Category Archives: Travel

Packing Hacks for a Work Trip

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Being a working mom can be rough.  Well let’s be honest, being a stay at home momma can be rough, too.  Being a mom in general has it’s moments.  Moments where you want to pull your hair out while crying in the locked bathroom as your kid sits outside the door screaming.  It’s hard.  I’m not quite sure what this all has to do with packing hacks for a conference, but you can probably tell it’s been a day.

It doesn’t help when your little guy knows somethings up.  When he sees the suitcase being pulled out and knows Momma is going somewhere.  Not too long ago I was planning a week long conference in New Orleans.  J had to stay behind and so did our little guy.  Because though I would have loved to have taken him with me to all of my meetings, I’m sure the other business owners would have not been so thrilled.

Planning a trip away from home is hard, planning one without your family is harder.  About a week before leaving I started planning because I knew I wanted to spend as much time as possible the weekend before with my little family.  I’m sharing the best packing hacks and tips for traveling for work.  You can making traveling without your family a bit easier by creating a plan and then sticking with it.

Watch the video for my favorite packing hacks or keep reading below.

Know Your Agenda

Make sure you check out the schedule for the days at the conference, dinners and any excursions you might be doing.  Most places will let you know what type of dress attire is recommended so you can pack accordingly.  I typically dress for comfort unless the conference or group recommends dressing in business attire.  The only other time I dress in business wear is when there might be clients or prospective clients in attendance.  

Also, you should bring a cardigan with you so in case you get cold or get stuck under an AC vent you can be comfortable.

Wear comfortable shoes in case you need to walk any distance, plus flats are easier to pack.

Be Okay With Wearing Items More Than Once

By thinking ahead and planning to wear a pair of pants twice or even wear the same shoes through out the trip, you can save a lot of space in your suitcase.  Plus jeans typically weigh a lot more than other pants, so you can cut back on the weight of your luggage.  Pants are a lot easier to re-wear through out a trip than shirts are, so try to bring light-weight shirts that will easily match the pants you bring.  

Pack Only What You Need

Try not to overpack.  It makes travel a lot easier if you have a smaller suitcase to haul around, especially when flying.  Most airlines now charge for checked bags and even carry on bags.  

For our Florida vacation the airline we flew charged $25 for a checked bag and even more for a carry on bag.  You were allowed one personal item for free, which had to be able to fit under the seat in front of you.  So unless you are wearing sweats the whole time or only staying for a day then the chances of getting work attire to fit in a backpack without getting wrinkled is slim to none.  

Plan Your Outfits

Take a look at your agenda and map out what you plan on wearing each day.  Start with your pants and then match your shirts to them.  By making a list of every piece of clothing you need each day then you can make sure you don’t forget anything.  Write it all down – pants, shirts, undershirts, underwear, socks, shoes, jewelry for each day.  When packing for a work trip, your mind could be a thousand other places.  If you’re like me then you’re probably trying to make sure your kid has clean clothes for the week, food to eat, your husband has food to eat, knows your child’s schedule, work you have to finish before leaving and everything else under the sun.  By having a written packing list you can make sure not to forget anything. 

Bonus Tip: Take your list you made of your planned outfits and place it on top of your packed suitcase.  It will make getting up early for those morning meetings in a new place a lot easier.

What are some of your packing hacks when traveling for work or for fun? Write a comment below so we can all learn more!

 

Flying with a Toddler {What To Bring With You}

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Flying with a toddler or an infant can be stressful.  

Like really stressful.  I don’t know about you, but I never want to be the parent who’s kid is running around like crazy or worse – screaming the entire flight.  We all know most people are understanding and you’re never going to see them again, but for those hours in you’re in the air it’s torture. No matter how long your flight is your little one will probably not want to be held the entire time, which can be hard to deal with.  Or maybe their ears will pop with take off and landing, which can be hard to comfort them.  Or because they are a toddler they could just be unhappy because of no good reason.

