great moments in family vacationing

We took our first real family trip in July, and spent a week in Maui.

It was beautiful. It was enchanting.

It was relaxing…with a heavy dose of kiddo juggling, misaligned nap schedules and being those people with small children on a six-hour flight.

I could tell you about all the beautiful places we visited, or amazing meals we ate.

I could go on and on about the gorgeous beaches and wildlife surrounding us at every turn.

Or, I could share a few absolutely ridiculous moments that really added some flair to our adventure.

  1. When our flight was descending into Maui, there was a fair amount of bouncing just before we landed. It wasn’t exactly turbulence, but more of a roller coaster feel, where you can feel your stomach rising and falling. Most of us have experienced this; my three-year-old, however, was baffled by this funny new sensation, and had a hard time describing it. So, at the top of her lungs to an entirely silent flight, she proclaimed, “WHEN WE GO FORWARD LIKE THIS IT TICKLES MY VAGINA!” And my husband partially died inside. I mean, you are supposed to teach children the proper names of their body parts.
  2. On the same flight, we let Lila play with slime, which effectively occupied her for quite some time. Until she rolled it on her pant legs and we learned that slime does not come off of clothes and sometimes you just have to rock the hot-pink-slime-on-your-jeans look because mom didn’t pack extra clothes in the carry on.
  3. Lesson learned: when you rent a car online and it says “Suburban-like vehicle” that does not mean you have reserved a Suburban or anything like it. It just means that Avis heard your request and may or may not give you the size and type of car you need and will act really superficially sad about it but not actually resolve the situation.
  4. One day we spent a lovely morning at a local aquarium, but by the time a few hours had passed we were hot and sticky and very ready to go. As I got Maya out of her stroller I noticed that she had shoplifted a large container of body butter off the gift shop shelves, and contentedly gnawed through its wrapping.
  5. The house we rented was extremely accommodating, and shared that they had a Pack N Play, high chair and stroller available for us to use. Shame on us for not asking for details, because when we put Maya to bed the first night, we realized it was a travel size Pack N Play, for infants. About the size of our microwave. She somehow made it work, but it was a little cozier than expected.
  6. And along the same lines, there was indeed a stroller, but it was a cheap piece of crap umbrella stroller that handled about as well as a wheel barrow. On our last night we happened to notice the other, BRAND NEW designer stroller sitting right upstairs, that we could have been using all week.
  7. We made the magical drive up to Haleakala National Park to visit the dormant volcano crater. Drive up = beautiful trek through the clouds. Drive down = so that’s what it feels like to be carsick. So. Many. Switchbacks. Side note to all my Moana fans, legend has it that Haleakala is where demigod Maui lassoed the sun. He’s real.
  8. On the Road to Hana, we stopped for a short hike, after which we rewarded ourselves with fresh pineapple popsicles. We thought giving one to the teething one-year-old was a good idea. And it was, until we realized the sticks were pieces of sugar cane and a total choking hazard. So I then climbed into the backseat of a moving car on a winding road to extricate said choking hazard.
  9. While on the aforementioned hike, Lila had to go potty and the only option was porto-potties. This did not go over well. “THESE POTTIES ARE DISGUSTING. WHY IS THERE POOP IN THERE? WHY DID NO ONE FLUSH THEIR POOP AWAY?” So, we held it until we reached a more hygienic alternative.
  10. Take the redeye home, they said. Your children will sleep, they said. Well, ours didn’t. Lila managed to stay awake the entire time except for about a half hour. Maya was up every 10 minutes when a noise or bright light interfered with her slumber. We had our first family all-nighter!

Awkward moments aside, this was an incredible trip. Once I never would’ve taken without my husband and brother encouraging me forcing me out of my comfort zone. And I’ll treasure ALL the memories – good, bad and somewhat silly.

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Current Faves

For snacks: These pre-sliced organic apples from Costco are everything. Like most things from Costco they come in a ridiculously large quantity for an obscenely low price, rendering you useless in the battle of “but will I eat them all?” But they’re good for you and individually packaged (sorry Mother Earth) and they complete me.

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For #momlife: Oh Jessica Alba, as if we didn’t already love you enough, you’ve gone and made the most lovely toxin-free home and beauty products and this spray makes toddler bath time just a delight. Because Lila totally needs a haircut but I will slay you if you try to trim those sweet baby curls. Until then, this will get us by just fine.

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For the fitness: Hammer & Chisel is the newest program from Beachbody, and while I was flat-out convinced I’d never like anything as much as the 21 Day Fix, I’m kind of obsessed with this one. I’m such a brat about giving new programs a chance when I have one I like, but this one’s been awesome. Very much my style of fast-paced lifting and strength training, with unique moves and tons of different approaches.

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For spontaneous dance parties: I’m sorry, have you not heard this jammy? I dare you to listen to it and not get at least a little head bob going, but my money’s on you really getting into it. I am straight GANGSTER when this comes on, you know, in my 2007 Volvo sedan, driving to my corporate job.

