Recommendations to make re-integration into post-vacation life easier…from a mom who struggles with this.

I really struggle coming back to reality after a vacation. I don’t like how it makes me feel the final few days of my break (anxious) and the moment I walk in the door (overwhelmed). Over the years I have discovered some things that make me feel a bit more in control and more at ease when it comes back to “normal” life. Hope one or all of these help you with your family. Transition is hard on everyone.

  1. I have groceries delivered to my house the day I arrive home. That way I don’t worry about having to turn around and head back out to get a huge haul to restock the fridge. It also means that we will have fresh (healthy-ish) options when we get back from what is usually a time of indulgence. I order before I leave and feel so organized when I come back and literally just have to answer the door when they arrive.
  2. Often, if I can schedule it, I will get my car serviced while I am gone. I literally just dropped off my car at the dealership now. I told them that they can have the car the duration of the trip but if they are done sooner they can valet it to my house for a small fee and put the keys in the mailbox. Easy peasy. They will email me a quote and I can call with my credit card info to confirm work to be completed.
  3. I clean the beds and make them so we can come home and just dive right in. It seems like a small thing but it is the best thing to come home to a clean house and a bed that looks inviting.
  4. I schedule a bunch of stuff/appointments and errands before I leave for us to do as soon as we get back. That way I don’t feel like I need to get on the phone the second we land and try to salvage my week. I know the plan ahead of time and all I have to do is execute. I don’t like being behind and disorganized to start the week. I usually include at least one or two fitness classes the first day or two back to get me back into the routine.
  5. I put two big bottles of water in the fridge to chug the moment we get home. Planes are WAY more dehydrating than we realize and I notice a huge difference when I am not fully hydrated in my energy. I also find the habit of drinking water is one that makes me feel accomplished, positive and like I’m being a productive human (crazy, I know).

On this trip I didn’t do these things but sometimes I also:

  1. Get the windows and eaves cleaned (you don’t need to be at the house for that and it feels great to come home to that task done).
  2. Have cleaners come in and do a thorough clean of the house (and or steam clean the furniture/ducts/etc). I only do this if someone I know is willing to come and be here while it happens. Thanks MOM!
  3. I clean up my entire inbox so I come back to a minimal amount of clutter to deal with. Didn’t get to that this time…maybe on the plane!

Happy travelling (that’s obvious). In relation to this post, happy re-entry into society!


All our bags are packed and we’re ready to go…

Anyone sing that title in their head? Just me?

I’ve been doing this instagram/blogging/social media thing for about a week and a half. I don’t know what I am doing but I’m loving the learning element and I am really finding most people out there to be supportive and interesting. I have completed 90% of our packing (the last minute stuff like bottles, etc need to wait until literally the last minute). I can honestly say that I am pretty much the most excited I have ever been about our upcoming adventure.

There are a few reasons for this.

  1. It is Harrison’s first time overseas! I can’t believe we waited until he was almost 5 months. Considering he had a bit of a rough start (spent the first month of his life in the NICU) I am happy with waiting but I have been dying to watch a new continent through his eyes.
  2. We haven’t been overseas since last Fall! AHHHH!!! Nothing like an overnight flight and a taste of everything that is wonderful about Europe (WINE, CHEESE!!!) to re-energize you and make you feel alive.
  3. I am going to have so much content! SO.MUCH.CONTENT. I can’t wait to share our experiences with you and to continue this living, breathing record book for my boys to have forever.
  4. My hubs. I get to have him completely when we are away. No work (a few check ins here and there), no odd jobs around the house, no sporting events with his friends. I get to have him all to myself. I know the boys feel this way too.
  5. George. Swimming. That is all. Literally, the boy loves the water and to be able to give him a pool/ocean all day everyday for two whole weeks makes me so happy.


What is your favourite part about the pre-trip?


I’m not going to lie and say this week has been a dream. I have literally ran non-stop from the moment my feet hit the ground out of bed until I collapse getting everything organized for our trip and for when we get back (back to school, etc). BUT, that being said, the reward is there…dangling in front of me. A glass of vinho verde and a beautiful sunset in Portugal await!



Ok, so now you know what my kids are allotted for their carry on (which I carry – let’s not kid ourselves). Let’s dig a little deeper into  what I bring on to a flight to survive with a toddler and an infant (and a hubs!).

The first thing I had to do when we went from one little to two was I had to give up my opposition to backpacks. I used to think backpacks were only appropriate when carrying a valid student card but lately they have come back in style and frankly they are SO useful with a free roaming toddler and a baby who wants to be held. I located a really cute one from Tumi that has a bunch of pockets to keep things separate and quick to find. It’s light, the material is wipeable and it isn’t your standard backpack. It is a stylish purse you wear on your back.

