Fall Fun

Hey folks!

Been super busy with life at home.

Just wanted to show some love with these pictures from our recent visit to Edaville Theme Park in Carver, MA that remind us it’s autumn in New England 🍁 đŸŽƒđŸŒœ

My favorite season 🧡

Edaville theme park in the fall Jack-o-lantern decoration at edaville Pumpkins at Edaville

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Boston Children’s Museum Day Trip

Boston Children’s Museum Day Trip
Friday, August 10, 2018

Sometimes going on day trips and taking advantage of where your home base is, is the best way to explore.

Explore locally.

So my husband took a guys fishing trip to Key West, Florida for about five days. Oh I’m really hoping he will write a short post about his trip…or maybe I’ll do an interview! Anyways, while he was away, I had planned a few activities to keep my toddler and me busy.

Preparation

My friend Paolina and her one-year old Isabella met up with us.

We both had planned to pack our own lunches. This always takes a little time. My go-to: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:) well I made one PB&J with the crusts cut off and cut into triangles for Kai. I also made one ham and cheese with mayo sans crust for him. I made myself a buffalo chicken sandwich with mustard, and I brought some baby carrots dipped in hummus with pine nuts (so tasty)! One thing Kai loves is his milk.

I always pack a change of clothes and underwear for Kai. And, extra shoes too! Since he was going to do a lot of walking, I made sure to put on socks and sneakers for him. I did notice there were some rooms with water, so I packed sandals for him too!

The Trip

We met at the Boston Children’s Museum, and we both drove into Boston. I live in Rhode Island, so Boston is about an hour north of me. Paolina lives north of Boston, so we met in a good location.

I left my house around 10am to try and avoid the rush hour traffic into the city. It worked out pretty well!

Parking garage options are listed on their webpage. We opted for the one located at: 280 Congress Street, Boston, MA.

The rate: $20 for the day with a validated parking ticket from the museum.

Kai and I got to the parking garage around 11:20am. Paolina had just parked, so she waited for me in the elevator area while I got all of his stuff together.

Stroller ride to the Boston Children's Museum

Thankfully we brought our stroller with us. It was quite useful when commuting from the parking garage to the museum itself.

Navigating the Museum

Here is the link to the museum floor plan. The museum is fairly large compared to the one in Providence, RI.

Once we were there it having the stroller was a little bit of a hassle, but the museum had ample stroller parking space alongside or outside of the exhibits.

This was both of our first times here at the museum.

Because I have a family plus membership to the Providence Children’s Museum I was able to get a 50% discount for up to six guests in total at the Boston Children’s Museum. You should check your local museum to see if they participate.

Here you can find a chart listing museums participating in the reciprocal program! This way, if you get a membership to your local museum, you are able to get a 50% discount to other museums:)

Food First!

Our first stop after purchasing tickets was to find a lunch area where we could eat our packed lunches. We ended up having to around to the cafe (Au Bon Pain) which was to the right of the ticketing area. Food for purchase was available, but since we brought our own lunches, we just ate that.  The cafeteria is a really cute space with ample high chairs if your child needs one.

We started from the top and worked our way downstairs.

Third Floor

There is a large construction play area, filled with trucks, tracks, and large working equipment for children to play on! There are costumes for the little ones to play dress up, and there were areas for them to climb on; bridges to walk across. It was as if you were in a large city environment in a construction zone.

We didn’t get a chance to see the Japanese House because they were doing guided tours every 15 minutes or so, and the timing just didn’t work out when we were there.

One thing we enjoyed was the large dinosaur they had on display. You were able to use the controls and push the buttons for the huge mechanical dino to move its head and arms. It also roars loudly.

Second Floor

The play space for kids 0-3 was a nice and contained area for the younger ones to explore and play! There were little areas for kids to play pretend and use their imagination. There is also a little playground area for the little ones to climb up and slide down. There is a scarf station that uses a vacuum.

Kids playing in water area at the Boston Children's Museum

I believe the water area is on this floor too!

First floor

To your left, after you purchase tickets, you will notice a large jungle gym. It is the same type of jungle gym/maze that the Providence Children’s Museum has outdoors.

There are a lot of sensory activities for kids to partake in. Kai especially enjoyed playing with the golf balls and rolling them down the ramps.

The bubble room was very entertaining as well. There is an interactive exercise area where kids are able to use a pulley system and pedal on stationary bike to race. It’s all about ‘energy’, and it was fun.

