Thank God for the creation of these little gems

When you have a baby, you absolutely need provisions.  Now some things just make life easier, and when you are sleep deprived, you need all the help you can get.  This is my little list of must have items for a new born.  Now, I want to note that my list does not include the reduntent no-brainier items (i.e.: bottles, clothes, ect…).  When we go to have another baby (yes Mike, we are having at least one more), these are items I will either hang on to or buy new again.

  • The SwaddlePlus by Aden + Anais.  I absolutely love these blankets.  I have 6 of them and could easily use more.  These are breathable swaddled blankets and they are awesome, especially since I have a summer baby.  They are soft, sturdy, wrap up my baby like a dream and don’t leave him a sweaty mess when he wakes.  I used the as a blanket, swaddle, burp cloth, changing pad, ect…  So many uses.  I love them.
  • Avent Soothie, because all babies need a binkie.  Yes I believe that.  Yes it’s good for them to self soothe.  These things are awesome.  
  • Tommie Tippee bibs.  These things are great!  They have this dribble absorbent ring around the neck area which is great with newborns since they are tiny and this stays close to their tiny necks (bibs with big gaps in the neck area annoy me since the dribble/spit-up can go down their necks).  
  • World Explorer ExerSaucer.  Right now Lucas is only on the infant activity mat part of it but this sucker will stay with our little squirt probably well after his 1st birthday.  He loves it and he’s only a month old.  
  • Baby Jogger Stroller is the bomb.  We have the car seat by Britex and we love both.  The main selling feature, besides the cool design, is the fact that you pull the little fabric lever and it folds right up.  I’m a total spaz when it comes to strollers and I manage to not look like an idiot with this one.  Worth the money.  
  • The Boppy, because everyone needs a Boppy.  Not sure you need a Boppy?  If nothing else you need the Boppy during those 3 am feedings when you are holding your baby and trying not to fall asleep during his feeding and drop said baby.  You’ll be grateful that you had the Boppy, it just may save your baby’s life.  Also, it comes in handy as a pillow for mom  as an alternative to the horrible pillows at the hospital before you’re discharged with said cute baby.  You’ll thank me later.

I hope these help someone out there!

If I could do it all over again…

So my hospital/birthing experience, of course, was unique to me.  I had a c-section.  If I could do it all over this is what I wish I knew before going through it all and what was useful to bring / what I wish I had brought with me.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am.  It was a scheduled c-section.  The cafeteria was not open.  I know my husband now wishes he had listened to me and gotten food on the way to the hospital for him.  I couldn’t eat anything (c-section = surgery, duh).  He didn’t get an opportunity to eat until the afternoon.  

For me the overall worst part of the c-section procedure was the nurse blowing the vain in my left hand while putting in my IV before the surgery took place.  If someone is identified as a trainee or if you overhear that the person person putting you’re IV in is fairly new, ask for someone experienced.  My damn hand was still hurting days after my discharge.

Don’t eat anything with mushrooms the day before your c-section.  FYI, it’s totally normal to throw up after your anesthesia is administered.  I threw up the mushrooms I had on my pizza for lunch the day before.  The anesthesiologist and my husband were in a deep discussion over why the mushrooms didn’t completely digest in my system.  Not the conversation I would have expected to be board by during my c-section.  

Durning the c-section the doctor moves some vital organs outside of your body while getting your baby out.  I did not know this.  This was told to me after the c-section.  This freaked me out.  I wished I had known beforehand.  

The hospital I delivered at was very pro-breastfeeding.  Which is fine if you are planning to breastfeed.  If you aren’t or up in the air about it then it could be uncomfortable as the nurses put a lot of pressure on you to nurse the baby.  I was up in the air about it and did say I would give it a try.  Apparently saying that gave the nurses the green light to take my boob and put it in my son’s mouth without asking me.  While I was in recovery.  It happened so fast I had no way to really process what was happening.  I nurses him for 6 days until I couldn’t take the pain anymore.  FYI your nipples can become cracked and could bleed.  My right one did.  And if you have latching issues then it is PAINFUL.  It felt like razor blades were cutting my nipple off whenever my son would nurse, which was every 2-3 hrs.  Think about that for a moment….

