Here are some shots from Isla Verde and Luquillo beaches:
Good Eats & Old San Juan
We took B on his first flight a few weeks ago - to visit our family in Puerto Rico! While we were extremely excited to introduce B to his family, the trip was also bittersweet because it was our first time there since the passing of my grandfather two months earlier. Needless to say, his absence was incredibly difficult, but the baby smiled and laughed non-stop, filling all of our hearts with joy. It was very much needed and B reveled in all the attention and love!
The center of attention
B loves his bisabuela!
Our travel style has changed quite a bit with a three month old. Long gone are the jungle hikes, surf lessons and late nights out in Old San Juan. However, one thing remains the same - beach time! We happily spent many afternoons enjoying the island's best features - white sand and turquoise water. In September, the water in San Juan is still calm, clear and very warm. The only nuisance is that it's the beginning of jellyfish season (Sept-Nov), which we somehow never knew before. AFTER we dipped B's toes in the sea, Chris went for a swim and came back with his first jellyfish sting. It was minor and disappeared within an hour but we were very glad the jelly missed the little guy!
Here are some shots from Isla Verde and Luquillo beaches:
Lovely day at Luquillo beach
Like father, like son
Good Eats & Old San Juan
One day we ventured out to central Puerto Rico where we finally ate roast pig at a traditional lechonera (read more about that excursion here). And of course, on another day, we had to stroll through Old San Juan and grab a mallorca and cafe con leche at Cafe Mallorca (YUM!). We also stopped by our wedding venue - Casa de Espana - for a quick trip down memory lane.
Cafe Mallorca with Nani
The Casa de Espana courtyard: We were married here just over seven years ago.
Dancing at the Mall
It would't be a proper visit with my grandmother without a trip to the mall. Although she is in her mid-80's she still exercises regularly (she was a physical education teacher after all). She takes zumba classes at the local mall and one day I joined in the fun.
We've got our uniforms on and are ready for Zumba at the mall! I had to borrow pants from Nani. No shorts allowed at this shin-dig. These are proper ladies - all class.
At least a hundred ladies dancing zumba at the mall. The teacher was super engaging and his students adored him!
Taking a break at the brand new Mall of San Juan.
We spent the rest of our time hanging out around the house, watching the beautiful sunsets and enjoying each other's company.
My favorite backyard view:)
A quick sun shower in the backyard. The island has been suffering from severe drought so the rain was welcome!
The Flamboyant tree boasts my favorite colors.
Check out the color of these leaves outside my grandmother's bathroom window.
The sunsets were fabulous as usual. Until next time Puerto Rico!
We took B on his first flight over Labor Day weekend. He had just turned three months old and our pediatrician gave us the OK to fly. Woohoo! B's first flight was from Boston to Puerto Rico - almost four hours of airtime.
Checking in to B's first flight!
Since we stayed at my grandmother's house, she thankfully borrowed or bought a few things for the baby, namely:
This was huge because...
Babies Require a Lot of Stuff
Like a TON. During B's first three months we had taken day trips and a couple of overnight trips - mainly to his grandparents' homes, both of which are close by in New England. Each time we packed for an overnighter, we were shocked that we FILLED the trunk of our car. It seemed preposterous, being that we traveled around the world for almost a year with just a backpack. However, after each trip with the little guy, we evaluated our packing and realized that we used everything. It's like the smaller the person, the more stuff they need! Very counter intuitive.
I wanted to travel as light as possible, so I researched what I really needed to bring and found a wide range of opinions and suggestions. Here is a list of what we brought for the baby:
Here is more information on the usefulness of each item:
Carry-On: We flew Jet Blue and they allow passengers with a baby to carry on an extra diaper bag and to gate check the stroller and car seat. Check with your airline as rules vary.
Car Seat, Frame & Base - VERY USEFUL - for a few reasons:
B, strapped into his window seat and ready for take off!
The boppy came in handy for feedings and naps on the plane. Not necessary but very nice to have.
The blue pillow above is a Boppy. And yes, B looks like the Monopoly man before he went gray.
On the way home, we found a secret lounge at SJU in terminal C. We hung out in these snazzy chairs while waiting for our flight to board.
Checked Luggage: We only checked two carry-on sized rolly bags. It mostly contained our clothes and the following for B:
I wish I could say that we managed to travel with carry-on only, but it was not realistic with a baby. I think we might be able to do it once he is off breast milk (the pumping equipment takes up a lot of room) but I have to say that it's nice not fretting about finding room for suitcases overhead in addition to all the other stuff we had to carry on.
