Ricketts on the Go: Road tripping to the Midwest

We are just weeks away from our first official family road trip *queue confetti* we are really excited (except the 1-year-old but he just rolls with it).  I have discovered that with this family of 5 it’s very easy to forget things {just leaving the house for a moment} so we want to make sure we are prepared.

I want to thank The Art of Being Fabulous for the Make your trip smoother by doing these things before you go, (the post was geared towards traveling abroad by air but much of the things can be applied to our travel). Here is my checklist for our upcoming travel.


What’s the weather? ever since friends of ours took their family on a road trip and said it rained most of their long drive, my husband(Doc) has been worried about driving in torrential downpours the whole way {that would sSUCK} but what can we do… the dates are set but this checklist is about preparation, at least we will know what to prepare for.

Documents good to go? its domestic travel so we don’t need passports but there are a few things we can’t leave home without like Drivers license (can’t drive across 5 states without it), up to date insurance card and registration (just in case my lead foot causes that awkward conversation “do you know why I pulled you over”), {must get}AAA membership, as well as, health insurance cards for all.

Performed a thorough vehicle safety check? {super} important, probably more important than did I pack toothbrushes for everyone. This is the hubs department and he takes extra care in it. Making sure oil is changed and fluids topped off, new wiper blades, brakes are checked, and that there is a full size spare [ no donut in the car unless edible]…oh and how could I forget E-Zpass {greatest travel item since TomTom}.(not a paid spokesperson for TomTom or any GPS device, though we love Waze)


Checked accounts? well, I mean definitely have to make sure there is plenty of money in there for travel but I mean calling the bank and letting them know we will be traveling across several states. There is nothing worst{embarrassing} than having money and your card is declined — because the back flagged it as fraudulent activity. While we appreciate the bank’s due diligence to prevent a disaster can’t have us stalled; no seriously can’t be at the gas station unable to get gas{gasp}.

Laws? some states have different laws but one stands across most ‘Click it or Ticket’ but there are some that are unfamiliar to other’s like noise violations (playing music too loud), obstruction of view (i.e. in Illinois its illegal to have any obstruction hanging from your rear view mirror), headlights on when wipers are on, headlights on in construction zone, change lanes when a cop is pulled over on the shoulder of the road, etc.


Best way to travel over 22 hours is to break it up with stops.

Itinerary? have to have a plan and a bit of a schedule, yes, it’s family vacation but aside from heading west we have to have direction. Even if we don’t stick to it we can use it as a guideline and help with time management. Especially when trying to get to a certain state, city, or destination.

Where to stay? we are blessed to have family that we will be staying with majority of our trip but there may be a couples nights we will crash in Chicago so we will need to find a crash pad –be it couch surfing with friends, Airbnb, or a hotel [Lifestyle Blogger/Travelista Simply Sheena suggests Priceline – express deals or an app called Hotel Tonight to find great deals on hotel stays.]


Once we have the itinerary up and running we will share. Please feel free to share places or spaces we should visit on our trip from Eastern, PA to Kansas City, MO.





Vacay Mode

It was around 12:30am on Wednesday and I was desperately missing my husband that was over 190 miles away–you see, I was supposed to return home earlier that evening but everything in me said if you can – stay.

Volume 19 No.7

July 2018 edition

I was up reading my O[prah] magazine when this highlighted passage stood out.

“If I flew you to the beach right now, you’d still be anxious because you’d be yelling at yourself to get busy. Instead of that voice of fear, try letting in the voice of truth-the voice of God. imagine you are sitting on the beach and you start thinking I’m so lazy. What does God say?…think of that verse from the book of Matthew…”

(which [random] happens to be my youngest brother’s name)

“consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not,neither do they spin. But God takes care of them anyway. How, then, will he not care for you? You’ve been listening to that fearful voice screaming that you have to do more, more, more, because you’re never enough. But another part of you is sending hearts and trying to tell you there’s a different way of being.”

I am nonstop — working from home, tending to kids, striving always to be a great wife, mom, daughter, sibling, soror, and friend and it’s taking a toll on me.

