Blog

  • This is the Time

    Recently the dad of one of my daughter’s friends told me that he wished he would have taught his now tween kids to ski, “I grew up skiing. I was even a ski instructor." A flash of nostalgia crossed his mind as he smiled. In asking what got in his way he laughed and said, “I don’t know. I guess we’ve never made the time." I responded, “It’s never too late. There’s time."

    Time, it flies. We all know that. We’re constantly reminded by those close to us and strangers with grown kids, “It goes by so fast." As we reflect on 2016 take caution in falling into the “I wish I would have, could have or should have”... rather think on the times that filled your heart and made you smile.

    Likely you’ll find a common theme. For me, it was mostly times spent away from the house, together as a family. It was an unexpected act of kindness; a loosely planned adventure that unraveled in pure fun; an impromptu hike; connecting with new people and places; a story told in heaps of laughter.

    So how do we make the time? How do we ensure that which brings us most joy actually happens?

    My philosophy:

    1. Find an open window on the calendar, whether it’s next week or next month, and block it out. Decline any activities or invites during those hours or days that may influence you otherwise.  
    2. Write it down. Even if it’s an idea in the making of somewhere to go, an event you don’t want to miss or someone you’d like to see, write it on the calendar. Schedule it.
    3. Tell someone. Hold yourself accountable to the plan. Rally your friends and family to ensure they know the plan and will help you follow through on it.
    4. Carve out time. While it’s natural to give everything 128%, won’t 98% do? Don’t go overboard on work or tasks that well, in retrospect, won’t be missed if you simply accomplish what is expected. There’s no need to perfect everything, every time.
    5. Don’t think, just do. It’s easy to rationalize why not get up to the mountains, why not spend the extra cash, why not take time away from work or home projects. But in the end, why not!?!

    In 2017, I challenge you to make the time for that which most fulfills you.  And next year at this time, my hopes are, instead of “I guess we’ve never made the time”, to be, “I’m so glad we made the time." This is the time!

    Best to You and Yours this New Year’s Day!

  • Where the Heck is Matt?

    Gotta dance like there's nobody watching! Been there done that? Oh, I’m sure you have. And if you haven’t for some time you might just want to after reading about ‘Where the Heck is Matt?’http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/about

    What would the world look like and feel like if we took less time focusing on the negative and more time looking at the positives? You know – the glass half empty versus half full concept. So what makes people generally happy?  What puts a smile on someone’s face?  Think Justin Timberlake here.  “I can’t stop the feeling!  So just dance, dance, dance!” 

    Matt Harding had these exact thoughts.  While working in Australia in early 2000, Matt began to realize there was more than the life in his “bubble”.  He quit his job and began traveling the world.  With each destination, he filmed himself dancing – mostly in front of iconic landmarks.  After uploading the videos to his blog, the dancing eventually went viral. 

    “Matt thinks travel is important. It helps us learn what we’re capable of, that the path laid in front of us isn’t the only one we can choose, and that we don’t need to be so afraid of each other all the time.”   Matt Harding dances with people all over the world.  He makes videos of it and puts them on YouTube to show that the world is a whole lot safer and friendlier that it looks on TV. 

    Lugabug totally gets Matt’s vision. We believe the world has so much to offer and getting out to explore with your kids it is a must do.  When Matt began taking his son with him on dance-capades, his airport journey looked a bit like this… until Matt and Lugabug discovered each other. 

    No longer does Matt or son endure the perils of a suitcase ride-on. Matt shares his love for Lugabug with friends and family, wherever his dancing feet might lead him: “The Lugabug is a canvas seat and a strap that mounts on my rolly-bag so I can cart the boy and make us into a train… Invented by a couple in Seattle… Makes traveling easier and more fun… We’re on our way to SF and LA for a weekend of dancing badly.”  

