Adventure

Summer is here! We're ready to make it legendary!

Summer in the Bay Area doesn't always mean super hot weather, but it's definitely full of adventure and fun! This season is one of our favorites (not to mention that Zachary and I are both summer babies!). Although our summer might look and feel different than it does for other families, it doesn't stop us from dressing the part. Summer clothes are the best!


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This summer we're excited to be partnering with Gymboree and their Local Legends Campaign to share how we make our summer adventures legendary. Their summer collection is full of bright colors and is a perfect fit for all the activities we enjoy during the summer. With Gymboree you are sure to find some awesome pieces for your kid to look great, but also comfortable to play in all day. The Local Legends Campaign has challenged us to share what our family does to make our summer memorable. I love this theme because I'm reminded of how amazing my summers were as a child, young and carefree. It brings me so much joy to be able to make new memories with my own kids. Below is a few of our favorite summer traditions:

Outsidelands Music Festival

My husband and I have been attending this festival since moving to the Bay Area in 2012. It's one of favorites because it's held at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Outsidelands is not your typical music festival. Much of it has to do with our summer weather. The park is surrounded by trees, and fog surrounds the nights. When the sun goes down, music blares and the lights turn on through the foggy trees. The park becomes a magical, mystical playground. Bringing our little dancer, Zac with us has only made the experience more enjoyable. This festival is fun for the whole family!

Urban Hikes

Summer is a great time to enjoy the great urban outdoors. We love taking walks around the City and surrounding areas to enjoy the scenery and window shop. Walking around, even in familiar areas, can sometimes feel like a vacation when you have nothing on the schedule and nowhere to be.

Disneyland

What better way to spend summer than at the happiest place on Earth?! Some of our family lives in Southern California, so we visit often. This year we made the wise decision to become Disneyland season pass holders. By the end of this year, Zac will no longer be the only child, so we wanted to make a point to spend as much time with her as possible before her new sibling arrives in October. Seeing her little face light up when we enter the park makes my heart melt.

Boba Runs

We love a delicious chilled beverage in the summer. Boba is one of those drinks that make a summer day even better! Whether it's an afternoon pick-me-up or an ice blended dessert, it always hits the spot. One of our favorites is Boba Guys (see photos)

Head over to Gymboree to check out their summer collection and get ready to make this one legendary!

 

Hawaii with a baby. It can be done!

This post is super late but since returning from Maui, we've moved (still in the Bay Area) and took another mini vacay down to LA with a pitstop to Santa Barbara as we headed back up along the coast. Thanks for being patient! 

Hope you have some time because this is a long one! Taking a baby on any trip is a daunting task. I know I sometimes get anxious taking Zachary to Target on a rainy day, let alone an overnight trip! Prior to Maui we've been on several weekend trips to see family in the Sacramento area as well as LA, each trip lasting no longer than a 2-night stay. When planning to bring our 5-month-old baby on a 7-day vacation to an unfamiliar place with tropical climate and unpredictable weather, I had to spend a lot more time preparing. I would say that our smaller trips prepped me for it. 

What made our trip to Maui most challenging was the amount of luggage (see Packing) we had to bring. We lugged our stuff from home to our Uber to the airport, from the check-in gate to the security checkpoint, the airport at our destination to the rental car place, from the rental car place to our hotel, and then did the entire thing again in reverse going back home. Shoutout to the hubby, Leejay for carrying all the cargo while I focused my energy on the baby!

Considerations

Weather is a big one to consider when traveling anywhere. In San Francisco I look up the weather everyday before I even step outside. In preparation for this trip I looked up the 10-day forecast in Kapalua and read reviews about the weather in Kapalua in January on TripAdvisor and other various blogs to get a sense of what I needed.

