Family Time Before We Take Off Again

Man life has been crazy busy lately – but all good stuff. If any of you were following along on Instagram story, you may have seen that Kevin Molly and I went to Big Bear this past weekend. It was so nice to get away in the mountains and spend time with our dearest friends for Father’s Day weekend. That said, we drove home yesterday morning so that we could spend some quality time with Owen because we have to leave again for NYC on tomorrow morning. Leaving Owen is still as hard on me today as it was the very first time we left him back when he was just a puppy. The reason we didn’t bring him to Big Bear, is because he gets really anxious and car rides and anxious in new places. So we just didn’t think it was fair to him to put him through all that anxiety just because we wanted to have them around. That felt selfish of us. So our good friend Chris stayed with him this past weekend. And while we’re in New York, Kevin’s brother Ryan and his fiancรฉe Jill are going to stay with the one at our house so he’ll feels comfy at home (plus he LOVES them!). Still, I hate leaving him and I get choked up every single time.

Anyway, all that said I’m pretty nervous to take off again tomorrow because Molly was pretty fussy over the weekend. I’m not sure if she’s going to grow spurt or if she’s teething or if she’s just at an age where unfamiliar places give her anxiety. I get anxiety, Kevin gets bad anxiety, and so does Owen, so I guess it’s only fitting that Molly will get it too. Poor thing! I need to seriously chill so my anxiousness doesn’t rub off on her. But really, she was such a handful over the weekend that something must be going on with her. Any parents out there have any tips for things I can do to help her not feel so anxious and new places? The first thing that comes to mind, is just going to new places more often so she doesn’t get so freaked out because she’s so used to being at home. And we try to do that. We are actually travel a lot and try to bring her to do new experiences all the time. Anyway, I would love to hear any advice any other parents out there may have when it comes to helping your kiddos adjust to new places!

Also sharing my out the details for anyone was wondering. In Molly’s too of course! I got so many questions about this J Brand denim jacket when I wore it on Instagram stories multiple times over the past few weeks. I’ve actually had this jacket forever! It is by J Brand which means it wasn’t cheap! I totally splurged on it when I bought it but I just was super obsessed with it and had to have it. I think I got it like six years ago. Anyway, I found a similar one by J Brand here, however, it looks to be a little shorter than my denim jacket. And it’s still pretty expensive. But I found a super similar one for a fraction of the cost! This light wash jeans jacket is under $60 and pretty much looks the exact same in my opinion.

The dress I’m wearing is just a cute little sundress that I’ve had for a little while now. I’m actually surprised it still available online since I snatched it up as soon as I saw it. I’m wearing a size medium BTW. The reason I bought it is I just thought it would be a cute easy sundress to wear this summer. Plus I’m always looking for cute sundresses that would look good with flats and this one looks so cute with my chucks! And it’s under $50, so you know, I had to have it! It comes in another print too.

The rest of the details on my look and Molly and Kevin’s look are below the first pic! Hope you all have a great Monday I can’t wait to watch the Bachelorette with all of you tonight!








33 Thoughts

33 thoughts on “Family Time Before We Take Off Again

    1. So Charmaine Ng mothers are not youful and cutesy? What are mothers suppose to look like? That’s a pretty negative comment, just saying.

  1. Love reading your blog! I can totally related do all the challenges you are going through with Molly. What do you guys use for Molly to sleep in when you travel? Currently looking for new options for my 16 month old. No one gets any sleep when we travel and she has to sleep in a pack n play!


    1. I tell all the moms out there struggling with life’s changes due to have a sweet baby. Babies feed off your energy, in other words if you are anxious they will be too. Just remember they just want to be with the ones they love and ones who love them. Babies can sense this feeling of love and feeling of being cared for. So, just as the Brits say “Stay calm” and remember you can do this!!! I can’t image you aren’t an amazing mom and here is the reason why I am saying this because you are seeking the advice of others. When we stop learning from others and/or leaning on others (when needed) is when we stop being our best versions of ourselves.

