Travel Adventures - Packing Your Toddler's Carry-on

We have an upcoming family trip that will be my son's 4th plane trip in 19 months of life.  We flew from LA to SF when he was a little over 3 months. That was the easiest by far.  Too immobile to do anything but sit, we were still nursing so packing food was easy, and he just slept in our arms when tired.

Second flight was from LA to Hawaii when he was a little over 14 months. Now we have mobility, and alertness, accustomed to a daily schedule and not nursing any more.  And its a 5+ hour flight.  Thankfully we were travelling with the grandparents and  seated with another family in the same situation in the back of the plane with open rows.  We were the people I dread being on that flight.

Third flight was an easy one going, from LA to Las Vegas, when he was 15 months.  The flight there worked well with his nap schedule, and we were able to entertain him without fuss. The return was the polar opposite: basically non-stop crying.  He should have napped on the way to the airport and been freshly rested for the flight, but for some reason did not sleep and was exhausted when we arrived to check in. There was too much going on in the terminal for him to relax, so it was non-stop crying for 40 minutes waiting to board. Then of course I got him to sleep just as we started boarding, and he kept waking.  It was rough.

Now we are 19+ months, and have a 3 hour flight coming up, which unfortunately is right at nap time.  I am anxious but optimistic.  The older he gets the more he can manage longer times without a nap, and his attention span and longevity of interest in activities is increasing, so I'm hoping the things we are packing to entertain him will serve us.

My husband's 'personal item' will be our diaper backpack, which is a great style of diaper bag to have regardless of flying.  Backpacks are hands free, and out of your way when trying to carry and chase a toddler, so I recommend.  It will be packed with the following:

  • Diapers (obviously) and wipes.  I shouldn't have to tell any parent this, but pack more diapers than you would actually need for the length of your flight, in the event that your checked luggage (containing your extras) is lost, or your flight is delayed. For a 3 hour flight, I think my son is only going to need one diaper change, but I have 7 diapers packed. They take up a little room, but at least they're light.
  • Diaper disposal bags.  These are great to have in general, but in addition to containing the odor of a poopy diaper, they are good to have if there are messy clothes (diaper blow-out, vomit) that need to be changed and then stored.
  • Anti-bacterial wipes. Planes are germ-fests. And while I'm not neurotic about it, it doesn't hurt (even for the adult's sake) to do a quick wipe down of the plane surfaces of your seats/row.
  • Disposable adhesive placemats.  These work well outside the airplane environment for family dining out, but I like them to cover the airplane trays with.  They have adhesive strips so I just wrap around the tray and he can eat his snacks off a sanitary surface, or if he has crayons or something, I don't have to work about him marking up the surface.


  • Snacks. Another no brainer.  Those pouches are the best.  And spill-proof cups for things like animal crackers or Cheerios.  I am very flexible when it comes to him eating during travel.  I don't worry about spoiling his appetite with anything.  If food will pacify him and give me 10 minutes of peaceful flight, I will let him eat.
  • Milk/Juice.  When flying with an infant you are allowed to bring more than 3.4 ounces of liquid for them, however you need to let TSA know, and they will do a separate screen of the liquid to ok it.  ( They just make you take the lid off the container and they wave a detector strip over it. )
  • His blankie.  My son's comfort toy is his blankie.  Its the go-to when he starts to get upset. We pretty much never go anywhere without it.
  • Entertaining activities.  I've been paying special attention to the kinds of things my son has been really in to the last few weeks. Things that will hold his attention for long periods of time.  He is really into coloring right now.  We use crayons at home, but despite being clean-able, they can still be messy and mark on things you don't want him to.  So I got him one of those Crayola Wonder Markers coloring books with markers.  The paper is special to the markers, so the markers are clear unless used on the special paper where the color shows.  Perfect for the plane. Plus, he loves taking off and putting lids on pens, so double the fun!  He's also really into books, so I've bought a half dozen new stories that he's never read before (he's about to meet the Very Hungry Caterpillar!)
  • IPad with Child Headphones and pre-downloaded shows.  Saving this for last, because I'd rather him do engaging things than just watch TV.  But since there will be a lot going on, I'm ok if he will sit for 20 minutes and watch an episode of Chuggington.  Be sure they're fully downloaded while you're connected to Wi-Fi, so you don't need the Wi-Fi to actually play the program.

