Mexico City, to go or not to go?

So as Hubby is about to leave us to go to Germany (cue the pregnant lady sobbing uncontrollably for not being able to go with😭😭)  I’m planning our first family vacation with baby Fitz to occupy myself with a fun trip planning as staying stateside while he’s enjoying a dreamy Bavarian autumn has me down in the dumps.  

My first instinct was google places that are warm (and to us that’s 55+) at the end of winter/early spring. I had a few interesting prospects, but the Art Historian in me jumped with excitement at Mexico City popping up. 

I went on to practical and looked at what kind of deals were available, points we could use and difficulty of the trip as it will be our first trip with two boys, ages 2 yrs and 3/4months! 

The best bang for our buck (or points really) was Mexico City. With contenders like Hawaii, it wasn’t too shocking, but the Hilton points we have really stretched in Mexico City! We had more than enough points to cover an entire weeks stay in the historic center. I immediately booked a hotel stay that matched with our entirely covered by points flight options to Mexico City. 

With only having to pay the taxes and fees for the flight and lodging, I was feeling really proud of this totally within budget family vacation I was planning. I am notorious for busting our budget, I thought Hubby would be delighted. Wrong! 

His initial response was, I hope those points are refundable! His first thought of Mexico City was Narcotics and Murders. Given the city’s history I can understand that, but he had no idea of everything the city had to offer. I showed him some tourism sites, he researched crime rates in the tourist areas, and now he’s somewhat comfortable with the idea of the trip. 

I am hoping some of you out there in cyber world have traveled to Mexico City, even better if it was with children, and would want to share your experiences!! So please let me know, how was your trip and would you go to Mexico City in March with a 2 yr old and 4 month old?

Grazie!

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Forgot to post an update on baby Fitz!

Well, as I said in the announcement “Dec 2 (or sometime around there😉)” the new due date for Fitz is Nov 27. Hubs was in Japan for a bit, so I knew exactly when the conception happened, and figured Dec 2 was not accurate. I know I ovulate almost immediately after my cycle, but didn’t want to argue with the Dr. I knew the post 20 weeks ultrasound would clear that up😊. Although, he was still arguing for his date after that with both the ultrasound tech and me🙄 Love him, but come onnnn it’s 2017 doc, the computer and my own cycle calendar know!!! Plus an over 100 percentile baby for Dec 2 is terrifying. 

So we are going with November 27th and 97 percentile. I have a marginal/partial placenta previa (I had a dream/nightmare about this causing me to need a c/s when I first found out I was pregnant actually😳), so my next appointment in the next few weeks will be an ultrasound to check if the uterus stretching helped it go up. Haven’t had any other indications of it, so hopefully that means it really is very very marginal. Even with all of the tearing Bash caused, I’d rather have a vaginal birth than a c-section. So praying every night for that placenta to pulled out of the way. 
We’ll be living in Chicago all of November, so maybe I will post some of the fun things we do when tourists seem to think it’s too cold to visit. Here’s a secret, November is one of the best times to visit!!! 

Baci e abbracci! 

Austlen Entourage Stroller, wow! 

After my Dr appointment (new due date Nov 27!! And another big ol’ 97 percentile baby, shhh I’m not letting my lady bits know yet😂), we tested out the Austlen Entourage, and wow!! Sebastian loved it! Officially on our registry!! Unless another amazing stroller hits the market by December, I think this will be our new wheels!

Bash felt so cool with the sit and stand feature, and the front seat had almost 3 inches of head room for him still!! That’s the most we have found outside of jogger styles (and I don’t jog so really don’t want one of those). I also like that it’s not a side by side. I know they say they fit through most doors, but we visit a lot of historic places and we have had struggled getting a single through some of those door!

The other single to tandem strollers on the market are just too small for Bash, and too hard for me push with his weight over the front wheels. He also can’t fully lay down because his brothers feet will be right there. They do reverse on the new city select lux we tried, but then his head is out in front (don’t like that at all!) and his feet will be right there to kick his brother. None of this is a problem with Austlen Entourage because the stroller actually expands in size. You don’t just throw another seat on the single size frame. 

