Just Grin and BarrettBlog
A blog beginning with my wedding journey all the way to my pregnancy journey with a little bit of life sprinkled in.
Located in Virginia, only about a 4 hour drive away, this relatively small National Park is a nice little weekend getaway. This park runs North to South and is look and narrow. We went here during peak Fall foliage, and it was absolutely breathtaking to see the forest of colors. Visit this park to see views of the Appalachians, cascading waterfalls, and to get lost in the quiet of the forest.
Currently, my skin is a blend of different shades. My face is one color and my neck is a shade lighter with streaks running down the front. That is where I am right now, and I don’t care. It is the time to try new things. Get adventurous. Live life on the edge. The time to try that tanning lotion that has been sitting in your cart for months. The time to explore new trails.
I bought the tanning lotion a couple weeks into the quarantine. “Hey, why not? No one is going to see me,” I reasoned. It came in the mail, and I lathered that stuff all over me. My ankles and shins came out super tan. My feet remained ghostly pale, and my thighs and calves appeared to be mildly darker. I have always wanted to be multi shades of orange, so I went ahead and purchased the tanning face lotion for the cherry on the top.
Meanwhile, I began mapping out new trails to run and walk all over my city. Daily I would hit up these trails with my son in tow in his stroller. We would make sure we covered every inch of the trails no matter the terrain. Flat. Hilly. Paved. Unpaved. Smooth. Rough. Didn’t matter. My son and I would go bouncing on these trails, having the time of his life. He on the edge of his seat, and I running home to track where we went on the map and to find our next
A few days later my face lotion came in. No sooner had I mastered the art of making my legs and arms look evenly tan, I decided to mess around with my face. Sure enough, the next day I woke up looking like Trump with white circles around my eyes. I was that high school girl in the 2000s who couldn’t figure out how to blend her makeup so that her face and neck were not two starkly different colors. Well, except this time, I was the high school teacher with a
two-toned face to girls who have beautiful even skin. “I’ll blame it on the lighting in my house. No one will know over video chats,” I reasoned with myself again.
And no one did notice. My face is also looking quite bronzed and sun-kissed if I may feel so inclined to add. Not to mention, legs and arms are getting buff (my husband would probably laugh at this) from all the trails we have been exploring.
This time for me is all about trying new things. Things that I might have been fearful to do before. Things that I might have tacked on a million reasons why I didn’t have time to do. I’m writing those blogs that I have always wanted to write. I am making that killer website that’s always been on my to-do list. I’m reading those books that have been on my Want to Read lists. I’m taking on a pull-up challenge and then two weeks later quitting it. I’m lying on the floor with my son as we laugh and play games. I’m going into the unknown one tanning lotion and one trail at a time.
I grew up in the Mountain State of West Virginia; therefore, I was accustomed to being surrounded by luscious, rolling mountains. Then, I took a trip to Colorado and saw real mountains. Towering, snow-capped mountains in all their glory. I was impressed.
I only spent a day in the actual park, but I spent some time in the surrounding cities of Boulder and Manitou Springs and was just as awed. I'll never forgot that while hiking in the park, we climbed to the top of a waterfall and were greeted with views for miles of mountains, trees, and valleys. I told myself that I always wanted to remember this view, so I took a mental picture of it. I can still recall that exact moment along with the view. I like to call to mind it every now and then. It gives me peace.
Ahhh..."The Big Ditch." I have heard of people driving by this National Park and refuting its glory by saying, "It's just a hole in the ground." But I assure you, it is not. It is one of the prettiest sights I have ever beheld. I could do nothing more all day than just sit at its edge and take in the beauty and be perfectly happy. It's truly amazing to think that the Colorado River carved out this gem. Never pass this place up.
Yes, I was just as surprised as you are to learn that the Gateway Arch is a National Park, but it is, and I have had the fortunate pleasure of being in its presence for 15 minutes. The stainless steel structure bends its massive self on the banks of the Mississippi River and surrounds itself with the wasteland, excuse me, the city of St. Louis.
I don't like being squeezed into enclosed metal and then made to stare at a rundown city, so I didn't go up in it. I merely took an obligatory picture, and we got out of dodge.
Moab, Utah was a quick stop on our way across country, but we were certainly glad that we did. Arches National Park is a vast desert land of natural arches and red-hued structures. The Colorado River borders the park and is nice respite from the hot beaming sun from the park. The park is a playground for hiking, back-country camping, stargazing, and jeeping.
Bar Harbor is a picturesque town nestled between the coast of Maine and Arcadia National Park. Visitors flock to this quaint town for the delicious lobster, breathtaking views, harrowing hikes, scenic bike rides, laidback vibes, and the perfect temperatures in the summertime.
We went three years ago in July, and Bar Harbor/Arcadia National Park easily rank in my top five places I have ever visited. I was blown away by how beautiful it is, and I have already have an itinerary set for when I visit again.
But here is what we did the first time around along with suggestions/tips/recommendations from other seasoned travelers to the area.
Nested Bean products are scientifically proven to calm a baby. Their products mimic a parent's touch when their weighted pads are activated. These bean bags on each side makes it feel as if your children is being held. They guarantee that your baby will sleep better in 1-3 nights.
Nested Bean's Zen sleepwear comes in five different products:
Mothers who have used this product have attested that the products are very calming to their babies. Once wrapped in the swaddle, the babies would immediately settle.
The best aspect was how it calmed her [our daughter] when she was upset and would easily put her to sleep with it on.
Not only do the parents love the products, but daycares do as well. Moms and Dads reported to buying two of them. One for daycare and one for the house. One mom said that daycare describes Nested Bean as a "miracle worker" for when babies get fussy.
Our daughter literally slept through the night with the Zen Swaddle from about 3 weeks on. Napped very well in it too. We would only do one feeding a night if she woke up.
Nest Bean products are safe, durable, affordable and machine washable. They are definitely something you want to add to your baby registry today. You will be getting the rest and sleep you deserve in no time and then you will be able to wake up to a happier, healthier, and well-rested baby too! Order yours today!
How to Teach a Baby to Self-Soothe
Step 1: Read Dr. Harvey Karp's book and blog
Step 2: Set up a calming baby room
Step 3: Establish a bedtime routine
I would breastfeed my son first and then change his diaper, massage him, and wrap him in his swaddle, so he would slightly wake up.
Step 4: Gently nudge your baby awake when you put him down
Step 5: Offer a lovey when she gets older
Step 6: Around 4 months, do not rush to your baby the moment he cries. Try this instead...
1. Pause for 5 minutes
2. Turn up the sound machine
3. Place your hand on your baby's belly and let it rest there.
4. Slightly jiggle your baby.
5. Read more on takingcarababies
Step 7: Read more here
How We Transitioned from Room to Nursery
Step 1: Follow @takingcarababies on Instagram or check out her blog.
Cara is amazing! She is a sleep expert and a former nurse. Her tips have helped tremendously.
Step 2: From Birth-4 months we kept our son in our room in a bassinet next to my side of the bed.
This was easy for me to grab him whenever I had to breastfeed.
Step 3: Around 4 months, we got rid of the bassinet and switched to the pack n play portion.
Step 4: Around this same time, we moved our son further from away from me but still on the same side as me.
Step 5: Around 5 months, we moved the pack n play to the opposite side of the room, the farthest away from me.
Step 6: Around 5 months, we also moved the glider to the nursery. Most of the feedings and bedtime routine now took place in the nursery rather than our room.
Step 7: Around 6 months, we tried to do as many naps as possible in the crib in the nursery instead of our room. Make sure it's dark!
Step 8: Around 8 months, we transitioned to the nursery and sleeping in the crib no problem!