Right before we left, we decided to catch one of the kids shows at KidStage: Three Little Pigs. The performers were so entertaining. They asked for seven volunteers: three little pigs, three houses, and one big bad wolf.

Everyone did an amazing job.

Conclusions

Will we come back? It’s definitely likely, since you can really spend a lot of time here. My only concern would be how germ-infested it is during the winter months when outdoor playgrounds are of no use since it’s freezing in New England…but that’s everywhere I guess.

This museum will wear you AND your child out. Paolina and I thought it was necessary to get a caffeinated beverage from the Starbucks across the street when we left.

If you parked in an affiliated parking garage, don’t forget to get your ticket validated by the museum!

Thanks for reading about our day trip.

Little Passports

How I keep my toddler busy in winter

Go to the mall = FREE, aside from shopping
Some malls have indoor play areas with adult supervision so kids are able to play. I sometimes head to the Emerald Square Mall in North Attleboro, MA when it’s raining outside or if I’m planning on doing light shopping. I would choose that mall vs. the Providence Place Mall because there is an indoor play area so he can put his energy somewhere:) There’s also the Warwick Mall near us which has a Carousel for entertainment.

Visit Chick-Fil-A or similar place – $
This fast-food chain usually has an indoor play area for kids. While small, it does the trick! You can always just get a little something to snack or a simple beverage and then your toddler can play! One thing to keep in mind is you typically cannot bring food into the play area and you may need to bring socks for your baby if they have a no shoe policy.

Work out! = FREE – $
Every week, I go to the gym at least once. At my gym there is child care in the morning from 9am-12pm and then again from 4pm-8pm on the weekdays. During the weekend, they are open from 9am-11am on Saturdays. It’s not too bad! If I want to just take an hour class, I can drop Kai off with the caregiver. He usually has fun with the other kids. this also is a great way for him to socialize with other children. It was tough for him to leave me at first, but after 2-3 times, he got used to it. I never leave him for more than 1.5 hours. One perk is there is a sauna and showers as well as tanning beds (if you tan). I haven’t gotten to take advantage of those amenities, but they sound nice huh?

Can’t afford a gym membership or don’t like to get sweaty in public? There’s always the option of doing an exercise routine at home! You can find videos online or just make up your own and get your toddler involved! Make it fun to work out. Kai loves music, especially dancing to the best. You can try to make up a routine at home and have a dance party while breaking in a sweat! Just remember to be safe and consult with a medical professional before doing anything out of the ordinary!

Go to an indoor play area – $
Such places include Chuck E. Cheese. One local place in Warwick, RI is called Kidz Kastle. There is also a place in Taunton, MA called Round 1, which is a place for the whole family. That’s pretty much an all-in-one arcade, pool hall, bowling alley, bar and kids indoor play area. In my area, in Seekonk, MA there are Fantasyland and the Seekonk Speedway.

Visit a local pet store – FREE – $
My son loves animals! Sometimes when our dog runs out of dog food or is in need of a little something special, I bring Kai with me to run errands. Meanwhile, there are usually some fun, cute and also creepy little critters on display and for sale at the local pet store.

Kai loves running up to the fish tanks on display and pointing to the different species. And he loves dinosaurs, so naturally he is drawn to the prehistoric-looking lizards and reptiles on display too!

And who doesn’t love watching little rodents run a muck in their little confined spaces? Gerbils, mice, ferrets, and more. Sometimes there’s also some rabbits. Although most of the time, they’re just sleeping.

Oh and don’t forget about the little birds flying about in their cages and mingling with their companions!

Visit your local library  = FREE
The library is a great resource. The libraries in my local area have wonderful programs, such as story time, play time, or music and dance programs. It’s a great place to network with other parents, grandparents, and caretakers. It also serves as a wonderful place to get your little one interested in reading books!

Take swim lessons – $$
Since we live in RI, I was initially drawn Pods Swimming, which is a local aquatic swimming education center. They were building a brand new facility last year, and unfortunately construction was a month behind. Therefore, I enrolled my then-10-month old child in a swim class at my local YMCA. They start accepting children as early at 6 months old! We had so much fun. Although, just keep in mind these are introductory classes to get your baby familiar with the water. Safety was emphasized in these classes along with fun activities.

Play in the snow = FREE
Kai went sledding for the first time a few weeks ago. While it only lasted about a half an hour to 45 minutes, we were able to both indulge in some rich hot chocolate!

