Monday, September 29, 2014

Travel | Prep for Cruising with a Baby

Yup, call us crazy, we took 6-month-old little en to a 7-day Alaska Cruise! People would think Alaska Cruise is for seniors but we found that it was not a bad idea to bring a baby on board because 1) the cruise ship cabin is like a mobile hotel which does not involve a lot of packing or unpacking. 2) he is too young to explore by himself so relatively speaking, he’s safe with the parents. 3) his main source of food is still breast milk, which is 24hrs available at anytime and anywhere. Anyhow, I think it depends on each baby’s unique personality as well. Little en is a pretty mellow baby and he is a solid night sleeper, which made cruising with him not only tolerable but also delightful.    

We booked our cruise line, Holland America - Zuiderdam, through Vacation To Go, who matches any deals that you could find over the Internet. Holland America let the third person who shares the same cabin cruise for free but we still need to pay additional government and port of call taxes.

In general, booking a cruise trip at last minute may give you the best deal. I’ve seen some too-good-to-be-true deals that offered $349 per person for a 7-day Alaska Cruise with undesirable interior stateroom. However, we chose a balcony cabin where little en took his long nap during the sea day while we were in the balcony enjoying the scenery. In addition, Zuiderdam has a bathtub in every balcony cabin, which makes bathing little en so much easier.

Two adults and a 6-month-old baby for a 7-day cruise, NO CHECKED BAGGAGE. With two 20" carry-on, one backpack, and one stroller, we are on the go! 

I followed Team Wiking's Travel Light suggestion closely for my attire:
** Waterproof outerwear/ ** Insulated Down Jacket/ ** Scarf/ ** Gray Sweater/ ** Navy Knit Top/ ** Two Long Sleeve Tees/ ** Button Down/ ** Long Dress/ ** Gray Denim/ ** Jeans/ ** Hiking Boots/ ** On Board Sandal/ ** Swimsuit/ ** Warm Hat and Gloves/ ** Sunglasses/ ** Comfortable PJs/ ** Umbrella/ ** Daypack
The key to pack for Alaska Cruise is layer layer and layer. There is always air-conditioning on the ship but it can be very windy and cold on the deck. As for inland, it rains quite often in Alaska so the rain gear, like poncho or umbrella, is nice to have.

Team Wiking's Travel Light

Except for the essentials, such as disposable diapers, wipes, baby food, layers of baby clothes for all seasons, hat and socks, we brought the following baby gears and found them quite useful:

1. Quinny Zapp Xtra: This trip finally made this stroller worth its price. It’s super compact like an umbrella stroller. It can be folded into the closet so that it doesn’t take up any precious space in the cabin.

2. Patagonia 28L Daypack: We used it as an on-the-go diaper bag. A lot of compartments. Charles even stuffed his laptop in it.

3. ERGObaby 360: Here comes the winner of the baby carrier! We picked Ergobaby for its ergonomic bucket seat. Little en slept in there so well while we hiked several trails in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. The sleeping hood design is top notch.

4. MAM Bite and Brush Teether: Little en is not fond of pacifier. This teether kept him busy when we were in the restaurant. Charles added a strap to tie the teether on the stroller so that it doesn’t drop on the floor all the time.
5. Skip Hop Bib: Any water resistant bibs will do, make washing and drying quick and easy.  
6. Sophie the Giraffe: something to accompany with little en when we left him in the crib.
7. NUK Learner Cup: No leaking at all!
8. Nursing Cover: There was an awkward moment yet memorable to be surrounded by nature while nursing my baby...

Check the Itinerary here

Day 1  Vancouver, BC, Canada           
Day 2  Inside Passage (Cruising)
Day 3  Tracy Arm, AK (Cruising)                      
         Juneau, AK                             
Day 4  Skagway, AK                            
Day 5  Glacier Bay National Park, AK (Cruising)
Day 6  Ketchikan, AK                         
Day 7  Inside Passage (Cruising)
Day 8 Vancouver, BC, Canada

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Turning Six Months

邁入第六個月, 過去這個月小恩仔四肢發展地讓人感到措手不及; 從雙手扶著坐起來, 到坐好好玩玩具; 從趴在地上匍匐後退, 到向前慢慢前進, 就是媽媽我還在癡癡地巴望著能聽到 ma-ma da-da 的音節... 這做媽的真奇怪, 這邊怕太快, 那邊怕太慢, 媽媽要學會 "Let it go~" 只要小恩仔健健康康快快樂樂地成長, 管他發展曲線畫在哪裡呢?


小恩仔成了小白老鼠, 非常有研究精神的工程師爸爸一定要試試哪一個 baby carrier 兼具舒服又方便, 因為爸媽已經迫不及待要帶著你爬山涉水, 環遊世界去囉! 試用中:
BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One, Silver
ERGObaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier, Grey

Both are:
  • 4-way front and back carrying positions
  • Waist belt support
  • Equally great reviews
  • Equally expensive

Ergobaby: Four Position 360
BabyBjorn: Baby Carrier One
  • Ergonomic for carrier and baby
  • Bucket seat for max comfort
  • Less hassle to put the baby in
  • Sleeping hood
  • Half pound lighter
  • Switch to back position without assistance
  • 100% polyester easy to clean
  • Mesh option for ventilation
  • Can be rolled up compact
  • Need extra insert for newborn
  • 100% Cotton may not suitable in humid weather
  • 100% Cotton less ventilation
  • Undoing the Velcro is noisy
  • A lot of buckles to buckle up
  • Not exactly ergonomic for baby
  • The head-support does not stay down in front position
  • Heavier

We've been back and forth a million times... Which one would you pick?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Gallery Wall Inspiration

Creating a wall of gallery doesn’t seem like a difficult job, but when I looked into it, it actually requires a little study; and here are some gallery wall inspiration that I really like:

Source: The Style File

There’s a website, Artfully Walls, even shows you the instruction with size of the frames and measurements in details.

I have a few existing black frames that go with our red wall in the living room. The biggest one was found in Ikea originally for our wedding picture. I replaced it with this iconic gondola in Venice poster. 

I love this picture not only because the red gondola matches the wall but also it reminds the romantic moment when Charles proposed to me on a gondola in Newport Beach three years ago (wow, that was three years ago?!).

GB Eye Bridge of Sighs Poster

Instead of all kinds of artwork, I like our family photos to be part of the gallery wall. Since I got the poster with gondola in red as the pop-out color, I picked a few photos with some red pop-out as well, like the rose bouquet and little en's red cloth. I also found some cute keys wall decors in Dollar Tree, $1 each.

So far I got the first two crossed out:
  • favorite art
  • variety of frames
  • nails
  • pencil
  • electric drill
  • laser level
  • a handy husband

"Hey Honey, you’ve been asking how would I like these frames to be on the gallery wall, here's a reminder:"

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bathroom Touch Up

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that our bathroom is “technically” DONE!

If you recall last update, Charles has (finally) finished them all a few weeks ago. (1) All the tiles were grouted and sealed. (2) We picked Martha Stewart Vanity Light Fixture from HomeDepot. Unlike the picture shown in HomeDepot, we hung them upside down. You can do it either way anyway so there’s no right or wrong. 
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