It doesn't hurt to check in with your pediatrician prior to travel either. Zac had a mild cold in between her regular 4-month well-child visit and our vacation. We decided to make an appointment to ensure that we were good to go and get educated on what to do if her cold progressed into an ear infection, who to call, and what to bring. Her pediatrician said to make sure to use a nasal saline rinse, stay hydrated, have a thermometer and tylenol handy, and get info on the closest urgent care and hospital from the hotel when we arrive. He also honed in on the importance of sunblock. I learned that you could use plain zinc oxide (like in diaper cream) as sunblock and it didn't really matter what SPF you use, as long as it was at least SPF 20 and was applied frequently every few hours and/or if she got wet/submerged in water. 

Packing

I began packing for Maui 2 weeks in advance. I know that sounds crazy, but I knew that it would be important in case I missed something. One thing I had to keep in mind was that babies grow super fast and 2 weeks can make a big difference. I made sure not to pack anything that already fit too snug. On top of the regular baby items I pack for overnight trips, I had to also keep in mind that we were going somewhere with pools, beaches, and harsh sunlight. So here's what I packed:

  • Stroller/stroller bag - Strollers are considered a free check-in bag! We brought our Uppababy G-Lite umbrella stroller because it's much lighter than our regular Uppababy Cruz. We definitely missed the cargo space below, but it was nice not having to lug such a big stroller around.
  • Car seat/car seat bag- We used our UppaBaby Mesa carseat without the actual mesa platform. It's lightweight and easy to install. These are free to check-in too!
  • Lulyboo lounger- We used this poolside for Zac to lounge and nap. We also ended up using it to co-sleep with her in the bed on the days she was very congested so I could help her clear her sinuses more frequently.
  • Pop-up chair- We got so much use out of this chair! We initially just wanted to get her a little beach chair but ended up using this at every restaurant instead of having to use the high chairs provided. It's basically a collapsible Bumbo seat. This was important to us because we didn't want her cold to get any worse while we were on vacation. (Yes, I'm a bit of a germaphobe.) It folds up small and fits into a drawstring bag that didn't take up much space in our luggage.
  • Diaper bag - We brought a different one than the one we use daily because we knew it would get sand in it or wet.
  • 2 blankets
  • 6 burp cloths
  • 6 bibs
  • 5 pajamas
  • 2 bathing suits- Target has a great selection!
  • 1 coverup
  • 3 pants
  • 3 shorts
  • 6 onesie shirts/tanks/summer dress
  • 1 rain jacket- Ours looks different than the one linked here, because they are likely out of stock.
  • 2 sandals
  • 6 pairs socks
  • Woolino- I posted about this wearable blanket awhile ago. She still sleeps with this every night. It's the best!
  • Teething necklace
  • 2 nursing covers - You can see how I use my covers. They are the same ones I used when taking Zac to Disneyland.
  • Secure-a-toy strap- These things are great! It keeps toys and teethers from falling on the ground.
  • Teething toys- She was chewing on this thing the WHOLE TIME. Almost every photo of her on this trip was with this teether in her mouth.
  • 2 stroller toys
  • 1 highchair toy
  • 1-2 pack of wipes- Wipes are hella expensive in Hawaii. You especially don't want to run out of wipes while at the airport. This happened to us because I thought 1 large pack of wipes (75 count) would be enough and we had to purchase wipes at the Kahului Airport. A travel pack of wipes cost $8.99!
  • 1 box diapers (or 40 diapers)- Again, expensive in Hawaii. I brought 60 but I could have brought less. I ended up using less than 40 diapers. I overestimated because when you are on the road and/or swimming and beach hopping, you end up using less diapers than you would use being home all day.
  • Aquaphor- Zachary is prone to diaper rash and has eczema. Fortunately the humidity in Hawaii was great for her skin. No eczema flare-ups the whole week!
  • Toy wipes- Because her teethers can get really gross and there isn't always a place to wash them
