Off to London!

We have a dear friend getting married in jolly old London next week, and I am so excited to dive across the pond and spend time celebrating this wonderful wedding! It is a 3-day Indian wedding, so I know the festivities will be gorgeous and lively and I am just so excited to be able to experience it! While it would be a blast to bring Everett, Stevie and I are treating this as our babymoon and leaving him in good hands back home. We are also going to be in 3 days of wedding events, which doesn't really scream "toddler friendly" - though I'll admit, I am getting reeeeeeally sad about leaving him. He's just so wonderful and funny and tender and the thought of spending a few days so far away from him is a little unnerving. Say a little prayer for my mama heart :)

Even though we will be really busy on this trip, I wanted to ask all of you if you have suggestions for places to go/see/eat/do. The last time Stevie and I were in London, we did a lot of delightful touristy things, like having high tea at Fortnum & Mason, seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe Theater, touring the London Natural History Museum, visiting the Tower of London, shopping (and eating!) at Borough Market, riding the London Eye, drooling at all the dresses in Harrods, lounging in Kensington Garden and trekking around Notting Hill. I would gladly do all of these wonderful things again because truly, this is a magical town, but I'm sure there are a slew of other places we should visit while we're visiting. I would love your suggestions!

Below are a few of my favorite pics from the last time we visited London. Oh, we were just babes then, living the adventurous pre-baby life and traveling like hippies around Europe with two backpacks and a Rick Steves travel guide. I wouldn't trade my life now for what we had then - but I'll admit, our Euro Trip was the best, most fantastically adventurous trip of my life.

Note our odd outfits - we were seriously running out of clean laundry.
 

I am so excited about this trip I am almost itching. I am such an anglophile (in other words, a typical American girl) and I am excited to don a Kate-Middleton-esque hat and get my tea on. Seriously friends, trip suggestions are appreciated! Thank you in advanced! XOX

Things To Do In New York City With A Baby.

Those wild grasses of New York City.

Those wild grasses of New York City.

I know I sound like a broken record, but guys, we had SO MUCH FUN on our family trip to New York last week!

It was a work trip for him, and a play trip for me, so I was the one spending most of the time shuffling around the city with my darling, almost 1-year old son. And even though I have lived in NYC before, and visited a million bajillion times, there is always something new to be discovered in this fetching, enticing, frantic city. And exploring it with my kiddo? Well, this opportunity was no exception. My eyes were opened to a whole new slew of opportunities and places to be discovered with a baby/toddler in tow. I wanted to share a few of my finds for all you adventuring mamas (and papas!) who want to tote their babes along while exploring the big city.

That happy boy.

That happy boy.

Making friends.

Making friends.

We packed a few balls to pull out and be played with at a moment's notice.

We packed a few balls to pull out and be played with at a moment's notice.

Babies love fountains. They just LOVE THEM.

Babies love fountains. They just LOVE THEM.

Everett roamed with daddy in his stroller, he crawled around Books of Wonder (don't judge, the kid REALLY needed to get out of his seat and it was an obvious play area for babies), and there he is on the subway, where he actually threw his ball in that woman's face. I practically melted into a puddle of sweat on the floor, I was so embarrassed.

Everett roamed with daddy in his stroller, he crawled around Books of Wonder (don't judge, the kid REALLY needed to get out of his seat and it was an obvious play area for babies), and there he is on the subway, where he actually threw his ball in that woman's face. I practically melted into a puddle of sweat on the floor, I was so embarrassed.

These two little dreamers.

These two little dreamers.

Baby and Kid-Friendly places in NYC:

Washington Square Park- For the gorgeous fountains, epic live music, and frolicking in the grasses. We might have eaten some stray dandelions, too.

Books of Wonder - Best bookstore ever! He was free to crawl on the carpet and play play play to his heart's content. This is a very special book store, and reminds you of the Shop Around the Corner from You've Got Mail. So sweet.

