summer travel

Have on Hand: Extra Socks

Summer fun with kids often includes festivals with bounce houses, playgrounds, bounce pillows, and other play places.  On the one hand, summer often means flip-flops, sandals, and crocs – in other words, footwear without socks.  On the other, “No Shoes” is a pretty common rule when enjoying these different jumping experiences. But socks are usually required.

So my life hack here is a footwear accessory that we forget but often need during the summer.

Socks

On one recent trip, my Better Half sat barefoot while our daughter donned ridiculously large adult athletic socks up to her knees so she could jump to her heart’s delight. We’ve also been squeezed into purchasing overpriced socks just so our kids could participate in an activity. Not to mention that time we got stuck in a downpour and the kids complained about wet socks and shoes the whole ride home.

We’ve since wised up and now keep an extra pair of socks for everyone in the car. My Better Half took it a step further and put an extra pair for both kids in her purse when she knew there was a birthday party soon at one of those bounce places. Luckily, our kids were in sneakers that day and arrived at the party in sock-covered feet. There was a friend who didn’t remember that detail, and we were able to "come to the rescue" with clean socks for them to borrow. So grab a clean pair of socks for everyone and throw them in the car. Maybe even store them in your plastic bag...

Have on Hand: Plastic Bags

Summer is in full swing.  And in the the whole of Rochester there was a joyous exultation, except for those who now complain that it is too hot!

Now that the warm weather is here to seemingly stay, my family is getting out of the house more for a broader range of activities. Over the last few weeks, we eagerly approached several activities only to realize that we were missing an essential item required for participation or a helpful item for cleaning up after said activity. From these mishaps, I will be posting "life hacks" throughout the summer about basic items we've needed on hand at all times to pull off a successful summer excursion. Without further instruction, I present to you...

Plastic Bags

If you're like me, you probably have bags of crumpled bags lying around your house. After unpacking from a big shopping trip, we amass a pile of them with no immediate use.

I can tell you that one of those piles now live in the trunk of our car. The most immediate summer use was to contain soaked bathing suits after a trip to the pool.  Everything was packed, neatly and dry, for our day at the pool.  However, the end of a trip to the pool cannot be characterized as either neat or dry, and usually involves hungry, exhausted children. It would have been really handy to throw those wet suits and towels in a plastic bag to carry and transport home. It’s hard to believe that something as ubiquitous as a plastic bag is so truly impossible to find when you really need one. And I shudder to share here all of the sanitation-related situations we've encountered where something horrific has been contained within a plastic bag lulling around somewhere in the car. Praise be for those plastic bags!

Be Prepared: The Potty Hits the Road

Summer seems to have finally arrived in Rochester, and for many of us, that means more time in the car traveling to activities or visiting family that lives out of town.

By the grace of God, our son recently potty trained. While in the heavens there was great exultation at this incredible development milestone, our thoughts turned to wise words from The Lion King: Be Prepared.

So…nigh on 2 years ago, our oldest achieved the same milestone as we prepared for a trip from Rochester to Myrtle Beach, SC. So a 30 month old and 6 month old sat like cherubs in the back of our Honda CRV as we disembarked for the beach.

I don’t think we made out of New York before our daughter exclaimed in mild panic:

The virtues of this potty can be summarized as such:  1. Sturdy and portable (with those all important side bars for stability when hunkering down)   2. Separate receptacle for catching waste (so you can pull over and “dump” it)   3. Arm & Hammer insert (to keep the odoriferous factor sanely controlled)

The virtues of this potty can be summarized as such:

1. Sturdy and portable (with those all important side bars for stability when hunkering down)

2. Separate receptacle for catching waste (so you can pull over and “dump” it)

3. Arm & Hammer insert (to keep the odoriferous factor sanely controlled)

“I need potty!”

Thankfully, I married well and wisely. My wife suggested that we bring the portable potty.

I never realized I could get so close to the steering wheel as my wife helped maneuver our daughter behind my seat to drop trowel and properly relieve herself into said receptacle, which we had packed as a last second precaution for the road.

As fortune would have it, my daughter felt so moved to have a bowel whilst we were stuck in the throws of stand-still traffic outside of the fabulous District of Columbia. As our son was screaming to be fed by his mother, our oldest lost a pound or two in the loo. The loo located directly behind the driver's seat.

So…this is all by way of saying: Be prepared, listen to your wife, and pack a potty. It’s no joke.