Mexican Domestic Goddess

Third Annual Summer Pilgrimage

Jacqui SkempComment

As the title so subtly suggests, this was our third year driving down to La Crosse, Wisconsin to make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. So here's a recap/7 Quick Takes guide for ya. 

How to vacation with your friends and your gaggle of children: 

1. Start off with donuts and mimosas at your friends house, but arrive ridiculously late because #toddlers. Grab over priced lattes before hitting the road because it isn't vacation if you don't. 

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2. Expect there to be much screaming for a couple of hours while you're all in your respective cars. Text each other to make sure you're all equally miserable. 

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3. Arrive at your destination approximately 45 seconds after confessions end so you won't be able to make it that day. It's okay, they'll be hearing them tomorrow. Instead wander the grounds and pray your children don't roll down a hill. 

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4. Race through the Divine Mercy Chaplet because the children are screaming for more gummies. Try your best to get a few cute photos of the cranky kids because it's cute damnit. 

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5. Order a couple of cheap pizzas, stick the kids in a hotel room and let them tear the place apart. Then toss them in the pool (with floaters, of course) and wait until your eyes are burning from the cholrine before dragging them back to the hotel room. 

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6. Wait for all the babies to fall asleep, prop open your hotel room doors, and sit with your friends on the floor and eat snacks and drink booze. Well done, everyone. 

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7. Wake up and make sure your kids don't eat the pancakes that they requested at the hotel restaurant. Then rush off to confession and mass and make it to your cars before the inevitable fatigue induced meltdowns begin. You did it! 

This is the first year we got a whole group shot, and I don't know why it took us so long to do this but I hope we continue to document our families each year.

Year I

Head over to Kelly's for more Quick Takes

California Vacation 2017 Recap

Jacqui Skemp1 Comment

Once upon a time I only had one toddler and recapped our summers in several installments. Gone are those days. Here's one mega photo drop for ya. But not really. It's for me... and the grandmas. 

We arrived just in time for the 4th of July. These weren't actually taken on the 4th. On the actually holiday, we spent time swimming, eating grilled meats, and watching legal and maybe some illegal fireworks on a side street and it was absolutely perfect. The boys loved hanging out with all my cousins. Iggy had been talking about swimming at their pool for a year now, so it was like "a dream is a wish your heart makes" come true for him. 

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I think the boys spent something like seven hours in the water that day. Archie was pretty hesitant at first, but once he realized he could float independently, he didn't want anyone to touch him, and instead swam laps. Literally. Laps. 

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Two years ago we went to Disneyland when Archie was only a couple months old, and now that he's obsessed with a certain space ranger, it was fun to be back there again. It was crazy hot, but it didn't stop us from waiting in lines for several hours to ride a ride for two minutes. 

Total aside, but I'm pretty sure that both of those backpacks that my parents are carrying were mine at some point in grade school. 

I posted this on Instagram, and despite their expressions, they were actually having an amazing time with these bubble wands.

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Waving bye to Mickey. Broken heart emoji. 

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We hit up the beach a couple of times, and the kids loved it. I'll spare you all the naked-Archie photos, but believe you me, they were adorable. 

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I think the best part of this years visit was that we just had loads of quality time together. We hung out in the inflatable pool, watched movies in the front yard, played at parks with the kids, and just did life together. 

Here are a few more photos from one of our last big outings this time around. We went to one of my favorite places and, as usual, it was perfect. 

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Quick Takes, Flying with Children Edition

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Ah, just joining the millions of voices on this topic, but I get asked often enough, so here goes. These are a few things that help us when we are traveling (specifically flying) with littles, which is pretty often. 

1. Car Seat Bag: We are fortunate enough to have a couple of carseats that my parents keep stored at their place so we haven't had to travel with the infant seat in a long time. Now that we're three kiddos deep, we have to bring a third carseat and we busted out this bag again. Sometimes they'll check it for free when you're checking in, otherwise, we bring it through security and gate check it there. The backpack straps on this bag make it easier to chase after children if you accidentally let them out of the stroller, you fool. I'm talking to myself of course. 

2. Double Stroller: Yes, we love our Bob Duallie, but it's such a beast, and I'm afraid they'll ruin it, which is kind of funny because I'm sure my children are going to destroy it any day now. But for this trip we found a double umbrella stroller (very similar to this one) on Craigslist and it was totally worth it. It's pretty bare bones, but when you need to move little people quickly and keep them contained, it works. 

3. Travel Mug: Once upon a time I used to get through security, pick up a magazine and a latte, and slowly sip it before and after boarding my flight because airport life sans kids is a breeze. Now there is no way I would dare carry one of those flimsy paper cups while trying to deal with one of our offspring. Insert travel mug. But it has to be spill proof like this one. I still get my latte post security-check-madness, but now I can drink it over the course of four hours and it's still hot, and it won't get knocked out of my hand and onto the airport floor. Win win win.  

4. Arts and Crafts: LOL not really, but the kids love vandalism, so lets try to rein it in a bit. If you haven't heard of the Melissa and Doug Water Wow! pads, go get thee a few. We have them at home, but I keep them stored away for desperate times and travel times. It's. Just. Water. So even if they sit on it, it won't saturate their pants with blue ink like the markers I stupidly bought for this most recent flight. Thank the Good Lord for Zote soap. Speaking of markers, I should have brought the Crayola Color Wonder because they are good markers that only color on special paper and we have them and I'm dumb for not bringing them. My children arrived to CA looking like little works of art.   

5. Sticker Books: I had to really let go and let God here, because I want them to place all the stickers in all the right places because that's what the instructions said to do and why don't you just get it? But you know what? I'm the grown up and they're just kids, so I let them pile the stickers high, high, high. Also, because they're not good at peeling stickers back, it takes them a long time and that's just what I want. Our kids liked this Finding Dory one, and the reusable sticker book by Melissa and Doug (it's just a little larger than I would like). 

6. Head Phone Splitter: Ah, the holy grail of plane bribes. If you have more than one child who loves the allure of the screen, you are going to want headphones for both kids, and this little gem. We just got a two way splitter, but they do make them for more, which we will probably need at some point. 

7. Sticky Bunnies: That's what my kids call them anyway. They're actually just Annie's fruit snacks, but they only get them at Nana's and when we travel. It's the ultimate bribe treat. Usually they are offered with a side of clenched teeth and loud whispers to plz b quiet.  

Head on over to Kelly's for more Quick Takes, and what not, ok? 

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