 Hopefully that will buy us 3 hours of flight time without too much drama! Keep your fingers crossed for us.  What are your toddler carry-on must haves?

I'll do another post about travel tips and packing luggage. Stay tuned!

Thankful Thursday - It Takes a Community to Share the Love...

Disclaimer: Sponsored post. Click here.

While we made a conscious decision to start our family, nothing fully prepares you for the reality of when your baby is born.  You'd think 9+ months of growing a human inside you would do something to help you prepare for the change your world is about to take, but really it doesn't.  Every security you had in life now feels uncertain when you have a new, helpless human being you are completely responsible for.  Life is full of unknowns, and factors we have no control over. And when its only you, or you and another adult partner, if bad things happen, it sucks, but you'll deal.  Once there is a baby in the picture, your decisions and their consequences no longer are just about you.




We are very lucky that we have family (relatively) close, and good friends that would help us out if something dire or tragic ever happened.  But not everyone has that support system.  And then life happens and families find themselves in circumstances they never dreamed of, and parents are faced with the horrible nightmare of not being able to put a roof over their child's head.  Fortunately there are programs out there that try to help.




Huggies, the diaper brand, has launched a "Spread the Love" campaign, using social media and the ever-favorite selfie to encourage people to nominate a community program that could benefit from a $2,000 donation from them.  Just upload a selfie of you and your little one to Instagram or Twitter, tag it with #UltraHug, and nominate your project of choice.  It can be a fundraiser for a specific event or effort, a non-profit, a school, a community park, playground or rec center, etc.




I'm nominating Family Promise of Orange County.  This is a program that is designed to help those families that life has seriously challenged, to get back on their feet. They believe that no child should have to sleep in a car or under a bridge (I couldn't agree more), and that every family deserves a chance to be whole and have a roof over their head. Sometimes it takes a community to provide for a child; Family Promise is the community doing just that.  I can't think of a better way to spread the love than helping families in need.  If my family found itself in hopeless circumstances, I would be eternally grateful for a program like this one.




I know there are so many worthy projects and causes out there that could benefit from a little extra cash - take a minute to capture a moment with your little one, and nominate a worthy cause. Don't forget the tag: #UltraHug.


Baby Registry: 5 Items You Never Knew You Needed

I am by no means an expert, as I've only done the newborn through toddler thing once so far. But I was spending time a with a friend over the weekend who is 6 weeks in to being a mommy for the first time, and while she has the bulk of her current daily necessities at this point, I was thinking about a few other things she doesn't have and wouldn't think to have at this point, that I now highly recommend from my experiences.  So thought I'd share here too, for anyone else in the same boat.

None of these do you need in order to be prepared to bring your newborn home (in fact some of these aren't relevant until several months in) but once you've settled in to this new crazy life you're living, these will be helpful.

1.  A Diaper Clutch: You probably spent a lot of time look for the diaper bag that best suited your style and fit all the other requirements everyone told you would want.  And you probably packed each of the 3 dozen pockets with all of the items you could possibly ever need while out of the house with your newborn.  That's great.  But give yourself 3 -4 trips out of the house with that cumbersome bag and you're going to be over it really quick.  Yes, you will want to have all those diaper bag items in the car with you for your trips away from the house, but you don't want to lug the whole thing in with you when you're just running in to Target to get some toothpaste and deodorant.

When I was first gifted a diaper clutch I thought: what good is this? It only holds a diaper and pad?  Well, that's exactly what is great about it.  SO much easier to run in to the doctor's office, to the store, to dinner, without the giant diaper bag. With a baby still in a carrier, or a toddler running around, you have your hands full enough. You don't need the giant emergency bag everywhere you go.

