Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baby Travel Tips

As a follow up to the Family Vacation Post, just wanted to share some of the travel tips that we were advised on and came up with on our own. These would be mainly for kids one year and younger.

Travel Tips for Baby:
  1. Check your carseat (it's free)
  2. If you'd rather not haul a carseat to the airport, Rental car places will rent them out to you
  3. Check your bags. It's expensive on some airlines, but you're going to be carrying a lot of crap. The less you are lugging on your shoulders and/or behind you through security and the airport, the better.
  4. If your babe isn't too big yet, throw him in the Bjorn and walk through security that way. They'll just use the wand on you and you won't have to worry about your stroller.
  5. If you bring a stroller, use an umbrella stroller. Much easier to get around, fold up, etc.
  6. Gate check your stroller if you need it to get the baby to your gate
  7. Pack lots of snacks, in separate baggies. We brought a lot of Cheerios, but also fresh fruit we had cut up ahead of time. 
  8. Have baby sucking on his pacifier or eating a bottle upon takeoff and landing if possible. It helps with the ear popping
  9. Bring a bottle of water on board (you'll have to buy it in the airport after security). You never know when you'll need it.
  10. Having the middle and aisle seats was the best for our situation. You have to watch out for the beverage cart, but his feet could dangle over the aisle a little, and we were able to avoid bothering the person in the window seat. It's also easier to go to the bathroom for diaper changes. Once he's a bit older though, the window seat will probably be a must
*if your child is a bit older, some iPad apps they might enjoy are:
  • SoundTouch
  • I Hear Ewe
  • Baby Aqua
  • Color & Draw (John likes this one himself)

First Family Vacation; Huntington Beach, CA

"It's not a family vacation until the baby poops on the hotel room floor"

Last Wednesday, Nov 16th the Bennets hopped on a plane and headed for the original Surf City; Huntington Beach, CA. It was a quick, three night stay right on the beach and Pacific Coast Hwy 1 and a GREAT first family vacation.

The weather was a tad sketchy during our visit, with the temp hovering in the 60's most of the time. We did get a pretty good sunset on our last night there, and Jude got to get his feet wet in the ocean, so naturally, we took about 500 pictures (only a very slight exaggeration).

The first obstacle to maneuver was the plan ride there. It's a four hour flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. We did a lot of research beforehand, ensuring we carried on everything we might need to feed, clothe, hold and distract Jude. Thanks to our friends Jarod and Jessica Jostes for a great list of tips for traveling with baby as well as hot spots in SoCal.

Jude did fantastic on both flights. He got a two hour nap each way, and spent the rest of the time on our laps, playing with Mickey and learning how to use an iPad. It was a challenge at times keeping him preoccupied, but we had plenty of fruit and cheerios to satisfy him.

Some of the highlights for our trip:
  •  We stayed at the Hyatt Huntington Beach, which was fantastic. You could easily spend three or four days here and never even leave
  • We ate at some great restaurants, including The Sugar Shack and No Ka Oi
  • We shopped it up on HB's Main Street, snagging some shirts for Jude to commemorate the trip
  • We strolled along the famous Pier, and ate at Ruby's Diner, several hundred yards out into the Pacific Ocean
  • The beach is great. It was a bit chilly while we were there, but it's beautiful all the same.
  • We spent an afternoon in Hollywood, checking out the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre, etc. 
  • We checked out Newport Beach, another neat little surf town with a great inner harbour
It was a great trip. We got back Saturday night and were also lucky enough to snag some Bears tickets for the game on Sunday. The Winter season is upon us, and with Thanksgiving just a day away, we remember that we are thankful to be able to spend this time with each other as a family, and for so much more.
Hot Diggity Dog! Posing with Mickey in Hollywood, and enjoying some brunch at Sugar Shack
Louis V? WawaWeewoo, and our Hotel Balcony, where we enjoyed wine and wearing robes. Ahh...

                                    Family pic on the Pier.      Enoying the Koi Pond beneath our hotel balcony
 Boys rocking their shades

The view of a Pacific Ocean sunset is best viewed from a Baby Bjorn. Just ask Jude...
The long and winding road back home. Just killing some time at the airport. Note Jude's shirt here - yes, that is a Kangaroo with boxing gloves on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trust Falls

Those familiar with the show Tosh.O will know the term "Trust Fall". It's when you approach someone and then out of nowhere just sort of fall into them, "trusting" that they will catch you.

We spent a few days last week in Huntington Beach, CA (blogpost coming soon). Jude fell in love with the super soft King sized bed we had in our room and got a little giddy bouncing around on it. For some reason he started standing up and just falling straight backwards onto the mattress. Either he loved how soft it was, or he really trusts his mom and dad....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

10 Months Today

So, 10 months ago, almost to the hour, Jude was making his debut into this crazy world. As I sit here and write this, it's hard to even read that sentence out loud. To think that this time last year, Ashleigh was as round as the day is long and we were putting the finishing touches on the Nursery. Time sure does fly.

Here are some fun facts about the number 10:

-The Metric system (used pretty much everywhere except the US) is based on the number 10
- Alexander Hamilton is on the $10 bill, and Franklin Roosevelt is on the dime
- Virginia was the 10th state to enter the Union
- The traditional gift for a 10th Anniversary is tin (lame)
- John Tyler was the 10th President of the United States, but only because William Harrison died in office. James Polk was actually the 10th elected President
- The 10th letter of the alphabet is J.

Two months and Jude will be one year. Obviously, that will be something worth celebrating. In the meantime, it's one crazy, super-fast day at a time as we move into the Holiday Season. We continue to be thankful for so much in our lives, and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible over the next couple months.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Hot Dog Dance!

Jude has a tough time sitting still and watching his favorite show, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But play a few notes of the the Hot Dog Dance song, and look who comes running (crawling) to see what's up...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tigger

Happy Halloween! Tis the season for dressing up like Ghouls, Goblins, Dragons and yes, sometimes even a Pregnant Treasure Troll. This year was all about Jude though.

There have been a lot of firsts, lately. First piece of pizza, first chicken nugget, first bites of hamburger, and now first Halloween. Still not quite ready to take on a big piece of candy all by himself, but Mom and Dad are fine helping out with that, so we took a nice long walk down Monroe Street last night and knocked on a few doors.

It was our first Halloween walking the streets for candy instead of crowding the bars for booze. In their own way, each of those scenarios is a lot of fun, but like we said, this year was all about Jude.

There were actually a ton of kids and parents out, another great surprise our the neighborhood we've really grown to love. Lots of young families with lots of young kids. There were plenty kids strollin' down the street instead of walking, just like Jude, but we dare to say none as handsome :).

 Ready to hit the road and snag some candy....but first a stop in the park


 You may notice the this Dragon has a bit of a Tiger lining....more on that later

 First stop! Jude made out pretty good. Skittles and a sucker!

Pretty good luck with stops two and three, and then back home for a pit stop at Neil and Sidney's

Few people know this, but Dragons shed their skin each Halloween at 7pm to reveal another layer of amazingness. This Dragon happens to be the rarest of them all; the elusive Tiger Dragon

 Or should I say....Tigger Dragon