Saturday, October 04, 2014

Days 3 & 4: Travelling With Carseats and Strollers

One of the first things that you will need for any type of travel with a baby is a carseat. I can't make any specific claims, saying that this one is the best, but I can make some observations that I have found. I used an infant car carrier seat with all of my children. The first one I chose was the Graco SafeSeat because the height and weight limits on it were higher than the average ones. I wanted to get good use out of my seat. And I did. I used it with my first three children, until my daughter was about 6 months old. I noticed that there were large cracks in the foam of the seat at that point and promptly retired that seat and transitioned her into an Alpha Omega Elite carseat, similar to what her brothers already had. By wintertime, however, I desperately wanted to have another carrier car seat because I was having so much trouble bundling and unbundling three children, one of whom couldn't walk, in and out of the vehicle. Going anywhere was taking an enormous amount of time.

Shortly after learning we were expecting another child, we ordered another seat. This time I got the Graco Snugride 35. I chose this one because it was compatible with my current stroller and carseat base. I also chose this one because of the height and weight limits. I love that many of the current carrier carseats have 4-35 lb weight limits, especially since my youngest two were born early and I was very concerned that they would be big enough to travel in their seats. I was able to use this carseat until my daughter was about 16 months old, when she outgrew the height limits. It made such a huge difference for the remainder of the winter months. And now my youngest son is enjoying his use of it.

I chose the Alpha Omega Elite carseats because I could adjust the height of the headrest from the front without having to totally restring the straps. I also liked that I could transition them from rear facing to forward facing to booster chair.These carseats have served us very well. And when I am in the market for my next one, I'll likely get another of the same.

One very important thing to note is that you need to be aware of the law about carseats in the country that you live in. In Canada, this means that you need to have a carseat that is approved. And that basically means that you need to buy it in Canada, even if the same carseat can be found cheaper elsewhere.

My strollers were something that I really enjoyed selecting. I did a lot of research before I purchased either of our strollers. The first stroller I purchased was a Graco Mosaic. I was able to attach my carseat in the stroller. Or, I was able to place a really young baby in it because it reclines so well. And, perhaps my favorite feature is that it collapses down to just a little bigger than an umbrella stroller. And, that is a wonderful, space-saving feature for travel.

When I was expecting my second child, I researched double strollers. I wanted one that accepted a carseat, one that was versatile, one that did not take up too much room, and one that was not too expensive, etc. I finally settled on the Contours. It had all the options I wanted and I was able to get an incredible deal on it. I love that stroller! It has worked hard for me and has been worth every penny.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Travel Plans

All my babies sleeping on our last road trip :)
There are many things to consider while you are preparing to travel with your baby. The baby's age, the weather, the destination, and the purpose are some of the first things to think of. If you are travelling with a newborn, you need very different things than if you are travelling with a 1 year old. And, if you are heading to a wedding, you need different things than if you are heading on vacation to the beach. And one thing that will affect your packing a lot is whether you are travelling by car or by plane.

As I mentioned yesterday, we returned from a month-long road trip 5 weeks ago. When we left on our trip, our children were 5, 4, 1.5 years, and 1 month old. We started our trip out with a wedding that my husband was officiating. The rest of the trip was not nearly so formal. We visited friends in the mountains in Montana, did business around the Portland, OR area, spent a week at a beach house on the Oregon Coast, then travelled down to the LA area, before heading home. Thankfully, our children are amazing travellers and we had a great time.

With careful planning, we had everything that we needed for that trip, some extra luxuries, and even had room to spare.  One thing that has kept me sane while preparing for a trip is a packing list. I have multiple lists on my computer that I reference over and over again. Each trip, I pull up a list that is most similar to the trip that I am taking, update it with the current trip in mind, and then print it out. Recently, I imported many of these lists into Evernote. That way I can have the list handy when I'm packing up to come home too and I am much less likely to forget something important. I'll be sharing my basic list later in this series.

Next week, I am planning a trip to my father's home with my four children. I'll be there for a few days before heading to another town for my sister's wedding. Even though my husband won't join us until the evening before the wedding, and even though we haven't been home for very long, I am looking forward to the chance to be on the road.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Have Baby...Will Travel...

