Lindsey and her family live in Boston, and because she and her husband both work in the airline industry, they are frequent and avid travelers. Lindsey has some great advice on traveling successfully with small children, both as a traveling parent herself, and as an experienced flight attendant who’s seen every version of the good, and the bad, on airplanes. And to top it all off, Lindsey’s home is whimsical and stylish and full of bright colors and patterns. Welcome, Lindsey!
In the Spring of 2004, around row 8 on an Airbus A320 parked at Logan Airport in Boston, a flight attendant was wheeling her bag down the narrow aisle and passed by the aircraft mechanic who had come aboard to check the aircraft. She decided she would get him to ask her on a date, so for months she’d pass by him, trying to small talk and he, unbearably shy, fumbled his conversation until he finally asked her out. Now 14 years later, they live in a little house, not far from that airport and call each other “home”.
That shy man, my husband Sam, is now not nearly as quiet, but he remains as sincere, patient, and selfless as the day we first passed by one another on that airplane. He is the absolute best partner; he cooks, cleans, does laundry, dotes on his children, gives a nightly foot massage and he can make airplanes fly! He’s basically way too good to me and for me. I don’t want this to be misleading, he’s not perfect — his fashion sense doesn’t exist and he does the worst impressions of accents.
I’m Lindsey, mother to four. And although that was the first sentence I thought to use to describe myself, I am more than that, though no other title could ever make me feel as proud. I’m a flight attendant, I’ve been one for fifteen years. When I was a little girl, wanderlust was planted in the pit of my soul and I’ve never stopped watering the desire. I’m a perpetual dreamer, and I have loads more of what I hope to achieve in the next few years. I will write them down here, because writing or saying them aloud, will make it harder to back out of doing them! I’m currently working on becoming a blogger for family travel, as well as writing my first children’s book. I have stories in my head that need to live elsewhere. And this year I co-founded the online boutique kindred & kin. I’m also my children’s teacher as we homeschool/worldschool.
Our first born is Liam, and he has woken up buzzing like the bees for all of his almost nine years. He’s an extrovert born to two introverts, he’s never needed a minute alone in his life. He loves stories and books and is writing his first, like his momma. He is mature beyond his years, questions everything, loves chocolate more than anything and is one of the very best friends I’ve ever had. Jude is next, our empath. Even at six he’s the kindest person I’ve ever met. He always has a notebook and pen for drawing, loves Star Wars more than his brother loves chocolate, is extremely funny and values time alone and always seeks it out.
Delphine is as dainty and delicate as you can be, always spinning and singing. She loves Unicorns and flow-y dresses and shoes. She gives the best cuddles and still asks for her mommy to lay beside her while she falls asleep at night. I’ve been tracing that face into dreamland for four trips around the sun, and it’s still the sweetest face I’ve ever seen.Clementine is our baby, just over a year. She is 20 pounds of love and kisses and topped with strawberry blonde hair.
We live in Boston proper, in a neighborhood called East Boston, or “Eastie” if you’re hip. For most of its history, East Boston was predominantly an Italian neighborhood (the Kennedy’s lived here), but over the years it has seen more Italians move out and other cultures move in. There is a lot of diversity here in our neighborhoods, which is nice, though there is a lot of crime and that can sometimes make you feel uneasy. We are located right across the harbor from downtown, so the view at the park is incredible and a short walk to the train stop and the entire city is accessible.
The aesthetic of East Boston is so worn and weathered, we do have brutal winters, so that might have something to do with it. But with the buildings looking so exhausted and six gray months a year, I dream of being almost anywhere else for all of that time. The prices in Boston are expensive, even in our neighborhood. For us, a two bedroom, which would still be too small for us, would cost around $675,000. So, we stay renting for now, always talking of leaving the city and never being quite ready to do so.
Seven years ago, we drove up to this 100-year-old, white house with navy shutters, and I said, “no, no, no” and he said, “just one year!” We had recently moved across the country from California and with the crash of the housing market out there we had short sold our home. We weren’t in a position to buy seven years ago, and he promised only one year. (So, there’s that to add to the bad fashion sense and accents.)
