This week: Packing our bags (for our baby's arrival!), the 100K-point credit card everyone's talking about, travel tips for Scotland and Italy, and more.
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It is my absolute privilege to announce that my wife gave me the best anniversary present of all time last week! Jack 'Jet' was born on Thursday, September 15, which was exactly four years after we said 'I do'. How amazing is that?! This past week has been a whirlwind as Jack arrived three weeks early. Life really hit me while I was sitting outside the operating room waiting for the doctors and nurses to set up for an emergency C-Section. When both Natalie’s and Jack’s blood pressure rose to scary levels, the doctor ran in and said that the baby had to come out right away. I was in a state of shock when a nurse handed me scrubs and a surgical mask and told me to pack up the labor room.

I can’t remember being more alone or afraid in my life as I sat in the long, quiet hospital hallway, staring at the door behind which were the two most important people in my world. Through my tears, I prayed hard that they were going to be okay.
 
A nurse walked by and asked if I was okay. I nodded 'yes' but she must’ have known that I was anything but. When it was go time, I was escorted into the brightly lit, sterile operating room and instructed to sit right behind Natalie on a small stool. When I counted 16 to 17 people in the room, I became even more nervous. But that didn’t last long because within three minutes of hearing the doctor call for her scalpel, I heard Jack cry, which made Natalie and I both sob for joy.

Can you believe that we’re parents and I’m a father?! I honestly didn’t know if I would ever hear those words but I have never been more proud in my life. I’m especially proud of my wife for being such a warrior throughout her entire pregnancy. This whole experience really opened my eyes and I find it absolutely incredible the sacrifices women make and the difficulties they go through to give life to their children. I said this to one of the nurses at the hospital and she jokingly replied: “If men had to give birth, it would mean the end of the human race.” And I whole heartily agree!

In the months leading up to this monumental event, I had so many friends tell me that my life was forever going to change once the baby was born. And in less than a week, my life has changed dramatically for the better. I never knew I could love (or worry) so much! As I wrote on my personal Facebook page with the photo above: There's no feeling in the world that can compete with being a first-time dad. Not a home run in the bottom of the ninth, a goal in overtime, winning the lottery or getting an upgrade on a long flight. This is my happiness.
 
Since Jack was born so early, he was put in the NICU and the staff at Cedar’s Sinai took great care of him and Natalie. However, the day before we were all supposed to be discharged Natalie was diagnosed with postpartum pre-eclampsia, which was another rollercoaster ride. Fortunately, the doctors caught it early and she will be okay but she needs to rest even more than what was already planned for the next six weeks. 
 
If you scroll down in this newsletter, you will find all kinds of apps, websites, videos that are focused on family travel, Los Angeles (where he was born) and Jack. You definitely won’t want to miss the video, as I helped Natalie's sister surprise her in the hospital. 

Don’t worry, I’m not turning this into a parenting site but I’m so excited to welcome Jack into our world that I couldn’t think of anything else to write about this week.
 
Limited Time 50,000 Point Offer
Since Jack needs a new pair of shoes and you probably need a vacation there’s still time to get the 100,000 mile credit card that all the miles and points collectors are talking about. But just in case that card isn’t for you, then check out this brand spanking new offer by Barclaycard. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is great for travel redemptions that you can't use your miles & points on. Plus, for a limited time you will earn over $500 in travel, 2x points per $1 spent, and a 5% rebate on all point redemptions. Learn more about it here.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL
As always, if you are on social media, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and/or Periscope. My wife’s handles: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Scottevest: for the frequent flyer
Everybody knows I'm a big fan of Scottevest! I’m sure you (or your favorite traveler) will love their multiple hidden pockets, which not only keep valuables safe but can also act as an extra carry-on! I use their stuff when I travel, and I bet Jack will too when he's older! If you want to be cool then  check out their latest line on their innovative website!

Website of the Week

National Geographic Kids has a free component that's designed to inspire young adventurers to explore the world, with games, quizzes and more.
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Travel Style

Las Vegas-based Manny Kess is the founder of The Kess Group, a full service hospitality and concierge company offering bespoke VIP experiences in Vegas and beyond.
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Video of the Week

Natalie gave me the best anniversary gift ever when she delivered our first child! For her gift, I arranged for her sister to surprise her at the hospital!
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Product of the Week

The Cozy Greens Backseat Car Organizer, a bestseller on Amazon, features a jumbo-sized compartment to hold everything organized and accessible in your car.
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Instagram of the Week

In the spirit of travel inspiration, this week I thought I would feature National Geographic Travel’s Instagram handle.
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App of the Week

The free iWatchLA app was created to educate the public about behaviors and activities that may have a connection to terrorism. You can also report threats.
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Webcam of the Week

In honor of my son Jack being born on Thursday in Los Angeles, we’re featuring LA webcams of downtown LA, Burbank, LAX and more.
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Contributor stories

Travel Book of the Week

One that of the most popular children's travel books out there is "The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book," a fun world tour through 200 countries.
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Things to Know Before You Travel to North Korea

ICYMI: In his write-up for JohnnyJet.com, Harvey Silikovitz discusses how he was able to travel to the DPRK legally, what accommodations and tours were like.
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JJ on The Tech Guy

Miss me last Saturday? I'll be appearing on Leo Laporte's show The Tech Guy, in my regular role as a guest, this Saturday at 3:30 pm ET. You can tune in live here!

Savoring Pure Greece

Don’t be afraid to roam out of bounds, says contributor Bruce Northam. There's more to Greece than the image of tourists infesting beaches like locusts from sprawling hotels.
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Natalie's Corner

While Natalie has got her packing routine pretty down pat, packing for Thailand requires a few things she doesn’t normally pack.
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Flying High at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

The act of riding the New Mexico wind that morning, at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, is one that will remain vivid in Spencer Marker's mind for a lifetime.
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