172 In Life

Observations from Me & Help From You


I think the crud is behind us. There’s not a lot to report on from our house, we’re just trying to regain some normalcy around here. There are a few brief observations I made from the infirmary this week that I feel compelled to share…

  • television stinks.For the most part I already knew this… but it has been confirmed by my infirmity which left me little to no energy to do much but mash a little button on the remote control. Call me old fashioned, call me a prude … but the majority of what I saw on television this week was so completely inappropriate {and borderline pornographic} I couldn’t believe it. I think everyone should stick to blogs and turn their televisions off.
  • my washing machine also stinks. It stinks really bad… like musty old clothes, I leave the door open, I’ve treated it with “front loader” cleaner treatments… all to no avail. My husband had the audacity to suggest that “there was a wet pair of socks hiding somewhere in the laundry room, that it couldn’t be the washing machine”, I not-so-kindly asked him why he didn’t believe me and to basically let me take care of the laundry room. No sleep + no coffee + no leaving the house for a week = not nice Darby. Sorry, Justin.  Can anyone help me with this situation? Does your front loader ever stink?
  • i haven’t had coffee since monday. And I really miss it, but when I drink it again it’s going to have to be the “mild & gentle” variety because I’m pretty sure I have a stomach ulcer. I think I had it pre-stomach bug but raging stomach acids confirmed it. I’m definitely “self-diagnosing” but feel confident I could go to the doctor and get the same diagnosis. Don’t worry, I’ve had them before, they last a couple weeks and then they’re gone!! Thankfully.
  • morgan will turn 5 next week. I have mixed emotions about this. 5 seems so big. She’s having her first {non-family only} birthday party. I’ve been doing some mental party planning in my brain. I managed to get all her invitations out {if you get one, I promised I washed my hands before stuffing envelopes and used glue and a sticker to seal them, no licking} I didn’t want to infect her precious little girlfriends {or their mothers}. There was one minor detail I overlooked, I forgot to write down who I sent them to and now I can’t remember so I’m going to have call people to see if they got their invitations or not.  Hopefully they all say “yes”.
  • mothers should only sleep in their own beds. 
  • i really love the raiger. But in the last 10 minutes she has asked me to open and close a ziplock bag 10 times. And I’ve been sleeping with her {hence mothers should only sleep in their own beds} I’ve been sleeping with her because she is absolutely TERRIFIED of throwing up. If her tummy growls she thinks she’s going to ” ‘pit up” {aka spit up}. She cries, “hold me, Mommy and yook at me, yook at me, you’re not yooking at me wif your eyes”… she wanted me to look at her for 3 days in case she threw up.
  • where are levi johnston’s parents? Levi Johnston is the ex-boyfriend of Bristol Palin. I am not making this a political matter… he could be the ex-boyfriend of Chelsea Clinton and I would still be asking where are his parents?  I saw him last night on tv {grrr  I hate tv, I shouldn’t watch it} and it made me grieve for him, Bristol, their child, the Palin’s, his parents; he came across with such an attitude.
  •  i shouldn’t watch tv.  It results in blog posts with all words and little pictures.
  • i should get out more. Being cooped up this week has brought this one on. If you’re a mother, do you get out? Alone? Tell me how you manage to do so. Do you use Saturdays? I’m trying to find balance in being with the family on the weekends and still finding time to myself. I really feel like it’s vital to me being a good mother, everyone needs a little peace and quiet, time to think, right? Reminder… my children are 4, 3, & 1 so if you suggest I take them with me I’m going to assume you don’t have a 4, 3, & 1 year old.  🙂
  • i am getting away soon. I should re-phrase WE are getting away soon. In a couple weeks we are getting away… and the children are coming with us. Which really should be so much fun. DaddyBoy and Mom have graciously invited us to the Windy City for a little fun. None of my children have ever been on a plane. How do you travel {by air} with children? How do you handle the airport with children? Do I have to take any identification for them? What do you say to the people who have to sit around Rover on the airplane? What if Rover screams on the airplane like he does in the car? Can you please start praying now?

I promise life isn’t near as gloom and doom as that post just made it sound! Life is good, God is good, we are healthy, and we’re making caramel apples this weekend!

Please can this be an interactive post!? And tell me your experiences on the items mentioned above…


** Chicken Pot-Pie pictured above was delivered to our house and devoured. I will share the recipe soon!!

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  • mamawalker
    October 30, 2009 at 11:14 am

    i have a front loader too. we get the stink problem. usually an empty load done with bleach works. also have you pulled back the rubber seal around the front? i have found socks in there before. also i have pulled out the soap drawer before and it has been lined with mold and soap scum both inside the drawer holder part of the washer and the actual drawer it self(especially on the outside bottom of the drawer)just some suggestions. but i know what you mean. good luck!!

  • Dona
    October 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

    The washer is a 12 step program- I am on my second machine, and I have the stink problem down- after my deddy told me our clothes stunk one day, I decided I had better figure it out!
    We watch Nick Jr- love it!
    Wait till Morgan turns 10- sniff,sniff…
    We really love Raiger too!!!!!!
    We traveled on a plane with 2- 9 month olds, then 2- 18 month olds, were we on crack? The people around us thought we were. We could not sit together and the man who was supposed to sit beside my sweet baby boy and me asked to be moved before we took off- nice! We tried several different things, I’ll call you about them, I don’t want DHR knocking on my door!
    Glad y’all are all better!!!

  • rebecca
    October 30, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Darby…I have to agree with you 100% about the tv programming anymore. It’s all garbage with very few exceptions. I have been so aware of this lately, more than I have been in the past. We have been hitting the ‘off’ button and pulling out the books and art supplies more or putting in the old disney dvd’s…I’m ready to get rid of the tv’s all together, but the hubs and the kids aren’t on board yet!

    Hope all well in your home!

  • Jennifer
    October 30, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Time away, ALONE is so important. It’s amazing how even 2 hours at Starbucks with a good book will refill my gas tank for the week. Here’s how I’ve gotten some time like that in the past (before my kids got into the horrendous Sat. AM schedule that is soccer, soccer, soccer).

    Every Saturday AM my husband makes “Daddy Breakfast”. He makes such a big deal out of it, that the kids think it’s a big deal and nobody minds that I sleep in and then sneak out. He makes bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and toast every Saturday morning. At my leisure, I get up and scoot out to Starbucks for some tea and a good book or studying (which I sometimes have to do). I come back to a pretty cluttered house, but refreshed and ready for family time.

    By the way, grocery shopping alone, while it is a treat, DOES NOT COUNT AS ALONE TIME. Do not let anybody try to con you into that one!

  • Kristen
    October 30, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I have the exact same problem with my front loader too, such a gross almost mildew-y smell. I thought it just needed to be aired out, but that certainly hasn’t cured it. Maybe I will try the empty load with bleach, mentioned above.

    I hope you have fun in my city, aka the windy city, in a few weeks! 🙂 I am almost positive you aren’t expected to have an ID for kids. The good news is you’ll take up an entire row on the plane and then some, so it’s not as if you’ll have to seat one of the kiddos next to a random other passenger. I will have to be on the look out for three of the cutest kids I have ever seen coming down Michigan Ave!

  • Chelle
    October 30, 2009 at 11:35 am

    We have the whirlpool brand for about 4 years now. I had a time with the odor issue, I am married to the best man on this earth, but he has issues like one being OCD he cleans all the time and was ready to get rid of as he called it expensive stinky machine!! So we did what the manual called for with the bleach to no avail. But I think we finally figured it out. Use only HE products and leave the door open when not in use. So far this has worked for several months. Being a stay at home grandmother, yes I said grandmother I watch alot of kids shows and I do agree that there just isn’t much fit to watch for adults. Man that pie looked yummy, made me wish that was what the girls and I were having for lunch today. One thing about having a house full of babies is no there is not much time for yourself and yes it is hard to venture out with them but believe me this time in your life will go by so very fast you really won’t believe it when it’s gone. I will not tell you to stop and enjoy it because I know thru your post you already are just try to cherish it alittle more and with time and God’s blessings you will enter another phase of life to learn to cherish too. Me, I am learning that my days are filled with dirty diapers, sticky fingers and walls that now need repainting and for this I am the most blessed grandmother on my street and may I add the happiest.

  • Lee-Anne Fenwick
    October 30, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Hey Darby – so gald to hear you are feeling better my friend!! 🙂
    Let’s see, where to start –
    YES TV is trash- though I do watch a few shows when the kids are in bed
    YES – your kids are adorable and 5 is a HUGE milestone and our first non-family party as well. It was fun!! We kept ours outside and on our back porch, it worked well and less clean-up 🙂
    I TOO have a stomach ulcer right now….my first one ever, and man does it hurt! I am sure taking away coffee would be the right thing to do, but I simply cannot. I am down to 1 cup though. How do you treat yours – man they hurt!
    UM, we flew half way around the world with a 4 year old and a 1 year old….it was hard – but we survived. I did have toys/food/games they had NEVER seen before til the plane took off. It helped. We also took our portable DVD player and Nate watched that a lot….it helped. Though take it dully charged, no way to charge it on the plane.
    OK, my 2 yr old is trying to type (or destroy the computer, however you look at it)
    Much love

  • Michelle
    October 30, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Hi Darby!!! My hubby works 8-8 M-F and usually one weekend day. I feel so guilty for wanting alone time when we get such a short amount of time together as a family. I absoultly decided that because I am with our 3 and 1 year old pretty much 24/7 that I needed alone time. It makes me a better person and better mother. I decided to hire a nanny/mothers helper to come to the house for 3 hours per week. It’s not a lot, but believe me do I cherish those 3 hours to do whatever it is I want to do. I feel guilty for spending the money because I am perfectly capable of taking care of my own children, but it’s cheaper than going insane and needing therapy right?? We all need time to be alone with our thoughts.

  • hailey
    October 30, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I have a front loader and have the same problem. Towels are the worst. I have to make sure I smell them before we have any guests. I want my old machine back! I too have seen way too much of Levi this week. If he is trying to be famous he is going about it the wrong way. Nothing makes you realize you need time to yourself than after taking care of sick kids. It is exhausting. Look into church programs, I have mine ine for 1 day and I look so forward to it. Maybe yours has something similar. Be well and Happy Halloween.

  • Amy
    October 30, 2009 at 11:46 am

    We had the same problem with our front loader too, but not anymore. We figured out you need to drain the machine after a days worth of washing. The machine holds alot of extra water in a reservoir somewhere and it gets stinky just sitting in there. There is a drain tube on the bottom of the front of the machine. We drain ours into a bucket and dump it down the sink. Since I have been doing this our clothes have not had that bad odor. It is rather a pain though, but something I will have to put up with. Good luck!

  • Misty
    October 30, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Darby. Flying with kids. Do a trial run on how you plan to carry things… carseats on top of stollers? ..etc….
    I took my little one (just turned two) with me when I came down to LA for the Sip N See and she was doing fine on the plane until another kid started making repetitive NANANANANA noises and she decided to follow suit. I firmly told her that “We” do not do that and well she stopped! Take something for the kids to drink (passies can work, but drinking is better) when you feel your ears popping have them take a sip to pop their ears. Books are nice. People may not want to hear about the Poky Little Puppy so much but they would much rather hear you reading that than the kids in a boredom meltdown. I’m sure that you had already thought of theses things. It looks like you have so much fun with those kiddos. Glad Justin will be with you to help. Have fun!

  • Rebecca
    October 30, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Lots of comments from me…
    I’m so sorry about all the crud at your house! Leighton’s been under the weather for about 3 weeks now. Her heel is hurt leading to dr visits-lots of them, she’s cutting 4 molars and yesterday she started a runny nose. Yuck!
    We hate tv too. We actually cut it off completely (I do miss it sometimes but not too much) and I’m appalled every time we see even a commercial now. You are so right-totally inappropriate! As far as Levi goes, he drives me up the wall too. Of course it’s been a while since I’ve seen/heard him but it makes me so sad that he’s using his baby and past relationship for fame.
    Let me know how the plane ride goes. We’re taking Leighton to Italy soon and it will be her first plane ride. We may be a little crazy but I’m (mostly) excited for a big family vacation. Of course, we have a passport for her but the rules are different when you leave the country.
    Glad we reconnected. I love keeping up with you and Erika through your blogs. I’ll be praying for your trip!

  • heather goss
    October 30, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    1. yes t.v. is trash. we turned off all cable over a year ago {meaning we don’t even have the weather channel} and it has been GREAT! a little getting used to it and we still have a dvd player but we found it literally impossible to keep our mind ‘set on the things above where Christ is’ with all that junk.

    2.don’t have a front loader but have come across that problem and apparently there is some room between the barrel of the washer and the frame {hope you are following} and sometimes wet gunk can get in between there and start to stick. it’s easy to clean with a top loader but not sure about a front loader. worth checking on though.