2.  Padded Seat Strap Covers: Many carseat carriers come with their own versions of this item, but I've found them to be stiff and not cover enough. The nylon shoulder straps of car seats can irritate your baby's neck skin, so you want something over those straps, and I recommend plush ones with the extra plush décor, like these ones.  That's specific, I know, but the extra plush animal head is good for 2 purposes:  when you're baby still has a weak neck, the bulk of the plush helps keep your baby's head steady.  Then when they get a bit older add have more head control and are more alert and active, the plush head become a good, soothing, easy for them to access chew item.  One they can't loose.

3.  Plastic Bags:  These can be any kind, but I like these biodegradable ones (if I'm going to be adding to landfills, it makes me feel better.)  Why you need these: you will be out and your baby will have a blow-out.  Being the prepared parent you are, you have a change of clothes, but then what do you do with the removed poopy clothes until you get home?  Pull out a baggie, insert, tie closed. No mess, no stink.  Good to use as well if you change a poopy diaper somewhere public and either don't have access to a trash can, or to one that is sealed.  You'll just never be sorry you have plastic baggies on hand.


4.  A Zipadee-zip:  I know you're thinking what the heck?  I laughed the first time I saw one of these to.  But it is a brilliant invention that made all the difference in getting my son to sleep, both for naps and at bedtime.  If you have a baby that is very responsive to swaddling, and needs that security to fall asleep, this will help you transition as they start to grow out of it but still need it.  They're also great for when they fall asleep but you need to travel and latch them into their car seats: you can't properly strap a swaddled baby into a car seat, but the design of the Zipadee-zip allows the straps while still confining your baby's limbs (which is what is comforting about being swaddled.)

5.  Gum Massager:  These are not really needed until they start teething their molars, and are so great once that starts.  Molars are some of the later teeth to come through, and most of the other teeth are easily soothed by standard teething rings. But the rings/teethers don't really work as well with the molars, because they are usually too wide/big to get to the back corners of your baby's mouth.   These are designed specifically for that purpose, with a guard on the handle to keep your little one from sticking it too far back.  My son is going through this phase right now, and when his teeth are bothering him, he is excited to see me pull out the 'chew stick', as we call it.


So there you have it: these 5 items I was so happy to have but were not on my initial baby registry when I started out. Hope you find something that helps you out.

What baby items couldn't you live without with your little one?


Hello Friday - Links I Love

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead.  Here are some fun things I came across on the web this week.

  1. I will probably have to invest in all three of these products.  We all know how important it is to use sunscreen daily, which it think (hope) most of us do first thing with our daily face application.  But the proper use of sunscreen requires reapplication during the day. Who does that once their makeup is on?  These products help solve that problem.
  2. Even if you don't have kids, if you've ever been around them, you can sympathize and join in the laughter found on this Instagram account: average parent problems.
  3. I am excited to look now for cheap, cute little dishes (99 cent store maybe?) and get some rope and beads and make these darling hanging planters.  Hanging planters are a perfect way to add more greenery to your home while keeping it baby-safe.  These look so easy!
  4. Just a little interesting fact explaining the purpose of the extra lace hole in your gym shoes. Huh, who knew?


  1. Growing Tulips in a Vase - spring flowers for those of us without a flower bed.
  2. Need help deciding how to decorate? Take the Ultimate Find-Your-Style quiz.
  3. Insight on how to deal with toddler tantrums and disciple without adding to the drama.
  4. 6 Easy Top Knots - because who doesn't need quick, easy up-do ideas?
  5. Are you a tea drinker? This little steeper man was just too cute not to share.
  6. Nailed it - there's a vast difference between 'old' millennials and 'new' millennials.
  7. In pursuit of reducing waste and repurposing - 101 Things to do with Mason Jars.
  8. Baked Apple Donuts - yes, please.
  9. Some cute ideas for the surplus of Easter eggs you have left over.