Let’s talk about what you can do to make flying with your infant or flying with your toddler less stressful for them and for you.

Okay, a few weeks ago we traveled to Florida for our family vacation. We flew from St. Louis down to Orlando then had to get in a rental car and drove to Daytona Beach.  It was a long morning, even though the flight was about 2 hours and the drive was less than an hour.  But Moms you get it when I say it was still a long day.  But the 3 hour overall travel day was a lot better than the 12 hour drive it would have been if we didn’t fly.  So I’ll take it.  We drove to St. Louis the night before and stayed with my sister who took us and dropped us off at the airport (hello! No parking fees!).  Staying with her was great because we were able to follow our normal nighttime routine with our little man, which meant he was going to be rested before the flight.  We also picked a pretty early flight hoping we could catch our little guy’s nap time to make it easier on him and us.

flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby

flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby

Here’s what I recommend you prep before flying with a toddler:

Do Your Research

Check the TSA guidelines when traveling with children to make sure no changes have been made since I’ve written this post.  TSA does allow you to travel with breast milk, formula, and snacks for your little one.  Since our little guy doesn’t breastfeed and is now on milk, I just poured milk in a bottle and went through.  I had no issues and no question if it wasn’t formula or breast milk.  

You will just have to be prepared to have them taken out of your bag to be scanned by the X-Ray machine.  The worst thing to happen is to have spent time to prepare food, drinks and snacks for your toddler just to have the TSA worker throw it out.  So make sure you follow the guidelines.  For any liquids you’re traveling with they will test it for explosives.  Which means they will probably have you unscrew the bottle, hold a test strip over it and then test it. 

When we were leaving St. Louis the first test came back positive, so after two more negative tests we were good to go.  Not sure how my test came back positive, but oh well.  

flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby

Pack Only What You Need

Try to avoid overpacking so you aren’t trying to wrestle a huge bag that’s spilling over while trying to wrangle your toddler.  Pack only what you need or  think you will need.  I personally hate having a huge diaper bag that’s super heavy filled with items I know deep down I will not need.  Try to keep things light and easy on travel days.

Here’s what we packed in our carry on:

1) diapers and baby wipes
2) one small toy (that didn’t make any sound to be respectful for the other passengers)
3) iPad
4) snacks – see below for list of the snacks we took
5) milk
6) change of clothes
7) blanket

My carry on was my new diaper bag I bought off Amazon.  I love, love this bag.  It worked perfectly.  It zips close, which is great for putting it under the seat in front of me on the plane.  It can be easily carried as a backpack or cross body bag, which was super nice to have.  Plus it has the stroller straps so I could hook it onto the stroller through the airport.  

Here’s my recommendations on the snacks for your toddler: keep it simple.  Try to pack foods that can be easily closed or could be put into a sandwich baggie.  Try no to bring anything for the plan that will melt or be too messy.  Also think about the sticky factor.  You know which snacks your little guy probably loves, but he ends up a sticky mess after eating.  If he ends up sticky the changes of you getting sticky are pretty high.  

The snacks we brought:

individual bags of cheese sandwich crackers
multi-grain Cheerios
sweet potato puffs
baby food pouches
apple sauce pouches

We did bring more snacks and foods with us in our checked luggage to save money.  This vacation was planned on a budget using a technique that helps us save for anything we want.  So we didn’t want to overspend once we got to our destination.  I knew baby food and snacks were going to be a lot more expensive at the beach in Florida than it would be in Southeast Missouri.  We used freezer bags to make sure if anything was busted than it wouldn’t get over everything.

Gate Check Your Stroller

Did you know most airlines do not charge for checking a stroller?  You can strap your little one in and quickly make your way through the airport, which helps a lot when you have a suitcase to get from the baggage area.  Just make sure you put a name tag on the stroller to be safe.  The airline will put their own tag with your name and flight info, but as we found out the hard way that tag can easily fall off.  So by having our name on a bright orange luggage tag we were able to quickly identify our stroller.

