Category: Kids

Hacking Our Way to Hawaii (Round 2!)

Hacking Our Way to Hawaii (Round 2!)

We’ve been able to fly Hawaiian Airlines quite a few times – domestically and internationally, economy and first class – but it’s only in the last 12 months that we’ve flown HA with the kids.

The first trip to Hawaii with the kids was a wonderful week in Maui March of 2018, when Baby J was 9 months old. You can read here about the costs of the entire trip, as well as comparable costs if we had paid cash.

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Flying the Family-Friendly Skies: British Airways with Kids

Flying the Family-Friendly Skies: British Airways with Kids

If you’re wondering which airline has the best champagne selection or the highest thread count on their linens, this is not the post you’re looking for.

Our family travel style is very middle-of-the-road for international travelers. We fly in basic economy most of the time. Sure, we love a good airport lounge and we very occasionally spring for the lay-flat beds on nighttime flights. But we also are not “luxury” travelers. We don’t care about alcohol selection and don’t like to be checked on every 10 minutes. We do love getting from Point A to Point B without dreading our travel days, even if Point B is halfway across the world.

So here’s my review of British Air and our flights to and from Switzerland this year with our preteen C and our little toddler J.

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What Does it Cost to Take a Family to Switzerland?

What Does it Cost to Take a Family to Switzerland?

Joining Maui, Las Vegas, and Camano Island on our “2018 vacations we travel-hacked” list is Switzerland! This was my sixth time to Switzerland but my first time bringing kids along.

The Trip

Once again, we traveled at a peak time to a destination famous for being expensive. We were in Switzerland for 7 nights over the holidays, and also traveled overnight getting there and getting home – so we were away from home for 9 nights, 10 if you include the airport hotel the night before the trip.

We were mostly in the Berner Oberland, exploring Interlaken, Thun, Murren, and Grindelwald, with a brief visit to Zurich on our way home.

We had the obvious advantage of staying with friends for the majority of the trip, although this did not mean they footed the bill for all our food. In fact, we ate out almost every day and consumed as much local chocolate and cheese as we could get our hands on… which you’ll see reflected in our dining/grocery spending.

We also willingly took on the extra expense of premium economy and business class air travel, as well as three nice hotel stays to make our flight schedule more convenient. You could easily do Switzerland for less than this, particularly if you don’t mind flying in basic economy in the off season (and if you have the advantage of flying from closer than the west coast of the USA). You could also do this trip for a heck of a lot more.

Below is the cost breakdown for our trip, and as such the last of our spending for 2018. This is for a family of 4 during the ever-popular travel time of Christmas break.

(You can also check out our review of flying British Air with the munchkins and our tips for air travel with infants.) 

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Second-Hand Holidays: Why Our Kids Aren’t Getting New Stuff for Christmas

Second-Hand Holidays: Why Our Kids Aren’t Getting New Stuff for Christmas

There’s something about the prospect of getting new stuff that causes kids to go a little nuts around the holiday season. I’ve heard “You know what I want for Christmas…?!” approximately a thousand times since Halloween. And the answer to that question is not a single, simple item. Heavens, no. Long gone are the days when kids sent a hand-written letter to Santa asking for a jump rope. Kids are now making online “Christmas wish lists” on par with wedding registries, and plenty of parents are boldly crowdsourcing holiday shopping money “for the kids!”

We’re kind of over it.

Here are five reasons why my husband and I – despite loving the holiday season and having plenty of money available to spend on our little angles –  have all but nixed Christmas presents in our household:

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Our Adoption Announcement Letter

Our Adoption Announcement Letter

I wrote this almost four years ago, when we found out that we were likely to be adopting C from foster care. You can see all of my posts about foster care and adoption here

We completed a second adoption from foster care a few months ago  – and November is National Adoption month! – so it seemed like a good time to share this publicly. We didn’t include any photos in that original letter, but I have included some here just for fun.

If you are working on your own adoption announcement, feel free to use any of this that applies to you

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Hitting the Trail: 10 Tips for Endurance Racing as a Busy Parent

Hitting the Trail: 10 Tips for Endurance Racing as a Busy Parent

Any parent will be happy to explain to you at length that everything gets more complicated after you add kids to your life. This includes your fitness regimen. But instead of letting that fall by the wayside – and letting your physical, mental, and emotional health suffer as a result – it’s best to get back on that horse as quickly as you can.

For us, that looked like getting back out on the trails asap after Baby J arrived last year. He did his first hike with us around 4 weeks old.

Fast forward to right now: my husband and I just finished a respectably difficult trail race in the San Juan Mountains, with our kids cheering us on at the finish line. This was the third time we’ve done this race together and the second time since we’ve been parents.

me and my husband on a high alpine pass
The summit of the race – at over 13,100 feet!

You might be thinking: “That seems kinda cool but…Nah. They seem a little bit crazy, and I’m not even sure they have real jobs. Plus running just comes easily for some people. I might have done something like that before I had kids, but not now because I’m way too busy…”

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Tips and Tricks for Air Travel with Infants

Tips and Tricks for Air Travel with Infants

My husband and I travel a lot with our kids, one of which is pretty tiny. Apparently we don’t seem too beat up by it, because people keep asking us for advice on traveling with infants. Here’s what I’ve got:

Check Bags Like it’s Going out of Style

Most airlines allow strollers and carseats to fly free. We always check these at the ticket counter (although you can often check strollers at the gate too) and carry Baby the rest of the way. Call your airline to confirm policies on checked and over-sized items.

When flying with the kids, we like to pack everything we need and not worry about checked baggage fees (shout-out to Southwest Airlines, which allows us to not worry about them anyway).

I recommend you embrace the checking of whatever amount of luggage makes traveling with your kids easier. Your days of spending a month in Europe with one carry-on suitcase and a messenger bag are over, and that’s okay.

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“They’re Too Young to Appreciate It” & Other Objections to Traveling With Kids

“They’re Too Young to Appreciate It” & Other Objections to Traveling With Kids

Let’s take a well-deserved break from talking about houses and moving and house projects and money and dive back into the topic of travel!

As somewhat seasoned travelers who have now entered the life phase of family travel, we run into a fair number of objections to traveling with young kids (and even medium-sized kids):

“They won’t remember it.”

“They’re too young to appreciate it.”

“It’s too expensive to take the whole family.”

“The kids would rather just stay home and play (latest trending video game) anyway.”

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Traveling with Foster and Adoptive Kids

Traveling with Foster and Adoptive Kids

This is a topic I get asked about often, so I wanted to share this interview that I did in 2016. I have revised and updated it here. These pictures are all the real deal from our family travels, so forgive the blurriness, pixelation, and/or general low quality that you’ll see in some of them. That’s just cracker crumbs and sunscreen on the camera lens. 

First, tell us about you, your family, and your travels.

When I was little, my parents were very insistent about all of their kids trying new things and seeing new places. Sometimes that meant camping (usually in the rain) near our home in Washington, sometimes it meant trips across the country by train or plane to see family. As we kids got older, it included more difficult backpacking, biking, and skiing trips and then international travel and things like scuba diving and riding camels.

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A Letter from a Foster Mom

A Letter from a Foster Mom

I am very excited and proud to present the following guest post. Zella Kintsugi is the biological mother of three, the adoptive mother of two, and the foster mother of two.  She and her husband have been involved with foster care and adoption since 2014. 

A Letter from a Foster Mom

I do not have it all figured out. I lose my temper. I use words I should not at times that are likely not appropriate. I am not kind, loving, and generous in every situation in which I find myself.

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