Under the Sea Quiet Book: Part 3

DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links. Know that I only promote products I personally use and stand behind. To learn more about my affiliates, please review my disclosure policy here.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates. #toddler #quietbook #handmade #ocean | spotofteadesigns.com

I recently shared the beginning pages to the Under the Sea themed quiet book I made Brielle followed by some additional page designs. I used silver grommets and book rings to hold the pages together, making it easy to add more pages later on. For now, I think this book is complete so please enjoy the last few pages of my first hand sewn Under the Sea Quiet Book.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Treasure Chest Pocket | spotofteadesigns.com

Treasure Chest Pocket: Brielle loves putting things in and out of pockets so I made sure to include one big pocket page for her. Adding the little French knots for the nails was the most time consuming part but I love how it came out.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Treasure Chest Pocket with Finger Puppets inside | spotofteadesigns.com

Overall, this project took a lot longer than planned but I didn’t mind the time spent as it was a great way to keep my hands busy on long car rides and kept my creativity going! DOWNLOAD MY TREASURE CHEST POCKET TEMPLATE.

Under the Sea quiet book with free templates: Finger Puppets | spotofteadesigns.com

Under the Sea Finger Puppets: Now that we had a treasure chest that had a lid to lift, I wanted to make sure to include some goodies inside! Since she just recently discovered how finger puppets worked so I thought a few Under the Sea Finger Puppet characters would be a perfect fit! I made a little jelly fish design, sea horse, lobster and shark. DOWNLOAD MY FINGER PUPPET TEMPLATE.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: zippered mouth whale | spotofteadesigns.com

Zippered Whale: Like most toddlers, Brielle loves zippers! I made a large whale shape to fit most of the page and hand embroidered a splash of water out of its spout. She loves to open and close it, taking out fish shapes which are hidden inside.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Zippered mouth whale | spotofteadesigns.com

Just like the Swimming Fish page, she loves to take out those fish and tell me they’re “crackers” like Daddy’s beloved goldfish snacks. DOWNLOAD MY ZIPPERED WHALE TEMPLATE.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Fish Puzzle | spotofteadesigns.com

Puzzle Fish: I needed one more page to complete the book and decided a mini puzzle would be good. Little did I know that in creating these 9 simple pieces to this fish design, I was multiplying the amount of stitching I’d need to do to get down all the little shapes! I added the blue stitching on the border to help reiterate the border pieces (as in any puzzle, aren’t these the first you put together?)

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Fish Puzzle | spotofteadesigns.com

It was all good as I did this over a few nights and car rides and it came out great. Now Brielle can rearrange the pieces to put together this pretty purple and yellow fish design! DOWNLOAD BY PUZZLE FISH TEMPLATE.

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Handmade Pirate Birthday Card

Handmade Pirate Birthday Card | spotofteadesigns.com

Just dropping in for a quick little post to show off this handmade birthday card I made for my nephew Blake. We’re celebrating his fourth birthday today with a Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme. I dug in my stash to make him a custom pirate themed card for his big day!

Happy Birthday Blake! (or “Bake” as Brielle calls him)

Supplies: Stickers: Martha Stewart Crafts, Chipboard Letters: Heidi Swapp

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Baby Registry: Do’s and Don’ts

Baby Registry Dos and Don'ts. Tips on what to add, who to bring when building it and what to avoid adding. #babyregistry #baby #firsttimemom | spotofteadesigns.com

If you came to this post hoping to seek advice on a particular model or brand I prefer for the top baby registry items, you’re in the wrong place. For that information you’ll want to check out my Top Ten Favorite Baby Items for Newborn To Four Months, Top Ten Favorite Baby Items for Five Months to One Year , and my Top Ten Favorite Toddler Items 12-18 Months posts. Instead this post will help guide you on how to go about working on a baby registry so you do not get too overwhelmed as first time parents!

