Family Vacation

For Christmas 2015 Matt and I gave his parents a trip to Hawaii! It was pretty cute, we actually make a basket for them with a pineapple shaped cutting board, macadamia nuts, a coconut scented candle and a few leis with no note about what it all meant. So we opened presents via Facetime so that we could see the confusion on their faces before we told them what it all meant 🙂 It was quite fun!

So fast forward to May 2016 and we are all headed on a fabulous vacation to Kauai. We prefer staying in condos or houses so I scoured VRBO to find the best fit. We finally landed  on  a place on the Central Coast about 10 minutes north of the airport near Kapaa. It was SO beautiful!! We were right on the beach and the complex had a wonderful pool surrounded by a gorgeous lawn for Ryley to run in.

This was our first big trip with Ryley so we weren’t sure what we were in for. But honestly inn the end it was amazing! We tried to do a mix of kid stuff and adult stuff. Luckily with the in-laws along with us we were able to do that. Matt and I got to go ziplining with Skyline Adventure. They are located at The Shops at Kukuiula which was an adorable place. We enjoyed a quick snack at Living Foods Market. Loved that place, wish we had one here. It is a grocery market with a great lunch counter where you can get sandwiches and lots of other delicious options. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch at Tortilla Republic Grill and then the most amazing Mai Tai at Merriman’s. OMG you have to try this, so good!!

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The other thing we did on our own was attend a luau. It was also really fun even though it rained HARD the whole time. Luckily we were under cover but the poor dancers were out in the rain! It was still a blast. I highly recommend checking out Smith’s Family Luau. It was quite a fun show.

So on to the activities that we did while with Ryley. Aside from lots of pool and beach time we enjoyed a few spots I’d highly recommend for people heading over with young kiddos. Here is our list of our favorites:

  • Fern Grotto Cruise – this is a big boat where they sing and dance while you head over to the Fern Grotta. It’s a beautiful geological wonder! The hike to it from the boat is short and easy for Ryley to walk as well. Perfect and easy for young kids
  • Sprouting Horn Park – it’s the Old Faithful of Kauai. It’s cute and then there is a little tourist market  to walk through and check out cute stuff. Ryley got a little stuff chicken to commemorate all the chickens they have in Kauai 🙂
  • National Botanical Garden – right down the street from Sprouting Horn is this awesome garden. It is truly beautiful and even has some great Lego statues the kids love
  •  Lydgate Beach Park  – an AWESOME place to take the little ones swimming. There is a rock formation that reduces the waves coming so the little ones can more easily play in the water. R had a blast playing in the water, going in the ocean and playing in the sand. They also have a really cool playground that R loved, it was truly unique
  • Koloa Rum Company – although it’s a rum thing this is a great place for kids. They have an awesome train ride that takes you around the grounds. Then the kids get to feed pigs and goats and you all get to check out awesome scenary. They also have a great rum tasting available BUT no one under 21 is allowed in the room so you’ll have to find someone to watch the little on20160506_102455

We also had some great food! Both more Hawaiian and more “boring”. Here are a few of our faves:

  • Merriman’s – not only was the Mai Tai good but they had a great kalua pork quesadilla
  • Puka Dog – this comes from a friend of mine, we never had the chance to try it but some of the locals also told us it was great
  • DaCrack – we also didn’t try this one but our zipline instructors highly recommended it
  • Street Burger – this place had seriously the BEST burgers ever! And amazing service

Hopefully this gives some of you some ideas for an upcoming trip you might have. Really most of our time was spent relaxing on our patio and our beach. It was such a great week and a much needed time to relax!

Out to Eat

I would consider Matt & I to be some what foodies and this is definitely a trait we’d like to pass on to R. So I’d say we indulge often in the going out to eat fun 🙂 But as R has gotten older, taking her out to eat has gotten a bit more difficult. So one day I went on over to my trusty Pinterest and searched for “restaurant bag”. There weren’t a ton of ideas but this is the one I enjoyed the most: Restaurant Kit

The next day I went to Target and found the perfect bag. Deciding what to put it in was the hard yet fun part. I wanted enough things so that I wouldn’t have to change it out often (I’m lazy) but not too many that it’s too heavy for R to carry herself.

