What I Learned from Traveling with a Toddler

I am no way an expert on traveling with a toddler, however I learned some things from our first trip to our second trip that made it go more smoothly (and less smoothly in some cases!).

As far as food and naps..

– Bring lots of little snacks, and let them snack as much as they want in the car. In my opinion when you are on the road it doesn’t make any difference if they eat in the car or at a stop because you are only stopping at fast food for the most part. My smartest move was carrying individual containers of peanut butter and honey. When we reached our destination, all I had to buy was bread and we had sandwiches galore!

– Don’t expect your toddler to sleep more in the car. I always expect our little munchkin to sleep longer, but every time we have traveled he always has stuck to a normal napping time (no more, no less than usual). In fact I expected to be able to switch his nap schedule a bit (what was I thinking??) by him taking a nap in the morning in the car (or on a bus) and then being awake and happy longer in the afternoon. That did not work, as evidenced by our many pictures of him sleeping at Disney World.

-I also brought bottled water for his sippy cups. You really can’t do this if you are flying, but you can buy it once you get there. I had read before that switching to different tap waters at different places can mess up your system for a few days, so I always avoid it unless the water is filtered.

For traveling to Disney World…

– Go low key. We did one park and it was more than enough for a nineteen month old. We also did the park in the morning because that is his best time of day. We also let him determine the pace. We picked the Animal Kingdom because they have lots of walking trails and he was able to walk through holding my hand, and stop and look at the animals for awhile.

– If they like visit or ride whatever they like as much as they want (within reason, HA!). Although this wasn’t a ride, our little cupcake loved the conservation station area, especially this huge wall of animals they had. He was running around picking out each animal and pointing to it. As a parent you really REALLY want to get them to the next thing as soon as possible, but the kids will have much more fun if you try to let them actually “be” some.

– If you are going to stay at one of the resorts pick one that has easily accessibly dining options. I’ve stayed at a variety of the resorts over the years and this time we tried “The Caribbean Beach Resort”. I didn’t realize that at this resort they have buildings that are separated and for some of the visitors you have to take a bus to get to the area that has food! Luckily we ended up at one within walking distance, but I would have hated to take a bus to get a snack or coffee. At the resorts walking not only makes traveling easier, it also lessens travel time.

– What you think is fun…may be too much for your toddler! We really wanted to take our little cupcake to the T-Rex restaurant in Downtown Disney. We thought we were doing really well as we pushed the stroller into the restaurant because he didn’t cry. Well we realized he had fallen asleep on the walk over to the restaurant. We went ahead and went in and ridiculously sat at a table with this…..

Staring down at us. We figured it would be fine…and it was not! As soon as our little munchkin woke up, he was absolutely terrified and we had to take turns eating our dinner as the other one sat outside with him. He still walks around saying “I wake…dinosaurs.” Hopefully we haven’t scared him away from dinosaurs completely.

And lastly, I wanted to share some of my favorite mobile uploads from our trip!

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Disney World…From there to here.

Phew…if you are just reading this post, you will want to go waaay back to the first of the four posts that I put up yesterday. Our final part of our journey was a short stop in Disney World. Since we were going to be only an hour outside of Orlando I couldn’t resist going to Disney World for one day. We went back and forth about where to go and finally settled on the Animal Kingdom. Since our little cupcake LOVES animals, we figured this would be the place he would appreciate the most for his age, and it is fairly laid back with lots of walking trails and slower rides (plus a train!).

We were right about taking him to the Animal Kingdom as he did love it. However, I think the extent of our trip had begun to take it’s toll as he spent a good amount of the time, sleeping. He fell asleep on the rides, in the stroller, and on the buses back and forth to the park. Needless to say one day was enough. We had a good time, but were ready to go home after our day!

He loved the animals! He wanted them all to get out so he could play with him. I told him that they had to stay in their cages, and so then he went to each one saying “I sorry, you get out now”. Too cute!

And here are some family photos from our trip…notice the sleeping baby in most of them!

(I also have to quickly note my pose in the picture with the tree. See the hand on my back? We always wondered why our little cupcake stands with his hand on his back and his hip pushed out at times. And now I know why!)

The next day we actually drove home the entire way in one day. Twelve hours with a nineteen month old?? The last four hours were a bit crazy, but we made it!

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From the beach to Disney World

We saved one whole day to spend at the beach (which with a nineteen month old is really one morning and a very long afternoon nap!).

We went to several local restaurants while we were at Cocoa Beach..the second night the restaurant we were planning to go to was closed for a private party, so we ended up eating at a place right next door that had…french fries!

And of course no trip is complete without a boo-boo…

Our sweet boy loves to walk everywhere right now…but sometimes his feet get the best of him!

And finally on Sunday we took a few last pictures before heading to meet the mouse!

Are you sure we are going to Disney World?

Yes! Stay tuned for our final destination!

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Shuttle Launch

We were very fortunate to get to see the last shuttle launch of Atlantis. We had a terrific viewpoint…6 miles away on a Florida causeway (the closest you can get is four miles away unless you are in a control room I hear). We had to be at a mall four hours early, then we took a bus to get to the causeway and still had about two and half hours before the actual launch. We brought a picnic blanket, umbrella, and borrowed two beach chairs.

