Will & i

Category: News & Travel


Remember this movie?

the truman show

It’s one of my all-time favorites. Why? Because it takes place in a little beach town on the Northern Panhandle of Florida, called Seaside.


We were fortunate enough (thanks Grammie and Big Bear!) to spend 5 beautiful days in this quaint beach town. Our trip was full of sunshine, swimming and snow cones, and I miss it all!

Seaside 3

We like to travel light, so renting baby gear was first on our list. There are so many companies that service traveling families, but we used Babies-n-Town because it specifically  serves  beach towns on the Florida Panhandle. The equipment we rented (gates, pack n’ play, booster seat) was definitely not top-of-the-line, but it did the trick. The Step-1 wagon was by far the best item we rented! Will had a blast cruising around town, waving to people as we passed.

seaside 9

We learned a lot about Will and the toddler stage on this trip. For  starters: the sunscreen battle begins at an early age. Will has super sensitive skin, so we use California Baby Sunscreen, but if  you are looking for other safe sunscreen options for your little one, read this.

seaside 11

seaside 4

We also learned on the first day of the trip that Will likes walking, as long as it doesn’t involve sand touching his feet. This really caught us off guard, because when we envisioned this trip we pictured Will frolicking on the beach and splashing in the water with his older cousins. Our experience was quite the contrary, and Will was perfectly content relaxing on our laps under the umbrellas.

seaside 6

seaside 7

I loved it (cuddle time!), Billy was concerned. “Is this how it’s going to be? He’s afraid of sand, he’s afraid of the ocean, what’s next?” Typical male, worried that his son isn’t going to be tough enough. Luckily, my mother-in-law is awesome with kids and as soon as she put Will in front of a few buckets full of water, he was happy as a clam.
seaside 2

sea 12

We spent a lot of time hanging out on the deck, especially at sunset, while Will spent a lot of time running back-and-forth between the deck and the family room. Who knew a doorway could be so entertaining!

seaside 5

sea 14

will and bob

sea 15

sea 17

sea 18

All of the adults had one fun night of freedom, while Grammie and Big Bear babysat 6 grandkids (luckily, most of them were sleeping). Always a good time with these guys, and the perfect way to end our unforgettable vacation.

sea 20

sea 22

Dropping the Bottle AND Formula

milk junkie sippy cup

It’s a double whammy to say the least. Just like the shots at the doctor’s office, they never see it coming. One day your kid is enjoying their bottle full of beloved formula, and overnight it’s replaced by a sippy cup full of milk. I’d be upset too!

To say Will is obsessed with his bottle would be an understatement. As soon as he spots it, his eyes narrow in on the target, his bottom lip begins to quiver, his arms and legs start wagging, and little grunts of desperation are repeated over and over until he has that lifeline in his hand. You would think the kid hadn’t eaten for days, when in reality he just took down a plate of ravioli. He loves his bottle, and I love how it comforts him.

So, what’s the rush? I know many people who push it past 3, and even Suri Cruise was sucking on a bottle until she was 4. What is the harm in continuing the bottle after the age of 1? Well, ABC news reported that children who continue the bottle after 1 are at a higher risk for “a number of illness including speech problems, tooth erosion and deformation, and, not surprisingly, trouble letting the bottle go”.

suri cruise drinking a bottle until she was 4

First time, worried mother here, who really doesn’t want her son to experience any of the above side effects, but how do I drop his favorite thing in the whole wide world?

Parents.com lists a couple of steps you can take when transitioning from a bottle of formula to a sippy cup of milk: 

1) Let your child pick out their favorite sippy cup at the store.

2) Offer formula in a sippy cup when he or she is most hungry, usually in the morning. 

3) Offer milk in a sippy cup with daytime meals. 

4) Each day, slowly substitute one bottle with a sippy cup of milk.

5) If you continue to offer a bottle of milk before bed, make sure to brush babies teeth afterwards to prevent decay. This is usually the last bottle to go. 

6) Model drinking milk out of cup, speak positively and without pressure. This process could take weeks or even months. 

Will’s 1st birthday was this Monday, so here goes nothing…Goodbye bottle AND formula, Hello sippy cup, and milk.

