N and I love to go hiking so we have decided to make a goal of going for at least one hike a month… not necessarily a strenuous hike or anything, but just a great reason to get out to the mountains, not clean the house, but simply do something fun together! I guess by posting it here I am making it official! There is something so calming about going to the mountains. It reminds you that there are bigger things out there… cheesy perhaps, but still true!
Our first hike was up Heart Creek Trail. It was a fairly quick drive out to the trail head and a really nice hike (although I can see that it could get very busy!). We were a little concerned about the potential for ice and/or mud but there was only one slightly sketchy spot (and with some support) we made it just fine! For some reason the little one wasn’t in the greatest mood heading out so we started to consider if this really was the best idea. Once I had her in her carrier facing out we knew that she would be just fine!! As new people approached us, going the opposite way, you could see them light up as H gave them her biggest smile or giggle. Everyone just kept saying things like “someone is having a great time”, and “that is one happy baby”.
There were a ton of families on the hike (I even ran into a former students from 4 years ago!). I wouldn’t say it is toddler friendly, but kid friendly yes! It was also interesting to see lots of rock climbers along the way. At the end, if you are feeling really adventurous, you can climb along a little canyon to see the waterfall… we didn’t get that adventurous ourselves. I feel so lucky to be able to be so close to the mountains and to take my little peanut and expose her to the fun of exploring!
For more information on hiking with an infant… CLICK HERE
For more information on this particular hike… CLICK HERE
So we had a great time skiing Kimberley but how did we actually get there and back you ask… well here is the deal… going there I am fairly sure I aged more years than I care to admit… coming back… not bad! Usually H is great in the car, happily looking around or napping. Here are a few of the things I did right and wrong… and how I made the way back better than the way out there!
We had a very full car heading out to Kimberley… 3 adults, baby H, ski equipment, games, food, and H’s sleigh (I just had to bring it). Our Vehicle features a middle folding section, which we stuck our ski’s through… first mistake! The way we had them set up H could just see a bit of me… now usually she is fine in a vehicle but I think the fact she could kind of see me, but not very well, made her rather annoyed. We still stuck our skis through on the way back but made she had a clear view of the person seated beside her… much better!
Timing… we managed to be on the road during regular nap time… minimizing time when H would have wished to wiggle! When H did get a bit wiggly (on the return trip) I made sure to have one of two toys for her to chew on and play with. She has a tiny little Elmo that she loves to watch “fly” around!
My snack game was also lacking heading out there… what was I thinking! Little Miss H loves her snacks and drinking from her sippy cup and yet heading out there I didn’t make these items easily accessible! I made sure that on the way back we had plenty of easily accessible snacks and a full drinking cup!
Again a lesson I have learned before and I am sure will re learn many time… the baby is the boss. As much as you can try and push things… when baby needs to eat, be changed, or just get out… unless you want to drive with a screeching banshee behind you… you will do what baby wants!
I love skiing! Unfortunately I haven’t been skiing in ages… obviously certain life events have been preventing me from shredding up the slopes * cough * baby * cough *! So when we finally got ourselves and a few friends organized for a ski weekend in Kimberley BC I was so exited!
We absolutely loved the condo we found to rent. We were so close to the hill, so it was easy for N and I to switch for baby duty and come back for a snack or lunch! The rooms were nice and spacious for everyone. We had a private hot tub for our out of shape legs! It was well stocked with kitchen essentials for meals. Most importantly for me was that it was so clean (especially for a crawling little one!). The only really “baby proofing” we did was to lay a stool in front of the fire place… fortunately with a bunch of people around little H was never without an adult playmate making sure she didn’t get into to much mischief.
I wasn’t sure what to expect heading out to Kimberley as I had never skied there before and at home we had experienced very little snow… I was pleasantly surprised! The hill seemed so family friendly! Lots of nice green and blue runs, but also some black runs for my legs, once they remembered what they were doing! Considering it was spring break I was shocked by how completely empty it was. We had beautiful spring weather and I loved that there were no rocks anywhere, just a bit of slightly slushy snow… which I could totally deal with! I can completely see us taking H when she starts to figure out how to “shred the gnar”.
Being that there were a few of us we managed some fun once H was asleep. There was one evening that we may have gotten a bit carried away playing “cards against humanity”… a hilarious but VERY inappropriate game (probably not great for playing with strangers). A few adult cocktails may have also been consumed! Somehow we still all managed to get up bright and early for another day of skiing the next morning!
The town of Kimberley:
Kimberley itself is a small town very close to the ski hill. Its main feature is the pedestrian street, which includes the worlds largest cuckoo clock (I’m not kidding). I’m not sure exactly why, but Kimberley has a very strong German flair… I’m talking beer halls, schnitzel, and Happy Hans (a yodeling mustachioed man in leather shorts!). I find it slightly unfortunate that Kimberley has been trying to rebrand themselves and getting rid of many of the really kitschy Bavarian stuff that I remember as a kid (we would stop by sometimes in the summer), but with a keen eye you can still find some of it!
