Seattle 2 of 3: Seattle Outdoors (and giveaway)

We enjoyed Seattle so much, but I must say, it was the last two days we spent hiking that I loved the most.  My husband and I have always been active outdoors people.  When we lived in Southern California we camped, hiked, mountain biked, played tennis, and during the winter snowboarded.  Not sure what the challenges of a kid would bring, we didn’t know what we could and could not do as parents.  I am so happy to now know that we can continue our active lifestyle and share it with our little guy.  He loved loved LOVED our hikes.  He asked us ‘wat dat’ as he pointed at trees, the sky, water, and other hikers.  We loved carrying him on our backs as we hiked an average of a few miles on both trips.  Next weekend we plan to camp locally and in August a family trip to Yosemite.  I can’t wait!  For now, I am going to sit back and look at some of our photos from the trails we hiked in Seattle.

Our first hike was at Discovery Park.

untitled (101 of 207) untitled (105 of 207) untitled (113 of 207) untitled (116 of 207) untitled (119 of 207) untitled (126 of 207) untitled (129 of 207)

untitled (132 of 207)

The next day we made our way along the Twin Falls Trail.untitled (134 of 207) untitled (137 of 207) untitled (145 of 207) untitled (146 of 207) untitled (148 of 207) untitled (150 of 207) untitled (151 of 207) untitled (153 of 207) untitled (154 of 207) untitled (156 of 207) untitled (162 of 207) untitled (165 of 207) untitled (166 of 207) untitled (170 of 207) untitled (176 of 207) untitled (177 of 207) untitled (180 of 207) untitled (186 of 207) untitled (189 of 207) untitled (193 of 207)

untitled (202 of 207)

I made this short video to try to capture what if felt like exploring the outdoors while carrying my favorite little person on my back.

As you can see the Boba Air made many appearances during our Seattle trip. I am excited to announce in partnership with Boba and kickSprout I am hosting my first giveaway!
Enter to win a Boba Air in your choice of black, blue or white by reading my tips on Traveling with a Toddler and complete the giveaway instructions.  Good luck!

I received the Boba Air as a gift from Boba.  All experiences, thoughts, and opinions are mine and honest.  

All images are property of Yellow Loves Grey and cannot be used without my written consent.

Advertisements

Busy Bag Swap

I recently hosted a Busy Bag Swap with some local Chicago moms.  It was a hit.  For those of you unfamiliar with the busy bag concept, it is an activity for your little one that is usually contained in a single bag.  It is great for travel and easy to store.

If you are interested in hosting a Busy Bag Swap here is how I hosted mine.

I first started with my Busy Bag Swap invitation which read:

I have seen these great busy bag swaps and want in on the action. What I am proposing is each mom makes 15 of the same busy bags to swap and we will all have lunch together! Bring your little one(s), pack your lunches, and (if you would like) bring some food to share. We’ll have lunch, the kids will play and we’ll exchange our busy bags. That means you’ll leave with 15 busy bags for your toddler!

Here are some Busy Bag resources: 
http://pinterest.com/msmblog/busy-bags/

http://www.secondstorywindow.net/home/2011/10/toddler-time-busy-bag-series-part-2.html

http://planetoftheapels.blogspot.com/p/our-busy-bag-swap.html

http://unsolicitedadvice-n-such.blogspot.com/2011/07/preschool-young-k-adv-2s-young-ks-busy.html

You can also Google “Busy Bag Swap”.

Please comment and let us know what Busy Bag you’ll be bringing so we don’t have duplicates.

I then waited for local Chicago moms to sign up and share what they would bring.  I decided I contribute a color matching Paint Swatch game inspired by Shannon at Tot School.  (I will post some images about how I made mine in a later post.)

20130628-211744.jpg

Although I was hoping for 14 other parents to attend the swap, I got only 5.  I was disappointed and wondered if I had done something wrong in my invitation, date I decided to host it, or time of day I picked.  I decided not to dwell on that.  Instead, I changed my focus on the positive; some time with other moms, possible new friends for my little guy, and new busy bags. The moms I met were all so nice and despite the rain came.  Yay!  In the end, my little guy has a total of six new busy bags to play with.