Check your Car Seat

Again, most airlines don’t charge for checking a car seat.  You can gate check them, but we just put ours with the luggage.  Actually, we bought a cheaper one that wasn’t as heavy since we knew we wouldn’t be in the car that much during our trip.  Our chicco car seat is amazing, but it can be pretty heavy.  They make car seat travel carts that looked pretty neat, but we just went with the easier option of checking it with our luggage.  

flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby

You have to check your airlines reviews for traveling with a car seat.  Some handle them really well and others are a bit more careless.  I had read some horror stories of people traveling with their expensive car seats just for the airline to destroy them.  The airline is obligated to replace any seat that is damaged, but most of the time they give you a cheap version and call it good.  I didn’t want that happening with our big one, so we just packed a less expensive one.

This system worked great for our flight out.  Our little man passed out before our wheels left the ground and slept the entire flight.  We used the same technique on the way home, but our little guy wasn’t tired at all.  Luckily J and I were able to sit in aisle seats so we could let him stand between us. 

 

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Thank you!

Florida Vacation Recap

Florida vacation, travling with a toddler, flying with a toddler, how to travel with a baby

Last week we flew down to the Daytona Beach area for a nice little Florida vacation – just the three of us!  I love the beach and I want to make sure our little man loves the water like his Momma does.  Last year we took him when he was barely two months old.  He loved it!  Never once did he cry when he was in the water and he loved napping on the beach all day.  Then a month later we took him again, this time with J’s family.  Again, he loved it!  At least that’s what I’m telling myself – I mean, he was two and three months old.  So he slept a lot, but he didn’t cry a lot either.  I’ll consider that a win!

This year we kept it simple and it was just the three of us that went.  We also only had a few days to spend, so we left on Tuesday morning and came home Friday afternoon. Since we weren’t spending a full week we wanted to fly.  We thought a 2 hour one-way flight was a lot better than a 12 hour one-way drive.  I packed a diaper bag full of snacks, milk and the iPad to entertain our guy during the flight.  I was a little nervous traveling with milk through security, but it was a breeze.  All they did was wipe it down for explosives and then send me on my way.  ….Actually the first test on the way there came back positive (what?!!?) so the guy did it two more times and got negative both times.  Whew!  

The flight to Orlando went so smooth, our little guy slept the entire way.  He started fussing a little as we were preparing for take off so I fed him his bottle and he passed out.  He was out before our wheels ever left the ground.  Then he slept the whole flight and I had to wake him up when it was time to get off the plane.  Having a bottle of milked packed and ready to go was the key to such a great flight!

Florida vacation, travling with a toddler, flying with a toddler, how to travel with a baby

When we got to Florida we drove the hour to our hotel room from the airport.  We stayed right on the beach, like right on the beach, which was awesome.  It also made it super handy for nap time and lunch time with our little guy.  We didn’t have to haul too much down to the beach each time.  When we got into town we immediately checked into our room.  It was only noon so we had the first day to run to the grocery store for a few things and then hit the beach for a bit.  

We planned to just buy breakfast for our little guy, a few snack items for the evenings and then quick lunch ideas.  Little guy was being his typical picky eater so he just ate whatever we were eating along with his pouches of food.

The second day we drove to Daytona Beach and toured the speedway.  J has always wanted to visit the racetrack and they offered a 90 minute tour for only $25 a person.  Considering the 30 minute tour was $18 a person, we thought the longer one would be well worth it.  We took the tram out onto the race track, got to stand on the finish line and then take pictures in the winner’s circle.  We even visited the hall of fame and saw last year’s Daytona 500 race car, which was pretty neat.  I’m not really a racing fan, but I’ll do anything for J and since it was a dream of his to see the speedway then that’s what we did!