    The Lugabug compact travel seat attaches to a carry-on suitcase and makes navigating an airport with kids a breeze. It’s been Matt’s family travel go-to ever since!  The result?  A snug seat for tired feet and a safe, adventuresome trip through the airport! Matt takes the Lugabug on his journeys.  Where will you take yours?  Go travel.  Make memories. Take the Kids!  Take the Lugabug!

  • Work, Work, Work, Work, Work......


    Our lives have us going non-stop. We are professionals, athletes, artists, chefs, organizers, planners, parents…and our kids’ biggest fans. And sometimes, when we allow ourselves a few moments we stop and day dream. We dream of disconnecting, slowing down, taking time to enjoy each other and think on what really matters. We dream of taking vacations. Well, stop dreaming; your vacation time is now! With only 18 summers (!) with our kiddos, things change in the blink of an eye. Lugabug was created to make it easier for adventuring families to jet set and let those dreams become reality. We also know how important even a quick, close-to-home vacation can become an unforgettable experience! Here are a few tips for planning a last-minute get away:


    Find a staycation
    Making forever memories doesn’t always mean zooming across the country. Try looking closer to home. Resorts often cater to locals in the off season. The Arizona Grand is a perfect example. With providing packages for everything from girl’s getaways to LegoLand adventures, there is something for everyone. Not to mention the thrill of the water park! Water park resorts aren’t your thing? Throw a light pack together and head to the lake, the mountains or the beach for a few hours. It doesn’t matter the location, what matters is the together time!


    Pick the right time
    Beat the traffic, the crowds, and the rates by traveling mid-week if off to a popular beach, resort or cabin in the cool pines! If city festivals, free events, outdoor concerts are more your speed, pick weekend travel. While rates may be higher, activity costs will be lower. Be flexible. The fewer expectations you have the more discounts you can grab!


    Look for deals
    Peruse your favorite resort and hotel websites to find great family packages allowing you to take advantage of the resort’s amenities and even some of the local fare. Take for example Omni and Hilton Hotels. Omni offers a summer getaway package that includes credits for meals, a backpack of goodies for kids and the ever necessary late checkout! Hilton often offers discounts for breakfasts at many of their resorts. Consider joining AAA or an airline mileage reward program for great deals on family packages. Find a reliable VRBO rental for better rates. Or, if swapping houses appeals to you, try looking on HomeExchange or HomeLink.

    Ditch expectations and Unplug to connect
    When taking last minute vacations, your best plan is to not have a plan. Eliminate the expectations for the trip and let the events unfold as they may. Ditching the plan ditches the stress! Most importantly, UNPLUG! We are all connected to our everyday lives through social media, work email, personal email and more. By unplugging you will see the amazement that is right in front of you…..your littles!
    Go travel. Make memories. Take the kids. Take the Lugabug!

  • Let's Go Beach Bumming!

    Summer.  It’s my favorite time of year.  A time to turn off alarms, throw out schedules, let the adventure lead you and make memories with your family.  One of our favorite travel destinations has been Dana Point in Southern California, featuring some of the finest beaches in the world.  Their official motto is “Harboring the Good Life” and the good life it is.  From shopping to beaches to water sports, there is something to keep every member of my little tribe happy!

    Having experienced the best of the area, we’ve come up with our own short list of our favorite Dana Point area beaches.  Naturally, as a mom, there are some essentials to look for when determining the best beaches.  Must haves include: clean bathrooms, shallow breakers, lots of life guards, clean water and short walks from the car to the sand.  Keeping these top of mind, we suggest the following to all you beach bumming families:

    Baby Beach, Dana Point Harbor

    This is one of the kids favorite hot spots….admittedly I like it too!  The beach can be busy on the weekends, but navigating the sometimes larger crowds is worth it! One of the highlights of Baby Beach is the CALM water!  Plus, there is always a lifeguard on duty during the summer.  The beach is just a few short steps from two different parking lots.  And there is FREE parking.  Plus, it’s a great place for beginner paddle boarders, sailors, etc. and that is precisely what I am!  Right next to Baby Beach is The Ocean Institute. Not only did they have a cool “pirate ship” the kids had a bonus experience in dissecting a mackerel.  The crowd in this area is all littles and families.  We love this harbor.  “The water is deep enough to play in but, not deep enough to drown in” according to my favorite oldestJ

