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Hello Everyone and welcome to the June 2022 edition of The Nap Times! If you are receiving this and do not want a monthly newsletter from me, simply unsubscribe at the bottom. I totally get wanting to simplify and declutter your inbox and will not take it personally. 
This newsletter topic is all about our recent car travels. What and how we packed; what we brought that was a victory; what we didn't pack and regretted, etc. I am also including three surprising things that helped my travel anxiety! Then, we will end the way we always do, with current things I have read/listened to/watched. 
FYI: most of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you shop through them, I make a very small percentage at no cost to you. Thank you in advance if you use any of them!
Let's begin!
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When it comes to packing for a road trip, the biggest things I care about are organization and essentializing. Organization because I want to know which bag has the baby's sound machine so we can that up right when we get there and essentializing because we are a family of six traveling in a minivan. We have no extra space for items we don't need.
For this reason, we packed each child four days worth of clothing and packed two kids into one of the Lands' End totes we love. Each child has their own tote, but for the sake of space JR and Alberta shared one, and Scout and Millie shared one. This worked out perfectly and every few days we simply did a load of laundry at my in-laws or our Airbnb. If you can do laundry where you are going, you do not have to pack an outfit for every single day. If car space is an issue, pack half the amount of clothes you need and do a load of laundry on the trip!
*I do want to note here that this was a car trip. I do not suggest the Lands' End totes for air travel; you can't roll them and they would get dirty on the conveyor belts. I have made this mistake before.
Nate and I also packed only 3-4 days worth of clothing. This might have been the most ruthless I have ever packed! One pair of denim shorts, one pair of jeans, a few tank tops, one dress, and 2 workout outfits. Honestly, it was refreshing to have so few decisions to make. It made me want to do a closet purge. 
**TIP: When packing for your family, go ahead and pack the kids' bags 2-3 days before you leave town. That way, anything left in their drawers is fair game for them to get dirty and you aren't stuck doing laundry the day before you leave!
I am going to share some things that helped keep us organized (and me sane!) in the car as well as a few methods. 
CAR SNACKS AND MESH BAGS: I kept a bag of car snacks right below Alberta's car seat and used my beloved mesh bags to divide the snacks. There was a mesh bag with individual goldfish bags and crackers, and another with fig bars and larabars and applesauce pouches. A third mesh bag with a few slim ice packs and string cheese, my sandwich, and Alberta's teething rings (which I froze to keep them as cold as possible for as long as possible). Dividing the snacks in the snack bag helped them from becoming a massive abyss with crushed goldfish, smooshed fig bars, and lukewarm cheese strings. 
I sat in the back the entire time. This was not the plan. Alberta made that decision for me (#fourthkidsDOWHATTHEYWANT). In the end, it was actually for the best because it allowed me to be the keeper of the snack bag. Did Nate and I have meaningful conversations in the front seat while the kids quietly watched a movie in the back? Not a one. 
THE IPAD HOLDER AND SING 2: We use this ipad holder, which allows the ipad to be suspended between the two front seats. We play a movie via the car bluetooth and fade the sound to the back of the car. This has been our go to method for years and works really well. The night before we leave town I go onto Netflix and download a few movies (Sing 2 came out while we were on the trip and that was a huge win!), and we pick from those few options.
THE CAR POTTY AND BAGS: This car potty is a game changer. It's little legs fold out when you go to use it; it folds flat so you can easily store it under a seat. We also buy the bags that are sold with the car potty. They have a little absorbent pad in the bottom and are leak proof. In the past, we had a typical toddler trainer potty. I would lay a diaper in the bottom of it when the kids needed to go and it worked super well (this travel potty has no bottom to it so the diaper trick sadly won't work). If someone needs to go while we are driving, they hop out of their car seat, pee on the tiny potty (or stand and pee in the potty bag/a bottle if of the male gender), then hop right back in their car seat. I am not saying this is the safest option nor promoting everyone do this, but if we stopped every single time someone needed to potty, we would stop 25 times and Alberta would never get a nap. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
THE INSULATED BOTTLE WITH WARM WATER AND FORMULA HOLDER: This was how I made Alberta's bottles and it was perfect! I didn't have to try and get warm water at restaurants or gas stations; the insulated bottle kept it warm; and the formula holder had the formula pre-measured for me. The only way we could get Alberta to calm down and eventually fall asleep in the car was by giving her a bottle, and I could easily make one.
**TIP: if you have insulated water bottles (we love these), ice and fill them the night before you leave and go ahead and stick them in each person's cup holder! The water will still be ice cold in the morning and it's one less thing you have to remember.
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All of my mesh bags during a snack break. They saved my sanity!