Picnic in Central Park - Because when you have an adventurous kiddo, picnics are the new way to lunch. We did this on several occasions, grabbing meals from Whole Foods and Shake Shack and enjoying them in the park. There are so many open field areas to lounge on the grass, too. It was a great place to pull out all the balls that Stevie made me pack for Everett, and we rolled them back and forth to each other. That child is getting pretty good at playing ball. It's really cute, but its even funnier how proud Stevie gets when Everett rolls the ball towards him. Oh boys.

FAO Schwartz - Talk about making a kid dream. My baby's eyes practically popped out of his head at all the wondrous toys, displays, animals, and joyful atmosphere. You don't have to be a big kid to enjoy - this place is even for babies! Heck, even for adults, we really love it there, too! I always want to over shop and Stevie is always like, "We can find it on Amazon later", and of course, we never do. Because this place is special and the toys in it are just rare, rare finds.

Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place in Battery City Park - Such an awesome place for a baby, because there are TONS of places to eat and you can sit inside or outside and stare at the ocean, the boats, Lady Liberty and Jersey City. Needless to say, my child was pretty quiet while we were all eating, because he had so much to look at and take in. Score.

Raining? It's no problem. There are so many places that you can stroll around with your baby that are so enjoyable and entertaining:

Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle - It's like a really nice mall. With really nice restaurants and bathrooms and coffee and pastries. These are mom necessities, right? Also, while you're there, make sure to check out Landmarc, which is known in the city for being an upscale, kid-friendly joint. Everett ate my entire grilled cheese there. Along with his own lunch.

The MoMa - This is New York's Museum of Modern Art and it is amazing. Luckily, it was located right around the corner from our hotel. I headed that way, then the rain stopped, so we didn't actually visit this time around. But any of the museums are really great for kids, including The Children's Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Met!

Have something to add to this list? We seems to find ourselves there at least 1-2 times a year and I would love to know of some more kid-friendly places! Because, you know, I plan on bringing this little one with me everywhere :) If you have more to share, please do! I'm sure other mamas would want to know, too!

8 Tips for Traveling Abroad with Your Baby.

8 Tips for Traveling Abroad with Your Baby Cover1.jpg

Traveling Abroad with Your Baby.

So much planning. So much research. SO MUCH PREP. I worked hard to get the three of us to Europe (Madrid and Rome, Parts 1, 2, & 3) in one piece, with the necessary gear, and no more! I did some things really well. I did some things terribly. Some things just worked themselves out easily and some things were completely unexpected. In other words, it was a typical trip with a baby. I learned along the way and I wanted to share a few things we did that proved to be super helpful!

He loved this crib! It was almost weird how much he liked being in it...

He loved this crib! It was almost weird how much he liked being in it...

1. Purchased and packed our own Travel Crib.

I purchased this BABYBJORN Travel Crib for Everett to sleep in while we were abroad. Traveling with our Pack'n'play seemed kind of like a nightmare (too heavy/bulky, especially with all the other luggage and stroller), and this travel crib had the best reviews for the price. I like that it only weighs 13 lbs, can fit in a large suitcase, and was something that he was comfortable in no matter where he was sleeping. Since we opted for staying in Airbnb's instead of hotels (more on that below), there wasn't a guarantee that a decent crib would be provided in each location. I bought this a few weeks prior to our trip and started napping him during the day time in this crib, in his bedroom. I really think this helped him feel more comfortable in it once we were in the unfamiliar locations. And it's proved to be an awesome purchase! Ridiculously easy to set up and use, and I just used one of my regular crib sheets instead of purchasing the one they recommend for the crib. I know that we will use this for years to come! In fact, at the time of writing this, my son is napping in this crib in a condo in Florida. Soundly sleeping, I shall add. :)

daddy

2. Chose to stay in an Airbnb flat instead of a hotel.

It was important to me that we stay in an Airbnb apartment, especially after traveling with Everett a good bit, and realizing that his naps are what makes the world go round on vacation! When the three of us are all sharing one hotel room, sleeping can be difficult. And since the baby goes down at night around 7pm, usually Stevie and I have to whisper the rest of the night and, you know, not watch TV. I wanted to have a bit more space and the ability to put the baby down for the evening, and then at least share a glass of wine and talk about our day together. We chose to stay in apartments during our trek throughout Madrid and Rome (and during our mega Eurotrip a few years ago!) and it proved to be the best choice for our family. Bonus if you stay in a place with a balcony! We have previously used Airbnb in Spain, Italy, Germany and France, and almost all our experiences have been extremely positive. The site has an accountability system built into it, so we have an incentive to be good tenants while the landlords have incentives to be fair, honest, and quick to respond to any request. I would recommend it to anyone!