  • DO ask for registry advice from other moms. I sent out a mass email to all my mommy friends and asked for advice. I then took a look at what everyone was telling me and still did some research afterwards. If several moms (who’s opinions/parenting styles I respect) said the same thing, chances are it was probably true.
  • DON’T work on your registry without seeking advice. See my point above. You may think you don’t want any advice but it’s better to hear what they say is good or bad about an item and then form your own opinion afterwards. And make sure to read reviews on safety products that matter, like carseats or strollers. Just because something is more expensive or a newer model doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better item for your family.
  • DO put products with a large range of prices on your registry. Everyone has a different budget when it comes to baby showers. Some people like to shop for lots of smaller items, some go for the single big ticket pieces and others chip it together to get something of high value. You’ll be blessed if anyone were to buy you anything and if you don’t get everything you need, at least you’ll have the fulfillment coupon you get after baby comes that you can use towards the purchase of your missing items. Bonus: If you didn’t get something you wanted/needed, you already did the research to know which model or items you want and you won’t have to do that all sleep deprived post baby!
  • DO consider what items you want in multiples. We added two car seat bases as Brielle’s car seat could easily snap into either base depending on what car we used. I’d also recommend adding multiples on items which can be dirty easily, like sleepsacks, pacifiers and changing pad covers.
  • DO register in store. I registered at Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby, both of which gave a little goodie bag with product samples, coupons, mail in offers and checklists that were helpful in the planning process. My suggestion is to go in store to register, but don’t try to do all your registering right there in the store. You can complete the rest of it at home, but physically seeing things like the car seat or stroller are a big help. The whole experience in store can be overwhelming!
  • DON’T register alone! Bring your mom, your partner, your best friend or a btdt (been-there-done-that experienced mom) when you go to register. Mom-to-bes are notorious for having an issue making a decision so another person may help you make that choice.
  • DO research only a few topics at a time. There are so many decisions to be made on large items like car seats, strollers, cribs and bottle brands and smaller items like humidifiers, lotions and diaper bags. It can be too overwhelming if you jump around and try to do it all at once. Focus on just one or two types of product, research, decide then move onto the next one.

favoritebabyproductsstroller.jpg

  • DO research car seats and strollers at home and come back to test. Derek and I went to look over the car seat I picked out in the store and for a few minutes couldn’t figure out how to get it out of the base! A helpful employee came out and taught us first time parents how they work and what other features it included. I personally wouldn’t rely on the employees in the store knowing the best in safety features for every product they carry, but they should be knowledgeable on how something collapses and attaches together. Bonus: I believe you can also test these items in your own car when visiting the store.
  • DO research which breast pump is covered by your insurance. My insurance allowed for the purchase of a breast pump so I didn’t register for that item. But I did make sure to add the accessory pieces, including extra bottles for pumping, different sized flanges and more tubing. Tip: many working moms get a whole extra set of flanges so lessen the time spent cleaning at the work place and allow to be more efficient.

Frozen Breastmilk Storage Solution Explained: take a peek inside my freezer! | spotofteadesigns.com

  • DON’T forget to add accessories for mom! This piggybacks off the last point but don’t forget about nursing bras, nursing tops, nipple cream, nursing covers and other accessories that may help mom in the aide of breastfeeding. For more information on breastfeeding items I recommend, check out this post which includes my frozen milk storage system.
  • DON’T register for stuffed animals, clothing, diapers, or toys. Ok you can add a few basics on the registry but people love to pick these out, especially as post baby gifts. Don’t waste spots on these items, even if you think they’re cute.

Pink, White and Grey Baby Girl Nursery | spotofteadesigns.com

  • DON’T forget about baby’s room! You might want accessory items like hampers, wall art, lamps or organizers for baby’s nursery. Don’t be afraid to add them on here! Plus people love to buy items, like a basket, to add little things inside so giving them this option up front is genius! When you’re ready to start setting up the nursery, make sure to check out this post on some tips to setting it up so you won’t have to redo some things like we did!
  • DO think past the first few baby months. We put the convertible car seat on our registry even though Brielle didn’t use it for almost a year. We figured that either a) some people might want to pitch it to get a higher priced item (which was true) or b) I’d already have it on the registry as my researched item that we could then purchase later with the coupon they give you after baby comes. That first year flies so people love to help out to support you the first year!
  • Most importantly, after the shower, or after the baby, DO make notes on the gift receipts themselves as which product was given. Babies R Us, for example, does NOT have the products listed on the gift receipt but just a bar code. A stack of gift receipts will get you no where if you didn’t make notes on the paper upon receiving it!

