Thursday, July 31, 2014

Zoo Day

Today we spent the day at the zoo with Claudia's friend, Rose and her mom.

Waiting for the dolphin show to start. Claudia seemed to be watching and kept squealing with delight. She was also bouncing to the music. 

Claudia with her friend. Claudia is only two months older but twice the size! 


Not an exhibit but we stopped to watching these birds feeding their babies. So cute! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Six Years

Today is our six year anniversary. We celebrated by picking up take out from our favorite steakhouse and eating dinner at home after the baby was asleep. It wasn't our normal anniversary night but it was perfect. Our new normal.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Today was our last day at the library's storytime until the new session starts this fall.

Claudia with the new friend she made at storytime. (C is now sitting up like such a big girl these days.) 

Baby Travel Tips

After spending seven days traveling with a baby, I have all sorts of tips running through my head. Even though, admittedly, it may have been too early to do a real vacation, these are the things that worked for us and kept us sane.

1. Stay on baby's schedule as much as possible. Sounds like a no-brainer but we tried to spend afternoons in our hotel for quality nap time and always tried to get back again for an on-time bedtime routine. This often meant meals "to go" or eating dinner very early. Once we were in a different time zone, I still kept the baby on Central Time because I didn't want our week away to throw off our bedtime or wake up time once we were home.

2. Keep it simple. We only planned one or two things every day so that we weren't over doing it. This helped to keep Claudia from getting too worn out and too overstimulated.

3. Pack items to make life easier. Buy things that you wouldn't normally to simplify your trip. For example, we brought disposable plastic spoons and disposable paper bibs with us for meal time. I would never dream of using disposables at home but on the road, it was necessary to make things easier. Also, once we went to Mackinac Island and didn't have a car, we didn't want to pack around anything unnecessary so instead of bringing formula, bottled water and bottles, I brought pre-mixed "to go" bottles of formula to simplify life for those couple of days.

4. Have a weather plan. It rained several times while we were gone and since we were using our stroller so much, the rain canopy for the stroller was a life-saver. I remember thinking while I was pregnant that if it was raining, I probably wouldn't have the baby out in the stroller so why would the canopy be necessary? It was definitely necessary for us on this trip. One minute it was fine and the next minute raining. We never had to miss out because Claudia was always dry and happy.

What are your baby travel tips? Any recommendations or anything we are missing for next time?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Our Week

People often ask me what Claudia and I do all week. So here's a glimpse.

Monday we had our first-ever sick visit with the doctor for an ear infection. We stayed home from story time at the library to snuggle. 

Tuesday we went to our mom's group and then out for lunch with friends. (Yes, C is wearing a jean skirt.) 

Wednesday we met mommy's old coworkers for lunch and then we met our friend Cooper at the park.

Thursday we went to a Clifford the Big Red Dog storytime event and then met one of mommy's friends for an early dinner since daddy had to work late. 

After lunch with daddy, we met Cooper again on Friday at the pool. (Swimming really means sitting on mommy's lap in the baby pool.) 

Saturday we went to the French Market. 

Sunday afternoon we had a baby play date at our friend, Rose's house.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Michigan, Day 6: Traverse City

Our last full day in Michigan so we decided to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We tried to do a beach day but it was a bit of a fail (the water ended up being too cold and Claudia much preferred the hotel's swimming pool to lounging on the sand). We also drove the scenic parkway and did some sightseeing.

For lunch we picnicked at the beach but our dinner is definitely worth mentioning. Joe's third meal of pizza (his second was at the Jolly Pumpkin) and one of our most favorite meals while in Michigan was at The Filling Station Microbrewery. Fabulous service and food!

The famous Dune Climb. Joe and I wish we could have tried this but it would have been impossible with C. The photo does not do this justice. It was amazing to see these tiny specks of people climbing this enormous sand dune. 
Our attempt at a beach day visiting Esch Beach at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Claudia lasted about an hour and a half before beckoning us to the car.  

One of our views during our scenic drive through the national park. 
Another view during the drive. This is actually the other side of the Dune Climb.