What’s in it?

  1. Diapers+Wipes+Penaten. All in an easy grab pre-loaded ziplock bag.
  2. Passports + wallet. 
  3. Teething necklace. If it isn’t around my neck. Stylish yet a functional for a bored baby.
  4. Tide to go pen. I am usually a food canvas meaning my kid likes to artistically decorate me with whatever he has been eating. This helps with the super obvious or the super risky stains in a pinch at the airport. Let’s be serious, I usually have spit up all down one side of me which is unfixable.
  5. Infant Tylenol and Children’s Tylenol. When I know one of my kids is “off” I give a dose. You never know when a tooth will be coming in or a fever will come along. Worth carrying always. I always put these in ziplock baggies. You can pull them out at security quickly so they can scan them if necessary. Also helpful if there are leaks.
  6. BioSteel powder and E-mergenC Vitamin C supplement. If I feel run down I grab a bottle of water and have one of these for a burst of energy and to give my immune system a boost.
  7. A book. Because the one time you don’t bother bringing one is the time both kids will sleep the whole flight and you’ll be wired and unable to sleep. It happens EVERY.TIME.
  8. Hand sanitizer. For everything.
  9. Dry Shampoo. Does anyone else’s hair get crazy greasy on flights? The small can from Baptiste has always been allowed through security for me. Hope they don’t change that rule!

Hope you enjoyed this list. To be honest, the Mama bag is always the last to be packed. I often just throw stuff in and sometimes I find I have too much stuff. Leave lots of room in your carry on before you leave home. You’ll be shocked at how you accumulate stuff as you travel and it just ends up in your bag!



Second child. Comes with so many stigmas. When we used to travel with G (baby #1) we would bring everything under the sun. I had so much anxiety about being in an apocalyptic situation with my infant and needing that one specific item in order to keep us both alive. Fast forward to dealing with G as a toddler and now H as an infant I barely think about what he needs. It just seems so simple. Eat. Sleep. Poop.

He is at that perfect age. 4 months old is young enough to be satisfied with one toy for long periods of time and his needs are relatively straight forward. When I travelled with G at this age I was so worried about how hard it was. Now I LOVE travelling with an infant. They are so relaxed. Schedule is pretty flexible still. Time change isn’t a big deal and they are so happy if they just get to be held and cuddled. Bliss.

It isn’t ALL sunshine and rainbows though. In order to make it as storm-free as possible, here is what I need when flying with my littlest.

  1. Bottles + Formula. We weened Harrison from breastfeeding a few weeks ago. He was never great at it as he was in the NICU for a month after he was born. He drank almost only breast milk but typically through a feeding tube or bottle so that’s his comfort zone. TBH, I am over pumping multiple times a day. It was getting really arduous and I felt he was at a stage where he was able to do just fine with formula. We like Enfamil (we used it for G too). When i traveled with my first I would pack pre-portioned formula dispensers and sterilized water pre-measured out in bottles. Now, I utilize the super convenient Enfamil to-go powder and my small Avent bottles. They take up less room. For one feed I typically have Harrison drain it and then fill it up and repeat so I get two feeds out of one bottle (only if he is drinking it all at once). Usually I pack enough for 24 hours.
  2. One toy. Yup – that’s it. I bring Sophie the giraffe. I also wear a teething necklace that is cute and yet functional. But that will be covered in “TRAVELLING WITH MAMA – THE CARRY ON LIST”.
  3. Hydrasense. I use these handing little saline vials pre-during and post flight to keep his sinuses clear. I shoot saline up his nostrils and find it helps keep his sinuses from having congestion during the flight.
  4. Burp Cloth + Muslin Blanket. We like Carters for burp clothes they literally get softer and softer with every wash and we like Little Unicorn for their cute designs in muslin blankets but we also have a  lot of Aden and Anais and they are awesome too.
  5. Diapers + Penaten. You never know when a diaper rash related to heat, teething or just long travel days may hit. I use a lot of diaper cream when we travel just to be safe. I also ALWAYS change both boys before a flight. Something about the pressure change on take off that sometimes causes a bit of an “issue” so best to start with a clean slate.
  6. Change of clothes. Usually at least one for every 3 hours on board. I also usually select ones with feet just as planes are so gross and I don’t like my baby’s feet touching everything. Weird. I know.

Hope this helps! I will follow ups with what is in MY bag next!