But really, we spend approximately 2 hours a year, commuting. We both are at work and back home within 6 minutes. Not a moment of our life is spent in mindless travel on the road, and that is valuable to us.
I’ve wanted to leave here more times than I could count, but God doesn’t always make you take one path or another, sometimes He just has you sit, and be still. I wasted the first four years arguing with Him about how I needed to be elsewhere, different city, same city different neighborhood, it didn’t matter. I just couldn’t find joy where I was at. And so He sat me there, until I could figure out how to be content, which I haven’t learned completely, but I have learned that pasting wallpaper up on a wall sure helps a little. And traveling often.
If I could, I’d gut the place and bring back the original charm that had to have been here before the landlord remodeled it into what it is now. It’s incredibly hard to make a rental place feel like home, but this is the place that is the stage for my children’s childhoods. So, no bright yellow wood flooring or a bathroom in my kitchen is going to ruin that for me. It’s been about taking all of the other spaces that I could pour some whimsy into and making them feel like us.
When decorating, I don’t try to stick to a theme, but I do hope to bring cheeriness into our house since the outside feels so dreary for such a large portion of the year. Color brings me to life, and I hope that it sets up a backdrop of the kids’ memories, making them feel that they grew up in a world that was filled with color, especially since their mother tends to dip into depression or sit in melancholy for periods of time.
The children are my inspiration, the years of them having toys is so short, and there are so many gorgeous handmade toys out there. It’s become a hobby finding beautiful gifts for the kids, that they not only love to play with, but that look good on a shelf. Having their toys being a focal point in our home lets the kids know that what they love and the things that are important to them also have value in our eyes. I don’t have to ask my kids to put their toys away, as if they’re something that needs to be hidden from sight.
My husband works shift work, though he is now in management for the maintenance department, three days on four days off, four days on three days off. Always 12 hours, noon to midnight. We live 3,000 miles away from my family and an 8-hour drive from his. It’s just us, doing life together. And because of that we have to make a lot of adjustments that steer us away from being a typical work-week family.
I always have to fly on his days off — alternating our schedules is convenient because we don’t have to pay for a nanny or childcare, and the children get solid one on one time with their father, which is invaluable for them and such a gift that most children are not privy to. But it also can be tiring as both of us feel the wear of a full-time job and full-time single parenting, often times going 14 plus days before we have a day off together.
Now, I am writing this having been gone from work on a leave since before having Clementine, meaning we’ve had over a year together. So at this current moment we are completely spoiled and beside ourselves with the gift that all of this time together has been. Some days, when the witching hour kicks in again, I think that the ideal situation would be to have a spouse come home around 5 so we could tag team the evening chaos, but really what we have is more than good enough.
Traveling with kids is one of the best things I think you can do as a family. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but so is going grocery shopping with them. At home you’ve got the thought of cooking and cleaning and you always have work on your mind. All of the facets of your normal life are cleared away when you’re traveling. I feel I mother better and deeper while out traveling because I’m not preoccupied with anything other than my kids and the adventure at hand. We get more cuddle time in hotel beds, special conversations on road trips. I feel it gives my kids a sense of who Sam and Lindsey are, not just who their mom and dad are.
Traveling together has certainly made us closer as a family and it also makes us feel closer to the rest of the people we share this earth with. You can go anywhere from Israel to Iceland and find that people and families are just like you. Filled with love and passions, and most of them are filled with kindness too. I think that’s important for my children to learn, there is a common thread to every soul — we have just been given life in different areas around the globe.
Visiting amongst different cultures and landscapes is extraordinary; different sights and smells, languages and weather, but there always remains just one type of people: people who are looking to be loved. Everyone, everywhere, feels that need, and I hope my children learn that and never let go of that.