I really really love this expandable frame. It is so easy to do too! Bash still loves to take naps in the stroller, I think like most 23 month olds, and this stroller allows him to lay completely flat in front while I have Fitz up close to me on the infant seat adapters. We are using our Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 infant seat that we used with Sebastian and it looks beautiful on this stroller too😍 

When Sebastian is at the point he might just stand on it once in a while (or never) I can use it as a single for just Fitz, open it halfway for Bash to hop on and to carry more stuff (picnic, pool, beach stuff) or expand it all the way to really load up. 

With the ability to fold it all up in one piece that makes it United gate check friendly (don’t quote me as I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s within the rules. Plus, I saw a lady take a huge pram on our last flight and the bassinet didn’t change at all and the stroller barely folded. Made me want to try the xplory!! 😂) This is a big plus for a full size double stroller. It will be so nice to travel with this stroller over a double umbrella. 

There are some cons, but nothing that is keeping me from loving it. Here’s the less than perfect aspects of the Austlen Entourage:

It’s pretty heavy, like over 40 lbs heavy. Being on the tiny side this is almost half my normal body weight, so you would think that’s kind of scary and difficult to use. However, it pushes like a dream with the big tires and sturdy frame. Lifting it will probably be a bit of a challenge, but I don’t plan on carrying it around. I can manage the trunk. It has an awesome rolling fold, so at the airport runway you could just roll it up the ramp to the gate to then put the kids in.

No bassinet add on. This bothers me the most probably because I’m not a huge fan of keeping an infant in the infant car seat. I like my baby to be able to move more freely and get food air circulation. I’m not writing it off because we are having a winter baby this time, so being snug as a bug in the infant seat will be a good thing. But I hate seeing babies in their infant seats out in the summer heat with no ability to get that great air circulation a bassinet or infant compatible seat allows. Hopefully they will end up making a second seat bassinet option. The front seat does lay flat and has a fabric piece you pull over the bottom to make a bassinet kind of environment. However that seat always faces out, which I’m not ok with when my baby is so little. But by summer Fitz will fit in the back seat by then and that seat parent faces. So, if you are like me and really love a parent facing newborn not in an infant car seat in warm weather this might not be the pick for you. Or just have a winter newborn😜 

It is pretty expensive, and the additional seating options and most accessories are purchased separate and not cheap either. My husband was like seriously, I have to shovel out tons of $$$$$ again for a stroller?! But this stroller does everything and it is very high quality!! It folds (pretty compactly!!) in one piece, maneuvers amazing with nice big tires, has a nice big seat, has a tray accessory (super important for our son) turns from a single into a double, sit n stand, shopping cart, works from infant to big kid. It is worth the money!! If you know anyone wanting a near perfect condition xplory with accessories let me know!!😌 We only used it at home for the first year, and we aren’t home often. Writing from a hotel right now😂 

That’s the only cons I can think of! I’m seriously blown away by this stroller. I wish it was out when I had Sebastian almost two years ago!!(😩 in denial about my baby not being a baby anymore in just a month!) My husband does too😂😂😂 

If you have the Austlen Entourage leave a comment and let us know what you love (or hate) about it! Or if you have your eye on it for your family let us know why! 

Happy travels! 

48 hours in Holland, MI and Bash’s first horse race! 

We decided to hop in the car with Dada on Wednesday as he went up to Michigan for work. We stayed in Holland, MI after seeing some great pins on Pinterest. We were not disappointed! We ended our week with a horse race at Arlington Park with daddy’s work colleagues. 