So here is my bag:

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It has two large compartments that have smaller compartments inside. Check it out:

 

In the end I included quite a few things that R loves. Here is my list:

  • Color Wonder paper that I cut down to fit on a small clipboard
  • 4 Color Wonder markers (I choose markers so that crayons didn’t melt in the car)
  • 3 mini puzzles
  • 1 magnet board with alien magnets
  • Reusable sticker books (thank you to my MIL for getting these for our trip to Hawaii!)
  • A set of lacing cards
  • Mini books (also thanks to my MIL)

So…..quite the array of items to keep her occupied and happy. So far we’ve used it twice and it’s been great! I don’t pull it out right away. We start with just letting her be and then when we can tell she’s getting antsy, that is when it break it out. I love that it’s all contained in such a nice and compact way too! R also LOVES the bag. She gets excited to carry it and knows that fun is coming when we pull it out. So far I’d call this one a success!

What are your tricks to keep the kids occupied while out and about?

 

Growing up with Color

R is a toddler that tends to catch on to things pretty quickly. She’s always been great at recognizing things, especially animals. So when we started working  on  colors and it seemed to be going  nowhere Matt and I were *kind of jokingly* worried. We both have color blindness in our family, and although rare in girls it’s not impossible.

So being the determined person that I am, I wanted to keep working on colors. I made up a very simple activity. Pulled out my trusty, and rarely used, scrapbook paper in all the colors  of the  rainbow and used a 2.5″ hole punch to make 3 circles out of each color. Then I taped one circle of each color to the wall, in rainbow order of course (ROYGBIV anyone??).

The exciting part was next. I put tape on the  back of the other circles and mixed them  up so they weren’t in the same order as the ones on the wall. And guess what?!?! My little genius matched up all the colors! Very proud momma moment! We are still working on learning their  names but this activity definitely made Matt and I feel much better. Plus, it’s always so exciting when your little one finally gets something you’ve been working on.

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But this whole thing got me thinking….what would it be like to live without color. Our world is so vibrant and to not be able to distinguish between all of it…well  I can’t even imagine. I know those who are color blind know no different but I’m definitely glad R will grow up with the ability to see all the color in the world.

My Journey

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Back to blogging? Giving it another try and we’ll see how it all goes. I’ve tried this a few times and I end up getting busy and not being able to keep up. But we’ll try again 🙂

I’m hoping to share with everyone my life with the little one. Things about crafts, play dates, parks, vacations, recipes, and all the other exciting things this little lady brings to my life!

So here’s to starting something new…again. Join me on my journey on this SAHM adventure. The ups, the downs, the craziness that it is. Not every day is sunshine and blue skies, although we do live in California so it’s most days, so I will be sharing those cloudy days too. Come along for the ride.

Fit Life – Food Sucks…but I Love It!

I feel like at this point I really shouldn’t call this extra weight “baby weight”. It’s been long enough that I really feel like if I had put my mind to it I would have lost it at this point. I know I haven’t given it my all but I also know I’ve never worked out more in my life!

I have been LOVING my workouts at Barre3 and Dailey Method. I started my workout process at Barre3. I love the vibe there and the culture, it’s very friendly and community feeling. They remember your name and were always great with Ryley. As Ryley’s nap schedule changed Barre3 class schedule didn’t work out as well so I started going to a 45 minute lunch class at Dailey Method. Then Ryley’s nap schedule changed again and I started attending Dailey Method Interval class, which is a more cardio based class.

I love interval but the past few weeks it has been kicking my butt to the point of not feeling great during class so I’m heading back to the standard barre classes to get myself back into the rhythm of things from a month of vacation and too much food. I start tomorrow and hope I can get back into my routine of 3-4 times a week! Dailey Method is great but the environment is a bit more cold. Cold might be the wrong word but it’s hard to describe. I love it now but when I first came I was a bit put off because it’s less friendly than Barre3 was.

So that is my working out….but my eating. That is really where I need to do better. When I’ve lost weight in the past it has always been because I did meal planning. Every Sunday I would make breakfast, snack and lunch for the next week and get it all in lunch bags for the week. I’d also have a plan for all of our dinners. With a little one it has been a bit harder to do that. Really that’s just an excuse. Instead of typing this blog post right now I could be meal prepping. But at the end of a day playing with a toddler I’m tired and what I WANT to do is sit on my computer.

