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.

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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)

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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.

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(Trying) to raise a reader

Some of my favorite summer memories consist of trips to the library, filling out library reading logs, and completing the library summer challenges. As a result, public libraries have a very special place in my heart.

My parents are first generation Vietnamese immigrants. Growing up they did everything they could to help me with school work. Despite their hardest efforts their little English put limits on how much they could help me. Instead, my resourceful parents took me to our neighborhood library to get homework help, to check out books, and to spend time exploring whatever interested me.

The library became the place you would often find me. I would be there after school completing homework with volunteers, reading the latest Nancy Drew books, or later in my jr. high years just meeting up with friends. On the weekends, my mom would pack my backpack with snacks and I along with my four (later five) younger siblings would spend our mornings at the library.

Now, as a mom I am excited to come back to the children’s section of the library. As I walked my son around the children’s section I found myself transported back to my childhood. I smiled as I remembered checking out books on tape as a way to ‘read’ books that were too hard for me. I happily sighed as I recalled reading the backs of books to decide which ones would make my weekly checkout list.

I hope my son will enjoy reading and find the library as familiar and safe a place as I always have. Last week, he became the youngest reader at our local library to participate in Rahm’s Reader: Full STEAM Ahead Chicago Public Library summer reading program. To participate in the program I have committed my little guy to 300 minutes of summer reading (about 20 minutes a day), at least one creative, one learning, and one discovery activity. We will log our reading and other experiences in the Full Steam Ahead booklet the library provided us. It’s already been a week since we have signed up and I am happy to report we are right on track.

My little guy and the library volunteer that helped sign us up.

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My little guy reading his first book at the library. At first he thought the book was a book about how to party but then quickly realized it was actually about how to potty. He liked it anyway and had me read it to him twice.

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Change of plans. ‘Weather’ I like it or not.

Living in Chicago you have to just roll with whatever the weather is. Although the weather reports did predict thunderstorms and rain throughout the later part of today, the clear blue skies and live music was too enticing to stay home. I carefully prepared for our evening of picnicking and live music from The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Plans quickly changed when the notorious Chicago weather did not cooperate.

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This photo was taken just a half hour before the clouds and thunder came rolling in.

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The storm clouds quickly moved in, changing the beautiful blue sky into a gray cloudy haze. At this point, an announcement was made stating the concert was canceled, everyone was to pack up and evacuate the area, and we should all quickly find shelter from the storm. Within just a few minutes of that announcement, as I was packing up, the sky got even darker, there was thunder and some lightning and it started to pour. Before I could even load everything onto the stroller I was drenched.

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Debating between waiting out the storm at the Anthropologie store a few blocks from the Pritzker Pavilion, getting on a bus, and walking home, I decided to walk home. I was already soaking wet and the walk home was only 20 minutes. As I entered the door to my apartment, my little guy greeted me with a cheerful, ‘Mommy!’. My husband snapped this picture and we then sat down to enjoy the picnic dinner I had packed.

What did I get out of this experience?

Awesome
-For an hour before the storm, I sat on the lawn enjoying the nice weather and the buzz of people around me.
-My husband wanted to be my knight and come rescue me. The plan was I head to Pritzker first and set up. My husband would come home with our son and they would make their way downtown and meet me for the evening. Luckily, as they were waiting for the bus to head my way, I was able to get a hold of them and let them know the concert was canceled. My mister was worried about me and wanted to come get me right away. Since I was already making my way home, it was much faster for me to continue walking, but I had to really insist for him to let me. Sweet right?
-Right before the storm the light was perfect for photographs.
-Strangers offered me help because I was pushing a stroller during the storm.

Awkward
-I was pushing a stroller with no kid in it. As strangers approached to help me, they saw there was no kid in the stroller. I resisted the temptation to explain our plans for me to set up while my mister and our little guy would meet me later. I figured we were all in a hurry to get out of the storm and decided to not say anything. I wonder what people thought.
-I was wearing a white dress. So excited for today’s warm and sunny weather, I opted to wear my favorite summer color, white. Within a few minutes of the pouring rain, I was soaked and my white dress became transparent. Not cute.
-The light was beautiful and perfect for photos but I did not get any because I packed our camera equipment away afraid it would get water damage.
-I was starving. While walking home, yes, I thought about how cool it would have been to see my son enjoying the live music, yes, I thought about how I wanted to get out of the wet clothes, yes, I asked myself why it took me so long to realize I had a jacket I could wear to cover my transparent dress, and yes, I wondered how The Carolina Chocolate Drops were feeling about the show being canceled. But mostly, I thought about food.

How are you spending your summer days?

Seattle 1 of 3: Enjoying the Seattle Sights

We have just returned from our five days in beautiful Seattle.  We had a great time!  For any of you considering where your next vacation will be I encourage you to consider Seattle.  There was so much to do and experience, I have to break my Seattle recap into three different posts.

Today’s post will focus on the city of Seattle sights.  A kid friendly city, we had no trouble using public transportation to get around.  All the sights we visited were stroller friendly and our little guy loved every moment of it.

So what did we do?

We first visited the International Fountain and enjoyed a choreographed water and music show.

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untitled (15 of 207)We continued our walk and found ourselves in awe of the Space Needle.

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We took a ‘break’ and visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum.

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The next day we visited the famous Pikes Place Market.

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Left Pikes Place Market to enjoy other sights of Seattle.  The day was gorgeous.  There was a light breeze and bright blue skies.

walkWe then stopped at one of my favorite sights of the entire trip the Seattle Public Library.

untitled (67 of 207)We took a moment to appreciate the Olympic Sculpture Park and later in our trip visited Bruce Lee’s gravesite.

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We indulged our love for music at the EMP Museum where we recorded our band, 3 Miles Island’s, first music video.  Turns out our little guy is more of a DJ than a drummer.

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We took a ferry to Bainbridge and admired the Seattle skyline.

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We ended with one last view of Seattle from Kerry Park.

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Have you been to Seattle?  What’s your favorite sight?

Happy Anniversary

Happy three year anniversary to my cutie pie hubs.  It’s been an amazing three years and I’m excited for what’s to come.  Here are some throwback photos from our wedding published in Ceremony Magazine.  It was a beautiful day full of bright colors, family and friends, and best of all, clown noses.

The title of this blog was inspired by the colors of our wedding yellow and grey.

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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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.