Wednesday we got to Holland, MI in the evening. I heard the beaches and sunsets over Lake Michigan here could not be missed, and it is so very true! I packed a picnic dinner for us so we could head straight there after running into the hotel to check in and get room keys. The beaches here are nothing like the Chicago side. The sand is white powder, the water fresh and clear and the sunset, wow! The fire red and hot pink sun dipping down into the water is breathtaking. I only got a pic of us toward the end because I wasn’t going to disturb anyone or myself with electronics in our faces. Please, do yourself a favor (at least the first time) and just watch without distraction. When people were leaving someone kindly offered to take one of all three of us. Our plan was to just picnic and enjoy the sunset, but Bash ended up playing in the water and sand. Should have just a swim diaper and trunks on him anyway. If you have a waterbaby, I’d highly recommend to just go ahead and plan for them to splash around. The beach closed shortly after sunset at 10, so we went back to the hotel and settled in for the night.

Thursday I took Sebastian to Nelis’ Dutch Village while David went into the local office. This little amusement park/live action museum was super cute and Bash had a great time. The location right next to the outlet mall is a little off putting, but the place really is great for toddlers-bigger children. 


Their petting zoo/Dutch farmstead is really fantastic. All of the animals were super happy (clearly used to children constantly touching and feeding them) and there a lot of helpers there help the children engage with the animals properly or to pick up animals for the little ones like Bash to get a chance to participate in a less overwhelming way. Bash loved feeding the animals and petting from the outside. You can go inside the stalls, but I think this is something more suited for the  rule understanding and stronger more stable 4 yrs+ crowd. 

They have some little rides, but the carousel was the only one I felt was appropriate for little toddlers. There is also the spinning swings, these kind of train pedal cars and a small windmill themed Ferris wheel. 

The living Dutch village museum part is interactive and informational. They have different demonstrations from Dutch dancing, which Sebastian really enjoyed watching, to wooden shoe making. The entire place looks like a little Dutch village (hence the name) and has information to go with everything you see. There is also Dutch food. Bash wasn’t willing to try it, but he did enjoy the cool high chairs and French fries😂


How cool is this high chair, though?! 

We went back to the hotel for a nap until Daddy was done working. 

We went to downtown Holland for the evening and were surprised to find a street performer festival. There were street performers everywhere of all different types. This was both cool and annoying. It made the sidewalks too crowded to pass through, but Bash enjoyed the dancers, musicians and acrobats. There are a ton of cute stores in the downtown, something for everyone. There were also a lot of breweries. We planned on going to the New Holland Brewery for dinner, but it was soooo packed and this preggo wasn’t waiting to eat. Hubby has to forgo the beer tasting. 

We ended up at “Michigan’s best pizza” Fricano’s too. I love thin crust pizza, but was it the best I’ve ever had? No, but it wasn’t bad. I’d definitely prefer a great grab slice in NY or NJ or my beloved Monicals (the truly best thin thin crust!). They take cash only, which I also find obnoxious, but the one size only pizzas are only around $12 so at least the cheap price makes up for that a little. They also charge more to drink a soda in the restaurant than if you carried it out. So weird. None the less it is probably a much better choice than any of the chain options in the area, and I’d eat again with out complaint. An Italian family needs to move to Michigan and really show them the best pizza, though!😂

We walked the Hope College campus and then went back to the hotel to go to bed.


Friday, we checked out and headed over to Chicago for the horse race at Arlington Park. Bash loved the race. He loved going to the paddock level and seeing all of the horse and jockees. He loved watching them race and yelling go! He picked a favorite horse, and we cheered it on. It was a great evening. A horse race might not seem like a great toddler activity, but it had so much going on there was plenty of distraction to keep any little occupied. We ended the night with Bash’s pick not doing very well, but lots of great memories. We went back to the hotel to sleep. and then headed home this morning. 

Sad about his horse😂

Bash’s pick


Go horses go!


It was a lot of driving for some in 4 days, but with a lot to do inbetween it wasn’t so bad. We had lots of snacks and car toys (Tsum tsums mostly) to keep Bash happy, and he never cried once:) If you are in the Midwest it is definitely worth the drive up to Holland, MI. It was so nice, we will probably rent a lake house for a week up there in the near future.

