Six days after we arrived home from Maui, we got back on a plane and flew to Utah, Zion National Park to be exact. Talk about majestic. I wasn’t super excited because hiking isn’t really my thing, but the views were absolutely amazing and totally worth it.

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We arrived in Utah super late on Wednesday night and the hotel we stayed at had someone pick us up at the airport, which was probably the best thing ever. It was a 45 minute drive to our hotel and I couldn’t imagine having to drive ourselves there that late at night.

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The next morning we did a small family friendly hike to the Weeping Walls. It was less than a mile round trip, but was relatively steep with a drop off on one side, so be sure to carry or wear younger kids. We swam and stayed close to the hotel after nap time. I’m pretty sure this was the night that we ate at a Mexican Restaurant in town and they we’re super helpful in accommodating my gluten allergy. I’m thankful that I’ve never had any issues in regards to my gluten allergy while traveling, whether it be internationally or domestically.

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On our second day, The Bosses did a five hour hike and left pretty early, so I had the girls all morning. We took a short hike to the Human History Museum via the Pa’rus Trail after breakfast. It ended up being just over a mile, but my E walked almost the entire way! I’m so proud of her. I wore AB in the Tula and took my Ju-Ju-Be BeRightBack as my diaper bag. That set up worked out perfectly!  After nap time, The Bosses took E to the Emerald Pools, which she loved and was plenty toddler friendly.

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The Bosses hiked to The Narrows and were gone from 6a – 12:30p on our last full day. If long, challenging hikes are your thing, they said it was awesome! While they were gone, we went into town to check out the Wildlife Museum that another hotel had. One thing I loved is that there are shuttles both within Zion National Park and throughout the town. We didn’t have a car, and I never felt like we needed one at all. Everything is off one main road and was so easily accessible. We didn’t take a stroller either, which made hoping on and off the shuttles and hiking super easy.

If you’ve never been to Zion National Park, I urge you to add it to your bucket list and make plans to go. I would love to go back and take Joshua with me one day!

 

 

The thing I’m most excited about that took place over this trip was getting a system down of how to get the kids to sleep on the plane. When we went to Italy I was still feeling out what it would be like to travel for work and all that. But now that I know, it’s been fantastic and made traveling way easier. I used the same system on our flights to and from Utah, and it worked like a charm.

On our first day in Maui, we laid low and just hung out. One of the neighboring resorts has penguins, tropical birds, and koi fish which were a huge hit with the toddler, of course. We got there at the perfect time, and E actually got to feed the koi fish! It’s one of her responsibilities here at home, so that definitely tickled her fancy. After nap, we also walked to an outdoor mall to do some shopping. I grabbed some souvenirs for Joshua and I, and browsed with AB while E got to visit the toy store.

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We did the Road to Hana on the second day, which was great and an experience of a lifetime. But man, my stomach isn’t as solid as it used to be. On our third day, I got to go snorkeling for the first time ever! It was amazing, but then I totally almost puked and couldn’t stay in the water as long as I would’ve liked. I get super sea sick, so the crazy current from the hurricanes made it even worse since I was on the surface and feeling everything.

On our final full day, my bosses had a date day and went scuba diving, so I had the girls for the morning on my own. The girls are early risers, so E, AB, their nana, and I packed up and went to the Maui Ocean Center. Although it wasn’t as big as I was imagining, it was a nice little outing for the kids and I would recommend it if you’re in the area with kids. It was small enough that E was able to walk the entire time, which was really nice.

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The day we left Maui, we had some extra time before we needed to be at the airport, so The Bosses took me to see the Iao Valley, where the Battle of Kepaniwai was fought between Maui and Hawai’i Island. It’s been said that the river was so full of blood that it ran red to the ocean.

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Have you ever been to Maui? What were some of our favorite parts about that island?

As you can tell, I’ve been traveling a ton with my Nanny Family lately! The items I pack in the girls’ bags have been pretty consistent, so I wanted to share some of my favorites with you!Toddler Travel - Essentials

 

We also do a few things to make traveling easier with a toddler and an infant…
– Always pack respective loveys in the diaper bag so we have access to them as needed.
– Visit the library and pick ten awesome books to take with us, not only to read on the plane, but to read before bedtime each night as well.
– Load up on snacks! Some of E’s favorite are: apple sauce pouches, “happy” (aka graham) crackers, fruit leather, mandarin orange cups, etc. I literally fill a gallon sized plastic bag with snacks and we just dig out of that while we’re gone.

Babywearing both kids throughout the airport was a lifesaver! It allowed us to get on and off the plane without disrupting them if they were sleeping and helped keep them corralled if they were awake. It also made handling luggage a breeze as well.

What are some of the items you can live without while traveling with kids?

Surprise! I’m in Hawaii for work. We’ve been here for a few days, but today was a big adventure day! We took the kids and drove the Road to Hana. It was very long, about eleven hours round trip, and although I’m glad I experienced it, I’m not sure I’d do it again. The ride there wasn’t so bad because we stopped a bunch of times, but I was definitely feeling queasy toward the end of the ride.

We stopped at Twin Falls thinking it would be a quick hike, but were ill prepared for the 1.5 mile round trip hike so we veered off the major path just to get a quick peek at a nearby waterfall.

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One of our other major stops was Wai’anapanapa State Park with hopes of hanging out at Black Sand Beach and swimming, but the tide was super high, so the beach was closed. Big bummer there.

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Our last two stops were Hamoa Beach and ‘Ohe’o Gulch (aka Seven Sacred Pools). The beach was awesome! There were lots of local families surfing and playing in the waves and there were crabs everywhere, which we totally didn’t notice until we had sat down. They’re tiny and blend right in with the sand. We went to ‘Ohe’o Gulch with intentions of swimming, but they were closed as well. I’m not sure if it was just for the day, or is a more permanent thing, but there had definitely been some rain before we got there.

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It’s definitely something to experience once in your life, but I’m not sure I could do it again. My stomach isn’t strong enough for a second round of all that driving. Tomorrow we’re laying low with some snorkeling and beach time!

So, earlier this year I went gluten-free. And not because I wanted to either. I’m sure I’ll tell the entire story in detail soon, but for now that’s all you need to know. Prior to my trip to Italy, I was incredibly worried that I would be hungry the entire time. Isn’t that all they eat there?! It’s famous for pizza and pasta! Do they eat anything else?! Here are four things you need to know about being gluten-free in Italy:

1 // You won’t starve, I promise. Especially if you like seafood. There are always salads and seafood on the menu. I don’t like seafood, so I opted for lots of salad at the beginning before I knew about asking for g-free pasta. I wasn’t starving, just hungry. ;)

2 // JUST ASK! I really had no clue they even had gluten free pasta until someone (a Celiac) we were traveling with asked for it at a restaurant. After that, I asked for it at every single restaurant we went to. They said yes about 85% of the time.

3 // I wasn’t ever turned down in Rome. It’s a major city and the people that worry about being gluten free, and allergies in general, are the people who are traveling, so the restaurants cater to tourists.

4 // If you’re going to Venice, read this post by The Gluten Bigot. I ended up going to La Vecia Cavana on a free day and got the gluten free ravioli. It was amazing, especially after a few days of lots of salads. I also tried to visit the store she mentioned, but unfortunately it was closed because of All Saints Day.

You should know now, the gluten free pasta in Italy is the absolute best I’ve ever tasted. I still haven’t found anything here stateside that even compares. I’m actually still trying to find a gluten free pasta that I actually like enough to buy again! I’ll let you know when that happens :)