vista

3. Went with a Travel Highchair situation.

I went back and forth on this one, especially after doing a good bit of research and learning that Madrid and Rome, in particular, aren't very child-friendly in restaurants. Meaning, they probably wouldn't ever have high chairs available. Since I knew we would be eating out for most meals (hello! You don't go to Italy to cook!), so I knew we would need something we could take with us from place to place. I purchased a few different travel solutions on Amazon, test drove them prior to the trip, and finally landed on BRICA Fold N' Go Travel Booster Seat. It worked out beautifully! It hooks on to almost any kind of chair, and it was a sturdy option where there wasn't a high chair available. It also folds up so it's super easy and light to travel with. We threw it in the bottom of our stroller and used it when we needed to, though we ended up using it mostly in the Airbnb. When we ate out and about, we purposely chose outdoor restaurants whenever possible, that way we could just scoot the stroller up to the table and he could join us for the meal that way.

Obviously, we park the stroller next to the vespas.

Obviously, we park the stroller next to the vespas.

4. Brought our Stroller and Baby Carrier.

We decided to bring both our UPPAbaby Vista Stroller and ERGObaby Carrier for the trip, and boy, I am glad we did. Being able to wear the baby in the carrier (on the plane and out and about) was so SO helpful, especially when he was fussy and just wanted to be close to us. But if we had worn him the entire trip, that would have been a challenge. He weighs 20 lbs! So taking our stroller out with us was a GODSEND - he napped in it everyday while we were on the go and we could load it down with our gear for the day. Snacks, sunscreen, light jacket, water bottles, the works! So yes, we were like a traveling bus, but let's be real - that's just life with a baby. We travel heavier these days, but we still travel!

5. Packed in Cubes.

I won't claim to be a packing expert. I've gotten pretty good at packing for myself and Stevie, because I use these eBags Packing Cubes. They make a world of difference by limiting the amount that you need to bring but also making it possible to bring a lot in a compact way. I can seriously pack for a week-long vacation in a book bag by using these. And I previously traveled all over Europe for a month using just these cubes. They are a lifesaver. BUT. I am still an over-packer when it comes to baby gear. I don't want to find myself without something that could buy my son twenty minutes of happiness, so I tend to include everything and the kitchen sink just to ensure his comfort (and therefore, our comfort). However, this leads to lots and lots of stuff. I mean, just look at what I've listed above! And add in clothes, extra clothes, baby food, toys, books, TEETHING GEAR, and goodness, that's not even the half of it. I think I need to invest in another set of packing cubes just for this little guy...

His and Hers last beverages of choice before we plane-hopped. // Everett's first passport stamp! // Ergo, all day everyday.

His and Hers last beverages of choice before we plane-hopped. // Everett's first passport stamp! // Ergo, all day everyday.

6. Added in a Timing Buffer.

It was really helpful to budget extra travel time for everything under the sun. We gave ourselves an unscheduled day in each location just to adjust to the new time zone and nap off the jetlag. It might seems strange to do that on your first day in a new country, but it actually helped the rest of the trip to be completely enjoyable. Naps! We took them too! And it was absolutely wonderful.

7. Knew the Airlines' Policies.

This is one that still makes my blood boil. We called our airline (who shall remain nameless because I don't like to badmouth) multiple times in advance of our flights, to ensure that we reserved the baby bassinet for such a long trip. We were reassured each time that yes, of course, you have the baby bassinet. When we arrived at the airport gate, we were told that they had given the bassinet seats away to another family. The gate agent verified that we had put in the first request, but none of that mattered, despite what the customer service assistant had assured us on the phone. Whoever gets to the gate first and asks to be placed in the seats compatible with a bassinet will get them. So we did a lot of pre-planning for nothing. I think it's a crappy policy, but now I know better. RACE THROUGH THE AIRPORT. BUMP ALL THE OTHER MOTHERS OUT OF LINE. GET TO THE GATE FIRST AND YOU GET YOURS. Or, you know, whatever the classier version of that scenario might be. Do that.