  2. My daughter is 3.5 and still struggles in new places while my son is 1.5 and is completely easygoing about it. So, part of my advice would be to not blame yourself or put too much pressure on yourself and Kevin to make it better – kids are who they are and some are flexible and some, unfortunately, are not. Don’t feel bad about it or think you are doing something wrong!!! You aren’t!

    When my not-flexible daughter was Molly’s age and we traveled, I always tried to get a full size crib and I would pack her normal crib sheet. I’d also make sure her sleep sack was not washed, so it smelled like home. Same with her lovey. If we couldn’t rent or use a full size crib, after I internally had a mini panic attack, I would set up our pack n play with the sheet and have her play in it the week before we left. And then I’d pack that familiar sheet to use in the unfamiliar pack n play or porta-crib.

    Sleep aside, I’d try to stick to her normal schedule as much as possible and bring her favorite books, snacks and toys so there was familiarity.

    I am not expert and we are still figuring it out as we go but I do think not being scared to travel and forcing yourselves and Molly to do it definitely helps. Personally, I find it easier to accept that things are going to be off and it won’t be perfect. I don’t think I am being pessimistic, I think I am being realistic. It is the worst to be so excited to do something and then have those expectations ruined. So, if I am realistic that this trip or weekend might not be the best, if all is good, I am pleasantly surprised and extra happy! All that being said, even when it’s stressful and hard it is still worth it to go away and have those memories.

    I can also tell you that it gets so much easier. I promise.

    1. I love this advice! My 11 month old is a hot mess when we travel. For example, we went to the beach for a whole week with my in laws, and she hardly slept, was miserable, scared, and I was losing my mind. She had fun at the beach & in the pool, but other than that, my happy very easy going sleeps 12 hours a night baby, was miserable!! Lol. We’re leaving for another full week beach trip next month and I’m already having anxiety about it.

    2. Loved reading your comment! My 18 month old is a horrible traveler. Like we haven’t been anywhere in a year because my anexiety is so bad when we travel but I know we should just go anyway. He won’t sleep well away from home but I shouldn’t let that stop us from enjoying a vacation.

    3. This is SO much great advice! Luckily Molly loves sleeping her pack n play, but the other info is sooo helpful! Thank you!

      1. No problem, good luck with the travels! (To you and also to the other readers who replied here.)

    4. I second all of this advice. I try to replicate home as much as possible when we travel. Luckily my 16-month old is pretty easy-going about new places because she is nosy/curious and loves people watching and exploring new things. So I guess new places are her jam but I still worry (probably unnecessarily, ha!) when we travel.

  3. Ali, my daughter is just one day younger than your gorgeous Molly and this last weekend we also traveled to be with family and she was a total nightmare – separation anxiety has kicked in fully, I am not allowed to leave the room most of the time now without her having a total panic attack! And she has been feverishly hot at night, but shows no other symptoms of illness so we are fairly certain it’s an elevated temp from teething. She is moaning and chewing her fingers a lot so we have started Advil and Tylenol and that really does help. You can see the moment when the meds kick in and she feels better, she is suddenly her happy self again! But new people and new places and larger crowds or groups and noise are all upsetting to her now. Sorry I have no advice, but just wanted you to know that it’s all normal and you’re not alone!

    1. Oh my gosh Molly’s separation anxiety is the WORST right now too! I feel like I’m doing something wrong! Like I should focus on giving her more time to play alone rather than playing with her all the time. I just love being with her!

      1. Giving her more time alone doesn’t help separation anxiety. My daughter had it so bad and you just need to be there for them and comfort them. It will probably get worse before it gets better. My daughter didn’t start to get over it until 2 but she is in kindergarten now and I miss those days we had to be touching all day. Be with her, love on her, don’t think you are doing anything wrong. It will pass and you will miss it!

