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preparing for a family road trip

So you’re planning a family road trip and you think you’ve got everything packed. Toys, snacks, luggage, stroller, play pen. All set! I’ll admit, I’m guilty of only thinking about the physical things I need to pack in order to prepare for a road trip. But one thing that’s often forgotten, is keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance! Today I’m going to give you some tips to help you better prepare for your next adventure. I’ll even teach you how to easily change your FRAM Cabin Air Filter for the health of your family!

The Holiday season is upon us, which means traveling to see loved ones and lots of driving. The last thing I would want, is to have something go wrong with our vehicle on our way to visit friends or family.

This is why it’s so important to:

  • fill up your gas tank
  • check wipers are in working order
  • make sure heat and air conditioning are working
  • change your cabin and engine air filters
  • have your emergency kit ready

I was so surprised by how simple it was to change my FRAM Cabin Air Filter. I purchased mine from Canadian Tire where they can easily be found in the motor vehicle department. Did you know that the air inside your vehicle can be 6x dirtier than the air outside? FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filters clean the air, so the interior of your vehicle is free of dust, dirt and allergens keeping your family safe and comfortable.

A clogged cabin air filter can block fresh air from coming into the cabin. Just imagine what you could be breathing in. Yuck! FRAM air filters can remove up to 98% of the yucky stuff and are quick to install. I’m going to show you how! (*Instructions for your vehicle may differ from mine)

FRAM fresh breeze cabin air filter

How to Change Your FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter

Step 1:

Open passenger side door and open glove box compartment. Remove dampener cord from right hand side of glove box.

fram fresh breeze cabin air filters

fram fresh breeze cabin air filters

Step 2:

Push on each side of the glove box to disengage box stops. Allow the glove box to drop down towards the floor, allowing more room.

fram fresh breeze cabin air filters

Step 3:

Pull the glove box shelf carefully towards you to disengage the 4 retainers.

fram fresh breeze cabin air filters

Step 4:

Remove air filter cover by disengaging the tab on the left hand side, as well as the tab on the top in the middle.

fram fresh breeze cabin air filters

Step 5:

Remove dirty air filter by pulling straight out. Replace with new air filter.

fram fresh breeze cabin air filters

Step 6:

 Reassemble glove box by attaching filter cover, glove box shelf, dampener cord and glove box stops. Done!

After installing our cabin air filter, we also changed our FRAM Engine Air Filter to make sure our vehicle was running at it’s highest performance. Check out other tips on changing out your filters here!

 Fram Engine Air Filter

5 Toddler Road Trip Activities

When you’re about to hit the road for hours on end, you want to make sure your toddler will have lots of activities to keep them occupied! Here are a few of our favourite ways to kill time in the car:

SONY DSC

 

  1. Mess free colouring. There are some seriously neat things out there these days. Markers that don’t colour on anything other than the special paper is one of them!
  2. Books. Lots and lots of books! My toddler especially loves books that have buttons, flaps or slides to keep them interactive.
  3. Reusable Stickers. It’s amazing what you can find at the dollar store. Stickers that can be placed on the window or other surfaces keep my boy entertained for long periods of time! They can be peeled off easily, and stuck back on in different places.
  4. Movies/Apps. In today’s world, technology plays a big part in our every day lives. I try to limit the amount of screen time we give our 2 year old, but sometimes it’s the best way to keep him happy on a long car ride. There are some great learning apps you can get that not only keep them happy, but teach them something, too!
  5. Surprise Bag. Take a trip to the dollar store and fill a bag with new toys, books, play dough, etc., that they have never seen before. Pull it out when the kids start to get cranky and they’ll be so excited to check out all the new, fun things!