At the hotel pool later in the day. 

Michigan, Day 5: Traverse City

We spent our first full day in Traverse City exploring the cute downtown and its various shops. We also stopped by the National Cherry Festival. We had breakfast and lunch downtown and a great dinner overlooking the bay. We ate very well in Traverse City!

Claudia and I enjoying the view from the perimeter of the National Cherry Festival. (It was a slow picture day.) 

Michigan, Day 4: Mackinac Island/Traverse City

Our last day on the island and the sun was shinning! We decided to take an 8 mile bike ride around the perimeter of the island.

All ready for her first bike ride. 
Joe and Claudia stopped along the way to enjoy the view. 

Wonderful view the entire trip around the island which took took about an hour.

After the ferry ride back to the mainland and a two hour drive, we found ourselves in Traverse City. Our first stop was to the Jolly Pumpkin for a late lunch/early dinner. The Jolly Pumpkin was recommended to me by my friend, Holly and a great place. 

Michigan, Day 3: Mackinac Island

Our second day on Mackinac Island had us eating breakfast at the famous Grand Hotel which we explored afterwards. It was also a rainy day (Claudia's rain canopy for the stroller was a wise investment) so we decided to seek cover with a carriage ride and tour around the island.

A picture of the Grand Hotel in the distance, taken on a much nicer day. 

Old photo booths still inside the hotel. Loved the classic hotel decor so much. 

One of the seating areas inside the hotel. 

Joe and Claudia sitting on the porch of the hotel. 

This is the type of horse carriage tour we took in the afternoon. (This photo was also taken on a much sunnier day.) It was cool and rainy and Claudia snuggled up against me and soon fell asleep. 

Michigan, Day 2: Mackinac Island

Many years ago, a coworker told me all about her trip to an island where she biked around because they didn't allow cars. I have long since been intrigued by Mackinac Island (pronounced Mak-in-aw) where no cars are allowed and visitors, as well as locals, rely on walking, biking or using horses to get around. I'm so glad we were able to visit this beautiful place. The biggest downside was how touristy and busy it was during the day. I think Joe and I were both hoping it would be quieter and less crowded.

Claudia's first boat ride on the ferry to Mackinac.

Taking in the new sights, sounds and smells of downtown. And when I say smells, I'm really talking about the 15 fudge shops. 

Our hotel - Main Street Inn and Suites. We loved it!! Best part of our trip. We had the honeymoon suite. 

Breathtaking view with Mackinac Bridge in the background.

Little Stone Church - one of the many little churches on the island. 

Michigan, Day 1: Petoskey

We decided to take our first family vacation as a family of three. In retrospect, it may have been very ambitious of me to spend a week in a hotel with a six month old but we survived. Our destination requirements were somewhere not too terribly far for the ease of driving versus flying and some place we'd never been. (Well, I've been to Michigan several times but never to these particular spots in Michigan.) We left at 2:20 am so as to arrive not long after C was awake for the day. Our first stop was Petoskey. Petoskey is a resort town and we enjoyed exploring the super cute downtown and marina.

Yes, we had pie

We didn't let the rain put a damper on our exploring. 

Our amazing pizza from Galley Gourmet. It isn't vacation unless Joe eats pizza three times in one week. 

Seven Months

Friday, July 04, 2014

First Fourth

Breakfast out, long walk, low-key day with mom and dad.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Summer Days

We went swimming with our baby friends today.

So worn out. Claudia fell asleep at the pool. 

Baby friends. Can you tell that Claudia is trying to chew on Cooper's hand? 

Girls Night Out

My friend, Wanda is in town visiting before she moves to Malaysia. So last night we had a girls' night out with Amy & Jennifer. Dinner at Macy's Walnut Room before going to see Motown the Musical.

I love Chicago's theatre district. 

left to right: Me, Wanda, Amy & Jennifer

One of my new mom friends came over to watch C until Joe came home from work and she brought her 4 month old with her. So brave of her to watch my 6 month old and her 4 month old at the same time! 

designed by