    3. i only have one child {17 months old} and i use early saturday mornings to ‘get out’ sometimes. starbucks and target open early and georgia is usually in a good mood so i feel like a couple of hours are easily managed by my husband. hope you can find something that works because gosh we need it sometimes!

    4. never flown with georgia but i have been on a plane with a rover. and really don’t worry about the others too much…they will probably feel more sorry for you than for themselves. i really felt SO bad for the mother. so don’t worry..it’ll be alright. just make sure you have some tootie roll suckers in tow. they take forever to eat 😉

    best to you…

  • ebfurge
    October 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Darby, I check your blog often and love it. We don’t know each other, but have so much in common. 1) my front-loader also stinks. My husband googled it and discovered that there was a lawsuit several years ago with Maytag (our brand) over the mold issue. Mold actually grows in it. We wash and immediately transfer the clothes to the dryer (hard when we have a busy house of 8,6, and 3 year old boys and a little girl on the way). Then leave the door open until it dries out. 2) I don’t like TV and was watching Levi last night too. So disturbing. How does a young boy turn out like that? 3) We do not sleep with our children. Thank God we never started that…and we are still as bonded and love them as much as parents who do. 4)I need to get out more, but after a long day, it is hard to get motivated. 5) Reading blogs inspires me creatively and also helps me feel like I get out more! We all need to get out on our own. 6) While I am typing my boys (all 3, who have been out of school for 2 wks., are running from room to room acting like dogs and riding on each others’ backs)! Take care!

  • Anna
    October 30, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    The kids will probably be better than you expect on the plane. If not, you will never see any of the passengers again so don’t worry too much. Most of them have kids of their own and have been in your shoes. You and the kids have as much right to fly as everyone else-don’t be nervous! Snacks and new “treasures” from the dollar store go a long way. 🙂

  • Hilary
    October 30, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Hello- I read your blog all the time, but I have never commented. So- front loader stink problem: I have found it usually clears up with bleach, but even better, run a cycle through with white vinegar. That works well too. I just started making my own laundry detergent, and have had NO problems AT ALL since I started using it. Maybe its the detergents that are doing it. I’d be happy to share the recipe if you’re interested. It’s SUPER easy and SUPER cheap after one initial investment of $25. Also- getting out alone for me usually happens at bedtime. My husband puts the kiddos to bed (I have 3) and I sneak out to breathe for an hour or two. Also, for planes- we take gum and suckers for the takeoff and landing and books and crayons are the best.

  • Misty
    October 30, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    One more thing… (Plane) If they do have a meltdown, no big deal, just trying to help to prevent. I remember my 8 year old being 2 on a plane and he was a bit fussy. I did everything I knew to do to help him so when he was still fussy after my attempts…. I didn’t feel bad about the disturbance. I think flying is fun! So do my kids, but we are partial since God uses the airline business to provide for us.
    Again, Have fun.

  • Michelle
    October 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I love, love, love your blog. I have replaced my tv time with blog reading b/c you can’t even watch football on the weekends with your kids anymore b/c the commercials are so offensive, your children could get nightmares from it.
    On the front loader issue, I also use white vinegar. I run a load of towels with vinegar and then the same load of towels with detergent. Then I keep it from getting that way again by leaving the door open on the washer all the time.
    I was a little disappointed to realize that my nice, new, more expenseive front loader was actually high maintenance and kind of a pain in the rear.
    Love your blog! Your kids are adorable! Your family is adorable!
    Good luck with your washer!

  • Kate
    October 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Wow, Darby, I’m just back to work after being out most of the week with a horrendous cold/fever/nausea THING. Just awful. I only had enough energy to flip through the channels and I cannot believe how much I pay for hundreds of channels with nothing on them! I finally found Mary Poppins on a random Disney channel and either I was delirious or the classics never get old, because I was the happiest (albeit congested) 28 year old you’ve ever seen. Glad to know I’m not the only one OVER the current choices on daytime TV!

  • Angela
    October 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    About the ulcer…I believe sometimes they are bacterial? (I am NOT an expert) and need medication for treatment. Something to think about if it doesn’t go away.

    Airplane travel with kids — we’ve done this three or four times with one kid (when she was 1, 1 1/2, and 2). Honestly, not as bad as I would have thought. Harder the more mobile she got, so Rover could be a challenge. To me the hard part is lugging around all the kids stuff. I am guessing your three and four year old could help a little with their own bags? Hopefully it’s a direct flight. Just get there early in case you have to make several trips from the car to the baggage counter. The more bulky things you can have provided at your destination (pack n plays, strollers, car seats, etc) by grandparents or friends the easier that will be! I will even buy diapers and that kind of thing once we get there. We’ve usually been lucky about other passengers, some of them even helped us carry our car seat on, etc. (Maybe they were all rolling their eyes behind our backs)

    Time away is a must for mommys…I don’t do this enough. Moms are good at having massive guilt complexes. I have one of these. Michelle Obama (also not getting political) has pointed out that men always seem to carve out personal time, why do we feel so guilty about it as moms? When my husband started playing softball once a week last summer, I started getting out once a month by myself. It made me a nicer, less resentful person.

    Yes, most of TV is trash. We don’t have a TV, just a computer we watch a few shows/movies a week on. That’s enough.

  • Kate
    October 30, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Hi, Darby! I recently discovered your blog (through another blog), but have never commented before. I’m in grad school and had to start my own blog for a class, so I’m new to the world of blogging. I completely agree that T.V. is trash, and blogs are so much better. I am getting married next year, and we have already decided that we aren’t going to have cable from day one. It’s good to know we aren’t the only ones who feel this way! 🙂

  • Ginger
    October 30, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Hey Darby, so sorry you all have been so sick. On the bright side, you’re all over it before the holidays! You do need time for yourself. I try to go to Yoga once a week in the evenings when my husband gets home from work. It is such a nice moment for myself. OR I try to get up early, early before the house wakes up and take our dog for a walk and watch the sunrise. A friend recently had the same predicament with her laundry. A plumber diagnosed that the hot water heater had to be replaced and now it’s fine. TAKE CARE!! P.S. ever tried Emergen C’s? Little packs of b vitamins, etc…that give a natural boost.

  • Sarah's Fab Day
    October 30, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    As for airport travel with kids:
    -I always try to bring copies of their birth certificates. Some airports are sticklers and some look at you weirdly as if to say, “why do you need that?”. But better safe than sorry.
    -Bring that double stroller, keep the littles contained at all times and Morgan can hold hands with you.
    -Check it all, carseats, pack-n-play, bags. Just carry snacks, diapers & change of clothes.
    -What has saved me on numerous occasions is our portable DVD player or an iPod that you can watch movies. It keeps the kids in their seats when they’re ready to get out and they can’t. If you don’t have one I’m sure you can borrow one from a friend.
    -MOST IMPORTANTLY, Don’t worry about those annoying folks that roll their eyes and tap their foot impatiently when you’re wrangling your kids to get them through security. Just keep doing what you’re doing and just when things get crazy there’s usually an angel of mercy (someone who’s a mother, grandparent, kid friendly peep) who lends a hand. Thank goodness for these folks, when I’ve traveled alone with the kids they always make my trip.

    Have fun!!

  • Debbie Hall
    October 30, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Hope you get your energy back soon! My front-load washer also smelled mildewy and I used diluted bleach a half a million paper towels to clean the rubber(?) liner around the washer’s opening. Mine has kind of a flap that I could lift up clean around and under – not sure if this makes sense or if your washer even has this liner or seal thing. As a mom of 5, I can tell you your best friend on the airplane will be snacks…the kind you usually wouldn’t allow!
    A friend of mine had her child scream on a plane for over an hour when the stewardess asked her,”Isn’t there SOMETHING you can do?” My friend just smiled and said, “If there was, don’t you think I would have ALREADY done it?!?!?!?” If he screams, just smile at the people who give you dirty looks and tell them you’ll pray for their attitude!

  • Christine
    October 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Darby! I’m usually a lurker, only an occasional commenter. I love this post though! As for the traveling with 3 kids- mine are 9, 6 and 4, and traveling is often like school- they behave better out there in the real world. So, I hope your trip on the plane goes well. I’ve never been asked for ID for the kids, but they also are 3 little clones of me, and are usually calling me mama, so that could be it. Also, the time that we were stuck on the runway for 3 hours and my 1 and a half year old kicked the chair in front of us for the whole time, the person didn’t even complain (to me). Most people on planes have at some point traveled with kids, and they know how it is. I can almost gaurantee that you will have a really fun time. (if not at least it’s shorter than the car trip, right?)

    Take good care of yourself- I hope you find some “me” time. It’ll get easier in a few years (or so people tell me… not so much for me) I’ll be interested to see what you come up with for a solution!

  • Jennifer
    October 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    We have traveled a lot with our 2 kids at all ages (parents on both sides of the country and us in the middle). It is an adventure. Most of all, remember that at the end of the trip you will all have awesome memories of it, and you really won’t remember the 15 minutes your kid cried [because they will cry; it’s OK]. The kids will always remember going on an airplane.

    Shlepping stuff is hard, but as long as there are 2 adults, you can manage. You just have to tag team a lot. And check everything that you can. I find that the hardest part is just getting from the car to the ticket counter. After that, a weight is lifted (in the form of all those suitcases, carseats, etc.) and the fun begins.

    You do not need ID for your kids unless you are trying to bring Rover as a lap child — then some airlines (Southwest) will make you (sometimes) show a birth certificate to show he is under 2. If you buy tickets for everyone, you will not need to show any ID re: the kids. The security guy will just look at their boarding passes and ask them, “Are you Paige?” Etc.

    I would not bother bringing the carseats on the plane. People feel differently about this. On the one hand it is nice to have them strapped in on the plane. But on the other, it is another thing to carry, and you don’t really need it. The kids can just use the seatbelts on the plane like the rest of us. We always check our carseats (you might want to buy a carseat bag [or 3] to put them in, but it’s not necessary — the airline will put them in plastic bags if you don’t have a special bag). If you do want to bring your seats on board, make sure they are marked “FAA approved” on their bottoms; otherwise, a vigilant flight attendant will probably not even let you bring them on.

    Here are my tips for what to bring on the plane:
    1. DVD player, laptop, iPod — whatever electronic gadgets will entertain your kids for a brief period. They are worth their weight.
    2. Books. Let each kid pick 5 (or so) books to bring with the rule that NO HARDBACKS can come (too heavy!). I sometimes go to a used bookstore before a trip and buy, like, 20 of those little paperback easy readers to take.
    3. Snacks. Put a big ziploc of them in each carry-on and your purse so they are always within arms reach and not floating around everywhere. That is within the big ziploc have lots of little bags of snacks. NO CHOCOLATE AT ALL (including granola bars with chocolate chips). I find that we always eat all the fruit snacks we bring! They are great for take off and landing. Other good snacks to bring are goldfish, pretzels, animal crackers, cereal. Don’t bother with anything that has to be kept cold or that is sticky. There is plenty of time to eat healthy once you get there.
    4. Bring one empty sippy cup with a filter (or little water bottle that won’t spill) for each kid. That’s it. You can fill them at a water fountain once you go through security. Make sure they have the filters in so they won’t spill when turned on their sides. And you really don’t need more than one per person. They can just drink water on the plane.
    5. An extra outfit for each kid AND an extra shirt for you. Just in case.
    6. Lots of wipes, but just enough diapers to get you to your folks. Buy diapers when you get there. OR, if your mom is truly awesome, which I believe she is, just send her a list ahead of time of what you need her to have waiting (diapers, baby shampoo, special foods, etc.).
    7. A couple extra plastic grocery bags. Just in case.
    8. One spiral notebook per kid, a baggie of crayons (don’t need too many) and tons of stickers. My daughter once spent a whole flight just peeling stickers and putting them in a notebook.
    9. Extra pacifiers.
    10. Lollipops. In case things get bad. I am not above bribery on an airplane.
    11. ONE thing to read for you – a magazine or a paperback. I am always optimistic.

  • Christie
    October 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I agree about Levi Johnston. He is an idiot. And, yes, most tv is trash, although I must admit that I am addicted to Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice which are both pretty much trash.

    As for Morgan turning 5, that IS a big one. I had a hard time with Tyler turning five, but she is now about to be seven. I lived through the five, and now I have to live through this big birthday!

    As for getting out on your own, my friends and I will get the dads to keep our kids, and we get out for a pedi or something some Saturday mornings. It makes a world of difference to even be gone for an hour. Or, we also do girl stuff (bunco, book club) on weeknights after the dads are home and the kids are asleep.

  • Stacey
    October 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    HI Darby,
    I’ve been reading your blog for months and really enjoy it. I have a front loader that smells as well, and I found a layer of YUCKY scum inside the rubber seal that surrounds the front of the drum where water gets caught and then smells. I just peeled it back and wiped it out with lysol….no real cure, but I probably won’t buy a front loading machine again!

