Love this for our air travel!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY

img_3629-1.jpeg

This is not an ad ( I know things can sound that way and it’s hard to differentiate these days), but I have to say I have really enjoyed peace of mind with this CARES harness when it comes to flying with Lexi. We have used it since she was two and required her own seat. And it’s just soooooo easy to install and it mimicked a car seat harness so Lexi has no problems with its use. In fact she insists and will get upset if I don’t install it fast enough. She likes the security.

  

It especially now 2 years into its use am I realizing how awesome it is and what a large life span it has.

Anyone who travels by air at least once a year should absolutely have it. I’ve actually never seen anyone else use it besides us and I always get asked questions when I install it. People get very curious.

Once a flight attendant came up to me going “Mam, you’re not allowed to use this!”
Yes I am, I calmly replied. She went to ask someone and came back without a word passing me on the way. ;) 

It’s super easy to carry in the green bag it comes with and I usually just throw it into Lexi’s backpack. 

So just saying, it’s pretty cool if you travel by air. Look it up! 

CARES HARNESS

Breastfeeding a 4 year old at the airport

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Adventures, BABY, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Life as a Toddler, Monthly Updates, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TRAVEL

img_3626-1.jpeg

Our flight is delayed and Lexi is crashed out. She asked for boobie before she went down. 
I haven’t spoken about breastfeeding for a long time because it has almost ceased. Almost. 

She is four years old. And yes she technically still breastfeeds. Mostly only at home before bed and in the mornings or when very upset or tired. 

  
And no I honestly don’t think there is any milk left. 
But today I breastfed her in the airport. A four year old who walks, talks, goes to the bathroom alone, and asks questions about the universe. And there is nothing strange about it to me. Or especially to her. 

“I love boobie!” -she says. “It’s my favorite food in the world” 

I’m pretty sure there is no milk left. But she loves it.    

 And based on the emotional sweet smile on her face when she talks about breastfeeding, I can see how incredibly emotional and important it is to her. 

I remember reading accounts of children who breastfed into childhood and remember the experience, and the feeling I got from those descriptions are warmth and love. And I love that it’s what she takes from it. 
I don’t care who thinks what. I’ve never cared. But it was interesting to breastfeed in public again now that she is 4. Since the last time months ago. It was completely normal and natural becuase TO HER it was normal. And it helped her go to sleep and relax. 

  
I honestly love it. As rarely as it happens anymore, I feel like if more women have the balls to not care what public things and breastfeed ( not that anyone actually noticed because it’s so discreet naturally), then maybe more women who are more easily influenced by public opinion will not be steered to wean before the kids are ready. 
  
  

Btw we are on our way to Chattanooga to have some family friendly fun and explore all that the town has to offer. If you are interesting in following our adventures, go to Instagram ( @prebaby log) and Facebook .

  

And this is what we use for in flight entertainment among other things. :)
   

Best Apps for SAHMs, WAHMs and WOHMs

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, BUSY MOM TIPS, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, LIFE, New Mom Experience, TODDLER

Best Productivity Apps for moms: SAHMs, WAHMs and WOHMs

I’ve been writing this post in my head all of my motherhood life. My goal has always been to be a lean mean efficient machine and being a mother sort of disrupts that for a bit. You have a baby and efficiency, as you know it, sort of disappears from your vocabulary. It is what it is. As our kids grow and we adjust to our new roles, we find tools that help us deal with the constant barrage of requests and to do’s that come with motherhood. But aside from being mothers, we are also individuals, and workers, and partners. Somehow I have inadvertently fell into the three roles of being a SAHM and WAHM and a WOHM, stay at home/work from home/work outside of home mom. Each one of them at different times, obviously.

So today I would like to go over specifically the phone apps that help me with my days in all three of those roles. I try to use my phone to the best of its possible efficiency and some incredibly smart people have come up with ways of making our human lives better, more organized and straight forward. I’m all for electronic help!

What it’s like to go on a #MomsEscape…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Adventures, BUSY MOM TIPS, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, Photo Stories, TODDLER, TRAVEL

IMG_5288

This is a story… A story of how every person needs to escape sometimes. And how a group of bloggers, including myself, got a chance to do exactly that.