I really hope that we can make this a regular trip as it was such a good one!
I hesitated to call this a baby first aid kit… but in many ways it is that as well. Along with all the stuff (toys, food, bed, carriers, clothing, etc.) here are the things that I bring with me for trips. Many of these items were actually gifted to me in a beautiful basket and I have to say it was one of the best gifts I received! So practical, and things, as I new mom, I didn’t have much of a clue about!
Baby Tylenol – as H is on and off teething this is nice to have around just in case!
Baby Benadryl – I recently decided to add this to my kit when one of our baby friends had an allergic reaction to a new food! It is perhaps a more paranoid item, but I just feel better knowing I have it in my back pocket if I need it (full discloser I haven’t actually used this)
Baby nail clippers and nail files – I still struggle with clipping H’s nails so the file is my usual go to for her razor claws!!
Saline solution… great stuff for a little stuffed up nose!
Little travel baby shampoo/wash – obviously only necessary if you plan on being gone long enough for a bath, but it’s so little I just keep in in the bag!
Weleda moisturizer – H gets a thorough rub down every night to keep her dry skin under control! It has made all the difference.
Weleda Diaper rash cream
Little pack of Qtips
Baby D drops – particularly being Canadian H gets her daily vitamin D!
Nose snot sucker (there are different verions of this… click here for the one I have) This is another item that I haven’t actually used… but if I was going on a longer trip why not just throw it in?
How quickly time passes… I feel like it was only yesterday that we were taking a tiny baby H to the mountains for the first time! We decided to head back to Lake Louise to get a photo of baby H at 31 weeks old… to compare with my 31 week belly shot! It turned out to be a slightly different trip than last time.
Packing up our gear we headed off… right at H’s nap-time… did she nap… eventually. It did take a certain amount of singing and my arm reached around, so she could hold a finger, before she passed out! We stopped in Banff at our absolute favourite restaurant for a great lunch. It was busy and it was baby H’s first time in a restaurant high chair… she rocked it! I had brought a little dish of baby food (spinach, pears and strawberries), which I added a little bit of baby oatmeal cereal to and then realized… I forgot a bib! So I tucked a little washcloth, I had in my diaper bag, under one of her many chins… and we were good to go! She ate like a champ… sure it took a while, as she needed to smile at everyone who passed her… but she was awesome! After so much action in the very full restaurant munchkin passed right out!
Our next stop was Lake Louise. Arriving at the Lake we bundled H up in her little bear suit and I decided to wear her in our carrier and off we went. The amounts of comments we got was fairly ridiculous… but she was bloody adorable, so I don’t blame anyone for the need to oooh and ahhh over the baby bear. It was then time to get the baby bear home before she turned into a grumpy bear. She was rather loud on her the way back, chatting up a storm, trying to play peek-a-boo through her mirror at us… but finally she had another nap and we made it home just in time for dinner, a little play and bed!
What we learned:
Take your time! Seriously I learn this every time I go somewhere new with babe… but it never gets less important! Whether it is time to feed, change or simply get the little one out of the car seat it is so important to not be in a rush.
It is important to figure out what makes your munchkin calm down (even for a moment) while still in her car seat. Sometimes you just can’t stop right at that exact moment… but your little one may be losing it… with baby H singing her “high chair song” or lately playing peer-a-boo or sometimes just giving her a finger to hold onto
Be flexible… if H had fallen asleep right when we wanted to go for lunch we might have done things a little differently. She is still in the car seat that clips into her stroller so we would have probably tried to get her to her stroller and then gone somewhere a bit calmer.
Gear we actually used:
plastic baby spoon and dish (we had her food in a glass Tupperware dish that we used)
Whether it be for a road trip, going to one of our fun activities, visiting friends or simply trying to get baby H to sleep… I have found it is very handy to have a few essential items in my car at all times. I talked about how to survive a big car trip in previous post (Road Trip to my Homeland and First Trip most notably) but here are my day to day essentials!
Great we actually used:
Diaper Bag (even if you think you are just popping to the store… just bring the bag!)
wipes (for more than just baby… you never know when these come in handy!)
diapers (just 1 or 2 for day trips that you aren’t quite prepared for!)
extra bags for diapers, dirty clothing, or whatever!
stroller (There have been so many times I didn’t think I would use it and ended up using it) alternatively if you have an awkward stroller a carrier (will be writing a post about carriers soon) would work in a pinch!