One mom brought a Pool Noodle Lacing game that is excellent for color identification, number and counting, and motor skills.  We can thank Kirby from Planet of the Apels for this one.

20130628-211637.jpg

One crafty mom brought this great Popsicle Stick Color Matching game that can be found on Holli’s site Full Hands Full Hearts.

20130628-211657.jpg

This geometric busy bag that encourages color matching and learning about shapes was inspired by Modern Parent Messy Kid.

20130628-211707.jpg

Another mom, who happens to also be a teacher, brought an Exploration Bag.  Her busy bag was the only one to get us outdoors and exploring.  I can’t wait to try it out with my little guy.

20130628-211719.jpg

Lastly, this mom created this Color Sorting busy bag.  Full of little toys, shapes, textures, and colors it is a tool for learning and practicing color identification and sorting.  I love all the different items found in the bag and had fun sorting them for this picture.

20130628-211732.jpg

At 18 months old, my little guy hasn’t learned his colors.  I think he knows the color blue, but that could be me just seeing something I wish was there.  All the busy bags are great but at his current stage of development they’re still a bit advanced for him.  Tonight, I broke out the color sorting busy bag to see how he would play with it.  He ended up sorting the items in the bag not based on color but based on category.  That was a fun activity him and I did for about 20 minutes.  I would begin by putting one item on each plate and he would then sort the items.  He sat in my lap as he picked out the cars, sticks, spoons, and dinosaurs.

20130628-211752.jpgI am so grateful to the moms that put in the time and effort to make these bags.  They turned out so great and I can’t wait to break out more for my little guy to enjoy.

If you’re looking for a way to connect with other parents and at the same time gather some fun activities for your little one I encourage you to host a busy bag swap.

Summer Must Have #2- Kangaroo Carrier WeeRide

My first priority this summer is spend a lot of time outdoors with my little guy.  Our summer will be full of these opportunities.  We will be camping in Yosemite, taking several trips to the Morton Arboretum, many bike rides along Lake Michigan, and lots of park time.  To help us live it up this summer I present to you the Kangaroo Carrier from WeeRide.

Right when the weather started to warm up I began daydreaming of long bike rides with my hubby and little one.  I pictured our little family biking for a few hours on the weekends, my husband pulling our little one along in a bike trailer while I rode beside it.  Our little guy may even fall asleep in it and while my husband and I would continue our ride.  I spent hours reading reviews on bike trailers.  In my research I found that there are a lot of great bike trailers on the market but my research ultimately led me in a different direction.  It led me to the Kangaroo Carrier from WeeRide.

Kangaroo Carrier from WeeRide

The carrier offered one very important feature that the bike trailers did not, it allowed us to be close to our little one during the bike ride.  Unlike with a bike trailer, our little guy would be right up there with us.   Luckily for me, a coworker was looking to sell his.  Score!

We have now had the WeeRide for more than a few months.  We have been using it a few times a week.  Sometimes for short rides to the park, others for weekend rides around Chicago.  Last weekend, we took our longest bike ride around the Morton Arboretum.  What I love most about the WeeRide is how I am able to interact with him as I ride.  If I want to talk to him, I just lean in and whisper in his ear.  I am able to hear and see how he is reacting during the ride.  I learned that he gets scared and lets out a whimper if he feels we are going too fast.  When he is having fun, he’ll yell out ‘weeeee!’  Sometimes, when he’s feeling grown up, he’ll grab the handle bars and try to steer (which as he gets stronger I could see becoming an issue).

photo 2

The start of last Saturday’s bike ride.  Our little guy is strapped in, excited and ready to go.