What techniques or strategies did you use when transitioning your little one from a bottle of formula to a sippy cup of milk?

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How Much is Too Much TV?

old fashioned picture of kids watching tv

This long winter made me introduce something I really, really wanted to hold off on until Will was a little older, and now that I’ve started it’s been hard to stop. TV is addicting. Not for Will, for me! It gives me 5-10 glorious minutes of complete, and utter silence, but I’ve started to feel guilty. That same guilt I feel about internet use during Will’s waking periods, has transferred over to Disney Junior.

So…I started doing some research, and I read this, this and this. After all of this reading, I started to feel even worse about my parenting. In fact, I initially erased this post, because I didn’t want to admit that I was doing something that could potential harm my child. I can blame ignorance, but let’s not kid ourselves. The truth is that TV is like eating an ice cream sundae, I know I shouldn’t do it, but it feels so good at the time.

I told myself that if I set perimeters on television watching, then it would be ok. “I’ll let Will watch 5 minutes right before his first nap, because that’s when he gets fussy, and I’ll let him watch another 5 minutes during the witching hour, because that’s when he gets fussy (anyone see a theme here?). And if he gets sick, five minutes might be extended to ten minutes. 10-20 minutes a day is not bad, right? The experts say, “WRONG”.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy in 2011 stating that even TV as background noise can inhabit a child’s ability to learn, and a parent’s willingness to engage the child in learning. The AAP also believes that TV can lead to poor sleep habits, and language development delays once they begin school.

Kids outside watching cartoons

Alright, now that I “know” all of the negative side-effects of TV, will I let my child watch TV again? Of course(!),  but I am going to try to follow the rules from now on. No more TV until he turns 2 years old, as recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics. He’s the first child, so I can try to do what I’m supposed to, but don’t hold me to this for the 2nd one!

By the way, I emailed this excerpt from David Hill’s article to my husband not because I expect him to stop watching Squawk Box in the morning, but knowledge is power and…I like to bother him at work 😉

“Just having the TV on in the background, even if “no one is watching it,” is enough to delay language development. Normally a parent speaks about 940 words per hour when a toddler is around. With the television on, that number falls by 770! Fewer words means less learning”. 

mother father tv cartoon

When did you introduce TV to your child? What’s your policy on television in your home?

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Baby Wipes Warning

baby wipes in plastic container

Baby wipes are so convenient for the bottom, the hands, the face, you name it, but new reports are revealing that wipes may be to blame for rashes.

UConn Health Center had six patients visit their hospital with unknown rashes that were later linked to a chemical in baby wipes. The article states that one way to determine whether your child’s facial rash is caused by wipes is to see if it matches the rash on their bottom.

If you want to avoid this problem all together, use a wet paper towel to wipe their face and even their bottom. Billy and I did this when Will was a newborn and it adds a couple of minutes onto the whole process, but it does protect their precious skin. My friend, Stef, a dermatologist, recommends Viva Paper Towels because they are the softest on the skin.

Will has very sensitive, dry skin, and I have tried just about every possible remedy to get rid of his red bumps. Maybe, wipes are to blame? I have finally narrowed it down to three products that seem to be helping:

1) Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash

Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash

2) CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for the body

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

3) Aquaphor for the face

Aquaphor for baby

Does your child get mysterious rashes? Do you think wipes are to blame? What remedies have you found most effective?

P.S Yesterday at play group, my friends are I were using baby wipes to clean our kid’s running noses and messy faces. Oops!

Bumper or No Bumper?

bumper for crib

What is the purpose of a crib bumper? Other than preventing kids from bumping their heads, and getting their limbs caught, they also look really pretty. I think we all can agree that a crib looks cuter, and more finished, with a matching bumper, but is it worth the potential risk?

This is a personal decision, but there are an increasing number of warnings that are encouraging parents to avoid using a bumper.

Consumer Reports lists bumpers as 1 of its 13 Dangerous Baby products,  CNN’s article urges parents to get bumpers out of the crib, and the Today Show went undercover to expose what manufacturers are not telling parents about the dangers of bumpers. All of these articles suggest that besides a fitted sheet, nothing should be in the crib while your baby sleeps.