I will start the story with introductions. Some of you might be familiar with The MOMS network, and two power women behind it, Denise and Melissa. So these two ladies got a brilliant idea of putting together a group of blogger and together with AM Resorts going on a girls only ( except for our videographer Rafi) escape. A true Mom’s Escape.

 

Most of us didn’t know each other previous to this trip. I had been on another trip to Costa Rica with Kristen and Jeana. I knew Dani from Daily Mom, because she is one of my editors. But that was it.

IMG_0175

So this was going to be fun. A great group of mothers, women, who get each other because we do the same thing.

It turns out it was MORE fun that I could ever imagined.

The main reason for it? It was a true escape.

IMG_5369

I had gone on many press trips before with many other journalists and bloggers. We have had good groups and mediocre groups together. But this was moms with often more than 2 kids who really needed to escape and let loose, be in a company of other moms, talk, drink, eat, get pampered and do nothing. This was perfect.

IMG_5297

Rarely do I get to do nothing. Usually by choice. But not being FORCED to do anything was extremely nice. It is funny that I say that because I remember vividly when we were at Secrets  Maroma for the day, everyone was just chilling in their beach loungers. Elena was running around photographing birds, bothering other girls ( Dani and Melissa mainly), taking their pictures and dragging them out in the water, chanting “Let’s go do something! Something active! Not lay in the sun!

IMG_5237

Yup, that’s me, but that is what an escape is for me. Not being lazy, but having the choice to do what I want to do rather than what I have to do. Everyone relaxes differently. I like to be physically and mentally active.

IMG_5962

We spoke in length about what a mom’s escape means to each one of us during the trip and this is something I will cover in the next article. But it was clear from everyone’s responses that having the ability to get away is crucial to our sanity. The question is always where to go, who to take, who to leave your kids with.

IMG_5194

During our trip we stayed at Dreams Tulum, which is an all-inclusive family friendly resort 2 hours from Cancun Airport on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. We also took a day trip to another option for a mom’s escape, adults only Secret Maroma Beach. An idyllic place where couple relax without little humans. Such a different atmosphere there…

IMG_5288

So I’d like you to take you with me on the same journey I had, day by day.

Day 1:

I arrive at the Cancun airport in the afternoon, quickly go through immigration, having already filled out all the forms on the plane. This is my second time in Riviera Maya, Mexico and remembering the first time a tired crying child and me having to fill out Mexican immigration forms while in line was miserable. So this time I brought a pen with me and had everything ready. Immigration took two seconds and I was ready to get my bags. You put your bags through the scanner, take them out and then go through this fun “press the button” test. If the button turns green, you’re free to go. If it turns red, you’re f***ed. haha
No they just have to take you aside and inspect your bags. Luckily my light has been green the two times I’ve been through this.

At the greeting area I was met by the AMSTAR driver who drove me and another blogger 2 hours away to Tulum area where Dreams resort is located. There we were greeted by a glass of champagne and a cold wet towelette to freshen up from the road. Much needed might I add.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After check in, I met with Dani, who had already settled in her room and we went to go see mine. My room was on the first floor with the patio walking out directly to the pool. Immaculate with marble floors and beautiful bathrooms ( I judge hotels by the quality of their bathrooms ), the room had a sitting area with a couch, a bed and a patio. Later I was moved to a swim out room, which is a must upgrade if you’re staying at a Dreams property.

IMG_6135

The first day was like a blur, which travel days always are. It poured the whole time, so rain shielded golf carts picked our group up to take us to the reception dinner (Dia De Los Muertos themed) where we got fully introduced to each other and had a chance to chat.

IMG_9172 I actually periscoped from the reception, showed off mine and Dani’s outfits, said hi to everyone. We had a Mariachi band play during the dinner and waiters walked around offering colorful cocktails and Mexican hors d’oeuvres.

girls

After the dinner, we stayed up at the outdoor bar with some of girls from the group and closed the place before retreating to our rooms. Dani and I still spent a few hours chatting in my room, because when can you justify staying up till 4 am because you’re having fun, not because the baby is up, except on Mom’s escapes?

