Thursday, June 05, 2014

Traveling Abroad with a Toddler

Aloft Harlem NYC
Over the past two years we've been fortunate enough to take a few trips with our little Phoenix in tow. Above is Phoenix pictured snoozing at the Aloft hotel in Harlem, New York. This was his first flight and just so happened to be in the frigid winter at the age of 6 months. We traveled to my home state to celebrate my great aunt turning 100 years old. I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive as to how he would behave on the plane but he's never been much of a cry baby so I had nothing to worry about. We were also still nursing at the time so flying was a breeze. I nursed him at take off and landing and his ears weren't bothered at all. The Delta pilot also gave Phoenix his first set of wings during that trip.

Date night at the W hotel Buckhead GA

Phoenix sat for his next flight at 9 months old to Montego Bay, Jamaica. By then I had become accustomed to the 'special assistance' priority boarding, which makes traveling with children much easier on you. Although he was too young to really appreciate the beach in Jamaica, he did love the lazy river and splashing around in the pool. Check out my review of the Hilton Rosehall here. This was the first time we used a crib on vacation although he didn't actually sleep in it. We simply used it as a play pen to avoid having to chase him all around the hotel room. Phoenix was a great traveler on this trip as well although being that he was more mobile he did get restless on the return leg home. After realizing that he needed some time to roam on the plane, I smartened up and booked our next flight around his nap time.

Lakehouse Resort San Marcos, CA

Our next trip was a winter getaway to San Diego, California. We went just in the nick of time to escape that harsh ice storm which hit Atlanta in January 2014. I thought we weren't going to be able to fly but Delta flights were still taking off and we were able to see some sunshine! I do believe this was our longest flight yet with a toddler in tow and we were definitely challenged in the entertainment and space area. Jason downloaded some kid movies on his ipad and we also brought along a few cars/trucks for him to roll around in the hotel. Phoenix has yet to turn 2 years old so we have been taking FULL advantage of the infant in arms ticket. I don't recall him being put off too much by the jet lag on the way there but he definitely was bouncing around on the way home. Most of our trip was geared around Phoenix. We ventured to the San Diego Safari Park, which I loved, as it was much more interesting than the regular zoo. We stayed at the Lakehouse Resort, which provided a great lakefront space for the family over the weekend. There was even a kids playground nearby, which provided some much needed space for him to roam free.

Punta Cana, DR

Our most recent trip was to sunny Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic this May. I think by now Phoenix is a bit too big to be traveling in our laps and way too active to say the least but I am still glad that we saved so much by traveling with him in arms all this time. As you know we are expecting another bundle of joy and I anticipate that we will do the same with the infant in arms until it becomes too uncomfortable for us. We are planning a family vacation to Italy next year and Phoenix will definitely have his own seat. I would prefer to have us all fly First Class but we shall see what my Delta sky miles account is looking like when it comes time to book. We stayed at the Hardrock Resort & Casino, which was super family friendly. We loved it so much we are going to definitely return again in the coming years for family beach vacations.

With a few trips under my belt both domestically and internationally I figured it might be helpful to share the things I've learned along the way. I'm totally stoked about our trip to Italy and also scared of that 10 hour flight yikes! 

1. Make a list and check it twice
When it comes to most things I'm a "To Do" lister and traveling is no different. I think it would be helpful when planning our trip to carve out some kid friendly activities like a park or inside kid gym for Phoenix to stretch his legs and get out some of that active energy. I'm sure he will get bored of the typical museum visits and coliseum picture taking to be had.

2. Pack all baby equipment in your carry on
This seems like a no brainer but it is easy to forget something you find necessary until the moment you need it. Recently we ran out of diapers in our toddler book bag while in flight and of course Phoenix was soaking wet. Jason had to make a quick maneuver during turbulence to grab some in the overhead compartment. Speaking of changing diapers on the plane, could the bathroom be any smaller g wiz!