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For germ blasting: This is the oil that got me interested in oils in the first place, because it is the most amazing immune system booster ever. EVER. I diffuse it in the air, use it topically on me and Lila, and when I feel a cold coming on I drink a tea made with a drop of it. I cannot get through winter/cold season without it. My friend Jennelle is the oil guru who introduced me to this. If you want it, find her.

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For drinking: I’ve developed a slight infatuation with chai lattes, for two reasons. One being that they are delicious, and I can make them in our Keurig, and two being that I finally have something to order at Starbucks which, for years, has been a cause of great angst. I don’t drink coffee, and I like tea but don’t, like, need it. So every time I go to coffee I have this paranoia of having to order something I can’t figure out in a foreign coffee-talk language. Thank you chai latte for sounding fancy and tasting wonderful. PS Dunkin Donuts (my special place) will make them with almond milk.

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For the fact that it is awesome: We just got new carpet in our bedrooms, and the padding it made from recycled Nike shoes (it’s a material called Nike Grind). As you can imagine this is wonderful because it it super cushiony and good for the environment, but also, when I work out in my bedroom now it really ups the home-gym vibe. My floors are Nike, friends.

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CRAP in my coche

If asked to air a fatal flaw, I would readily admit my completely lacking ability to keep my car clean. I panic when I have a meeting where carpooling is involved, because if I’m asked to drive it’s going to be more than a little awkward.

I love my car, and generally am a pretty neat person, but my car somehow always seems to serve as a receptacle for everything in transit in my life. And cleaning it is typically at the very bottom of the priority list.

I happened to look around today, and had to laugh at the truly maddening combination of CRAP in my coche. Let’s discuss:

  1. A 12″ x 18″ glittery sign that daycare made for Lila’s first birthday last week. Falls under: “I really should be sentimental and save this,” and “This thing is huge and sweating glitter EVERYWHERE.”
  2. Four tupperware containers. None stank, thankfully, but gross nonetheless.
  3. An unopened package of Dr. Brown’s stage 2 nipples. No idea.
  4. Copies of Lean In and The Five Love Languages. To freak out valets.
  5. Six tumbler cups I bought as gifts that have yet to be delivered. Sigh.
  6. A cardigan we had to use to clean up a baby mess [insert questionable bodily fluid] and I forgot to wash.
  7. An iPad cover. Note: I do not have an iPad.
  8. A stuffed rabbit and a wooden penguin. Jealous yet?
  9. 45 Bed Bath and Beyond coupons. Yes, yes, they’re good at Buy Buy Baby, even when expired, but why are they so HUGE?
  10. Cheerios. Everywhere.

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Some favorite things:

1. Reusable straws. I got a 6-pack for $5 on Amazon after realizing how many disposable ones we were going through. I always prefer to drink from a straw and these are durable and dishwasher safe. And pretty.


2. Everyday Shea Vanilla Mint body wash. On sale for $8 at Sprouts and has the most refreshing scent for summer.


3. Essential Oils diffuser. I pretty much always have candles burning, but this allows me to get a great scent into our home with different healing properties, depending on which oils you choose to use. Peppermint is my favorite so far.  
4. The human equivalent of a dog crate seems to be a play yard. We needed a place where Lila could safely play while we get ready for work, and this seems to suit her just fine in small doses.   5. Chocolate Vegan shakeology. I used to be loyal to vanilla, but wanted to try a formulation without dairy (whey), and this flavor and consistency amazes me. It’s the healthiest form of dessert around. I am a Beachbody coach and sell Shakeology, so let me know if you’d like more information. 

6. Hoola. Not a new find, I’ve used it for a decade, but an unwavering favorite product. Works as all-over powder or bronzer and a box lasts forever.  
7. Resistance bands. These are cheap at any athletic store, or Target, and a great way to change up workouts. I used to use these all the time and recently started again. Using a band creates constant resistance in all directions, activating more muscles and in new ways.  

10 Valid Reasons the Baby Thinks I’m a Creep

Babies are fascinating for all kinds of reasons, none more prevalent than the fact that they can’t tell us what they’re thinking. When my daughter learns to speak, I’m pretty sure she’ll have some direct feedback about they way things go down at our house, and what she wishes I would do differently. Like, for example, when I forgo heating her bottles, inflicting a gnarly baby head rush with cold milk. She’d also probably let me know that all kinds of things I do every day are completely creepy from her perspective. Here are all the ways I’m confident I creep her out on the daily.

1. I watch her sleep. All the time. I know video monitors are common, but imagine trying to fall asleep knowing you were being watched from afar.

2. I have a legitimate desire to eat her cheeks and toes. In fact, I refer to them as edible when I describe her. I read there’s actual science behind this maternal desire, but that doesn’t make it seem any better!

3. I have an innate interest in her poop. Frequency, color, you name it. 

4. I take pictures and videos of her obsessively. I have archives of images and video footage and it’s only been six months. You know in crime shows when the crazed serial killer has a massive wall collage of photos of their victim? That could be me, only in an adoring sense. And don’t get me started on the absurd noises I use to make her smiles for said photos.