Alert!!Great deal on a great travel stroller option!

Ok, so I’m getting ready to get dressed to then pick up our sitter so we can go out for our anniversary, 3 yrs!! Yay!! But I got this in the mail today and I had to share. I’m literally copy and pasting my insta post, sorry, but I had to share asap so you guys can get in on the deal!! The soft pram insert is already hard to find I’ve discovered, so if you are considering this stroller and want that feature might get to it! 


I’m so stoked about this deal that I had to share! One of the ways we plan on solving our two babes in strollers with one being a pretty large dude (22 months and just look😳) for his age is to just use two singles. We decided to get a second of our favorite and easiest stroller. This was by far our Baby Jogger Vue Lite. Well, when looking for a great deal on a second one, I came across its big brother the Vue on sale for $78!!!!!! This is originally a $200 umbrella stroller. They are discontinuing this amazing stroller!☹️But it means great deals for us!! All the reasons I love the Vue lite are on my blog, but this one comes with all that and even more features (bigger tires, included cup holder, head hugger, calve rest in front) and a more padded bigger seat perfect for a bigger toddler. I think it only weighs like 4 lbs more. Not even noticeable to me at this point carrying a 31 lb toddler around while pregnant. Sebastian immediately enjoyed the front leg rest that is lacking on his lite version. For $78 this is a total steal!! Like the lite it has optional car seat adapters (on an umbrella stroller!!) but I don’t think we will get them this time either. Still can take a pram pack, but it’s pretty enclosed for a small baby when parent facing. We might even just check two of these at the gate instead of a double for our trips!😱 I’m just so amazed at this stroller and the deal I got on it! Definitely check it out mommas and papas before they are all gone! The Vue lite is still a great choice too btw😊 #momlife #strollersnob #babyjogger #travelingwithbaby #beststroller #bestumbrellastroller #travelingmom

Buon Viaggio!! Baci!! 😙😙

Our Little Summer Disney World and Beach Vacation


First, I have to say flying out of Indy Airport (IND) was the best airport experience I’ve had with or without a baby. Orlando (MCO) is always a total sh*t show, so Indy airport was a nice way to start the trip off. They have a great kids play area in the terminals, great dining options, super clean, not crowded even during high travel season. 


When we got to Orlando we picked up the Chrysler Pacifica (loved it, want to buy it😍) we rented and went to the hotel. We checked in, then headed to Disney Springs for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We love it there. We go even when we don’t go to Disney, so this wasn’t new to Bash and he did remember the awesome Disney toy shops. WARNING you will not be able to leave without buying something. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible. We came back here the last night of our Disney stay and ate at Morimoto. I would get reservations for this restaurant at Disney Springs as it’s delicious and a very popular choice for Iron Chef fans (like myself). 

The next day we drove to our character breakfast at Grand Floridian. The breakfast quality is definitely not what it used to be, but Bash enjoyed some of the characters. It might just be our 22 month old, but he did not care for the characters that are still “people”. I’m talking about Mary Poppins, Alice, the princesses. He literally told them no not when they said I’m so and so! He realized their faces were not like the actual movie characters😂  After our breakfast we went to Epcot and toured the world. If you have a little world traveler they may recognize some of the different country markers, like the Eiffel Tower. Bash loves Little Einsteins, so he even recognized the Great Torii and was very excited. We however did not find any Tokyo bananas in the Japanese market:( After we were going to ride the ferry over to Hollywood Studios to see some Star Wars stuff, but rain was coming at 4. We just went back to our hotel to chill for a bit while it rained. Then, we ended the night with the spectacular new fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. Almost Everyone clears out after the fireworks. It is an awesome time to stay!! It’s cooler and almost no lines! We were able to get Bash on the teacups and Dumbo before he fell asleep. We waited less than 5 minutes to ride them. Then while Bash was sleeping we walked around the castle, through it with the beautiful mosaics lit up at night and checked out some shops until close. 