You get like no sleep in the hospital.  I didn’t send my son to the nursery since I was nursing him.  Not sure I would have sent him giving the opportunity to do it over.  But it was an option.  Maybe if I wasn’t nursing I would have…  

If I could do it over, pay for a private room if they don’t give you one.  It was an extra $200 a night.  My roommate sucked and it was uncomfortable having to share the room.  Next child I’m definitely paying for a private room.  

About 12 hours after your c-section they get you up to go to the bathroom.  It will look like a murder scene.  Blood was in my bed, on the floor, in the bathroom.  All over the place.  And the nurses not only make you pee into a cup but they watch you do it and help wipe you up.  Throw any pride you have out the window before having a c-section.  People will be look at and touching your privates all day and you won’t even know their names.  

I, like I’m sure most new mothers, brought way too much stuff with me.  Next time I will bring these items again because it actually made sense:

  • My iPad and cell phone. Hospital has free wifi.  TV/phone cost $10 a day.  I didn’t pay for that since I have a cell phone and my iPad has my DirectTV app so I was able to watch TV on that.  Genius on my part😉
  • Charges for both.  And don’t forget your iPad charger like I did.  They called to say I forgot it but by the time my husband drove back to the hospital the next day to get it, someone had stolen it from the nurses desk.  Bastards.
  • Dry shampoo.  You will not be in the mood to do your hair everyday.  At least I wasn’t.  And I don’t have the type of hair that drys perfectly.  I need products or I have to blow dry/straighten it which again, I wasn’t not in the mood nor position to do.  Dry shampoo was my friend.  Along with a hair tie.  Don’t forget a hair tie like I did.
  • Face wash, contact stuff/glasses (if you wear them), toothbrush and toothpaste.  
  • The boopy.  In addition to it being so useful when nursing/feeding the baby, the hospital pillows suck and I sleeper with it when I wasn’t using it for the baby.
  • Bring like one or two pairs of granny panties.  The granny-er the better.  Night and high up to your belly button or better yet, covering it.  This won’t bother your new c-section scar and it will work out great with wearing those god awful pads when you leave.  Also get a bunch of maxi-pads, because you’ll be bleeding for weeks after giving birth.  I haven’t bleed much but I have bleed every day and my son is 5 weeks old now.  You only need to use the maxi pads on your last day at the hospital and when you get home, the hospital will provide an extremely unflattering mesh panties with ghetto pads while you are there.  
  • Bring very loose fitting PJ’s.  PJ’s that you can quickly whip out a boob when nursing and the nurses/doctors can easily see your c-section area with ease.  I’m glad I did this.  I felt more human in my own clothes and they were way more comfortable than those hospital gowns.  
  • Comfortable PJ’s or clothes to go home in.  You will most likely not want to wear jeans, even the maternity jeans.  I wore PJ’s home.  I kid you not.  I always care how I look, until I was in the hospital for 3 days after aging a baby.  I didn’t care at that point, I just wanted to be comfortable.  
  • Bring a pen.  You’ll have to be signing paperwork and tracking pee and poo and feedings, I wish I had a pen on hand and didn’t have to keep asking for a pencil.  

I hope this helps!

Something new….

On 6/24/16 at 8:23am the newest love of my life came into the world!  Lucas John is the most beautiful baby boy I’ve ever seen and I’m beyond blessed to have this tiny man as my son.  While I was pregnant I read so many reviews about what to expect during your c-section, what to bring with you to the hospital and must have items after baby is born.  I’m sure it’s a total cliche but I feel compelled to give my own opinion as to what to expect since I felt like all those lists I read were stupid and wrong (at least for me).  

Even a travel blogger sometimes has a difficult time finding the right vacation….

Objective: an amazing family vacation before the husbands puts a baby in my belly.

Problem: money

Solution: working on it…

Try as I might, but I am having a difficult time finding a vacation package for myself, my husband and our two boys.  We are looking to have this vacation be the last big one with the kids until after the pre-production (aka, I’m not pregnant… yet…) addition is a bit older.  With a budget of (well, I’m not entirely sure what he budget is… so I’ll guess) $2500, you’d think it wouldn’t be that difficult, but it is.  Wanting something to make everyone happy, wanting something where my family will be safe and wanting something that is budget friendly to keep my husband happy is no easy task.

Redo an old adventure?