  • Jenny Lynn
    October 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Glad you’re feeling better! I’m not a mom so I don’t have any good advice on that but as for the washing machine, I’ve heard you should run a cycle once a month with only 1c. of bleach. (of course then you need to run another cycle with nothing so the bleach can be cleaned out). Not sure about the reason why it’s smelly but this might be a solution 🙂

  • Kelly
    October 30, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Oh man, I love your posts. The Raiger stuff about her wanting you to look at you? Literally laughing non-stop here. I don’t know why but it’s making me laugh out loud, tears from my eyes, laugh my you-know-what off.

    My front loader stinks sometimes too. The clothes never stink so I try not to worry about it. I have heard you can run a load with vinegar and then a load with bleach and it can help clean it. And then probably another load after that to rinse it all clean. Not sure.

    To fly with the kids you only need identification if you are not buying a seat for anyone under 2 years of age. If he screams then you will know you aren’t the only mom who has had a screaming baby on a plane. We’ve flown quite a bit and I suggest giving each child their own backpack and filling it with brand new things. That will keep them entertained. Also, dvds work if you have a portable player.

    I have a 4 and almost 2 year old so not the same but I try to get out alone 1-2 times a week if possible. Even a trip to Target counts in my book. Even better if it’s my all female bible study or a trip for dessert with a girlfriend.

    Television does suck! I pretty much only watch Martha Stewart. And Ellen more than I should.

    Glad you are all feeling better!!

  • Jennie
    October 30, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old…flying is crazy but can be done and they are “usually” nicer to you when you go through the security gates with children. I bring as many snacks as I can and dn’t worry if they are in a food coma! (I bring “new” snacks) and I also bring some “new toys” and “new” DVD’s to watch. (but sometimes they make the kids wear headphones which is nuts!)
    As for getting out…like you mentioned we like to do things together as a family on the weekends BUT when it is the nap time (1-4 here) I leave for alone time (shopping, sitting in my car in quiet :), etc) and my husband stays home..which he is usually fine with b/c he can watch whatever sports game is on 🙂
    I LOVE your blog!

  • Amanda F
    October 30, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    We agree with you. TV stinks. We haven’t had cable for years; our girls only watch PBS Kids or a pre-screened children’s DVD, and those don’t include much Disney. For the grown-ups, we prefer Netflix and what we can find at the library.
    As for flying with little ones, we’ve done that a LOT. (Military family). I always prep a goody bag full of snacks and new surprises from the Dollar Store: a legal pad, color book, crayons, a mini Play-doh, stickers, Goldfish crackers, a juice box, a milk box, granola bars, etc. We pull one new thing out every 15 minutes or so. I also pack a few lollipops in my purse for emergencies, because what kid can scream with a deliciously sweet Safety-Pop in their mouth? Good luck!

  • Lane
    October 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    #1. Our washer stinks too. It’s a Frigidaire front loading. I love the fact that it uses less water, but it stinks!! I think if we ever get a new washer & dryer, we’re getting the old fashioned top loading. I think the problem is the front loaders.
    #2. I only have one child. A 13 month old son. He’s a good baby, but I sure do love time away from him. I’ve been asking my mom and MIL to watch him. They love it more than I love the free time. It’s good for my soul to get away and I definitely thinks it allows me to be a better mom. I’ll just run to the grocery store or grab a bite to eat with friends….nothing too extravagant, but it’s wonderful!
    #3. I’ve never traveled on a plane with my own child, but my mom was a flight attendant so my siblings and I traveled a lot when we were younger. Pack a bag of treats and toys they’ve never seen before. It can be cheap stuff!
    #5. I’d love the caramel apple recipe too!! I LOVE caramel apples and my favorites are the ones with chocolate and pecans from Kilwin’s.

  • Shannon
    October 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t have children or a front load washer so I’m not much help to you, but I wanted to say that I’m glad everyone is feeling better! I hope Morgan has a wonderful 5th birthday!

  • Jacci
    October 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Soooo glad you all are getting well!

    My “Punkin” just turned 5 last week. Where did time go?

    We don’t have cable (or tv reception right now), and I had the same complete shock experience when I watched it over at my sister’s house one evening this summer. Like you said – it’s borderline porn to me. What are we letting our eyes gt used to seeing?!

    No help on the washing machine, soory :[

    On getting out – you might remember that we have 4 children ages 8 and down and we homeschool. That means I am not alone ALL DAY. Sam and I started giving me Thursday nights “off” 🙂 Not because I don’t love my children, not because I want to run away from my life, but because I am SUCH A BETTER MOMMY when I have a little time alone and out of the house. I usually go to Barnes and Noble – that’s my time to look over design books and mags and get some ideas for what we’re doing with this home 🙂 I leave the house around 6 or 6:30 (leaving an easy dinner for the kiddos) then I eat and read, read, read uninterrupted at B&N. Restful 🙂 Time to brainstorm with Justin!


  • Keri R.
    October 30, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I totally agree with you about tv. Its bad enough that the shows are aweful but the commercials are sometimes almost worse! I really have no help for you for anything else 🙂 My baby is 3 months today and it makes me want to cry, who knows how I will react when she turns 5. I would also like some just me time so let me know how that goes when you figure it out. When you first became a mom did you notice yourself narrating your whole day to your baby? I totally find myself doing that and I am not sure if its weird 🙂

    for instance this sentence took place just a little while ago

    You are going to take a nap and then Mommy is going to go potty and eat lunch and blog.


  • Monica
    October 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    What a week! Glad things are turning around. I recently went to Hawaii…alone…with my daughter. Thank goodness she is 6, which made things easier. My #1 suggestions is bring GUM. For stopped up ears. And prepare them for this sensation if they haven’t flown before. It’s hard to teach a kiddo to make themselves yawn but if they can figure it out you will have 1 less thing to worry about. Other suggestions: snacks, coloring supplies, NEW toys (raid the dollar store), snuggly blanket and fun neck pillow, dvd player and movies. This is a lot for a carry on when providing for 3 little ones, but thankfully you will have your sweet husband along for the fun. Wishing you good luck and lots of fun!

  • Ashley
    October 30, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Darby! GLAD that you are finally feeling better – you had us all scared! What would we do without your blog 🙂 I can really only comment on the TV issue. I’d like to say that we got rid of cable for some very noble reasons…how it’s trash, it’s unproductive, it’s dangerous…sadly, we got rid of it because Mr. Bull is cheap! Ha! It makes lots of room for other, more necessary things! We still watch a couple of “smart” shows, but otherwise, I’m glad it’s not around! Although, the internet is just as dangerous – I can WASTE countless hours online when I should be doing other things!

    Have so much fun up north – sounds like a blast! We are going to Auburn tomorrow…a “getaway” of sorts!

  • Amanda F
    October 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Also… (I commented above) for flying with children, I have my girls wear matching outfits. Just in case, it makes it easier to identify them with their sibling/family. This actually came in handy the last time I flew alone with them; I bent down to pick up Little Sister’s lost lovey, and Big Sister had run out of my line of vision. In a split second, she was gone. I could not see her anywhere. I was panic stricken and calling out for her and immediately the man 5 feet from me knew what was wrong and saw my oldest girl across the walkway and told me; he could tell she belonged to us because my youngest girl (in my arms) had the exact same outfit on. The entire ordeal lasted about 45 seconds, but it the fear and lesson learned will remain with me a lifetime. So head to Walmart for matching cheap tees and hairbows! Would Rover wear a hair bow? 😉

  • abby
    October 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    To help get rid of the stinky washer problem I would pour some bleach into the rubber part at the front of the washer right inside the door. I do this about once a month because it can get a little mildew-y in there if all the water doesn’t dry out. Let the bleach sit for a while and then se paper towels and/or q-tips to really get in there and clean it out. Also, I run a load with no clothes and just bleach every once in a while. I always run a rinse cycle right after to make sure I get rid of all the bleach.

    A dvd player{s} is super important when traveling with kids on an airplane. I just flew with my 2yr old and 6 mo old. Also, bring lots and lots of favorite snacks and treats for the kids. Suckers are good because it takes my toddler a while to finish one. May I suggest taking the kids to the store {or you go by yourself } and let them each pick out one new small toy that they could take on the plane. Don’t give it to them until you are in the air so they will be entertained with it for a while. We also took coloring books and books to keep our toddler occupied. Start talking about your plane right ahead of time and even get books that have airplanes in them so that they get excited about traveling by air.

    Don’t worry, if your kids have a melt down on the airplane they won’t be the first. Remember the stewardess will be your new best friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for some milk, juice, or whatever your kids might need to make it through the flight.

    Good luck!!

  • Julia
    October 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    My mom was just telling me that 90% of washing machine service calls are on front-loaders. Is making me rethink my desire for one.

    Glad you’re all well. Love the blog!

  • catherine
    October 30, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Hello Darby… our front loader stinks too… i run it on sanitary cycle (empty) with both bleach and vinegar at the same time. maybe there is a reason to do them separately, but both together works for us. If you have clothes that stink as a result (athletic clothes are the worst for retaining yuck smell) i run a load with baking soda added to the detergent and if it’s really bad, i will do the ‘soak’ cycle first with baking soda in it. Good luck with that.
    As for Rover traveling… my son is 2 and loves to play with a tape measure (small, no sharp edges), it’s small and quiet and may be an option for entertainment. I can’t remember all that was already posted, but maybe you could hold a sucker for him to lick to keep him quiet for a bit? Hope it’s a fun trip!
    Take care…

  • Devon
    October 30, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    A virtual e-hug to you; glad to hear you are all getting over the bug. We had the EXACT same one here about a month ago and I ended up in the ER hooked up to an IV. Thankfully our little guy didn’t get it and the little guy that was in my belly at the time was A-okay. But it was awful. I have empathy for you like you wouldn’t believe.

    I feel terrible for Bristol and Levi’s child. Being in the public eye must be hard enough. Having parents who make their child and themselves public for no reason other than commercial gain is even worse.

    If you go to the House & Garden forums on the Internet (just Google it), you will find a Laundry Room forum that has oodles of information on front loading washing machines and their stench. Some possible good solutions for you?

  • Kendra
    October 30, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    I loved this post! Glad your family is feeling better. Can’t WAIT to hear that recipe. It looks delish. : )

  • elizabeth
    October 30, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    washer smell – my coworker had a similar issue and he ended up replacing the rubber “boot” that is located just inside the front door to the washer. he said there was nasty mold and a sock in his, so he cleaned it out and replaced the part. you can also just take it off and clean it. we haven’t had washer smell since we switched to “charlie’s soap” b/c it has no residue and gets all the gunk out of the inside of the machine. good luck!

  • kat
    October 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Glad everyone is on the mend. Bring lots of toys for them on the plane, fun, interactive toys that they have never seen before. You will be surprised how accepting most people are, there will be a few idiots who will toss you some dirty looks, but most people will actually offer to lend a hand if needed when on a plane. I agree, a little time for mommy goes a long way for keeping your sanity in check. Be sure to schedule some time for yourself. You could even try to slip away during naptime on Saturday while Justin is home just to recharge. I love to go to Barne’s and Noble and curl up in a comfy chair with a big stack of magazines and cookbooks.

  • Kerri H.
    October 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Hi Darby–
    I echo the bleach recommendations, the gripes about TV, and the need for alone time for yourself! Do take care!

    As for plane tips, I don’t have kids but have on several occasions been seated next to preschoolers on planes or at events. This is where the Early Childhood degree comes in handy. I always have a treat (dum dums are pretty no-fail), sparkly neat “expensive” stickers, a tiny notebook, apps on my iPod that are toddler-friendly, and I always scan the free downloads on iTunes for episodes of Dora, etc. I once had a mini Play-Doh (RUDELY) confiscated at O’Hare because it’s the same consistency as some explosives–who knew?

    Also, if you’re going to bring a DVD player or laptop, do invest in the splitter for earphones (less than $10). This allows two sets of earphones to watch the same movie. Unless your kids are big into earphones, have them practice watching and listening in the car or as a treat during the week before the trip.

    Again, I’m not a mom, but I’ve wrangled my fair share of the under-5 crowd. I recall from field trips that if each child has a “job” to do, the waiting in lines and the sitting around can actually be fun. Jobs can be the trash collector, the time-keeper (Morgan and a digital watch?), the greeter (makes sure to greet and thank people–believe me this is a highly-coveted job), the color-spotter (gets to point out when she sees orange, etc), the counter (counts anything–people in hats, signs with food, red shoes, etc).

    Okay, epic comment over now! Best of luck in feeling well, finding better things to watch than Levi, and your trip up to my neck of the woods!

  • kel
    October 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    so glad you are feeling better! love your blog!
    re: travel – i’ve got three kids and have had them on planes since they were 10 months old+ (now 14 & 12 & 8). things that worked for us: little wrapped presents they could open at different intervals during the flight. Wrapping them made them more exciting! i took their favorite books and favorite snacks and for the babies/toddlers/little kids, i always made sure i had a bottle, sucker, gum (age appropriate) on take-off and landing to make sure their ears popped. there’s a fun little card game called “flying rubberneckers” that’s great for almost any age to play as you travel through airports and during the flight.
    have a blast in Chicago…one of the places my kids loved (we ended up going two day sin a row) was the Museum of Science and Industry…they liked it better than the Field and the Shedd!
    happy halloween!

