Monthly Archives: December 2014

Merry Christmas!


















Merry Christmas to you and yours this fabulous holiday season! – Holly Marie

Flying with a Toddler

flying with a toddler
The holidays mean traveling for many of you, as I know.  This post about the hard, honest truth of what worked for me with a toddler and an eight-month pregnant belly still ring true.  I hope that all of your travels bring you home safely this holiday season and that these tips may be found helpful during the hustle and bustle.
How to Cope While Flying with a Toddler
Since D was born we have traveled by plane ten times together. NINE times completely by ourselves.  Our family lives far enough away that flying is the only option at this point.  The trip by car takes 28 hours-which I have completed four times-and the trip by train is over 45 hours(so many stops) which I have completed once.  Neither of which I would ever attempt to do with a Toddler- or Baby- by myself- ever.  
Although, given the choice if my family lived ten hours closer- I would gladly drive 18 hours with my little munchkin versus navigate the airport-plane-and people obstacles of having a toddler in tow.
WHY? You ask out loud-incredulously?!?
The Toddler is stubborn, much like myself, and weighs in over 36 lbs of pure muscle(who knows really but it sounds about right).  And terrible twos hit around the One Year mark and are getting better-but maybe pregnancy brain just clouds my memory… yeah, probably the second. Oh- yeah and I am pregnant-like eight months pregnant(yes I was cleared by my OB).
Making your child sit still for over three hours in a plane full of people that loathe your mere existence is complete and utter torture.  TORTURE.
No, we have never been “those” people on the plane.  You know the ones I am talking about… the ones that can’t quite figure out how to stop their babies from screaming bloody murder… the ones that when I was back in college- oblivious of how hard it is when traveling with a child- I would roll my eyes(to myself-I’m not nearly that brazen nor rude) and pop in my ear plugs and read my magazine-it was only a three hour flight anyway.
I just wish people were kinder.  The only time that the Husband was available to fly with us- D did great- he even slept on the plane- didn’t squirm once!!! ONCE!!! I kind of wanted the Husband to see just how hard it is to fly with a Toddler- especially one that is as big as D- and yet there he was sleeping through the whole flight on the Hubby.  BUT- it is different when you are not by yourself.  
You have help at security.  
Trying to hold onto your Toddler’s hand while you remove your shoes, place the stroller and diaper bag on the conveyor belt-with the bottles-snacks-and medicine out for inspection should be an Olympic Event- I would win- by the skin of my teeth-but victory would be mine!  When the Husband was there it went by in a flash- and there were no beads of sweat pouring down from my forehead- WINNING.
At the gate.
You have someone to stay with the stroller-bags-Toddler while you rustle up some snacks or hit the bathroom for the upteenth time(because you are pregnant-like I was the last time the Toddler and I flew solo). And all of those trips with the stroller-Toddler-diaper bag-are completely chaos. You also have someone to run the Toddler ragged so that he sleeps through the whole flight… very necessary to get out all of those extra wiggles and giggles!
Gate check.
Disassembling the stroller and checking it.  Thank you husband.  Holding onto the diaper bag and baby while doing this is a great workout but the help makes it easy-peasy.
Airplane bathroom breaks.
What? Help on the plane??? This should speak for itself.  Just another pair of hands to help during the flight… A-FREAKING-MAZING.  Please note- that there are flight attendants out there that help tremendously when I am flying solo- so far it was only one- but that one made my flight and curbed my new-mom flying with a baby fears- thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Long list of rants eh?  Yep.  Just had to get it off my chest.  Friends that fly with husbands? I know how good you have it… just saying.
TIPS for SURVIVING a Flight with your Child:
  1. Curb-Side Check-In for all of your luggage.  Worth it! You can also check your car seat if you will not be using it on the plane for free-and it doesn’t count as an extra piece of luggage. SCORE.
  2. When bringing a stroller make sure that it is cleaned out and doesn’t have any toys, lovies, or food that will accidentally get misplaced when you have to disassemble it and gate check it before boarding. 
  3. Baby medicine, snacks and bottles can all be brought in “reasonable” quantities with you on the plane.  When D was a baby I always brought 8 ounces more than I thought I would use… which when we were delayed at the airport for over four hours once was completely necessary.
  4. See if they have a “Family” security screen line at your airport ahead of time.  Phoenix and Seattle have one and it is a life-saver!  There is literally no line and the TSA officials are used to handling all of the goodies that come with flying with a baby.
  5. Wear your baby through the security check point.  You still have to remove your shoes and put everything on the belt-BUT- you can keep your baby all snuggled up as you go through the metal detector-you just have to get your hands swabbed for bomb making material after you go through-which takes-two seconds.
  6. Bring an arsenal of go-to items.  My list of necessary things? Two books-that they love- textural toys- one “new” toy(one that they have loved but has been meticulously hidden from them for a week)-two-three snacks- cooler full of milk- five diapers-wipes- one swaddle blanket(D always tended to get too hot so I would dress him in a cotton shirt and shorts-easier to add layers than take them away) a small wet bag for accidents-change of clothes for D-baby medicine(benedryl in-case D has a reaction to something).
  7. Let them run around at the airport.  Or find a spot where you can watch the planes take-off.  D loves when I point to all of the cars, trucks, people, planes outside and talk about what they are doing. Research if there is a “play area” at either your terminal or the main airport.  Research is key!  Both Seattle and Phoenix have various options.
  8. Use the restroom before boarding and make sure they board with a new diaper.  Southwest has only one changing table and it is in the front of the plane.  I use the term changing table loosely because at six months old D was too long for it… and now I have a 19 month old.  What fun!
  9. Let them take the window seat if you have a row to yourself-this has yet to happen to me-so I usually choose the aisle-so that I can get up and make my way to the bathroom or rock him to sleep(when he was younger) in the back.  
  10. Sit in the back of the plane-with all of the other parents-helps to have a little morale boost and people that give you the look of “been there, done that-I know what you are going through”. Plus the noise from the engines makes a great sleep aide!  Oh and if you have a squirmy little one- sit in the very last row- that way they can climb up the chair without “bothering” the people behind them and there are less witnesses to you pulling your hair out.

