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And this is why we travel !

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And this is why we travel !

Barcelona days“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Probably one of my favorites, if not, my absolute favorite ever. It is a simple quote with such a powerful message. Us , human beings have been defying nature since the origin of time. We have been doing things that is not necessarily “normal”. That’s how we grew, we civilized and we learned. This behavior seems to simple yet it is so complicated.  So why stop now? This is the question I have been asking myself a lot lately and really trying to put things into perspective.

Having two kids so close in age, back to back took a toll on our overall well-being. It was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting . But one thing we both promised ourselves is we will not stop to live our lives. It is so easy to get lost in their daily schedules and our own struggles but we refuse to do that. Yes, we are a normal parents who have to work hard and earn their way of life but we are also the parents who are healthy (so far) and physically capable of doing what we put our minds into. We may not have unlimited resources of anything but what we have is our willpower and our curiosity. We want to do things not because we have to but also because we want to. We want to see the world through our children as much as we can.

That is why we travel!

A lot of people have asked us if we have “lost our minds” when we travel with two kids in a tow. Yes it is not easy to travel with two little kids , yes it is not easy to set up a eating and sleeping schedule when your time zones are completely different from home but it is also not easy to stay at one place and not experience things. We may not be perfect but we want to get out and about and travel the world one country, one city and one continent at a time. We are not traveling family , actually quite far from it but we want out children to grow up thinking my parents did something right. They showed us the world even when we did not remember. I want them to say thank god we were introduced to various cultures and people and places which we can’t remember but somehow helped us shape the human being that we are today. That is what we want them to say. Also, travel does not have to be extravagant or expensive, you could just play tourist in your own city and explore as well. There are so many hidden gems around you, you just have to look. People think children thrive on routine, but we beg to differ. Not saying routine is bad, but for our family we do not believe in a lot of formal routine. Everything has been on-demand and spontaneous since they were little kids. So either it is good or bad, we still do it that way. Things may change when they grow a bit older but for now we will try and will try really hard to live an interesting life for them.

For your children, you are the most important people in their lives so why not include them on everything , if not , in most things that you do.

A lot of families have different priorities, they want to be more settled and explore when the kids are a bit older and that is also okay. I am not saying what we are doing is okay. I am only saying we do this because we feel like it fits our lifestyle and our kids’ personalities. I know a few of you have texted, emailed and messaged me on Facebook saying thank you for sharing our travel experiences with them and also asked for some tips and tricks. You know what? Those comments completely flatter me. I am so humbled to even give an ounce of encouragement to anyone who is struggling to muster up the courage to travel or do things differently than the norm.

We all need to remember WE are the grown up here, WE make the choices and WE make it happen. So let’s not wait for the right time to do anything, let’s just do it.

As I Mark Twain said in his quote above, you will probably regret NOT doing things in your old age than you actually did when you were young and able. For us it is travel and for you it may be something else. But let’s just do it and make it happen and let’s excite our children!

London Trip with a Toddler!

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Hello Friends-
How are we doing today? It has been a while, hasn’t it? I apologize for making you all wait this long for a blog post (although I know it is worth it 😉 ). Jokes aside- I wanted to quickly provide an update on a recent trip to London that we took. Little A, hubby and I took off on a jet plane to go to the UK and spent about 6 nights away from home in total. You all must be thinking- overseas with a toddler? That is a LOT. But let me tell you my little girl never stops to make me proud. She did AMAZING the whole time in the plane and on the trip. I was nervous to go on an 8 hour plane ride with a VERY active toddler but to my surprise, we couldn’t be prouder with the way she behaved the entire time.
We left on a Wednesday night from BWI airport to the dreaded JFK and from JFK we took off on about 8.5 hour flight to London Heathrow airport. We had requested aisle seats to move around easily with a toddler and we got aisle seat,s and guess what? The entire 4 seats! We didn’t buy a ticket for A and just took her as a lap child but we had so much room to spread out. Hubby and I took the end seats and she got the two middle seats all to herself! We actually made a nice and comfy little bed for her in those seats with the Delta blankets and pillows, when bedtime came she was out for a few hours. Hubby and I got to catch up on a movie or two  . It was a great flight going in to London as A slept through the entire flight almost as it was exactly her bedtime when we got in the flight.
While in London, we were worried about how the time difference was going to affect her. But it actually worked in our favor. She would sleep until 8- 9 am and we had to wake her up before heading out for the day, we would feed her some breakfast (got Hilton’s executive breakfast as a perk of being Hilton Honors Diamond member) and we would pack some fruits and water and go about the day. She usually would sleep again from the time we left the hotel for about 2 hours in which we would usually be hopped on the red tour bus and got off at a sightseeing site. She would then wake up and start to explore nonstop. We would then feed her some snacks and let her run around and do our sightseeing. We did a lot of hop on and off in the tour bus for two days and Asha did wonderful in her umbrella stroller. She would wake up eat, play and sleep. We would get to the hotel around 6-7 in the evening, freshen up and then again head out for dinner. We got the Oyster card for local travels in the bus so we could just go places without having to hire a cab. The location of our hotel was perfect to get a 24 hour bus service and it would come every 10 mins or so, we would go to the Notting Hill area grab a bite and either walk back home (30 mins walk) or get on the bus again. Little A mostly slept during our lunch and dinner time so we got to enjoy nice, hot meals. When she would wake up we would have her meal ready for her and we could devote 100% of our attention to her.
Our trip involved two days of sightseeing in the hop on/off bus, one day or tour package to Stonehenge and the City of Bath and a day of relaxation and shopping. Our trip couldn’t have been planned better and we could not have asked for a more enjoyable toddler companion.
Little A ate a ton of fresh fruits, ton of water and got some ice cream treats. All in all it was a success. Our flight back home was a little tricky due to it being during the day but nonetheless we were lucky enough to get aisle seats with two empty seats again. This time it was not as smooth as going in but it wasn’t too bad either. We had to change A’s diaper about 5 times as she had some major blowouts. Lesson learned: pack more wipes and diapers in your carry on than you would actually need. We had to borrow the last diaper from a family who also had a toddler on the plane (he was crying most of the time, poor thing!).
I will post another blog post with some of the places to go in London with a Toddler soon. But I just wanted to give you all a quick hello and an update on our whereabouts. Stay tuned!
Hugs!
PJ