The next morning we went back to Epcot to start the day. We went straight to the picture spot for Mickey, Goofy and Minnie because there is no wait first thing in the morning (usually). Then, we grabbed a Starbucks and hopped on the monorail to MK to ride some of the rides Sebastian would love. It’s a Small World was his favorit! He was in pure awe and it was super hot and super humid so the mostly air conditioned wait and entirely air conditioned ride was refreshing. Bash slept for a bit, so we watched a street performance and started lunch without him. After he woke up we finished eating and then watched the parade. The afternoon rain was back so we went back to shower and get ready to meet my family from Florida for dinner at Morimoto. We spent the rest of the night in Disney Springs. Bash danced with one of the kids dance entertainers, he fell asleep and we did our final shopping. The next day was the start of Disney Pride which gets a little crazy we decided we weren’t going to do another day at the parks and head to the beach early. 

We hit the road in the AM, stopped to meet one of my hubby’s old professors for lunch, and then on to Saint Augustine where we spent the rest of our trip:)

The beach, splash pad, dolphin watching, old town and Salt Water Cowboys were the kind of relaxing we needed after a couple hot days at Disney. Especially, being pregnant! 


Happy summer Travels! 

Saint Augustine, FL our European escape right here in the US

So, I haven’t posted on St. Augie yet despite our many trips because, well, it was always our little secret. The European City right here in the US my family has gone to since before I was born, but the cats finally out of the bag. The last few years the city has changed a lot and the crowds are bigger, but it’s still a fantastic vacation spot with something for everyone. 

We are big history buffs. I like the beach for a day or two, but that’s all the relaxation my brain needs. Many beach vacation spots in Florida don’t have much to offer beyond the boardwalk. This is not the case in Saint Augustine. Ponce de Leon landed here in search of the fountain of youth, and with him came the Castillo de San Marcos, Spanish architecture and the charm that makes the city so wonderful. Henry Flagler saw the wonder here too and made it a popular vacation spot in the 1880s and beyond. His beautiful hotels are now part of the Flagler College campus and open for tours. When the littles need to release some energy take them to Swing Park. The park has two sections, one for little kids and one for bigger kids. It also has a great covered area with tables and benches, a nice place to stop and nurse out of the sun.

If you are more into the beaches and nature, you won’t be disappointed either. The beaches have nice white soft sand and good shells can be found by the early bird. Anastasia state park is beautiful, has some secluded beach areas and a light house you can tour. The St. John’s farmers market is held in a lovely park with beach access. Grab some local treats and have a brunch right out on the beach. About an hours drive south in the winter months and you can see manatees up close where they stay in the warmer water until spring comes. 

The kids will have plenty to keep them occupied on rainy or non-beach days. The Ripley’s believe it or not museum has sites of wonder for all ages. The Alligator Farm seems to have more birds than alligators now, but it’s definitely worth visiting. They also have a zip line for older kids and adults. We have not done it, both of us don’t handle heights well. The pirate museum and wax museum are also a good choice for families.

We will hopefully be heading back down there before the springbreakers because we really can’t get enough of this Colonial Spanish city just a 2 HR flight from Chicago. 

Babyjogger City Tour

Ciao!! 

We’ve been crazy busy here the past 30 days. We got back from Paris to immediately fly to Florida because my grandfather passed away after Christmas. We stayed a little longer to help my grandma settle into her new life. They were married for 56 years, and she has never lived alone:( 

Anyway, I wanted to at least post something about our trip, and I thought I would share our new stroller that made Paris soooooo much easier! The new Babyjogger City Tour. 