3. Stroller snooze's are the key
Phoenix can pretty much sleep anywhere and I sure pray that his brother is the same. I always hear parents say they have to hurry up and get back home for nap time which sucks especially while you are trying to make the most of your time on holiday. 

4. Pack light!!!!
Packing light can't be stressed enough. We recently met a family whose luggage was lost during our trip to Punta Cana but luckily all the baby gear was in their carry on. Jason and I try to take one carry on each. Since having Phoenix we now share a carry on and let P have his own because diapers can take up a lot of space. You can avoid taking so many by purchasing them upon arrival but I'd rather bring mine from home and buy extras if needed. Packing light alleviates the need to wait at the carousel for your checked luggage and the dreaded fear of the airline losing your belongings.

5. Buy the baby his/her own seat
I know if your child is younger than 2 years old you might want to save on this option and fly in arms but trust me any flight over 3+ hours is well worth the kid having their own space. This is especially so if they are in the almost 2 crew. Also buying a seat in the front or near the bathroom seems to be the best bet to me.

6. Choose flight times wisely
I started to book our flight times around my son's naps but this isn't always a safe guarantee. Phoenix has duped me a time or two by skipping his nap and waiting until we landed to dose off for his snooze. I am considering flying on the red eye to Rome so that he will be sleeping anyway during that long flight. Kids are funny that way and can be thrown off by all the action going on during flight, which brings me to my next point.

7. Pack some entertainment
Load up the ipad with their favorite shows/apps/movies as well as with something new and intriguing to keep their little minds busy. Small toys that can be easily stored in the carry on are a great idea too. Phoenix isn't much into coloring right now but he might be by the time we fly next. I do love the idea of bringing out one new game or toy per hour to keep things interesting for them.

8. Eating
I've heard that some countries aren't as big on high chairs as they are here in the states. The Inglesina fast table chair is pretty popular as I've seen them in dining establishments here plus they come in at under $50. I'm considering getting one for our travels abroad. I'm not big on the strollers with tray tables I just hate how they look! :)

9. Just Do it! 
I overheard a woman mumble "I don't see how they do it!" as we deboarded the plane in Atlanta. I chuckled to myself and wondered why people are so apprehensive when it comes to traveling with children. Don't they deserve to see the world as well? Jason and I enjoyed flights well before we had children and there is no way I'm going to leave them at home while we travel the world alone. "I don't see how they don't do it!"

Happy Travels,

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Oh the Places You Will Go!

Hey loves it's been ages since my last post but bear with me. Right now I am 20 weeks preggers with another boy, pray for me to have lots of patience with two wild munchkins running around lol I've been wanting to redesign Phoenix's room since we moved last year and finally came up with the perfect transitional room from infant to toddler and beyond. My husband and I are very into traveling the globe, he is on his second passport book, I will be getting my 10th stamp this month and little Phoenix will get his second. I'm so excited to share our love for travel with the boys so I thought it would be appropriate to teach our sons about travel, culture and gaining a perspective of the world abroad through their room's design. Check out some of my inspirational pictures. I can't wait to get started!

I simply LOVE this rug and think it is the perfect centerpiece for the boys room. Imagine all the fun to be had playing here. I found this on ebay and Amazon at a reasonable rate of about $60.

As always thanks for stopping by mommies & fashionistas

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#WayTooCool Boys Clothes

Hey loves it's been ages since I logged on to blog, honestly I just don't make time for blogging anymore, it has sort of lost it's appeal to me. I think it all went down hill for me once I became consumed as a mom and the idea of setting up a tripod to take daily fashion pictures just seemed like one more task in an already hectic schedule. Right now if you are still following me on Instagram or Facebook, you'd know that I'm gearing up for our second child. Yep that's right I am knocked up again! We don't know the sex of this baby yet but will find out in about 3 more weeks yay! I can't wait to decide if we will be remixing Phoenix's wardrobe or shopping for some glitter :)