Other aspects of the WeeRide I like are:

  • It is stable and secure.  The WeeRide securely attaches to both my bike and my hubby’s bike.  We have two carrier bars, one for each of our bikes.  We can easily remove the kangaroo carrier and transfer it between bikes without worrying about the loss of structural stability.
  • Our little guy is very comfortable.  Once we buckle him in, he sits in the carrier as if he were sitting in a chair.  He’ll looks around.  He’ll rest his hands on his knees.  He’ll point at things that catch his interest.  He’ll point to my  husband and yell, “Ba!” (which means dad in Vietnamese).  If he gets tired, he could even rest his head on the headrest located between him and the handle bars.
  • The leg rests are adjustable.  One of the major differences between the WeeRide and other kangaroo carriers I researched was the adjustable leg rests.  Thinking long term, it was important that if biking were to become a big part of how we spend our free time, our little guy needed to be comfortable.  Some other kangaroo carriers do not offer the same degree of comfort the WeeRide does.
  • It fits into my attachment parenting style.  I love that I can have my little guy right up there with me.  It’s like babywearing while biking.  We are in constant communication and I am able to read his cues.

photo 1

Here we are a little further into our ride.  He is looking comfortable and has been having a good time.  My mister was able to get him to look at the camera in this shot.  I, of course, kept my eyes on the road. 

For parents looking into biking with their toddler, I highly recommend a kangaroo carrier.  My mister and I are very happy with the WeeRide.  Later on down the road, we may eventually get a bike trailer.  But, the WeeRide will last us a few more years.  The WeeRide website states that the maximum recommended age is 4 years and weight is 40lbs.   Great news for us because this means a few more years of  ‘weeeees’ and ‘woo hoos’ from our little one.

If you would like to see the WeeRide in action, check out my video:  We put the ‘Wee’ in WeeRide.

When riding with your kids, you must always have them wear  a helmet.  For our little guy, he is wearing a Giro helmet in size xsmall.  We purchased the helmet from REI.  My helmet happens to be on incorrectly.  My ponytail was too high for the helmet.  A helmet tip to those with long hair:  you want a low ponytail when wearing a bike helmet.

*I was not compensated for this review.  I purchased and own the Kangaroo Carrier WeeRide.  All opinions, ideas, images (except first image of the Kangaroo Carrier WeeRide.  That image is from the WeeRide company website), and videos are my own and property of yellowlovesgrey.  They cannot be used without my written consent. 

Summer Must Have #1 the Boba Carrier

I am less than a week away from summer break! That means I will be outside enjoying all the free concerts, eating al fresco, and taking advantage of the many family friendly activities Chicago has to offer. We will also be traveling quite a bit. We even plan to do a family camping trip at Yosemite!

In the spirit of summer, I have some summer gear must haves to share. My first summer must have is the Boba Carrier 3G. I have owned this carrier ever since my little guy was 3 months old. I LOVE IT and highly recommend it.

V iPhone (146 of 446) This is my little guy at 6 months.  I happen to have won a Baby Cargo 300 Series stroller at this moment.  My little guy is so comfortable, he didn’t even wake when I squealed in excitement. 

Why do I love it so much? First of all, I love ‘wearing’ my little guy. Before the Boba carrier, I used the Moby Wrap, which I also loved. Once my little guy was 5 months old, the weather in Chicago was warming up and unlike the Moby, which could get hot with all the fabric, the Boba carrier allowed for babywearing without overheating. Now, my little guy is almost a year and half and when he is in the Boba  carrier I can have him in both front or back position. The Boba carrier is lightweight and extremely comfortable to wear. I find that I can comfortably wear the Boba with him in it for a few hours. The shoulder straps are wide which help distribute his weight comfortably, the waist strap fits well around my waist. Both my husband and I like to use it.  It is always quick and easy to switch the Boba carrier between us.

Why is the Boba Carrier 3G a summer must have? Well, actually it is a yearlong must have. I use the Boba all year long, but for my special summer activities, I especially like the Boba. We do most of our traveling during the summer. Each time I do air travel, I bring the Boba carrier. Before boarding the plane, I wear my little guy onto the plane. That leaves my hands free to fold and check in the stroller, to carry the diaper bag, and to deal with carry on luggage.

At our travel destinations we use the Boba carrier often.  Due to the nature of traveling, our little guy is in the stroller more often than usual. I bring the Boba along for either my husband or I to wear him. He loves that he can see the world and interact with us at our level.

The Boba carrier is great for hikes. During our last vacation to Washington D.C., we hiked some trails at Great Falls National Park. The hike was more than two hours and covered a few miles. My little guy slept almost the whole hike! He was that comfortable in the Boba carrier. It is common for him to fall asleep while I am wearing him. The closeness to me and the walking really helps to lull him asleep. The Boba carrier will definitely be joining us during our summer and fall hikes and on our trip to Yosemite.