It’s hard to ignore studies like the Journal of Pediatrics, where researchers found that 27 accidental deaths of children 1 month-2 years were linked to bumpers. It’s even harder to ignore tragic stories, like Preston’s whose cause of death at 7 months old was linked to bumpers (click here to read his heartbreaking story). In 2011, Chicago took notice of these stories and statistics and banned the sale of bumpers in all retail stores, but you can still purchases bumpers online. Does your city still sell bumpers?

By no means do Billy and I follow all of the safety guidelines. For example, we still use a bumbo (on the ground), and he plays with a walker under careful supervision. My concern with bumpers is that it’s hard to control the level of safety unless you spend 24 hours staring at your child while they sleep (I may or may not have done this when Will was a newborn 😉 )

You may have noticed from my other posts, that I’m a tad paranoid, so for now I think our bumper will continue to gather dust in our closet. What’s your opinion on the topic? Bumper or no bumper?

P.S Check out this great organization that is promoting safety in the crib: Crib for Kids.

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I’ll Have a Club Soda with Lime

club soda with lime

When Billy and I found out we were pregnant, I made the decision to give up everything they warn against, cold turkey. Now…that may have been a little over-cautious, but what 1st time mom isn’t?

Things I avoided completely were: alcohol, caffeine, unpasteurized soft cheeses, cold deli meat, (I microwaved it, which was disgusting!) raw eggs, raw fish/sushi, rare meat, fish containing large amounts of mercury, pepperoni, hot dogs, sprouts, and on and on…

My picky selective eating habits made it easy to avoid the majority of these foods, but the hardest things to give-up were: alcohol and caffeine (surprise, surprise). The caffeine withdraw headaches went away after a few weeks, but the alcohol cravings (particularly an ice-cold beer) remained throughout my pregnancy.

Many studies are now saying that moderate drinking during pregnancy is not harmful to the baby, and some doctors are even saying it can be beneficial to the mental health of the baby. While others, including my own doctor, believe abstinence is the best policy.

I always followed my doctors orders during pregnancy, and I figured it was only 10 months of my life. Furthermore, once I have one drink, I’m sure I’ll want another, and another, and then I’m no longer in the moderate drinking range.

What’s your opinion on drinking during pregnancy?

P.S I made a dumb mistake and drank (too much!) when I was (unknowingly) 4 weeks pregnant. I felt so guilty, but I had no idea that I was pregnant! Anyone else do the same?

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Nipple Confusion


I always knew I would breastfeed, and I always knew I would use a pacifier (as long as Will would take them). Day 2 in the hospital, I sent my dad and step-mom to Walgreens to pick up some pacifiers. I figured, why wait? They soothe him, and in turn, soothe me. Nipple confusion never crossed my mind, and that pacifier became Will’s best friend.

Billy and I may have become a little too dependent on it, (we stuck it in his mouth every time he made a peep) but eventually we had to say goodbye to the pacifier as part of Will’s sleep training.

I followed the same motto with bottles, and started sporadically feeding Will pumped breast milk at 2 weeks old (the lanolin cream was not enough relief from the breastfeeding pain). Neither Will’s pacifier nor the bottle ever got in the way of breastfeeding, and he easily transitioned between all three.

bottle versus breast image

I know many people who would argue that what I did was risky, and could’ve resulted in nipple confusion, but now some pediatricians are saying that pacifiers can actually aid in breastfeeding. Would you look at that?!

According to the article, No More Nipple Confusion: Study says Pacifiers may Help Breastfeeding, hospitals have been under a “pacifier lock-down” since 2010, but these strict measures have resulted in a 10% decrease in babies who are breastfed.

The bottom line is that it’s really the mother’s preference, and there are still studies to support both sides of the story. If you can exclusively breastfed that is usually the best method for you and baby, but sometimes you may need a little help from the paci or the bah bah (I know, I did!).

Did you use a pacifier or bottle while you were breastfeeding?

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Florida Recap: Part 2

This post is about the adult version of our Florida trip, where things got a little crazy 😉 . And by crazy I mean shooting guns and staying out until 3 in the morning. What else is there to do when it’s pouring rain out?

