Traveling with Children

by Rose Elder

IMG_5307 1

In the next few days I’m flying with both of my kids without my husband. I have been anticipating this trip since I booked it back in April. Alexander is such an active little guy and Nicholas started walking not too long ago, so they are unstoppable! I think more than the flight, what worries me the most is the check-in line. The specific airline I’m flying is a bit of a mess, but its the only one that flies directly to where I’m going. Last time it took over an hour to get checked-in!

In the line Nicholas needed a diaper change and Alexander was restless and needed to go potty. We had to push the stroller, carry the carseat and drag all the luggage. Every time the line advanced one foot, I had to do it over again. That time I was with Adam and it was exhausting for both of us. This time, no joke, I’m going to leash Alexander (with those backpacks that have a leash) and have Nicholas tied to the stroller. They can scream all they want, but I don’t want to deal with a child running away from me.

Then the security line. Get Nicholas out of the stroller. Fold the stroller and pass it through the x-ray machine. Every little process is a hassle! And then waiting another hour at the gate waiting to board. Alexander trying to play all over the dirty floor and I’m pretty sure Nicholas will second him this time.

Then comes the boarding. Re-pack the diaper bag and sit a screaming toddler in the stroller. Beg my 4-year old to stop running around. Then carry the diaper bag, fold the stroller, contain both kids until we make it to our seats. Oh my! Just writing about it is giving me a stomach ache.

I am currently downloading his favorite cartoons on my phone. I don’t want to carry a heavy iPad on top of everything else. I will have an array of snacks they can have on the waiting line and on the plane. I don’t want to deal with an allergic reaction by myself at the airport! I was also thinking of visiting the $1-$3 section at Target to buy little things they can entertain themselves with during that time. Fun stuff they haven’t seen before.

I am writing this post mostly because I need your advice. I have been a chicken and have never travelled by myself with my kids since Alexander was a couple of months old. I swore not to do it again! Please leave me your advice in the comment section at the beginning of this post. And wish me luck!

Happy Friday!

What to Feed a Child with Allergies

by Rose Elder

FullSizeRender-16

At this point, as a mom, I finally feel in control. I have a happy healthy baby. We do have a million restrictions that we have to deal with; Like traveling or eating out much at all. We really can only feed him at home or he will react to food cross contamination. It is super frustrating at times, but I am just thankful allergies are his only hurdle. I keep reminding myself it could be so much worse.
Happy Monday!

As told by my 4-year old

by Rose Elder

Baby Gear Truths and Lies

by Rose Elder

IMG_6150 1

When you get the amazing news that you are pregnant the excitement is intense. You are so happy that you want everything to be perfect for the arrival of your bundle of joy. Then comes the overwhelming number of questions. What do I need to buy for the baby? How many bottles do I need? Should I buy this stroller of this other one? Do I need a pack and play? Wait, what is a “pack and play”?

When I got pregnant with Alexander I was living in a one bedroom apartment with Adam. I just couldn’t wait to start shopping to have everything ready to go. I am here to tell you that you really don’t need all the cool looking items that baby stores tell you you need. Even just buying the “basic” things you will find yourself filling the closet with all the bulky baby items. I have two boys and we have survived so far and I didn’t get a wipe warmer or a cart cover.

I wrote this post to tell expecting moms that everything will be ok. That babies couldn’t care less about the items you buy, they will only be interested in your arms. So I made a list of items I learned I actually needed to make this life changing experience a bit easier. I also learned the hard way there were some things I was wrong about.

Here are some things I thought I didn’t need but I did!

Do’s

Clothes- My mother kept telling me not to buy too much newborn or 0-3 months size clothing because babies grow so fast. Well, they do, but what my mother forgot is that a newborn poops and spits up several times a day. I found myself doing laundry everyday, on top of everything else, because I didn’t have enough clothes for him. I am not telling you to buy 100 newborn onesies, but do have around 10-15 pjs in newborn or 0-3 months sizes. Don’t spend too much money on nice outfits at that age because you might change your baby 10 minutes later due to a wet burp. Avoid getting outfits that have white around the collar area, they stain very easily. Just buy a couple of cute ones for baby photos. Get a couple of cotton hats and socks as well.

Bassinet– If you live in a two story house get two portable bassinets. You don’t want to be carrying the bassinet up and down the stairs. Get a multipurpose bassinet. The one I bought is called Tiny Love, it turns into a bouncer as well! It also has different reclining positions in case your baby ends up with reflux.

IMG_4135IMG_3928 1

Sheets- I did’t want to spend money on nice crib sheets (they range between $20-$60) on my first son on top of everything else I needed. I honestly regretted it because I took so many pictures of him in a crib with plain white sheets. With Nicholas, my second, since I already had everything, I did. They make the 1000 pictures a day you take, look a lot nicer.