    Strands Beach, Dana Point

    This beach is more of a hidden gem than a go-to destination flocked by tourists.  There is plenty of free parking but the trek to the beach can be a bit of a challenge if you’re carrying lots of gear or lots of littles!  The steps leading to the beach provide a beautiful view and there’s a funicular available in the summer.  This beach has tons of flat sandy space and gorgeous scenery.  A lifeguard keeps watch in the summer and the bathrooms are clean and easily accessible.  Best part according to Addyson is the “workout on the way down, the surf that breaks away from the shore and the warm shower steps away”.  We love this beach as it’s frequently less busy than some of the other major beaches in the area. 

    Doheney Beach, Dana Point

     

    This is not a fancy beach rather a simple beach.   Sometimes simple is best.  There is plenty of parking; while not free the cost is reasonable and located just steps from the beach.  This is a great place for watching the surf break and even better, watching the surfers!  There are plenty of tables, BBQ grills, volleyball courts and a spot to rent everything from bicycles to surf boards.  The bathrooms are close by and clean and there are plenty of lifeguards.  This is a favorite early evening spot for our tribe.  The crowd thins out, the vibe is chill and the scenery is peaceful!

    We have met fabulous families from all over in Dana Point.  Many of them traveling with multiple littles.  Families from New Zeeland to New Mexico. All of them making memories.  Families who love the free hand the Lugabug offers. 

    Go Travel.  Make Memories.  Take the Kids.  Take the Lugabug!

     

     

     

  • Lugabug and Reece's Rainbow

                                                                      

    Lugabug & Reece’s Rainbow

    Inspiring stories, inspiring families - May 2016 - www.lugabug.com


    A Comfy Seat for Tired Feet Around the World

    The Lugabug Family is thrilled to be supporting Reece’s Rainbow.  Founded by Andrea Roberts, Reece’s Rainbow was inspired by Andrea’s son Reece who was born with Down syndrome.  In her words, “The life we had envisioned for ourselves and our
    first-born-son was turned completely upside down, and we felt very much alone.  We were so blessed to find help through the Down syndrome Association of Atlanta and Parent-to-Parent of Georgia.”

    Since that time, their network of friends continued to grow and Andrea’s outreach and support to other families with Down syndrome children strengthened.  Reeces’s Rainbow started in 2004 as an outreach program serving new families with Down syndrome in Atlanta, Georgia.  Since then the program expanded to include promoting the international adoption of children with Down syndrome.   By raising money to offer adoption grants on waiting children, they are able to give adoptive families the extra financial help they need to bring a child with Down syndrome home from a difficult existence in overseas orphanages.

    By donating a Lugabug to families traveling to meet and bring home their newest members, we hope to make their voyage just a bit easier.  Helping to keep their smallest members who may be traveling with them close at hand and making navigating the airports easier for the adopting families, Lugabug will be there every step of the way!  We can’t wait to share the incredible stories of these loving families! 


    “The mission of Reece’s Rainbow is to advocate and find families for orphans with Down syndrome and other special needs by raising funds for adoption grants and promoting awareness through an online community, media communications, and other events.” - Andrea Roberts, Executive Director

    www.reecesrainbow.com

  • Summer Vacation Travel Tips....A Solo Mom's Perspective

    By Amber Topping, Mom extraordinaire 

    I have been delightfully blessed with four beautiful kiddos.   Yes, four – all between the ages of 3 and 11!  To many of you, that may seem like a lot.  To me, it’s the perfect make up for my little, big family.  As a single mom I felt challenged by the thought of traveling solo and was quick to delay planning a trip.