    October 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I have a STINKY washing machine too. So far, the only thing I have found is these tablets from Lowe’s called Afresh. I haven’t seen them at the store, but you can call and order them. You just run your washer with the tablets on hot and it takes care of the smell. . .for a while. . .Lowe’s also said I could replace the gasket, but that was $$$.

    Plane trips – my son is a couple months younger than Rover, and he had his first breath-holding spell right before we took off – he passed out twice so they had to stop the plane and paramedics came on board, the works. It was CRAZY! My 3 year old loves flying though. : ) I would take suckers, b/c it helps for them to be swallowing during the ascent and descent. We did those Wal-Mart puppet kits (no glue necessary) and that absorbed a lot of time. Hope it’s a blast! (And that no one passes out! HA)

  • Becky
    October 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Don’t fear the plane! I flew from Detroit to Orlando last year with my 3 boys – 5, 3 and 10 months – and they all did great, much better than I’d expected. I’m sure your darling kids (who look like their perfect in all those pictures you post!) will sit quietly in their seats with their hands folded the whole time. 🙂

  • Ashley
    October 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I just bought a frontload and while researching stores for the best price/product, we were constantly told that you must clean the rubber seal each time you wash a load of clothes. You’re supposed to wipe it completely dry as well as leave the door open for awhile. Hope that works!

    Glad everyone is feeling much better! Love your blog!

  • hilaryA
    October 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    oh boy, flying with an 18 month old boy is a little daunting. i have no doubt the girls will do just fine, but rover, um, he’ll be your challenge. we just flew this weekend with our 3 year old girl and 18 month boy, so i have a little fresh advice.
    1. if you can bring a car seat on for one of the girls that’ll be good. if you can (and i say IF b/c on one of our flights they let us do this, but not the other – depends on the flight attendants) switch the kids around. for take off and landing let one of the girls sit in it and then during the flight put rover in it. that way he’s confined. if he’s not confined he’ll be over e-ver-y-thing. 🙂
    2. food, food, food. 🙂 special things like (these are some my kids like that i brought on our recent trip) caramel apple rice cakes, dried cranberries + apricots, chocolate teddy grams, and maybe a lollipop or two for the girls. any time my son would start rearing up i would pull out the food. seriously it makes for a smoother trip! of course, wipes to clean hands.
    3. drinks. you can take drinks through security for the kids. milk, juice or water, doesn’t matter. security may check it, but that’s okay. put them in a large ziplock bag in case of spills! would hate to add another “stress-er” of a bag of wet stuff! do the girls have back packs? they can wear theirs – maybe?
    4. i didn’t worry about toys for my son. i felt like i would be hauling stuff with me that he’d look at for 5-10 seconds and then throw it. it wasn’t worth the extra weight.
    5. no identification needed. i think that’s only for international flights. fyi: all shoes and sweaters/jackets have to come off through security – even the kids!
    6. bring your stroller – mainly for rover. the girls should be fine. it’s fun to walk and it lets out their energy to sit for a while. one big tip for rover is to let him walk around about 15 minutes before the flight. let him go where ever and just follow along. he may get really restless on the plane if he goes straight from the strapped stroller to your lap.
    7. dvd does work. make sure you charge it! i THOUGHT I did for our first flight, but nope. coloring books are great for the girls and don’t take up a lot of room. books are good, but can weigh you down. ink stamps are fun and small. $1 section at target is good, but don’t get their stickers. they’re too hard to get off. sing airplane songs.
    8. the people around you will either completely understand b/c they’ve been there or they will just be completely annoyed the whole time. it’s not like you won’t be completely annoyed too if rover screams the whole time, right?! 🙂 your flight should only be about 2.5 hours and it’s loud up there anyway.
    9. final thought (sorry this is so long!) – don’t worry about taking anything for you and justin to do. i used to think i’d be able to have a moment to yourself, but reality is you won’t have any time for reading a book or whatever. read the skymall mag or just simply sit there and enjoy the free moment. 🙂
    happy traveling! i’ll say a prayer for you!

  • Megan
    October 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    This is why I refuse to purchase a front load washer! I’ve heard so many horror stories of the smell. My friend removes the rubber gasket and bleaches it regularly and swears she finds socks, baby washrags and the like each time she takes it apart! Good luck! Glad you guys are starting to feel better!

  • Amanda
    October 30, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    My front loader stinks too! I leave it open and never leave clothes in it, but alas – the moldy smell. I know there are all kinds of cleaners and such that you run through a cycle, but my sis-in-law suggested that every so often I run it, empty, on a sanitation cycle to kill the germs and smell.

    My kids (8, 7, 5, 3) are only allowed to watch the Disney channel and Nick. Jr, so I don’t know how we’re going to make the jump to prime time TV someday. It’s awful, nothing is suitable for kids or adolescents, and I can’t bear for them to see some of the teenagers on TV and think that’s how they’re supposed to dress, act, eat (or not eat), and behave.

    We’ve flown with our kids since they were babies and the secrets are: Treats, play doh (use it on the seat trays), leapsters (if you have them) and a portable DVD player. Oh, and did I say treats, treats and treats? And have your momma bear glare ready for all the business travelers who will sneer at you and wonder how you had the gall to procreate. I am convinced there’s a whole portion of the population who forgot that one point they too were children and made noise and messes. I have literally said this line on a plane: “She’s three and doesn’t know any better. What’s your excuse for being horrible?”

    Good luck!

  • Lori H
    October 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Do you read Simply Seleta’s blog? I think you’d like it if you haven’t yet. She wrote a post today after being out sick for nine days and she reflected on that time. She came to the same conclusion about daytime TV.
    Your comments about Raiger wanting you to look at her cracked me up. I know it is so frustrating when it’s happening, but as a mom of two teenagers, it is fun to look back. As they say, the days are long, but the years are short!

  • krista
    October 30, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    The plane is really not to bad it’s all the luggage you have to carry. I checked as much as I could but sometimes they loose it:( I would suggest pack as light as you can and bring a big stash of candy(maybe somthing chewy, to occupy there mouth). When JM starts screaming start shoveling in as much candy as possible:) We will be praying, good luck!!

  • Mandy Norris
    October 30, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I am so glad you all are on the mend. Having sick kids is bad but Mama getting sick is awful! The fort can not be held down and it will drive one crazy. I don’t fly so I am no help with the airplane. I have an old kind of dryer and washer so I don’t know about the front loader. But, I do have a 4 year old and a 9 month old and I work part time teaching English so I know about needing some space. I try to rest and sit down for at least 30 min a day during their nap time (like now…with my coffee and an orange cupcake we just made with cream cheese icing and Halloween decor…YUMMY!). Then on Sat. and Sun. during their naps I get out alone and knock around. My husband is really sweet about this and KNOWS I NEED MY SPACE. He is the one who usually suggests I get out of the house :)I go to cute little places to shop, antique, craft or whatever I want to do that I don’t do with the kids. I live in Charleston, SC…well MT. Pleasant really so there are a ton of things to do…The weekends are hard for me when everybody is home and not at school, work, etc…b/c the house gets destroyed and I find I need more space on the weekends. So naptime works for me and I really try not to go grocery shopping and do chores but do something FUN for a couple of hours. It is so hard to balance it all but I make myself and my space a priority because if “Mama isn’t happy, no one is happy!” Have a great weekend and get out ALONE! Love, Mandy

  • Mary-Neill
    October 30, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Darby…love your blog…I’m usually just a stalker but wanted to say hello and thank you for entertaining me while I’m bored at work (and for preparing me for what life is like with kiddos since I don’t have any yet!). As far as tv goes, I agree that its mostly trash but I have to admit that I’m hooked on Project Runway and Top Chef!

    So glad y’all are feeling better and good luck with flying!

  • chelsea
    October 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Seriously- I die.
    You’re hilarious. I basically always agree with everything you say.
    Thanks for posting even when you’ve been sick!

  • Natalie
    October 30, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    PBS has cute shows for kids. Pretty much everything else is garbage. We rent old movies.
    We have an ancient washer and dryer that were given to us five years ago (and still work) so I can’t help you with the dryer situation.
    I have two kids (ages 3 and almost 1) and most days the only time that I get to myself is when I exercise in the wee hours of the morning. Saturdays are usually family days, although I will occasionally slip out by myself if both kids are napping — a very rare occasion. I try to go somewhere by myself at least once a day, even if it is only a quick dash to the grocery store or gym.

  • Jennie
    October 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Sorry I’m no help on the front loader since I have a 9 year old top loader!

    So glad you’re all feeling better! And since every one of you have had it now, you should be home free for a while 😉

    About flying with the kids, everyone has given great suggestions such as new toys, new, normally forbidden snacks. etc.
    Also remember if you want to carry JM on your lap rather than buy him a seat it is a good idea to have a copy of his birth certificate (I think they’ll take a copy??). Clearly he doesn’t look 3 years old, but I have had them question me before when I though my kids were obviously under two. Better safe than sorry. Although I will say, buying a seat and putting them in a car seat seems to have a similar effect as a car ride. They sit still (mostly) because they have no choice. On the lap mine just want to roam. Not so good! Oh and families with young kids and/or strollers usually get to go in their own, very short, security line. Yay!

    Yeah, TV = no good. Just be like us and don’t have cable or buy a digital tuner for your main TV. My kids can only watch approved videos because we get zero channels now. We have cable in the basement and they used to watch Noggin or PBS Sprout, but now they don’t even watch those. I love how little they watch 🙂

    Happy 5th Birthday Morgan! My daughter will be 5 in 6 months and I am in denial!

  • Mandy
    October 30, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    I have a front loader and have actually never noticed it smelling- don’t know what I do or don’t do but apparently it works! I usually leave the door open when I’m done. My clothes smell if I leave them in overnight (especially the dark clothes) but other than that, no smells- thankfully! Hope some of the other tips work! I definitely have not been very pleased with the front loader and don’t think I’ll buy another one, though.

    We traveled a few weeks ago on a two hour flight with a 4 and 3 year old. The most stressful part was getting through security- put everyone in shoes that slip off easily for walking through the metal detector, clothes that are easy to manage for using the nasty public restrooms, take a small bottle of hand sanitizer for easy hand washing, and a stroller to keep at least two of them confined while you’re in the long security lines. We weren’t asked for an ID for the kids either in the Atlanta or Miami airports- two of the busiest so you shouldn’t either. Take gum for the girls to chew for their ears’ popping and headphones so you won’t have to buy them on the plane. Maybe your sweet mom will buy (or borrow) some (cheap) carseats so you won’t have to lug them through the airport and you’ll just have them when you get there instead of having to take them with you! Best wishes!

  • Melissa
    October 30, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Front loader: Mine stinks sometimes too. All things I do have already been commented. I may try the vinegar thing, though.
    Mommy time: That is a really hard one! Since Matthew has started to school, I have somebody with me all the time, whereas some moms get the drive to and from work. However, I really can’t complain because there are a whole lot of blessings to teaching in a K-12 school. I used to go to a scrapbooking group on Friday nights, but we don’t meet anymore. That’s something I need to work on…and try to not feel guilty about it!
    Morgan turning 5: For me, the hard thing was not when Matthew turned 5, it was the first day of kindergarten. I cried and cried and cried. Even though I was leaving him with a wonderful teacher (my kindy teacher, in fact), and I was just down a couple of hallways, it was so hard. Kids are never the same after the first day of school. I don’t mean in a bad way, they’re just different. Or maybe that was just mine because he had never been to preschool or MMO. Anyway, yes, it is a milestone, and yes, she will begin to get more and more independent, but there are so many things that will change in a fun way, too! There are times I wish Matthew was 3 or 4 again, but then others I’m so glad he’s 7 and can do so many things!

  • Hillary
    October 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I suggest taking up 2 rows. Put the children that kick in the seats behind those in your family that don’t (preferably a husband or someone who won’t be annoyed easily). That way you can minimize the glares :).

  • Hillary
    October 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Oh and you have to bring birth certificates (a copy is just fine) for all of your children.

    Happy traveling!

  • Alana @ Gray Matters
    October 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t have a front loader and after these comments, I’m thinking I’ll never get one! I do have children the same age as yours (but 2 boys . . . so multiply Rover’s energy by 2) To give myself time, I sign up classes (sewing, digital photography, exercise). It makes my time away seem more official and important. If I’ve paid for a class, I’ll be sure to get there. I’ve never flown with all 3 kids at once – looking forward to learning from your experience. Glad you all are feeling better.