Travelling with a Toddler – The Carry On List

Now that our first little one is bigger and can eat everything (and I mean everything), you’d think travel would be easier. No bottles to pack, no sippy cups, no pacifiers, etc. Wrong. I still find that you need a full blown strategy to survive even the shortest flights with a toddler. Our little guy (2.5 years) has strong opinions, a big appetite and an allotment of energy meant for a marathon runner. Here is how I set us up for success on flights (short and long haul).

  1. Snacks. Goes without saying but honestly you can’t have enough. Airline food is typically BLAH, overpriced and if you are on Rouge or Air Canada Economy where you have the option to buy it you better hope you are in the first couple of rows. We have been on countless flights where everything has been sold out by the middle of the aircraft. I pack pouches (for the lack of mess factor). Typically I get apple sauce pouches from Costco and fruit and veggie ones from the grocery store. I also pack Made Good bars and bites. If you haven’t tried them they are ridiculously good (and relatively healthy) granola bar based snacks. Some have chocolate but most have dried fruit. My kid LOVES them. I pack extra as the hubs tends to dig in too. Another  thing I do is I usually stop at the stores after security and grab some yogurt, maybe a muffin or a bagel and some fruit. We also typically go into the lounge as hubs has status and I grab bananas or other fruit pieces there. I know we aren’t supposed to take them but I do anyways. Whoops!
  2. iPad + headphones. Yeah, obvious right? But a couple of tips. One, I usually stop allowing TV or any shows at all leading up to travel days. This makes it extra special for the trip and makes it exciting. Two, get wireless earphones. I honestly swear by ours. LilGadgets Untangled Pro is the model. We charge them (you can also plug them in when in use) and that way the cords don’t get in the way of a fidgety toddler. They connect by bluetooth to the iPad. Three, Netflix. Download everything you possibly can so that it can be watched without wifi. Netflix literally saves my life.
  3. Stickers. Not your average stickers. Source out reusable stickers from dollar stores or walmart or target. Wherever. I honestly can’t tell you how many hours have been wasted sticking and resticking dump truck stickers to plane windows and fold down tables. They also come with a surface for all of the germaphobes. I keep telling myself my kids are going to have the best immune system going.
  4. Dollar Store Stuff. Literally, before a trip I drop a bunch of cash on stuff I really don’t care about that is small that we can fit in our bags. Think, tiny plastic dinosaurs, toy cars, etc. I don’t care if we lose one under a seat and typically we loose more than one. I hide them until the flight and then slowly introduce them as needed. I also buy the invisible ink markers that come with themed colouring books (they come in a mini size at the stores near me). Usually Paw Patrol based. this works for at least 20 minutes of fun.

I also pack a ziplock bag with one diaper for every 1.5 hour of flight time (you never know when one might break, or a poosplosion might happen). Delays also get you and you might be limited in size options at an airport. I bring one pack of wipes to share between both kids. Usually one extra pair of clothes. Typically the lightest I can find. Often a pair of PJs.

Hope this helps! I will follow up with a post on what I pack for my 4 month old!




IMG_7702We are lucky that we have a family that we are not only incredibly close friends with but that are willing to humour us in our crazy travel ideas and occasionally join us. This past July we booked a trip to Bahamas on a whim for a long weekend. I suggested Atlantis on Paradise Island as I went there as a kid and it has a reputation for being “the spot” in family travel in Bahamas. Hubs was on board as it has been taken over as a Marriott property too so we could utilize points + cash and also be comfortable to know that our status would be recognized and all the perks that go along with it.

That’s the background. Now let’s get into the experience.

We flew Air Canada Rouge and it wasn’t too bad. I typically hate Rouge (the seats are actually unbearably small on the north american routes) but I was excited about the destination and with a toddler having his own seat we get significantly more room. Flight time was at an un-godly hour but we managed and it did mean we got the whole day at the resort.

We were picked up by a car service that included a grocery store stop and a liquor store stop. It was a bit of a cluster finding the guy and it didn’t go as smoothly as it should for the price that our friend’s paid for it. The guy was a GEM and I loved him instantly so that made the disorganization disappear. We didn’t go to the grocery store as we literally had no room to move with 4 kids, two double strollers, 6 suitcases, 4 adults in an Excursion. BUT, we did stop for booze. #Priorities

Sketchy liquor store stop…was down to a bit of a science…we were hooked up with a “guy” who would get what we need. I’m sure there is a whole incentive program for our driver. Whatever. It got the job done.

We arrived at Atlantis safe and sound. We selected the Coral Tower as we read it was the most family friendly. It was definitely filled with kids and was situated in a very accessible location. Beside the marina and next to the Royal Towers so it was logistically great. Our rooms weren’t ready so we headed to the bathrooms and changed. Bell Room team let us come in and out of the luggage storage room to grab stuff. etc. While this was convenient, I am not sure it is the most secure place ever. Day one was a bit challenging as we didn’t have room keys and everything needs to be charged to the room. We got it figured out but you’d think a resort of this size and age would have it down to a simple process. Maybe not?