Sling carrier- Get a sling with an infant insert. Great to do errands around the house, go for walks, have your hands free at the super market, etc. I use Ergo.

IMG_4545

Baby Monitor- This is a definite YES! Get one with a camera, and get a decent one. Mine wasn’t too expensive and the image is good. You feel so much better when you see your baby breathe! You get super paranoid the first 6 months.

Diaper pail- They are a pain, and they are big and the replacements are expensive. BUT, I didn’t get one with Alexander and it was a big mistake. You need a diaper pail to keep the bad smell contained. I bought Baby Genie because the bag replacements are sold at Costco.

Diapers and wipes- Obviously you need diapers (newborn size), but get the ones that the stripe changes color when they pee. The first months everything is a bit confusing. You are not experienced and you need the diaper to tell you if your baby peed, end of story.

Car seat- You obviously need a car seat. But make sure the carseat fits your stroller. I believe stores call them “travel systems”. I used the Maxi Cosi Mico with my Bugaboo stroller.

IMG_3814 1

Stroller- With Alexander I purchased the Bugaboo Bee. I wanted something small and compact so I would use it for many years. I still use it (no need for an umbrella stroller), it has been an excellent stroller. Later we got the Bumbleride Speed. Sometimes the Bugaboo wasn’t a good fit for running of driving around the grassy areas at the park. Either one is a great option.

Baby shampoo and wash– I use the Young Living baby shampoo and baby wash. When I run out and I need some I like the Tom’s one. Get a natural sponge to apply so you don’t waste too much. Unless your baby has eczema or any skin dermatitis, you don’t need lotion.

Towels- I believe 2 baby towels are more than enough.

Baby gym– I got a very nice one. I wish I had just gotten an Ikea one. They are bulky too, so try to get a simple one.

IMG_4229

Bumper- They are not recommended because the baby can suffocate. I did use one with both of my kids. Since they slept in the bassinet for the first 6 months when I transferred them to the crib they were perfectly capable of turning away if they couldn’t breathe for any reason. Why get one? They will get their limbs caught on the crib bars or hit themselves when they are tossing and turning. All that wakes them up and believe me, you don’t want that!

Humidifier- Yes! Specially if your baby is born in the cold months. This is a life saver when they are congested or have a cough.

First Aid- Its good to have ibuprofen and acetaminophen in case they get a fever. You will also need a good thermometer. A good diaper rash cream like Triple Paste. Alexander never got rashes, but when he did it was very handy to have it. Other than that I think you are good. I also have essential oils that I used a lot with Alexander. I have hold off on Nicholas because of his allergies.

Bottles– Do get 2-3 bottles, each one of a different brand to see which one baby prefers. Don’t buy more than one of each until you know that’s the one your baby likes. Neither of my children ever took the bottle, no matter how much I tried. I nursed Alexander for a year and a half and by then he was sucking water from a straw. Nicholas did exactly the same. What would I’ve done with a bunch of bottles taking up space!

Rocking Chair– I never got one because in my first apartment the floor creaked. Then I didn’t want to get one with Nicholas because they take so much space and I am done having kiddos. If you have the space I would get one. I still nurse my second boy and I sit uncomfortably on the bed to nurse him to this day!

Breast Pump- I didn’t use mine a lot, but it was handy. Obviously if you are going back to work you will need one if you plan to nurse. Other than that maybe a manual pump suffices. I got my electric one free through my insurance, lots of insurances do that, so maybe try that route. Message me if you want mine! I’m done with it. Get breast pads by the way!

Pacifiers– This is definitely personal. But if you ask me: YES YES YES YES YES!!! Buy several popular brands and have them boiled and ready to go. At first they don’t want it. You might even have to force it in a little, don’t be shy.

IMG_3469

Security Blankie– This is a definite yes. Since Nicholas was a newborn and crying, sometimes the pacifier wouldn’t suffice. As soon as he felt that soft cuddly blankie he was quiet as can be. I love “Little Giraffe” blankies. They are pricy, but it’s the one my sons love. It is a life saver for both of us!

IMG_5511

Dont’s

Don’t Install the Crib Right Away- You don’t need a crib right away. I set Alexander’s room super early and it was just wasted space. The first 6 months, specially if you are nursing, they will either sleep in a bassinet next to you, or if you throw the towel after the 3 feed, he/she will end up in your bed. By the time you put them in their own room your might one something more interactive for them to play in.

No Baby Tub- If you have a bathtub at home don’t get an expensive baby tub. Either get an inflatable one or bathe the baby in the regular tub. They are so bulky I couldn’t wait to get rid of mine! There are large sponges that are sold so you can lie the baby on them while in the bath. They are $5 and they are life savers!