So Paris is narrow and small. Yes, I know it’s a “big” city, but for strollers it is small. The restaurants, cafes, doorways, walkways, crowds, it’s all narrow and small. This stroller has a tiny footprint. It’s also light weight, easy to fold and compact which is important for the train and all of the stairs in the city. Just because there is an elevator doesn’t mean there aren’t still stairs for you to tackle. This stroller makes that navigation a lot easier. It has a good recline (6 months +) and our son napped for hours in if. Also, the basket is pretty big for a compact stroller:) 
I will say it’s the hardest of all of my strollers to push, but this is because of the narrow frame. It’s worth the extra effort (which really isn’t bad, I could one hand push still) for the narrow frame and small footprint. 

The rain cover was also the worst of all my strollers. It took my son just barely nudging it to pop the bottom open. It didn’t let a lot of rain in, but it would be better if it attached better on bottom. 

The backpack feature is cool, but hubby mostly just carried it by side for a quick up or down. Was nice for the gate check, though. Also, good for the train bc we just held our son until we got back outside the station. 

The price is awesome in comparison to other compacts, but if this was my first travel stroller purchase I might opt for the new babyzen yo yo+ despite the much higher price. The City Tour is 6 months+ and the new Yo yo+ is newborn friendly with reversible seat and a bassinet option even<3 However, my babyjogger Vue lite would have been ok in Paris and has a bassinet insert, reversible seat and much lower price tag. But that Yo yo+ has me gaga, and I saw it everywhere in Paris. Definitely worth also checking out! 



Note we did a lot of walking and touring during nap and bed time:) LOUVRE DURING NAP TIME!! We got 2 1/2 hrs in with him sound asleep and then switched to babywearing. 

Buon Viaggio Amici!! 

Seattle: the emerald city is perfect for the entire family!


Hello mommies and daddies! We just got back from a trip to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, and let me tell you, it was fantastic! There is so much to see and do for both little humans and big humans.


(^^our great hotel apartment, affordable with views of the space needle!!)

If you are looking for a vacation other than your typical beach vacation, I highly recommend Seattle. There is plenty to do in the city and around it. 

We stayed in the city, at the Hampton inn and suites. This location was ideal for us as it was close to some of the main attractions, like the Space Needle (which we had a view of from our balcony!), and offered a king bed apartment including a full kitchen, pack n play and high chair. There is also laundry facilities, which is always helpful with a bambino on board. Service was fantastic, breakfast typical and location spot on all for a reasonable price (parking is extra but also reasonable for a city). 

As for what to do around the city the options are endless and there is really something for every taste and interest. We did almost everything with our little (8 months old), but did spend one evening out on our own. 

Our top spots during a 4 day visit:

The Space Needle (save this for the nicest forecast on your trip!) Grab a table and some snacks and enjoy the view. 


The entire Fremont neighborhood visit the Fremont troll, ice cream at Molly Moons and pics with funny masks in the Archie Mcphees photo booth! 


The Pioneer Square neighborhood, get lunch at a food truck (many to choose from on week days), grab sandwiches to go from Salumi (Mario Batali’s dad’s place) for dinner later, check out the fun shops, play giant chess or ping pong  or go on the underground tour! We didn’t do this because we brought our stroller and heard it’s not really baby friendly, but if we didn’t have baby we totally would have! 


The EMP museum. A little overpriced, but if you’re a sci-fi fan it’s pretty cool and worth it. We are huge nerds, like whovian Trekky, cosplaying nerds. 

Day Trip to the mountains and Pacific. We did the Twilight Forks and La Push drive. Forks wasn’t as cool as I hope, but the drive was gorgeous. The beach was amazing. A true highlight! 


ADULT ONLY FUN

My mom came with us on this trip, so we were able to sneak away for a date night. Seattle has a pretty big burlesque scene, and we are always up for a new experience. We originally wanted to go to the pink door, but they were booked. We ended up at the Can Can seeing their French Kiss show. While it is more than just “dancing” it wasn’t fully stripping (I’ve never been to strip a club, but other sources confirmed) and it was very funny. Food was just ok, but I wasn’t expecting amazing. If it’s your birthday, beware!