We tossed around the idea of recreating our vacations from 2 and 3 years ago.  Three years ago we spend a week in Wilmington, NY seeing family.  It was nice.  We learned a lot about the area.  The kids had a blast with their cousins.  Two years ago we had a road trip in New England.  Spent a few days in Boston with the husband’s aunt.  South Boston was a great location and his aunt definitely took us off the beaten path when it came to sightseeing.  Then we hit up Vermont, rented a cabin by the lake and took an opportunity to spend some time with my grandmother and aunt.  It was nice, laid back for the most part and beautiful.  But, we didn’t want to take the mooching off or relatives route again this year.  We’ll save that for when we have another child.

Last summer was awesome.  As you may recall from my inaugural post, the hubby and I took the boys on our first family cruise.  Thank you Carnival for a memorial experience ( and I do mean that in the most heartwarming way possible ).  But what to do this year?

Mike and I just took a cruise on Carnival back in April for his 40th birthday.  So, while a cruise is always appealing, we’re thinking lets not jump right back onto the ship just yet, since we just got our land-legs back and all.  Plus we did a cruise with the kids last year, we do want to keep it exciting for them after all.  Initially I was looking into another road trip.  I had an idea of driving up to Montreal and staying there for a few days, then hit up Mike’s Aunt again in Boston (since the boys keep saying they want to see Aunt Getty again) before returning home.  But as Mike so correctly pointed out, we will need lots of cash for food and activities for the kids.

Then Mike shocked me in a way that only he could… My husband the miser suggested an all-inclusive with the boys.  Oh. My. God.  Great, lets run with this!  Except he won’t give me a specific budget.  I just know him and assume that something closer to the $2000 mark would be ideal.  I can likely stretch it to $2500 – 2700 mark if I find some amazing deal that cannot be passed up.

Ok, onto my usual resources for an amazing all-inclusive deal.  Oh crap!  Forgot one thing… I’m actually looking to go away during a peak travel season.  Doh!

Needless to say, this isn’t as easy as I would have liked it to be.  But I want to be sure and happy with this decision for my family, since for the most part, it all falls on me to plan and book this activity.

Thus far these have been my go-to sights for deals:

http://www.expedia.com/
http://www.cheapcaribbean.com/
http://www.travelzoo.com/
https://www.groupon.com/
http://www.dreamsresorts.com/
http://www.iberostar.com/en
http://www.jetblue.com
https://www.southwest.com/

I’ll keep ya posted on what I (we – in theory) decide.

I love fall

I love everything that’s fall.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Halloween is awesome too!  I love the crisp in the air.  The smell of pumpkin and apple pies.  The taste of apple cider (and now hard cider!!).  Apple cider sangria (thank you pinterest!).  The changing of the leaves….  And most of all, I love New England in the fall.  That was my most favorite thing about college – New England in the fall.

I went to Eastern Connecticut State University.  In 2001 it was mostly a teaching school but to my luck, it happened to have a kick-ass Sociology department.  I feel that I got an unbelievable education and, despite not being a Connecticut resident, I still got it for a more affordable price than had I continued my education at a private college.  Nothing beat walking to class and looking at the trees, feeling the cooling air on my cheeks, driving around the area and taking in the scenery.  Loved it.

Looking forward to my next venture into New England in the fall: Salem, MA.  As crazy as this sounds, I’ve actually never been there.  And to be in town right before Halloween is very exciting to me.  The hubby and I are going with another couple, the same couple who introduced us to cruising, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Since our friends had never been to Salem either this will be an adventure for the both of us!

When you think of Salem, you can’t help but think of the the Salem Witch Trials.  I also think of The Crucible, you rock Winona ;)  This town appears to take great pride in their bewitching history and it looks like ghost tours are one of the top things to do, and if anyone knows me, I’m game!  It looks like they have a “red line” much like Boston’s Freedom Trail, to help maneuver one’s adventure through the historical sites.

Stay tuned to upcoming post(s) on the Salem trip!!!

TBT: London, England. Oh how I miss this amazing city!

Back in December of 2002 I decided to participate in a winter theater session through a sister college to my university.  The catch, while the theater class was through Central Connecticut State University, it was actually a theater class in London.  London is an amazing place to visit any time, but it felt very special being there in December/January.  I arrived on December 27th after a 7 hour red-eye flight courtesy of British Airways.  The flight itself was crowded and I had the misfortune of being in the center seat in the center row in the economy section.  Despite the uncomfortableness of flight, it was unmanageable.  I was able to get some sleep.  I was able to eat the food (it wasn’t terrible, yay!) and I was able to watch some tv/movies.