The goal for a long travel day is always to have well behaved kids, right? It certainly gets easier the more the child is exposed to the proper etiquette of checking in, security, and the actual airplane ride. We are a tablet free household, we save that screen time for when they’re on the plane. And because my kids look forward to that device time, they sit quietly and play. My tip would be to make your child take a break from the device for a couple weeks before you travel and talk about how they will get it back on the airplane, really build it up like it’s a special treat.
I think a lot of parents don’t really communicate what an airplane is to their kids, I mean a flying machine that transports you from one place to another, it’s hard to swallow. I’m almost certain that my children as toddlers thought we just sat on a plane for hours and never really went across the globe.
Anyway, really going over the safety demo cards with the kids is crucial because it gives them awareness of the fact that they’re in a moving vehicle and that being safe is the most important part of flying. There is never any arguing about sitting with a seatbelt on for 6 hours and not getting to run up and down the aisle because they can grasp the full picture of the environment that they’re in.
I’ve seen a lot of parents go overboard with packing a whole bag of brand new toys to introduce the child to throughout the plane ride and once, a woman who brought two pans and a bag of sand for her kids to play with. Sand! I’m sure you can imagine where that all ended up! Aside from their iPad time, we have paper for drawing and coloring books and travel sized chalkboards. And, I do think it’s okay and even good for kids to learn to sit bored for a little while.
I wish someone had told me (and I had listened!) how much seeing myself as a mother would make me dislike myself. It’s like holding a mirror up to all of my really ugly faults: the times I fail them with my tendency to be too quick to anger, the times where I can’t see past my own worries to help them with their own, the times where I only listen half-heartedly, when I rush them along; when I shush them when it’s not necessary.
I wish someone would have let me know that my motherhood would be filled with evenings of crawling into bed, exhausted from the day, thinking that the children were the ones making the chaos louder than I could bear, and then realizing it’s me. My expectations are set too high. They haven’t failed me on those days, I have failed them.
I hope my kids remember how often they played in this house, I hope that they give credit to these years in these walls as being the springboard for their imagination and all their first dreams. I hope they remember that they were never without us, and that family time was abundant, and our days together were rich and long and safe.
I hope they look back and know how much they were loved, but maybe more importantly I hope they know how well they were loved. They can certainly forget how many times their mother said to pick up their mess (she can be quite the nag). And I hope they forget about my sadness here, it’s quite the conundrum, being so deeply sad amidst the people who make you the happiest.
I already miss their tiny bodies and being able to carry my boys. I miss the mispronounced words and the obsession with trains. I’ll miss the handprints on the fridge and the beds that never got made correctly, all of the little signs that my favorite people lived here amongst me.
My favorite thing about living with my kids is having the privilege of watching them become who they are. The love for them, from the second they were laid on my chest to now, makes me feel like my heart could burst wide open — all four chambers filled to the brim with love for my four babes. To be able to hold hands with little people while they know nothing of the cruelness of the world and try to fill them up with the belief that they’re good and they can help spread goodness. The whole world will tell them what they can’t do, but I have the privilege of telling them and helping them see all that they can.
I’m also smitten with living amongst such pretty toys, I’m so thankful I have at least ten more years of toys on shelves. And ten more years of shopping for toys to put on shelves.
Thank you, Lindsey!
I love the idea of taking a house and filling it with color and pattern to combat the sometimes grey and dreary city scape outside. And I really love the idea of buying beautiful toys to decorate with. You know the toys are going to be all over the house anyway, so you might as well pick some pretty ones, right?
I also really loved what Lindsey said about traveling being difficult, but so is grocery shopping. Isn’t that the truth? So many activities are hard with kids, so why not embrace the idea that travel might be tricky (especially at first) and just go for it! It get’s easier over time and you get the added bonus of seeing the world.
Are you and your kids avid travelers? Or do you tend to stick closer to home? What are some of your best travel tips? How have you made seeing new places, wether they are 100 or 1000 miles away from home, part of your family life?
The clementine wallpaper
Dining room wallpaper
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