Toddler Travel: Now With More Screen Time!

We hit the road last month to visit grandparents in Myrtle Beach over the holidays.

Babystar cannot really handle long trips in the car, so we broke up the seven hour trip by staying at a hotel halfway. $140.36 each way.

What a waste of money. She’s going to have to learn to be in the car AT LEAST seven hours in a row because we have a LOT of driving ahead of us this month.

Colorado via Florida. I know. I’ve seen a map. But it’s warm in Florida.

We bought the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kid’s Edition. $94.99 on sale and with the Red Tricycle discount. WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.

She didn’t need the ‘television’ every moment of the drive, but our drive home which was supposed to be only four hours from hotel to front door turned into an eight hour traffic nightmare. Blue’s Clues to the rescue! And Trolls! And Dinosaur Train!

We already have Amazon Prime and I can download a lot of things for free, like Super Wings and Dinosaur Train episodes. I did buy the Trolls movie for $9.99 and the Trolls Holiday Special for $4.99.

I bought it in pink and called it ‘Mommy’s Pink Toy’ so she would understand that she couldn’t have it whenever she wanted like her own toys. It works. She knows that she only gets to use it in the car on long trips. But. Um.

amazon fire kids

I realized later that ‘Mommy’s Pink Toy’ is not the best term for anything ToddlerMonster-related. Whoops.

I love this thing. The battery lasts forever. (Unlike mommy’s other toys.)

However, I have one major complaint: I want to download more than twenty-five things at one time. WHY YOU TRYNNA HOLD ME BACK, AMAZON?! I totally understand the limit on the free stuff from Amazon Prime. But I PAID for Blue’s Clues Season 3 in its entirely. I can’t even download the whole season because I get a limit of twenty-five downloads. Also, a twelve minute Super Wings episode counts the same as a long run movie like Moana. WHAT. Dude.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $25,770.81

New Year, New Altitude.

T minus thirteen.

co-largemap

Oh wait, I meant to say HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you are heading into this New Year with confidence and optimism and well-behaved children. (Or at least two out of three.)

I’ll just be over here packing all of our belongings into boxes because, as I may have mentioned before, we are moving to Colorado.

Fun fact: I have never been to Colorado.

But I will be living there so very soon.

The movers are coming in two weeks and I have to have the place mostly packed. The ToddlerMonster is helping. I’m averaging one box a week.

I think it’s time to step up my game.

When the movers leave, I will leave, but I will take a very circuitous route to Colorado, stopping to see friends and family on the way.

Funner fact: It takes up to fourteen freaking days for a moving company to get your stuff from Virginia to Colorado. I don’t want to arrive before my dishes. Or my bed. Or my InstantPot.

The Teen Girl is coming with us to Colorado (yay!). In fact, it will just be her and Babystar and me on this long, strange, trip in the minivan. My husband will already be in Colorado. Someone needs to make money so we can go party at Disney World (yep!).

The Teen Girl needs a better name for this blog because soon she will no longer be a Teen. I have called her Buttercup for years. How about Princess Buttercup? I am sure she will let me know how she feels about this name change if/when she reads this post.

Princess Buttercup

pc: @serenakf: Amazing Photographer and Human

Princess Buttercup is coming with us. I have been trying to decide if we would have chosen a different place to rent if there was no Babystar. For monetary accuracy on this blog, of course. My husband has been out there working on and off for awhile now, and he did all the house-looking by himself. We decided to rent a farm. (It totally has a barn and silo and everything.) I have wanted chickens forEVER. And the farmhouse has a separate entrance and even a separate kitchen for Princess Buttercup.

We would have chosen this farmhouse, Babystar or no Babystar.

YOU GUYS I’M GOING TO RAISE CHICKENS!!

chicken

YOU GUYS DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO RAISE CHICKENS?!?

So, like, can anyone give me some tips? Regarding chickens OR Colorado? I know that chickens have feathers and Colorado is square and that is where my knowledge ends.