Trust me, it was a lot of work to get us to this "fun and fancy freeeeeeee"-moment. BUT. We really did have a lot of these kinds of moments!

Trust me, it was a lot of work to get us to this "fun and fancy freeeeeeee"-moment. BUT. We really did have a lot of these kinds of moments!

8. Adjusted Our Expectations.

After several domestic trips to family's homes and weekend getaway spots, we realized that this Eurotrip was going to look nothing like our last one. Gone were the days of getting up early and staying out late, drinking in every tour, museum, and site (along with the wine!) We purposely went at a very slow pace. But you know what? We still did everything we wanted to do. This trip was SO MUCH FUN. Exploring these cities with Everett along for the ride gave us more insight into the richness of life with a baby. Having the the "attitude is everything!"-approach really made the difference. We had such an awesome trip and I am already planning our next overseas extravaganza! I'm feeling a UK/Scotland/Ireland excursion. However, my husband shushes me whenever I mention it. Too soon? I guess it's too soon.

I think I covered everything! Hope these help! Leave me a message in the comments section if you have any questions or travel tips to add to this list!

6 Tips for Road Tripping With a Baby

Tips for Road Tripping With a Baby.

We took a family road trip this week down to St. Simons Island, Georgia. Stevie has a work conference, so Everett and I decided to tag along and enjoy a mini vacation somewhere that we've never been before. We are never ones to turn down a new adventure, especially when there is a beach involved. I'll post more about the trip next week, but I did want to go ahead and share a few things that have worked for road tripping with this little guy. He's only 9 months old, but he is developing into a lovely road trip companion. I'm sure there will come a day where he just won't tolerate sitting in his car seat for so long, but right now, we are able to convince him to ride along with us as we hit some drive-able destinations. I'm not saying he is perfect during the entire trip, but we have found some helpful hacks for coercing him to be a pleasant ride-along car buddy. In light of summertime and everyone's upcoming travels, I thought I would share what has worked for us.

1. Leave at the Crack of Dawn.

I learned this one the hard way. I left at 10am for a 7-hour road trip, and my little babe was awake for most of it. Which meant he was bored, which meant he was LOUD, which meant everyone in the car was exercising their patience. For the next road trip, I decided to leave at 5am, in hopes that he would sleep for a good portion of the trip. And that is indeed what happened. Hallelujah. Here's how the 7-hour trip broke down: I woke up at 4:30am and got myself dressed and ready. The car was already packed the night before. I gently woke him up, changed his diaper, kept him in his pjs and placed him in his car seat. I did all of this in the dark. I was on the road at 5am, and he slept for the first three hours of the drive. At 8am we stopped at a Starbucks, fed Everett in the parking lot, then grabbed a coffee and breakfast sandwich to go. He fell back asleep until about 10:30am or so, and I started handing him toys in the back. One by one. Which brings me to my next point...

2. Pack Toys. A Lot of Toys.

Pack more than you could ever imagine you would need. An obnoxious amount. Once the novelty of riding along in the car gets old, those toys are your lifeline. I purchased this set of toys specifically for roadtripping and it has proven to be a worthy investment. The other thing is, everything can be a toy! A plastic water bottle, toilet paper rolls, Styrofoam cup, plastic sunglasses, you name it! I've started passing the strangest things back there to him, and it amuses him for a bit. My kiddo is a curious soul. Why wouldn't he want to stare soulfully into my hat? Sure.

Gotta stop to feed and change. But these stops are actually kinda fun! LOOK AT MY BABYYYY.

3. Pack Travel Food.

I make Everett's baby food for whenever we eat at home (which is most of the time), but when we travel it's a different story. I admire those ladies who lug around their canisters of homemade blended baby purees - but I just cannot do it. I've tried and it's just too much mess to pack up and take home, to then clean up again later. No thanks. Not for me. I stock up on easy travel food when we hit the road, and Everett LOVES it. I think he feels like it's a special treat :) Our favorites are these by Earth's Bestthese by Happy Baby and these by Plum Organics. He is also really loving his appetizers by Happy Baby :) (I've been reading that French parenting book that recommends feeding children in courses, so Everett gets fancy these days with his appetizers).