Tips for traveling with a toddler!

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TGIF! Thank goodness it is indeed Friday! What a crazy week it has been, was trying to finish up writing this blog post and was  making some other interesting content ready for my blog (surprise!).

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Napping cozily in the flight to Vegas!

So as promised, here I am with some of my air travel tips when you have an active toddler as a company. I can attest to these because A has already flown three times in her whole 15 months of being. Her first air travel was to Cancun, Mexico where she did wonderful- pretty much slept through the air time. Second one was to Punta Cana, DR where she was a little more active and wanted to explore than the first time around (I don’t blame her since she had just learned to walk then). Third was our recent Vegas trip which was the longest flight yet , 5.5 hr. She did AMAZING then as well! So whats the secret? None actually, A just loves traveling. She is a natural when it comes down to going places and exploring. That being said I do have a few do’s and dont’s if you want to make air time more pleasant (or tolerable in some cases). Please read the following:

1. Try to schedule your flight during your toddler’s sleep/ nap times – This really helps because their body will be so used to napping at that time that they don’t need any other sleep aids, they will automatically fall sleep. And the airplane motion will actually help them stay asleep.

2. If they can fit in a lap and love cuddling do not get them their own seat- We have yet to get A her own seat yet because she loves to cuddle with us and isn’t a big fan of her car seat. We made A lap baby all three times we traveled and we had no problems except your hands may get so tired by holding them that you wont feel them but that’s exactly when taking turns with your partner really comes handy 🙂 .A sleeps much better while we hold her so that has been perfect for us.

3. Get some toys and empty bottles- Yes! Some new toys or just plain old empty bottles will do the trick. A usually just tries to open and close the lid of the bottles and keep her entertained for quite a bit.

4. Get some yummy snacks (new and their old favorites)- that way they have something new to eat or they can eat their old favorite if they don’t like the new ones.

5. Download their favorite shows/ games in your ipad/ iphone- We downloaded Pocoyo into our ipad and when none of the other “entertaining” measures worked Pocoyo was to the rescue.

6. Try to find other kids in the flight who may entertain yours- as strange as it sounds A had been really curious about these “other little people” she sees in the plane. So just seeing and “interacting” with these kids kept her occupied for a while.

7. Something to suck on during take off and landing- as we all know your ears may hurt or close while take off and landing of the planes so make sure you have something that the kid can suck on. They can either drink water, milk from their bottles/ sippy cups or just nurse them if they are still nursing. A nurses a ton in the plane to feel comfortable and I am absolutely okay with that because I would rather do that than deal with a cranky, loud kid 🙂 .

8. Pack lightly on board- I know , I know this is easier said than done but try not to take EVERYTHING on the plane with you as a carry on. I usually take all the above mentioned things (snacks, books, toys, ipad), two change of clothes, extra socks, a few diapers, wipes, diaper cream, hand sanitizer, a light blanket and a nursing cover up (usually a scarf) with me.That has been enough so far. You will have a baby to hold on to so why bother carrying all the unnecessary stuff?

9. Patient! – This is the key my friends. As overwhelming and as tough it may look like while traveling with kids you have to have the patient to tackle anything that comes your way. Do not stress yourself. Try to enjoy the ride and the baby will pick up on your energy and may not be as cranky.