I do recall customs through London felt like a well oiled machine.  I was quickly allowed into the country and got my bags with ease.  My group took a charted bus and we spent just over 2 weeks at the Strand Palace Hotel which was conveniently located on The Stand and within close proximity to Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, West End and Trafalgar Square.    The closes tube station that I used was the one for Charing Cross.  As a New Yorker in London using their tube, I must say that London puts New York to shame in the cleanliness and decor department.  The tube station and train itself was very clean and well maintained.

As for my theater class, I had to see 6 (or 8) West End productions and one production by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon (a short train ride away).  The play by the RSC that I saw was The Merry Wives of Windsor.  While RSC did a great job in terms of acting, that was one of the longest and most boring plays I have ever seen.  Please don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Shakespeare’s work and I have read many of his plays both due to school and on my own accord, however I never liked that particular play and seeing on stage did not to make me change my opinion.  Even though that particular play wasn’t for me, I highly recommend if in London to spend a day in Stratford and see a play by the RSC, it is worth the experience.  I also toured Shakespeare’s Home, which was also fun and very interesting.

Back to the theater shows.  Wow, West End productions were amazing.  And I didn’t see the plays that you would expect to see on Broadway in NY, meaning not just musicals.  I saw dramas, comedies, plays I never head of.  On a whim, while chatting with other theater-goers at the various shows, I took it upon myself to see 3 additional plays.  The three that I paid myself to go and see were Art (Drama), The Play What I Wrote (a comedy) and The Reduced Shakespeare Company: All the Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (a comedy).  Phenomenal.  Amazing.  Loved them all.

While in London I found out that all public museums are free to the public.  So, of course, I spent just about every day checking out a museum.  I went to the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, National Gallery and Tate Modern.  The British Museum, V&A Museum and Tate Modern I visited more than once.  One museum that I did pay for, and it was worth every penny, was the London Dungeon.

Ok, the London Dungeon deserves it’s own paragraph.  This was awesome, but you need to keep an open mind.  It’s technically more of a tourist attraction than anything else but it’s very informative about the history of London but with an interesting twist.  This museum exhibits the more shady and at times violent history of London.  It talks about events like the plague, Jack the Ripper, and other lesser known London historical events.  I found it with the money.  The actors/tour guides make it a fun and enjoyable experience.  Not sure I’d bring my kids till they are tweens ages but I do recall seeing younger children there.  I guess it just depends on how your kids react to a hunted house but in this case they tell you honestly that everything happened.

Other things I did in London was I toured the Globe Theater and St. Paul’s Cathedral.  I walked across London Bridge and the Millennium Bridge.  Also shopping was fun (isn’t it always ladies?).  While I mostly window shopped it was well worth it to just look around and take it all in.  I’m grateful that I didn’t bring all my credit cards with me on this trip, or I would have done some serious damage.  I checked out the world famous Harrods, Oxford Street, Mayfair, Covent Garden, and of course in the tourist trip sections of London.  I did look from the streets at Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Big Ben, The London Eye (big Ferris Wheel) and Kensington Palace, but I didn’t want to pay for the tours to any of them.  This decision was mostly based on the fact that I didn’t want to wait on the lines for each attraction.  Oh, and I went to Notting Hill to find the blue door from the movie (BTW, very cute section!  Loved the shops!).

Food in London was great, however, I found the further I traveled via the tube from the West End/Tourist trap areas, the better and cheaper the food got.  While in the tourist area’s I actually ate a lot of Subway.  It was cheap, I could change up what I was eating for lunch every day, and there was an internet cafe attached to it.  Back in 2002 Wifi wasn’t “a thing” and I didn’t have a smart phone / iPad / iPod / laptop on hand like I do today.  I love technology.

If I could do a London trip now, I would revisit the museums again.  They were free and interesting so I’d say it was all worth it.  Definitely would see more West End productions.  I would like to see a show at The Globe Theater.   This time I would like to actually go inside the Parliament, Westminster Abby and Tower Bridge.  I would go back to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Dungeon again.  I would also do a haunted walking tour at night.  I didn’t do it back then because the girls in my group said that they would be too scared and I didn’t want to do it alone.  I hope to go back to London sometime soon, it’s been 12 years, too long!  And I would shop till I dropped!