5. I don’t always have the energy to shower. For this I know she judges me. I would be appalled if my caretaker neglected to bathe.

6. I taste-test all baby food before giving it to her. Come one, I know I’m not alone here. If I”m splurging for organic, I want to know it’s good.

7. Mom refers to herself in the third person.

8. Her carseat is rear-facing, so I have a mirror on the back-seat headrest so I can see her while I drive. 

9. I choose her outfits based on my own moods. A case of the Mondays usually means we trend toward grays, whereas Fridays are bright and saucy wardrobe days.

10. I speak on her behalf and make up complete nonsense. This would piss me off beyond belief if roles were reversed. “Mom’s a little fussy wussy today because she’s just sooo sleepy. She really needs a nap. I also think she needs to poop.”

10 Things I’ll Feel Ridiculous Explaining One Day

You think about this more when you have kids. You realize you’ll one day receive the same looks of wide-eyed shock you gave your own parents when they explained party lines, black-and-white television and smoking on airplanes.

1. Using a camera with film. Waiting for said film to be developed. At a store. Splurging for one-hour service.

2. Prank phone calls. Having a landline. Not having caller ID. Paying 75 cents to use *69.

3. Renting movies. VHS tapes. Having to (be kind and) rewind them or be fined.

4. Making mix tapes from the radio. Buying CDs in stores. Scratched discs (the horror).

5. Newspapers. For current events. Checking the weather. Stocks.

6. Writing checks. Traveler’s checks. Check registers.

7. Getting lost. Stopping at a gas station to ask for directions. Using a paper map.

8. Pay phones. Collect calls. Calling cards.

9. Roll-over minutes. Flip phones. Car phones. Pagers.

10. The TV Guide channel. The paper TV guide. Having to be home to watch your shows, with commercials.

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Favorite Baby Products

As a new parent, it’s amazing HOW MUCH STUFF you amass. It’s everywhere. We’ve been overtaken. Even with a surplus of guidance, we still ended up with lots of things we never used and others we’d gladly stockpile. Babies are all unique, and I know this list varies for each family, but several friends who are expecting have asked for my must-haves. Here are some favorites, bearing in mind that none of this is actually required, but all of it is majorly helpful. And I’m sure I’ll have an entirely new list in another few months.

Life Savers:

Summer SwaddleMe blankets: Once you learn about the Moro Reflex, you, too, will savor these blankets which are basically baby straight jackets. Turns out velcro is all you need to keep your infant from smacking herself in the face and waking up every three minutes while sleeping.

MAM pacifiers: These are the only ones Lila likes and are unique in that they come in a special mini size for newborns, where most brands only offer 0-3 months or 3+ months. They also come in glow-in-the-dark styles which makes them automatically cooler.

Mobi Wallmate: An automatic night light is something I bought on a whim because it was on clearance, and am thankful for every day. With a baby, your hands are always full, and you spend a lot of time looking for things in the dark.

Rock ‘n Play Sleeper: Oh man. Can’t rave about this one enough. It has been our saving grace for a baby with reflux and where she still sleeps for the most part, at five months.

Nose Frida the Snot Sucker: Bless you, crazy Swedish product engineers. This thing is so gross and utterly ingenious.

Dohm sound machine: Experts say that the noise level in the womb is as loud as a vacuum cleaner, so babies are–understandably–a little freaked out by silence. This thing is the best. Not only does it offer steady white noise to help lull baby to sleep, it really effectively drowns out other noises so you can actually do things around the house. People will tell you not to tiptoe around your sleeping baby, so that she learns not to be a light sleeper, but when you haven’t slept longer than an hour in three weeks, this thing will be your best friend.

Boba: Babywearing is great for baby and convenient for parents. It allows you to do all kinds of important things, like eat and get the mail without an international incident. I chose this carrier on a friend’s recommendation but I know people love the Ergo and Moby as well.

Whale of a Tub: Bath time is a nightly ritual. In fact, for a period of early weeks, it was the only place Lila didn’t cry during the day. We took LOTS of baths.

Gas drops – any brand: Believe it or not, baby farts are kind of cute…but they’re also painful for little tummies, and that means crying. And crying. And more crying. We would buy these by the keg if it was possible.

Boppy changing pad liners: Blow outs happen. These make them less offensive to clean up.

Munchkin formula dispenser: So that leaving the house is a possibility.

Boon Lawn drying rack: Just yes.

Newborn side-snap t-shirts: My mom got us some of these and they’re the best for brand new babes. They’re soft, easy to put on a blob-like newborn and don’t interfere with a healing umbilical cord like a onesie can.

Other things:

PJs that zip > PJs with snaps.

Receiving blankets make great burp cloths.

You won’t need many newborn clothes if you have a summer baby (or a whenever baby if you’re in AZ).

Buy diaper cream, nose saline drops and probiotics.

Mercury = bad. Get a digital thermometer.

Try to avoid bath products or lotions with dyes or scents. baby_items_44007882