Saturday, March 31, 2012

Travel with a Tod

8 + hour drive in a car, plus 6 days in a completely new environment completely different from what he's use to had me a little nervous..,
but luckily, things went super smooth. Before leaving on the cruise I found some wonderful blog post on cruising with toddlers that were super helpful giving me some ideas of things to bring with us to make our trip a bit easier. I added some things too, so  I thought I would share some of the must have things to pack that made our trip drastically less stressful.

* Car activities!!!

For the long car ride I made a few different activities for him and also brought a long a couple things that he really likes and I know will keep his attention. One activity I made was small wooden blocks with magnetic tape on the back (top picture) that stuck to a cookie sheet. The blocks were new for him (he got them at Christmas but I hadn't got the out yet for him to play with) so he was pretty excited about that... and the fact that they would stick to the sheet if he picked it up and shook it as hard as he could. I also put magnetic tape on the back of some shapes I cut out of construction paper. He really enjoyed those a lot more than I thought. Next time I'll laminate them first because they got pretty bent up, but they were a last minute addition so i didn't have time. I also had felt pieces from the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar that I had made for my class so I added some magnetic tape to the back of those and he played with them as well (in the last picture you can see the cupcake from the story didn't quite make it back into the's still hangin out on his shirt). I just kept each activity in a Ziploc baggy inside my "car bag" and pulled them out when I saw him getting antsy.

* Snacks Snacks Snacks!
So over the span of our entire vacation Dax ate way more snacks that I would normally like him to eat (especially processed snacks.. ugh). But, it was vacation... and you have to get by with a toddler in some way. I brought a long some new, different snacks that he hadn't had before, as well as some of his favorites. In most of our pictures from the cruise he can be seen with a snack in his hand. Some times I think it was a security thing for him but I'm ok with that for just one week.

*New cup!
So this is sort of completely random but I wanted to make sure he would drink tons of water when we were going to be in the sun a lot. He loves water in the first place, but I wanted to make it super exciting to drink. We bought some adult water bottles (the kind with the sports lid that you can squirt out of) and he thought those were the coolest things in the world to drink out of. I had no worries whatsoever about him getting dehydrated!

*Diaper Sacks!
These things are AWESOME! I just happened to wonder upon some in the store before we left and thought I would give them a try. They're just the right size for a diaper and are baby powder scented. Dax may be a little boy but he can smell like a man (tmi... maybe) so I was worried what would happen if we had to end up changing a diaper on the side of the road, or even in our room on the cruise (those rooms are pretty small and I did NOT want to be locked in a small space with the smell of a dirty diaper). You just throw the diaper in these bags and tie them up and you never smell ANYTHING but baby powder! They're awesome! I'll be using these regularly that for sure!

Our stroller was a life saver for sure! It made the entire process of boarding the ship and going through customs SO much easier. It also saved my back by keeping me from carrying my chunky boy around on the ship all the time. We loved just going for walks around the entire ship and people watching with the stroller. If he was in his stroller... he was happy. We have the Combi Cosmo Stroller  (I've mention before how much I love it) and it was the perfect size for the cruise. It's not much bigger than an umbrella stroller, but has the ability for him to lay down and be covered by a sun shade unlike most umbrella strollers. It also folds up pretty small, a must for storing in a small cruise ship cabin.

*Cup Leash!
This isn't the exact one we have but it's pretty similar. These are wonderful! There were so many times that I"m certain we would have lost a cup and not known about it without our cup leash. They wrap around any size cup and you can hook it to the stroller to keep it from falling on the ground. Wonderful! We also used it a lot when he was younger to keep toys from falling on the ground while sitting in highchairs at restaurants. It kept us from losing toys and saved Dax from a lot of germs in his mouth. We got ours at Buy Buy Baby but I have recently seen pins on Pinterest on how to make your own!

* Travel Changing Pads and Bibsters!