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Use Your Stash Challenge: Embrace the Sticker Sneeze

Use your paper stash challenge: sticker collages for handmade cards | spotofteadesigns.com

There was a term used back in the day of early scrapbooking: sticker sneeze. It resulted when someone would put their photos on a page (usually cropped with those decorative scissors and matted with neon colored paper). Once the photos were glued down, they would grab the sticker pack which matched the theme of the page and then splatter stickers randomly all over the page. It wasn’t necessarily a pretty sight but something very common to this early scrapbooking trend and later considered a scrapbooking “no no.”

 Use your paper stash challenge: sticker collages for handmade cards | spotofteadesigns.com

Since I’ve been low in my stock of birthday cards, I used Brielle’s bath session one night (aka Derek was bathing her and I had a few minutes to myself) to embrace the sticker sneeze and create a few birthday cards. I went through my stash and pulled out this kid series from Sticko. They’re not really my style for a scrapbook page and since they’re fairly flat with just a bit of dimension, they were perfect for cards.

Use your paper stash challenge: sticker collages for handmade cards | spotofteadesigns.com

After digging through my papers for my favorite background type (polka dot) and adding a little punched edge to ground this collection, I got to work picking out some stickers which would layer together for a nice sticker sneeze. (Yes that is an oxymoron!) My favorite tip for doing anything with stickers is to keep them on the adhesive backing but cut around each shape so each sticker is separated from the pack but the adhesive is not exposed. This allows you to move it around the page and find the right spot before sticking it down.

Use your paper stash challenge: sticker collages for handmade cards | spotofteadesigns.com

That’s just what I did eventually ending up with 5 birthday cards for some children I’m sure I’ll run into celebrating these special years.

Use your paper stash challenge: sticker collages for handmade cards | spotofteadesigns.com

Supplies: Patterned paper: Martha Stewart Crafts | Stickers: Sticko | Edge Punch: Ek Tools

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Under the Sea Quiet Book: Part 2

DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links. Know that I only promote products I personally use and stand behind. To learn more about my affiliates, please review my disclosure policy here.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates. #toddler #quietbook #handmade #ocean | spotofteadesigns.com

I recently shared the beginning pages to the Under the Sea themed quiet book I made Brielle. Her book was one of the many “airplane ready” items I the Easter Bunny gifted her in this year’s Easter basket since we were due to fly out on vacation a few days after Easter.

Supplies for use when making a felt quiet book for #toddlers | spotofteadesigns.com

Before we go into some additional pages, I wanted to pass along a few tips I learned along the way, which mostly have to do with supplies:

  • Get a good pair of scissors that cut felt! Since my book was felt based, any old scissors wouldn’t do. Luckily I had a pair of these Fiskars 8 Inch Amplify Mixed Media Shears, which worked GREAT for cutting all my intricate felt shapes for a crisp look or easily snipped a piece of thread. I LOVE these scissors!
  • Pack all the supplies needed for each page in their own Ziploc bag. I always had one or two baggies packed with the template or already cut shapes, felt page surface, scissors, threads, sewing needle and pin needles and any additional accents (Velcro, buttons etc). It was easy for me to grab a bag if we were headed out on a car ride or just when I was sitting on the couch and I didn’t have to have my whole box of supplies at my lap.
  • Use a disappearing ink pen! I loved my Singer Dual Point Disappearing Ink Marking Pen using it to help add any embroidered accents to my pages, such as the numbers on the counting octopus page or the decorative stitching on the snail shells as seen below.
  • There are different types of Velcro. In the beginning pages that had Velcro, I used whatever Velcro strips were already in my stash. it was REALLY hard to sew through them and it wasn’t until I needed more that I saw that they sell different types of Velcro backing at the store, including a softer kind that is much easier to sew with a machine or hand sew!
  • Use grommets and bookrings to assemble. I love that I can add to this post or mix and match pages from any future books because I used grommets and bookrings to assemble. I found this post really helpful in explaining how to use grommets for these types of projects!