No Nursing Pillow- I purchased a nursing pillow : “My Breast Friend”. I used if maybe 10 times total and never used it again. Once you get a hang of nursing you won’t use it anymore. They take so much space I felt relieved when I got rid of it! If you want one, borrow one.

Changing table- I never ever used mine. I felt more comfortable changing him on my bed with a pad underneath. It just felt like a safer option. Plus they take so much space you can totally live without!

Blankets- Maybe get one you love, but people will give you a ton! It is a very popular gift and I have two drawers full of them. I used my 2-3 favorites and the rest are just taking up space. Same with burp clothes. You need them and lots of people will gift them to you.

Pack and Play- I have mixed feelings about this one. They take so much space and you won’t use them very often. They are handy when you travel, or when you go stay at your parents house.

IMG_3692 1

I believe you will do well with just these items. You will get gifts from your friends, in-laws, parents and parent friends, so wait for those. You might be surprised at all the amazing things they will give you!

Nice Wednesday everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting San Diego California with Children

by Rose Elder

IMG_7461

I want to start by mentioning some our great beaches. It is an amazing way of keeping kids busy for most of the day.

Beaches

Pacific Beach
FullSizeRender-14 copy 2
IMG_8514
Tourmaline
FullSizeRender-28
FullSizeRender-27
Coronado Island. Here you can arrive by boat via Downtown San Diego’s waterfront. There are several places that rent bicycles and you can cycle around the island. It is pretty safe because there isn’t much traffic around the residential streets. Then you can enjoy a treat at Hotel Del and get your feet wet at one of the most amazing beaches you will ever see.
Untitled
IMG_6123
Downtown La Jolla has a beautiful area called La Jolla Village. The ocean view is incredible. There are several playgrounds and parks where your kids can run around. There is also good entertainment to watch the seals for free at The Children’s Pool. La Jolla Shores is a great beach as well, it’s very wide so there is plenty of space for the kids to build sand castles.
IMG_1012 1
IMG_1575 1
IMG_1583 1
Enjoy amazing gelato at Bobboi Natural Gelato 
IMG_4472
Windansea. You can watch some of the best surfers in the city ride waves at this beach.
FullSizeRender-14 copy
Windansea
IMG_5085
Stop at Caroline’s Seaside Cafe at La Jolla Shores for a nice lunch with an incredible view.
IMG_0803

Balboa Park

From museums to restaurants and playgrounds. Balboa is one of the largest parks in the country. It is worth spending a full day here. There are several museums catered for kids as well as playgrounds and great restaurants like The Prado and Panama 66.
FullSizeRender-23
FullSizeRender-20
IMG_1071 1
Have lunch at Panama 66. Very welcoming to families, good food and great beer. Alexander had 2 PB&J’s!
FullSizeRender-21
FullSizeRender-22
IMG_0208
IMG_0748

Liberty Station

This is a whole development next to the San Diego Bay waterway. You can also spend if not a full day here, a good part of it. NTC playground is one of the coolest playgrounds we have in the city. Have lunch at Stone Brewery or Liberty Public Market. Visit Moniker General to do a little bit of shopping while enjoying good coffee. If you really want to keep the kids busy take them to Kidventures and Corvette Diner.
IMG_9022 copy
NTC Park
IMG_9017
FullSizeRender-19

 

IMG_8025
Liberty Public Market

The San Diego Central Library

There is a kids section at the library that is worth visiting if you are around. There are obviously many books as well as interactive digital tools. There are also reading times for kids, just look them up here.

You might event want to stop at Petco Park to watch The Padres play baseball if they are in season. They have a kids section with a huge sandbox and tickets are pretty cheap, around $10-$15.

FullSizeRender-17 copy

FullSizeRender-16 copy

IMG_5072 1

The Coaster to Solana Beach

A fun experience for the kids can be taking The Coaster train that departs from Santa Fe Station in Little Italy, to north county. Stop at Solana Beach and walk around Cedros Street. They have amazing little boutiques and galleries. Solo is for sure my favorite.

IMG_9612

IMG_9609

IMG_2078 1

North Park

North Park is this hip neighborhood where a lot of young families live. They have several restaurants with kid areas you can check out. You can go to the free arts and crafts Saturday afternoons at ChuckAlek where you can enjoy a beer while your kids have a great time. Before or after you can stop at Encontro or Waypoint Public to have a nice meal. And please stop by Pigment, this amazing boutique I make any excuse to go to.
FullSizeRender-25
Pigment
FullSizeRender-26
Pigment
FullSizeRender-15 copy
ChuckAlek
IMG_8403 1
ChuckAlek
IMG_7915 1
ChuckAlek

South Park

You can visit South Park after going to North Park or vice versa. They are pretty close to each other, maybe a 5 minute drive. Here you can walk the streets, stop at Station for a burger. Station is a pretty cool place with a kids area, so its always busy. Visit The Gold Leaf and Junc Boutiques. Then have an ice cream at The Daily Scoop on Juniper or a chocolate dessert at Eclipse bar and bistro.

