Family Cruise Vacation Essentials

So over the summer, my family and I went on a cruise vacation for our 10th wedding anniversary. We got married on a cruise and we thought, "What an awesome way to celebrate a decade together." A wonderful time was had by all. I do have a few tips that I learned along the way, some essentials that will hopefully help you if you decide to take a cruise vacation too.


Cruising with Kiddos: Our Anniversary Trip to Mexico

As some of you may know, our 10 year wedding Anniversary was July 15th. And to celebrate, we decided to go on a Carnival Cruise because we got married on one originally. I think if you are looking for an inexpensive, but beautiful way to get married then a cruise is that way to go. My husband and I were 21 and 23 when we got married, my parents were on limited incomes, and we had to pay for most of it on our own. We didn't give ourselves time to save up money because we were two crazy kids in love and wanted to get married as quickly as possible. I do not regret a thing.

Cruising with Kiddos: Our Anniversary Trip to Mexico

Anyways, because my in-laws' anniversary is the day after ours and they are our only reliable sitters right now, plus we wanted to go on a five day cruise so leaving our kids with anyone that long wasn't even on our radar, we decided to make our anniversary trip into a family vacation. We had been thinking about going on cruise for a while and so at the beginning of this year we decided to make the leap (and down payments) because we had the extra money. We also bought a bunch of Carnival gift cards from Kroger when they ran their 4X fuel points sale to save even more because the gift cards can be used to pay off any balance. We decided to book a five day Carnival cruise that left out of Mobile, AL and went to Costa Maya and Cozumel.

Spring Break Travel Packing Tips

I received complimentary products to provide this post. All opinions are my own.

Who is excited for the kids to be out for a week of school? My youngest is home during the morning when my daughter is in preschool, so I am excited to have her home and not have to wake up early to take her. Plus we have some fun traveling plans! With Spring Break coming up really soon and all the traveling that people do, I thought I would share some of my packing tips!

 

Enjoying Summer with LILLEbaby Air Flow

I received complimentary products to provide this review. All opinions are my own.

As I've mentioned, Hubby was on vacation recently, so we did a TON of fun things! Besides heading out for a day at Six Flags White Water, we also went strawberry picking at a local agritourism farm and stayed at the lake for a mini vacation. Of course I brought along my new LILLEbaby COMPLETE 6-in-1 Airflow Baby Carrier.
 

This thing is awesome. Cool and supremely capable, the Airflow is as versatile as it is ventilated and ideal for sporty parents on the go. The fabric is a breathable 3D mesh for maximum air circulation which brings a breath of fresh air for you and baby. And it is capable of 6 Carrying Positions! It also has a hood, two pockets, lumbar support, neck support, and 2-way straps. Plus it's machine washable!
 

Vacationing With Two


This was our 4th vacation with my husband's family. My husband and I both agree, this was our most successful vacation to date. Maybe we finally figured out how to do it? But we had an extra person this year! And we did have our own rooms this year, so that could have played a part. But how did we do it? Here are a few tips that I think made it easier.

Shaidee Sun & Bug Review {Travelin' With Baby Giveaway Hop, Ends 10/21}

 
 
Welcome to the [3rd Annual] Travelin’ with Baby Giveaway Hop Event, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network.
We’ve got a fabulous group of bloggers that have come together to offer giveaways on the best products that make traveling with baby a success - so be sure to hop around to them all. Don't miss out on the amazing new stroller from Combi USA - the F2 Stroller which is the ultimate lightweight stroller that makes traveling with baby a breeze. Enter the Grand Prize Here.
 
We are currently in FLORIDA! :D I will be updating Instagram with all of our adventures including using the Shaidee so please follow along. :)

In the mean time, check out my tips for vacationing with an infant. :D

Click on image to view article.

Family Pictures FAIL, Wordless Wednesday #49 + LINKY

Sweet Pea was strange on vacation. She threw a ton of tantrums over nothing. This isn't like her at ALL. I think that girl just needs her schedule, ritual, and structure of her everyday environment to get her through the day. She is getting better with adjusting as she gets older. But clearly she still has her moments.
We felt like crying during this shoot because this was the only thing my mother-in-law truly wanted. And our daughter just wouldn't cooperate. I think the bloopers are kind of funny looking back (now that I know we did get some okay shots). More to come next week!