And without further ado, here are a few more pages of my first felt quiet book:

Under the sea quiet book with free template: counting octopus | spotofteadesigns.com

Counting Octopus: Just like my swimming fish page shown in part I, this page included some moveable elements on shoelace cords. Brielle can practice counting from 1 to 8 on these octopus legs. I added the hand embroidered numbers next to each leg as an aftermath thought to help number recognition.

Under the sea quiet book with free templates: counting octopus | spotofteadesigns.com

While she isn’t yet counting out loud, she does like to slide the beads back and forth on the shoelace legs. DOWNLOAD MY COUNTING OCTOPUS TEMPLATE.

Under the Sea Quiet Book with #Free Template: Colorful Snails | spotofteadesigns.com

Colorful Snails: Brielle loves this page, removing and rearranging the colorful snail shells on each of the 6 different bodies.

Under the Sea Quiet Book with free template: Colorful mix and match snails | spotofteadesigns.com

There is no right or wrong for which shell goes where so I just let her play as she wants! DOWNLOAD MY COLORFUL SNAILS TEMPLATE.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Build your own Sandcastle | spotofteadesigns.com

Sandcastle: While this page might be a stretch for the UNDER the sea concept, I still love it! This page was inspired by a few that I saw on Pinterest, most of which showcased a bucket that housed all the sandcastle shapes.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Create your own sandcastle | spotofteadesigns.com

Since all of my pages are single layouts I chose to use Velcro on the back of each shape so they’d have a place to stay when not in use. Brielle can remove and rearrange her castle however she wishes to build and we hopefully won’t lose any of the pieces along the way! DOWNLOAD MY SANDCASTLE TEMPLATE

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Shape identication turtle | spotofteadesigns.com

Shape Turtle: This is by far one of Brielle’s favorite pages, this page includes 8 shapes that are all different colors that are connected by Velcro shapes.

Under the Sea Quiet book with free templates: Shape identification turtle | spotofteadesigns.com

Outlined shapes are shown on the turtle’s shell so the purpose is to place the correct shaped piece on the correct outlined shape. She isn’t there yet but with this page, hopefully she’ll practice recognizing colors, shapes and practice those fine motor skills by unlatching and reattaching the pieces. DOWNLOAD MY SHAPE TURTLE TEMPLATE

Look for more pages of this quiet book to be shared in a future post!

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A Decadent Mother’s Day with Shari’s Berries #SBTreatMom

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Shari’s Berries. I received complimentary treats as compensation for my post but the opinions expressed are all mine. Know that I only promote items I have personally used and stand behind. Please find my disclosure policy here.

Why I treated my mom to a decadent dessert from @SharisBerries this #MothersDay #SBTreatMom | spotofteadesigns.com

Anyone who knew my maternal grandfather knew that there was one thing he passed along to his kids…his sweet tooth! My aunts, uncles and my mom are all really into candy, sweets and other decadent desserts, thanks to him. That’s why, besides handmade gifts, decadent desserts are always a great treat for MY mom for Mother’s day!

Why I treated my mom to a decadent dessert from @SharisBerries this #MothersDay #SBTreatMom | spotofteadesigns.com

I’m one of the lucky ones to always have had a good relationship with my mom. Even when I was going to through those icky teenage years where moms and daughters notoriously have issues getting along, we didn’t have that many issues.  Yes we had our moments but we got through and still remain close today. It probably helped that my mom was not really one who said many of those clique “Momism” phrases you hear so often.

“You’ll get a cold if you don’t put on a coat!”
“Because I said so!”
“Your face is going to freeze like that!”

Why I treated my mom to a decadent dessert from @SharisBerries this #MothersDay #SBTreatMom | spotofteadesigns.com

Instead, her actions growing up instilled in my sister and me a sense of family. We now all get together for most holidays, still celebrate each others birthdays and even though we’re two hours apart, plan monthly/bimonthly get togethers in between those milestones and occasions. She’s a great Gwenma (her personalized grandma name since her full name is Gwendolyn) and now that I’m a soon to be mother of two, we have even more in common than before.

Why I treated my mom to a decadent dessert from @SharisBerries this #MothersDay #SBTreatMom | spotofteadesigns.com

This mother’s day, like the few years past, my mom and dad came down to enjoy Mother’s Day with a picnic type lunch and relaxation time outside with my growing family. Knowing that her inherited sweet tooth is always present, after lunch I brought out an assortment of desserts from Shari’s Berries.