If you’re a fan of babywearing or are considering trying it out, I highly recommend the Boba Carrier 3G. The carrier is lightweight, very comfortable for parent and child, packs compact for easy travel, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

untitled (48 of 262) Enjoying our spring hike along the Potomac River.

untitled (84 of 262)

I spy with my little eye a babywearing momma and her little guy (in a Boba carrier).

untitled (45 of 262)

Doesn’t this picture ‘rock’?  Look how great the Boba carrier is.  I can even rock climb while my little one sleeps in it!  Just kidding! I’m actually kneeling on the rock below pretending I am climbing a rock while my little guy is in his Boba carrier.  By the way, he’s so comfortable he stayed asleep despite my moving around, adjusting,  and shouting to my sister photography directions all to get the best ‘rock climbing’ angle. 

untitled (100 of 262)He’s awake and he’s a moose on the loose.  His whole outfit including his moose hat is from Gap Kids.   

Do you babywear? What’s your experience?

*The Boba Carrier 3G was a gift for use and review.  My blog content reflects my true experiences and opinions.  All ideas and opinions  written by me are strictly my own.

*All images are original Yellow Loves Grey content.  These images may not be used without my written consent.

Party at my (side car) crib tonight


My little family has been a bedsharing family since the early weeks of our little guy’s life.  He is now 8 months old and rolls all sort of ways while he is sleeping.  When he wakes up he is  active, rolling around, sitting up, crawling and climbing.  It has become a challenge having him sleep in between us.  I think the only one that was getting restful sleep in our family bed was our little guy.  As parents, we were struggling with how to continue bedsharing while also getting enough rest.  Then Laotion Commotion shared her side car images. (cue celebration music)  It was the perfect solution.

As guided by Laotion Commotion, we built our crib without assembling one of the four sides.  It is essentially a toddler bed pushed up against our bed.  We pushed the crib mattress up against our mattress and filled the empty space with rolled up sheets.  It has been over two weeks now and it has been working great.  The whole family has been getting more restful sleep.  Thanks Laotion Commotion!

Here are some images from our little set up:

 

 

 

The crib is the Lauren Graco Crib  and the mattress is the IKEA VYSSA SPELEVINK 

 

 

Bedsharing

Bedsharing

How many attachment parents out there can relate to this cartoon? My family can relate to all but ‘The Stalker”. Our little guy isn’t sitting on his own yet.

We recently came up with a bedsharing solution thanks to the guidance of Laotion Commotion. I will be sharing that in a later post.

For now, which one of these positions have you found your family in?

Continue reading

Mommy Product Review: Top Five Products I Use Everyday

Last week, my little guy turned three months old! I’m no where near figuring out mommyhood, but I do have a few bits of wisdom to share. When I was pregnant, I found myself spending hours researching baby items. I’m sure many of you expectant moms out there are doing the same; scouring the internet, trying to decipher between need vs want baby items. Below is a list of the top five baby items I have been using on a daily basis.

1. Graco Newborn Napper Pack n Play – Meadow Menagerie

This pack n play has been in our bedroom since before my little guy was born. It doesn’t take up much room and is light enough to easily move around if you feel your configuration wasn’t working. We use the changing table on this pack n play at least five times a day. The little guy is so familiar with the changing table that when we lie him on it, he raises his legs to help us with changing his diaper. Too cute right! Another plus for the diaper changing area is it is easy to clean. For all you expectant moms out there, an easy to clean diaper changing area is a MUST. To make it even easier to clean, I lay out cloth diapers on the changing station to catch diaper leaks and accidents. I then just put the cloth diaper in the wash, and wipe down the changing area. Easy peasy.

Along with the changing table, the pack n play comes with a bassinet, storage pockets, vibration settings, music, lights, and is easy to pack up. This pack n play is a great product for a new mom looking to have her little one in their room for the first few months.

