Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Toddler Travel Essentials

We've been fairly busy with travel this month, and it seems like it's that way for most people in the summer. But now that Henry is getting older, I'm finding it takes a little more effort to entertain him when we're on the go! The struggle is finding things that will hold his attention and are actually worth the space they take up in your bag, as it seems like traveling with kids means always having to pack a ton anyway, without lugging along a bunch of extra stuff. That's why I thought I'd share some things that (I think) can be helpful when traveling with a toddler in tow!

(Also, full disclosure, some of these things are very recent purchases, meaning that I can't necessarily say that they are totally tried and true for us quite yet. But based on my first impressions, I'm a fan so far and I see them being super useful for future travels!)

Toddler Travel Essentials

1. Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Tablet - Henry has had this toy for awhile now, but he still seems to enjoy it. It has a few different modes, two volume settings, and it's not too loud or annoying, meaning you can pull it out on the plane without people hating you. It's also fairly small and so it's one I usually try to keep in my bag when we're going out because although it doesn't hold his attention for hours, it's a great one to pull out to distract him when he's getting antsy.

2. iFrogz Little Rockers Headphones - I picked these up at Target before our flight to Michigan, mainly because I thought they were cute and they were under $20. I wouldn't necessarily say that they're they're the most high quality headphones in the world, but they seemed to fit on Henry's head pretty well and they do have volume limiting so they can't get too loud. They have these interchangeable plates to go on the earbuds with different designs and Henry was really excited that there were "panes" and "choo-choos" :)

3. Target Dollar Spot - I am a huge fan of the Target Dollar Spot in general, I can never resist checking it out when I walk into the store and I've found some great things there. But it's also an awesome place for grabbing some small, inexpensive toys before you leave on a trip that you can pull out on the plane or in the car that will be new (and hopefully exciting) to your toddler. I found some really cute little books there before our Michigan trip, and it's just nice to be able to pull out something that your kiddo hasn't seen before once you're en route.

4. Skip Hop Monkey Zoo Safety Harness Mini Backpack - I picked this up while were in Michigan and I think it's so adorable! Like most Skip Hop items, it's very whimsical and cute while not being overly cartoonish. The reason I wanted to get this is because Henry loves to run when we're in public and since I'm pretty pregnant, I have no shame about trying out a leash for him...ha! But the harness is removable, so I like that it gives you the option to use it just as a cute little backpack. However, when I tried to use the backpack with Henry at the airport for our flight home, he was in a pretty unhappy mood (thanks to teething and a cold) and he wanted NO part of wearing it. So while I can't personally say yet that it's great for travel, I have multiple friends that have it and love it, and I'm hopeful that we'll get use out of it in the future! (Also, they have lots of other animals too!)

5. Melissa & Doug Water Wow! - I picked up a few of these at Target before our Michigan trip and man, they are such a genius idea! They come with a little brush that you fill with water and kids can use it to reveal the colors in this "coloring" book. Henry isn't super into coloring yet, and trying to bring a bunch of crayons on the plane and having them roll everywhere is annoying. The way the water instantly reveals the colors is more immediate gratification and the fact that there's no mess is amazing. The little brush is easy to fill with water on the go and it's just a fun activity to pull out while traveling!

6. Summer Infant 3Dflip Convenience Stroller - I've talked about this stroller before, but we're still using it and loving it! It's an umbrella stroller, so it's obviously not as sturdy or easy to maneuver as the BOB stroller we use at home, but we've taken it on tons of trips at this point and it's still in good shape! My favorite feature is that we can face Henry towards us and recline him almost flat, which has been amazing for situations where he has fallen asleep on the plane because we can just transfer him to the stroller when we get off the plane and he can keep sleeping. (However, the rear-facing option does have a maximum recommended weight of 25 lbs, so he is technically getting a little too heavy for that now!) It's easy to fold and unfold but it's also not crazy expensive, so if the airline does lose or break it eventually, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

7. Camelbak Eddy Kids' Water Bottle - Summer travel can be hot so you want to make sure your little one stays hydrated, and this is our favorite water bottle as of late. It seems pretty leakproof, it holds a good amount of water, and Henry loves it!

8. Amazon Kindle Fire Kids Edition - We ordered this for Henry on Prime Day earlier this month and it was a great deal! I love that it's a normal Kindle Fire that Cam and I can use, but we can switch it to kids mode for Henry. What really pushed me over the edge to order it was that it comes with a two year warranty and Amazon will replace it no matter what your kid does to it, that was basically a no-brainer! However, I haven't really played around with it a ton yet and haven't downloaded many apps, so Henry hasn't spent too much time on it yet. I'd love app recommendations if anyone has them, and I know we'll be getting a lot of use out of this in the future!