  • Jennifer
    October 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Hey Darby!! I don’t usually comment, but just wanted to tell you—don’t worry about the flight! I’ve had to do lots of flights (very long flights–14 hours) by myself with a VERY busy little guy. I was so nervous at first! If you are calm and make it an adventure, it helps them stay calm and have fun. My tips: Like other people said, take lots of little, new activities–mostly for the girls. This sort of thing didn’t help M until he was about 3, so I don’t if “new toys” will have a great appeal for John Martin–under the age of 2 1/2 he mostly was interested in whatever was on the airplane–magazines, plastic spoons, cups, etc. Bring lots of snacks, lots. If you are interested in more leg room, you can ask for bulk head seats when you check in. You can kind of spread your stuff out on the floor a bit and won’t have people in front of you (but you won’t have the under-the-seat space in front of you, which is kind of nice). As for the liquids, it depends on the airport–some are easy on you if you have kids, and some give you hassle. Just be prepared to take a long time going through security. Figure out a plan of how to carry everything before you leave (stroller, car seats, etc) and if you are going to check car seats, etc. I recommend gate checking the stroller–I have to have it to carry everything. It would be good to have at least one car seat for the plane. My little guy could never handle sitting in my lap very long and would be everywhere if I just set him in a seat, so it was nice to strap him in and let him have his own space without crawling all over the place (containment!). Have everything you will need to take out of your bags to go through security together all ready in the little bags, so you can get it out really easily. I could probably write a novel of little tips I’ve figured out along the way, but seriously, try not to get stressed. And, for as many trips as I’ve made, people have ALWAYS (EVERY time)been very gracious and helpful, even when my little guy was tired and cranky and unpleasant. Glad you are feeling better! I, too, am trying to figure out how to fit some “me” time in–it’s hard and I never do it and need it! We are thinking of joining a gym that has childcare so I can go a couple of times a week.

  • Jan
    October 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    i wish that i had a front loader (only because i think it looks cool with all the color choices and is more energy efficient). i don’t know if this will work for a front loading machine, but i put a gallon of vinegar in my machine every now and then to get it cleaned out. i fill up my washer on medium load (without clothes) and pour in the vinegar. seems to keep things sparkling in my machine.
    glad everyone is feeling better in time for halloween!

  • Kara
    October 30, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Re: traveling with Hornet – would this interest him? wrapping up individual little treats with wrapping paper? like little matchbox cars? it worked great for Trip.
    Feel better and get out ALONE! George has been putting in long -young associate- hours and I am fearing for my kids’ safety! {not really, but kinda!} 🙂

  • bellamia
    October 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Darby! A couple of things- Tim made the decision 6 years ago to get rid of TV. I was not in total agreement because I love my Law-in-Order and TLC. Our initial reason why we got rid of it was not just because of the trash (cause sadly, we were probably a little immune to it then cause we watched it), but because of the time we spent watching it. Tim will tell you first that he would love to watch Auburn Football, then any college football, then any football what so ever! This obviously wasn’t healthy, so feeling convicted after Pastor Chase’s sermon one Sunday about practicing self control and getting rid of (throwing away) your idol…our TV was no more! It has been one of the best things we have done for our family, although when Elizabeth started 4P, my mom swears she didn’t know her numbers and letters as well as Jillian and Emily because she never had watch Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues like the others…HA! She is probably right. Obviously, we do not think Football is wrong, just realized that like any idol, the more of it you try to “fill” a void in your life, the more you need Jesus in its place! So, be careful, blogging can do the same!

    I went to Japan (14hour flight) with Jillian when she was 6 yrs. Call me and I will give you some great tips for your girls, I have left a long enough comment already!

  • Tracy
    October 30, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    My girl is now 13, but I have flown with her tons since she was 6 months. My biggest advice is to take a small backpack filled with never seen before prizes … the dollar store is great for this. Small cans of playdough are fun for all too. And, as for whoever sits by Rover … don’t feel bad if he turns into a Rover … they will never see you again. And, if they look at his sweet face and are still grumpy … shame on them!

  • Kristin
    October 30, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Darby,
    I’ve never left a comment for you before, but have followed your blog for a very long time (and I’m not a “blogger”!). But I just have to tell you that today’s post put me over the top and I have to introduce myself. Before I write any more, my children are the exact ages and sexes of yours…and it cracks me up to see their photos and read of their little personalities b/c they are incredibly similar to my three. Caroline, my oldest, also turns 5 this coming week and we are also having her first “friend” party. I’m having it in our home, as it blows me away how overdone things are and the girls are going to play traditional birthday party games…she is beyond excited. I have another daughter who turned 3 in August, and our little boy was 1 in June. Now our only difference (I guess?), is that I’m expecting again (Yikes!). Anyway, they ate little toe heads, too, and yours remind me of them.
    Okay…amen about television! We don’t have cable and never will. It is amazing to me how desensitized people become to what they see. Even regular network programming is filled with so much junk. As a follower of Christ, I find it both frustrating and sad. I’m very frustrated for my husband and other Godly men who strive to glorify God, yet deal with “smut” in every direction. And I’m sad that my children’s “normal” is so much dirtier and uglier than mine was 20-25 years ago.
    And about alone time. I agree that alone time is crucial to being a patient mother and wife. With three very young children like you, I understand how difficult it can be to pull away…but I also know how ugly I become if I don’t recharge. My husband has suggested that I take a weekend and go somewhere by myself….I’m going to take him up on it when I get into my 2nd trimester and have a little more energy. Coffee shops and book stores are my favorite…either doing Bible Studies or browsing decorating magazines. And b/c life IS so crazy right now, I consider my two hours at Bible Study each week to be my time – the kids are in childcare, I get to fellowship, drink coffee,and I honestly get dressed and ready like I’m going on a date (that’s how much I look forward to that time!). I know your life is crazy, buy there is a book I want to share with you (perhaps you’ve heard of it or read it) that would be a good blog recommendation. It’s “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan (pastor of Cornerstone Church in Southern California). It’s life changing….I don’t believe I’ll ever look at my relationship with Christ and others the same! I know that you, too, will love it (and I feel confident saying that after reading about you for over a year!). Good luck flying…we have somehow managed to NOT fly with our children yet…I’m hopeful to wait another 5 years or so! 🙂 one last thought…we lived in Louisville from 2005-07 and were members of Southeast….LOVED that church!!!

  • Alice
    October 30, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Glad to hear everyone is feeling better before Halloween. I have some suggestions for your trip. Flying with little ones can be a rewarding experience if you are prepared. I have flown A LOT by myself with my 2 and 1 year old (we live across the country from family). First, take your time in the security line (take everyone’s shoes off, including the baby) and don’t let the business men rush you. You will end up forgetting something/someone. For the plane we always take the portable dvd player with new videos (we borrow new/different videos from our friends). I also take benadryl in case of a MAJOR meltdown(crying fit that leads to vomiting for example; and only if benadryl has a calming/sleepy effect on your children; the benadryl metaways are great as they are not messy or sticky-consult with your pediatricians office for dosage amount(my sister is a pediatrician and she told me a 1/2 tablet of the meltaways would be fine for my 1 yr old son who is 20 lbs)). As for identification, sometimes you will need a birth certificate for John Martin showing he is under 2 and I am assuming he will be a “lap” child (not purchasing a ticket for him). Enjoy the trip and if you are relaxed, everyone else will be also.

  • Stacy
    October 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Ohhh!!! Rover on a plane…I saw the post of him in the car….saying a prayer right now for you, your family and the other 150 passengers! Good luck! I don’t mind traveling with my kids by plane. Brings lots of things to do, suckers and gum. (just in case their ears pop) The airlines ask you to bring ID, but we’ve have never been asked to show it. The kids will probably love the airport. Lots of planes and people watching! Some airports also have a kids play area.

  • Rachel
    October 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    I used to get the blame for the mildew smell! But I agree, I think it’s the front-loaders. Leave the door open after every cycle & dry the ring with a towel. Also, using bleach when I do the wipes tends to help. I’ll also use the speed wash sometimes just to get the smell gone!

    As for TV, yes, it stinks too!!

    I love your Paige-speak!

  • Victoria
    October 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Wow, what a week!

    I only have a 4 year old and I need to get out alone as well! A few friends and I used to meet for dinner once a month and that was heavenly. I’ll have to get back to doing that. It was so nice to talk and have others understand where you are coming from as a stay at home Mommy.

    TV does stink (as do front load washers, evidently).

  • Anna
    October 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    The last thing I heard about Levi’s parents, was that his Mom was in jail for selling drugs. I have never heard anything about his Dad. Might shed some light on the subject. It makes me hurt for Bristol and everyone involved.

  • Amanda @ Serenity Now
    October 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Hi, Darby! Glad things are slowly getting better at your house. Hope you can get something for that (maybe?) stomach ulcer.

    I think that having a little time for myself every now and then makes me a much happier, thus better, mom. 🙂 I joined a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers–which, by the way, is open to all moms of infants to kindergartners) group when my oldest was about 10 months old, and it’s been wonderful. We meet twice a month on Thursday mornings. Our children are cared for by wonderful church volunteers in the nursery, and for two hours we get to have brunch, chat, maybe do a craft, or listen to a speaker. We also have a moms’ night out once a month, and a mom/kid event once a month. It is a “breath of fresh air.” I know not every group is the same, but I really love mine. 🙂

  • momof3munchkins
    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    My oldest is turning 5 next week also! I am amazed that he is already that old! Where does the time go? We also have a 3 and almost 1 year old, but have never flown with all of them, so I don’t have much advice for you there.
    We don’t have a front loader and have never had a stink issue, but I recently received a product in a giveaway package called Smelly Washer (www.smellywasher.com) that you might look into if nothing else works for you! Good luck!

  • alston
    October 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    darby, so glad the sickness is behind you! that’s such a sweet story about Paige — i could totally relate to both of you. poor little thing — i don’t blame her for being afraid of throw-up — i definitely am! and 5 felt like a big birthday at our house, too.

    we traveled by plane A LOT until last year. the biggest trick for us was the car seat — we’d bring it on the plane and buckle them in and since they were used to it they were happy. but that may not work for you guys since Rover doesn’t like his car seat, right?! we also brought a portable DVD player. we don’t carry any identification for the kids. we’ll say a little prayer for you — hopefully, he will just charm the flight attendants:)

  • Stacey Mills
    October 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Love your blog too!
    Looks like you got more than enough advice.

  • Tonja
    October 30, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Darby,

    Love keeping up with the children through your blog!

    I have had a front loader since we moved into our house, almost a year. I have found that you must leave the door open AND the detergent door as well. That seems to take care of the problem for me.

    Someone may have already said that, but I don’t have time to read through all the answers right now. Good luck!

    Oh, and be sure you use ONLY the HE detergents as well.

    Happy Fall to Y’all,


  • Laura Pavlich
    October 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    flying is horrible-done it with 3 and just pray that you dont get stuck on the plane for 4 hours longer than you were supposed to. Also, i try to go out with a girlfriend or two on sunday afternoon, see a movie, walk around marshalls, whatever! you know i have a 5,4,3, and 1 year old, so i can TOTALLY relate! oxoxo

  • Ashley
    October 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I don’t have a front loader so I am not sure if this will solve your problem, but I use about 1/2 – 1 cup of ammonia in each load. It works great! Your clothes will NOT smell like ammonia once they are washed and it won’t bleach your clothes. Our towels used to get musty smelling after one or two uses and now they don’t. I hate the way ammonia smells but it washes out. Also, you can use less detergent because the ammonia acts like a soap. Hope this helps.

  • Julie
    October 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    We were never able to get rid of the front loader smell after trying several remedies. So we ended up getting a top loader with no agitator. It’s amazing! Maybe look into that…?
    Glad you are all feeling better. Hope the trip on the plane goes well. We haven’t ventured by air yet so please share your advice afterward 🙂

  • Amy
    October 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Darby. Love your blog. I’ve left a few comments before but wanted to again as we often fly with our kids. The best tip I can give you is to have the girls carry backpacks with their activities inside….crayons, stickers, books etc. For John Martin, I always carried 1 bag just for my little ones. I had a bunch of different activities planned (snacks, coloring, play dough, stickers, Mr. Potato Head, books etc.) but the most useful tip someone gave me was to put each activity into its own one gallon zip lock bag. That way once an activity had run its course, you could put all of it back in the bag, seal it and move on, without stuff all over everywhere….or in the bottom of your bag. Hope that helps. Have a great time.

  • Kellie
    October 30, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Can I say FAMOUS???? Wow Darby!!!!! All I can say is that our children are nearly EXACTLY the same ages, so I feel just like you do on all these matters, except that I don’t have a front loader washer OR a laundry room – mine are in our garage :~( — I’ve loved reading all the comments though – have fun on that AIRPLANE – just remember – BLOGGING MATERIAL!!!!! Love ya!

  • Lisa
    October 30, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Front loaders are the best. When I bought mine 11 years ago everyone thought I was crazy – not now – they all have one or are going to buy one soon! Try a cycle with hot water and vinegar. Lisa

  • bonnie
    October 30, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Glad you are feeling better and heading to the (my) Windy City! To answer your question: Levi’s mother is in jail. There was something on the news about him visiting her. He really has a problem although there is probably some truth in what he’s saying but who cares!!!!! As for t.v., I love Mystery on PBS, HGTV and the Foodnetwork. Did I mention I am a news/political junkie? BTW, the Windy City was really windy today with lots of rain. The temperature climbed to a warm 63 degrees.