Day 2:

IMG_5172

We were up bright and early for a resort tour where they showed us every corner and aspect of Dreams Tulum. The resort is so expansive that it took me a few hours to take all the photos I wanted to take and do a comprehensive walk around.

IMG_9205

Right after the tour, we got whisked away on a fun visit to Secrets Maroma Beach(followed by an “ahhhhh). That was a real treat: an all-inclusive adult-only escape to the gorgeous beaches of Mexico, quiet tranquility, and impeccable service and food.

IMG_5188

We enjoyed the spa and the outdoor hydrotherapy area, lounged on the beach, took photos, had an amazing buffet style lunch and did some interviews.

IMG_5381

Dani showing me some love

The rest of the day at Dreams Tulum was spent enjoying the pools at the resort, playing beach volleyball, making new friends. The property is very popular with Canadians and weddings, so we met several wedding parties that we had fun evenings with and played beach volleyball with. The evening was spent enjoying delectable food at Himitsu, Dreams Tulum‘s Asian restaurant, where we got so excited and loud that we had to get shushed a few times, which made the whole dinner even more fun: relaxed moms on the loose, you can’t shush them!

IMG_9398

After dinner we hung out at the Sugar Bar, an outdoor bar, and later followed the crowd to the “disco” where we danced all night until common sense kicked in and we realized we had to be up early in the morning.

Day 3:

spa41

Here we were given a choice of going to Tulum ruins just a few minutes from the hotel or getting a full spa treatment with hydrotherapy.

I mean is there even a choice? As much as I am for active vacations, I knew I was staying at the resort for a few extra days, and could travel to Tulum on my own, I opted for the spa. Little did I know I was going to be absolutely blown away by what was about to follow.

spa2

I have gotten many spa treatments in my life throughout my travels, but this was something very original. Dreams Spa by Pevonia has special “cabins”. We were escorted through the wooded pathway to our Holistic cabin, where 5 of us were invited to sit in 3 different areas: back massage, foot massage, hand massage.

IMG_5609

The cabin looked like something out of a movie: decorated with Asian inspired designs, tranquil and relaxing, with fresh fruit kabobs and flavored water offered to us upon arrival.

IMG_5604

The five of us quickly found our spots, where with a warm towel on our eyes and a pillow behind our necks, the therapists started their work. After some time(I couldn’t tell you how much each circuit took), we were “woken up” and moved onto a different section of the cabin. And we kept moving that way until our Spa Journey was finished. None of us needed to say anything. We just looked at each other with surprise and wonder in our eyes like “What did just happen?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the cabin, we spent some time enjoying the Hydrotherapy with a massive circular hot tub, cold plunge pool and sauna/steam rooms.

The rest of the day was a blur. I am pretty sure I played another game of volleyball, I am pretty sure we spent some time chatting and drinking with our new friends…

friends

When it was time for farewell dinner, we met in the lobby and were walked into a sparkling white and pink set up. As we had passed it on our way to the lobby, we noted how beautiful the set up was and how it must have been for a wedding, so it was a surprise that the dinner was for us. Dinner was followed by karaoke where three of our trip members absolutely blew everyone away with their performances.

IMG_9338_3

This is a periscope I did during Karaoke. It’s not the greatest quality but if you’re interested in taking a peek, feel free to watch it:

It was amazing to meet all these women and it was sad to say goodbye. We are definitely staying in touch with some of them and hope to see them all on future press trips.

About the resort:

IMG_6020

Obviously one of the reason for us to visit the resort and the area is to experience it and to relay our experience of the property to our readers. So for anyone interested in visiting the Riviera Maya area (which I HIGHLY recommend), I am going to give a breakdown of what  I enjoyed  most about the stay at Dreams Tulum specifically:

IMG_5903

Incredible Entertainment Staff
The people working at Dreams Tulum are truly amazing. They are friendly and helpful but the entertainment staff is exceptional. Full of energy, friendly and outgoing, they often kept us company, dragged us out onto the dance floor, made us sign up for karaoke, challenged us at a game of volleyball (my Canadian friend and I beat them, just saying), worked on our Spanish and treated us as friends.