  • Sanitizing wipes- Families with young children get to board the airplane first!  I took a tip from a mommy friend of mine and wiped down our entire seat area, armrests, food trays, TV screens and remotes as soon as we boarded. Those things are extremely filthy.
  • Baby Tylenol- Brought this in case her cold progressed into an ear infection (per her pediatrician). 
  • Thermometer- Same as above.
  • Saline drops- To moisten her nostrils and ease her congestion
  • Windi - She did get gassy at one point during the trip and this helped get it out.
  • Nose frida- Had to suck that snot out!
  • Nail clippers and file- Zac's nails grow so fast. I clip them almost every 2 days because she's a scratcher!
  • Baby sunblock- ThinkBaby is our fave. Leejay, Zac and I all used the same sunblock throughout the vacation. This sunblock doesn't smell bad like a lot of others and it doesn't leave you feeling chalky or sticky.
  • 2 bucket hats- Sun protection is so important. Bucket hats protect baby's face, neck, and scalp.
  • 2 swim diapers- We used the ones by Honest Company. They fit nice and snug (so snug that I would recommend sizing up). We used regular diapers if we were just lounging by the pool and/or beach and then I would change her into swim diapers right before taking a dip in the water. Babies poop and pee whenever they feel like it, so I think it's best to just have them in regular diapers for the majority of the time. When the sun is blaring and you are out in the pool, it's unlikely that the baby would even be in the pool for very long.
  • Baby sunglasses
  • Shampoo/body wash Cetaphil pack- I use Cetaphil for Zachary because of her eczema. She is sensitive to a lot of products that have chemicals or fragrances. Cetaphil is mild and hypoallergenic.
  • Travel bath tub- This little bath sling worked great and folds flat to fit well in your luggage. We have been using this since Zac was 1-month-old on her first overnight trip and every trip thereafter.
  • Pool floater- We got a ton of compliments on this floater at our hotel pool. Even the adults were hoping it came in their size! This floater is easy to inflate, comes with some pool toys, and most importantly has a sun shield for skin protection.
  • Hair ties/clips
  • Changing pad
  • Sound spa travel - Part of Zachary's bedtime ritual is to have the sound of water as white noise. We bring it on all our travels but ended up not using it in Maui, and for good reason. Our partial ocean view room allowed us to hear the ocean waves from our room! 
  • Sollybaby- This was the golden ticket to having a comfy, sleeping baby on the airplane. I wore her in my Solly and she fell asleep right before boarding. Once we were ready for take off, I loosened my Solly a bit and got her to latch onto my breast while she was sleeping. The pediatrician advised me to feed her during take-off and landing to avoid ear pressure and it was a success! Zac did amazing and didn't cry at all on both the flight there and back. I am one proud momma! Let's hope she does the same when she's older.
  • Ergo Baby- We used this carrier for longer baby wearing sessions on the island.
  • Bug repellent stickers- I'm not a huge fan of bug repellant sprays. They tend to feel oily and gross, especially on top of sunblock. These stickers did a great job! The only person who got mosquito bites this trip was the hub. He probably should have worn these stickers on his legs.
  • Umbrella - The pediatrician advised us to take an umbrella to block the sun. This umbrella was clutch while we were on the beach. There weren't a lot of trees on the sand, and when you visit beaches near other resorts, you can't use their beach umbrellas. This one clamps on to just about anything. We clamped ours onto Zac's little pop-up chair. We stored it away in her stroller bag and checked it in during travel.
  • Go pro
  • Travel breast pump- I sometimes need to pump in the middle of the night when she sleeps longer than 8 hours. I didn't end up using this (or any of the baby bottle items below) on this trip at all because the time change messed up her sleep schedule. She slept less than 8 hours at night, and napped more in the day. I ended up nursing more frequently throughout the vacation.
  • Travel bottle brush kit
  • Breastmilk bags
  • 1 Baby bottle
  • Baby food- I had this on the list but ended up leaving it behind. She was still  just starting to be introduced to new foods and I didn't want to deal with having any allergic reactions while on vacation so I left the food behind.  