FullSizeRender-17

FullSizeRender-16

FullSizeRender-14

The Childrens Museum 

Located in Downtown San Diego. It is pretty amazing, super modern and ample. Many hands-on activities for the kids. I believe it’s $8 per person to get in.

IMG_6653

IMG_7057

IMG_7070

IMG_7224

IMG_7309

The San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo if you have the time it is incredible. It is huge, so it will take you all day to see it. The only problem with the zoo, if you care, is that in the summers it is packed. It is honestly hard to walk around. I try to go with girlfriends early mornings in the fall.

IMG_5815

IMG_5810

The Waterfront Park

The Waterfront Park is located in Downtown San Diego west of Little Italy. It is one of the most amazing parks you will ever visit and it is free! They have a huge area where the kids can splash and a playground with fun and creative structures. If you have the energy take a 20 minute walk to The Headquarters and have lunch at Puesto. Great Mexican food! Don’t forget to walk around Seaport Village after your meal.

IMG_5964

IMG_5965

IMG_2319

IMG_2316

IMG_2315

Cabrillo National Monument

The views are out of this world. I can go on and on on the history here, but what you need to see is the views of downtown San Diego and the bay, the light house and visit the cemetery on your way out.

IMG_2930

IMG_2934

I really hope this answers some of your questions on what to do when you visit this amazing city with your families.

What are some of your favorite spots in San Diego?

 

As told by my 4-year old

by Rose Elder

FullSizeRender-10

Who is your best friend?

Harper and Sebastian, that’s it.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A boy tooth fairy

If you could have one super power what would it be?

Magic, because I could fly

What are the five best things about being you?

It’s great being Alexander because it’s fun!

What’s the funniest thing you have ever seen?

Turtles

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

Power, grabbers (his crane) and my best friends.

What are the best things about mom and dad?

I don’t know

Can you name one thing that scares you?

Nothing scares me

What would you rather give up: TV, chocolate or friends?

Television

What is the most disgusting thing you can think of?

Poop

What is the first thing you can remember?

My grabber (his crane) and my police car

Happy Tuesday!

 

Alexander’s Birthday Party

by Rose Elder

FullSizeRender-11

We hosted Alexander’s 4th birthday party yesterday. All and all I think it was a success. Kids were entertained as well as the parents, and thanks to my amazing in-laws even I got to enjoy it!

I am a perfectionist, sometimes that plays against you when it refers to entertaining. I want everything to be on point and most times that makes me feel overwhelmed and stressed. When you are stressed you transmit that on to your guests and they have a hard time enjoying your hard work. Yesterday I consciously let go of all the stress and thanks to all my family’s help we all had fun. I am not sure about Alexander though, it was his first party where he really realized people bring presents and it was basically all he cared about. He just wanted to rip off the wrapping paper and go in his room to play with his new toys. I need to figure that one out for next year.

I took many pictures thinking of you. I just wanted to show a bit of what I did to make my boy’s day special.

FullSizeRender-10

FullSizeRender-11

I got the idea of the balloon arrangements from The House That Lars Built’s post on how to curl a balloon. I thought they were kind of fun and different.

FullSizeRender-12

I decided to put the kids names on the popcorn containers to personalize them but mainly to avoid them sharing germs. Some don’t read their name yet, but their parents helped them along.

FullSizeRender-13

FullSizeRender-14

The sandbox is always a great entertainment feature.

FullSizeRender-15

The cake was from Nothing Bundt Cakes. I got so many positive comments about it: That it was “moist and delicious”. The top layer was chocolate and the bottom cake was marbled, most people loved the marbled.

FullSizeRender-27

Excited when he got his first present.

FullSizeRender-22

FullSizeRender-24

I bought the little stools at Ikea. I just figured renting them would’ve been about the same cost and this way I  can keep them for many parties to come. They are easy to dissemble and you can also choose to stack them.

FullSizeRender-25

FullSizeRender-26

I also got the plates and bags at Ikea. The bags had the chips and the plates the burgers. I got burgers from In-N-Out, I did that last year and it was a hit! This year was no different.

FullSizeRender-28

FullSizeRender-29

For the younger ones I set out a little pool with fish. They loved it! Some were there the whole time.

FullSizeRender-21

FullSizeRender-14

FullSizeRender-19

FullSizeRender-20

FullSizeRender-12

FullSizeRender-13

FullSizeRender-17

FullSizeRender-10

The party favors were bubble wands for the little ones and water splashers for the older kids.

FullSizeRender-10

FullSizeRender-11

FullSizeRender-12

Share some of your favorite party ideas!