Toddling Around Spain

We just got back from a two-week trip traveling through Spain with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. I know, poor me. But in the true spirit of being Committed, it did get a little crazy.

Toddling around Spain.

Balloons make everything better.

FIRST. 
I loved the trip. The architecture was amazing, the culture is admirable (drinking and eating all the time! Siestas!) The wine was cheap and delicious. Oh, the food…

BUT.
The kiddo was a handful. She may read this years down the line, so I don’t want her to feel like I’m putting her down. It wasn’t her fault–the 9 hour time difference was rough on all of us. And she’s 2 1/2, which means discovering strong preferences, a desire for instant perfection (well, we never outgrow that, do we?), and just general upsettedness at basically everything. We thought her familiarity with travel might make things easier, which it probably did (but didn’t feel like it at the time).

Toddler dinner in Spain.

Sometimes kiddo had a low sitting threshold.

SO.
For this post, I’m going to focus on how we handled the tears and tantrums. (HINT: Wine. Lots of wine.)

We learned a few things on this trip, lessons that weren’t too unexpected:

  • Lower your expectations for how much you’ll get to see or do each day
  • Respect the schedule, but sometimes stretching it to experience something amazing is worth the crankiness
  • Staying in one place is MUCH easier than hopping cities (duh, but it was worth a shot)
  • Twos CAN be terrible, but they can also be amusing
  • Rely on your partner and take the burden if you’re up to it
  • Talk through your plans first (ie, how are you going to get off the train? Who is carrying the car seat? Carrier on the front or back?)
  • The carseat & baby carrier were helpful. We were glad to leave the stroller at home.
  • Don’t forget that you’re ON VACATION and laugh and enjoy the little things as much as possible.

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5 Reasons The Long Weekend RULES

5) I don’t have to look at painter’s tape for THREE DAYS.
Sidebar: this has been the project from hell. Talk me off a ledge if I attempt a painting project this large on my own again.

Paint project from hell.

Want to paint a stairwell, basement hall, bedroom and bathroom? Don’t.

4) NO WORK! MORE BEER TASTING!
Freelancing is 24/7. Shutting off my brain and laptop for the next three days.

Committed goes beer tasting

Taking a much-needed break, 4 ounces at a time.

3) I get to hang out with these two lovely people.

Committed Long Weekend Food

Good food with good people.

2) Bike! Bike! Bike!

Committed Takes the Toddler for a Bike Ride

Without an agenda, we’re putting the “joy” in “joyride.”

1) SLEEPING IN.
Fingers crossed that kiddo sticks with the 9:45 wake-up call that has been once per weekend.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Got any plans to get out of town?

Transcontinental Toddling

This weekend, I took my 19-month daughter from Seattle to New York. Alone. In my lap.

I had my hesitations about taking the unnecessary adventure, but it paid off. I got to see some great old friends, introduce my daughter to their children, and see a little of the Big Apple during Christmastime. All around win. Here are the packing tips that helped us survive a redeye back East, and a 6.5 hour flight west. With a lap toddler.

Carry-on luggage

With only carry-on luggage, efficiency was key

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In the Bag: The Diaper Bag Dilemma

With a 17 month-old, I’ve officially been through 4 diaper bags, with 3-4 unofficial options as well. Why? Am I picky? Am I destructive? Am I disorganized? Do I get frantic? Kind of.

The thing is, different situations call for different bags. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about! You have your big, multi-purpose handbag for everyday outings or when you need to carry the utilitarian stuff. The cute, sassy clutch works for evenings out because you only need a couple of items for the night.

Though you may not be dancing the night away and getting free drinks with your little one in tow, you may have a preference for a smaller bag sometimes.
Here’s what I’ve learned about diaper bags.

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Feeling Flashy: Using Your Flash When it’s Least Expected

Recently, I took a web-based photography class via CreativeLive, taught by the incredibly talented Roberto Valenzuela. Though the class was geared toward wedding photographers, I gleaned some valuable information as an amateur photographer (cough cough). A cool tip I learned, which I’ll share with you here, is how to use your flash to create some beautiful shots.

When you think of flash photography, you think of low light, indoors, red eyes, blown out skin…just BAD…right? Well, it’s a tool, and it can be used in a way you wouldn’t necessarily think of!

This weekend, we visited a pumpkin patch at around 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s a notoriously “bad” time of day to shoot because the sun is still really bright, but lower in the sky, creating deep shadows, too much contrast, and it makes people squint if you try to eliminate shadows and have your subject face the sun.

Enter the flash. 

Sunflower photo no flash

It’s an okay shot, but the flower looks dark and sad.

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Fruit Stand. Sit. Stay.

On our way back to Seattle from Yakima, we stopped at one of the many fruit stands dotting the Highway 82 landscape.

This one boasted “Fruit Antiques”. Well, probably Fruit AND Antiques, but I don’t think the sign painter had the room. Anyway, it was a good stopping point, so we headed in. They did not disappoint. The fruit was fresh, the antiques old, and the wines local. I snapped a few pics around the lot. Enjoy!

Committed Fruit Pears, peaches, and apples are in season! Continue reading

Toddling Around Tokyo

I’ve been dying to write this post, but every time I start, it spins out of control. There were so many cool things we experienced in the city that I want to share them ALL.
But I’m going to try and contain this post to “The Unofficial Committed Survival Guide to Playing Tourist in Tokyo with a Toddler.” Or something more concise and eloquent.

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