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to travel. I love to be on the road, seeing new places, seeing family and friends. I always get filled with a sense of adventure and excitement when I start out on a trip.

The past few years have seen many changes in how we travel as we added four children to the mix. Having babies hasn't slowed me down too much. We took our oldest son on a day trip when he was only one month old and then on a cross-country road trip when he was four months old. Each of the other children have also been on significant trips in the first few weeks and months of their lives. In fact, we just recently returned from a month-long road trip. Our youngest son was just one month old when we set out!

Through these trips, I've learned a thing or two about travelling with babies. Join me for the next month as I share some of my favourite tips, tools and tricks for travelling with little ones, especially those under 1 1/2 years old.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Unexpected Blessings - Another Anti-little "c" Pregnancy

Surprises are fun. Babies are blessings. So, that would make surprise babies super fun blessings, right? Since learning of baby # 4 in mid-November 2013, our lives have been full of unexpected blessings! We have definitely been on a roller-coaster of emotions and non-stop travel.

Baby at 35 weeks
Today, at 36 weeks and 2 days, I wanted to take a look at all the incredible blessings that we have experienced.  Many know that we had planned to not have any more children. In fact, we were quite vocal about it. After the stress of Taleja's pregnancy and birth, we were very afraid of what would happen if we had another child and did not think that it was wise to risk it. (Look especially at the comments. You can also see more in the other pregnancy and anti- little "c" posts.) But God has sustained us each step of the way and has brought us so much farther than we thought possible.

Logically, the effects of the antibodies would get worse with each pregnancy, because the levels of antibodies are always increasing. We thought this baby would definitely need to have an intrauterine fetal blood transfusion. We thought that the pregnancy would barely make it to 35 weeks before we needed to deliver this baby. And we thought that I would have to move to my dad's place with my other children early in the pregnancy and that I'd have multiple appointments to manage every week. But, God had other plans for us.

Imagine our joy when, at our first ultrasound appointment with the specialists in Calgary, the doctor explained to us that the dopplers showed MCA values that were well within normal range. She also explained that there are so many unknown factors when it comes to antibody incompatibilities and that some babies are not as affected as others. Of course, we knew that we would have to take it one appointment at a time, but for the first time, we were given hope that perhaps, this pregnancy would not be as bad as we feared it would be.

My list of blessings:
  1. The prayers of our family and friends from around the world. Prayers work miracles! And in our case, they helped us to remain at peace, they helped us to manage the crazy travel schedule, and they showed us how God can work miracles that kept this baby from having major complications!
  2. My first ultrasound and specialist appointments were not until the end of February, just before19 weeks.
  3. We were able to arrange a share-care type of situation where I could have some ultrasounds done in Calgary and some in Edmonton, and I could also see my regular physician between appointments in Calgary. This really cut down the distance that we needed to travel and saved me from having to leave home earlier than wanted.
  4. This baby has shown remarkable resiliency right from the start.
  5. I had ultrasound appointments every 2-2.5 weeks from the end of February to the end of April. And most of them were in Edmonton. 
  6. At the end of April, when the levels started going up, we managed 3 weekly trips to Edmonton, until I could move down to my dad's just after Victoria Day weekend. 
  7. Though the levels went up, they have stayed relatively close to the high-end of normal levels since April.
  8. God has certainly protected us every time that we got on the road. There were some bad accidents and bad weather and road conditions, but we made each trip safely.
  9. Dave had a chance to come down for a quick visit.
  10. Last week was the only week that I had appointments on 2 different days. The rest of the time I have only had one appointment per week.
  11. Because of the appointment schedule, the kids and I were able to go home for a week and spend Father's day with Daddy.
  12. Today was my last appointment before the baby is born.
  13. The levels today were the same as the levels at the end of April. (There has been some variation with higher levels a couple of times, but those tended to be on the days when the baby was very active.)
  14. I got to choose an induction date. June 28. That is right at 37 weeks, which means the baby is considered full-term.
  15. I get to meet my littlest one in just 5 or 6 days!
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