve had since we got married (and I’ve had since I was 15) and going on a three month international trip, centered in France and the United Kingdom. Hopefully, this will be the first of many as, long-term, we would love to provide travel to our kids as part of their regular education. A lot of decisions have come together to make this trip a reality: from job choices to even how we live on a daily basis.
Starting today, I will be doing a series of posts on traveling: from planning; packing tips; flying tips; things we learn along the way; tips on making traveling with children successful and rewarding and the tools we used to achieve this.
Keep reading to find out how we are making this all work!
As a full-time mom to three little ones (4 years old, 2.5 years old, and 3 months old) it’s not always easy to carve out time for exercise and it’s also far too easy to make excuses for myself! So, I’ve written up my Top Ten Go-To Fitness Products that either help me stay motivated; help me stay on top of my fitness goals; or make it easy to exercise even if I have to do it with all my kids. I’ve included a “Why I love this” description and a link that will take you to Amazon where you can find more reviews and current prices. So, keep reading below for what makes working out with toddlers easier for THIS mom.