Again, these are some of the tips that worked for me in the past and by no means anything scientific so use them at your own discretion. Hopefully, A will remain a happy traveler for a long time 🙂 .

XoXo

PJ

 

 

Things To Do with a Toddler in Las Vegas (and actually have fun while doing so)!

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Dear Friends-

My apologies for not being as much of a  frequent blogger as I should be! As you all know being a full time working woman and a mom to a toddler it is hard to find a time to devote to writing blog posts. I am however trying my best and hope to be better about it.
As I promised a few days ago, I am doing a quick, short and (hopefully) sweet recap of some of the DO’s for Las Vegas with a baby/ toddler. We all know Vegas is known for its parties, casinos and for doing all sorts of crazy, fun things. Now, how does a toddler mix in with Vegas, you may ask- surprisingly, very well! I recently took my (now) 15 month old, very mobile little A to the sin city and yes I survived it and I survived it so good that I even made a blog post about it – ahem ahem 🙂 . Let’s see what are the DOs or the things to do, places to go in Vegas with a baby or a toddler or just as a family.

1. Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage
This is a must see place for children who will enjoy a face-to-face encounter with some of nature’s most exotic and majestic creatures. To explore, learn and play in an enchanting world of white lions, white tigers, panthers, leopards and the family of bottle nose dolphins, the Mirage is the place to be.
Price:All-Day Adventure Pass:
Adults | $15.00
Children 4 – 12 | $11.00
Children 3 and Under | Free

2. Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden
Brilliance abounds inside Bellagio’s breathtaking Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The attention to detail is astounding. The passionate display of nature in all its awe-evoking glory – quite simply, sensational! They have weddings taking place everyday multiple times and general crowd just come inside to take a breath of fresh air and see the most amazing colors in the plants and flowers.
Price is free!

3. Bellagio’s Water Show
With the lovely music playing in the background the Bellagio Water fountain show is exquisite. It is free of cost and keeps pulling you in each time you pass the street. This show is truly a crowd please and a must see.

4. The Venetian’s Canal Shops
The beautiful Venetian Canal Shops have always been my favorite and this time around it was no different. Little A LOVED walking around the streets of Venice and looking at the magnificent blue painted sky. The gondola singers definitely added to the charm and A was so excited every time they would wave at her. If you want a nice long walk without having to worry about the weather and temperature outside this place is a must and very child friendly of course 🙂 .

5. Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops
Just like the Venetian (although not as scenic) this shopping paradise was also a hit with A. She enjoyed walking around the shops and enjoying all the variety of cuisines. This is a free indoor mall which offers plenty of things to do for tourists.

6. M&M Factory
Yep! Candies! Who doesn’t love the vibrant colors of beautifully displayed m&m’s on the HUGE glass dispensers? Little A was no exception. She enjoyed looking at the colorful candies and all the interesting candy filled souvenirs. We ended up buying her the cutest little M&M bodysuit to wear for the summer. Oh she will look so delicious 🙂

7. Fashion Show Mall
Yep a mall again! Little A made a trip to this mall almost everyday as it was on the way for us. She stopped by at the Starbucks outside the mall for a warm cup of Soy Milk every single day and to just sit back and enjoy the passing by tourists. This is a fun mall where you can take some awesome pictures outside or just enjoy shopping inside. Again a free venue for kids to have a ball.

8.The strip!
yep! The strip in general was an awesome place for little A to hang out. She loved watching all sorts of interesting people and buildings everyday. At day time it is fun as it is, at night time (we didn’t take her out too late) the lights were amazing. So, the strip without a real destination just to wander around is pretty fun in itself.

I hope the list above kind of gives you an idea in where you can take your children next time around you go to Las Vegas. Vegas does not have to be a party place only, it does have its fair share of “family friendly” places to visit. Although some don’ts are listed below, just in case:

1. Fremont Street at night – A big NO NO with children due to its interesting mix of people and their behaviors at night.
2. Casinos- Due to the suffocating smoky air.

Other than that I think everything else is a YES at parent’s discretion!

Let me know if you guys need any specific pointers or information on anything that I have written above. Enjoy some of the pictures from vegas 🙂 .

Hugs!
PJ

Nope I have not forgotten about you!

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Again- nope I have not forgotten about you my dear reader, friend, well-wisher. I have been busy with my work and with my munchkins (A and B) . This week we are traveling to Las Vegas with little A so that will be interesting. I have been to Vegas a few times before but obviously not with a baby so this time around Vegas will be different and a little family-friendly, I hope. I will post about  do’s and don’ts in Vegas with a little one, after I come back. I will try to give a list of places to go with the little ones and places NOT to go with them. For now let’s just hope little A cooperates on her way to Vegas (5’ish hour straight flight with a toddler, gulp). Keep praying for us 🙂 .

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