These are the things that have come in handy for us on our last few trips, but I'm always open to suggestion on how to make travel with a toddler go more smoothly so feel free to share if you have any!



PS - This post was not sponsored, these are all things we really use! :)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Currently: July

Some of my favorite photos from my Instagram so far this month :)
 Happy Friday everyone! I know things here on the blog have been even more sporadic than usual this month thanks to the fact that it's summer and we've been traveling, but I wanted to pop in and say hello! I hope everyone is having a fantastic July, here's a little bit about what I've been up to lately :)

Enjoying: Feeling the baby move! This time around, my placenta is in the front so it took a little bit longer to feel him moving then I did with Henry, but now his movements are getting stronger and more frequent. It's such a cool feeling and even though I'm usually chasing Henry around when it happens, I'm trying to soak it in. Also, I'm working on a post on my second trimester, and I'll be sharing that soon :)
 
Making: Appointments for the dentist and the eye doctor! I'm overdue for both of these things so I figured that I had better get them taken care of before I have a newborn who needs to nurse all the time!
 
Cooking: Nothing...ha! Since we've been traveling a lot this month, our fridge was literally empty when we came home. We did manage to get to the grocery store yesterday and stock up, and since we have tons of lettuce in our garden right now, I anticipate having quite a few salads in the near future. It's also supposed to be pretty hot in Portland next week, so my motivation for cooking is pretty low right now and I'm guessing we'll be using our grill quite a bit!

Reading: Also nothing at the moment....whoops. I always have grand plans to read a lot of books over the summer, but between taking care of a toddler and being pregnant, I honestly feel like all my brain can handle at the end of the day is TV, ha!
 
Wanting: Someone to come and unpack from our trip to Michigan for me. For as much as I really do love to travel, I detest packing and unpacking.

Looking: At all the cute things available for the NSale, which starts today! I feel like all I've been seeing for the past two weeks are blog posts about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so I feel like they'll revoke my blogger status if I don't at least mention it :) Although I do love Nordstrom, I don't have the credit card (so no early access for me) and I'm not nearly as crazy about the sale as a lot of other people are. Not to mention that since I'm pregnant, I'm pretty much limited to non-clothing purchases this year. Whomp whomp. But I do have my eye on a few things, like these booties and this robe, which I feel like I will live in after the baby is born :)

Wishing: That could get a sectional for our family room. I may have mentioned this in one of these posts before, but right now, we just have a couch (and two chairs) in our family room. So at night when Cameron and I lay on the couch to watch TV, we are always in each other's space. When it was winter and I was not pregnant, I didn't mind being cozy but now that it's hot out and I feel huge, it's getting more and more difficult to get comfortable. Unfortunately, I don't think a sectional would fit in super well in our family room but I'm getting tired of cursing our tiny couch every night.
  
Eating: Tons of summer fruit, mint chip ice cream, and sour gummy candy. Best of luck for my gestational diabetes test that's coming up soon!
 
Loving: Seeing Henry's language really start to develop! I heard from so many people that language really starts exploding around 18 months, and it's definitely been that way for him. I feel like he says new words all the time and it's just such a cute stage I can barely stand it, ha :)
 
Hoping: The pain that I'm having in my hand/wrist goes away soon! I feel like I had something similar happen with Henry and so I think it may be pregnancy related, but it feels like I have carpal tunnel or something similar in my left hand and wrist. It comes and goes throughout the day so it's not too bad, but it's still annoying!

Needing: To go check out the ModCloth pop-up here in Portland before the end of the month!

  Wearing: This maternity swim suit! The fact that it's a one piece does make it a little annoying to go to the bathroom (which is sort of a bad combination with pregnancy, ha!) but overall, I really like it and have worn it a ton so far this summer! (The suit I have is actually red with white polka dots and it looks like it's not available online anymore, but it's the same cut as this one - I think the red one might still be available in store though!)

Watching: The Bachelorette, although thanks to our Michigan trip, I haven't had a chance to watch this week's episode yet! (Hoping to make time for it today!) We also just finished rewatching all the episodes of The Office, and then we just started watching Bloodline. I'm not sure what to think of it just yet, but I've heard good things!

Feeling: A little tired, thanks to jet lag :) TGIF!


 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

June in Review

Hey there, long time no blog!