B behaved really well on both flights. The first was an afternoon flight where he slept for maybe an hour total and then either ate or played with us the rest of the time. The second was an evening flight and he slept for most of it. Fingers crossed he remains a great traveler on future trips!
I planned on taking maternity photos three weeks before Benjamin's due date. It was the ideal time - my belly was big, spring was at its peak and the weather was typically beautiful over Memorial Day weekend. Our plans were foiled when, Benjamin, eager to get in front of the camera, swiftly arrived the afternoon of our scheduled shoot. Lesson learned: schedule maternity photos two months ahead of time.
Luckily Chris and I had scouted a few spots the day before so here are some of our (practice) maternity pictures taken around Cambridge. These picture are particularly special to us because they were taken the day before we met our baby boy!
Apologies for the delay since my last post. We had quite a surprise last weekend - our son decided to make his debut three weeks early!! He arrived swiftly and with purpose, and we made it to the hospital in the nick of time! Meet little Benjamin - the newest Beyond Voyager.
For now, our travel adventures are confined to about a three block radius - Harvard strolls, the grocery store and the pediatrician - as we learn how to care for a newborn. But we are hoping to plan some bigger trips for the fall. In the meantime, we have a trove of past adventures to write about and future travel plans to dream about, so stay tuned to Beyond Voyage!
We chose to name this site Beyond Voyage because we didn't want to limit our adventures to just one or two voyages a year. Instead we wanted to incorporate what we love about travel into our daily lives. Whether we are half way around the world or close to home, we seek adventure in food, music, new cultures and experiences. Now we are taking another step "beyond the voyage" by starting a family and learning to travel, both near and far, as parents - seeing the world through the eyes of our son and watching him learn along the way.
For us, being good travel companions has meant being good teammates, often in very stressful situations. After a week with a newborn, that teamwork has definitely paid off, just in a different, and even more rewarding way. We are a bit out of our comfort zone, but that's a great thing, because we've learned that's where the magic happens :)
A few weeks ago, we attended a beautiful baby shower in honor of our little boy due this June. Our family & friends organized a brunch party at a delicious Italian restaurant called Cinquecento in Boston's South End neighborhood. Chris and I had been here for brunch before and had LOVED the food, atmosphere and service, so we were delighted that our baby shower was held in their private room downstairs.
Me & Baby B ready for the shower at Cinquecento in Boston's South End.
Everything was beyond our expectations - the food, drinks, decor and best of all - time with our family & friends. Our little guy is incredibly lucky to have so many wonderful people in his life.
The party planning team consisted of my parents - Abuela & Grandpa (the hosts), Chris' parents - Grammie & Papa and Aunt Jen (the decor team), and good friends Lisa & Kim (the fabulous organizers). The shower was safari-themed which was wildly appropriate since one of our favorite world destinations is South Africa. Here are some pictures of the details:
Safari themed invitations from Tiny Prints
Baby B now has a drawer full of creative, colorful, funny and clever onesies - all made by friends and family.
We left the shower with a barrel of safari animals used to decorate the room. They are currently eagerly waiting to play with their new friend.
Aunt Jen found us this adorable "guestbook" poster on Etsy. Guests signed the balloons and stuck them to the poster which will be framed and hung in baby's nursery.
Party favors!!! Everyone loves a Lindt truffle.
Like I mentioned earlier, the food was phenomenal and I highly recommend Cinqucento for brunch if you happen to be in the Boston area. This was our menu:
There are many wonderful places to host a private party in Boston, but I really liked Cincquecento for a few reasons:
Here are a few snaps from the party:
[Pictured Above] The beautiful grandmas! I know, they look WAY too young to be grandmas.
Wallman-Barbier family photo. I think this one might be framed for small fry's room!
We had some pretty adorable kiddos in attendance. These two little ones give the BEST hugs.
The lovely party planners - Lisa & Kim. I swear we didn't coordinate outfit colors.
Grammie announcing the answers and winners to the Chris & Eva trivia game. Who knew us best?
It was a tie between long time friend Hanna (an occasional BV guest blogger!) and baby bro. Luckily it was an easy prize to split in half.
Buddies! These three, along with our friend Mike, are part of an elite club called Steak Hunters. Maybe one day Chris will write a Culinary Delights feature about it (hint hint).
We had an amazing time at our shower! Thank you to my parents for hosting, our family & friends that helped plan the party and everyone who joined us to celebrate our little guy. The three of us are so lucky to have you in our lives!
Eva & Chris
Eva has been traveling for 15+ years, including an 8 month journey around the world.