  • mommasissy
    October 30, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Hey Sister! I dry my washer when I get done washing – sounds like a pain, but it’s really not bad… I just run an old towel in along the gasket that seals the door. Mine doesn’t stink – but I also leave the door ajar always. Levi’s mom is in jail for selling prescription pain killers. I can’t believe media is giving him the time of day. Benedryl for Hornet? As far as tv goes – I watch Food Network – Ace of Cakes, Top Chef, etc.
    I love you and am glad everyone is on the mend.

  • Suzanne
    October 30, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    just had this problem fixed on mine- there are 2 drains on most front loaders- one that drains into the wall and out to the sewer line and one behind the front panel- mine stunk so bad I had to call a repair man- He pulled a clog out of the one behind the panel that was as big as a baseball- problem solved and now I can do it myself- you can email me and I can save you a service call! abcdesigns@cox.net— suzanne

  • Hannah
    October 30, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    I hate TV. Remember when we were kids and it was safe to watch TV until at least nine? We stick to Discovery Channel and Animal Planet as much as possible.

    We have been sick here too, my daughter has been in my bed every night too. KILLING ME!! I need a solid night’s sleep and maybe a vacation (sans kids…maybe even sans husband…just quiet!)

  • jana
    October 30, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    hi darby. i was asked several times for my little girls birth certificate when we have flown with her. just a heads up. you may want to bring a copy for each child (if you have them handy). just add it to the list of MANY things you will bring! have fun!

  • Mandi
    October 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I was told to leave my front loader door open when not being used otherwise it will start to mildew. Maybe try washing it out with bleach then leave the door open from now on. I hope that helps. We just got ours so I have yet to run into the problem yet.

  • kendall boggs
    October 30, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    my washing machine stinks too!!! moldy, yucky, smelly, cruddy, really gross smell. Can you tell me why I would waste that kind of money on a W/D only to have smelly clothes? I had to have the red LG series because they look like the soles of my favorite shoes….:) oh, I make myself K-razy!!! glad you’re feeling betta!!

  • kendall boggs
    October 30, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    oh, not to mention that the top scratches really bad.

  • Lindsey
    October 30, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Good to hear you’re feeling better. I agree-TV stinks! As for the washer-front loaders tend to get mold. I leave the door open for a while after I wash clothes for it to dry out. Have you run it on a sanitary/Hot cycle with bleach and no clothes in it? The little man and I will be heading your way in a couple of weeks and would love to see you is you’ll be in town. I’ll email/call you with details. Miss you!

  • melissa stover
    October 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    i got out with friends today but i don’t often. i had this planned for a while so my husband took off a day of work to stay with the kids. they are 12, 10, 5 and 10 months. i almost always have at least one kid with me when i go somewhere.

    i have no idea about flying with the baby. my baby is awful in the car. i can’t imagine on a plane. i’ll pray.

  • Lindsay
    October 30, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Ok I enjoyed all of your points, but two stood out to me…..getting out of the house and airplane travel. I don’t get out much and when I do I have to take my boys (most of the time) who are 19 months and 7 months. I just go places where they can’t reach anything from the stroller 🙂 I don’t have many people to watch my children during the week, but wish I did, because getting out alone is just different that getting out with kids…do you have people you can swap childcare with? I have thought of that but have never put it into practice.
    My family lives in Ohio and we travel by plane a lot and I have actually found it to be easier than car travel for my 19 month old. As long as he sits near a window so he can open and close the shade. We take lots and lots of snacks, let him buckle and unbuckle the seat belt and for in the airport…..we have a leash (I promised I would never do that to my kids!)
    Safe travels and good luck!

  • Amanda
    October 30, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Motrin for all before you board! Dose them in the car, so you don’t have to do the whole miserable zip-lock bag thru security with fluids thing . . . Buy a new electronic toy for all of them (they each get their own toy) and make sure they’re each loud enough to be heard over the roar of the plane. Forgive me, gummy bears are great, chewy and help the ears, but they go fast, so pack a bunch. Or maybe you need to give me a healthy-long-lasting-chewy-yummy treat idea for the next time I board the plane with a 3-year-old-potty-training boy and his darling-but-dramatic-baby sister.

  • Kathy
    October 30, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I so enjoy your blog. We are still recovering from a flu, too. I still feel less than normal and it’s been a week. I made one of your dish mats. It’s great. Then I had to go back and lay down! I was exhausted. I agree with you about TV, and that Levi boy. I feel bad for everyone involved. Have a wonderful time in Chicago.

  • Kendra
    October 30, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Darby… here are some ideas for the airplane. I went around and gathered dollar store things, new crayons, etc. and put the in a brown paper bag and decorated the front with all the fun things JH likes… then the inside of the bag was stuff he had never seen before:) he loved it! hope it helps:)

  • Lindsay
    October 30, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    My sister in law said her detergent tray… or rather the tray for liquid fabric softener was mildewed. She never knew. might try that. also this helped me…https://www.flyingwithkids.com/

  • janet
    October 30, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Time alone with out my five kids= Barnes and Noble with a good book and a cup of Starbucks decaf. ( I have the same heartburn/ulcer thing).
    Washer problem= call the manufacturer. I have a front loader and “knock on wood” have not had this problem yet. My suggestion is to do a bleach load daily.
    Time out for myself= I lock my self in the laundry room and fold away. ( not much of a life I know).
    Airplane rides with kids= Dimetapp the night before the flight. It is a decongestant. And Benadryl 1 hour before the flight.This will help prevent ear pain from the air pressure in the cabin of the plane. It will also help them to sleep right through it! Of course, ask your pediatrician first!

  • Lindsay
    October 30, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    OH annnddd…. take extra clothes for the kids AND you in your carry on. On the way back from Colorado this summer Chris and the Daddy next to him got thrown up on by their 2 year old boy. Something about the plane descending. There was coughing and then…. OH it was bad. Wouldn’t want any Sticklers to be stuck clothes-less or covered in “pit up”

  • Laura Zarrin
    October 30, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    When traveling with kids we’ve found a few things that work. Each kid gets a backpack with drawing supplies, toys, books that they can carry themselves. Portable video players. I suggest Real Wheels series, especially There Goes a Bulldozer (It’s been awhile, but I think that’s what it’s called) for the Rover. My guys were fascinated by the trucks and explosions.

    The Rover will probably be fine if he can be on your lap. My guys didn’t like the car seat much, either, but planes were fine. Just bring drinks to help with the ear pressure.

    Good luck!

  • Lisa
    October 30, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I agree with Janet…just as long as Benadryl makes them sleepy and not mean as a snake! We are lucky to have one of each!

  • Ashley
    October 30, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Oh I really loved this post! I totally agree with the TV thing and read more blogs!
    I have never traveled on a plane with more than one child (the other was in my belly), but here is what helped me keep one sane (my husband did not fly with me). I pack a small canvas bag for her (she was 18 mon at the time) (a backpack might work for your girls) with small toys activities that she had never seen before. Pretty much I raided the $1 store. I also packed plenty of snacks…you just never know! All the activities kept her pretty occupied for most of the trip! The only time she was upset was when we arrived in NY and the taxi driver was eating a banana in front of her! HA! Hope this helps!:)

  • Sarah
    October 30, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    I’ve never left a comment but found your blog a while ago and love reading it. I have 3 boys ages 2,3 & 5, so I can totally relate to everything you experience. Life is crazy, isn’t it?! I, too, can not stand the television! And don’t worry about the airplane. It will be fine. Your kids will probably be so excited that they’ll be on their best behavior. We just traveled to Florida from Kansas City and everything went fine. Bring a laptop with a couple of videos (something they’ve never watched before always works the best!), lots of books and coloring books and stickers if they really need something to keep their little hands busy. Take baggies of snacks too and lots of clorox wipes and hand sanitizer! No, you won’t need any identification. Take your stroller and leave it at the gate. You can just check the carseats for free, too! Hope you have a great trip!

  • edie
    October 30, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    I lost steam after reading a mere sampling of the comments so if these issues have been well-addressed, I apologize.

    1. Front loader stink: I spent far too much time in a front loader chat room trying to figure this out and finally did. Things (socks, small stuffed animals, etc) get caught in the drain trap and then nasty stinky water just sits around and gets stinkier. If you remove the front botton panel (i had to go to lowe’s to buy a special tool—lugnut? maybe—to get the thing off, then there’s a big white drain that you need to unscrew, and have plenty of towels ready and open all the doors. It simply floored me how much stuff was hanging out in our drain. Now, no more smell. Till next time.

    2. Tv stinks—amen. I read a book recently ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ by Neil Postman. Excellent book about the state of American minds because of the image-centeredness of tv. And he’s not even overly critical of the content—just the medium of communication. We have shifted from a word-centered (books) to an image centered society—-which means we ‘feel’ instead of ‘think’. Not good. It made me tighten the reigns yet even more on the ‘screen’ time of the kids.

    3. Children on airplanes. Lots of little and new toys and treats. Magnetic paper dolls can be purchased at Cracker Barrel (a huge hit with my girls) I even brought small little containers of playdough. A pez dispenser or some tic tacs can get you through a good 15 minutes. Also, books on tape with little CD or tape players. I’m also not above medicating the very small. We did this when Emme was 2 and she slept for 11 hours straight! The grandparents may not like that.

    Now I feel guilty for tempting you to read more fodder when you’re tired and behind.

    I was so happy to see your post in my reader today, glad you’re at least feeling better enough to type!

    Love to you all,

  • your cool friend Cheryl
    October 30, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Glad you’re starting to feel better!

    I agree that tv is terrible. The commercials are just as bad.

    I have a top loader, but I always leave it open (when it’s not on! haha) to avoid any mold or mildew from growing in there. Can you leave your door open?

    We travelled with our almost 3 year old back when he was 13 months. It was okay because I was still nursing him, so he fell asleep in my lap. I recommend lots of junk food snacks that you would never let him eat otherwise and toys he’s never seen before.

    I also feel like I need that alone time sometimes (and feel guilty about it). I love my life and would never, ever want it any other way, but having a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old is exhausting!

    I know you’ll have fun in Chicago…it’s where I live! 🙂

  • samantha
    October 31, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Boy do I hate the stomach flu. I really feel your pain.

    Do an empty load in your front-loader with bleach. Also, do your kids nap at the same time? That is my alone time and I treasure it! I don’t do anything productive or necessary during that time.

    Love your blog.

  • Laura
    October 31, 2009 at 12:27 am

    I feel pretty strongly about alone time for me. I didn’t always have it either so I feel I have a good comparison of me as a mother without it. I have four kids and it took me having my twins (child 3 and 4) for me to get there. When my twins turned 1 we had two 1 yr olds, a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old and I began taking one night out a week for a girls night. This was a night I didn’t have to plan babysitting, meals or any Mommy duties. I could dress up or dress down but I got out. Some times I just ran errands but I was alone. My husband learned a lot about what my life was like which served a great purpose as well. It’s been several years since we started this and my twins are now 5. I still need it. I love getting out with my girlfriends and laughing and talking. I feel like me instead of Mommyee. I also really think my husband benefits from spending the one on one time with my kids. You can’t take from an empty well. Besides when I feel like I am drowning in motherhood (it happens) I always have my girls night to look forward to. Amazingly one night out a week does all that for me. Oh and by the way I used to come home before a late movie just to nurse my twins, you can do it too!

    We took my twins on a plane ride to Hawaii at 13 months. 5 hrs. I had benedryl on hand. We never needed it. My kids did great. Might I recommend. Crayola magic wonder books for all three kids. It will help keep them occupied. Special snacks and of course a dvd player if you have it. Best of luck. It will be fine. It’s been than the car, I promise.

  • dawson
    October 31, 2009 at 3:44 am

    Hi! So enjoy reading your blog! We made the pumpkin seeds last night, and they were so good. I had never made those, but your pictures made them look delicious. I’ve never commented before, but we have flown a good bit…

    Thoughts about flying…we only have a 3 year old but have been flying with him since he was an itty bitty. Depending on the airport (BHM is really easy and nice) they usually let you bring drinks for little kids through security. They sometimes test them, but I think they get that it is a necessity. I like to pull it out of an actual diaper/kid bag for effect just so they know it is not mine. A few small books are great. Or a movie is best. Don’t forget earphones b/c while we may enjoy the soundtrack of Cars, other passengers may not. Also, when taking off and landing, we usually let our son have a piece of gum (makes it fun for him) so his ears will pop. We used to do the passy or bottle but we’ve moved on. I’ve learned that there are 2 types of people–those who have kids and understand and those who don’t. Those who do, will wish they could help you and those who don’t, well you just can’t worry a/b them. Enjoy it as much as you can and relax b/c all three will be so excited about their airplane adventure!

