Star Gazers

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As part of our road trip, we’ll be going to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.  My kids, have taken a curiosity to space, the stars and planets.  So I was excited when I saw that this week with the Little Passports Blog-Camp Explorer Week 3, you can download a free constellation activity sheet so they can learn the names and shapes of six constellations!  Full Disclaimer: The Little Passports link in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link for Little Passports.

In other space news, did you know that the Perseid Meteor shower, which happens every year, is going on right now?  It will peak between the 9th and the 14th of August.  While we won’t get to the Lowell Observatory during that time, we’ll still be in southeast Arizona where the dessert and limited cities lights will be a perfect place for my kids and I to do some stargazing.  I’m excited to just sit on my grandma’s front porch and stare up at the stars with them, just like I did as a kid!

If you are looking for a hands on activity for your kids in the Seattle area to learn a little more about space, check out the Seattle Museum of Flight.  In addition of their wonderful flight and airplane exhibits, they have some pretty cool pieces from past space crafts for kids to walk through as well as many space related exhibits.  They also have a 3D movie “Journey To Space” that captivated my 5 and 7 year old’s attention, as well as mine! The first Thursday of every month is free admission for entry after 5:00 p.m. and the museum stays open until 9:00 p.m.  So mark your calendars for August 6th!!!

Kids Flying Alone-A Big First For Our Family!

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Yesterday was a big day for our family.  My 5 year old and 7 year old sons flew for the first time as unaccompanied minors.  I was nervous, but deep down, I knew they could handle it with all of their previous experience flying.  They took a direct flight from Seattle to Denver and met their grandparents at the other end.  One thing that made it easier for us to decide to let them go alone was the change in the law a few years ago that again allowed parents to walk their children to the gate and for the receiving adult to meet the children at the gate.  After 9/11, there was a period where children had to be given to an agent before security and then the picking up adults had to wait outside of security for the airport agent to bring the child off the plan and outside of the secured area.  I didn’t want to trust a stranger to look after my kids in a busy airport and I am so glad that the rules now allow parents and designated adults to take children to and pick children up from the gates.

The logistics included filling out paperwork for the receiving adult (that could be done online) and paying a fee (for Delta it was $150 each way but covered both of my children traveling together).  When when my husband and I arrived to check them in, we had to show a government issued ID in order to get our passes through security.  Then we had to fill out some information for the kids on a special unaccompanied minor envelope and verify the name, address and phone number of the person picking them up.  The kids each got a bracelet with a barcode on it as well.

Getting some wiggles out before the flight.

Getting some wiggles out before the flight.

We had opted for the boys to have a backpack for their Kindle Fires and a few other books and small toys for when they were on their trip.  They also had headphones and some snacks (Uncrustable sandwiches and cheese sticks).  We opted for them to take their roller boards on the plane rather than checking them in an attempt to make it easier on my in-laws.  However, we forgot that they would need their booster seats for the car on the other end that they would need to be checked under the plane anyways.  Oh well.  On another note, my in-laws treated my kiddos to this trip, and as it turned out, it was fewer miles to book a first class ticket than a coach seat.  So not only were they flying alone for the first time, they were doing it in first class!  Lucky ducks!

It was a weird feeling knowing my boys were on that plane and I was not!

It was a weird feeling knowing my boys were on that plane and I was not!

So what was my biggest fear about letting them go?  Not that they would not get to my in-laws once they landed or that someone would do something to them on the plane (though I did read a super creepy story about a guy trying to touch a young sleeping child sitting across the aisle from his mother!)  My biggest fear was that in flight, something would go wrong, they could crash or perhaps someone did in fact try to take over the plane and crash it, that regardless, my babies would have spent the last moments of their life alone and scared without me able to be there to comfort them.

