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.)

 

I Joined a Museum 100 Miles from Home.

Have any of you ever been to the Children’s Museum of Richmond?!?

It has EVERYTHING. A scarf ballet, a fully stocked art studio, a cow that you can milk (but don’t drink it), a diner with all the (fake) food you can eat, an actual ambulance to play in, an indoor carousel, and a Wegman’s. And that isn’t even half of the cool stuff at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. This place is literally the best children’s museum I have ever seen.

And it is right down the street from my oldest daughter’s college. We bought the $180 yearly membership (plus additional adult) so we have a fun place for Babystar to play on visits. She has never gotten bored here. The single downside is that she never wants to leave when they close at 5pm. We have been a few times now and we haven’t even played with everything. On our most recent visit, Babystar mostly dug in the rubber sand for dinosaur bones and then cooked her sister and I a very hearty meal.

Have you ever had ketchup in your coffee? I highly recommend it.

The visit before, we spent a lot of time in the art studio making masks. Another time, she did water experiments for an hour at the super awesome water table. (I totally brought about five extra shirts last Friday and she didn’t even LOOK at the water table. Of course.)

CMoR water table

There are also locations in Short Pump, Chesterfield, and Fredericksburg. We may check them out sometime as they are included in our membership. But the nice lady that sold us the membership said that those locations are not as big. And I am certain that none of them are five minutes from any of my children’s colleges. If we do go, I will report back.

Regular admission is $9/person. (Babies under one are free.) We only paid the regular admission once, actually. Then we did the math and realized that we should just buy a membership. So far, we have gone to the museum every time we visit Richmond. Since at least three of us (Babystar, the college girl, and whoever is driving) visit each time, the membership will pay for itself shortly.

Like many children’s museums that I have seen, this one has a lot of different areas to play, and each area is sponsored by a local or regional business. The main difference is that THIS museum has SO MANY areas to play.

 

CMoR is awesome and we love it. Go there.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,413.93

Riding in Cars with Toddlers.

I recently took a road trip with my toddler. Just me and the two-year-old.


I was cocky. I was so prepared. I was writing a blog post in my head as I pulled out of the parking lot. It was all about how TOTALLY EASY traveling with toddlers could be as long as you were prepared.

Turns out all you really need is a whole bunch of extra clothes and a lot of patience.

I pulled over three times before I left Virginia. I live in Arlington, which is the very TOP of Virginia. The first two times were because she ‘dropped’ something important, like a particular Care Bear or Little Pony. The third time was because she Exorcist-style puked all over herself and I had to clean her and her car seat on the side of the road. Then, fourteen miles later (but finally in a different state), she hurled again.

And I thought I had overpacked.

I stopped at the first place I could find. We changed her clothes and washed up in the Waffle House bathroom. I doubt Babystar was the first person to clean puke in that Waffle House bathroom and I doubt she will be the last. She is likely the cutest.

We walked around outside for some fresh air before we went inside and found a booth. ($10 for both of us, with tip.) My toddler ordered a piece of toast. Babystar is 85 years old, y’all.

When we finally got back in the car, she fell asleep almost immediately. We had been gone over two hours and we were about thirty-five miles from home.

So. Extra clothes and extra time. That’s mostly all you need when traveling with toddlers. I feel like I totally should have known that.

Instead, I prepared by packing an entire backpack full of fun activities (to puke on).


I brought along our beloved Melissa and Doug Water Wow ‘Art Show’ book plus two more that I bought for the trip. ($9.98) I also brought two Melissa and Doug Color Blast books, which are the ‘magic’ marker books. They only color on the paper in the book. They totally rock, but she didn’t play with them until we got to Pennsylvania. (Then they were awesome for sharing with her cousins so yay?)

I packed a super swag backpack. Inside were a few of her favorite books, a new pack of crayons from my back-to-school haul, two blank Dr. Suess tiny notepads from the Target dollar aisle, a cool generic Magnadoodle that I found for five bucks at Target, an awesome new ‘Nature’ sticker book ($6.99), and some stuffed friends for when she dropped the ones that started the voyage in her car seat. Babystar’s car seat is directly behind my seat, so I planned to just hand her fun new toys as she got bored.

I also filled and packed all three of her water bottles. I gave her one but planned to pass her the others if she emptied or dropped it.

I did not plan on the puke.

No one ever plans on the puke.

All of my preparation was totally useful for the forty-eight minutes of the trip that she was awake and feeling happy and well.

These minutes were not consecutive.

But. We made it. On the way home, I took her to a playground after our hotel breakfast (free!). We visited a train museum (free!). We waited until midday to get on the road, and it kind of worked.


She didn’t get sick right away. She played in the car seat with her bears and books and toys for a couple of hours. My magic backpack was a total hit! She then slept for a long time. And then she got sick when she woke up. We cleaned her up and spent ninety minutes at a Chick-fil-A ($10.55) that was about forty-five minutes from home. I wasn’t that mad. Babystar was a trooper.

All she ever wanted after puking was a clean shirt.

Travel tip: Pack a super cool fun backpack if you want. But mostly, pack extra clothes. And extra time.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone have kids that are prone to carsickness? What helps?
RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,233.93