Summer is in full swing and we've been enjoying every minute over here! I feel like many of the blogs I read have been kind of sporadic in posting lately; it's just that time of year when everyone seems to be busy and would rather be outside vs. sitting at a computer and that's life :) But to catch you up, July has been pretty busy for us so far! We had a somewhat low key 4th of July weekend, but then we left for a trip to Central Oregon last week. Now we're back home, but we're gearing up for a trip to Michigan and then we have a camping trip planned for later this month.

So I know we're already almost halfway into July (whattttttt) but for the sake of consistency, I wanted to do a quick post recapping June (like I've done with the previous months this year) before I share anything else. These are some of my favorite photos from the past month that never made it to Instagram aka basically a phone dump of Henry photos :) I'm just loving this age!

Picking dandelions in our yard :)
Park & Splash Pad back when the weather was warm, it's been cool here recently!
Checking out the dog at the Children's Museum
View from our deck
Picking up rocks after his 18 month well check up aka his favorite thing to do
Shopping with my sidekick (in an extremely wrinkled shirt, whoops)
I got this outfit for my baby shower and it just now fits Henry - he looks like an adorable gymnastics coach lol :)
My guys walking around town
Always running!
These PJs are some of my favorites :)
Playing with his cousin at our BBQ
Father's Day by the water
He LOVES sand!

Playground with Dada!
Strolling around Portland with my boy!
Very interested in his friend's hair (he kept trying to take her bow out - ha!)
Henry did swim lessons for two weeks in June, and the pool had the prettiest hydrangeas out front!
Little fish!
He loves the slide :)
I took a ton of pictures of in front of these flowers over the course of his lessons, they were so pretty in person!
We are constantly teaching Henry to be gentle with Lola and not to sit/step on her...but sometimes, it happens...(and thankfully Lola doesn't seem to mind at all! Actually, she seems like she enjoys all the attention)
Turning on and off lights is his favorite thing
Taking his upcoming responsibilities very seriously...ha!
More playground time
Exploring the botanical garden!
Pouting after I made him get out of the pool after his lesson was over
Loving free play with the toys at the library at storytime
This cake was from a little Momma Bear Magazine get together and I thought it was awesome :)
These two :)
More running...he's getting so fast!
Checking out the lavender festival after our hike to Ramona Falls
Dinner/grocery shopping date with my boy :)

Hope everyone had a great June and that July is off to a wonderful start so far!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hiking with Henry - Ramona Falls

This weekend, we did our longest hike we've done with Henry so far!
 

We hiked to Ramona Falls (near Mount Hood) and it was 7 miles round trip. Back in the day, Cam and I would have thought nothing of doing a 7 mile hike, but now, being 23 weeks pregnant and having a very active toddler who doesn't always love being in the hiking pack for long periods of time, I was a little unsure how it would go. But it ended up being so great! The hike is really pretty and the elevation gain (only 1000 feet) didn't feel too tough since it was spread out over a longer distance. Speaking of our pre-kids lives, there was a time when I would always bring our "real" camera when we'd go hiking (or do anything) and I'd usually do an entire blog post recapping every hike we did. Now, ain't nobody got time for that and the camera gets left behind to make more space for Henry's snacks. But we did end up taking quite a few cell phone photos during this weekend's hike, so rather than just spamming Instagram with all of them, I thought I'd just do a post instead :) Enjoy!


 The hike had some really fantastic views of Mt. Hood! It looks kind of small in these pictures, but it was massive in person. And it was such a gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky!


The thing I was most concerned about with this hike was crossing the Sandy River; apparently there used to be a seasonal bridge that washed out, so now you have to cross the river (which is fairly fast moving) just using logs and rocks. I had read that it could be kind of unsafe, but had heard other people say it wasn't that bad. It was about a mile in and a little bit daunting, especially considering that Cam was carrying Henry and I'm pregnant and admittedly do not have the best balance.


Some people were just walking across these logs, but I wasn't about to attempt that.


I ended up crossing over these rocks on the way to the falls, and then used this log to cross over on the way back. There were other families with kids doing it, and it wasn't as bad as I expected.


Cam carried Henry most of the time, but we did let him do some hiking on his own two feet as well. It's a little hard because he either wants to go running down the trail or stop and pick up every rock along the way. But it's so fun to watch him get excited about hiking and discover nature for himself!

 
"Out of my way Dad!"

Finally, we made it to the falls!

And I really look pregnant - eeek!
 

It was hard not to want to take a million pictures, the falls are so pretty!


There was a nice, relatively flat area in front of the falls where we stopped to eat lunch and Henry collected sticks. He was being so stinking adorable, he's just the happiest boy :)

 

I know I already put some of these pictures on Instagram, but they're some of my new favorites :)


If you're in the Portland area and looking for a good hike to do this summer, check out Ramona Falls!

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