      2. It’s a phase! I promise! My son went through this same thing at her age. Separation anxiety is pretty common and rest assured she will grow out of it! You are doing great! Xo

      3. Ali, I totally understand, I never want to leave my daughter either! It feels like no one (except my husband) will be able to understand her needs like I do. I also thought it might be because she has almost never been away from me but from what I have read, it doesn’t make a difference, it’s just a natural phase they go through and every kid is different. At least Molly sleeps in her crib – mine is boycotting hers and only wants to sleep in our bed now! ?

      4. Separation anxiety can be lessened by a) not making a big production of “goodbye”… children have a hard time processing what it means…a kiss and quiet exit while they play with their caregiver works well b) having other people around them as a norm… less of a shock when you’re not there… btw love you’re sweet pics and all the special moments you have withe your family… thank you for sharing with us!

  4. Enjoy your travels and hope Molly is feeling a bit better from whatever might be up! It’s always so difficult to know what they’re feeling without the whole words thing, but you’re so in tune to her I’m sure if she has any anxiety, being with you calms her down. Best of luck! Have fun!

  5. We always try to keep our usual routines. Bath every night, books, prayers, bedtime. Take her favorite snacks with you. Traveling can be tricky, but it’s good for her! There is a very good chance she just is getting teeth or growing too!

  6. Same issues with my 19 month old and he’s been like that since around Molly’s age! I’m also anxious so I’m convinced I have it to him! Anwyays, I think continuing to take them places and expose them to new things IS helpful, but I’d also reccomend to continue to comfort her since she’s in a way telling you that’s what she needs and she’s still young and needs that. But of course you do that! And there’s nothing wrong with that. For instance, at the playground I used to just set him down and expect him to run around and do his own thing, but he always just wanted to cling to me. Now I just try and ease in…hold him for a bit and make him feel comfortable until he’s ready to explore on his own. I think it has helped! This is also normal for her age, along with separation anxiety, so know that! Some kids just have it more than others, which of course isn’t bad, just part of their personality. You’re doing great mama!!

  7. Just reading the comments on your blog post has made me feel better about the anxiety I have traveling with my 11 month old. I have so much anxiety when we are off schedule, particularly related to her sleep at night. Which honestly is silly because a part from bedtime and going down for naps, she is SUPER happy most of the time in a new place. Loves to explore as long as mama is close by.

    When we travel, I try to stick to as much of our routine as possible, including keeping her nap times to about the same time. Her bedtime stays the same time no matter where we are or what we’re doing. But even with that in place, she still has a tough time going down for naps and for bed at the end of the day. I think it’s hard for me because I know that no matter what I do, she WILL have a hard time falling asleep and WILL cry for a prolonged period of time and that is VERY anxiety inducing for me. I think I get better and better every time we travel but it still isn’t easy (for either of us!) The only alternative is to never go anywhere, which a) isn’t realistic and b) gives her no chance to explore new things and new places and is no fun at all.

    So after reading your post and the comments from other moms, it seems like some amount of anxiety while traveling with a baby is normal and bound to happen. All we can do is the best we can and try to relax a little!

    1. This is sooo my son!!! I’m glad he’s not the only one. He cries and cries when he’s somewhere other than home sleeping, I hate hearing it and it gives me so much anxiety. I hate hearing him cry but I know he has to go to sleep. I’ve kept us in for almost a year with no traveling which probably isn’t helping, I just couldn’t bear going through it again. But hearing stories like yours is helping me realize that he’s not the only one and I just need to suck it up. We can’t never go anywhere!

      1. I know, hearing them cry is SO hard. We’ve traveled a lot this year because both of our families are either a car or plane trip away so we have no choice.

        Let me share with you something I just discovered today that helped me. I’m visiting my parents right now and of course my daughter had a tough time going down for her nap at naptime. I found that telling myself beforehand that I know she is going to cry, but she IS tired and putting her down IS the right thing to do, and eventually she WILL fall asleep, helped (a little). What helped more was I decided to not turn the monitor on right away. Usually I’m glued to the monitor the minute I walk out of the room, but my parents place is small and I decided to just keep it off until she quieted down because I could hear her faintly away. This actually helped my anxiety tremendously. She hysterically cried for about 5 min, then on and off but finally did fall asleep after 15 min. She only slept for 30 minutes, but what I tell myself when she travels is as long as she sleeps for a half hour, I’m happy. It’s not like it is at home (where she’ll sleep 60-90 min) but as long as she gets a little catnap in so she isn’t a wreck before bed, I’m happy.