Sometimes when it snows a lot, I choose to take our dog Stanley in the backyard to do his business instead of going out for a walk with Kai’s stroller. So, I suit Kai up and we run around and explore our snow-covered backyard!

Get a Children’s Museum or Discovery Center Membership = $$
We were fortunate enough to be gifted an annual pass to the Providence Children’s Museum for Kai’s Christmas present! We opted to go with the Family Plus Membership, which was $150. It allows a total of 6 people to visit the museum. Kids who are 12 months and older have to pay full price. He loves playing with the water. It’s a great place to bring your child during the winter!

Meet up with family and friends = FREE
While I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Kai and Stanley I also like to have some time to have a conversation or two with other adults. Also, if your friends and family have kids of their own, they can play together! If you have family nearby, take advantage! If they’re anything like my parents or in-laws, they love bonding with their grandchild. I also have a few friends who love hanging with Kai. It’s a win-win. Maybe you can even cook together and plan out meals!

Get a zoo membership
Sometimes when there’s a warmer winter day, I like to take Kai to the zoo. It’s usually or crowded at all during the weekday, especially in the wintertime! I guess it also depends on where you live though. We sometimes just watch the animals for a longer period of time, and since Kai loves those pre-historic looking creatures, we watch the Komodo dragon (which is in an indoor area of the zoo).

Read – FREE
Kai asks me to read to him about five times a day! He tends to gravitate towards busy books. The peek-a-boo ones where you lift the flaps up and see something. He really likes me to read the same book several times, or go to a specific page and gets mad if we don’t read that page many times.

While I like borrowing books at the library, I also enjoy owning them because he can always go back to them whenever he wants to. I’ve discovered a local second-hand store where you can buy and sell your old baby items. It’s called Once Upon a Child in Warwick, RI. You know when you go into a Savers, a Goodwill or a Salvation Army and there’s a weird musty stench? This used store isn’t anything like that. I’ve only gone there twice, but they have a ton of toys and clothes. I have gotten three of Kai’s current favorite books there.

The other day, I celebrated my friend’s birthday by going to trivia at this bookstore and cafe called An Unlikely Story in Plainville, MA. It has a wonderful children’s section! I plan on going back one of these days for story time.

Visit a local botanical garden – $
Most of these gardens have large a large or multiple greenhouses you can visit with a wide variety of plant species! Kai enjoys exploring new areas and appreciates large open spaces so he can run around.

Join a support group = FREE or $
If you are a new mom, there are usually local support groups you can join! There are Meetup Groups, which are usually private, that you can request to join. There’s sometimes a small fee (maybe $10-$50 a year) to participate. Kai and I ended up going to a mommy Bible study at a local church. There was nursery during the session, so Kai was able to interact with other kids. It was a wonderful way to fellowship as well as grow closer to God.

Get your toddler involved in cleaning:) = FREE
Kai keeps me on my toes. He loves to see people cleaning, especially sweeping or mopping. And shoveling or raking. I guess he just has a fascination with sticks. Sometimes, when we are hanging at out home, he asks me to sweep and clean the floors because it is “dirty”. He also begs me to take the vacuum cleaner out and use it.

Enroll in a music class = $$
This year, we decided to enroll Kai in a music class. He absolutely loves it.  Last year we ended up going to a free introductory music class to get a taste for what to expect if we decided to sign up this year. It was nice to see the different activities and just a a little taste of everything. At the time, Kai was still just beginning to take his first steps, so I selected swimming vs. music class. This year, we selected Lori’s Music Together. It has been such a fun few weeks already! It’s amazing to see Kai’s progress. He’s singing parts of songs and mimicking all of the dance moves at home! You just need to show him one time, and he remembers! It’s hard to believe because I sometimes think he’s not paying any attention to what the teacher is doing.

Go on a movie date at home – FREE
Since my almost-two year old cannot typically sit still for more than ten minutes or so, we haven’t yet attempted to go to a real movie theater. He usually does pretty well when he’s a little tired, but not over-tired.

On certain days, especially if he’s feeling under the weather and he needs a little more TLC, I will make some popcorn, get a juice box for him and maybe even think about giving him little lollipop treat while we watch a G or PG-rated movie together. Since he is still taking naps during the day (well mostly just one long nap now), he sometimes falls asleep watching a movie.

His current favorite movie is Moana. Michael thinks he has a crush on her.