My 2018 vision board, I decided to live more deliberately and more importantly add more of my happy. Vacation makes me happy…not focusing on work and just enjoying life with my family. Last week was my [Thomas]family’s annual whole family vacay, which I love,0 but next month is our Rickettedly Awesome road trip so I was rationing out my work PTO(paid time off) and was only going to do 4 days(weekend and 2 days off work) but then I decided I could do 5 days off; I reached out to my boss and requested the rest of the week. Everything in me wanted to be there relaxing and enjoying but that{damn}little voice in my head was thinking what about my husband, will work think I’m a flake, but as I lounged poolside with the kids having a blast with their grandparents, aunts and uncles all while I got to just lay back for a bit I knew this was where I needed to be. Work will always be there, we have bills so work is a must but I won’t short change myself at the expense of my time to unwind. My husband can enjoy our time away no kids just him and the animals and work will be there when I return but self-care and doing what I love needs to be at the forefront and I need to follow my intentions and live more deliberately.

I know many of my mom friends struggle with self-care and finding the time. Here are a few small suggestions that anyone can get into:

  1. Go for a walk or run [in my case rollerblading]
  2. Meditate or do deep breathing for 5-10 minutes
  3. Take a break when you need it–doesn’t have to be long
  4. Choose who you spend your time and energy with
  5. Eat healthy
  6. Learn to say ‘NO’
  7. Journal
  8. Listen to music and dance
  9. Read a good book
  10. Have one *uck it moment a week where you are unbothered by dishes in the sink, unanswered texts/emails, no cooking they can figure it out even if that means cereal for dinner.

Traveling with Babe(s): Part 2 

We are doing it…we are taking the plunge and traveling as a family of 5 well technically 11 but our Rickettedly Awesome crew will be gracing the friendly skies with our presence!


Back in part 1 of Traveling with Baby we had a tender infant he ate, smiled, pooped and held tight to his favorite stuffed toy…now we have a mobile 9 almost 10 month old who enjoys putting everything in his mouth, pulling any hair he can get a hold of and flinging things as hard and as far as he can <HELP> well thank goodness it’s a straight 2 hour flight and he still loves the milk from tap. But the struggle is what to pack and I can’t lie it arouses a bit of anxiety so here is my list so far…


1. Bought a new baby carrier by Brighter Elements with a toddler seat. Now we know I love my k’tan but it doesn’t provide enough comfort for me in the neck and shoulder region so this carrier is a little more for longer wear and also anyone can connect and carry babe, so I can truly be hands-off free!(click product name to go to site)

2. Double stroller (we decided to buy a Kolcraft Cloud Double Umbrella Stroller folds up for easier handling during travel click product name to be taken to the site)

3. Since we can’t bring the highchair we have purchased a Chair Belt Baby Chair Harness– such a nifty invention that I’m sure some wonderful mom (or dad) invented spur of moment with like a shirt or fabric in order to get their little one to sit safely in a chair–well I thank them. This folds right up and fits in the bag and fits almost any chair. (Click product name to be taken to the site)

4. Car seats we have decided that since the airline doesn’t charge us to check carseat we will just bag them and bring them along instead of paying $50-$100 to rent with our rental car.


3. Trusty breast pump, saver bags and bottles (2)

4. Baby Bullet- everything in me is saying just go buy baby food but that feeling in my gut is saying stick to what you know and hasn’t been recalled- homemade baby food! we are cooking while down there so he will get the same.

Hmm, am I forgetting anything?? Oh yes, I’ve decided to pack a few diapers in the diaper bag and purchase a pack of diapers when we get down there that way we are cutting down on the bulk of having to pack over 60 diapers. Thus leaving more room for clothes. 


Why I No Longer Thank My Husband…

Being a work from home mom[YUP, I work a 40 hour week while tending to a 3 yr old and an infant–I walk on the wild side!] I spend my days doing what seems like working around the clock my jobs blend because they are in fact blending I can’t say to work I have a sick baby hold on and I can’t say to the kids I can’t feed you til I get my lunch break so everything bunches together. Well because of that sometimes I jump at going to the nail salon, getting my hair done or what used to be yoga[have to get back to that] but basically anything that let’s me be kid free for a bit. So I make sure hubs has instructions (give baby this many ounces, leftovers or nuggets for dinner), blah blah blah and out the door I go…

I enjoy my time and head home.