What activities do your kids like to do in the car? Do you have any family road trips planned?

family road trip

toddler girl fall fashion

Toddler Girl Fall Fashion

Knit Layer Dress // Twill Shirt Dress // Fox Jumper // Ankle Boots // Jacquard Knit Coat // Sparkle Tulle Jumper // Plaid Poncho // Riding Leggings // Faux Fur Vest

This is where I sometimes wish I had a little girl to play dress up with. How cute are these fall fashions for the little ladies?! From plaid, boots, denim and faux fur, there are so many adorable styles out there right now. My personal favourite is the denim and tulle dress. It would look so perfect paired with leggings and little booties! Hope you enjoy checking out some of my favourite toddler girl fall fashion picks! Just click the links to find out where you can find each item. :)

Toddler Boy Fall Fashion

Toddler Boy Fall Fashion

Buffalo Plaid Flannel Shirt // Suspenders // Chambray Plaid Shirt // Grey Corduroy Pants // Dark Wash Flannel Lined Jeans // Striped Hooded Cardigan // Monster High Top Sneakers //   Camel Utility Jacket //  Grey Zip-front Sweater // Plaid Puffer Vest

With the cool weather and changing leaves, it’s definitely starting to feel a lot like Fall! One of my favourite things about Fall is the fashion. And not just for me! I love dressing up my little guy (even though I don’t think he’ll let me do it much longer). Cozy sweaters, button up plaid shirts, corduroy, and little boots are just too adorable. Who ever said boys clothes weren’t cute?! So here’s a list of some of my favourite fall fashion finds for boys. And don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the girls. Look out for that post a little later in the week! Hope you enjoy these toddler boy fall fashion items!

Today I let motherhood get the best of me. I’m feeling drained, helpless and defeated. So let me tell you a little story:

Motherhood

I decided to sign my 2 year old Son up for gymnastics as a fall/winter activity to keep his little body active and make some new friends. He typically doesn’t like big crowds and takes a while to warm up to new environments and people. I was feeling a little anxious last night thinking about how it would go.

To my surprise, this morning was smooth sailing. I was up and showered, dressed, and we had both eaten breakfast. If you follow my Instagram, you know we are in the midst of potty training. I was ecstatic when he peed on the potty right before we left. Yippee! He even managed to let me dress him without throwing a fit. #momwin

We made it to the gymnastics class and the good vibes continued. He sat with me and listened to instructions, followed directions and was thoroughly enjoying himself! I was feeling a sense of relief and happiness that he was doing so well.

Midway through the 45 minute class, he had fairly minor meltdown when he was bored of a certain activity and wanted to do his own thing. Luckily it didn’t last long. We were back on track and he was being his happy little self.

For the last 5 minutes, the instructor brought out a tub of balls for the kids to play with for some free time. Blake’s favourite thing in the world. He was in Heaven! Now is where things get a little sticky…for both me and him.

“Time to clean up and sit in the circle!”

Oh. No. 

The panic is starting to settle in when I realize that I need to take the ball away. He’s not going to like this.

To make a long story shorter…it did not go well. While all the other kids proceeded to put things away and sit in the circle to receive their stickers, my kid was throwing a fit. The screaming, kicking, obnoxious kind of fit. You know when you’re just not really sure what to do because you can feel everyone looking at you, and your getting hot and sweaty from embarrassment? That was me.

After a few dirty looks and some more ear piercing cries, I was able to get him out to the car. This is where motherhood got the best of me. I put my face in my hands and started crying right along with him. I was feeling judged, frustrated and completely defeated. Where did I go wrong? Where is he learning this behaviour? Am I bad parent?

After I let out all the ugly crying, complete with black mascara tears, I let him know how sad he made me and I didn’t like the way he had acted. (Pretty sure he had no idea what I was saying, but I told him anyway.) He confirmed to me that he must be learning some compassion, because once he saw my tear-filled eyes, he gave me a great big hug.

I saw this quote somewhere that read “The fact that you worry about being a good Mom, means that you are one.” I should probably put this on a sticky note and read it every day. Even though motherhood got the best of me today, tomorrow is a new day and another chance to teach my child. Is he the only kid on the planet to have a tantrum like this? NO. But in the heat of the moment, that thought might cross your mind!