Hubs upgraded our room upon check in to get an ocean view. While it was definitely visible, it wasn’t exactly what I would call ocean view. We also got a very detailed view of the air conditioning units, etc. (MORE ON THAT LATER). It was so-so. Room was renovated. Washroom was pretty blah. But we were in Bahamas so a lot of this slides. Our platinum amenity was being sent to our room (a bottle of wine).

The first night we went to the Marina village where there are a bunch of restaurants at many price points. Overall, really loved being so close to that part of the resort. We went to Frankie Gone Bananas. They were accommodating with our two double strollers and four hungry kids. Got into our first round of Sands beer (the local beer). Very refreshing. Reservations are highly recommended in the restaurants on the property and for good reason. People were waiting at basically every single restaurant for a table.

We did Starbucks every morning for breakfast. It worked. Lines were sometimes a tad long but reasonable. Be aware, menu is very different from Canada/USA Starbucks. Still lots of options but if you had your heart set on a Reduced Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast sandwich prepare yourself to be disappointed! There were several locations on property. We hit up the Marina location and the one in Coral Towers daily.

We spent the majority of the time beside the beach at the River Pool. It was connected to the Lazy River and literally a hop skip and a jump to the gorgeous sandy beaches. It was a great pool for kids as it is zero entry meaning they can just wade in. Every pool has lifejackets beside it for use during your stay which was awesome with a toddler. I felt so much better about deciding not to squeeze his puddle jumper in our overpacked suitcase.

Still waiting on that bottle of wine amenity. Hubs followed up and they assured us it was on the way.

We did food by the pool and basically ordered a bunch of stuff and shared it. Food was good, portions were huge and great for sharing. My friend and I packed a ton of snacks for the kids so they munched on granola bars, pouches, etc throughout the day too. We brought our own booze to the pool but also ordered a couple of buckets of beer. No one seemed to care either way which was nice and a great way to save a few dollars. Highly highly recommend the Corkcicle (a really unique thermos from Williams Sonoma). It holds up to two bottles of wine or other beverages and keeps them cold for 24+ hours. Even in July in Bahamas which was HOT.

Speaking of hot. That evening I noticed our room was pretty toasty. I kept turning down the A/C but it was still hot. Turns out the A/C was down in the entire Coral Tower complex. Hey, stuff happens. However, it was so hot that everyone on our floor of the hotel literally left their doors open all night long to try to get air into their rooms. It was desperate times. At the price point you’d think the hotel would work to solve the problem quicker. The lines at the front desk were extensive. Everyone pleading to be moved. We have a premature infant and he has some respiratory challenges. I expressed my concerns and was told to stick it out until 3:30pm the next day at which point they would begin relocation to other towers. It was ridiculous. Eventually the A/C was fixed and a resort credit was put on the account but it could have been handled better.

Bottle of wine is still on it’s way?

The second night we were there we did pizza take out from Marina Pizzeria which was good. Took quite a long time to get it as the lines were huge but pizza was good and the kids were thrilled. We took the kids to the aquariums after and they absolutely loved it. Later that night my friend and her two kids got trapped in an elevator in the Coral Tower. Hotel staff were slow to respond and her husband was desperately trying to stress the urgency. There seemed to be little concern that she was trapped with two very small children at 10:30 at night. It was over an hour before they were let out. Reluctantly the hotel gave a small token resort credit but it was really disappointing on all fronts to witness.

True to form, the mamas needed to let loose the next day. We decided to take down the water slides. Atlantis is known for the most incredible water park attractions and it was admittedly really fun. They call the aqua area the “Aquaventure”. Cute. We did the Serpent Slide in tandom a few times which was extra awesome because the kids could watch their moms fly through the clear tube amongst the sharks. Gave us extra street cred! We also took the kids to the Splashers water area. It is a splash pad on steroids. Lets just say EVERYONE WAS CRYING. I don’t recommend this for anyone with kids under 5. Slightly traumatic.

Hubs asked again about the wine. “Don’t worry, it’s on the way”.

We gave up.

The final night that our friends were staying we hit up the famous Carmines in the Marina Village. Staff were awesome. We waited about 45 minutes for a table but that is kind of the norm at the resort restaurants if you don’t have a reservation. If you live in the US you may have heard of a chain called Maggianos.  I would compare it to that. Portion sizes are meant to be shared. There was literally enough food for a small army. It was a bit insane. We had a great leftover stock pile for lunches the next few days.