IMG_6109

Great Variety of Nighttime Entertainment
The entertainment at all-inclusives can sometimes…well… suck. Dreams Tulum impressed me with its variety of shows and activities for every night. We witnessed a break dancing show, a mexican Beatles karaoke night ( yes I am not even joking) and on the last day there was a gorgeous aquatic show complete with acrobats, dancers, fire throwers and my favorite, flyboarding performance, all that while eating dinner by the pool.

show

Generous drinks
So I am not a drinker. I max out at 2 drinks, but all I kept hearing from people was how generous the pours were at the resort.

Food

IMG_6056
I don’t expect amazing food at all-inclusive resorts. I’ve had some bad experiences before. But the food here at Dreams was nothing to complain about. The buffet was stocked with fresh healthy foods, the a-la-carte restaurants’ quality was easily compared to upscale restaurants in US. The variety and quality were great.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Swim out Suites
This is my weak spot. I am sucker for swim outs. There is something amazing about having a hotel room that opens up to a pool. Dreams Tulum offers those types of rooms for a reasonable upgrade price. Always a must for me.

IMG_6010 IMG_6007

Divider Main

FAQs about family travel In Riviera Maya and Dreams Tulum:

How long is the flight to Cancun? Under 1.5 hours from Miami

How far is the property from the airport? 2 hours by car

IMG_5910

How safe is it there? Riviera Maya is incredibly safe. Obviously make sure to exercise the usual caution when traveling abroad, but everyone there is very friendly and caters to tourists.

Is it a third world country? It certainly doesn’t feel like it. The roads and signage are excellent, their resorts and entertainment around the area are incredibly well maintained and varied. Everyone is welcoming and there is a huge infrastructure of parks and tourist focused businesses.

IMG_5944

Is it a family friendly destination? Incredibly family friendly. So many parks and activities to do and visit. I will write a full guide here once I visit the area for the third time.

What does all inclusive mean? For Dreams Tulum, the all inclusive is called Unlimited Luxury and that means that food, premium beverages, room service, water sports and activities are all included in the price of your stay.

IMG_5934

Would you recommend Dreams Tulum for a couples’ getaway or more of a family friendly trip? Both. The resort is amazing for kids. Pools, excellent kids’ club for kids aged 3-12 , great beaches, beachside trampoline.  It is staffed with ARC certified in First Aid and CPR workers and parents get a pager at the kids club and get called if their child needs one of the parents.

IMG_5979

Is there anything to do outside of the resort? A ton! The Mayan ruins are a 5-10 min drive from the hotel, which are gorgeous and have an picturesque beach access if you’d like to go for a swim or spend the day in the sun.  Xel-Ha, one of the most amazing Riviera Maya parks, is located ten minutes from the resort, where you can do numerous water activities like snorkel, swim, climb, visit children’s world, cenotes, use a swing rope and so much more.You can also swim with dolphins, visit other cenotes, and even drive into Playa Del Carmen for some fun time.

IMG_6194

Divider Main

Here is a quick fact sheet:

  • Tulum brings guests Unlimited-Luxury®, superior amenities beginning with daily meals and snacks, and unlimited top-shelf beverages, all wristband-free
  • Located on one of the most unique beaches in the Riviera Maya surrounded by lush tropical acres, sugary white sand and magnificent colonial architecture
  • It blends classic Mexican Colonial architecture, ultra-luxurious accommodations, superior facilities and first-class service
  • Created especially for youngsters, Explorer’s Club for Kids is fully and professionally supervised and filled with adventures and activities that they will enjoy and treasure for a lifetime, while giving parents time on their own to spend vacation time their way
  • Dreams Spa by Pevonia® stretches over 12,916 sq.ft. and offers a sublime atmosphere of pure indulgence combining a hydrotherapy and indigenous Mayan treatments creating a refreshing, invigorating and peaceful experience
  • Offers 9 restaurants: 6 à la carte, a buffet, a café and a grille. No reservations are required

IMG_5234

Divider Main

Next up:

Video of our trip to Dreams Tulum

You can view a sneak peek here:

Pre-Pregnancy Check List

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY

pre-TTC pre Conception Checklist

It is kind of surprising that considering how big I am on pregnancy preparation and the fact that my blog was born out of trying to prepare to conceive, I don’t have a comprehensive PRE-PREGNANCY CHECK LIST.