I actually kind of like this picture. And my pregnancy glow.

Did you ever have a photo shoot fail?

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Adjusting to Vacation {Nuby™ Travel Set Review}

I am a Nuby Mommy Blogger. I did not receive any compensation for this post, although as part of this program I may receive items to sample or review. As always, all opinions expressed about the products mentioned here are my own.

When we are on vacation it is always a different experience every year we go. SweetPea is able to cope differently each time. But one thing is for certain, we have to bring some amenities from home so we can help her adjust. That's why I was happy to receive the Nuby™ Travel Spoon & Fork Set to review.

Nuby Travel Fork & Spoon Set Review

The Nûby™ Travel Set is designed to keep your little one’s utensils and your diaper bag clean, tidy and hygienic whilst out and about. The handy travel case comes with an easy to use spoon and fork set and is perfect for mom and baby on the go.

Nuby Travel Set on Vacation

This little set came in very handy our recent trip to Florida since the condo we stayed in didn't have any kid friendly utensils, not even little forks or spoons. PLUS the silver ware was super heavy. One day I wanted SweetPea to have lunch on the beach and I wanted her to have yogurt, it was wonderful knowing that her spoon wouldn't get sand all over it and when I put it back in my bag, yogurt wouldn't get everywhere.

The Nuby Travel set is available for purchase at Buy Baby Direct & Amazon. Also don't forget to connect with Nuby on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, &/or Instagram for some great giveaways!

Nuby Mommy Blogger

I am a Nuby Mommy Blogger. I did not receive any compensation for this post, although as part of this program I may receive items to sample or review. As always, all opinions expressed about the products mentioned here are my own.

2012: A Year In Review


The year started warm. So warm we went to the park and took this picture:



In February, I started watching my friend's daughter
who is a month younger than Sweet Pea.
What a crazy ride taking care of two toddlers has been.



At the end of February/beginning of March,
Sweet Pea started walking and
our breastfeeding journey came to an end.



Her 15 month check-up was March 11 but
I'm a terrible mom who didn't write down the stats.


We also did silly stuff like this:



In May we had a yard sale at the Hubby's store.

Got into a car accident at the beginning of June.



Both the girls were in the car. Scary and life changing. I still feel guilty everyday although everyone was okay. And there isn't a day that goes by where I don't worry whether they remember or it scarred them and whether my husband has resentment towards me for putting our already limited incomed family on an even tighter financial hold.

We bought a Saturn Vue from Car Max and THE NEXT DAY the transmission went out.



But looking back, it was a blessing because I have NO IDEA how we would have been able to afford it.

We went to the lake a few times.
And Sweet Pea still didn't care of it.



Sweet Pea went to the zoo for the first time!



The Hubby and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. :)
But we have no pictures of us together and celebrated by going to his friend's birthday party. :/

She also got HFM and a UTI at almost the same time. :/





I decided to really make my blog public that August. I wanted to maybe make some money, hopefully get some free stuff to review, but most importantly, I wanted to have a hobby that I enjoyed. I was home all the time without a car and we live out in the middle of no where. I needed some kind of social interaction, even if was just through a computer screen.

I was able to provide my first endorsed review.



One of Hubby's store credit card numbers was stolen in 2007, he didn't even try to take the proper steps to fight this issue. Credit companies kept calling and calling. but he ignored them. He went to court and the judge told him he should settle and that it didn't look good for him because apparently in the paper work he signed when applying for the card, it said they could sell the debt. So we got put into an even tighter financial hold.

September we went to Florida with my in-laws. And a great time was had by all.
You can read about vacation HERE and HERE.


♥ these pics on Instagram

Just recently, I reached 400 GFC followers. And it feels amazing. I started at 10 and in only a few months, I feel like when I put my many ramblings out into the vast space of the Internet, I am now actually heard.