Miami is flooding

Will was with Big Bear and Grammie, while Billy, George (Billy’s younger brother) and I road tripped down to Miami for 24 hours to visit my friends: Lara & Michelle.

Like I said, the streets of Miami were flooding, so we had to scratch our plans of laying out in the sun at South Beach all day. Instead, we had an awesome lunch at Icebox, and then headed over to our friend’s new gun range, Lock & Load Miami.

Lunch at Icebox in South Beach, Miami

I’ve never shot a gun before, so when our friends and owners, Andy and Nicole, offered all 6 of us the opportunity to try it out, my heart started racing. Billy, George, and our friend, Matt, on the other hand, were drooling with excitement.

Lock and Load Miami Menu

Lock and Load Miami guns

Lock and Load Miami

Even with the ear phones on, the sound of each gun shot was enough to make all the girls jump, and the smell of the gun powder was pungent. I’m happy to check this off my bucket list!

Lara at Lock and Load, Miami

Lock and Load Miami

After all the excitement at the gun range, the rain stopped just long enough for us to enjoy a beautiful sunset in North Beach.

Sunset in North Beach, Miami

That night, we met my cousin Melissa and her husband Sam at Katsuya, and then headed to a pool party at the SLS. Don’t ask me how, but we were able to grab a free cabana by the pool, and we felt like celebrities all night.

Dinner at Katsuya

SLS Pool Party

SLS Miami Duck

Two things I learned from our wild night out in Miami: 1) Wearing jeans is like wearing sweatpants. Every girl is in a tight mini! 2) Still water is not the same as tap water. It costs $15 a bottle, and the waitresses will take advantage of your touristy ignorance.

We did both of the things above! Oh well…

Thanks, Grammie and Big Bear for 24 hours without our little guy! We missed him, but had a blast!

Florida Recap: Part 1

As expected, our flight to Florida was rough, in fact we were delayed an hour and didn’t end up landing until 2:00 a.m. Will woke up right as we were landing, and was happily wide awake until 3:30 a.m. I was so worried this was going to totally throw him off his schedule, but I’ve never seen the kid sleep more than he did on this trip. I guess children are more resilient than I thought?

We spent most of the trip cruising around the Gulf, swimming in the pool, and playing at the beach. Will’s stamina for spending time in the sun has definitely improved since our last trip to Florida when he was four months old.

Will playing in the sand

Will and Billy on the boat

mommy and Will in the pool

Christmas card attempt 3

Will playing with his new truck

Will had a fun first on this trip: riding in a bicycle carrier. We learned quickly that he didn’t like the bumps in the road, and attempting this before nap time was a bad idea. Other than that, he had a blast!

Will in the bicycle carrier

We spent a lot of time during our trip trying to make up for my Christmas card procrastination. I felt so guilty for slacking on Will’s first Christmas! Eventually, we just settled for a picture of Will playing at the beach.

These are all of our failed attempts at a family Christmas card. I came up with an excuse for each one: too blurry, too staged, red eyes, Will’s not smiling, and finally…my awkward bangs due to post-partum hair loss. It’s so much easier to just do a picture of your child!

family photo

Christmas card attempt 2

Christmas card attempt 3

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Check back tomorrow for Florida Recap: Part 2.

When is the Best Time to Fly?

classic airplane

We are headed to Florida tonight, and my nerves have reached an all time high. Not just because it’s the longest flight Will has ever taken, but because we depart Chicago at 8:30 p.m, and arrive in Florida at 12:30 a.m. That’s right, almost 1:00 in the morning!!

It get’s better…

Our return flight, leaves at 5:30 a.m. That’s a 3:30 a.m wake-up call for Will! I’m not sure which is worse?

It’s hard to pick a good flight time for a baby, and the airlines make it virtually impossible to change your flight (trust me, we tried!). Lesson learned: Always book with Southwest.

When do you think is the best and the worst time to fly with a baby?

P.S. Can’t wait for vacation, but dreading the hectic travel schedule!

P.P.S. If you are traveling with children this weekend you might find these tips helpful. Safe travels to you all!