This list is just what we packed for Zachary. Leejay and I packed as lightly as we could for ourselves. We ended up with 2 paid check-in items (1 large luggage and 1  large duffel), 2 free check-in items (1 stroller and 1 carseat), 2 carry-ons (2 duffels), and 2 personal bags (1 backpack and 1 diaper bag).

Getting there

Parking at SFO can get pricey so we decided to take an Uber XL to the airport. Our flight left early in the morning so we made sure to call our driver once it was assigned to us to give him a heads up that we had a lot of luggage, a carseat, and a baby. He was extremely nice and very helpful when he arrived. Uber XL drivers are used to having to give rides in these situations and are very patient with passengers with multiple needs. 

We flew with Hawaiian Airlines and checked in using their kiosk (because they told us to). I have a love/hate relationship with check-in kiosks because they are great when you have nothing to check-in or if your check-in items are just straightforward. When you have what they call "special items" it can be a little more complicated if you haven't done it before. Make sure that when you choose your luggage types, to enter your stroller and carseat as special items. Then when it prints out the luggage tags, be sure to read the tags and put them on the appropriate bag. We didn't realize that the luggage tags had the type of item printed onto them. Luckily one of the workers pointed it out right as we were about to stick it on. Additionally, make sure to check your seat assignments. When we booked out flights, we paid extra to upgrade our seats for more room. We didn't check our seats on the kiosk because we had already received confirmation via email ahead of time. Apparently the planes had been upgraded recently and the seats we originally chose no longer existed so by default they just assigned us regular economy seats. We didn't realize this until we were already on the plane. We had to wait until almost everyone was seated to get our seats reassigned. Fortunately Zac was sound asleep in the Solly during all the seat chaos on the plane. All was well when they found available seats for us.

We thought it would be a good idea to do a "gate check" with our stroller so that we could use the stroller throughout the airport. This turned out being a bad idea and inconvenient in the end. We didn't know that you needed to pick up a gate-checked item at the gate again as you are walking off the plane. Our seats were very close to the front so we were one of the first people off the plane. When we didn't see our stroller we thought that maybe it would just be a baggage claim. We were wrong and some lady had to go and retrieve our stroller for us. Interestingly enough we weren't the only ones who did this. Some other first-time parents didn't wait for theirs either. Go figure! As it turned out, we didn't even really need the stroller throughout the airport since we just sat and waited to board.

We rented a car in Maui and retrieving your rental in Hawaii is never a fun process. You almost always need to take a shuttle to the rental car place and this can be difficult when you are coming with a lot of luggage. It's great to have a strong partner along to help with this (aka ALL THE BAGS). Again, shoutout to Poppa Leej!!

Being there

Vacation finally began when we got to our hotel. It was finally time to relax! We requested a crib to be delivered to our room. Hotel cribs are never the best but they do the job. If you have the space and strength to bring your own portable crib, Lulyboo or Dock-a-Tot, I'd recommend it. 

Like I said earlier, getting to Hawaii is more challenging than actually being there. We had so much fun eating food, visiting beaches and being poolside. Zac hated the beach and the san touching her skin. When we dipped her in the ocean she cried really hard. I don't think she liked the crashing of waves. She did love swimming in the pool, though! Every day stocked up our insulated picnic basket with stuff from the local markets and ventured throughout the island. Our days started early and ended early. We did our best to make the most out of our days and still attempt to keep Zachary on her regular sleep schedule. This was important to use because we knew that the time change might bite us in the butt when we returned home. Every Hawaii trip that we had been on prior to parenthood usually lasted only 3 to 4 days max but we made the most of it. When your days start at 7am and end at 7pm, being there for 7 days makes up for the evenings lost. At the end of it, I think 7 days was perfect for us. 

Getting home

Make sure to leave enough space in your luggage if you plan on bringing anything new home (like clothes, chocolate, yummy Hawaiian snacks). I thought I was going to have more space to bring stuff home because of the diapers I packed. It made sense to bring diapers to avoid paying the high price of diapers in Hawaii, but I ended up using less diapers than I thought and had to return with unused diapers taking up space in my luggage. 

