Newport Family Day Trip

Yes, we are Rhode Island residents. And yes, we don’t explore locally enough. However, once or twice a year, when our Cairn terrier needs to get groomed, we take the opportunity to spend some family time in the Newport, RI area.

Our Dog Groomer

Since our dog has a wire coat and my husband is very particular about how he gets groomed. And not a lot of places in the area offer hand-stripping dogs with a wire coat. We found one place and it’s located in Portsmouth, RI, called Perry’s Plush Pooch. They specialize in grooming show dogs. And while it is a hefty price to pay for our dog, it’s supposedly the proper way to groom a Cairn terrier.

Here’s some pictures of our shaggy Cairn…

and his post-groom look…

Castle Hill Lighthouse

Since our groomer requires he be brought to him by 8am in the morning and he be picked up around 3pm, we have typically gone for a day trip to Newport.

The first year we did this Kai was just getting comfortable with walking on uneven surfaces. So we just ended up taking him to a local playground and to Castle Hill Lighthouse.  When we went it was a cool and beautiful day in early April, so we got some nice pictures by the lighthouse and walking on the empty beach. And, it wasn’t super crowded/full of tourists that time of year.

Thames Street

After the lighthouse excursion, we decided to do some shopping on Thames. Kai had his snacks in his stroller along with his milk, while walked around.Snacking toddler with Ray Bans

Oh have I mentioned how much I LOVED using these WeeSprout Double Zipper Reusable Food Pouch – 6 Pack – 5 fl oz I found on Amazon while he was into eating pureed fruit? I would steam all sorts of fruits and vegetables and puree them all. Kai loved his snacks so much!

While he napped…

During his nap, we decided to go to a nice sit-down seafood restaurant, Mooring Restaurant. It worked out perfectly, and just as we were getting ready for dessert, our little one sat right up from his stroller looking SO ADORABLE with his cute/messy hair.

Just woken up toddler in stroller

What a wonderful way to end our Newport, RI day trip before we picked up our dog.

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A Rookie’s Ride

2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA

Day 1: Wednesday, July 11th

This was our very first real road trip with our brand-spanking new 2018 30′ Classic Airstream.

That morning we picked up a few last minute items from Walmart, ate lunch, and packed up the truck + RV for our 2.5 hour drive to Cabela’s in Scarborough, Maine. We had planned to boondock our first night out.

Camping Resource

RV Parky is just a great website resource to use to search for places to park your RV. We love using the app on our smartphones too. That’s how we discovered free overnight parking at Cabela’s! I did call the store beforehand, just to confirm before we got there. The store associate told me that the store doesn’t manage the parking but there are a lot of trailers and trucks that park there overnight and don’t get bothered. So, basically, they don’t want to be liable for anything = totally understandable!

After we got Kai and Stanley loaded into the truck, Kai was already NOT feeling it. He must have either been over-tired. The days leading up to the trip were fairly routine. Michael had lots of work to wrap up the week before and during the trip. So, I spent a great deal of time with Kai and Stanley. We got to bond a lot!

Michael was home on Friday morning, and Kai just wanted to spend all of his time bonding with daddy. It was hard for Michael to ‘get stuff done’. It just felt like it took forever to “get going”.

It had already been a long day.

To top it off, I get pre-departure jitters/anxiety. So the night before, I couldn’t get to bed. I think I stayed up until 2:30am.

Connection Problems

Yes, we were experienced at RVing, but this was a whole new beast!

Something was bound to GO WRONG. We just didn’t expect it to be so soon. The problem started before we even left.

After Michael hooked up the Airstream, we were trying to get our lights to connect so we could drive safely. The connection to our rearview camera was not working. And, we had preordered trailer cameras to be picked up while we were in Maine. So, we didn’t have those either.

We made a call to Pete’s RV in Plainville, MA. I explained to them that our lights weren’t hooking up properly and that we had just purchased the Airstream from Pete’s RV in Vermont. They said we could bring it on by. THANK GOD! They did inform us that their service department technicians leave at 4pm. At this point it was just after 2pm. So we got there around 2:45pm.

The wire was damaged. Most likely from the way it was sitting up against the sway bars/hitch. So, the connection wires were cut.

Thankfully, on our drive there, Kai fell asleep. Much needed nap indeed! We didn’t anticipate them taking a long time to fix because they just needed to replace the wire and hookup. They said they would only charge us for the wire and no labor, which was super nice!

It was 4pm, and Kai woke up. We still had about fifteen minutes before they packed up.

Unfortunately, the fixed wire didn’t resolve our connection issue. One of the other technicians came out and discovered our Ford F-150 had a blown fuse! We called the closest Ford dealership in Foxboro, MA. They didn’t carry it. The only place in the state of MA that had one in stock was located in Quincy, MA.

Michael ended up just taking another fuse from a different part of the truck and replacing that, temporarily. So we didn’t have power in our center console. It was definitely more important we fix the trailer rearview lights. They also control the running lights for the trailer. So we wouldn’t be able to drive safely at night without them on.

Phew, it was already 5pm. Now we were hungry again!  And, we had only made it to Foxboro, MA, from our home in Rhode Island!

Michael wanted to stop along the highway, but I just suggested we head to Olive Garden at Patriots Place, which was literally down the road. When I get over hungry, I get hANGRY.

Dinner hit the spot.

We left Foxboro, MA around 6:30pm, which was perfect because there was less traffic vs. during rush hour. Michael just kept on driving. We can cruise at 60mph comfortably while towing. We made a stop along the way so Kai could use the restroom. And, we have to find a parking lot large enough to accommodate the truck and travel trailer duo.