When I arrive at home I always ask how were they for you? I know, he’s not the babysitter but I’m curious — wanting to know were they a chaotic bunch, rowdy, bickering and baby fussing or were they charming and delightful [secretly hoping for the first scenario so he gets a dose of my daily struggle] and then I say Thank You so much- – and I wonder how many moms say Thank You to their husband or the father of their children for them getting a moment to themselves. I used to say Thank You, for the moments he tended to babe while I took a long hot shower. WHY? This is what we are supposed to do/be…relief for one another, help mates, a tag team or whatever you want to call it, but we’ve gotten away from that. I do majority of the tending and when I get away the first thing I do is show gratitude…But this isn’t something he has ever had to think of, he’s never come home and said “thank you felt so good to get out for my weekly bowling league with the guys, how were the kids?” When he runs somewhere kid-free he doesn’t come home and say Thank You. When he gets a long hot shower and time to shave without interruption he doesn’t say Thank You and the reason being is because it’s expected and because it’s not even something that crosses his mind. This isn’t a bash session this is just the way some of us are conditioned we don’t get a lot of time to ourselves so when we do we are appreciative and thankful to the person that granted us our moment of freedom. 

So yesterday I went to get my hair done, gave my usual instructions and out the door I went. Upon my arrival all kids were asleep and so was hubs. I said hello, I’m back and good night. I had time to eat, pee and pump before infant had me back to mom duty.

I say all this to say Moms we are deserving of time away from the kids[doesn’t make us a bad mom or negligent]…be it a long 20 minute shower, going for a walk, grocery shopping, spas, brunch with girlfriends, weekly fitness classes, whatever and we shouldn’t feel guilty or feel saved when the other parent takes over so we can do those things. While yes we do appreciate it we should expect it[we aren’t abandoning our family we are simply hitting pause]. We shouldn’t have to ask or beg for it, we should be a team–coordinate schedules and communicate. But one parent should never feel trapped or like they got their [pardon] papers to grab some kid-free time.

Freezer Meals: Lasagna

We are a family of 5 but right now one kid drinks milk from the tap and our toddler has a tummy the size of her little fist. When I make large meals after a night of leftovers my family is ready for something else, so usually food goes to waste. In order to cut down on food wasted (because as I mentioned diapers cost, ha) I’ve decided to freeze and date certain meals for later consumption and convenience. I didn’t slave in a kitchen to have food go to waste no-no-no sooooo freezing it and breaking it out at a later date it is. Stews, soups and lasagna make large batches so I’m starting there. This past Sunday I made Lasagna Roll-ups [or as I call it lasagna without the commitment] using ground beef and spinach (♡ big hit with the family ♡) and I ended up having enough ingredients left over to make a small lasagna. 

Today my son wanted a piece so I cut his share and divided the rest. I figured someone will want it for lunch, a quick dinner for kids or just wanting some of mom’s lasagna. Now I’ve seen people freeze a whole lasagna or they make small portions in those individual foil pans but I had neither. I have a few pieces that I want to save.
I took my pieces and wrapped them tightly in Cling Saran Wrap – though I’m sure the press and seal would work best – but we are all out. 

Once my pieces were wrapped tightly I placed them in a freezer bag,  removed as much air from the bag as I could making sure it didn’t balloon when I sealed it closed.

And then into the freezer they go!

I’m excited to be able to reach into the freezer and have a ready-made meal and even better no food is wasted <happy dance> 

Traveled with Baby pt.1


It’s was the night before travel and all through the house last minute packing was done by both me and my spouse. Our 4 month old looked on as I kept asking… “What am I forgetting?” He smiled and coo’d and gave us a great #2 all that aside I realized… this is a fun age to travel with babe. He drinks from the tap so no bottles needed and the rest is quite simple.

