I'm going to be honest, traveling with a toddler already seems brave... and foolish in itself. (Especially when you're 30 weeks pregnant). But tacking on a global health pandemic takes "Hold my hand" and "Don't touch that" to a whole new level. With the canceling of so much, Ryan and I went back and forth on if travel was worth it this year. We are crazy rule followers and always want to use wisdom. But after prayer and research and honestly just looking at our life, we decided, a short trip with added precaution was worth it this summer. So about a month ago, Ryan and I took a Babymoon, (Blog linked here) and Oliver got a "Big Brother Moon" :) This trip was all about Oliver, savoring this sweet season we have with him before Eleanor comes. We selected Kansas City, for a short 3 day get-a-way due to the price, flight length, and "COVID Safety Map". (Also, Ryan watches a lot of "Dinners, Drivers, and Dives" and it was stocked with foodie destinations.) Precautions and perks we had this trip compared to other #CirklesTheGlobe adventures:
Early flights for a less crowded airport
Lots of masks, wet wipes, hand sanitizer spray (***In lots of these pictures we don't have masks on. That was just for the pictures. I assure you, we were masked up the whole time).
Aunt Hannah - who we thoroughly enjoy... and is a RN Nurse... and single.... and gorgeous :) Having the extra hands was really helpful.
Pacifier. Oliver is a HUGE pacifier lover. We usually only let him use it in the car or for sleep. But for travel, we used it constantly. It prevented him putting his hands in his mouth as much as he normally does which made me feel a little better.
14 day home quarantine once we got home for caution and curtsy.
1. Airport for Oliver
Anyone who knows Olive knows he's obsessed with airplanes. So honestly, just getting him to an airport was the whole trip win. Also, because of the plane capacity limits, it was really nice to have a semi-empty plane. We sanitized constantly, and wet wiped EVERYTHING from tables, to high chairs, to every touchable part in our airplane seat.
2. Kansas City Zoo
Oliver is really into that animal phase. He knows all their names and sounds, so a zoo visit was top of the list this summer. The Kansas Zoo was wonderful! Lots of shade and covering; great animals and layout. Much cheaper than our local Houston option (and about 15 degrees cooler).
I wish I would have brought some of his animal puzzle pieces or books to help him connect more the real life animals with the ones he's been learning about. Next time I'll definitely do that.
3. First AirBnB
Ryan and I love hotels. l I think we just like to feel pampered, and always splurge on our hotels in our budget. However, the downside, is you're in the same room as your little one, which leads to you having to watch tv at a crazy low volume at 7pm once they go to bed. With Aunt Hannah joining, we decided to give the AirBnB a go. It gave us an extra bedroom, and a living room where we could watch tv and movies and actually talk at a normal volume once Oliver went to bed. It was the right call for this trip, but I'm not converted. I'm still team hotel 100%.
4. Aquarium/Lego Land
Two activities with one hybrid ticket. This was so great, and honestly would be even better for a bit older of a kid. Legoland was fun, but the aquarium (Sea Life) really impressed us!
5. Oliver's first ice cream
Yes, I am THAT mom that shields sugar from my child. Besides the one bite of cake he had at his first birthday, we haven't done desserts. (That I know of.... Grandma?) So a first ice cream seemed like the cheery on top to "Oliver's Vacation". (Although ironically, there was no cheery on his ice cream sundae). The video says it all.
Are you traveling with a Toddler? Here are my top hacks. (Click here for flying with a baby blog.)
1.Snacks and Screen Time
I wouldn't consider myself a "strict mom" but I'm sure all of my friends would. (Ha!) Our "normal" is very scheduled, we don't do screen time, we eat fairly healthy, and bed times are non-negotiable. But with travel..... you have to fudge things a bit. I like to say, I'm strict now so I can splurge later. Meaning, by limiting things on a norm, it makes the splurge that more fun. And for us, travel is that time to splurge. So Oliver gets puffs, he gets screen-time shows and songs, he gets to skip some nap. (He does, however, still get a bedtime.... sorry bud.... it just makes for a happier trip all around).
A portable fan is great for strollers and "white noise" for sleeping in new spaces.
we use this rechargeable one.
This might sound weird, but I bring a crib/pack and play sheet every-time we travel. I make sure it's freshly washed the day before our trip in our detergent that he's familiar with. Not only does that help my mom heart feel better about sanitation, (I mean hotel/guest cribs and pack-n-plays can be kinda grimy) but it makes night-time a bit more familiar for him.
4. Pack light and get creative
The blessing with toddlers, is they are entertained pretty easily. Don't feel the pressure to bring every toy and stuffed animal. One small bag is enough. I promise, you'll find all sorts of things to play with along the way. (Mom's sunglasses, the restaurant sugar packets, the crunchy leaves, etc)
5.Bring the cute outfits
Don't get all bent out of shape if things get dirty or don't match.... however, what this trip taught me was, it really is worth packing your little one in his/her cute outfits. The pictures you'll take will last forever and I'm assuming those favorite overalls will make you still smile when he's 10 and you're looking back at family vacation pictures. We got so many fun pictures, and memories. Even if Oliver doesn't remember them, we will and all in all it was worth it. (Enjoy these from some Kansas BBQ dinner aftermath)
Here's to embracing the season you're in. Oliver David, you are so loved and I am so eager to see you bloom as a big brother. You were made for this. Love, Abby ***Don't forget ... The Cirkles are cheering you on.