Of course I made sure we had the right t-shirt for the event…

Blast off!

Our little cupcake was excited to eat lunch on a picnic blanket…

And we of course had to take a few family photos at the causeway…

And then it was time for the big event! They told us to avoid snapping photos (you get one in the mail) so you can actually witness the event, but I had to take just a couple of pictures…

It was truly an awesome event. I am so glad that we got the opportunity to view the launch.

Our little cupcake said “where go?” after it disappeared from view!

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From Auburn to Cocoa Beach

We were so blessed to be able to stay at a friend’s condo for our beach stay. We had a great time and enjoyed soaking up the warm Florida sun. This was the first beach trip for our sweet boy, so I of course wanted to go on the beach as soon as we got there. Apparently he takes after me because he tromped right out on to the sand and was soon splashing in the water.

To give you an idea of our view (which was amazing) we could see the cruise ships leaving…

After that big boat we spent a good amount of time on the patio looking for more boats…

We then headed down the short walkway to the beach…

With me snapping pictures the whole way…we took sooo many pictures. I’m not sure how we will go through them all!

We looked for shells in the sand…

And then decided to head toward the ocean…

Look at that beach hair!

Then my husband took over the camera and got a few pictures of me and the cupcake.

Our hands were very sandy…(“ewww gross!” our little cupcake shouted with glee.)

We played until the sun finally set on our first beach day…

And we took a final glance back at the water as we headed to our next adventure…the shuttle launch!

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From here to there..Auburn

One of Aidan’s favorite books is a Dr. Seuss re-write called “Wet Pet Dry Pet, Your Pet My Pet” (it’s a take off from One Fish, Two Fish)…and in it there is the line “from there to here, from here to there funny things are everywhere”. Since we have read it many times, I think it accurately describes our past week adventure.

We began in Auburn, were we visited for just a few hours mainly so I could go here….

Our little cupcake was quite excited to just be out of the car and running around….

I had forgotten how blazingly (i am inventing this word) hot Auburn can be this time of year. We did a little walking around campus mainly to see the new student center (which is enormous!)…

(I love this picture because about three years ago my husband was making this walk on the campus with a backpack headed to class, and now he is pushing a baby stroller! HA!)

It’s been about two years since we have been back to Auburn, so we also visited the church where we got married…Checking out the aisle of the church

And we went to Toomer’s Corner for lemonade and ice cream…

Look at this big boy sitting in his own chair!

And finally it was time to head on to our next destination. I have to include this picture of our little cupcake playing peek-a-boo in the mirror at the hotel…

Stay tuned for day one at the beach!

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Mama with a Camera

For this week’s lesson Erin Cobb discussed the idea of thinking off center. Which uses the idea of the Golden Mean from the land of geometry. I think I made a C in geometry and that was only by the grace of the teacher. I remember writing “vertical angles are congruent” on every proof on every test. Because they are. And because that was the only answer I knew was correct.

The idea was to make the shot off center, which I understood. However then Erin went on to discuss the intersecting lines and I could feel it. That feeling I always see in my students’ eyes as they start to glaze over and they begin to stare off out the window. So I had to tell myself to focus! I can learn this!

As most of our pictures are taken in our backyard today was no exception. The term “he just needs to run” is of common use in our family. For our specific little cupcake, he just needs to play with the hose, check the garden, and dig in the dirt. And try to eat the dirt occasionally. Gross. Anyway I am getting off topic. So here is my practice session with taking pictures off center. Go back and see Erin Cobb’s blog to see if I intersected my lines correctly!

I particularly love this one, as you can see the expression on his face says “why isn’t this working?”

And this one I will frame!

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A Little Painting

It’s almost too hot to do anything outside right now. I can’t imagine what the summer will be like! With all the heat, we are again having to find some things to do inside, which yesterday included a little finger painting.

Obviously there was a bit more paint on the hands and feet than on the canvas with this finger painting experience. Good thing it’s washable paint!

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Mama with a Camera

This week’s lesson from Erin Cobb’s tutorial was all about taking the faceless shot. She also gave some terrific tips on how to get your child to actually look at the camera. The post made the sounds ring in the ears of every birthday party and holiday we have had the last four years “look this way…look at me…no look at me…cue finger snapping (my sister is nodding her head right now!). I tried several of Erin’s strategies and found that the one that worked for us was telling him not to look at the camera. And after telling him to go find something else to do and not look at the camera I inevitably ended up with this shot:

I still can’t quite get a smile, but it only took me two photos to get this picture…that’s progress!

After this I moved on to attempting a faceless shot, which by the way, I found much more difficult than I had originally planned on. I couldn’t figure out quite what to take a picture of if I wasn’t running around trying to get a picture of our little cupcake’s face!

So I tried some fancy shots of odd objects….

But wasn’t really pleased with the results.

I then started flipping through photos in my folders (can you flip through photos in folders…I suppose click through is a better term) to see if I had taken any shots like this in the past. I was pleased to find two that completed the idea of the lesson.

This one….

I know what he is about to do in this photo, however, if you don’t have the back story you can make up your own.

And this one…

A rare calm moment at Granna and Papa’s…or not. You can decide!

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