I need to make some changes in this department. I’m not quite sure how to motivate myself but right now I’m not in love with how I’m looking in photos. I was thinking of trying the 21 Day Fix from Beachbody but I’ve always been so against that sort of thing. Seems like I’m paying them to tell me what I already know. My other idea was to find something I want but wouldn’t normally buy myself and make it a reward. I did this when Ryley was little and I needed to get my but back into my own bed. But right now I can’t really think of anything I really want.

So that is where I’m at. I’m trying to get my eating under control. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not over here binging on Doritos or anything but I need to have better portion control and less processed stuff (I love me some Lean Cuisine for lunch because I’m lazy). I also LOVE eating out and trying new foods. Matt and I are back down to our only twice per week eating out. That might seem like a lot to some people but we used to have times where we’d eat out most days so have to start somewhere right?

I’ll keep you all updated on how things go!

Gini

Park Life – Comanche Park

Ryley and I had a BLAST at Comanche Park the other day. It is brand new and was a great adventure for her! Here is the review from Silicon Valley Toddler. As much as loved the park I have a slightly different perspective than she does since Ryley is quite a bit younger.

At 13 months there were some serious pros:

  • A small slide off to the side with stairs that she could climb up
  • A low tunnel and bridge she loved climbing on
  • The awesome rubbery squishy ground, seriously love this stuff and is good for crawlers
  • The toddler structure has 2 slide options, both of which she loved

But also at 13 months there were some negatives:

  • Ryley is still a swing lover and there is only 1 baby swing, need 2 at minimum
  • The structure was a little high for her and the openings where she could fall were on opposite sides so I had to run between them as she climbed up
  • There was only one way for her to get up onto the structure and even that wasn’t totally enclosed
  • I really wish when they built new parks they would put in shade structures!

The structure does say 2-5 year olds so I’m playing at my own risk but really I need places to take my kid too. There are definitely better parks for kids Ryley’s age but if you have an adventurous toddler or just want a change of scenery this is a good option, just be sure to watch your little one. With all the extra stuff off to the side I do still recommend the park for the little ones.

I also enjoyed the look of the park, so fun with lots of colors. They had 4 person tables around which were great as well. There was a small lovely green grass hill behind the toddler structure too, it was calling “roll down me”! 🙂 Some day when Ryley is big enough I can’t wait to do that with her, be silly and just enjoy the grass!

What are some of your favorite young toddler parks?

Gini

Baby Life – A few of my Favorite Things

Life with a kid goes so fast. I wish I had been better about writing things down with Ryley’s milestones but I always forget and by the time I remember I forget when it actually happened. Same thing goes for our favorite baby items and toys. So here is my post of trying to get the list out of my head and down on “paper”.

Newborn stage:

  • Rock ‘N Play – this was one of my FAVORITE things. I didn’t use it as a bassinet but would put her in it while Matt and I ate, I needed to go to the bathroom, really anytime. Ryley never liked the vibrating but she loved the rocking. It was a serious lifesaver and it was inexpensive. I highly recommend this one
  • Sound machine – there are a billion options but I think anything that has multiple types of sound options will work. Ryley still uses this for naps
  • Boogie wipes
  • G Diapers – I LOVE these things. We wanted cloth diapers but they were so big on Ryley. These come in 4 sizes and actually fit her well. Plus they hold more than disposables, and of course have far less waste
Infant stage:
  • Monkey bouncy seat – once Ryley was too big for the rock ‘n play we got this seat. Ryley had so much fun reaching for the monkeys and bouncing. This seat was quite useful when I needed to take a shower 🙂
  • Pacifier clips as toy clips – I happen to think this idea is genius! We use the pacifier clips and put them on toys and clip them to Ryley so she can’t toss them. This is great for restaurants, walks, etc. It’s also been really useful for teething toys
  • Gum brush – speaking of teething toys, this has been Ryley’s favorite
  • Korean play mat – this thing is mostly for me, it’s squishy and comfy for me plus good for Ryley crawling. I like it more than the puzzle type ones because it’s thicker, Ryley can’t take it a part and it’s easy to clean
  • Usborne Touch & Feel Books – Ryley loves books and these are some of her favorite!
Toddler stage:
  • Little People ride on – Anything that plays music Ryley loves but this one especially
  • Bubble Gum Machine – It was amazing watching her learn how to use this toy. How to put the balls in the top and press the leaver to release the balls
  • Kid Chair – She loves grabbing a book and climbing into her little Pottery Barn chair, so stinking cute! I also got another from Target. She loves both
  • My First Touch & Feel Cards – My dad got her the First Words edition for her birthday and she loved them so much we got her the rest of the set. They have great questions for parents to ask their kids too. She isn’t to that point yet but we will get there
Once I publish this I’ll probably think of other things that I love but for now these are some of the things I want to make sure my fiends know about 🙂
What are some of your favorite things?

