Monday, June 22, 2009

A Recon Trip to REI...

We were on a mission today to find the Kelty, Transit. It's a baby carrier/backpack for babies a little bit older, can hold up to 40 pounds of baby. I forget how much I love this store. It has EVERYTHING you could possibly need... we found kids backpacks (REI Squirt, has a H20 system/hose) and the types of shoes we plan on packing with us. The shoes we want to have are trail running shoes, and also waterproof type sandal shoes for the girls. Of course, we are partial to Eagle Creek for our actual rucksacks. Going tonight made me realize just how much stuff we are going to need for this trip. They didn't have the Kelty's but we put our name on the list for the end of the month. I could have stayed the whole time looking at the First Aid Kit Stuff. But on another note, individually wrapped things are much nicer for a person packing a bunch of stuff. Not that great for the environment, but great for your comfort while on the road.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back from Disneyland...

Jar: 18.22 USD
We went to the Disneyland Resort from Thursday to Sunday.  The drive is about an hour and half from San Diego to Anaheim, unless you run into some traffic.  6 month old slept the whole way, and 2 year old was happy to get out of the house.  If you can. I recommend some days at home before the trip.  When we do this, a car ride for them seems nice and when we get home, they appreciate it so much more.

We checked in to our hotel, (The Disneyland Hotel) and were asked if we wanted an upgrade to their fancier hotel, The Grand Californian for one night.  We wholeheartedly agreed and we got to stay in a suite... it had a beautiful view and was ridiculously large.  Sometimes hotels in general find a candidate who might want this upgrade, and offer it to them for a number of reasons... one is someone somewhere overbooked some rooms and they are trying to move people around before the trouble hits.  Sometimes, if they see there is a returning guest, they try to see if they can give them a preview of the nicer hotel, for maybe a future visit.  

The girls enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Disney of course, has a very family oriented style of living, so things like large balconies always tiny spaces so little ones can't fall through.  Room was bare and minimalistic.  And I swear, their beds are really comfy- even more so than the Westin Dream Bed.    

Stroller:  We bought a Graco Duo Glide from a garage sale for 25 USD and take it to occasions like this- it's a long double stroller, with plenty of storage space on the bottom, cup holders and most importantly, both seats can lay down pretty well.  Also, we didn't mind if we left this battering ram outside... and kept valuables in a backpack that we carried the whole time.  

Amusement park must haves if you have an infant or a toddler:  
Stroller that folds back all the way
Pacifier Leash, 
plastic rings to hold toys, drink cups etc.  
a light blanket or an extra form of "shade" for the stroller
basic snacks, 
a small cooler

To save money:
bring a case of your own water
juice boxes
invest in a soft sided cooler
share portions of purchased food with your kids (or have them share with each other.)
have a souvenir budget

Monday, June 8, 2009

Safety Tips on The Road...Excerpt from Travel Guide for Toddlers and Infants

Jar: 15.02 USD
For reasons to be named later, I can only put excerpts from The Health & Safety Chapter in the book, on the blog.  I tried to pick out the most important things and post them on here, but of course, this is not everything, so just use it as a bit of advice.  Remember, the best thing to use is common sense because there are so many different countries with their own set of what is acceptable safe behavior and what is considered deviant behavior in their particular country.  

First Aid Kit:  You need some basics on here to have a good infant/toddler medical kit...a good start is this little pod they sell at stores like Target or Marshall Fields (on the East Coast).  It's a good start because it comes with band-aids, non-stinging cleaner, antibiotic ointment, basically stuff for scrapes and cuts that Toddlers and babies love to get.  
But, here is my First Aid Kit and it covers a wider range of ailments for both adults and the wee ones.
In a quart size ziplock container: (TSA Approved as well.)
Big Band-Aids
Regular Band Aids
Smaller Band-Aids
Non-stinging antiseptic Cleaner (we use that foam, "boo-boo juice")
Alchohol Swabs (6-8 of these)
Sting relief pads
Antibiotic cream/ointment
Small roll of medical tape
Infant Tylenol
Infant/children's Benadryl
2 sets of earplugs
aloe vera gel
sunscreen (small, emergency bottle or wipe)
burn cream
ice/hot pack (there is the kind that is both)
small safety scissors
baby nail clippers
anti-itch cream
Any prescription meds (if needed)
any prescription copies from your doctor
eye drops
blister care

Baby Proofing While on The Road:  
Blue Painter's Tape: this kind of tape works wonders for babyproofing your hotel room or any place your staying.  It comes off easily and doesn't chip or peel the paint of the furniture.  You can also use it to cover electrical sockets and tape washcloths to the sharp corners of tables.   

Misc Safety: 
Pictures: Another good idea I read about somewhere said that you should take a picture of your babies in case you get separated from them.  Is the picture an okay depiction of the babies?   Have a copy of this picture in your wallet and also have a picture of your family with your child's things, that way they can make the connection if you ever got separated.  


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Think We Found Our Good Cause...

Jar: 18.08 USD
This year, 22.3 million kids under the age of 16, enrolled in Metro Manila's Public Education system.  Due to the overcrowding of the schools, classes are taken in shifts... in four hour blocks.  Imagine being in kindergarten and going to night school?  

When we went to the Philippines this last January, it killed us to see kids in uniforms, maybe 6 years old carrying their little pan-de-sals (bread rolls) wrapped in napkins, walking in the heat and pollution and riding on whatever they normally rode (a jeep, a bus, a tricycle) for an hour or two in traffic just to get to an overcrowded classroom. 

 The classrooms sometimes have one book for every 8 kids, sometimes only one textbook a classroom.  There is no air conditioning, and a lot of the kids have no bathrooms in their house, so hygiene with the children is not always great.  75 kids sometimes fit into a classroom built for 25.  What really, humbled us was the determination of these kids and the understanding of the importance of education, no matter how horrible the conditions are.  Then I think of our schools here and how we complain about the overcrowding of schools, and how so many kids just don't value it.  

We want to help this cause.  The article brought tears to my eyes. 

But we don't know how at the moment.  

I have emailed the head of the organization in the Philippine Department of Education Adopt-A-School Program, and some contacts we have in the PI.  We will update you as this develops.

Monday, June 1, 2009

And the Winner of the "No Touch Monkey" Book Contest

TRISHA of San Diego, California... thank you Trisha for your wonderful insights on packing, traveling and sharing your wonderful adventures of your new little one!  

Everyone else who commented: I will be giving away a book every month, so keep reading and sharing!!