        I hope these help you!

  8. I always try to replicate home as well! Same routine, keep naps and bedtime as much the same as possible, and use all the same products we use at home!
    Our baby woke up every night on vacation, so the next time I bought some thin foam to put under the sheet of his pack n play to make it feel more like his crib at home and also put it in the darkest spot of our vacation home. After that, we never had any issues! They just like comfort and familiarity so we try to replicate that as much as possible!
    keep traveling! A lot of parenting is just trial and error and you will find a routine that works for you all eventually! Good luck!

  9. Ali,

    I love reading your blog! I love how real you are. Transparency is such a beautiful thing in my life right now. REAL talk with REAL people.

    I have three kids five and under and traveling is just funny to me. Vacations use to be vacations until we had kids! I am smiling as I type this. It’s just the season we are in!

    Really mine don’t sleep well unless they are in THEIR bed, THEIR home, and on THEIR clock. It is always a challenge when we go anywhere. Honestly, I have learned to lower my expectations and roll with the punches. And I am an anxious person as well and know saying that is easier than practicing.

    Do you follow Wonder Weeks app? It will tell you why your baby is fussy due to her environment etc. We LOVE it and highly recommend it.

    Also, my daughter (5 years) is anxious like her Daddy and me. I think it’s genetic and I have so much advice for when you get there. I am not claiming to know everything! It is just me and Jesus everyday, girl.

    Power to you!

    Molly R

  10. How does molly do sleeping in new places. After getting a sleep coach and finally getting sleep we realized that now she will only sleep at home in a crib. We tried a pack and play once out and she screamed her head off all night. So now we don’t go anywhere. ๐Ÿ™

  11. You hit the nail on the head….when your kids are used to going places, traveling, meeting new people and being in new places, it all becomes easier for them. I traveled a lot with my kids from the time they were infants. We did lots of things to stay busy and always brought favorite toys. Plus they also got new surprises along the way, which was fun for them. People told me they couldn’t believe my kids could do so good on long car trips or plane rides, but the secret was that we did it often and from the time they were tiny so they were used to traveling. I tell parents all the time, you can’t just start doing the 15 hour car or plane trips when your kiddo is 3 or 4…… you get them used to all that from the get go. They will learn to love traveling and seeing new places and having new adventures!

  12. Hi, Ali! We’re headed into NYC this week with our 11 month old too! What are you planning to do to get around the city? From what I understand, taxis there don’t require car seats, but that makes me so nervous! I’ve looked into Uber & taxi services that offer car seats but it seems like most of them only have forward facing car seats for babies over 1 year.

    Let me know if you have any advice! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I’ve always had anxiety and my son was diagnosed with severe anxiety as a small child. He’s 18 now and does fantastic handling things, not that he doesn’t have anxiety but he’s very good at handling it. He just started on a very low dose of Zoloft this year which helped him tremendously but obviously you can not do that. Lol. However we learned so many things to help him before this. I put a diffuser in his room and at night run lavender oil it. It’s very calming and helps him sleep. He also has a pillow mist that’s by Bath and Body works that is Lavender and it helps relax him. We all use that, my daughter and I included. He takes that with him when he travels because it’s calming and a familiar scent. When he was a baby I would do baby massages on him starting with his feet. That calmed him immediately. I think having familiar things around that they can relate to in the environment eases the transition a bit especially at night and sticking as closely to the night time routine as possible too. If that means you bring the bumper pad from the crib or the mobile or something she can relate to from home it just might make it a little easier. As JD got older I taught him visualization and meditation and he does that on his own on a regular basis now. He knows what works for him and that it makes him feel better. He doesn’t want to be dependent on anti-anxiety medicines. He’s an athlete and wants to be sharp and clear but he also knew he needed help with his depression and anxiety so he uses a mild antidepressant, exercise, meditation and essential oils to help him battle the anxiety and depression and he’s doing awesome!!!! Good luck! And remember to just breathe! ?

