(Not) Traveling With ‘lil Burghers

This summer, I have provided you with some stories, tips, and tricks about how we pack it all in for a trip and what it’s like to travel with a potty training toddler. Tonight, I want to tell you what it’s like for a parent NOT to travel with their little ones.

I got used to being without my babies while traveling when A was very young. In case you don’t remember, I was a single mom until A was 9 months old and Mr. Burgher and I tied the knot. My decision to leave Myrtle Beach came when A was just 2 1/2 months old and I had been back to work for 3 weeks. She came down with RSV and was kicked out of daycare (because I didn’t pay for a week), so after Christmas break, I had nowhere to keep her until we moved in the middle of January. On New Year’s Eve, I packed my suitcase and headed for the airport without the infant that was supposed to be in my lap. We spent 22 days apart while my parents cared for her in PA. My world was frankly shattered (thank goodness Mr. Burgher stepped into my life), but I did what I had to do.

My parents love our kids so much, that we often get chances to spend a night or two without them. It doesn’t mean we are pushing them off (no way should you let my parents hear that–they LOVE their grands and would do anything to be with them), it just means that we have a great support system. Since they are willing to help us out here and there, that means that Mr. Burgher and I have traveled “solo” a few times.

Can I just tell you? It is NOT as fun as traveling with them–stresses of traveling with toddlers and all.

I guess when we went to Vegas in March, it didn’t really hit me like it has during this current work trip. Mr. Burgher and I flew with my cousin, we enjoyed a weekend together, and he went home (cooler full of milk) to the kids while I focused in on my conference. This week, I am in Texas for a conference and I find myself constantly thinking, why am I so relaxed? THIS IS NOT NORMAL! (Mama–it IS normal. . . your kids are FINE.) {Yes, I am a victim of talking to myself, ahem.} Since you probably have already stopped reading, thinking I am crazy, I forgive you. If you haven’t, here’s what I mean by “it’s not as fun”.

-When I was in the airport, I was constantly wondering where A had wandered off to. Had she kept up when I decided to bolt the long security line and go to the Alternate Checkpoint? Where was Evan’s diaper bag? My mind was constantly racing, needing reminded that they were not with me.

-On the plane…I wondered what A would drink. Did they have straws? Would they cut the juice down with water for her? Would I be able to reach the sippy cup? Would either of them cry and annoy the other passengers? Would I be stuck with someone who hated kids (yes, those people, sadly, do exist)? But I didn’t need to be worrying.

-In the shuttle, I wondered how we would have strapped them into the seats.

-Here at the hotel, I wish I could hear the shrieks and giggles as Mr. Burgher splashed A in the pool. I spent my first night wondering if the others in my hall would wake up if I couldn’t nurse E fast enough.

But all these fears and worries are null and void. The kids are not with me. I can should relax and enjoy myself. But honestly? I miss them being around.

And honestly? I will make it through. In five minutes, when I am off reading a book off Oprah’s Book Club list or catching up on brain mush TV, I will be glad for a little time away. When I am in another session thinking about how to apply the principles I’m learning to my job, I will be glad they are not here as a distraction. When I walk the streets of town looking for an “off the beaten path” eatery, I will not worry if they don’t have chicken nuggets. All parents deserve this every once in awhile and shouldn’t feel guilty. Sure, it’s ok to feel like part of you is missing (because it is), but you’ll be reunited soon enough–don’t waste away your time with a countdown, the moments pass too quickly as it is.

* * *

In other (related) thoughts–I am in San Antonio until Friday and am throughly enjoying the learning I am doing during the day and the fun eateries I am finding at night. If you’ve ever been and have a suggestion, feel free to comment! A post will be up after I get home about it all.

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Tales of Traveling with ‘Lil Burghers: Part Two

Last time I talked about traveling with kids (a baby and a toddler), I told you all about how we always pack “Everything But the Kitchen Sink”. Today, I am over at Marine Parents Blog talking about the first car trip with a potty training toddler and what we packed to make it helpful. Please head over to read Part 2 of this summer’s Travel Series and be proud of ‘Lil Miss A!

(PS: April has lots of beautiful handmade products over at her Marine Parents Etsy Shop. You really should check that out, too.)

Tales of Traveling with ‘lil Burghers: Part One

Today’s post is the first in a series I will be writing about traveling with children. We have a baby and a toddler, so it always makes for an event when we travel, even right down the road! Feel free to chime in and keep watching for future posts.

Part One: What to Pack a.k.a. Who Grabbed the Kitchen Sink?

Prior to this summer, our ‘lil Burgher family has gone on only a handful of vacations. Since we are a single income crew, we typically travel places where we can stay with family or friends if possible (saving $100s). . . and that usually means driving wherever we go. Flights are getting way too expensive, and besides, we can’t bring the kitchen sink along.

Back when A was just three months old, something told me to buy a big SUV, so I sprung for a roomy Durango. Less than 5 months later, A and I expanded our family to include Mr. Burgher and Rowdy, and the adventures of traveling began. And by traveling, I mean packing the Durango up to the “I can’t see out the back window” brim and hitting the road.

(Have I mentioned all my worldly possessions barely fit in a 26′ truck when moving home from SC? It’s in my blood, and it carries over to even short trips as you’ll soon see.)

Our first trip as a family was our honeymoon/fishing trip with my family. Luckily, A traveled in my dad’s truck, so we really had no clue how much stuff she had. Sure, there were the certain blankets, Ellie, and a pack n’ play, but we didn’t have to lug it all ourselves. We felt so in control, but we really had no clue.

Fast forward a few months and we took our first family trip on a plane to Myrtle Beach. It seemed pretty flawless as A had recently turned one and was pretty independent. We had a carseat waiting our arrival, so we just used an umbrella stroller, a small rolling suitcase, one checked bag, and a diaper bag. When we got to town, G’s mom had bought Silk and diapers, so we were set with the supplies. This trip was a little bulky, but we still had no clue what traveling with a lil one was really like.

And then last summer, it really began. While packing for our fishing trip, Mr. Burgher and I were arguing about how to shove the last flip flop in the truck. Our neighbor came out to ask if we’d remembered the kitchen sink. She wasn’t kidding. A’s carseat was barely visible among all of the “stuff” we felt it took to travel with a toddler. There were DVDs, a cooler, G’s computer, three suitcases, a pack n’ play, a stroller, diapers, wipes, lifejackets, watershoes, blankets, pillows, towels, sheets, Ellie, Baby, 4 pairs of shoes for A, 5 pairs of shoes for me, and 6 pairs of shoes for G (just kidding). Some pregger lady just HAD to stuff in a full body support pillow ::ahem:: and a tote of toys. There were presents for friends with newborns, camera, camcorder, and a bag of snacks. I think somewhere in there, we really did have the kitchen sink.

here's what we take just for an overnight with at my parents'!

But did we use half of that stuff? Of course not! In preparing for our first trips with A and E (a 2-and-a-half year old and a 6 month old), we sure don’t want to pack as heavy, but we just don’t know how we’ll get around it. I mean, for an overnight trip to my parents, we notoriously take 4-5 eco bags plus a duffel and pillows. Is any of it necessary? No!

I think it’s time to call in the experts. What MUST we bring with us and what’s ok to leave behind? How do you travel with a toddler and a baby without looking like gypsies? Is it possible?

Packing isn’t all there is to traveling with toddlers. More thoughts on this will be forthcoming here at lilburghers.wordpress.com!