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Archive for September, 2011

…I married the man of my dreams. I know it seems like a cliche (you know, the whole “Hawaiian Wedding” thing) but Jon and I were living in San Francisco and planning a wedding for hundreds on the East Coast from the West Coast would have been a logistical nightmare. So we made a decision: Let’s go to Hawaii and our family and friends that can make it will not only be able to share in our wedding day but will also enjoy a vacation of their own. We ended up with a party of 15 from both Canada and the US and spent almost a full week together.

We would do it the same way in an instant. What we love most about our time in Oahu are all the shared experiences we have with some of our favorite people. My bestfriend met Jon’s bestfriend, my sister met Jon’s sister, etc… So by the time I walked down the aisle, I felt the love and bond that had formed over the previous several days as we all discovered the dolphins, Dole Pineapple Plantation and Mai Tais together!

And though I wouldn’t change a thing, our wedding day had it’s fair share of unpredictable moments and challenges (in fact, Jon and I think our story can easily rival the recent Bridesmaids movie…!). But what we never once lost sight of was that we were committing to take on those very same issues together as a united team for the rest of our lives.

Here’s to you, my love, Mahalo!!!!

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What a better way to celebrate the beginning of Fall than with a visit to a local family-owned farm? This was an event organized by my Meetup group, NJMM (North Jersey Moms Meetup). And while the weather hasn’t been the best lately, certainly not for farms – mud! – the rain held off long enough for me, Jon and Elliott to enjoy Abma’s Farm located 30mins from our home in Weehawken, NJ.

Petting Zoo

 

Baaaa!

Abma’s Farm has a petting zoo, hayrides, a bakery & market and is a fun place to spend a few hours. Elliott enjoyed seeing all the sheep, goats and ponies and looks forward to one day being able to ride one of those ponies!

Great First Hayride

Towards the end of our visit, while on our hayride, we met a fellow NJMM mom who has a 6 month old son, Ishan…I love how intense babies are when they discover another of their kind…

Hello Friend!

We had a very nice time and will definitely be back again, soon. Thanks for a great day, Abma’s Farm!

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Home Sweet Home!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom and wouldn’t trade it for the world. But man, traveling with an 8 month old is tough…and he’s a great baby! Gone are the days of me and Jon going out to the beach, then a restaurant, then a club while on vacation. I swear, we must’ve planned almost every minute of every day, just to make sure we weren’t caught off-guard. From food, to water, to teething toys, swimsuit, hat, baby spf, life jacket, stroller, high chair, 2 changes of clothes, diapers, swim diapers…dear lord! I was about to have a meltdown before I even left the hotel room!

And Miami is HUMID!!! So darn humid. We went for a few runs during our trip and even when planned early in the day, I couldn’t finish a 5k. The heat, which has been pretty bad in the Northeast this summer but nothing like this, was enough to sap all my energy. Safe to say we won’t be planning a move to Florida any time soon…

So we’re home, and I’m happy. Someone remind me of the mayhem we just experienced before I ask Jon to go on another long-distance business trip with him…

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As if packing for myself wasn’t challenging enough, then comes baby. Over the past few months, Eli and I have been on at least 10 road trips with Jon (who travels A LOT for business). I remember the first time I had to sit down with my lists of things to pack, I had no clue where to start. So I packed almost everything we owned. Fortunately, with each trip those lists become shorter and easier to plan…I now know what’s essential and what’s taking up (valuable) space.

And I’m glad I had the practice. We’re currently in Miami and though I was concerned that we would  leave something important behind or wouldn’t be able to have the same comforts of home while away because of restrictions on luggage (Jon can only carry so much through the airport 😛 ) that hasn’t been the case. So while I was rocking Eli back to sleep last night at around 1am, I began thinking of the few things that I just could not imagine traveling without. These are the items that make my life a little simpler, both on the road and at home. Here are my top 5 travel favorites:

1. My Little Seat. This travel high chair made of cloth was recommended to me by my best-friend, Danielle, who had used it while visiting me with her son, Flynn. Since we’re often eating out, we never need to be concerned with restaurants having a (clean) high chair. In fact, even if one is offered to us, we usually just this little gem. It comes in a small pouch which can fit easily in the bottom of my diaper bag/purse. The entire thing is washer friendly. So far, we’ve only encountered one chair that it couldn’t be used with and that’s because the back of the chair was too wide for the cloth pocket to slide into.

2. Cloud b – Sleep Sheep On The Go. This adorable little sheep is known as Lambikins in our house and he comes everywhere with us. It is a soothing sound machine with 4 different sounds and has a timer of 23 or 45 minutes. There is a velcro strap so you can attach it to the car seat, the crib or the stroller. At this very moment, Eli is listening to the rain in the hotel room thanks to his sleep sheep. Not only are the sounds soothing for the baby, it also allows me and Jon to make a little more noise without worrying that we’ll wake him. If you order this online, make sure to distinguish between the travel sheep and the regular one. In my opinion, the regular sheep is just too large and not necessary if you already have the travel one.

3. Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy Straps. For only $3.99 you get a pack of 2 straps in a wide variety of colors for both boys and girls. I suggest having at least a couple of these – attach it to the car seat, the high chair, stroller and leave them there until they need to be washed. These straps not only prevent your child from losing toys (by throwing them out of the stroller when you aren’t looking), they also keep sippy cups and mesh food feeders off of the floor which is obviously a huge benefit when you’re on the go – just strap the feeder to the high chair and even if the child drops it, it remains clean and ready to be chewed on! And it also works on Sophie la Giraffe, much cheaper than the $10 toy leashes sold specifically for her.

4. JJ Cole All-Purpose Blanket. This blanket is machine washable, measures 5ft x 5ft and folds up into a nice compact carrying bag, with a side pocket. One of my favorite finds because it allows me to turn wherever we are into a play are. I’ve used it in our home to add extra padding over our hardwood floors, brought it to every park and the best use has been in hotel rooms when I like the idea of keeping Elliott away from the carpets…The fabric is a tad slippery which only seems to be an issue when Elliott is learning to crawl and could use a little more traction.

5. BOB Revolution SE Jogging Stroller and Travel Bag. If there is one item that has made Jon and I equally excited, this is it! There are so many reasons to love this stroller – it has adjustable suspension for a smooth ride, pivots on a dime, folds up in 2 moves, has a huge canopy with a sunroof so we can see our little guy while running.

The travel bag is a serious piece of luggage. It has a shoulder strap and handle for easy carrying but also comes with wheels. We managed to pack almost all of Elliott’s belongings into the empty space around the stroller which saved us on extra baggage fees.

Now that we’re at our destination, we’ve been able to go for runs, do some sightseeing and even take it to the beach. Though BOB is an investment, we think it is worth every penny!

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As much as I love being behind the lens, shooting *almost* every new experience (I’ve learned to put the camera down at times and simply enjoy the moment rather than document it), I find myself sometimes wishing I could have a photo that captures life with Elliott as I know it today with me in it. For most occasions, I grab my point and shoot camera or cell phone and shoot a poorly composed/lit self-portrait while trying to hold onto Elliott and prevent him from eating said cameras.

But it seems someone’s been paying attention…While at the beach the other day, my husband, Jon, offered to snap a few pics of me and my boy. He directed us toward the light, played with various angles, waited for the perfect moment and ta-dah! I am in love with this photograph. You’ll notice that Eli is trying to eat my face: it’s his way of showing affection. Captured at just the right time, with great composition and focus, Jon has given me an incredible gift – an image that I will cherish for years to come and will bring a huge smile to my face and to my heart.

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We decided on Saturday that in honor of Summer coming to an end, we should take Elliott to the beach for his very first time. After searching online for beaches near us, we selected Sandy Hook Beach, only 1 hour from our doorstep. We were not disappointed! Sandy Hook is a beautiful barrier peninsula located within view of the Manhattan Skyline and can be reached by ferry in only 30 minutes from Wall Street.

After running a 5k on a well-maintained trail that runs the length of the 6-mile island, we found our way to the white-sand beach and laid down our picnic blanket. I showed Elliott a palm-full of sand, he touched it, cautiously, then tried to eat it…as most babies do. Next we placed his little toes in the sand and he liked that, nice and cool on his chunky feet. Jon and I just watched Eli as he discovered this new stuff called sand and once he seemed bored with it, we strapped on his life jacket and began our next adventure – the ocean.

We already knew that our child enjoys playing in water, whether it’s his bath or the local pools, warm or cold, it doesn’t bother him. But to assume he would be equally comfortable in the ocean was another thing. Jon held Eli, lowered him to where just his toes could touch the sand and in seconds, a wave came in up to Eli’s waist and just as quickly returned out to sea. Elliott smiled. He loved it.

Several waves later, it was time to dry up and humor mommy with a photoshoot…

 

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I could go on and on about my love for Amazon.com, and at a later date, I will do just that. For now, I thought I would share one of my favorite perks about being an Amazon.com shopper…the one that saves me $.

I joined Amazon Mom just before Elliott was born, a free program through Amazon.com designed to save caretakers money on the products we buy most often. On purchases of diapers & wipes, you save 30%, on most other household purchases (groceries, cleaning supplies), you save 15% when you chose Subscribe & Save (which allows you to determine how often you’d like to receive a product – every month, 2 months, 6 months…you can cancel that at any time and still receive the discount). Obviously the website Amazon.com has all the information you need to answer any questions you may have.

In addition to saving money, you also become enrolled for 3 months in Amazon Prime (an annual membership costs $79). Prime offers free 2-day shipping!!! (Instead of 3-5 days) I LOVE 2-day shipping!!! Especially if a special occasion is coming up and I can’t make it to a store, or…who am I kidding, I just like receiving the packages so soon after purchasing 😀 As long as you continue to buy at least $25 worth of Baby Store products (essentially, anything that is baby-related) from Amazon, they will give you an additional 1-month free enrollment. (I’ve managed to max-out the number of free months I can get: 1 full year of free 2-day shipping.)

If you need to know just one thing, here it is: I pay $30 for a box of 156 Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive Diapers versus $45 @ Babies R Us or most other stores…and I don’t have to leave my house 🙂

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