OMFG what am I doing??

(One thing I am FOR SURE doing is getting ready for a month of the shortest blog posts ever. From the WordPress app on my phone.)

 

We Get Around.

Toddlers have a lot of energy. SO. MUCH. ENERGY. It is exhausting. How on earth did I do this with TWO kids twenty years ago?!

Oh right. I was twenty years younger.

Babystar and I go on Little Adventures all the time. We love to take picnics to playgrounds, because picnics at playgrounds are free. But sometimes we have to switch it up.

We took Babystar to National Harbor for ice cream back when it was warmer (November because wtf is wrong with the weather). I spent $23.66 at Ben & Jerry’s and it all goes on the Toddler’s Tab because we wouldn’t have even gone if Babystar didn’t need to run out some energy. Parking was $12 and the playground was $7. Yes. National Harbor charges seven freaking dollars per kid to access to the playground. It’s such bullshit. They get away with it though, because they put a really cool carousel in the fenced in playground area. And the seven dollars comes with unlimited carousel rides. But still. Jerk move, National Harbor.

We paid $1 for a ride on the tiny carousel at Potomac Mills recently. We also paid $8 on that same trip to rent a gigantic fire truck shaped two person stroller thingy. I think we could have gotten fifty cents back if we had returned it but we left it at the door to the mall because we are terrible people. No. Wait. We are JOB CREATORS. Someone must make a living collecting those things, right?

We rode the train (AGAIN) at Springfield Mall. The mall trains are all $5, but it really cost $10 because the guy in the conductor hat at Springfield Mall charges for adults too. More bullshit. Springfield Mall also has a soft play room with a bunch of bouncy houses. Babystar was a bit scared, but I think she was just too young. We basically paid $7.42 for her to sit at the table with us and watch the big kids play. Whoops.

We went to Tyson’s Corner Mall recently and rode the train there too. The train guy only charged us $5 for Babystar and let me ride free, so there is still SOME kindness in this world.

We went back to Scramble today. ($10 plus $8.75 at the snack bar.)

We paid $11 to park at the zoo (member discount) to see ZooLights. And another $7 for the carousel that night.

Are you noticing a carousel trend? Last week, Babystar stopped nursing, and looked up at me and said, “I love milk. And water. And carousels.” And then went back to her milk business.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,672.98

NoVa’s Hottest New (Kids) Club.

STEFAN

Scramble is this winter’s hottest new (indoor kid’s) club. It has everything: a coffee shop made entirely of foam, a Big Ben boxing bag, a giant waving flag slide with both stars and stripes, a replica of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, cake pops, a hidden chamber with an Egyptian Mummy, and Space Balls. What are Space Balls? Its that thing where you take up all the space in a padded room with giant painted planets and then add a bunch of kids.

YOU GUYS THIS PLACE IS SO LIT. If you live in or near Northern Virginia, spend all of your cold winter days here. Scramble is HUGE. And it’s new, which means that at least for this season, it is CLEAN. It cost $10 per kid on weekdays and $20 per kid on weekends. One adult is free per kid. Extra adults are $5 each. So I paid $15 for Babystar, the Teenager, and I to get in last week. We have already been again, but I forgot my wallet and my friend paid. I’ll pay her back eventually, but right now that second visit is free and we are a family of vagabonds.

Anyway. Scramble. Apparently it is based off cool indoor play spaces in Europe. Maybe that’s why they went with an around the world (but mostly Europe tbh) theme.

Yes. I know that Sydney is not in Europe. It’s in Austria. Duh. 😉

Just LOOK at how cool this place is.

 

The smaller toddler play space is awesome enough. The big one with rocket ships and space balls and a secret passage is so big that adults can climb around in there quite comfortably. Although, to be fair, that is technically not allowed. But all the adults chase their kids through there and it’s basically fine. It’s also FUN! That slide is ON POINT.