  • Beth
    October 31, 2009 at 4:02 am

    I’ve always taken alone time after my husband got home from work. The kids go to bed at 8:00 so then I can go to the gym or the library/ starbucks and read. Our library has a great selection of magazines and it is so quiet and peaceful that time of day. Yes, I get behind on laundry and other things but at least I get time to recharge. Love your blog!

  • Megan
    October 31, 2009 at 6:49 am

    We flew a couple months ago with our 3 year old and 18 month old and it went really well. If you can, I suggest trying to make the plane ride around naptime. That seemed to help us. Both kids were out once we took off (or before). Our son rode in his car seat and was really well behaved. (He’s a good traveler in the car so I figured he’d be best in his car seat.) If JM will not have his own ticket and will be riding in your lap instead, you may have to have his birth certificate with you. Our airline required that we show proof of age. You can usually find that info ou on the airlines website.

    The first time my son flew he was 15 months old and I was 6 months pregnant. He and I flew home by ourselves (without my helpful husband) and I was so stressed about being pregnant and handling him. However, it was a really great experience. It also helped that he slept both legs of the trip 🙂

    Good luck!

  • katie mccrary
    October 31, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I have the stink too, help! We thought it was the hot water heater in the same room, we replaced the hot water heater, it was going out. Still stink???
    I love to ride and am taking jumping lessons on Tues. afternoon. My husbands sees how happy they make me and how they totally relieve all stress. We sat down and picked Tues. afternoons, and then he said he would do whatever it took to make it happen. So when he can’t get away from work, we have a list of people to call to help us with kiddos. We made the list ahead of time so when we need someone, he calls them. It is wonderful. Glad you are all feeling better!!!!!

  • Neila
    October 31, 2009 at 9:28 am

    My front loader used to stink. Dry out under the rim after each load. Run an empty load withe bleach. Put the bleach where you usually put the detergent, not the bleach section. Leave it open to “air out”
    after washes. Then use the no odor for front loaders, about once a month.
    Good luck!

  • Carolyn
    October 31, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Love the insightful rantings. As for the washer…it’s good to know that my husband’s obsession with keeping the washing machine door (and detergent tray) open ALL THE TIME might actually keep our apt. from stinkin’ it up: https://lifeingraz.blogspot.com/2009/09/ventilator-valentin-vs-close-it-up-coco.html

    And, yes, tv is crud…I don’t really miss it over here in Europe. I can watch the two shows i like and leave the rest! Happy birthday Morgan.

  • Susan
    October 31, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Glad you all are on the back-end of the yucks. Our front loader smells bad and I take care of it. I leave the door and dispenser door open for it to dry out and I clean in between the rubber seal. My problem is that I did not know about this mildew issue until two years after I bought it. Some of the mildew in the rubber will never go away. Hence, I am so ready for a top loader, but it will have to wait! I have three little ones like you (almost 7, 4 and 16 months) but I do get out when all three have school which occurs on Tues and Thurs mornings. Unfortunately, I use those times to catch up around the house, cook dinner, run errands and if I’m lucky, exercise for 30 mins. I never use the time to recharge b/c I feel like I’m always trying to catch up on everyday life! I am trying to spend those 2+ hours Tues and Thurs mornings on me-time, but I have a hard time doing so. I’m trying to do better! Good luck on the trip to Chicago. You do not need IDs for your kids and at least the older two will love flying on a plane. With Rover, its all about survival!

  • Kerry
    October 31, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Hi Darby,
    So glad you’re feeling better. As to the issue with the washing machine – I’ve had the same problem with mine. It’s imperative with them that the door be left open between uses so it can dry out. Also, I was washing clothes and bedding for someone whose clothes were mildewed beyond belief (camping + rain). These weren’t white items, so I couldn’t use bleach. I found this “Natural” fabric softener (blue eucalyptus & lavender) from Seventh Generation. I put it in with the laundry detergent and in the rinse cycle and let it all soak for a while. This stuff removed every bit of mildew odor! It is miracle stuff. You may want to give it a try for your washer, or use bleach.
    Also, it is true that most “ulcers” are caused by h-pylori and only treatable with antibiotics. Testing for it is simple. So if you do have an ulcer and it keeps coming back, you may need a round. If not, try deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), it’s quite helpful.
    Good Luck!

  • Molly
    October 31, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I have had the appliance repair fellow out from ABT (your parents likely know all about ABT), and he said the only detergent to use with a front loader is Tide HE powder (NOT liquid) and always leave the door open after the load. Since then, no smells!

    As far as traveling with kids, I have taken my four girls all over. The key is the new purse/tote stuffed with new notebooks, stickers, lip balm, colored pencils, stencils, stamps, tic tacs, books, small toys, etc. When they were really little, the Hello Kitty Outlet was a must shop.

  • Emily
    October 31, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Check out this blog post for your washing machine worries: https://themcmommychronicles.blogspot.com/2009/10/tying-up-some-loose-ends.html

  • Becky
    October 31, 2009 at 11:34 am

    oh pumpkin…i cannot imagine traveling by air with 3. i’d probably die. i don’t LOVE traveling by “land” with them. number 2. morgan starts school next year and let me just tell you…kindergarten is DIVINE. sent straight from the Lord, I tell you. and that’s no joke. you wouldn’t believe the mental break. however, being there with you, you HAVE to take some alone time. I usually get out alone, or have dinner with a girlfriend once a week. I go after micah gets home or after supper, just depending on the mood (and urgency that my mood may bring lol!) and it can be nothing more than just going to a store that i never get to go to alone and just walking around, or standing in the magazine aisle and reading, but not buying. or going to books a million. and i certainly don’t count my grocery shopping trips (that are always alone) as one of those trips. i’m still in working mode doing that (even though i’m sure i look like a total crazy these days cause i’m always listening to my MP3 player…relaxation cause i hate grocery shopping.) it makes me a better mommy and i feel NO GUILT. we don’t really have any babysitters around here, so unfortunately some of our “errands” have to be saved for the weekend. but we do what we can.

    so glad yall are feeling better!! and can’t wait to hear about your travels. pack some good carry on bags with activities and food. that’s all the advice i can give!

  • kristen
    October 31, 2009 at 11:57 am

    i feel you on needing some time! my kids are 4, 2, 7 mo. and it’s been almost 1 year since i have had a night with no kids. i need it and i need it bad. when i have more time, i’m going to run through all your comments and see what others suggest – i will say this: i am quick to justify getting a sitter these days!! I used to not like to spend the money often or to leave the kids that much but i have realized it is really priceless to get away when you are starting to feel that spiralling feeling. also-you are coming off of a week with sick kids it sounds like …that’s always when i re-evaluate my “me time” too ! it is draining!!! glad everyone is well for halloween 🙂

  • Laura
    October 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    No coffee since Monday?? You are a strong woman. I also agree with you about TV. I cringe thinking about all the things I could get done in the week if I just turned off the food network.

    I recently stumbled upon your blog and love it! I started my own a few days ago and slowly-but-surely navigating my way in the blog world.

    Have a happy Halloween!

  • Joy
    October 31, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Your Raiger comment cracked me up! I can so see the ziploc bag scenario unfolding… as to balance – there is no balance when we are parenting preschoolers with your whole heart. BUT it is very nice to occasionally get away. Every 8 weeks I hire a sitter (so I don’t have to depend on my husbands “unreliable schedule”) get my hair done, go shopping or buy makeup.. something for me. No errands. I know its not often, but its GREAT and I look forward to it!

  • Jennifer
    October 31, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    How ironic- our local news just did a story on front loaders. It seems like the lady being interviewed determined that she had to wash her washer before every use!
    I only have a 15 month old and he has flown a bunch. Bring SNACKS! They’re like the secret weapon (; My baby’s favorite thing is playing with the tray table- so we just hope that no one will be seated in front of us! Also- it’s such a new experience that sometimes observing is just good enough for him.
    Glad that you’re feeling better!

  • Cara
    October 31, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Do you use Fabric softner in your laundry? That is the most likely cause of your stinking machine. I stopped using it when my husband and I started using cool-max exercise clothes. Apparently, fabric softner takes away its wicking abilities. Softner has a coating in it that can leave spots on your laundry, coats your dryer vent, and stinks up washing machines. Try not using it for a while. Don’t buy into the Snuggle softness bear! He’s not your friend!

  • heather morse
    October 31, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    When I was about to buy a new washer and dryer..I read all of the consumer reports..and thus ended up with a top loader instead of a front loader washer because of the mildew issue that kept coming up in the consumer reports…

  • Rebekah (Yeebird)
    October 31, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Friend.
    Portable DVD player on the plane. Have it ready at all times. Never press stop. Continue to “play” that dude the whole trip.
    Have drinks at the ready. Before take-off. Because one’s child might start screaming for one and the snippy flight attendant who’s had one too many face-lifts will refuse to bring one until it’s officially drink cart time. I MAY be speaking from personal experience, here.

    Oh dear. This smacks deeply of bitterness, doesn’t it? 🙂

    Have you tried running 1/2 cup of bleach through your front loader? Put it where the detergent goes and turn on a full wash cycle. That’s what I do.

    Get better, sweet blog friend.

  • amy
    October 31, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Add a good sized slug of white vinegar to your washer before you wash the clothes, especially the towels.

    When you’re flying, let the straps of the carseat all the way out and wear it on your back like a backpack when you are walking through the airport.

    That’s all the knowledge I have — good luck!

  • Jessica
    October 31, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I didn’t read all 100+ comments, so this may have been said already, but my MIL has a front loading washer and she said that water collects in the front near the door…is there a rubber gasket type thing there? Anyway, she has to leave the door open when not in use and she may even wipe it dry some. That was the source of her mildew smell.

  • Claire
    October 31, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Flying with kids= Benadryl or what I like to do is take a pack of pipe cleaners and make new creations for and with the kids. They are quiet and will entertain them for a while.

    Getting out alone= Nights after kids are in bed, and YES Saturdays or Sunday afternoons. If you can’t take care of YOU, how can you take care of THEM?

  • michele
    October 31, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Darby, I don’t have time to read all your comments, but just in case no one told you, yes, leave the door open when not in use and only use HD detergent, but also, you probably need to run bleach through your washer. I made the service people come out when my Whirlpool frontloader was brand spanking new and smelled so awful. The guy pulled the directions out of a secret hiding place and ran bleach through pursuant to those instructions himself. It worked!! That was a couple of years ago, and it still smells good. Good luck.

  • Kara
    October 31, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Darby,

    I am not a parent yet, but every time I am on a plane and I see kids not happy and very fussy all I can think about is I wish I told them about the bags 🙂 My mom whether it was on a plane or a car ride for a week would show us a bag and talk constantly about all of the fun things she has for us. So she would hold on to the New backpack or bag until the door closed on the plane and then we would very quickly tear open the bag and play with all of the goodies we received. She would give us coloring books, crayons, snacks for the ride, any small toys, etc. Nothing extravagant just items that would keep us busy. Ps. the ride home you have to get creative, maybe keep a few items for the ride home so they have some new things to play with.

    Good Luck!!

  • Lauren
    October 31, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I have a front-loader with the same problem. First, clean the gasket and under the gasket as completely as possible. Warning: the gunk you find will make you sick! Then, miracle of all miracles….buy good ole WHITE VINEGAR by the gallon; lots of gallons! I put it in *every* load in the places for fabric softener AND bleach. It makes your laundry smell clean & fresh, not perfumed, and it also whitens whites and gets the soap scum out of everything. You will not need any kind of fabric softener or static treatment…white vinegar does it all. Then, last step, as soon as you remove items from the washer, open the door AND the detergent/softener/bleach door. Leave them open at all times. Oh, one more thing, I read somewhere that Tide contributes to the gunk in the gasket problem more than other liquid detergents, and recommended Cheer. I switched immediately, did all of these things, and for the moment I like my front-loader MUCH better! I was about ready to kick it to the curb! Hope these tips work for you!

  • Jennifer
    October 31, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Our front loader was stinky too. I had a repair guy come out to fix a different problem with our dryer and asked him to look over the washer.

    He removed a part underneath that the water drain’s through and oh, my gosh it was totally clogged with a toddler sock and other gunk. i guess tiny things like kids socks can get sucked through the drainage. so for months my washer had been struggling to drain and who knows what washed back up.

    if you can unscrew the bottom front plate you will see the piece im talking about right in the middle. if you are brave enough you could unscrew it yourself and take a look. but have some towels ready and a trashbag.

    good luck.

  • Katie
    October 31, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Darby, here are my airplane suggestions:
    1. Don’t let the kids carry their own bag. You can stuff plenty of snacks and toys in one carry on. You’ll carry whatever they bring.
    2. Instead of a million bags, carry John Martin’s car seat instead. Kids have an expectation to remain sitting in their car seats. Once you open up the “get out of your seat” can of worms, you’re in for a whole different flight.
    3. My kids can eat snacks for 8 hours straight and be happy. They’d rather have snacks than toys. Who cares if they don’t eat for a week afterwards?
    Tried, tested and true tips. 🙂 Have a great trip!