    In watching my family unit grow, I’ve recognized the importance in focusing our energies on exploring this big, beautiful world together – not only to create memories but to be more connected to one another and to places, people unknown.

    While traveling solo can appear daunting, I’ve adopted the following tricks through trial and error and am hopeful my cheat sheet will help alleviate your traveling solo woes ---

    Research.  First, determine the type of vacation you are looking for with your family.  Beach?  Mountain?  Adventure?  History?  Then, look it up!  Find reviews, read articles on your favorite places.  Look at which are logistically easiest to get to.  Then press “Go”!

    Let the Kids Decide.   If traveling with older kids, let them do some research and select a few activities they would like to do.  If traveling with younger kids, give them a few mom-approved options to choose from.  This way you are more apt to pick an activity they enjoy instead of one you want them to enjoy!

    Pack Wisely. Lugging multiple suitcases through an airport is tricky even when you do employ child assistance.  To an eleven-year-old, a 50 lb. suitcase can feel more like steering a car than a suitcase.  Pack the minimums.  Almost every hotel, resort, condo, house, etc. will have a laundry service on site.  Let the kids pick their very favorites.  This way they won’t tire of repeating an outfit (something I’ve learned from my fashion forward nine-year-old).

    Take a Carry On and a Lugabug!  Leave the stroller at home. Instead, pack a carry on suitcase with necessary toiletry items and one change of clothes for each family member (don’t forget swimsuits!)  The Lugabug, a child travel seat that attaches to your rolling suitcase, (www.lugabug.com) will keep your little ones close by giving you another free hand to navigate.  Say “Yes” to not having to chase your kids around and instead, giving them the freedom to ride along or store their belongings in their Lugabug! 

    To boot, the carry-on suitcase will save your sanity in the event luggage is lost, flights are cancelled or your three-year-old destroys his outfit before your flight has even left the gate. 

    Use Early BoardingMost airlines have a “families traveling with small children” boarding time.  Use it.  Getting settled before the masses will help both you and the passengers around you.

    Don’t Hesitate to Ask for HelpThis has been a hard one for me.  I know I am strong and independent and completely self-sufficient, but asking for help while traveling proves better for my sanity than making a show of my strength.  You will be surprised how accommodating airline personnel and fellow passengers alike can be.

    Have all Airport Transport ReservedI made the mistake once of “winging it” on the airport transport side.  There’s nothing worse than spending 45-minutes waiting for a taxi or shuttle after spending the entire day in active travel.  Talk about asking for a meltdown.  Call ahead and reserve a car!

    Look for Hotels with Kids’ Programs.  Better yet… go all inclusive!!  As a parent, we travel to see the joy on our kids’ faces as they experience something new.   It’s important we also take time for ourselves.  This allows us to be a better parent!  Many hotels offer kids clubs, sitter services, etc.  All inclusives like Beaches and Club Med offer something for the entire family and take the planning out of the vacation.  Let someone else do the work for a change!

    Mix up your Dining ExperiencesEating every meal out can be expensive and exhausting.  Mix it up.  Try going out for only breakfast or only lunch instead of dinner every day.  Get carry out.  Try Happy Hour…yes, happy hour.  You’ll often find smaller crowds and good prices on food and drink specials!

    Expect the UnexpectedAs parents, we survive most days on set schedules, expectations and plans. As a single parent, you carry the load in making sure things go as planned. While it is good to travel with a plan, one of the only things you can count on when traveling is for things to not go as expected.  From flight delays, to lost luggage, to rooms not as you had envisioned, something can always go wrong!  Don’t let the change rile you.  Adapt and adjust.  Just go with it.  Sometimes the best things come when there is no plan!

    Enjoy every DayWe don’t all get to travel multiple times a year.  Enjoy every minute of the time you do!

  • We Did It!!!!!

    It’s a celebratory night, not just for us but each of you. You inspired us to continue putting forth the energy to achieve success – one day at a time! This achievement is just as much ours as yours.