Florida vacation, travling with a toddler, flying with a toddler, how to travel with a baby

Florida vacation, travling with a toddler, flying with a toddler, how to travel with a baby

Florida vacation, travling with a toddler, flying with a toddler, how to travel with a baby, Daytona speedway

Our boy did great during the whole tour.  He let Momma carry him around most of the time and then when he got too heavy he was happy to go to Daddy.  We did let him walk some of the inside stuff and the stops in the shade, but I have a fear of heights so anything that was too high or required stairs then we carried him.  Afterwards our little guy was exhausted, he napped in the car while we ordered sushi takeout and at in the parking lot…. the life of parents, right?  Order nice takeout you don’t get at home just to eat it in a Lowe’s parking lot while your baby naps. Oh well, it was still tasty!

Once he woke up it was off to play some mini golf by the beach.  We found this great place a block away from the water and the best part was we went on a Wednesday afternoon while school was still in session… no lines!  I beat J by 2 strokes, so it was a pretty great game!  We ended up saving about a $1 on our game just by not being prepared… win!  Okay, mini golf was 13.00 a person, so I handed J $27 thinking that would cover tax and left my wallet in the car.  The guy rang in our games and it was $27.64.  I was so close!  I told him I would run back to the car to grab another dollar and he somehow found a coupon to save us $1.  So weird how that magically appeared… hmmm.  I guess next time we play mini golf I’m going to try not having enough money to see if we can score any more deals!

The final day we spent at the beach and pool.  We played in the sand, let the waves crash into us and tried out our son’s new life jacket in the pool.  He wasn’t too crazy about the life jacket, but he needs to start getting used to it if he’s going to be swimming a lot this summer or on the boat.

Florida vacation, travling with a toddler, flying with a toddler, how to travel with a baby  

Now I want to share how we saved money on food while traveling.

I carried a diaper bag full of snacks, pouches of baby food (well enough to get us through the day) and a bottle of milk.  To keep the milk cold I packed a bottle cooler with an ice pack.  Getting through security was a breeze.  They just inspected the milk and felt the ice pack to make sure it was a real freezer pack.  No question on all of the snacks or baby food.  I even had a baggie full of Cheerios and they went through with no problems.  Honestly, I think I overreact when it comes to flying with food.  I know a  lot of people do it, but every time I’ve tried I end up having to throw it away in security.  So I must have done something right this time around.  

Next, we packed more snacks and pouches of food for our little guy in our checked bag.  I had baby food, snacks for our little guy, snacks for us.  All I did was place them in clear gallon storage bags so in case anything leaked or busted then it wouldn’t get over everything.  Before we packed I went to the store and found food.  I figured how much we would need for the whole trip and made sure to save room for it in the suitcase.  I knew the price of his snacks were going to be a lot higher than my local Aldi and I thought this would be a great way to save money.

We also only ate out once a day.  We went to a grocery store once we landed to get some easy lunch items.  Not every day did we eat lunch in the room, but we at least ate one meal a day in our room.  It probably saved us $60 or more by doing that each day.  We didn’t have to order food, buy drinks and pay for a tip.  We just loaded up on yummy foods we don’t typically eat at home and then used the microwave in the room.  For our one meal out we tried to find fun, local places since we don’t normally get fresh seafood all the way in Missouri.  

Florida vacation, travling with a toddler, flying with a toddler, how to travel with a baby

Then it was time to come home.  The flight home wasn’t as smooth as the flight there.  Our little guy didn’t sleep at all… and all he wanted to do was play.  We thought we were being smart by finding a huge open area at the airport for him to play around in, but I think that just ended up making him more awake and ready to go.  Luckily we sat across from each other in aisle seats so we were able to let him walk back and forth between us.  He actually did really good for being trapped in the same spot for over 2 hours.  We kept him entertained with some snacks I packed in the diaper bag, the iPad and Daddy’s sunglasses.  During take off he drank milk so his ears wouldn’t hurt too bad and then during the landing he ate a pouch of baby food to help his ears.  I think the people around us were pretty grateful he was so well behaved compared to some of the other smaller kids on the flight.  We totally lucked out!