Play at home – FREE
There are ways to make play time fun, creative and interactive! Playing with your toddler and teaching him to play pretend expands his imagination. Don’t be afraid to get messy either! You can always take a bath afterwards!

You can play with the idea of planning activities around different themes matching holidays or cultural traditions. Or, tailor play and activity time at home for your toddler to learn about the basics, such as colors or numbers.

You can invite his little friends over too! This also teaches your child or children to be more social with other kids. While this can be challenging at first, it’s good to be consistent with it. Since Kai is an only-child he doesn’t understand the concept of sharing. Well he’s getting more used to the idea, at least:)

Some of his favorite things to play with now are play-doh and instruments; play dirt and monster trucks; his train wooden tracks and train set; his CAT diggers, bulldozers, dump trucks, and front-end loaders; his Hot Wheels cars; cutting his wooden fruits and vegetables with this Melissa & Doug set; and watching PBS Kids!

Got any more ideas?
These are just some ideas! There are plenty of ways to entertain your toddler. I have honestly bonded so much with my 21 month year old. It has been such a joy to watch him learn things so quickly. I feel so lucky to be spending this time with him.  If anyone has any other ideas, please share! I am totally open to trying new things to keep busy.

Getting here.

Getting Here

Three days ago, we made it here in one piece.

Our driver picked us up at 4:45am, and Michael installed the carseat into the Lincoln MKX. We were on our way, assuming Kai would continue to sleep. Wrong. He stood up the whole time…guess he was as excited as we were for VACATION.

If you ever have a toddler and you are waiting for your flight at Boston Logan Airport, you should check out the Kidport. Kai met another boy who was also 17 months old, and they played for about a half an hour before our flight.

Our Flight

Since we flew on Delta, our flight departed at 8:30am to its hub, the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Of course, with minutes to landing the aircraft Kai decides to fall asleep. So Michael carried Kai to our gate. Upon scanning our tickets to board, Kai wakes up from his nap. He then stays awake until we have 16 minutes to land in Mexico City.

Upon landing we had to go through Customs, which took a really long time. Kai ends up waking up the entire time, and From Mexico City, we had to check in with AeroMexico after picking up our large suitcases and putting them back on the belt for the connection.

In the Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de MĂ©xico (Mexico City International Airport), we got Starbucks sandwiches. Boy, were they good! They had really tasty options with a Mexican flair. Kai loved the everything. We also had enough money on our Starbucks card, so we didn’t even have to use our credit card.

RushMyPassport.com_Mexico

Ixtapa, Mexico

Upon landing in Ixtapa, we grabbed our checked luggage and proceeded to search for the Club Med transportation to the resort. The folks here are very helpful and the taxi drivers directed us to the lady who wrote us a slip. The three of us and a couple who was on the same flight as us all shared an SUV taxi to the resort.

We were greeted by some friendly faces when we arrived to Club Med Ixtapa, and we checked in without a hitch.

More sunsets and adventures to come!

RushMyPassport.com

The Cape Cod Cabin Experience

It was a last-minute trip and totally worth the experience. We knew we wanted to bring Stanley, so that limited our travels a bit.

We booked the trip the end of May, and we left Friday, June 2. We had every intention of making it a week-long trip. We didn’t make it. We were oh so close though.

The location: Peter’s Pond RV Resort in Sandwich, MA. We arrived around 2pm and were able to check in early, even though check-in was at 4pm. When making the reservation we were told we were going to get a tub in the cabin. We got there only to find there was no tub in sight. The only bathing option was a small stand-up shower stall that was smaller than Michael. Other than that, everything looked great! The kitchen and living areas were all updated.

The heated outdoor swimming pool that first afternoon was so much fun! The sun was out, and there were only a few other people in the pool so it wasn’t overly crowded. Kai had a blast. After the pool, we took Stanley for a walk. The dog park was perfect for him! Kai even had some fun in there:)

We were fully aware to bring our own linens and did anticipate sleeping on a queen-sized bed even though we have a king. We wouldn’t typically complain, however, Kai has been sleeping with us since turned about 6.5 months old. He’s an above-averagely sized kid, and I still have my pregnancy weight to lose haha, so it was a bit uncomfortable.

Michael told me the next day that he must have killed 30 or more spiders in the cabin. I had no idea.

The next day, we decided to reach out to management and stress the importance of having a bath tub since Kai is just over one year old, and we were afraid of him slipping in the shower. The management and staff at the resort were very much willing to help us.