And with that lovely image in your head, I am happy to say that nothing bad happened at all and they are safe and sound in Colorado with their grandparents having a grand ol’ time!  But I still can’t wait to see them next week when we drive down to meet them.  Stay tuned for our 2nd trip of the summer, this time on our home turf of the “Wild West” USA where I will be driving a huge circle around America’s west through 10 states with the 3 kids.  The first quarter of the trip I’ll have my husband and just our 2 year old, the 2nd quarter I’ll be solo with all 3 kids from Colorado to Texas, the 3rd quarter my mom will join me from Texas to Arizona with all 3 kids and the last leg of the journey I’ll be alone again with the 3 little ones as we make our way back up to Washington from Arizona with a stop through Las Vegas!

Safe and sound on the flip side with their grandparents!

Safe and sound on the flip side with their grandparents!

Why Art Matters

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When you are traveling with children, the thought of taking them to an art museum can seem really daunting. Unpredictable, energetic, tiny humans with busy hands in a building full of expensive masterpieces, sounds scary. So why risk it? Why expose them to it, especially at a young age? Why does art even matter anyways? One movie really put this in perspective for me, The Monuments Men. The re-account of this true story helped me realize why I do think art is so important for my kids and why I want them to grow up being exposed to it and appreciate it.

The Madonna and Child by Michelangelo. The one in the city of Bruges, Belgium featured in the movie "The Monuments Men."

The Madonna and Child by Michelangelo. The one in the city of Bruges, Belgium featured in the movie “The Monuments Men.”

I first watched this movie on a plane heading back to the United States after a month in Europe. I watched it again last night and was still moved to tears. For those that don’t know the movie, it tells the story of a small unit in the Allied armed forces during WWII made up of art curators and professors whose job it was to try to find and reclaim precious works of art stolen by the Nazi government from private homes and museums across Europe. In the midst of all of the violence of the war and the heartbreaking fact that millions of Jews were being killed, tortured and imprison, it was a difficult task to convince the powers that be that it was important work and worth the resources needed to save art. Why should we care so much about paintings, sculptures or architectural wonders? The movie’s goal was to answer that question. They wanted to save “The greatest historical achievements of man.” ~A quote by George Clooney’s character Frank Stokkes (George Stouts in real life). Many of the classical masterpieces of art are in fact some of man’s greatest achievements, especially when you think of how “advanced” our technological world is today verses the time period in which most of these works were completed.

But if you look at it a level deeper, you get to the root answer. Art matters because it mattered to people. It influenced society. Art has inspired hope, it has taught us about our past and it shows the perseverance of man. When I look at a painting, I imagine how many millions of people have looked at the same painting for centuries. I wonder what they thought of it. If it reminds them of summer time with their grandparents too? Or why women today who are plump and curvy are not immortalized in photographs like the women in paintings from the past several centuries. There is that saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” You can read about the history of the world, but seeing it, gives you an actual glimpse into the past. Now, of course I have no delusions to the fact that historical art was mostly commissioned to present a specific appearance that wasn’t always a true reflection of the reality of, say, the person who commissioned the portrait. But you still learn something from it, the fact that people have always held the desire to have their image captured, to be remembered, much like we love to have pictures taken of our family today. We as people want to be remembered, that hasn’t changed for thousands of years! Art shows us the connections we have as a human race. Art exists across all cultures. All of the great societies over time cared about, supported, and funded art.

That is why it is important for me to expose my children to art. If humanity is connected by way of us all having a desire to be remembered, what other emotional similarities do we share? It makes us ask what emotions or message was the artist trying to share? When we can connect with something on an emotional level, we all of the sudden have more respect, more value for that society, those peoples, and in turn, the people today. I can look at a painting and imagine what the people in the scene did next. How else did they spend the rest of their day? Their life? I want my kids to be able to look at something and imagine those life stories too. And as they get older, I hope they can look at a sculpture like Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child in Bruges and understand how it gave hope to millions of people through suffering and despair. How alter pieces and religious frescos in cathedrals allowed common illiterate people to feel a connection to their God and be reminded of stories that they were in capable to read in a book. I want them to understand the motivation and emotions the artist had behind creating the piece of art and how it affected the audiences that first viewed it.