Arrival time: 9pm. Yay, we made it. And, it was time for bed. No shower for us that night. We had planned on it. Just had enough freshwater to brush our teeth, wash some hands, faces, and use the bathroom.

To be continued…

Interested in reading more about our first RV experience? Here are our posts for our first ever family RVing experience with our very first travel trailer, a 2018 Springdale Mini 1750RD by Keystone.

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.

Summer ’17 Short Trips

Throughout the summer our family has taken a few day and overnight trips. Some photos to follow!

Ready…Set…Go!

Following our Chicago trip, we had an anticipated move-out date of July 15th to shoot towards. Throughout the week of July 7th, our tiny one-bedroom apartment was such a mess! We came to the realization that we had accumulated a lot of “stuff” over the years. It was definitely a challenge figuring out what items we needed to get rid of, and of course, me being the sentimental person I am, I tend to place a higher value on items I had obtained during my travels. We ended up donating about 10-12 bags of clothes and shoes in addition to one futon, a wooden dining room table with four matching chairs (which I had purchased from a local Salvation Army a few years ago), a TV stand, two end tables, and a coffee table.

Tennis:
On Wednesday, July 9th, it was USTA Appreciation Day at the Newport International Tennis Hall of Fame Annual Tournament. So, we got tickets to attend the grass court event, where we had the chance to see a few top-ranked players who included: John Isner and Nikolas Mahut, and Lleyton Hewitt, who ended up taking the championship! It was a gorgeous day to go for a stroll in Newport.

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On the afternoon of Saturday, July 12th we had additional helping hands, as Michael’s parents and our good friend Becca ended up offering to move some of the larger items, such as furniture we wanted to keep (our bed, couch, bookcase, and dresser) to his parents’ house. After that, our apartment felt very empty and it even echoed as we chatted. This was it. We really felt like we were doing this. We just needed to tidy up a bit before we left, and pack up the truck to our liking.

Truck Packing:
Michael is very particular about certain things, so he took the lead in organizing how his truck was to be packed. We decided it would be best to have our own sides with our clothing and items, such as shoes and a portable gas stove. We ended up purchasing a cargo carrier for the bed of his truck to put mostly our camping and outdoorsy items into, and used the trunk to store our toiletries and other camping supplies, such as our lantern, citronella candles, bug spray, sun screen, matches, pots, pans, ropes, grill, two different sized air mattresses, duct tape, hiking shoes, compass, bear bell, and more! Within the truck, we packed a cooler with everything we would need along the way.

We stayed overnight at Michaels’ parents’ house for one evening where they had been kind enough to let us set up our bed, couch, and store some of our luggage. Michael’s grandmother, Jacki, invited all the girls out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays at the Boat House Restaurant in Tiverton, Rhode Island. It was a Monday evening, and the restaurant was completely full with customers! I was so surprised, but it was such an enjoyable time to spend it with everyone, as we shared stories about our lives and caught up. Following the dinner, Aunt Pat had scheduled an appointment for a private gong meditation session. Unfortunately, I had to leave after the dinner as it was already approaching 8pm, and it takes about 3.5 hours for us to get to my parents’ in New York. We had to drive both our cars, and that evening it was tough because it was raining pretty hard: thunder and lightning and trucks everywhere! Truck drivers, especially FedEx ones, really like to drive really fast at night, and they kept splashing me! But, we finally made it there just after midnight, and my dad was waiting up for us. He helped us bring some of our belongings inside.

wpid-img_20140715_164525.jpgThe following morning (July 15th) we left the house at 7:30am because we wanted to get to the China Consulate around 9am to submit our visa applications for the first portion of our honeymoon in early December. We decided to drop off our passports in mid-July so we could pick them up in August, when we came back for the U.S. Open (tennis) towards the end of the month. This way, we could avoid having to wait until Friday for them to be ready for pick up. My parents took us to Flushing, NY for a traditional Chinese breakfast at a dim sum restaurant
ooh la la is right! I hadn’t had Chinese breakfast in the longest time
boy, was it yummy. On our way back from the city, we received flash flood warnings, and apparently the weathermen were spot on this time around. It literally took us three hours to get from the city to our house, which typically takes one hour


It was time to seriously start planning the first leg of our trip. Since my parents do not have internet at their house, we took a trip to the local library. We secured a “quiet study room” where we had a few hours to do some planning. Michael and I discovered this website called Roadtrippers where we were able to plan out a route. It has some neat features including being able to customize the trip and keep track of miles and gas prices in the area.

So where are we now, you might ask? Check out this link to our trip.

Now that everything was set, we felt more relieved! So because we had some time, we made it a point to meet up with one of my best friends from high school, Nicole and her daughter Ally at a local diner for a late lunch before they had to go to gymnastics. It was great for us to catch up since we rarely get to see each other nowadays.

Then, Michael and I went on a 5 mile jog/run around my parents’ house. I led the way and brought him down 9W, to two parks: Peck’s Pond and Haverstraw Bay Park, and then back around back to the house. We really needed it! It was about 7pm when we arrived back. By that time, my dad was starting to prepare dinner for us, and my parents wanted a mini MINI lesson from me as I was leaving my car at their house while we were away on our trip for their enjoyment. My dad made moo shu pork, steak, crab legs, vegetables, shrimp, and rice for our so-called “last supper” prior to our departure the next morning. And, they gave us a bunch of small things, such as soy sauce, vegetable oil and some comfort foods, such as congee in a jar, some tea eggs, blocks of ice and bottles of waters for our trip!

We wanted to thank everyone who has been supportive of our trip and who have been our mentors and role models. We cannot wait to embark on this journey of a lifetime!