Have your kids ever thrown a tantrum you’ll never forget? 

Just to be clear, I’m not saying I’ve ruled out bringing a second child into the world. It’s something I think about often. But it’s also something I find myself going back-and-forth on. There was actually a time that my husband and I didn’t even think we were going to have kids. Then one day, something changed and we knew  we were ready. Now that our Son is 2,  I still haven’t had that “ok, I’m ready for another one”  feeling yet. And I’m starting to wonder if I ever will.

Sometimes, I feel like maybe something is wrong with me. Why do all these other couples have multiple kids, know they want big families (and make it seem so easy!)  but I get anxiety thinking about having two?! Maybe we’re just destined to have an only child, or maybe it’s just not our time to expand. I keep trying to figure out this magical age gap that’s going to work for us. It’s all just up in the air! But for those of you who may be thinking about being “one and done”  or are just feeling unsure, I thought I’d share some of the Selfish Reasons I May Never Have a Second Child.

second child{Pin this image for later, so you can come back and read!}

one

I love sleep.  Seriously, the newborn days just about killed me and I didn’t even have it that bad. For the past year, Blake has been a pretty wonderful sleeper which makes for a pretty happy Mama. I just don’t know if I could go through those sleepless nights again. And what if the next one is a terrible sleeper?! I don’t function well when I’m tired and grumpy!

two

I need my alone time.  As an introverted person/parent, I thrive on my alone time and need it to recharge. Thankfully I can still count on Blake napping, and use it to my advantage. I know adding a second child to the mix would significantly decrease the chance of me getting some time to myself.

three

The added stress.  I stress very easily. About keeping the house tidy, being late, getting everything on my to-do list done….etc. The older Blake gets, the harder it seems to be to get out the door, do the shopping, and all the other daily tasks. Right now, we’re at the stage where getting dressed is the most repulsive activity on the planet. *insert eye roll*  I expect that having 2 or more kids would make it nearly impossible to leave the house.

four

We enjoy traveling.  At least once a year we try to get away from the sadness that is the Canadian Winter. Go somewhere warm (or at least warmer) and experience new places and cultures. We want to give our kid(s) the amazing experience of travel, but right now, all I can think about is our awful experience traveling home from the Bahamas with our then 18 month old. Delays, missed nap time, and a whole lot of tears. Makes me dread the thought of traveling with two kids! Of course I realize things will get easier as they get older in that perspective. But that time seems so far away!

five

I want to give him whatever he wants.  Not in a spoiled, brat kind of way. But if Blake decides he wants to play hockey, soccer, take music lessons or whatever he’s interested in, I want to be able to provide that for him. Extra curricular activities can be a financial strain, and having a second child to pay for could add a lot of unwanted stress! Seriously, how do you parents of multiples do it?!

six

Lifestyle.  We live a pretty stress-free, low key lifestyle and we’d like to keep it that way. The thought of having to run out the door to get kid #1 to school and kid #2 to daycare or whatever the case may be, really makes my heart race. I’m just not a get-up-and-go personality. I need to ease into things and not feel pressured to do a million things at once! I can see the years ahead helping with homework, the morning rush trying to get 2 kids ready, attending school activities and finding it difficult to spread my attention among both of them.

seven

Pregnancy. I am definitely not one of those women who enjoyed being pregnant. There were certain times I loved it, but for the most part, I didn’t. My heart sinks a little when I think about the morning sickness, doctors appointments, heartburn and all of the other awkward pregnancy moments! Do I really  want to go through it again?

 

Although this maybe sounds like a negative post, that’s not what it’s meant to be. I could definitely add to this list, and I feel like a lot of you reading this can probably relate. It’s always great to have a Mama Tribe to vent to! I love my baby toddler so much and wouldn’t trade him for anything! But sometimes, society puts it in our heads that we should be having multiple kids, and big families. And that’s not always for everyone.

How many kids do you have or want?