Married Life – We bought a house!

Wow I can’t believe it happened but we’ve finally purchased our first home! When we first moved to San Jose our plan was to only stay for a couple of years and then move on to Austin. We even spent a weekend down there and checked out open houses. Pretty crazy what you can get for your money there!

Back to our new home…we finally bit the bullet and just went for it! The house is a great starter home. 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom at 1600 sq ft. It’s a cute little house with a bit of spanish flare. Before move in we worked on the house, the previous owners had a few interesting things set up in the house.

Before move in we, as in 98% Matt, we worked on –
1) Garage: They had built a laundry room in the garage so you couldn’t park in there. We took down that room and then need to put in some extra rafters to support storage in the top of the garage to house all my decorations

2) Family Room: In the 70’s they put in a conversation pit around their fireplace. They raised the floor and then dug in a hole for the pit. We had to pull up all the flooring, fill in the hole with dirt and concrete, grind down the concrete that was under to be smooth, patch in dry wall, lay new floor and put in a new sliding glass door. This one is a big project, we aren’t done yet but it’s been fun and really hard so far!

3) Outside: They had an old rotting wooden deck in the back. I took it out, BY MYSELF!! Woot woot, go me 🙂 So eventually we are going to put down a tile porch and build a pergola. It’s going to be very fun and relaxing place once we are done!

Can’t believe we did it! But we love our neighborhood and our house, even though it still needs some work. We are so excited to have our own home 🙂

Foodie Life – Mother’s Day

In our family we LOVE food. A favorite activity of Matt and I pre-baby was enjoying amazing food. I miss those days of spending our extra income on food and wine instead of baby ha.

With Ryley we’ve been doing baby led weaning – basically that means she gets to eat what we eat, most of the time anyways. So for Mother’s Day after a day of fun I decided I wanted sushi for dinner. We headed over to Yuki Sushi in Willow Glen, which by the way has an amazing happy hour! The line was literally half way down the block! Luckily we squeezed in to the last available table.

Instead of miso soup this place serves noodles as their “appetizer”. And well apparently this is Ryley’s favorite food. Check out this video, so cute!

Ryley has been a good eater from the start. Last night we had salmon and she loved that too. Veggies aren’t really her fave but everything else she is great with. There has yet to be something that she didn’t go back for more. Hopefully Matt and I can turn her into to a foodie just like us!

Park Life – Cahalan in South San Jose

On Monday Ryley and I had our first PLANNED day of just 1 nap. I was a little nervous. How do I keep a 10 month old occupied and enjoying life for a 4 hour stretch and then a 6 hour stretch?!?! But we made it through!!

The morning was mostly taken up by going to the gym. Good excuse to go to the gym – keep Ryley occupied!

After our nap we decided to head over to Cahalan Park. I had read on Silicon Valley Toddler that it was a great option for young toddlers because they had a structure that was really short. Seriously – the structure was PERFECT! Ryley recently learned how to climb the stairs so this was additional practice climbing up the levels. There are 5 levels from the ground and only one has a part where they could fall, but it’s very low to the ground.

It took her a good 15 minutes to climb up. She was rather intrigued by the wood chips, one downfall of this playground, and I had to brush them off to keep her from trying to eat them. But she made it and then I helped her slide down the slide. We did it 3 times and then the sun starting hitting that area so we decided it was time to head home. The playground looks like it would be more shaded during other parts of the day but I’m not certain. The swings and the larger toddler structure had no shade. We’ll have to check it out at another time of day.

We had a really great time. Ryley got to actually experience a playground instead of just looking at it from the swing. It was a lot more fun for me too! I would absolutely suggest this playground to anyone with younger toddlers!

If you check it out let me know what you think!