Why I treated my mom to a decadent dessert from @SharisBerries this #MothersDay #SBTreatMom | spotofteadesigns.com

Three generations of our family jointly indulged in the assortment of chocolate covered strawberries, mini cheesecake, truffles and salted caramels we’ve heard of often on radio commercials and now got to try for ourselves. I’m glad to have shared this time with them, which is all thanks to the family centric trait she has instilled in me.

Why I treated my mom to a decadent dessert from @SharisBerries this #MothersDay #SBTreatMom | spotofteadesigns.com

Happy belated Mother’s Day mom!

A special thank you to Shari’s Berries for the delicious goodies seen in this post and helping me indulge my mom’s sweet tooth! Learn more about their decadent desserts on their website, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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Mother’s Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament

DISCLOSURE: I am part of the DecoArt Blogger Program and was provided product samples. In addition you will find affiliate links for products I recommend in this post. I only promote and share products I personally use and recommend! To learn more, please review my disclosure policy here.

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

I’ve always wanted to try out these salt dough ornament crafts I’ve seen pinned on Pinterest. I chose to follow this tutorial from the Viva Veltoro blog to test out some handprint ornaments, which became our Mother’s Day/Grandmother’s Day craft! I was able to take photos of this process and my then 21 week pregnant belly using my brandy new (from Christmas) AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod and Vello FreeWave Wireless Remote Shutter Release.

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

Since Brielle has a new fascination with the kitchen counters and helping me bake, cook, clean or wash her hands, she pulled over her chair and we got to work. The recipe was easy as it was already items we had in our house: flour, water and salt!

SaltDoughOrnamentCraft1

After pouring in the ingredients she helped me mix it up!

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

I kneaded the dough and flattened it out to make our ornaments.  I didn’t have any cookie cutters big enough to include her handprint inside so we just grabbed a mug that fit and pressed down to cut a circle.

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

Brielle explored the extra “scraps” of dough that we didn’t end up using.

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

She wasn’t a fan of the tacky texture but still seemed curious of the process and let me press her hand down into the dough for the prints. I used a straw to add a hole for ornament to we could hang it later.

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

After baking in the oven as directed, we let these cool/dry overnight.

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

Once completely dry, we grabbed our Deco Art Americana Acrylic paints, proper her up in her high chair with her favorite black smock and got to work painting the full ornament with a mixture of Spicy Mustard and Sand (colors previously used on the construction truck themed growth chart I made for my nephews).

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

I already knew how well these bright, colorful paints provided on wood but now I saw how they provide the same bright coverage on things like salt dough ornaments!

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

Brielle was a little confused with my direction to make sure “paint your handprint” and instead was just painting her hand. Silly girl!

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

She had fun with that paintbrush to color all three (with a little help from mom)!

Mother's Day Kids Craft: Salt Dough Handprint Ornament. #kidscraft #mothersday| spotofteadesigns.com

After they dried, we added some ribbon and personalized the back with the date and her age. Brielle loved to put her hand over the ornament and tell me “hand” like she was proud of her work. Great Gramma Ingrid loved hers when we gave it to her at Disney a few weeks back and I’m sure Gwenma will love it when she receives hers today! We even had enough that I could actually have one! Yes, I helped make my own Mother’s Day gift :)

Learn more about Deco Art via their website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Youtube.

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Traveling With A Toddler: 10 Lessons Learned From Our First Family Vacation

Travel with a toddler: 10 lessons learned on our first family vacation. #vacation #toddler #tips | spotofteadesigns.com

This April we went to Disney with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, father-in-law and niece. Both the girls were about 19 months so aka toddlers that won’t sit still with a mind of their own! When they went home, we traveled to Daytona Beach for two extra days to enjoy the beach environment before heading back home ourselves.

While my in-laws have traveled often with my niece, Brinley, we had yet to embark on a family adventure.  Overall the vacation went great so we’re not deterred from doing it again, BUT there were a few lessons we learned along the way!