Road Trips With A Baby

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Thank you!

easy road trips with baby, road trips with a baby, what to bring on a road trip with a toddler

J and I love to go.  His family lives about 2 hours away, my sister is about 3 hours and the majority of our friends are in the opposite direction about another 3 hours away.  So we like to travel a lot on the weekends.  

We’re also the crazy people that prefer to take our three dogs with us on road trips.  With such a crazy bunch we’ve learned a few tricks to help us keep our sanity.  

Here’s how we take road trips with our little guy:

Prep your bottles before leaving the house.  Baby Boy was formula fed for the first year so I liked to have at least 3 big bottles filled with water and 2 small ones filled.  We bought these formula dispensers and they have been a lifesaver.  One is for 6 oz. bottles and the other one is for 2 oz. bottles.  Now he’s on milk so I use a small ice chest that is tall enough to hold his bottles.  I fill a bottle (or two) with milk and put it on ice for the road.  Now I don’t have to try to pour while driving and I can quickly grab a filled bottle to soothe a cranky child.

There has been (almost) nothing better than the day our little man could hold his own bottle.  It was a miracle!  Now when he gets hungry, we can just hand him his bottle, he feeds himself.  When he’s done he typically puts the bottle on the side of his car seat so I don’t have to worry about it leaking everywhere.  The only time I have to crawl in the back is when he wants actual food.  We use the pouches, but he hasn’t quite mastered feeding himself those yet.  

A few weeks ago I went to KC to visit a friend and her little boy who’s about the same age as our man.  Her little man can feed himself those pouches, but our guy hasn’t quite gotten it yet.  Anyway… we were driving back to her apartment and we thought they both had fallen asleep.  When we pulled in, I went to get my guy out and noticed this orange liquid all over him, the ceiling, the door, window, inside his car seat and the outside of his friend’s seat.  Yep, her little guy was being nice and handed my boy his pouch of food.  Of course he didn’t know what he was doing so he squirted food everywhere!  It was pretty funny and luckily hadn’t dried yet.  So with a quick wipe down with a bath towel, we were all good to go.

Now we’ve been working on feeding ourselves those pouches ever since that weekend.

Get your diaper bag ready.  I typically like to keep my diaper bag light.  I hate over packing it with things I know I will not need in the car.  So I keep it filled with just the necessities.  Bottles, formula, one toy, a change of clothes, plastic baggie filled with wipes, and 2-3 diapers.  Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?  But trust me, it’s not compared to how I used to pack a diaper bag.

I recently ordered a new diaper bag from Amazon and I’m in love.  It’s big enough to carry what we need, but it’s not too bulky that it drives me crazy.  I had been using a thirty-one bag I bought back in my early twenties, but with flying for our next beach trip I wanted a bag that would zip fully closed.  This bag doubles as a backpack, a messenger bag or has handles on top.  It also came with stroller clips, which has been a huge help.  I always hated shoving the bag in the bottom of the stroller.  I didn’t want my pre-filled bottles to leak or stuff to get unorganized. 

Pack the baby’s food items together in a separate bag.  The first trip we took I packed Baby Boy’s formula in our suitcase.  That was a big mistake!  I had to crawl all the way in the back, balance the suitcase on my leg so I could get the formula out.  I’ve now learned my lesson and keep all of the baby’s items in a separate bag that’s easily reached.  

In this bag I have a tub and soap to wash bottles, pack of formula, baby food, spoon, highchair cover for restaurants, table cover for restaurants, diapers, big pack of wipes, blanket, and a few more toys.  This bag usually goes behind the driver’s seat so the passenger can still reach it.