My car accident was a blessing in disguise. I got a terrible bruise under my arm from the seat belt.
Under the bruise I found small knot. No biggie, the bruise was massive. I had a regular scheduled OB/GYN visit shortly after the accident, she said to keep any eye on it and if the swelling didn't go down, I should come back. I had a physical scheduled in September so I figured I would talk to my doctor about it then if I didn't notice any improvement.
The doctor said he thought it was just the bruise but that I should go get a mammogram.

My baby girl turned two.



I put off scheduling the mammogram. I have no idea why but the swelling was going down and the knot was getting smaller so I just wasn't worried. Then I noticed another small, lump a little further away.
The 18th would be the day of my mammogram but they rescheduled until after the first of the year.
I'm nervous and the anticipation of not knowing is killing me. My sister had a mammogram when I was around the age of ten or so making her like 19. Nothing was wrong, they said that is just the way her body is. Hopefully the odds are in my favor. But the not knowing is the worst of it.

But a good thing to know going into the New Year I am 25 lbs lighter than I was at the start of 2012 and I can wear my wedding rings again. :)
You can read about my weight loss journey HERE.


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A crazy year.

Awesome things happened and awful things happened. This year has been a roller coaster of emotion.

So, how did 2012 treat you?

Vacation Update: Conclusion

Okay and here is an update on the rest of our trip. I know I said I was going to post daily ones but I was exhausted at the end of each day. So I took a vacation from my blog. Ha!

The sun setting on our vacation.

Wednesday night we went to Wild Wings and then shopping around Pier Park. The guys took the little ones to ride the rides and Sweet Pea had to ride the merry-go-round twice. And then we went to Marble Slab and got some very yummy ice cream.

After eating Wild Wings, in their matching dresses from Carter's.

Thursday morning we left the girls with my FIL and Hubby while the ladies went to K-Mart to pick up a few things. I ended up buying a really cute bathing suit for only $7. And I know it's the end of the season and hopefully it will be too big by next year but I couldn't resist. I just love the way I feel in it and that is rare for me.

Then we came back and went out to the beach for a bit but after lunch I went out and left Sweet Pea with Daddy while I had some very much needed quality time with the sand, ocean air, and just me.


Thursday night we went to eat at Pineapple Willy's with just me, Sweet Pea, and the Hubby. And then after that we went and played putt putt because Hubby just HAD to go. It was very cute and quite amusing. Sweet Pea didn't really play (thank goodness she was free :]) but it was so cute. She just held on to her ball and club the entire time. And then when we had to put her ball up, she was NOT a happy camper.

Little Cousin and Hubby
 
After everyone got home with her balloon hat
Friday we spent all day at the beach (except nap time) and that night we went to Margaritaville. They had a lady on stilts making animal balloon hats and such. Then a Jimmy Buffet song came on and the lights turned bright. I was really nervous because there were cannons on the wall and I forgot what they did last year. But we just found the lost shaker of salt. We were then suppose to go walk out on the Pier but Hubby started getting a migraine so we left early. He has never had one before but we are pretty sure that's what it was. He is fine now though.

And then Saturday was the LONG trip home. It's so good to be home. And everything is back to normal. I still have some unpacking to do but that part is no big deal. The driving with an almost 22 month old was not fun. We didn't leave until 9 so she hardly slept but she was a good sport about it.

Finally home and so glad I did a deep clean before we left and had a washer/dryer at the condo. It's hard to try and get back into our daily routine but I'm getting there.

So did anyone else do anything fun while the kiddos were out of school for Fall Break? Or any fun vacations over the summer? Share them! I would love some ideas for next year. ;)


Vacation: Mid-Week Update

So this vacation has been interesting to say the least. I am looking at all the awesome couponing deals I am missing and wishing I had brought my coupons but honestly that is just because I just now turned on a computer. I really have been enjoying myself even though we have had some bumps along the way.