Thousands of years of history of the human struggle, life, culture, feelings. Who we are, who they were and why we are who we are today can all be told through art. The preservation of this is exceedingly important. This is what I hope to teach my children. Sure it would be nice if they could spout off the elements that separate impressionists from classical master techniques, and perhaps it would be impressive if when they get to high school they can remember in their art history class that they once saw several Picassos in a museum in Malaga, Spain. But most of all, I want them to be inspired by the beauty that humans can create. To appreciate the motivations behind an artist’s work. To think about what feelings the artist must have had and to realize that behind every image they see, from the works in the Louvre to a picture on Facebook, that a real human being with feelings and emotions is standing right behind it.


Making the Most of Your Local Library to Prepare For Travel

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Our countdown to Japan has begun! In, just shy of, two months we will be heading off to the land of the rising sun.  Since this will be our very first trip ever to Asia, I wanted to familiarize our kids with the country, it’s language and some of it’s customs. The hope is that it will help them get more out of our time in Japan and to teach them a little more about Japanese culture.  The first place I turned to was our local library or libraries.

Some treasures we found at the library!

Some treasures we found at the library!

I started off just by checking out an introductory language DVD that the kids could watch at home, or in the car during our unfortunately high number of hours we have to spend each week driving around between schools, the store and extracurricular activities.  There was only one DVD at our local library, and it was the 2nd volume of a two disc collection.  I wasn’t too concerned that we weren’t starting with volume 1 because the goal was just to expose them to the sounds of the language, to get them used to here something completely different from the English, German and Spanish they already had practice with.  The result…wonderful!!! The very first time I put the disc in the car to drive down to my middle son’s pre-school, I was grinning ear to ear listening to my 5 year old and 2 year old actually repeating the words they heard on the DVD! A few minutes in and a cute song with a familiar melody broke out and my 5 year old was bebopping away to the tune.  It was a hit.  The DVD was called “Japanese for Kids: Learn Japanese, Beginner Level 1. Volume 2”   Volume 1 wasn’t available at our branch so I had place it on hold to be sent over to ours from another branch.

About a week later was my eldest son’s school Spring Break. I had been looking around at story times at the different branches and found that the library in Kirkland, one town over from us, had a Japanese Story Time on Monday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Since we were actually going to be home for this Spring Break, all three of the kids would get a chance to participate.  Story time was right when the library opened so we poured in with the rest of the patrons and followed a couple other Japanese moms with their toddlers into the story room.  As more and more people arrived, we quickly noticed that everyone else there was Japanese, except my son’s friend who joined with her mom and brother and a Swedish grandmother with her 2 year old grandaughter.  There was a big turn out!  My first thought was “how can I get to know these ladies and would it be too weird to try to talk to them later about Japan?” I didn’t know who had been born in the U.S. and was just keeping their culture alive for their kids and who might have actually immigrated from Japan.  The second thought I had was “Wow, we are now in a room full of people and kids and are clearly the minority.  This is exactly how I have been told Japan is going to be for us.  I was glad that my kids were getting to be the minority and still have so much fun doing the same activity..  I want them to grow up feeling comfortable in a variety of situations and to learn that being around people who look differently from you doesn’t have to be bad or scary and is actually just as fun as being with people who look just like you do.

Japanese story time at the library.

Japanese story time at the library.

The story teller was fantastic!  She opened with a simple Japanese song that went around the room asking all the children their names and how old they were that was set to a clapping rhythm.  It took my older ones a while to catch on but when it was their turn she did both English and Japanese and they said what they needed to say with confidence and even repeated the Japanese after the English once she told them what it was.  A highlight was the first story, which was geared at the very young toddlers.  A rather cute book all in Japanese with different fold outs.  All of the different children went running up to get a closer look at to be able to touch the flaps that the storyteller brought to life.  My daughter jumped up after a couple minutes to join in after she realized it was allowed.  It was so cute to see her playing along to the story just like the other little Japanese toddlers.  There were two more books read after that and then a few interactive partner songs.  It was a great morning getting to share this experience with the kids and to see them so comfortable in such an unfamiliar setting!