The airport in Maui was extremely busy the day we left. Luckily we got to the airport 2 hours before boarding time so we didn't feel rushed. It's good to keep in mind that although you don't need to go through agriculture inspection from California to Hawaii, you will need to on the way home. This is in addition to the security line. We had forgotten that the agriculture inspection requires you to put your bag through x-ray multiple times and takes more time. Next time we'll be prepared! We had the same issue with our seats on the way home but we were able to get it changed at the gate prior to boarding. This made the trip home feel much less stressful.

When we got back to San Francisco, we took an Uber XL just like we did when on the way to Hawaii. There is something so nice about not having to get in your car and drive back home after a relaxing vacation. It makes it feel like the vacation is still going.

Jetlag

When we got home, we feared that Zac's sleep schedule would change drastically. Rightly so. When we first returned she wouldn't be asleep until 9 or 9:30 pm. It took about 5 days to get her to sleep closer to 7pm again. She did end up going through another growth spurt and started to sleep a little bit more. Currently she is sleeping at 7pm again and sleeping anywhere from 6-8 hours straight. 

This is the first of many big vacations with our daughter and I'm already excited for the next one. I don't know when and I don't know where, but I CAN'T WAIT!

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Taking a baby to Disneyland

I know that taking a baby to Disneyland sounds like a daunting task. I'm not gonna lie. It's definitely not the easiest, but it's also not impossible. We decided to take Zac, who was just over 3 months old.

Many have asked why we took her so early. People wondered if she would even enjoy it. TBH, my husband and I are the ones who had been itching to go to Disneyland for awhile. Since we knew we would be in SoCal for an extended period of time, we made sure to visit. They don't call Disneyland "The Happiest Place on Earth" for nothing. It truly is one of our happy places! Knowing that we probably wouldn't be able to ride a ton of rides, we knew that just being there as a family would be magical. And it was. 

Going to the park is very different as a parent. I searched the internet for some tips. I found a few, but not much. I wanted to share tips and tricks to help us survive. It's cheaper to buy one park-per-day tickets, and we went for 2 days on the week of Thanksgiving to both parks — Disney California Adventure (DCA) and Disneyland. Park hopping just seemed silly since we weren't in a rush to get on rides or see any particular show.

The one show we really wanted to see was World of Color, and we had to plan accordingly. Thanks to my awesome in-laws, we were able to spend one night at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel through their Disney Vacation Club Membership. Even if we didn't get gifted this room, I would recommend staying here anyway. It has direct access to DCA! This was great since World of Color is after dark and it gives you a place to take breaks/rest. You also don't have to lug all of your belongings around with you. Before we watched World of Color, we were able to squeeze in some R&R in the room, and we left the stroller and used the Ergobaby for the remainder of the night. It's perfect to baby carry because you can avoid playing bumper strollers after the show. The crowd is massive! The Ergo lets you zoom right through the crowd. 

Unfortunately the Grand Californian didn't have 2 nights available. On the second day, we had dinner plans with friends so we knew we would be leaving the park early. So the second night, we stayed at a nearby Airbnb. It was about a mile from the park. Since we knew we wouldn't be staying after 5pm, we were able to pack lightly for the day at Disneyland. 

One thing I did learn (shoutout to Google) was that there are Baby Care Centers (BCC) available. In Disneyland, the BCC is located near the First Aid station off Main Street. In DCA, it is located to the left of the Ghirardelli store. I can see how the BCC can be helpful for some parents. They offer nursing rooms, changing tables, a small kitchen for prepping food/bottles, and they sell baby care items, like wipes, diapers, and formula.

I'm currently exclusively breastfeeding, and happen to be the kind of mom that will breastfeed anywhere. Zac eats when she's hungry, and I have no issue with nursing in public. I figure, if someone feels uncomfortable with it, they can just move somewhere else. There are changing tables in every restroom around the park also. The only thing I ended up using the BCC for was to purchase more wipes ($2.00 for Huggies brand, travel pack). 