There is a page with the links to posts where I detailed my personal experience, but I would like to do more of a straight forward preparation check list for people who are just getting into it.

Our travel comfort items and a baby monitor giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Fun as a Toddler Mom, New Mom Experience, PRODUCTS, TODDLER, TRAVEL

IMG_7689

Hola, amigos!

Posting here from sporadically sunny Mexico to offer you an insight on our travel must-haves in conjunction with a Levana monitor giveaway.

As I was sitting on the balcony of my room in Generations Resort in Riviera Maya, working away on my computer and periodically glancing at the monitor where Lexi was quietly sleeping, I realized that I  had never traveled without taking my monitor with me. It was an interesting realization because something like packing a monitor has been on an autopilot for so long, I didn’t truly understand I was doing that. Yet here I was with my daughter who is almost four in a one room suite still using a baby monitor.

I looked around the room trying to figure out what other items I still bring with us whenever we travel and it turns out there are a few staples that have been traveling with us for years.

On traveling solo, sleep and being away from Lexi

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Daily, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TODDLER

IMG_2610

As I am sitting here at 11:40 pm on a Wednesday night, two days late on my promised (to myself) weekly post, trying to decide what I can write about that I have the inspiration for and doesn’t take literally 4-5 hours to complete (writing to formatting to photos). I have a few drafts started but it’s all informative posts that really need some time put into them.

So the easiest, I thought, would be what I personally consider (harshly put) “useless babble”, but people seem to like. I have trouble writing posts that I don’t feel in some way benefit the reader, aside from photo posts or travel posts-I am sucker for those.

So that being said, how about we talk about a huge change that has happened in my and Lexi’s life: having to and being able to leave her with her dad and travel (for work or pleasure) solo.

Perfect Blogger Life: a conversation with a reader…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Letters to Lexi, LIFE, New Mom Experience, TODDLER

IMG_6153
This is a completely different post for me. I’ve had it in drafts for a year, fully written. I thought it was time to get it finished up and published. All photos here are very random, mostly from age 2-2.5,  and are inserted for visual interest, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t have the time to look for relevant photos.
I have never posted anything like this and I think it will be fun for my readers to get a little glimpse into it.

Choosing the right glasses for your child

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in FOR MOMS, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, Photo Stories, TODDLER

FRAMES

I have been working on this post in my head, collecting information, knowledge and thoughts for as long as Lexi has had glasses. If you hadn’t read about HOW she got glasses and why, and why every parent should pay attention to eye health from their child’s birth, please feel free to stop by this post.

For those who just want to look at cute pictures of Lexi in different style glasses, go ahead and scroll down or bookmark it in your Pocket for the future, in case you need it. If you’re actually interested in reading about the challenge of finding cute, flexible, durable, properly sized and stylish glasses for young kids, and how I found some amazing options during my research, read on.

Panorama and Things You Did Not Know About Prenatal Testing

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, BUMP UPDATES, FOR MOMS, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, Pregnancy Q of the week

IMG_9619

I would like to officially announce that I have been selected to be one of the Panorama Moms this year. What that means is that I will be learning and writing about prenatal, genetic carrier, preimplantation and other types of pregnancy related testing available by Natera. It’s an interesting learning experience and I hope that it will also help some of my readers make testing decisions that are safer and more accurate than the traditional testing.

When you are having a baby there is so much on your mind.  You are always thinking about the health and safety of your baby first in almost every daily task that you take on.  Then the doctors present prenatal testing to you as an option. Maybe you had higher than normal numbers, maybe your age is considered “advanced maternal age”. Whatever the case is there is a huge amount of stress and anxiety associated with the safety of your baby.   There is so much to know about prenatal testing and it’s important to be well informed before you go in for testing, so in this point I am going to try to lay out some of the information available to me.