  1. Check with the hotel about bathrooms having tubs. For the Daytona portion of our trip, we had a nice stay at a Hyatt which was right on the beach, had free parking, free wifi and free breakfast. They happily provided us with a pack n play for Brielle to sleep in but while there were all these great amenities, I didn’t think to ask about the bathroom situation. We booked a king size bedroom and when we walked in I realizd there was no bathtub, only a shower! We were easily able to switch to a room with two queen beds and a tub but it was a lesson learned to ask up front! Brielle enjoyed many baths in the two days we were there since we often went from beach to pool to tub!
  2. Write a grocery list before you leave. We were lucky to travel by plane on a 7:30 am flight the first day when Brielle was still her cheery self. But after the two hour flight, getting the luggage and the rental car, the girl was wiped and ready for a nap. Since we wanted to hit up the grocery store before joining the family at the Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villas, I was happy that we wrote a grocery list ahead of time so I could easily run into Publix and pick up all the items needed while Derek stayed with her in the car so she could nap.
  3. Nothing is kid friendly. You read that and say “duh” right? Well I do too. But it’s just crazy how spoiled you get from a good babyproofed situation and how tiring it can be to stay, eat or play somewhere when your child is free to completely explore. For us, the second hotel bathroom was a real spot of exploration. A glass sliding door = a toddler’s delight! No toilet locks = lots of lids going up and down. We eventually were able to butt the pack n play to block the bathroom to keep her in our bedroom area a little longer but sometimes we couldn’t wait to go outside just to get her out of our room!
  4. Have lots of airplane entertainment, but understand nothing may work! You pack the books, the snacks, the toys, a crayon wallet, and those gel window clings that were so popular at home. You buy some new accessories they’ve never seen before and some familiar favorites, all hoping they’ll entertain your little one for a two hour flight. Nope. For us, Brielle was more confused/concerned about every step we were doing that first day and was more into observing than engaging in all the toys I brought for her. Overall, the flight experiences went well, I just thought she’d be antsier than she was and want toys.
  5. Have the kids try on their new clothes before packing. Remember all those cute clothes we bought at the Carter’s store? Brielle was 19.5 months when we traveled so I figured she’d be 24 month clothes by then. Wrong! At least when it came to the bottoms. Miss Brielle has always been a tiny girl, being 5 days late and still only weighing 6 lbs 9 ounces and staying on the small scale since then. Most of the shorts I brought were a little big and 18 months sizes would’ve been better.  She even had a little incident of her bottoms falling down in the middle of an Olive Garden. How embarrassing!
  6. Airplanes have drop down diaper changing tables in the bathrooms! When Brielle assumed the familiar squatting position about 45 minutes into our flight home, we both looked at each other with fear. Who would change her in that cramped little bathroom? I stepped up and offered to give it a whirl. When I walked in, stood her on the toilet bowl lid and asked her aloud “how are we going to do this?” I looked up to see that they do in fact have a drop down diaper changing station right above the toilet seat! It was actually pretty spacious and worked out for this much needed change.
  7. Stick to a normal sleep/nap schedule as much as possible. Anyone with a toddler knows this theory to be true as toddlers love routines! We did our best to stick to the normal sleep/nap times but towards the end of the trip, she was getting thrown off to the point of having a 2 hour delay in going back to bed once we were home.
  8. Don’t expect to eat with your spouse. For the first part of our vacation, you’d often find the dads running around with the girls while us moms ate and then vice versa. I knew she’d be a little antsy at restaurant tables since we didn’t have her favorite high chair with the tray, but I didn’t expect EVERY meal to be that way.
  9. You’ll have to go to bed when the toddler goes to bed. If you chose a regular hotel room and not a suite, you’ll have to go to bed when they go to bed since they’ll see any tvs or bright cell phone lights you have illuminated in the corner.
  10. Toddlers are excited to come home but may also be thrown off their schedule for a few days. Brielle got so excited to pull up to our house after 7 days away and ran over to her familiar toys in the living room. We ate dinner (a little later than normal but not too far off) but she didn’t go to sleep for almost an hour and a half past the normal time! It took a few days to revert back to a whatnot normal bedtime hour. The next day daycare did say she was super friendly and happy, which I can only assume meant she was excited to be back with friends and the familiarity of home.

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