Trying to sound out a few Japanese phrases.

Trying to sound out a few Japanese phrases.

To cap off the trip to the library, we looked through further options at that branch and we excited to have found a “Little Pim Fun With Languages: Japanese For Kids” DVD and checked that out.  We also got 3 books: “My First Japanese Phrases” by Jill Kalz, “Japanese Nursery Rhymes, Carp Streamers, Falling Rain and other Traditional Favorites” by Danielle Wright that came with the music CD in Japanese and English, and finally “Teach Me More…Japanese: A Musical Journey Through the Year” by Judy Mahoney with accompanying CD, unfortunately it only had one of the 2 booklets (the 2nd one again but not the first!) and the layout was not as learning friendly as the other ones.  The nursery rhymes book with a cd was awesome!  And I really liked the “My First Japanese Phrases” book compared to other my first word type books.

The library proved to be a great way to get your kids interested in another culture and language in the familiarity of their own home and comfortable settings like the children’s section of the library.  Plus it’s a great way to be able to try out different resources before you commit to buying some.  I can’t wait to see how their activities at home will affect our trip in June!

When Kids Get Sick On Trips

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Kids get sick, that’s just a fact of life.  Most of the time you are at home where you can deal with illness without much of a hassle other than re-arranging your day.  Such as my son throwing up all over our car a couple weeks ago just as we were loading up the car to leave for the baby sitters so mommy could go to her skating practice.  But what do you do when your child gets sick on your vacation?  Especially if you’ve flown thousands of miles to get to your destination!  Here are a few tips to manage a sick child on holiday while trying to still salvage your trip.

When my son threw up the other day, it reminded me of our vacation to Budapest and Bratislava a couple years ago when my oldest son (then just 4 years old) threw up all over our hotel room in Slovakia on the last day of our trip, an hour before we were supposed to check out of the hotel.

We were still living in Germany at the time and drove the 6 hours to Budapest, Hungary and Bratislava, Slovakia.  We were going to be gone a total of 6 days.  After a wonderful time in Budapest, we on to Bratislava for the last 2 1/2 days.  The morning we were going to check out and drive home I was packing some things in our suitcase when I heard a cough, then a quick gagging sound.  I immediately looked over at my son, already knowing what was coming next and shouted at my husband to get him to the bathroom since he was a closer to our son.  My husband lunged over to him and picked him up from behind and started to walk to the bathroom.  At the exact moment my husband took his first step, my son let loose the full contents of his stomach.  The spew spilled out directly in the path of travel my husband was on and just like in a cartoon, his next step went right into the slippery pile of puke that sent my husband’s feet right out from under him.  He landed flat on his back, in the puke, arms clinched around our son who landed safely on my husband’s stomach.

It’s just one of those things you can’t help, laughing through. The problem however, was that I had become an efficient packer, and even though we were road tripping it and that allowed me a few extra luxuries for the long drive, clothing was packed rather precisely and finding something clean enough for a toddler to wear on the last day of vacation was a challenge.  My poor husband was in the same boat!  It was also a Sunday so all the regular shops were closed so I could just pop into a store and buy a new outfit. Fortunately we were in a very friendly hotel and the late check out was not a problem nor did they make a big deal about the mess.  Somehow we managed to clean up everyone and made it home safely.  Thank goodness it was the last day of our trip!  But just in case yours is at the beginning or the middle here are a few things to be aware of and some tips for prevention.

Strolling around all bundled up and with an eye infection :(

Strolling around all bundled up and with an eye infection 😦

1. Even if you have enough clothes for your trip, still wash the first set of outfits in the sink after the first day and let dry in the place you are staying so that you will always have an extra set of “just in case” clothes that are clean.

2. Look up what a Pharmacy is called in the country you are visiting. In German it’s the Apotheke in French is Pharmacie. You will notice similar variations with the “Ap” or “ph/f” at the beginning of the word for many European countries.  And a red or green “+” (plus) sign is very common for medical/pharmaceutical locations.