4. Pack More Clothes/Diapers/Wipes Than You Think You Will Need.

Some weird things have happened on our road trips. Some weird, weird things. Blowouts, showering urine, gassyness that leads to... solidness. I'll leave it at that. But I always pack Everett THREE changes of clothes when we go anywhere. Three. Yes. Three.

5. Budget Extra Travel Time.

The days of blazing down the road, NO STOPS, is over. Man, me and Stevie used to tear up some mileage on road trips. I reminisced about my favorite all-time road trip with him the other day, when we used to drive from before the sun was up until late in the night. Those days. Are over. In the new era, with a baby and gear and breastfeeding breaks and diaper change breaks and YOU NAME IT breaks, we stop often. There's just no way around it. So budgeting extra travel time is a must, especially if you're super type-A and you like to "race" your Googlemaps estimate. Not like my husband does that or anything. Needless to say, we've had to make some expectation adjustments.

Sleeping baby. Makes for a very happy mommy.

6. Enjoy it!

This is so important. I'm continuously learning about how much life has changed with Everett's arrival in my world, and everything is truly, infinitely better with him. It is. Everything is also really truly different. Vacations look different, my idea of rest looks different, and certainly the way I roadtrip is so so different. But he is also so much fun, and I find myself staring at him wondering what I was doing with my life before he came along. Like, why did I wait so long to have him?? Well, actually, I know the answer to that. But still! My baby is the best. So grateful that I can take him along for journeys and adventures!

And bonus tip - Coldplay does wonders for putting a baby to sleep in the car. THAT CHRIS MARTIN. Okay, there it is, folks. All my road trip tricks in a nutshell. For all of you planning to road trip and travel this summer, I hope this helps!

Traveling With a Baby.

Traveling With a Baby.

Two weeks ago we took our almost 4-month-old baby to New York City for 5 days. We are new parents, so we weren't sure all the best ways to travel with him. I asked a lot of questions to those who had done it before, and I've compiled all the info that worked best for us. This entire post is about how to avoid excessive hassle (and germs!) while traveling with a baby.

For the Airport:

Check, check, check. 

It's a new era in your life, if you're traveling with children. The old habit of carrying everything on in order to avoid baggage fees just isn't feasible anymore. Make your life easier and just check everything you won't need for the plane ride. Seriously, this will save you so much hassle. I carried on my diaper bag, stocked specifically for the plane ride, and nothing else. And I mean, my baby, but then nothing else.

Check your stroller with your other luggage. 

I know some people recommend gate-checking the stroller (if you choose to travel with one), but I don't really see the reason to bring it all the way through the airport. It's just more stuff to lug. We purchased a travel bag for our stroller (which provides insurance in case the airline damages it during our travels), so we went ahead and packed it and checked it along with everything else. It was wonderful. And thankfully, the bag completely protected the stroller and there was zero damage to it during the entire trip. Money well-spent, in my opinion.

Wear your baby through the airport.

I wore my almost-4-month old in the Ergo Baby Carrier through the airport, and it was the best. It kept him calm and warm, and most of all, away from strangers. I am a bit wary of germs (I hate when people you don't know come up and touch your baby's hands and face. Like, what are they THINKING?! I don't know where their grimy hands have been! And then of course my child immediately puts his hands in his mouth... ugh so gross.)

Note:

You don't have to take the baby out of the carrier when you go through security, but sometimes they will still make you take your shoes off. I would recommend wearing something you can easily slip in and out of, like Keds.

We scored three seats on the plane. Everett didn't complain once.

For the Plane:

Ask for a Better Seat Rearrangement.