Scramble 2

Babystar went down the slide all by herself and she tells everyone. She’s so proud. She should be — look at that thing! I went down a whole bunch of times. It’s soupy* fun.

At one point, I counted at least ten adults chasing their kids through the play structure and the thing did not feel at all crowded at all not even a little bit. Freaking. Awesome. Plus, the snack bar prices are actually reasonable prices. I spent $5.75 for two cupcakes, one banana, and three drinks.

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,444.46

*Babystar says soupy instead of super and literally nothing in the world is cuter. PLEASE NO ONE CORRECT HER.

Santa Baby.

December 7, 2017. Yesterday. AKA the day I met the REAL Santa Claus.

YOU GUYS, OMG!

Babystar is mildly obsessed with Santa this year. She loves his beard (just like Granddaddy, she says) and his reindeer and mostly his laugh. “Ho, ho, ho.”

She also knows that he will bring her a present. (I don’t get in to that whole if you’re good thing. Yet.)

Today we decided to go visit Santa at the nearest mall, which happens to be Pentagon City mall. The Teenager and I also booked free Aveda mini-facials because I really thought that Babystar would be all HELL NO when it was time to meet Santa.

I was incorrect.

Before we left, she wanted to find a present to bring him. At first, she wanted to bring him a strawberry smoothie. (Not even his own. She just wanted to share one with him.) The Teenager finished the smoothie (thank you darling daughter) so she had to find something else. On Wednesday, we made tons of salt dough ornaments, so she wanted to bring Santa some ‘decorations.’ She decided on a ‘heart’ and a ‘guy’ aka gingerbread man shape.

Y’all. I had no idea she was this fucking sweet. (Or this genius? Either her toddler heart is full of kindness or she’s stacking the Nice List in her favor.)

I mean, I knew she was sweet, but Bring-A-Gift-TO-Santa sweet? Amazing. #blessed

We went to see Santa and she gave him the ‘decorations’ and he asked her to help him put them on his Christmas tree.

santa with tree

She said she DID NOT WANT to go anywhere near his chair, and Santa was fine with it. He talked to her by the tree, and thanked her for the gift, and gave her a sticker in return. When she left, she said, “I love you, Santa.” And she wouldn’t put the sticker anywhere. She had to save it since “Santa gave it to me.” It is still unstuck, and I think we have to keep it for eternity.

Y’all. IT WAS A STICKER. All stickers immediately go SOMEWHERE. Not this one.

Please note: this wonderful man who is clearly the REAL Santa Claus hung out with Babystar even though she was NOT going anywhere near the picture bench. And the lovely photo people there let me take a few cell phone shots of them together since the mall camera didn’t turn that way.

Pentagon City Mall, you did it. You found him. Well done. If you are in the DC Metro Area, the real Santa is at Pentagon City. Shhhh. It’s a secret.

We left Santa Claus. The big girls got our facials. We all had some lunch. On the way out, Babystar decided to go say hi to Santa again. There was no line so I figured it was fine.

Her ornaments were still on the tree.

ornament on tree

Santa showed her the ornaments, and then Babystar and Santa started chanting ‘HO HO HO’ to one another.

ho ho ho

Babystar decided that she wanted to sit with Santa but not ON HIS LAP. (Obviously that was ok. We are all about consent.) Babystar wanted her sister with her, but she was really excited to be on SANTA’S CHAIR!

So. Yeah. I dropped fifty bucks ($52.98) on the cutest Santa picture ever. The package was $29.99 and the frame (yep) was $19.99. And now this pic (both of the girls!) is part of our official Christmas decorations. Right next to my firstborn at only nine days old on Santa’s lap in 1996.

santa pics

Oh, you see that Santa hat she’s wearing? It is not a prop from the mall. Babystar BROUGHT IT with her so she could ‘match with Santa’.

Call 911. I’m dead.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,423.71