As you are reading this the Toddler and I are taking our eleventh flight together- solo.  Hoping I can just relax and know that it will all be over in a few short hours.  PLUS- although he is still 19 months old- he has his own seat for once… which should make… yea I am going to bite my tongue and not jinx myself right now.  Oh and did I mention I have an ipad now? Perhaps that is the key to flying bliss? We shall see.

Pregnant Lady & Toddler take on the airport!!!
Want some more travel related help?

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I hope the elves are keeping themselves busy this time of year and that you and Mrs. Claus are doing well.  I’m writing to you to let you know that we don’t need anything this year.  Of course we will still set out some homemade goodies for you-gluten-egg-and nut-free(perhaps you can re-gift them?) and carrots for your team if you should happen to stop by.  Yesterday we were able to meet you at your workshop and my little ones told us how excited they were to meet you.  Emma Marie became shy all of the sudden, but I swear she likes you, perhaps just from afar this year(or next).  The tears well? Let’s just keep that between us.


Raymond had practiced what he was going to say to you for days(months).  He never faltered and stayed true with his one Christmas Wish for this year.  After you kindly asked him what he wanted he simply said , “A Choo Choo please.”  You came up with a couple more options, “Well, how about a hemi, a truck, or some dinosaurs too?” And he just smiled and said, “No, thank you.”

Your kindness and thoughtfulness meant the world to him.  You took your time talking to him even though there were many other anxious visitors waiting to see you.  For that I am grateful.

You see, for the first time in years our entire family will be together for the holiday.  Our Christmas Wish has come true.  So I know that last year I asked for socks, well this year I simply want to get you a reprieve from the chaos that must be Christmas Eve.  Our family together is the best gift in the world.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays- from our family to yours.

Merry Christmas

Holly Marie

HOMEJOY-Sparkling Clean Home for the Holidays



As many of you know we are having our family fly in from Washington State and Hawaii for the holidays and for many moms(right?!?) making sure the house is clean is one of the NUMBER ONE stressors during the holidays.  When Homejoy offered a clean house in time for the holidays I jumped at the chance to see how(someone else) could deep clean my house.  I mean cleaning with a toddler AND preschooler in the house is like brushing your teeth and then eating an oreo…. it just never-EVER- feels clean.

Setting up my appointment and adding in the essential extras- hello deep cleaned oven-mircrowave-and fridge- and picking a day took me literally a minute.  I sat there staring at the screen and actually sent the image of the appointment to my husband and mom.  They were going to clean our ENTIRE house top-to-bottom.  I don’t think our entire house has been deep cleaned all at once-ever.  We moved into this house when I was 19 weeks pregnant with Raymond.  Sure, I’ve completed a bunch of projects in the house-all of the rooms have been painted(and re-painted) and installed various appliances… but deep cleaning? Not in my M.O.



Our lovely Homejoy Cleaning Professional, Ramon, arrived fifteen minutes early- a big old smile on his face-and immediately asked where I would like him to start. My kids loved how nice he was and I loved that he asked where he could start- hello naptime savior.  So upstairs he went and we played our little hearts out downstairs.  After he was done, he showed me from room to room what he did… and embarrassingly enough I think my mouth was hanging open the whole time(not making that up).  It was spotless.  We immediately went upstairs for naptime and BOOM he attacked the downstairs with a vengeance.  That poor powder bathroom has seen better days- potty training?!?! and I sort of cringed at how bad my oven and kitchen were… I mean if you looked at it from afar, sure it’s clean.  But goodness, one step inside and any Type A person would break out in a cold sweat.