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A huge highlight for the little people was letting them choose a candy at the gas station. Do you remember doing this as a kid?! HEAVEN!!
1. I stated this above: pack light and utilize the washer/dryer. This saved us so much space in the car!
2. I ordered diapers via Amazon to be delivered to my in-laws. That way I only had to pack enough for a few days and knew we would have more once we got to Pennsylvania. 
3. My water bottle was hands down one of the best things I packed. It's forty ounces, stays cold, and I carried it everywhere. On trips, I live by the motto “control what you can control.” I know I will likely eat less healthy than at home, and definitely get less sleep than at home, but I can make sure I stay hydrated. 
4. Our yoga mat and blocks. This was absolutely Nate's idea and I was surprised we could fit them so easily. Having these items removed any barrier to doing a yoga class while we were away. Nate and I both took one almost daily and it made a world of difference in my body after all the driving in the car.
5. The ergobaby was the main way we could remain flexible with Alberta. She is still willing to fall asleep on me when in it! We could go visit a friend and she would nap on me. I have tried so many different carriers and the ergo remains my absolute favorite. 
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**TIP: I had a large packing list before we left, but then made a smaller note on my phone specifically for the things I knew we would most likely forget. Even as we unpacked for our first stop in Greensboro, I was adding things to this little note. Things like: Alberta's teething rings hidden in the freezer, my pillow camouflaged on the bed, and the kids' bathing suits drying on the back porch. This took a HUGE mental load off of my plate and I did a quick check of the list before we left each of our three stops. 
1. While I knew we wouldn't need a stroller in Pennsylvania, I really regretted not having one in Durham. Our airbnb had an amazing trail right behind it and having a stroller would have made walks way more enjoyable. 
2. I didn't even consider bringing our baby bath and boy did I regret it! Turns out, Alberta hates laying in a bathtub (even with a towel to make it softer) and also hated a sink bath. At home she will lounge in her little baby bath for a half hour and it's a great tool for those fussy parts of the day. We had no way of knowing this was important to bring, but I missed having one. 
3. This one is silly, but I regretted not bringing my weighted eye mask. We tend to sleep poorly on trips due to all the variables with the kids, and having that eye mask helps me take a quick nap during the day. Something about that little extra weight around my eyes helps me to fall asleep. 
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Alberta is so happy when she is in her lounger in the bathtub! Not happy at all without it 😬


*I am going to use this section to only share things I read/watched I would suggest to another person. I definitely read/listened to/watched some duds! 

I am currently reading The People We Meet on Vacation and it might be the worst book I have ever read. I am honestly mad at myself for not stopping it sooner. I have heard so many people like the author (Emily Henry), but if something epic doesn't happen in the 100 pages I have left I am going to be so disappointed. It's been like watching paint dry. 
I read and finished The Lazy Genius Kitchen by Kendra Adachi and it was so great! Kendra is a friend and this book reads exactly like she talks; it is kind and helpful. Kendra also has a podcast and Instagram and is a voice of reason in this crazy internet world. 
And yes, I am still HEAVY on the Wordle train and it is one of the highlights of my day! I love how it causes me to use my brain early in the morning. 
I am still in my deep dive into 1990's Meg Ryan movies. Finished You've Got Mail, Top Gun, and When Harry Met Sally. French Kiss is next. With everything happening in the world, 1990's Meg Ryan is what I need. 
FINAL CALL! Today is the final day to purchase The Home Reset!
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Because you have been such a loyal subscriber to the newsletter, I want to say THANK YOU by giving you a discount on the Home Reset, but you gotta act fast!
It's been available the entire month of June and, well, June ends today! If you wish to purchase, you can get $10 off!
That means you will get the entire Home Reset, with 14 episodes for the original price of $50 instead of the $60 everyone else will pay. 
Enter this code at checkout for your discount.
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In this audio course, I outline what I actually do to refresh our home a few times a year. The entire course contains 14 audio files, which take you through 12 areas. Each audio file comes with a PDF checklist.
  1. Introduction
  2. Kitchen Part 1: Fridge/Freezer 
  3. Kitchen Part 2: Pantry and Cabinets
  4. Bathrooms (this includes medicine cabinets and linens)
  5. Bedrooms and Closets
  6. Kids’ Clothes
  7. Kids’ Toys
  8. Laundry Room
  9. Living Room
  10. The Car
  11. Paper
  12. Garage/Shed
  13. Your Mind
  14. Final Pep Talk
I believe wholeheartedly that this course will change the way your home functions. Are you ready to try it out for yourself? Click the link below to get started, and don't forget to enter the coupon code "thenaptimes" at checkout!
Alright friends, that's all I have for you this month. I hope some of my travel tips are helpful for you. Have a wonderful June,