I used our Honesty Company diaper backpack (a favorite from our baby registry) to pack Zachary's things. For me, it was easier to carry a backpack around than a traditional diaper bag. I've been using these clean and dirty organizing bags that I bought from Amazon. They have become essential items in my diaper bag. My girl is the blowout queen! I packed the clean bag with 1 pair of leggings, 1 thermal onesie, 1 tank top, 1 pair of socks, and one drooling bib. The LeapDay nursing cover/carseat canopy is my fave and I bring it everywhere.

The other items I packed were a blanket, 2 burp cloths. The Honest Company backpack comes with a changing pad. I packed the pad with 2 diapers, Aquaphor baby, and travel wipes in the zippered compartment. It's great because I can just pull out everything I need for a diaper change all at once. Of course I kept extra diapers in the backpack itself. I never go anywhere without at least one beloved toy. She's in the put-everything-in-her-mouth stage. It keeps her preoccupied when she's awake and we are doing something important. Like eating. Because soap and water isn't easily accessible, I made sure to bring toy/pacifier wipes and alcohol-free sanitizing wipes.

We also brought Zachary's noise canceling headphones (not pictured above) for World of Color. Don't worry, they don't actually cancel out the sound, they just help muffle it so it's not so harsh on the ears. Trust me, I tried them on! World of Color is VERY LOUD. When the show started, I had forgotten that I brought the headphones. Zachary screamed at the first sound blasting from the speakers. The scream was followed by a loud cry as I hurried to get the headphones out and on her ears. She appeared to enjoy the show but was hard to tell because she also seemed fascinated by the crowd watching it. I would look over at her and catch her staring at the people behind us. 

We had reservations at Carthay Circle earlier in the day, so we were able to snag tickets to the Carthay Circle section for World of Color. The castmember selling the tickets told us this section is the prime spot — it's where the Imagineers sat when they brought the show to life.

I know it seems silly, but I also brought a fanny pack. This was helpful whenever we went out without the stroller. I love being hands-free. It allowed me to wear her and have all the things I need without having to bring an over-the-shoulder purse. All I kept in it were diapering essentials, hand sanitizing wipes, my wallet, and chapstick. It was everything I needed on the go.

There were a couple of places I found it convenient to nurse. In DCA, Pacific Wharf was a great spot. If you go towards the railings, you can watch the sun setting around the water, and watch the roller coaster you're not on. Or you can do what I did and stare at your baby. 

I'd also recommend the benches under the bridge to Toon Town. It's right next to hundreds of parked strollers next to Small World. It's a huge walkway with lots of space. You'll always find a seat. More than likely you'll find yourself sitting next to another mom feeding their baby. It's also a great place to people watch.

We aren't really princess people. I mean, if Zachary one day tells us she wants to dress like a princess, then fine. Since she is still super young (and we still have a say), we went with some traditional urban Disney clothes. 

  • Minnie Mouse Sweatshirt | Zara Kids
  • Minnie Mouse Dress | H&M Kids
  • Mickey Hands, rock/paper/scissors onesie | Adapt Kids

We were only able to get on 2 rides (Winnie the Pooh in Disneyland and Heimlich's Chew Chew Train in DCA) but we had SO MUCH FUN! That's two more rides than we expected. If you count the monorail, we technically rode three! Although Zac will not remember this Disney trip,  it will continue to be immortalized in these photos. We hope that one day she will come to understand the magic that is Disney. 

28, Don't Hate

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The hubby wanted to surprise me with skydiving for my 28th birthday this year. Thank God he didn't. Had this been a surprise, I would've chickened out. I had a week to prepare for this. I have to say, It was less scary when I got there. And by there I mean in the air. Check out the video edited by the hubs himself!

I survived to blog about it.