Since Spring will be here soon I couldn't help but do some online browsing to see what we needed to add to Phoenix's closet. H&M always has great deals on cute kids clothing. I am so bummed that the Kardashian collection now available at Babiesrus doesn't include boys. Booooo lol Anyway here are some #waytoocool picks I've narrowed down for P. All of these goodies are under $20. I'm still loving sneaks from H&M and Old Navy, we haven't ventured into buying him Jordan's or the super expensive boys kicks yet. Phoenix is a rough little tumbler and I refuse to spend high dollar on sneakers that will for sure come home looking raggedy for now.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

The Whiny Kid Syndrome

Hey loves and Happy New Year! I can't believe it is already 2014! I remember growing up thinking we would be zooming around town like the Jetsons in a space aged car by now, guess we are still a ways from that; for now we are plugging in our electric cars, eating organic foods from Trader Joe's and drinking from BPA free water bottles while running on the treadmill. Lately I've been spending lots of time hanging with Phoenix out and about in the uppity part of Atlanta known as Buckhead. I never dreamt that I would be a "Buckhead mom" who prefers my leggings and workout jacket over jeans + heels while pushing my overpriced stroller and sipping on Starbucks but here I am and I LOVE every minute of it!

As a mom of a very active little toddler I am coming into the new age of learning how to navigate the tantrum stage. Phoenix isn't exactly falling out in the middle of Target and screaming bloody murder like I've seen some kids and Lord help him if he should ever think about embarrassing me like that LOL I recently read an article about "How to Raise a Kid Who Isn't Whiny," and chucked at the thought of it, I mean it is funny and all until it is happening to you right? Kids at this age between 1-3 seem to have 'attitudes' whenever things don't quite go their way. Once I was in Target and stupidly rolled by the Goldfish shelf knowing full well that we weren't buying any. I had NO idea that he would even recognize the bag until he went into tantrum mode because he wasn't getting any. REALLY smh that is what you call "First. World. Problems." Phoenix is being raised in a privileged world accustomed to his cushy Britax carseat, being shuttled around in a Mercedes, wearing designer labels, already has a stamp in his passport and eats mostly organic REAL foods. I'd say he is living a pretty great life! My husband just asked me while at Catch Air, "Why didn't we have cool stuff like this as kids?" My answer, "Because we grew up in the hood!" It's nice knowing that you are able to provide your kids with a better quality of life than you had. I'm not saying I was raised in a shack and slept on a dirt floor or anything but Phoenix's upbringing thus far is definitely a step up from my days in the South Bronx.

The truth is in life you simply don't get EVERYTHING you want, no matter what Oprah and the book The Secret tells you, having EVERYTHING your heart desires is just impossible, at least according to me. I remember being upset as a teenager because my father promised me a leather jacket in high school and a car at my college graduation; neither which he furnished and I'm no worse off because of it. As a parent myself I know to either not promise your kids certain things you can't deliver or at least have the decency to live up to them. As a first time mom I used to give into his every whimper, especially when he was a bit younger, but now my response to him falling out because he can't take every single thing out of the bathroom cabinet will be FIRST. WORLD. PROBLEMS as I walk away hiding my grin :)

Here is a quote from the article I mentioned above:

I don't know the answer to how to raise a kid who isn't whiny and annoying and who doesn't think that Pinterest stress is really a thing worth lamenting. But I do know that as a parent, it begins with me. I set the limits. We won't do Elf on the Shelf because mom has enough trouble getting cookies baked over Christmas. The tooth fairy only brings a quarter. There is no adjustment for inflation. Your birthday cake will probably always come from the store, as will your Valentine's cards for school. I didn't buy baby moccasins because the ROI on that investment was one good Instagram picture. Your food won't be all organic. Yes, I used formula. Walk to school. There is no second breakfast or special dinner for you. I don't do grocery cart covers or antiseptic wipes. I don't care if that kid took your toy, get it back yourself, that's street justice. I don't care if the neighbor sneezed on you, the flu happens. Time out occurs at anytime or anywhere, so be on alert.
This is where we begin.
My refusal to compare myself with the other mother I see on the Internet and to build a life that embraces the important and repels the petty. And I only hope that lesson extends. If not, I am building a backlog of "Oh, you want to see not fair?" lectures. Just in case.