  14. Hi Ali, you are such an amazing mama/wife and I must say you have great style ?…our babies were born on the same day just hours apart!

    I really hope you are able to read the rest of what I am about to type….

    My daughter Amelia whom is 9 came across a Instagram account of a baby boy named Tobias- Tobias is a 9 month old sweet baby boy whom is fighting cancer. He has a rare form of cancer and 100% of kids with this cancer relapsed and not survive, and at that point one of the only hope baby Toby would have is to have an experimental treatment which his parents would need to pay out of pocket- they are raising money in case baby Toby needs the treatment (hopefully he doesn’t) and if he doesn’t, all the money raised will be donated to childhood cancer awareness….

    After reading his account and seeing his beautiful sweet face my daughter came to me in tears and was so upset. She couldn’t understand why a sweet little baby boy like toby could have been given such an awful illness. After hours of her crying and me trying to explain to a 9 year old that these things happen… She then asked what we can do to help so we have donated to baby Toby’s fund in hopes it will save his life if he ever needs it. She then asked if we could do a fundraiser so we have decided that for her brothers upcoming first birthday party we will ask for donations to baby Toby instead of gifts… Somehow my sweet little girl still felt that there is more she could do for that baby so I am reaching out to any and everyone that will listen to please share baby Toby’s story and donate if you can.

    I am asking you Ali to please read baby Toby’s story and share it with others…. Again he is not my son nor do I know him personally, but after I saw his sweet little face and read his story it brought tears to my eyes and I feel compelled to help him somehow!
    I as a mother to a baby boy not much older than Toby could never begin to imagine what the parent’s or even baby Toby is going through! So please share on social media and or on your blog!

    His intagram account is….

    Treatment for Tobias

    His go fund me page….

  15. I agree with those who say personality is strong, even at this age! My daughter is 6.5, and my son is 4.5. He has always traveled great and goes with the flow. My daughter has always struggled traveling and at 6.5 still does. It doesn’t matter if we are at the beach or Disneyworld(her 2 favorite places), she counts the days til she’s home. It’s not a terrible thing- it means we’ve created a loving environment where she feels safe and loved. I would much rather have that than a child who doesn’t want to be at home. Much love to your sweet family!

  16. Lots of fabulous parenting advice here!

    I’m a pet parent and can totally relate to how hard it is to leave Owen when you travel. I also get choked up every time I travel and have to leave my dog, Gina, behind.

    Have you heard of iCalmDog? It’s like Buster’s iPawd and security blanket. It plays soothing music that is clinically shown to relieve canine anxiety. I am the co-creator and pianist on the music series. (I know, it’s not why I graduated from Juilliard, but, hey, I just love dogs and have a huge desire to help them!) We also have a music program for dogs with automobile anxiety issues. I’d love to gift you with this for Owen, just let me know your mailing address. And, I’ve also been told that the calming canine music works pretty well for easing anxiety in babies as well. It could even help soothe Molly when you travel.

    And, if Owen has any sound phobias around fireworks, the music also chills out dogs during the loud booms.

    You can also find 46 tracks from iCalmDog on Spotify and Apple Music as well. Enjoy!

  17. It’s funny seeing these comments of those who wish their kids liked exploring. I’m over here like I wish my kid liked home! He’s only 16 months so maybe that will change as he gets older but right now anything new and exciting is his jam. Unfortunelty that means everywhere you go he wants to get down and touch, feel, thrown, climb, run, fall, repeat! Go, go, go. Seriously, he won’t even let me hold his hand! Never has. Learned to walk on his own without momma’a help. I’m always jealous of my friends kids who sit and snuggle and watch tv. Haha I guess he grass is always greener! It’s also cool to read these comments and realize every little babe has their own personality and we are here to help that personality shine! Your little peanut is a doll! Thanks for sharing and always being real.

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