  • Keri
    October 31, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Darby, not sure how I found your blog, but I love reading about you and your darling family! We also have a front loader, and have always left the door cracked a little open (when we are not using it, of course) so the water can dry and mold does not form. We have never had a problem with it smelling, so I think this will work after you get rid of the smell!

    As for traveling, I was really nervous the first time I flew with my daughter (she was 18 months at the time), I broke out in hives! She surprised me and did really well! We bought her a toy airplane at the airport and that seemed to amuse her as much as the real airplane! Good luck!!

  • Kristi
    October 31, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I do not have any ideas for the traveling on a plane. I have a friend in Louisanna and I want to go see and am scared to death to fly with a 17 month old.
    About going out with the kids or getting away..Like I said before I have a 17 month old and used to go everywhere with her all day long. Now I babysit for a friends baby that is 6months and I dont leave the house until she picks him up after school. I dont know how people take multiple children everywhere. I know its done all the time but I am not brave enough yet. I hope your family is starting to feel better and have a good halloween!!

  • Lisa
    October 31, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Here are some hints from flying with my 3 children: be ready with a bottle, sippy cup, chewing gum, or snack to encourage frequent swallowing while ascending and descending (so little ears can pop and adjust to pressure changes). You may have to purchase the liquids after passing the Home Security checkpoint. Maybe pack a powdered drink mixture to mix at the water fountain?

    Pack special little backpacks for the girls with new crayons, little coloring books, gum, snacks, polly pockets, those new rubber band bracelets that have the shape of animals, anything that’s new & will keep them occupied at airports & on plane. Hold a few in reserve to present when desperately needed!

    How about disposable cameras & little photo albums for the girls?

    As for Rover–well, when we flew back & forth to Germany, I used to shamelessly slip my kids a little Dimetapp or Benadryl to help them nap. Definitely have drinks ready to help him clear his ears… maybe a new toy or two or a stuffed doggie? Good luck & God bless you! Your life keeps me entertained!

  • Carrie
    November 1, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Jail. Levi Johnson’s mom is in jail. Explains a lot, right? Not that all children with parents in jail are like him, but it certainly doesn’t play in his favor.

    Feel better, and can’t wait to hear how those beautiful kiddos of yours did on the big plane ride! (Maybe John Martin will be so excited about the plane that he’ll forget to cry the whole time???)

  • Jennifer
    November 1, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Okay…so…I don’t know if anyone else has requested it yet and I know that you said that you would…but PLEASE will you post that recipe for that pie?! Oh my goodness does that ever look delicious. Every time I come to your blog now, I salivate! And it’s sooo pretty too! LOL I LOVE your blog…have I said that before? I am sure that I have but one more time won’t hurt. You are awesome. : )

  • Amy
    November 1, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I completely agree with Jennifer – that pie looks delish!

    As far as traveling with little ones, I don’t have kids but we used to fly a lot with our parents and my sis still makes a 7 hour trip home with two babes. Best advice I can give is to bring activities and if any one cries, make noticeable efforts to console/calm them. Your fellow passengers will be more likely to sympathize with you if they see you’re making an effort.

  • Hannah
    November 1, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Just traveled from NC to TX with two young children. They do not need their own ID. Packed each child their own back-pack. Used the same ones they carry to preschool. Bought multiple, inexpensive, new items that would help keep their attention. Of course, markers/crayons and paper go a long way. Also packed snacks in each of their bags — let them pick out their own gum, etc. Key is that you cannot pack liquids until after you get through security. I packed their empty sippy cups and then filled them with water after we got through security. Also, have them wear crocs or a shoe that slips on and off easily. Trust me, no time for laces when taking shoes on and off at security check point! My youngest child just hit the 35lb. point, so I went and bought 2 “backless” booster seats. The girls wore their backpacks on their backs and carried their booster seats. They sat in the boosters on the plane and the backpacks went under the seat in front. Frankly, I carried the boosters a good bit, but they are not heavy and it worked out fine. Point being, I did not have to worry about having a booster/carseat when I arrived, and I did not have to pay to “check” it. I think airlines are charging about $40/bag now, so anything you can carry saves a lot! It will probably go better then you think; it is the unknown with kids that is such a source of worry — at least for me!

    As far as the front loader, i think the suggestions on here are spot on. From what I’ve been reading online and on blogs, keep the washer door open every time the machine is not in use, use the HE detergent, and use bleach or vinegar washes occassionally.

    Hang in there. This week will be better!

  • abby
    November 1, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    hi darby! i love your blog! 🙂 I have flown a lot with my 2 under 2, and the best advice that i was given was to board the plane last….that way you are on the plane for as little time as possible and you “cannot see the look of terror on their faces when people realize you are sitting near them.” but i’m sure that your little ones are MUCH better than mine & the people around you will be delighted to sit next to their adorable selves!! 🙂

  • Emily
    November 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    You probably have mold in the washer. It happens A LOT with front loaders. Just google it and you will find tons of reports of people who found mold in the plastic lining in the door of their washer. You will also find ways to figure out if you do indeed have mold and how to get rid of it. Good luck!

  • Bradley
    November 1, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I have a 2year old boy (wild enough on its own), and 9 month old boy and girl twins. I have a babysitter that comes three mornings a week so I can run errands and get out of the house sometimes. That may sound like a lot, but it is not because it takes forever just to get out the house dressed and ready! You have to get a babysitter so you can leave or you will go nuts, and then you will not feel bad about using family weekend time to get away on your own.

  • Kelly
    November 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I knew from your tagline that I would love you… Sally Clarkson is one of my favorites and such a mentor for me as a Mom:-) Reading back through older posts confirmed my initial impression- you are just darling! Love your blog and if I didn’t have tons of laundry I would happily spend the rest of the afternoon perusing your archives.
    I’ll be back though, when I get caught up on my house!

  • Tyne
    November 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Hey Darby, I don’t have a frontloader, but I do have four kids. My oldest just turned five, then I have a three year old, a 23 month old and an eight month old. We do a ton of travelling- mostly LONG car trips, and a couple flights here and there. For flights, pack novel activities for your kids, things they have never seen. Crayola makes a crayon that is triangle shaped so it won’t roll off trays. Get a book of stickers and teach Rover how to stick them all over his daddy. Pack empty sippy cups (so you make it through security), b/c they will inevitably pour their airline cups on your lap. Pack snacks in packages that the kids have to work out on their own (to consume time)- peanut butter crackers, fruit roll-ups, etc. Get it started for them and then let their little fingers do the rest. Put slip on shoes on all of them, use a lightweight umbrella stroller, travel sick bags make great puppets when decorated, and Benadryl works wonders on most kids (but I would test at home first to make sure that it doesn’t make your kids hyper).

    As far as getting out alone- start a book club and tell your friends! One night a month the daddies babysit and all the moms go out for dinner and a glass of wine to discuss the book- or maybe not, if they didn’t get a chance to read b/c they have three kids under four!

  • becky
    November 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    my washing machine used to smell bad sometimes and my washing machine fixer man said that every month or so, i should run it on the max temp with absolutely nothing inside – no clothes no detergent.

    he said this will ‘melt’ down all the gungy suds that accumulate at the back of the drum and eventually stink it up…
    i have been doing it for the last year and it seems to be working,
    so good luck
    ps enjoy yr blog

  • Shannon
    November 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    My mom swears that running the wash with a cup of baking soda helps the “stink”
    As for traveling, the kiddos do not need ID, however if the little guy is not getting his own seat, you will need to take along his birth certificate.
    People sitting around you on the plane…well, I have had only one horrible experience and if I could have been I would have been absolutely nasty to the woman. But I shook it off. If you fly a standard airline they usually place people with children in the rear of the aircraft, so you are close to the restrooms ect. However if you fly Southwest, check in early and stake your claim as soon as possible, then people sitting around you made their own choice of where to sit!
    Glad everyone is feeling better!

  • molly
    November 1, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    The plastic/rubbery sealer part by the front needs to be wiped down/out and scraped clean. There is scary build up in there I tell you. And always always leave it open when not in use.

    Oh and about the airplane. I have only two kiddos but have done an international flight twice. Once with just one and once with both. Lots of snacks, lots of new toys and never feel like you have to apologize. If one screams, you just deal. Life’s not perfect and neither will an airplane ride be perfect. You’ll survive and be glad you conquered. Good luck!

  • Julie
    November 1, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Hi, came over from lifeingrace, love the dishmat idea.
    So fun, we have a 4, 3, and 18mo old as well. We travel all the time… You don’t need I.D.
    (funny story, when we flew a few times back, the guy at security was asking our children their names, well our 4 year old doesn’t like to talk to guys, and our 3 year old is constantly changing who she is,so pretend name will be given. So yeah, that didn’t work… no problems, just funny.)
    I’m sure you know, bring a ton of snacks (we do bribe with apple juice, either after you nap you can have some or if you are cheerful and obedient) and we usually have an ipod/videos for the older two. We do buy a seat for the younger one which is helpful. If you don’t buy a seat, try to spend 15-30 min. every day training to sit on your lap quietly. If he has a carseat, don’t let him out unless absolutely necessary. 🙂 Once they are out they want to stay out and often times scream on being placed back in the carseat, better to stay in there the whole time. I’m always amazed at the perspective of different passengers. We have flown where the kids were amazing and we still got those looks of dissaproval and then there were times that the kids were less than perfect and we had very gracious people by us. Enjoy your kids, enjoy the flight, and enjoy your starbucks. 🙂 Looking forward to reading your blog more.

  • Jacquelin
    November 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Hi! I found you from Edie’s site. I just love the roman shade, just what I have been looking for. You have a beautiful family. I too have a front loader that works overtime for me 6 days a week. I fill the bleach cup holder with vinegar when it starts to get stinky and run it through an express wash cycle, does the trick. Also, it is doable to travel with the kids. I flew across country 7 months pregnant with my four girls from WA state to VA this past June. My hubby was deployed and we were moving across country. We made it, but it was an adventure to say the least, especially when our carseat got stuck on the airplane seat and took the whole flight crew, Captain and all to figure out how to get it off.

  • Melise
    November 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Darby, 155 comments! You dont really have time to read these all do you!? 🙂 You sweet thing! I’ll make this quick. I didn’t have time to read all 155 so apologies if i repeat this but I have a front loader and the trick is….leave the door open for about 5 min after each load and let it dry out, works every time. I never have the stinky! 🙂

  • April
    November 1, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    We had our washer serviced last year and the service guy was soooo nice! I was talking to him about the smell issue and he said it’s really, REALLY common and that the mfr knows all about it, started selling the ‘cleaner’ for it (that does nothing) etc. He said the best thing that he recommends to all of his customers if vinegar. Do an empty load on the super hot and just use vinegar, no soap, etc, and it cleans out the tank, sanitizes it, kills all the germs/mold/gunky stinky stuff. So now we do that about once a week and no more stink! We can’t leave the door open cuz we have a 14 mo old who would love to show us his mad climbing skills, but thankfully the vinegar trick works.

    I’m new to your blog and LOVE it!!

  • Andrea
    November 2, 2009 at 7:10 am

    I was just at Lowes looking at front loading washers. The man I was talking to metioned the importance of only using the HE detergent. I guess that regular laundry detergent has animal fat in it, and it breeds bacteria in the washing machine and that is what causes the odor.

  • Stephanie
    November 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    You have more than enough advice (who knew so many people had stinky washing machines?!) but here are just two more thoughts on flying. First, we take the disposable place mats (from Babies R Us) and stick them to the tray tables when we first get on the plane and then we have a clean place to serve snacks for the rest of the flight. I’ve got zip loc bags of all kinds of fun snacks – especially the expensive stuff I don’t normally buy. We spend the majority of the flight eating. It is the only thing that keeps my 13 month old (who desperately wants to walk all the time) on my lap! We bring about 5 or 6 books too. Other toys usually only occupy her for less than a minute before they are thrown into another row but we can read each book quite a few times. Second, I find most people on planes are very understanding when parents are trying their hardest. From what I’ve seen of your family on your blog, you don’t need to worry! Have a great trip!

  • Christi
    November 4, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I spent a lot of time researching the stinky washer issue, and Edie has the best advise…Remove front panel and clean gasket. The bleach and vinegar ideas are good, but only AFTER you do this. Also, I discovered that you should only use POWDER HE detergent. The liquid has oils that build up. — Pretty disappointed in my front loader that I wanted so much.

    We quit TV when we moved (over 10 years ago). My girls are now 17 and 15, and you can see a difference in them compared to their peers. One of the best parenting decisions we have ever made. We allowed them to watched movies, but only on weekends. It was a treat, and the quality was easy to monitor.

    Just found your blog….thanks for being real.


  • God is at work…even when we are not! « Joel & Kitty’s Blog
    November 16, 2009 at 11:38 pm

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