3. Be aware that in some countries, such as Germany, these are closed on Sunday and holidays. However there is always an emergency pharmacy open in the city somewhere and a sign should be on the closed ones telling you where the emergency pharmacy is located.

4.  For young children, most European medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen and other medicines for anti-vomiting come in suppository form instead of an oral pill.  So if it looks a little waxy like and larger than you think a kid should be able to swallow, you know you’ve gotten the suppository and that it is for your little one’s bum not the mouth.

5.  In the event that your child isn’t feeling well and you dread wasting a day cooped up in a hotel, make that day a park or nature day.  If your child is small enough for a stroller, go outdoors and see the natural environment of your destination, or stroll a public park.  As long as they are appropriately dressed for the weather, the fresh air will do them some good in getting over the illness.

6. Gallon size ziplock bags and baby wipes can be your best friend!  Even if your child is already potty trained, baby wipes are wonderful for cleaning up messes in a pinch.  Ziplock pages are a great way to seal soiled clothing, or rags should an unexpected illness arise.

7.  Anti-bacterial hand sanitizers are always a great idea.  I’ve also found anti-bacterial hand wipes from The Dollar Tree when I didn’t want to take the risk of  liquid bottle accidentally squeezing out inside my bag.

8. Take some powdered packets of Pedialyte. Easy to pack and then just mix up with water in case you or  your little ones get traveler’s diarrhea.  If you don’t have these, look for Gatorade or Poweraid (I found Poweraid to be more common than Gatoraid in Europe) to help replenish lost electrolytes. Also remember to stick to bottled water if you’ve gotten sick, as there is a chance that it was the tap water that made you or your child sick, depending on your destination.

9. Talk to your doctor/pediatrician or travel doctor before you go on your trip if you are venturing anywhere slightly exotic.  They may be able to give you some antibiotics to take with you to treat specific illnesses common to your area of travel, such as traveler’s diarrhea. You should also check if there are any specific vaccinations you should get before traveling to that area.

10. Know your medical insurance.  If you aren’t covered for travel outside of your home country, ask before a trip if you can purchase a short term traveler’s protection policy.  It might be cheaper and easier to use than a 3rd party trip insurance.  If you or your child gets really sick and you need to seek medical non-emergency medical help and you haven’t purchased coverage already, still try to call your insurance company before you go and see if you can get it activated on the spot. And lastly, there are also 3rd party travel insurance groups that can provide short term trip coverages for illness.  We’ve never used any 3rd party travel insurance as our insurance we in Germany covered all of the EU and we bought the extra package with our current insurance in the US that covers international travel.

A sign on a local German pharmacy on Sunday telling customers where the emergency pharmacy will be open for the day.

A sign on a local German pharmacy on Sunday telling customers where the emergency pharmacy will be open for the day.

Be sure to check out my other post “Travel Doctors-Help Protect Your Family On Your Next Trip Overseas.

Travel Doctors-Help Protect Your Family On Your Next Trip Overseas

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Getting a general check up at our travel doctor appointment.

Getting a general check up at our travel doctor appointment.

In my 6 years of traveling overseas with the kids, I never really thought about making a special appointment with our doctor or pediatrician specifically for our journey.  Since, most of our traveling was within Europe or North America, and our kids had received the vaccinations that were on the normal schedule for inhabitants of those countries, I never worried too much about infectious diseases.  But now we are taking our first trip to Asia and I wanted to be prepared after hearing for several years about different diseases that were more unique to that part of the world.  Our general practitioner that we had in the US before we moved to Germany just so happened to also specialize in travel medicine, so we knew that a travel medicine specialty was a think some doctors had.  Naturally, we called upon the same doctor as we prepare for our upcoming trip to Japan since we knew him and he had also prepared my husband for his potential job travel to Asia and Africa.  Here are a few things we learned about working with a travel doctor and the benefits it provides while preparing for international travel with kids.