After our friends left we had a few extra days as a family unit. I love our friends so much but I also love time just the four of us doing our thing. We hired a babysitter through the concierge for both nights that we were on our own and we ended up with the sweetest lady. She has worked at the hotel for over 20 years and has 5 kids of her own. She was great with our special boys and they were both sound asleep when we returned to our room each night.


Hubs and I checked out NOBU at the resort. We have been several times in New York and Vegas but it was nice to check out this location. We had great service and it was a really nice night. The second date night we hit up a steakhouse called Seafire Steakhouse in the Marina Village. It was delicious and once again the service was great. Honestly, the people in Bahamas are incredible. We had such a lovely time chatting with various bartenders and servers and they were all so welcoming and friendly. Post dinner both nights we walked around the properties and just enjoyed the wonderful weather.

During the day when it was just the four of us we stumbled upon a pool that was more my style. The Coral Pool is new and while it doesn’t have direct beach access it does have a swim up bar, a more sophisticated vibe and a great poolside menu. The River Pool had a good location but I must say that it seemed a bit run down. There were large cracks in the walls and the facilities seemed like they needed a refresh (even a coat of paint would help). The Coral Pool could have used a coat of paint on the stone deck but otherwise seemed more modern and more suited to the reputation of a luxury hotel. One issue they had was they seemed to out of towels all day both days. I consistently went to the towel hut and they kept apologizing. I just don’t understand  how a towel hut is out of towels all day. Seemed a bit crazy and an easy fix? IMG_7697

Hubs, the kids and I did a lot of exploring during the afternoon. We walked all over the property. I fell in love with The Cove, another tower meant for a more adult crowd. I definitely want to stay there sometime. Much more glamorous vibe. Really beautifully designed. We also checked out the Dolphin Cay where they do various interactive experiences with Dolphins. Our boys are too young for the price point but if we were to come back when they are older I’d love to take them. Looked amazing.


Overall, Atlantis is a magical place. It is a huge property with something for everyone. You need to know what you are getting into. We asked one staff member how many people work there and he said thousands It is a big big big operation. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it complicates things that should be simple. Was it the standard you would expect? I would probably say no. I think many of the facilities needs serious money put into them to get them up to what the expectations are at the price point you are paying. I think that more could be done to make it guest friendly. It was not very accessible with strollers so we spent a lot of time looking for various wheelchair elevators (several of which were out of service) and did a lot of carrying strollers down flights of stairs. It wasn’t ideal but you needed strollers with little ones. It does have a  lot going for it. The aquariums are so unique and impressive. The kids loved seeing animals at every corner (turtles in pools, sharks under bridges and stingrays!). If you are staying there as a platinum or gold Marriott member don’t expect any special treatment. It is not acknowledged at all. All this being said, we had a great little break and I was glad to check it out again as an adult with my own children.




TBT – Adulting in Cambridge


I escaped out of the city to a town called Cambridge in Ontario. Located on a beautiful chunk of land is one of the most renowned hotels in Canada – Langdon Hall. I had been a few times for dinners as it is a Relais Chateaux property and it really isn’t that far from home. I had never experienced an overnight there and wanted to give a bit of an overview of our time.

The reason for our visit was that one of my childhood best friends was getting married at this gorgeous property. I headed out on the Friday so that I could attend the rehearsal dinner with the bridal party. It was my first experience sleeping in a bed solo (totally uninterrupted) in over 2.5 years. BLISS!

We had a lovely lunch at Langdon Hall in their beautiful back garden. I enjoyed an awesome cocktail from their extensive list and one of the most delicious burgers I’ve had. Highly recommend.

We did a dinner in Cambridge that night and the next day was all taken up with the wedding preparations. Hubs and our littlest one came midday as he was still nursing at the time. My cousin accompanied us to keep an eye on Harrison while we did the whole wedding thing. It was overall kind of perfect. They had a blast lunching by the pool, enjoying the grounds and partaking in a few glasses of rose while I got ready with the girls. Perfect weather for a perfect day!

The wedding itself was lovely in their new modern barn style venue. Food was great, wine was amazing. It was a really nice night and I must say that crashing in the bed at the end of the night was heavenly. We hurried back on Sunday after enjoying the Sunday Brunch buffet. Couldn’t wait to reunited with George my oldest who didn’t miss us at all spending time with his grandparents!

Overall, I would recommend Langdon Hall for a getaway for a very special occasion. It could use a few upgrades to keep it in line with other Relais Chateaux properties I have visited but it is nice that it is so close to home. Be prepared – it is not a bargain. Pretty pricey little weekend but worth it for a beautiful bride.