Extra clothing for you and baby… this isn’t a totally necessity but it can come in handy when we go on a day trip and we don’t pack enough extra stuff
My vehicle has sun shades built into the doors but if yours doesn’t I would include that in your car essentials
I have to say that I am very fortunate that baby H gets a big smile and often starts giggling when put in her car seat! I think this must be in part due to the fact that from a very young age she has been going on almost daily adventures in her carseat. This isn’t to say that she hasn’t had her fair share of freak outs once we are on the move. Car freak outs can be the worst… is she hungry, dirty diaper… do you stop or push it… traffic, stress, crying baby… AGH!! Realizing that there is never somewhere that I need to get to so urgently that I can’t stop has been a very important shift in my mindset. I HATE being late, but sometimes it is going to happen and it’s ok!!
Now that you have figured out where you are going it is time to sort out where to stay exactly… Choosing the right place to stay on a vacation, be it for two weeks or one night, can make or break a trip in my opinion! Here are a few things I have found helpful to think about. I am going to use an apartment as my example, but these thoughts can totally be applied to hotels, hostels, camping… whatever! If you choose to rent an apartment my favourite websites are listed at the bottom with a few more tips.
Location, location, location… take some time to research the exact area that you want to spend your time in and then book a place there! This will allow you to really make the most of your vacation. Having a little one you never know when you will need to make a quick trip “home”! Being close to your home base allows you to come and go as you will. I like to take note of parking options (if you have a car) and/or access to public transportation. You would be shocked at how much parking can be sometimes and if you are staying somewhere for a while it is nice to be near public transport! In Europe I have noticed that not all public transportation is created equal. You may need to lug a stroller up and down stairs… so be prepared!
How much space do you and baby need to sleep soundly? If you have a sensitive munchkin you might put the most emphasis on this, or if not this might not be a big deal. For me I have a very hard time sleeping beside H… I wake up to every sigh, peep and squeak. This doesn’t necessarily mean we need to have a separate bedroom for baby H, but we do require a large enough room that she is not right beside my head! Having a separate bedroom for naps is glorious. Also having a separate bedroom for when the little one goes to bed early is nice (so that you don’t have to hide under the covers watching Netflix with earphones). Depending on your little one, splurging on having a bedroom can make all the difference or, if you are really lucky, maybe it doesn’t matter as your babe can sleep anywhere!
Safety… I have noticed looking at many apartment photos that some people just really love to decorate… this can make a place look far more inviting, eclectic or sometimes a bit odd. An apartment’s decorating style is something that takes on a whole new level of importance with a little one. If you have a curious munchkin seeing a thousand knick-knacks might now be a good idea. If there are numerous open fireplaces with massive pointy coffee tables… perhaps this will be an issue for your family. Are their stairs in very inconvenient locations? These are all things to consider… None of these things would necessarily sway me away from a place, but if there were a place next door that didn’t have these issues why wouldn’t I book there instead?
Cleanliness (floors in particular). After our house in Hawaii I realized once H was mobile I would need to pay more attention to the floors… seems a bit funny but with a little person crawling around and sticking everything she can possibly get into her mouth, floor cleanliness takes on an entire new meaning.
What extras does the apartment come with? Not necessarily a make or break, but something that might just sway you on one place over another. For our France trip I made sure that each place we are staying at has a washing machine. Sometimes places will specifically list that they have things such as cribs and high chairs, which can be totally awesome! As I mentioned in my previous post (about choosing a destination) if you don’t want to bring things with you, renting is also an option. I found that if baby things were not listed, if you ask, often places would still provide them! If you are staying in a hotel you will want to ask them as well. Something to keep in mind is that some cribs/high chairs or whatever might not be in the best condition. At the bare minimum I always like to bring my own sheet for baby H. Also, most likely there won’t be any crib bumpers or anything like that. I always have in the back of my mind that if something looks REALLY not clean or safe enough for me I can always either make H a bed in a bathtub, or N and I have even discussed how he can sleep on a pull-out couch and I can sleep with baby H… you can always figure something out!
Other things that might make a difference if you have a particularly fussy little one: noise level of the area, what sort of blinds do the rooms have (is it going to be dark enough for babe to sleep) and heating (in colder months some European houses really have poor insulation)!
I love booking accommodation with airbnb.ca and vrbo.com. I have used both of these sites and have never had issues with either. Make sure you don’t forget to look at the cleaning and service fees. Sometimes the cleaning fee can be significant and then other times it is nothing! It is worth noting that with airbnb you can have rates in Canadian currency, and with vrbo the rates are in American dollars. Also don’t be afraid to branch out and try other sites depending on where you are going. When we were in the Cinque Terre, Italy we found an individual website for what turned out to be a really wonderful apartment (most of the rentals in this area at that time had personal websites and were wonderful)! The key is to do a little bit of research to make sure it is legitimate but sometimes you can find some hidden gems!