    We’re just as excited as you to get Lugabug moving towards production. Jon, I and the girls are all heading to meet with our local manufacturer here in Seattle this weekend and will keep you posted as things progress. 

    In the meantime, we want to keep connected with you! Please LIKE us on Facebook. http://bit.ly/lugabugfb and check out our newly enhanced site and Pinterest board.lugabug.com 

    Within the next 15 days you should look forward to receiving a survey to confirm your order and mailing address, and provide any information or feedback you’d like to share about Lugabug. 

    Thanks again for your support and participation in the beginning stages of this awesome journey. 

    Cheers! j and j

  • 2 More Days!

    Travel. Why travel? Sometimes purely for fun and other times out of necessity – whether for vacation, business, a wedding, to see family or just to get away. It’s a shared memory. The opportunity to meet a new friend. Experience something new. A reminder that we’re all connected in one way or another. Our travels have shaped our character and changed who we are in this world.

    We love that Lugabug is a product that helps inspire easy traveling for families – and we love that you will share in those memories with your family for a lifetime. Traveling with kids opens up their world to new perspectives and creates the opportunity to connect with people on so many levels. What a gift you and I can give kids and family through travel. And if Lugabug can kick start your vacation in a fun, positive direction? We’ve succeeded!

    With 2-days of this journey left, we want to once again thank you for your contributions – whether getting the Lugabug for travel use or simply supporting this effort, we appreciate you!

    Please give Lugabug one more blast – between today and tomorrow. Check out the groups you belong to and share what’s excited you about the product!

    P.S. We are working to update our Lugabug site as we speak, and will share with you soon. We also hope that we can incorporate a way to contribute to a youth exchange or global youth education program through our efforts with Lugabug. If you have any ideas of who we can partner with, please share!


    Jennie & Jon
  • 6 Days Left!

    Here we are… in the 6-day home stretch of our campaign! We are committed to bringing Lugabug to market. 

    We know you backed this project because you: 1) Can’t wait to use Lugabug on your next family vacation; 2) Know of someone who needs Lugabug and are super excited to share it with a friend or donate to a school auction; 3) Feel great contributing to an entrepreneurial effort and playing a key role in bringing a new product to market!

    Whatever the reason, we are happy to have YOU on our backer team. We know it’s still possible to achieve our goal, even with the limited amount of time we have left. We are getting more clear on our target market through our campaign efforts and have recently engaged a PR firm to ensure we get to the right people at the right time. We are asking for your help in talking to 2 friends in the next 2 days about Lugabug, and encouraging them to be a part of this backer team. 

    Get your 25% discount at satsumadesign.com with our refer-a-friend program. Just let us know who you referred and we’ll get you a promo code! Good through April 1, 2015.

    Insider tip: The Green Hearts

    We also would love for you to check out "the Green Hearts" – a project we've recently backed – developed by our friends in NYC. We all love our fruits & veggies, especially for a long day of traveling! Here's a great way to extend their freshness – This is your early bird chance for "the Green Hearts" on Kickstarter. http://j.mp/lugtotgh 

    It really seems to work, and Green Hearts offer a money back guarantee! The Green Hearts are designed in a way that keeps curious kids out! It's easily opened by adults only when it comes to refill them so they can further extend the freshness of your fruits and vegetables.Spending too much on (organic) fresh produce? Here's a proven method to keep them fresher much longer. Plus: you'll reduce waste and it's kid friendly. Sounds good to us!

  • Lugabug In The News!

    There’s lots of hype about Lugabug you should know about - here’s who’s been talking about us lately! Do Share! 

    *More media activity on: Jetleg & Meyhem, Nation of Moms, The New Parents Guide, Luxe Recess, Satsuma Designs, FamiliesGo!, Modern Shopping, Trips with Tykes, A Nation of Moms, Crown Hill Neighbors, Go Local, West Woodland, etc. etc. etc.

    Jennie & Jon