If you read this post, you know that I’m trying my hand at blogging to help out. This is both fun and hilarious for me, as A) I’ve always enjoyed writing, and B) I really never thought I’d be writing for a site that focuses on women’s fashion. But, you know. You take what life throws you!
(Anyone interested in hearing me explain the difference between a dress and a skirt?)
But let’s get back to it before I lose my job.
I have a few confessions to make:
My childhood bedroom was covered with posters of dolphins. Flipper was my favorite TV show. I saw Free Willy three times in the theater. THREE TIMES.
I’ll admit that an aquatic mammal obsession is a strange affliction for a kid from Central Illinois to have. I was stuck in a sea of cornfields, roughly a thousand miles from the real ocean.
But I’m the guy who dragged his wife on a whale watching trip in Cape May, New Jersey. Side note: There are no whales in Cape May, New Jersey. Never sign up for that thing.
And when I saw a manatee in Florida, I started screaming and woke up a whole retirement community. I’m also making Jess Keys’ wedding an excuse to take a two-week Pacific Northwest orca expedition.
This is Kelly chiming in. Mitch, what?!
Anyway, thank god for the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. When I was a kid, my family would take me so I could get my fill of dolphins, sea lions and beluga whales.
Now that I’m a dad, I can go back all the time without raising eyebrows. And I’d been waiting five long months to do just that. So on the very last day of my paternity leave (because I’m a procrastinator), we all bundled up and boarded the red line and headed downtown for an oceanic adventure on the shores of Lake Michigan!
I could hardly contain myself. Kelly couldn’t stop laughing.
But yes: let’s get back on track.
A day on the town with a five-month-old baby can be a challenging affair. Meltdowns come quickly and without the right tools, disaster can–and will–strike. We’re talkin’ getting covered, head to toe, in puke; crying fits due to teething, exhaustion and/or hunger; and blowout diapers with poop everywhere.
Okay, that might make parenthood seem less than wonderful. It really is the most wonderful thing in the world. But you have to have those “right tools” in order to not get overwhelmed by how gross it can sometimes be. ;) So here’s a list of the things we brought so the three of us could enjoy those magical dolphins:
Emma loves them. (Ninety-ninth percentile in weight, people.) They don’t leak, and they’re easy for Emma to hold. She’s not holding bottles completely on her own yet, but she’s getting there, and Dr. Brown’s are narrow enough that she can get her tiny hands around ’em!
A giant tote bag:
Kelly has a fancy one that I gave her for Christmas (still not sure how that happened…) but truth be told, the thing is basically a reusable shopping bag. All you need is something HUGE that won’t break.
During the dolphin show, I kicked the bottle over and it rolled down every step of the amphitheater. Everyone stared at us. But I was able to get the bottle back into rotation by using these. CRUCIAL.
In Chicago, we use this one because it’s tiny and fits on the subway, through crowds, in small restaurants and down narrow aisles. We also like that it has a big undercarriage storage area that can carry everything we need.
The sub-zero wind chill whipping off of Lake Michigan has nothing on Emma’s giant chipmunk cheeks thanks to Dr. Brown’s Nutritive Baby Balm. Say it with me: baby balm.
A snowsuit and a good hat:
This is very important since every day is freezing here. We have a hand-me-down snowsuit from our next door neighbor, Janie. (Thank you, Janie!) But Kelly swears by Baby Gap, and says this thing is very close. (I think she only swears by the brand because she can walk to it from our place, but she says that this isn’t the case and that the quality is great and the sales are amazing. Hmmm… Too lazy to investigate.) These are apparently nice, and this is a similar hat that we have for Emma.
Um, hello. He was there when Emma saw her first sea turtle!
Need I say more?
Pre-made bottles with bottle caps ensures that Emma won’t have to drink water from a water fountain if we run out of bottled water.
Because with Spotify, we could play “Baby Beluga” and all the other relevant kids’ songs that Emma loves. (Of which there are few.)
All the distraction Emma needed so I could see the dolphin show finale. See the last photo. Good lord, they are majestic!
~ ~ ~
I’m happy to report that our day at the aquarium was a major success! Emma’s favorite parts were seeing Baby Beluga (her favorite song!) in person, realizing her outfit matched the penguins, and mimicking the dolphins. (So proud.) If you’re a parent, or just have good sense, are there other things that make your outings more enjoyable? We’re always looking for suggestions!
I’m wearing: Similar Jacket / L.L.Bean Boots / Unknown Jeans (I can’t remember–or figure out–what jeans I was wearing that day, okay?) / Ralph Lauren Shirt or L.L.Bean Shirt — Can’t figure that out, either. Fashion blogging is a lot harder than it looks, guys.
Kelly’s wearing: Canada Goose Jacket (Also available here. Similar here and here.) / Sorel Boots c/o (ON SALE!) / Rag & Bone Jeans (Also loves these) / J.Crew Scarf (Similar here) / Barbour Hat c/o / Goyard Tote / L.L.Bean Shirt / Similar Patagonia Vest
This post was sponsored by Dr. Brown’s, but all opinions are my own. I mean, can’t you tell? We also thank you for your support. You’re the reason that this site exists!