My parenting style does not dictate having absolutely no treats or special things but I am certainly not going to give Phoenix his every desire. I think it is important to set real life precedents early on so kids don't grow up thinking life is a fairy tale with a happy ending all the time.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Operation #absbysummer is in FULL Effect!

Hey loves it's been eons since I've written a blog. I've been busy living life you know employee, wife, mother stuff. I decided back in November to rejoin the old faithful gym LA Fitness and I'm so happy I did. I usually abandon my gym membership when the summer months come for the outdoors but I think this summer I will actually keep it. I have been happily reacquainted with my love for #lifting weights, just like with running you get a high and the results for me are almost immediate. I am not sure who I get my athletic build from but I swear my body builds muscle overnight. I am trying build myself an #hourglass figure and first on the list is working on these abs that Phoenix blew to hell lol I usually lean towards working out my legs since they are my favorite body part but lately I've been watching the trainers at the gym and incorporating some of their moves into my routine. Sometimes doing the same thing everything M W F can be boring, even with music, so it helps to switch things up plus you don't want your body to get used to the same movements and weights. I picked up some bright new sneaks for my birthday, they are much cuter than my old New Balance sneaks and now I need another pair. Bright work out clothes are not only cute to look at but also distracting when you are tired and on the verge of giving up. I haven't nailed down an actual fitness routine as of yet but here are a few exercises that I like to do right now.

Hip Aductor

It targets your gluteus medius and minimus. I would love to have the perfect heart shaped booty so I focus a lot of my energy in the gym on the glutes and legs.

Leg Press

It targets the quads mainly but you will also feel it in your calves, glutes and hamstrings.

Smith Machine Squats

Gives you a full body workout training the hips, thighs, glutes and quads.
Other types of squats I do are with the kettle bells (pop squats and body weighted squats).


Also targets the same muscle group as the squat.

Prowler Push

Lower position focuses more on the quads and proves to be more difficult and doing multiple sprinting intervals without breaks can increase your strength. Pushing a sled can be especially challenging, but the rapid changes in body composition are worth it. I plan to incorporate pushing and pulling the prowler on each leg day to lose body fat % fast.

Front/Side lunges

Lunges work your thighs, hips, quads and calves. I also improve my posture doing these. I mainly do side lunges to widen my hips.

Overall training has been going great. I started to drink 3 liters of water a day and eat clean 90% of the time. I do sneak in a couple cheat treats here and there but overall I'm pretty disciplined. It doesn't make any sense killing myself in the gym to go home and eat poorly, I'd just be wasting my time and money paying for the membership. #nodietnoabs Growing up I was super skinny. I entered college weighing about 110lbs and graduated at about 115lbs lol I actually tried for a year to gain weight in my early twenties eating loads of crap. Right now I weight 150lbs. I've lost about 15lbs since giving birth to Phoenix. I stopped weighing myself everyday and focus more on how I look. I am more concerned with body fat loss than weight loss since I am lifting to gain muscle. I also purchased a waist training corset to help shrink this abdominal fat. I LOVE this thing, it not only gives you the perfect hip to waist ratio it also improves your posture. I've been wearing mine for about 6-7 hours a day. It stays in place all day, makes me sweat more while working out and after I take it off my abs stay in that shape for awhile. I definitely recommend wearing one if you are trying to whittle your waist down.

On another note, why is workout gear so frickin expensive geesh! I found a few websites that sell really cute pants and tops but $80 for leggings is insane. I lucked up and found some cute and inexpensive ones at Target but I'm in the market for more since I am working out 5/6 days a week. Where do you shop for work out gear?

Well that's all I have for now. Happy Holidays to everyone and hopefully I will be back on  here blogging more in the New Year. Cheers!

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