Baby Boy is usually pretty good in the car, but we’ve learned that it’s important to keep a seat open next time him just in case.  In a past trip we were headed to Springfield, which is about 3 hours away.  We were almost half-way when Baby Boy woke up starving.  He is so much like his Momma when he’s hungry.  There is no appeasing him until there is a bottle or food in his mouth.  J had to pull over along the side of the highway and I had to hop in the back.  Since I had his diaper bag ready to go with filled bottles that boy was happy within seconds and this Momma wasn’t shaken by the screams coming from our little man.  

road trip with baby, road trip with kids, how to organize toys in the car, easy road trip with a baby

Keep a handful of small toys close.  When Baby Boy is bigger then obviously the toys will change, but for now we try to keep a few chew toys and ones that light up in the car.  I also tend to bring a few because sometimes he gets excited and will launch a toy across the car out of arm’s reach.  I started keeping a basket in the backseat that is filled with a few toys – light up ones, rattles, plush toys, and so on.  The basket keeps the toys together and gives them a place so the car doesn’t look a bit junky.

Bring a bath towel with you.  A towel works great if you have to use the backseat as an impromptu changing station or if you pull over at a not-so-nice looking gas station.  We’ve also had to use the towel one time I spilled a completely filled bottle all over the backseat.  Babies aren’t the only ones that make messes! Also, those towels work great on cleaning your car’s ceiling from baby food that gets squirted everywhere (see above for story).

Keep empty plastic bags or grocery sacks in the car.  I hate messes, especially in confined areas.  Nothing feels worse than having stuff everywhere.  So I try to keep things organized as best as possible. Typically I have an empty grocery bag we use for trash, one for dirty bottles and another for any spoiled clothes.  That way we can keep everything together and off the floor.  

Traveling with dogs is a lot easier.  We drive a bigger SUV so we put the dogs in the very back.  Years ago I was given or found (not sure which) a giant dog bed.  It actually fits perfectly in the back of the car.  Now we can put the pillow in the back and all three dogs are able to lay down and be comfortable.  

If we’re going long distance then we use the seat behind the driver for our suitcase and put the dogs’ food and bowls in the back with them.  That way they still have plenty of room to lay down and we still have an open seat in case one of us needs to be closer to our little guy.

If you’re planning on a road trip to a beach, checkout my beach tips post for all the great things to take with you!

What do you do on road trips with a baby?  Leave a comment letting me know, I love to learn more tricks!

 

Packing for the Beach

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Thank you!

packing for the beach on a budget

J and I are planning our next trip to the beach in just a few weeks.  Eek! I’m so excited!  I love the ocean and this year our little guy is walking and so much more active then when we took him last summer.  We’re planning on doing so much while we’re there.  I’m not sure how we’re going to fit it all in!  I’ve let J be the vacation planner this year.  He booked the trip and he’s planning what things we’ll go do.  I know there will be some put-put in the mix somewhere… that’s one of his favorite things to do on vacation.  The only thing I’ve requested is some time relaxing and playing at the beach.  Other than that – it’s up to him!  

We’re not staying to far from Daytona Speedway so we’ll probably make a drive out there so J can see the track.  He’s always wanted to go to the Daytona 500… so visiting the track is pretty much the same thing, right? ha!

I’ve been in full planning mode for a few days now.  While packing for the beach I realized we don’t have any summer clothes that aren’t completely worn out or still fit us. #losingweight  I’ve ordered a few new shirts and shorts for J, but I needed a new swimsuit.  I’m pretty sure I’ve had the same two suits for the past 4 years.  They needed to be retired.  I also wanted to mix things up this year and get a cute tankini.  I found some one Amazon that were super cute and seemed really flattering.  But I needed to stick to a budget. 

 
 
I loved this bralette tankini swimsuit so much that I ordered it.  Plus it was less than $25.  WHAT?!?! I really liked how it has some added coverage with the tank top, but still looks cute.  Plus it totally fit in my budget!  I can’t wait to wear it on the beach!
I also ordered these swim trunks for our little guy to wear. I just thought the octopus was adorable!  I like swimwear that has built in UPF protection for our son.  It gives me a piece of mind knowing he has a little more protection over his body then just sunscreen.  Also, they were less than $10, which was a huge bonus!  I added in this super cute rash guard for some extra protection up top.  Again, this shirt was less than $10. I think he is going to look so cute in it!  Ah! I can’t wait!