You never know until you ask, that's what I've learned from my husband. In our case, on both flights, the gate agents moved us so that we could have a row of three seats for the three of us, even though we only paid for two seats! I sat by the window, Stevie sat on the aisle, and we had more room to spread out a blanket on the seat between us with some toys and stuffed animals. We found that our little man loved stretching out on the middle seat & kicking up a storm (obviously, our hands were on him the whole time, making sure he didn't roll - incidentally, this is where I also decided to discreetly make some diaper changes, as well. More room!) Once you reach your gate, you can ask the gate agent if there is anything they can do to upgrade or rearrange your seat assignments so that you can be more comfy.  We found that Delta was extremely accommodating to our family - thank you!

Wait to Board.

Most airlines allow people flying with infants to board the plane first, so that you can settle in and avoid the crowds. However, why would you want to sit on that plane for 45 minutes while everyone else boards? It's just extra time in a tiny, cramped space. No thank you! My baby is a mover, and loathes sitting still, so I knew that wouldn't be a good option for us. Since we didn't carry anything on, we didn't need to board first to make sure our luggage would fit. So we waited until the final boarding call to make our way on the plane, and then 5 minutes later we were taking off.

Note:

If you are traveling with a partner who has some carry-on luggage, have them go ahead and board at the regular time so they can get their bag on board. But hold out and wait to board with that baby until the very last minute! You will be reeeeeeeally glad about this choice.

Feed during Takeoff/Landing.

Nurse the baby or give them a bottle during the takeoff/landing portions of the flight. Their little ears are really sensitive to all the altitude changes, so the constant swallowing helps ease that discomfort. A pacifier also works beautifully, if your child will take one.

Dressing the Part.

Dress your baby in a long-sleeved onesie, if you can. It makes for easy diaper changes, keeps them warm on the flight, and allows for a simple wardrobe swap in the case that things get messy. Make sure you have all kinds of back up onesies - I think I brought on three changes of clothes! Of course, when you're actually that prepared, you never need all of those. I also made sure to keep him in a hat, socks and shoes, and a coat, just because it was November and we were heading to NYC. Didn't want him to get too cold en route!

Stock that Bag:

Along with the many extra changes of clothes, I made sure to have my diaper bag wondrously stocked. I packed my nursing cover, a few muslin blankets, a burp cloth, a zillion diapers and wipes, pacifiers, diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer and a few comforting teethers/toys (Everett is really loving the Jellycat collection :)

My baby and his baby, Oscar.

For the Hotel:

Find A Killer Location.

It was really important to us to stay in a centrally located hotel while we were in NYC. I didn't want to stay in Times Square, because I was concerned about trying to get the baby to go to sleep amidst the lights and noise (also, who wants to stay in Times Square?) However, staying in midtown, just south of Central Park, was pretty perfect.

The Warwick New York Hotel was extremely accommodating to all our baby needs, and made our first trip as a family of three extremely comfortable. It was also a super-cool boutique-y vintage-y spot with a glamorous history, so it made us feel hip (even though we're really not.) Yes, it was a super busy area, but the location made it really easy to go back to the hotel throughout the day if we needed to do a major clothing change or an impromptu nap. In years past, Stevie and I would have stayed somewhere far less posh and further away to save a few bucks, but in this new age of babies, it's worth paying a little bit more to stay centrally. That way, when you do have to head back to the hotel for the baby's 2-hour nap, at least you can still look out your window and enjoy the city a bit.

Sleeping Situation.

You can opt for a suite if you're concerned about the baby waking you up at all hours of the night. We didn't want to shell out the extra cash for a suite, but in hindsight, it probably would have made a big difference in terms of (at least Stevie!) getting better sleep, especially since this was a work trip for him. But if you are going to sleep in the same room as your baby, make sure you pack their sleep essentials. We made sure to bring Everett's white noise machine, his sleep sack and a few extra blankets to drape around the crib, just so that he didn't get distracted by the TV, etc.

Note the blankets draped around the sides. He slept like a baby.

Reserve a Crib.

Make sure to contact your hotel ahead of time and vibe them out about the baby gear. Most hotels have cribs that you can reserve in advanced, but not all hotel cribs are created equal. Some are old and rickety and not up to code. Make sure you really check out the crib when you get to the hotel, check for cracks in the wood and loose screws. I brought our own crib sheet from home, so that Everett would at least smell the comfy "home smell" in a foreign crib.