2. Boppy Infant Feeding and Support Pillow Luxe Monkey

I have to admit that I didn’t utilize the boppy to its fullest till my second month with the little guy. At first I used it just as a nursing pillow and found myself wondering why I bought it. I would think to myself, “I could just use a regular pillow for nursing just fine.” I blame my lapse in creative thinking on my lack of sleep because by the second month, I was using the boppy in several ways. The first way as stated, is as a nursing pillow. It’s been great for two main breastfeeding holds, the cradle hold and the football hold. I especially appreciate the boppy when I have to football hold my little guy to convince him to finish nursing off his least favorite boobie. Another great use for the boppy is tummy time. When I first started doing tummy time with my little guy, I had him lying on his activity mat. I would lay on the floor next to him, encouraging him to lift his head, all while I fought my instincts to pick him up because his little whimpers indicated pain. The boppy has made tummy time more bearable for him and I. Now, the boppy is either on our bed or our couch, the little guy is propped in it. He likes it a lot more because although he is face down, he can see my face easily (and vice versa). During tummy time, I place a book in front of him and we read it together. He now smiles through tummy time and I am happy to report, he can hold his cute little head up longer than ever before. I’m also using the boppy as another set of hands. I lay him in the boppy, cuddled up snug, and cut his nails, I have him sit in it while I have him take his vitamins, give him massages, move his arms and legs to music, and have him nap in it. Below is a picture of him sleeping in the boppy as I write this exact post. Him and the boppy are in my lap, leaving my hands free to type.

3. Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Solid Baby Carrier

I was first introduced to the Moby Wrap when I was in Whole Foods. I was cutting through the baby items aisle to get to their little ‘food court’ when I accidentally knocked down one of the Moby Wraps. As I picked it up, I saw the mom and baby smiling at each other. I then went home and researched the wrap, deciding that I must purchase one for myself. I am glad I did. It has been a great way to snuggle up to the little man while I still having some mobility. I often ‘moby’ him when I take a quick trip to our local grocery store, at home while doing light housework, and I bring it along when we go out just in case he is fussy.

The only criticism I have regarding the Moby Wrap is that it is really long and the ends tend to get dragged on the ground when I am trying to get it ready. My mister would add that the Moby is a bit too feminine for him and he prefers the Baby Bjorn.

Below is a picture of my little guy Moby’d.

4. Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing

When I first learned about attachment parenting I made it my goal to not rely on products to take place of good old fashioned mommy. That was pie in the sky thinking. Within just a month in a half, I realized that it was an unrealistic expectation I had placed on myself. As much as I love holding him, I needed to free my hands at least a little each day. I struggled with whether or not to return the swing that was gift to us, and then, one weekend, I gave in and asked the mister to put the swing together. Since then, the little guy takes his morning nap in it. It’s been great for me because I can put him in the swing, he gets a good nap, and I take care of stuff around the apartment. Sometimes, I even treat myself to a morning nap. I do wish the swing’s sound functions had louder volume and stayed on longer. My little guy is so sensitive that when the river sound stops, he wakes up.

5. Skip Hop Duo Deluxe Diaper Bag

Although this is a pretty recent purchase, it is one of my top five most used items.  I pride myself on being pretty resourceful and I thought I could get away with a big purse and a diaper changing pad as a diaper bag.  What I found is that it was a pain carrying all the things I needed in a large LeSportesac  bag.  I had with me the little guy’s bottle, diapers, wipes, diaper pad, nursing cover, extra pair of clothes, burp cloth, tissue, hand sanitizer, and for myself I had my wallet, keys, phone, and a bottle of water.  All these items made my cute bag bulky and cumbersome.  After eyeing several moms’ diaper bags while I went out on my daily walks, I decided to spend the extra bucks and get myself an actual diaper bag.  The one I settled on is the Skip Hop Duo Deluxe Diaper Bag.  This bag comes with 11 pockets, is lightweight, comfortable to carry, can attach to the stroller, and comes with a changing pad.  I chose the unisex black color so my mister can carry it without feeling self-conscious.   Another great feature with this bag is the stroller attachment.  It easily attaches to our stroller, which is a Britax B-Ready  (link to youtube review of stroller).   I highly recommend this diaper bag.

I’ve shared my top five items, what are yours?  I would love to know what items other moms use on a daily basis.