Saturday, May 14, 2011

First Trip

My first trip commenced on my first day of work.  I hopped on a plane to Houston for a couple of days.  Here's what went down....

1.  Getting my family ready
  • Meal Planning: We plan our meals every week and write them on a dry erase board.  This week, I consulted with my husband on which meals would be the easiest for him to prepare with Girl and Boy under his feet.  In an effort to save money and ensure we don't frivolously eat out, we follow our weekly meal plans closely.  
This is our menu board.  I also keep a running "meatventory" so I know what's in the freezer while planning.

  • Grocery Shopping: We only buy the ingredients we need for the week.  This helps for a few reasons.  1. We aren't loading up on junk that we don't need (this especially helps us keep from night time snacking!).  2. We have a specialized diet due to a child with food sensitivities and our conscious consumption values, so only buying what we need allows us to purchase higher quality products that might cost a little more.  3. Since we shop on Sundays, and our trips require multiple stores, we need to be as efficient as possible.  Our kids HATE to shop, especially Girl.
  • Schedule: We have an account with Cozi.  It maintains our family and individual schedules, as well as keeps our grocery lists (I have a tab for each store).  What's awesome about this site is that I can access it from my Smart Phone, and I can text the lists to my husband's not-so-smart phone.  Since it's web-based, we can access our schedules from remote locations.
  • Laundry: Make sure it's all done ahead of time! 
  • Other preparations: Wednesday was the day the house cleaners were scheduled to come.  I made sure to pre-write a check and get the cash for their tips ready for my husband.  I also briefed him on making sure to put out our cleaning products and preparing the linens to be changed.  I picked up the toys in the play room and organized/put away all of the "things" around the house that weren't needed for the next few days.  I also made sure my husband was up to speed with the things I do after he falls asleep on the couch every night: make the dogs go outside, take Girl to the bathroom, make sure Boy is covered and not hanging off of his bed, close the gate in the hall to keep the dogs out of the kids' rooms, turn off all of the lights, set the burglar alarm, set the alarm clock, and lock doors.
  • School prep: It is impossible for my husband to get both kids to the places they need to be and make it to work on time.  Girl can't be to school any earlier than a certain time, and Boy's babysitter is too far to drop him off first.  Thus, I arranged with another parent at school for my husband to drop Girl off at their house before school.
2.  Getting myself ready
  • Packing: This time was tricky...  Since I hadn't even started my first day of work, I played it safe with a more conservative business wardrobe.  This included my boots with heels.  I don't like to venture out of my hotel when I travel.  I usually just get room service, so the only other clothing I brought included: two tank tops, a pair of sweatpants, a pair of cotton shorts, and a pair of flip flops.  I also made sure to have all of my small travel bottles in my clear quart bag.  I made sure everything fit into a rollerboard suitcase that I could carry on.
  • Computer: Without my work laptop yet, I packed my personal laptop.  I wanted to be able to access Skype.  I am also in search of a way to play games live over the internet with Girl.  I need to research that some more.
The Actual Trip
When I got to work, I quickly learned that I was overdressed.  For three days, I looked pretty silly compared to everyone else in jeans and casual shoes!  I knew at the store level, things are very casual, but I wasn't sure about my level.  Now I know!  Sadly, I had no other shoes with me beside my flip flops, which I couldn't do.  I did not have a rental (my boss had the rental with him) to venture out and get shoes.  Luckily, I sat a good portion of the time.

I had an absolute blast at work.  Right after work both nights, I had to go to dinner with my team.  No complaints here about that, but it did push off what time I could call the family.  I think that worked out, as I didn't interrupt dinner and bath time.  Since I was calling around bedtime, I become a part of nightly story time via speaker phone.  We didn't get a chance to Skype this trip since I was getting back to my hotel later than planned both evenings.  But no one seemed to concerned about it.  I also had to use my mommy voice a couple of times during story time, which made me feel as if I was really there!

On night #2, I jinxed myself.  I told Girl I would be home before she went to bed the next evening.  My flight was supposed to land at 5:25.  Well, thanks to typical crazy Dallas weather, I didn't get home until 9:45.  Though it was way past her bedtime, her daddy let Girl stay up to see me.  I was glad.  I snuggled in her bed with her for a while.  Then I tip-toed in to give Boy big smooches.  I emailed my boss that night requesting to leave a bit early on Thursday so that I could spend some time with my kids since I got home so late.  He obliged.  I also got up extra early Thursday morning so that I was ready for work BEFORE I woke the kids up for the day.  This gave me some extra time with them before it was time to head to work.  I got out of work about 2:30, picked them both up and we went home and snuggled up to Return to Neverland until Daddy got home. 

We all survived and made it work, though I'm pretty sure my husband was going to have a nervous breakdown when he learned my flight had been delayed....

Action Item for this post is the same as last post.  I really need some help getting this off of the ground:  Find mamas who travel for work and are interested in sharing tips for staying virtually hands-on with their children.  Get them to follow this blog.  

XOX-- Mama Red


  1. I bow before your organizational skills, my friend! There is a lot I can take from this even though I don't travel for work.

  2. I love your meat-ventory! We've used Cozi before, as well. Even though I'm not a traveling mama, I am a working mama, and my husband has the kids while I'm working. I need to figure out a better way to function while I'm at work. I love your meal board idea. Thank you!