The hiccup: the cabin they transferred us to didn’t have a tub either :/ they even gave us the key and everything. Thank God we decided to check the place out before we moved ALL of our stuff into the new one! We had already bought groceries too. They apologized after we informed them of the situation and gave us two other options. Thankfully, both of those did have tubs. We opted to go for the cabin that was closer to the playground area and pool, with the more comfortable (but still queen-sized) bed.

Kai had so much fun in the tub!

On weekends, the resort has a ton of activities for kids. Kai and I got matching dinosaurs painted on our hands one day, and I made him a gimp bracelet that matched his ninja turtle shirt.

We bought groceries, and I cooked most of our meals, but we did venture out to a few restaurants during our vacation.

Restaurants: The first one was Marshland Too and Too’s Tavern. It was packed the night we went, so we thought we were in for a treat! Unfortunately, it just wasn’t as good as we thought. The stuffed quahog was way too buttery, and the seafood was definitely frozen, not fresh.  We were however, pleasantly surprised at our meals at Industry Ale House. It was 5:15pm on a Saturday night when we went in there, and we were the first people seated in the dining area. Everything that we ordered was fresh and delicious…definitely the best meal I had the whole trip.

We spent a lot of time outside of the cabin, which was exactly why we wanted to be near everything. It just made for an easier commute for us traveling with Kai. Some highlights included visiting the Ocean Science Exhibit Center, where we had a chance to see many exhibits; the Woods Hole Science Aquarium and the Cape Cod Children’s Museum. We also enjoyed our library story time at the Mashpee Public Library. They had a wonderful program called Toddle Time with Miss Rosemary that involved singing, reading stories, and making a craft. Although Kai was mostly interested in watching the bubbles and fish swimming in the tank they had at the library. Our last stop before we decided to cut our trip short was the Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich. That place was huge! They had an antique car area, many outdoor garden areas and trails, and several indoor art exhibits.

Overall, we had a great family trip. We did not expect a refund for the night we missed at Peter’s Pond, but they ended up refunding us anyways. That was super nice of them! We just couldn’t wait to go back to our comfy bed.

We are so grateful for taking this trip before we jumped into becoming RV owners. Just imagine us in a tiny RV on vacation…maybe when Kai gets older we will revisit and consider this again. Until then, we will try out different vacationing styles until we figure out what will be our family’s best fit, either with or without our beloved Cairn. He does love daycare, so we will see how boarding goes when we go to Mexico!

Leg 2 Endings and Leg 3 Beginnings

Leg 2 Endings

These past few weeks have been more relaxing than the first leg because we had completed a lot of the legwork of planning out the campsite and hotel reservations prior to the 2-week trip.  One downfall of planning beforehand was that we did feel quite restricted and confined to what we had already planned. So we were unable to change our plans if we enjoyed one city over another.

Because we also took a different vehicle this time around, we realized that there were other considerations. One positive change was the fact that we knew for sure that we definitely over-packed during the first leg (if the Honda Ridgeline was completely packed FULL and we were able to fit everything we needed into the MINI convertible). We were proud of the fact that we were more organized in a way.

One negative (for Michael) was he really felt claustrophobic in the MINI. I felt completely “at home” and did not even need my back pillow the entire trip. I really do enjoy driving my car long distances in excess of 3 hours, because it really suits me nicely. The bigger truck makes my lower back ache a lot more when I drive a hour or so. We returned my car to my parents’ and then packed Michael’s truck on Friday, August 29th. It took us about 4.5 hours or so to get to Swansea because it was the Friday before Labor Day weekend and traffic was difficult.

Upon arrival to Swansea, MA we were really able to spend some quality time with Michael’s parents as they took us out to dinner at Ichigo Ichie in East Providence, RI. It was really nice to catch up with them before we departed once again for the next leg of the trip.

On Saturday and Sunday we met up with our friends to get some wedding tasks completed because the next time we would be back in the New England area would be one week before our big day:)

Leg 3 Beginnings

Our main goal for the third leg of the trip is to make a lot more progress to visit each of the 50 states in time for our wedding. The portion of the trip starts in MA and ends with Alaska/Seattle, WA. This could potentially include doing some intensive driving straight through states we had already been to during the first and second legs of our journey. We just need to take a day to mentally prepare ourselves for what is to come. We also just ended up booking our cruise to Alaska, so we could better prepare and plan out our route across the country.