The kids woke up from naptime just in time to wave goodbye to Ramon.  The entire house was sparkling, smelled clean, and in that moment I realized WHY people have their houses cleaned.  It was THAT feeling of finality.  The house was ready for our entire family and there is not one thing I need to clean.  And do you know that I could have signed up for them to complete all of my laundry?!? Yep. It’s an option.






That little yellow sticker, all of the towels folded beautifully, it felt like I was in an immaculate hotel.  My husband literally said-and I quote, “HOLY COW,” when he walked in.  Apparently, my cleaning doesn’t bring the WOW factor.  And how could it? With two little ones right behind me there is no way I could have done this in a day-not humanly possible.


Merry Christmas to me!  Say no to stress, hire HOMEJOY for the holidays.  Yes, that should be their slogan.  Now I’m off to go sit down and relax… feet up, reveling in the holiday season.  Thank you HOMEJOY, from the bottom of my oven, to the tops of our ceiling fans.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You can set up your appointment JUST in time for the holidays with HOMEJOY HERE. I don’t get anything if you do… BUT you get a clean house…. so? WIN.

BUT if you would like $25 toward your first cleaning(and I get $25 toward a future deep clean) click HERE.-thank you!




I received free service from Homejoy in order to review .  As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas: Boys & Girls



As parents we decided to include some essentials and a couple of sweet treats for both of our little one’s stockings.  Growing up Santa filled our stockings with small treats, healthy essentials, and a couple toys(or one big toy next to the tree).  My husband grew up with small presents in his stockings(wrapped) and candy- first one up had to start the fire and they could all look at their stockings until everyone was up.  We wanted to continue the traditions of our childhoods and came up with stocking stuffer goodies AND essentials.

Check out our finds for Emma Marie(1) and Raymond(3) for them to find under the tree Christmas Morning.  Goodness do I wish we had a mantel-but frankly our weather doesn’t warrant a fire very often here in Arizona.



1. Babiators in Violet Pilot– She has a pair in pink… so this is technically non-essential and going to be a “fun” addition to her outfits, along with sun protection out here in the desert. Honestly, wish they made these in adult sizes.

2. C’est Love Bows– Local Find. Met this fabulous momprenueur and she makes LOVELY baby girl accessories.

3. Panda Hat- Local Farmers Market Find- Em grinned from ear-to-ear when she picked this out. We definitely thought she would want an owl one… so glad she picked this out on her own.  Definitely will realize that next year we will be on our own because Raymond will remember where we are and what we pick out on our own… but I will revel in the thought that she will be OH SO happy at finding these treasures under the tree.


1. Toothbrush- Necessity- Em needs a new one and this caterpillar one looks priceless.

2. Toothpaste- MY LITTLE PONY- LOVE- She picked this out awhile ago… and my heart went pitter-patter but you know- she’s one and won’t remember.

3. Socks- She wears all of Raymond’s hand-me-downs which is great-until we realize all the other socks we have in her size doesn’t have those critical non-slip skidds on… a couple wipe-outs on the tile? Yep. Necessary.

4. Bubble Bath- a treat for both of them.

5. Pajama Set- New PJs for the holidays- going to make this a holiday tradition with our little ones.




1. Babiators in Black– For the life of me we can not find his other pair of trusty, non-breakable, Babiators.  And so here is our second pair- the first lasted two years and he loves them.

2. Flashlights- Ninja Turtle and Energizer.  All he talks about is flashlights so I hope he is happy with these.

3. Ninja Turtle Hat- Local Saturday Market Find.  He has actually been wearing this non-stop for the last couple of days… so it may not appear in the stocking- BUT he does love it. Win-Win.




1. Toothbrush- Necessity- Raymond needs a new one and this caterpillar one looks priceless- plus it came in a two pack. Winning.

2. Toothpaste- TMNT- notice a trend here? He loves everything about the Turtles…

3. Socks- He just turned three and is in size 12 shoes… he needed bigger socks. Santa for the win.

4. Bubble Bath- a treat for both of them.

5. Pajama Set- New PJs for the holidays- going to make this a holiday tradition with our little ones.


Santa for the win.  Essentials & Goodies for our little ones.

Santa is surely bringing a train set- the one train set Raymond has asked for-for months-we saved(and saved) and are super proud that this year we are able to make his sweet dream come true.  Em? Well I think she is just going to be happy with Nana being here… besides there are a couple of little items we plan on having them both open as a family.


What do you plan on putting in your little one’s stockings?

What traditions did you grow-up with on Christmas morning?


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