1. First off, what is a travel doctor and how do you find one? A travel doctor is simply an M.D. who took on some extra training/education in infectious diseases or world health. They stay abreast on different diseases around the world and the prevention of such.  They also offer vaccinations beyond the normal ones prevalent to the area where you live.  You can start with a simple Google search in your are for a travel doctor, or check with your county’s public health office.  For example, King County, where I live has a Public Health Travel Clinic.  Many cities have specific “Travel Clinics” where doctors and nurses have pooled together under this specialty.  Other private practice doctor’s may have just chosen this as an additional specialty (like ours) and will post somewhere on their page that they also specialize in “Travel Medicine” or “Infectious Disease.”

2.If you have never seen a travel doctor before, be sure to send all medical records for yourself and your children to the doctor well in advance of your appointment.  This will be important for children. While a travel doctor will also know which vaccinations are suitable for children at certain ages, you can find out which vaccines are recommended in advance and then discuss them with your child’s pediatrician too for your specific child in case you have specific concerns regarding your child’s health.

3. A travel doctor will usually have more vaccinations for different countries than a normal doctor, but be sure to tell them when you make the appointment which countries you will be traveling to and how many people you think will need the vaccination so they can be sure to have everything you need at your appointment.

4.Let your kids see you get your shots first if they will also need to get shots as well. Make sure you tell the nurse beforehand that it is important to do it in this order.  My husband and I were both at the appointment and in an effort to conserve time, the doctor and I went in another room to finish going over my additional medical history with one kid while my husband stayed in the other room to get the kids started on their one shot.  The nurse chose our middle child, who still remembered getting his 5 year kindergarten shots just a couple months prior, to go first and he was terrified.  He didn’t realize he was getting just one and it would have been helpful for him to have seen mom and dad be brave with theirs.

Watching dad get his vaccination, after the kids got theirs.

Watching dad get his vaccination, after the kids got theirs.

5. At the end of our appointment, our doctor went over some of the other minor illnesses related to our destination, including the common traveler’s diarrhea and some ways to prevent and treat. He also discussed several other general health concerns and prevention for travel.

6. Our travel doctor also asked us if we wanted him to give us a prescription for an antibiotic to fight a bacterial “traveler’s diarrhea” should we contract it. There is a prescription you can get in powder form that does not need to be refrigerated until you mix it with water and since it is just a powder, you don’t have to worry about a liquid spilling in your luggage. Plus, if you don’t need it on your vacation, you can save it for future use within its expiration date.

7. We also received a prescription for water purifying tablets (iodine) just in case there was some kind of natural disaster and we became unsure of the water source.

8. Our doctor brought up other points regarding insects and the spread of disease and had a list of different types of repellents, including some non-toxic more natural based ones that would help keep away some of the more common disease carrying ones like mosquitos and ticks. Of course, if you are sticking to just the city on your trip, it’s not much of an issue.

9. Before your appointment, be sure to check with your insurance to see what coverage you have regarding adult vaccinations and general appointments. For ours, everything was covered on our plan because our appointment was considered preventative.  We only had a co-pay for the antibiotics that we got for all 5 of us.

10. Finally, be sure to check on the Department of State’s website (for U.S. citizens, or your country’s State Department’s website for non-U.S. residents) to see if there are any countries where you must show documentation of specific vaccines.  You will want to obtain these records to take with you on your trip.

In all, our appointment took about an hour and a half for all 5 of us and we left with a great piece of mind for our health on our upcoming trip to Japan!

10 Reasons To Make Traveling Abroad With Your Kids a New Year’s Resolution.

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I admit, I am jumping on the bandwagon of new year’s resolution blog posts. Finding time to finish writing and posting about all of our trips is high on my list this year!  So here it is, a challenge for you to add something that I’m sure many moms and dads have considered, and perhaps dismissed….travel more with your children.  I know what some of you moms (and dads) might be thinking, a trip to the grocery store without kids can feel like a vacation, so why would traveling WITH kids to a foreign country be fun?! It’s a feat in itself just to pack them up to take them to the park or the library for an hour let alone a one to three week vacation overseas!  But here me out, the hassles you will face when traveling with your kids are not really any more difficult than if you stayed at home with them today.  So why not get out and experience something new!  Here are a few reason to try to convince you that it’s worth the perceived hassle to pack those bags up and hit the jetways.