Snacks & Drinks.

Buy a big pack of bottled waters and leave them in the room. Then you can grab one to go each time you head out. This way you can stay hydrated and cut down on out and about costs. The same goes for healthy snacks. Eating out while traveling can really deplete your energy and make you feel sluggish, especially when you know you aren't making the best healthy choices. I stopped by the Fresh Market before our trip and stocked up on Kind Bars, energizing trail mix and whole grain crackers. When we arrived in NYC I found a deli and stopped by each day to purchase a fresh-cut container of organic fruit. That way I was snacking really healthy and eating lighter, cleaner meals. It made those Magnolia Bakery treats just that - a treat. Not a necessity for fuel.

We are in a honeymoon stage with our stroller. WE LOVE IT.

For Getting Out & About:

Carrier.

I really love babywearing. Not only was this completely essential for the airport, this was definitely the most seamless way to go places with the baby when I was by myself. I just strapped him in the Ergobaby Carrier and away we went! But keep in mind, with all that walking, you will probably get tired easily. Wear supportive shoes, especially if you will be walking the entire time.

Stroller.

We brought our big mamma-jamma stroller, in addition to the baby carrier, and I am so glad we did. Walking around for hours and hours can get a little bit tolling on your back, even though the Ergo is incredibly supportive. For a city like New York, where walking is my favorite mode of transport, it was really helpful to have my stroller and load it down with the essentials. I could strap Everett in (all bundled up in his JJ Cole Bundleme), hang my diaper bag on the hooks and have plenty of room in the basket underneath for whatever else I wanted to bring along. At one point, I was carrying shopping bags, a few gifts to bring to friends, his Ergobaby carrier (just in case), my coat, a picnic lunch, my SLR camera and a book (ha, as if I was going to read on this trip) all in the stroller basket. It made going to the park really fun, because we had enough gear to get out and stay out for hours and hours. And like I said, we purchased our stroller's travel bag, which provides insurance in case anything is damaged while we travel. Which made it a no-brainer to have along with us.

Pace Yourself.

Plan less activities for your day. And make flexible plans. I wish I could say that having this baby hasn't slowed us down in the least. I wish I could say that we are still livin' la vida loca, that this baby can easily go along with our schedule, that nothing can alter the vigorous way we like to travel and explore. But I would be lying. Having this baby has slowed me down more than anyone else I know that has a baby. We do everything slower. We do fewer things. And those slow, few activities really wear us out, so then we have to nap a lot (when I say "we", I am mostly referring to me and Stevie. I have already established that my child would prefer to never sleep and always play.) Don't plan on leaving your hotel at 8 in the morning to sightsee, meet friends for lunch, shop in the afternoon and then meet more friends for dinner. Because you will spend the majority of your trip (like I did) apologizing by text to everyone you have to cancel on. I'm working on not being too hard on myself about it, this is just part of traveling with a baby. Be flexible. Pace your schedule.

Lessons Learned + What I Wish I had Known.

I wish I would have known about the post-travel crash. I realized that Everett & I could run on adrenaline throughout the trip, but coming home and getting back into a routine was kind of a nightmare. He experienced what some people call the 4-month sleep regression, but it was even more than that. He stopped taking a bottle for a few days. He was mega fussy. He had some whack diapers. He was literally up every hour of ever night for 7 days straight. And it was super un-fun. It's taken a full 10 days to get back into a normal sleep routine, which has helped with his eating and the fussiness. I wish I had better answers for why this happens and what to do about it, but nothing really helped us get through it, other than time. It just took time, attempting to get back to normal. Best thing you can do? Pray. Pray and sleep the very best and most you can. Especially during the daytime, when your baby goes down for a nap. There is tons of info out there about how to cope with baby jet lag, but nothing worked for us. Nothing but prayer and sleep.

Seems like a lot of stuff, huh? It is. But we had such a blast on this trip. I feel much better prepared for the next time we travel. The bottom line is that having this baby is the greatest gift I've ever received, so if he slows me down for a few years, so be it. Traveling with him was an absolute wonder and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Happy holiday travels to all of you this week!