  1. Diapers(necessary though we can buy anywhere if we didn’t pack enough)
  2. Wipes (keep them handy)
  3. Most important: baby wrap for baby wearing with ease K’tan is my favorite (click product name to be directed to website)
  4. Onesies, sleepers, dress outfit and crib shoes
  5. Receiving blanket and a couple cloth diapers for wiping drool, spit up and things like that.
  6. Warm blanket
  7. Couple hats
  8. Pacifier and favorite stuffed animal
  9. Snack with almonds(for me my fave nursing snack!)

Since I baby wear there is no need to bring a stroller and we decided to rent a carseat since we were getting a rental car– so those two things alone made for a nice weekend trip with no bulky items.

Now I’ve traveled with my two oldest before and aside from a trip out of the country requiring a passport I’ve never had to show anything for the infant on lap. During the night before preparation, my husband asked if I should bring DR3’s birth certificate and I said I never had to before (I’m so against a carrying the children’s important documents if I don’t need to) fast forward to the next morning, day of travel. Parked, strapped in baby, hopped on shuttle to the airport, arrive at the Southwest Air counter and the attendant asks us for a birth certificate, shot records or baby’s insurance card (naturally my husband gives me the look). I provided the baby’s health insurance card. Now the attendant explained the reason for asking is a regulation to help cut down on child trafficking/kidnapping. I appreciate the precaution and decided to pass the information along to my readers. My husband says walking away I told ya…I said no, you asked me. If you would have said to me bring it just in case or told me our friend who works for southwest stated we should bring it then I would have but the insurance card worked as well.


We got to our gate and our baby was just as alert as he wanted to be smiling at all he encountered getting all the attention-ooohs and awws. We boarded when they announced family boarding was a fairly empty flight so we had the row to ourselves. Before flight I was required to remove baby from carrier or detach as the flight attendant stated.

I put our little guy to boob and he nursed during takeoff 20170303_093109.jpg(I do that to not only get baby to sleep but to also help with ears popping). He went fast to sleep and I put his paci in his mouth to be sure that his ears would equalize during the flight–I don’t know about you but my ears don’t only pop during takeoff and landing but often during flight as well. So since baby has no idea how to equalize we go with the swallowing method[it activates the muscles that open tube] Medical professionals advise not letting baby sleep during descent but I either breastfeed or tug on the Pacifier during descent and that causes baby to start sucking on the paci thus triggering the swallowing that helps equalize pressure and allows baby to stay asleep peacefully – makes for a nice quiet flight for baby, parents and those on board. He did fantastic. And received a lot of compliments on being a well behaved [quiet] baby traveler.
Repeat that for 2 more flights [yup, you read right] we had a layover and so we took another flight which had a stop we didn’t get off but other passengers got on so we flew the friendly skies and landed 3 times that day and our little guy was fantastic. No fuss, a bit of chatter, easy to change on the changing table in plane bathroom, a lot of smiling and oodles of sleep!

Recap: If traveling domestically with children bring either their Passport, Birth Certificate, Immunizations record or Health Insurance card. 

Pregnant Again?.

Have you ever heard a more cringe worthy question?.

…it’s like you are the Duggars and you are at 20 and counting

…it’s like you have 6 children all 10 months apart

…it’s like you have been mistaken for bunnies


well that wasn’t the question it was GIRL…ARE YOU HAVING ANOTHER ONE!?!?!?! But what I heard was DAMN, YOU PREGNANT AGAIN????

BUT it got me thinking, are we now the generation that puts off having children till later in life but then only have one…maybe two? So they judge and are almost shocked when the number of children out numbers the parents. I shouldn’t say judge it’s more like a “WHY, would you do that” as they look at you puzzled. And then they joke that with their one child maybe they should “catch up.” Ummm I had no clue this was a race…I sort of thought we just do whatever the hell we want in our little bubble and you do the same in yours. It’s not like we are setting up Go Fund Me accounts to help us raise our many children or better yet we don’t have any tv commercials or a telethon asking to sponsor one of our children for cents a day. Like Geez…we are on our 3rd child with no plan for more.

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