At an art gallery in Strasbourg, France.

1.  You will create life-long learners and explorers.

2.  Traveling sparks curiosity and wonder, traits that can spill over into learning about new things in school.

3.  They develop a unique awareness of other cultures that can allow them to explore new ways of thinking.

4.  It provides an opportunity for them to learn how to behave in different social settings.

5.  Because watching your child(ren) interact on the playground with other children speaking 2-10 different languages reminds us that laughter is the universal language!


6. Long train and airplane rides give you a chance to have all of those conversations you mean to have with your kids that life often gets in the way of letting you have.

7. Seeing how other people live, whether in worse or better conditions than their own, shows children how people can be happy in many different lifestyles.

8. Interesting and unique travel scenarios (good and bad!) strengthen the bond between family members.

9.  Because Venice could sink before you get to see it!  Seriously!

But on a very serious note, one of my favorite reasons for traveling with my kids is that…

10. Your children will teach you more new things on a trip about their abilities and character (and your own!) than you ever imagined.

So break out that Atlas, spin that globe or simple stay tuned to my blog and start planning your next (or first) big adventure abroad with your little ones!

We’re Back From A Month In Europe!

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IMG_8135We’ve just returned from our four weeks in Europe and I’m very excited to start sharing all of our experiences and tips with you.  For three of the four weeks we were gone it was just me and the three kiddos.  My husband got to join us in the middle of our trip for a week, which was a nice way to break up the vacation.  The flights went well in each direction on Condor airlines.  Here is what is coming up on the blog in the month of September from our recent travels:

  • Tips and advice on how to pack for multiple children for multiple weeks overseas when traveling alone.
  • A review of Condor airlines and their kid friendliness.
  • How to find cheaper hotel alternatives and the pros and cons of private rentals and hostels.
  • Adjusting kids to time zone changes.
  • Overviews of each location we visited and recommended activities for kids in Paris, various German cities, Austria and Slovenia.
  • And finally, how to bring vacation learning home.  Projects and experiments that allow your kids to apply what they learned on vacation to school and everyday learning.

Stay tuned!

The Journey Begins…again.

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Ok, here it is, my first official post for this site.  This blog is a new journey, but is more a continuation of what I’ve already been doing with my kids for the past four years.  This time, I hope that is is better documented.  I wanted to start this blog to show other moms that it is possible, and can even be enjoyable, to travel with small children.  As my oldest is just 6 years old and my youngest is 1 year old, I’ll be focusing more on traveling with small children.  Though they are often the most challenging.  Most of all, this blog is an answer to the question I get all the time from other parents, “Where are the most family friendly places to go overseas with your children?”  My short answer is “Just about anywhere!”  Here I hope to redefine what it means to be “family friendly” and give other moms (and dads) confidence in taking their little ones out into the great big world.

When we lived in Europe and traveled around with our children, it was more about what my husband and I wanted to get out of the trip.  The kids of course benefited quite a bit from just being out and exploring with us, but I never gave much thought to the other connections they could make to their own little world.  Now that we’re living in the US again, it’s not as easy to just hop on a cheap train and arrive in a foreign country within 3 hours.  So I’ve had a chance to think about what I really hope my children will learn from travel and how it impacts their identity and education.  These questions and answers will be explored and explained throughout my blog.  Here are the main categories you will be able to find on Mommy and Me Overseas…

  1. The actual stories of Mommy and Me Overseas. Where I took my children, how I survived, what I learned, what I would recommend, etc.
  2. Writings on the exploration of what it means to be a global citizen or experience multicultural education while actually being in another culture. What I did to prepare the children for their next encounter on an academic level.
  3. And finally, how to develop a sense of identity in a child that has moved between two different countries and continues to travel to multiple countries as they progress through the years.
  4. Tips on saving money and making travel more economical with kids so that they can experience the world when they are young.