We left at 6 am Saturday morning. We said we were going to leave at 5 but with two kids (one a 21 month old who doesn't wake up until 7:30) things are never going to go as planned. We stopped at Cracker Barrel before we really got on the road. Sweet Pea took two hour long naps. And was really good. She drank a lot of fluids and had an accident through her diaper when we reached Panama City, it wasn't time to check in yet so I had to change her at the Wendy's across the street, where we also had lunch. They didn't have a changing table in the restroom and the car was packed so we had to hide in a booth so I could change her. We did head to the beach as soon as we checked in but Sweet Pea was having none of it.
Saturday night we ate pizza in the room, we had to head back out to Publix (where I had a bad experience with the cashier), and then headed back to the condo where we promptly crashed of sheer exhaustion.


 Sunday we spent almost the entire day at the beach. Sweet Pea didn't like walking in the sand but we had to make her because everyone's hands were full carrying stuff. Once she got to our spot she loved to play in the sand. She would even dump it on to her legs. She took a 3 hour nap in her pack-n-play and had no trouble going to sleep. That night we went to Sharky's to eat. Panama City is an hour difference from our time. So although Sweet Pea wakes up between 7 - 7:30 at home, she woke up between 6 - 6:30 almost everyday so far. So dinner was eventful because I didn't take into consideration that it was almost 7pm our time by the time she was having dinner. She wouldn't eat any snacks I brought and only wanted to be held. Once the food came she was happier but of course I didn't realize the issue until Tuesday. :/ Hubby and I wanted to share a seafood platter but didn't realize everything was fried, and they were using old grease, so after looking forward to seafood, I was VERY disappointed.
 
After that we headed to Pier Park to ride some rides. Sweet Pea rode the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel. I almost had a heart attack but Daddy said she loved it.

 
Monday we had to go to Wal-mart because we were already almost out of bread and milk! But considering there are 8 people staying in our condo and everyone is eating cereal for breakfast and having sandwiches for lunch, it makes sense. Sweet Pea did even better about going to the beach and didn't cry walking on it. She still insisted on holding both hands but this was a vast improvement. She even made a friend.

Monday night we went to Spinnaker's. All I have to say about that night was "wow". There was a patio that had stairs down to the beach and since she was pitching a fit, we took her out to walk in the sand. But since I hadn't figured out the hour difference thing, she wouldn't put her shoes back on but wanted to walk around but I was afraid she would get splinters. She pitched the BIGGEST fit. And I had to walk with her to the other room and I cried. And that made her stop because she felt bad. But then our food came and she was in a lot better mood. But it shouldn't have come to that. It makes me mad because didn't I just say stick to your child's schedule?


After that I needed a drink. So once Sweet Pea went to sleep, we left her with the in-laws and headed to Mrs. Newby's (a short walk from our condo) and had their famous Hunch Punch. Very yummy and lots of fun was had by all.
Tuesday we went shopping at a consignment shop and then went to Pier Park to the Carter's because I had a 20% off $40 coupon I had been itching to use because last year they had such great deals. They had great deals this year. Nana bought Sweet Pea a ton of cute clothes and we are very grateful. Too bad we didn't go today because Grandparent's get an extra 10% off! We also visited Starbucks.


By this time, it was lunch and nap time. I was exhausted and decided to take a nap with Sweet Pea. Then when we woke up, we headed to the beach where of course she had a blast and even buried Daddy in the sand.

That night for dinner we went to Schooner's and I decided that we should order food for Little Bit as soon as we sat down. And I am so glad we did. She did awesome. If it wasn't for them firing the cannon at sunset then she would have been perfect. But she still did amazing. And I am so glad we figured out a way for us to be able to have a peaceful meal because I was thinking we were going to have a dinner of sandwiches in the room every night.



This morning we went to the beach. There was a bit of overcast which made pictures beautiful (don't worry we still put on sunscreen). Everyone is now taking a nap or having quiet time while I update except for my MIL and SIL because my SIL had to head back home for work.


Whew, that was a long post. Maybe I should try and do daily ones from now on. Anyways, I am having fun. I have been checking in here and there but I've honestly been trying to stay unconnected as much as possible. I needed a break, although I have been cleaning up after everyone. :/ But I think that's more my OCD. HA!