Now the only thing left to order is J’s swim trunks.  He’s not the easiest to buy for.  He’s picky than I am when it comes to his clothes.  We’re flying this year instead of driving, so we aren’t packing as much as we did last year.  We’re only staying for part of the week instead of the full 7 days, too.  I wrote a blog post on some awesome beach hacks for baby and I plan on packing a lot off that list so we can make sure to have a stress free vacation.

Packing for the beach is so much fun!  I know as our trip gets closer I’m going to be buying sunscreen and aloe (just in case) and loading in all of our new clothes.  I’m so excited for our first family vacation as a family of three.  This is the start to something great – I know it!

 

Florida Vacation Recap – Baby’s First Time to the Beach

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We got home this past weekend from Florida. It was such an amazing trip! Our house was about 100 feet from the beach and had killer views!  The whole top floor was a master suite, which my parents claimed! HAHA! We ate yummy seafood at every meal, we went shark fishing off the coast and J even cooked up our catch!  We spent majority of our time at the beach.  

merelynne.com, meredith rines (7)

I also spent a lot of time snuggling our little guy!  He did great at the beach!  We took him in the ocean and he liked it.  He didn’t cry at all, even when a wave came and splashed both of us in the face pretty good.  It didn’t even phase him.  I think it’s safe to say we have a water baby and I couldn’t be happier! I love water, I always have.

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merelynne.com, meredith rines (7)

merelynne.com, meredith rines (7)

merelynne.com, meredith rines (7)

I saw on Pinterest this great idea of using a laundry basket at the beach and it worked great.  It was easy to haul stuff down, a non-sandy place for the baby to nap and if he was still sleeping when it was time to go in then I just picked it up.  His sleep was undisturbed!  I’m working on a post of all the beach tips and tricks we discovered.  It was a breeze travelling with him.

merelynne.com, meredith rines (7) merelynne.com, meredith rines (7) merelynne.com, meredith rines (7)

merelynne.com, meredith rines (7)

merelynne.com, meredith rines (7)
merelynne.com, meredith rines (7), first time to the beach

Chicago Recap

Last weekend, J and I traveled to Chicago for a getaway.  We walked and walked all over the city and saw some pretty amazing sites.  Plus, Saturday was J’s 29th birthday so it was extra nice to do something different for him.  He won a trip from his work that got us a free night in town so we went ahead and extended for it extra day.

Chicago Recap (1)

He won a night at the Millennium Knickerbocker hotel, a tour of the Goose Island Brewery and a dinner hosted by the brewery at their new barrel room.  The tour was great.  J and I went to the Budweiser tour last summer and I had been to the Boulevard tour in Kansas City a few years ago, so it was neat to add another brewery to the list.  It seemed that Goose Island was a little bit more free thinkers and willing to try new innovations with beer.  It was neat to see the process and where it all happens.

Chicago Recap (1)

The night ended with a four-course meal at their new barrel room, which isn’t even open to the public yet!  They have barrels and barrels of beer piled high to the ceiling and as far back as you could see.  Each filled with beer, some with different fruits and some in once-filled whiskey barrels.  So cool!  The dinner was ….okay.  It wasn’t our favorite.  It was different.  I usually like different, but poor J is a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  I think a lot of the Bud salesmen were a little thrown off by what was served.  The main entree totally redeemed the whole meal.  The meat literally fell apart.  It was the best short rib I’d ever had!

Later the night we took an adventure with some of the guys to find more food and more beer.  We ended up at this little bar called Butch’s and had a late dinner.  Then we headed back to the room to crash.  After driving for over 7 hours and then drinking beer most of the afternoon, we were exhausted.  So crawled into the king-sized bed without three dogs to share it with and slept hard.  It was fabulous!

I’ll share more about our trip in a later post.