*Baby Powder!
Thanks to pinterest I found out that baby powder is a must have for visits to the beach. Sprinkle baby powder on them and the sand rubs right off!! Dax especially appreciated this because he was not a fan of baby powder being stuck to his legs!

* New Toys!
Before going I stocked up on a bunch of small, cheap new toys for Dax to play with on the ship (play dough, painters tape, a fold and car set, small zoo animals, nesting cups, funnels). They were new so he was super excited about them and they were all small so they didn't take up much space in the suitcase. I made sure not to give them to him all at once so I had new things to offer him throughout the week. The painters tape was super fun to pull and tear and stick to things and  the nesting cups and funnels were fun to stack. Our most expensive toy purchase was this...
(Sorry for the blurry picture... best one I could find) It cost a total of $10. The ramps fold up so it didn't take much space at all!

Well those are my must have items to pack for long trips! They were life savers for sure! I'll be posting soon with a few more travel tips that made our vacation successful!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Spring break was phenomenal! Dax and I (along with over 40 other family members) went on a cruise to Progreso and Cozumel Mexico. Daniel and I did this same cruise about 3 years ago and fell in love with cruising so there was no way I was missing out on another opportunity to go! I was super, super bummed that Daniel couldn't go and be a part of off the first for Daxton but I guess it's just part of the med school process. We'll have plenty of time in the future to go on fantastic vacations as a family.... ones that Dax will actually remember :)   
Ok.... so brace yourself for picture overload! I use this blog as sort of "memory book" so I'm going to go a little overboard with pictures.... but they're cute... so I'm sure you won't mind ;)

So when we go on a cruise... we always leave the day before and spend the night at a hotel in Seabrook, TX. I love this little town and the hotel we stay at is always great too. So 10+ cars full of family members left at 6:30am Friday and caravanned all the way to Seabrook. I was super nervous about an 8 hour car ride with Dax but he did awesome. He's a rockstar for sure. I plan on making a post soon on traveling with a toddler.

 We got to the hotel that evening with plenty of time to play with cousins, enjoy the pool, run up and down the hall (he had been locked in a car for 8 hours) and go out to dinner.

The next morning we wake up bright and early and headed down to the port in Galveston. We were so excited.... all 40 of us. We had been planning this cruise for over a year now so the anticipation was huge. And for most of the group this was their first time cruising... so I'm sure it was a mix of excitement and nervousness.
We left on St. Patricks Day so the whole group was decked out in green. It was fantastic.
I was terrified what going through security and the whole boarding process was going to be like with a toddler but it actually went incredibly smooth. We got there early enough that we didn't have to wait in long lines. Since I had done this before I new what documents I would need so I had them all on hand. I had the stroller so Dax was just along for the ride. The worse part was when he had to walk through the metal detector... that freaked him out a bit but it last a total of maybe 3 minutes.

Well the boat set sail and our vacay began! Our schedule for the week was depart on Saturday, Sunday was a day at sea, Monday we were in Progresso, Tuesday in Cozumel, Wednesday a day at sea, and then arrive back at Galveston on Thursday morning. It was fabulous. Cruising with a toddler was a completely different experience than cruising with Daniel, but it was still a great vacation. That's one of the great thing about cruises... they're super, super family friendly. You can make them as wild and crazy as you want (there were a lot of college spring breakers on our ship) or as calm and relaxing as you want. They're awesome.
During the week, Dax and I spent a lot of time doing this...
watching the elevators... which he so kindly renamed "Beep Beeps" (think about the sound and elevator makes). He was fascinated by them. If he got fussy... we just had to go watch or ride the Beep Beeps for a bit.  We also spent a lot of time doing this...
There was a semi quite place on the starboard side of the ship with some small tables and booth-like seats. We loved sitting back there and watching the water and having a snack. It just happened to be right next to the ice cream parlor/coffee shop :)  Quite a bit of time was also spent doing this...

Dax got some much needed cousin time in. The one thing that I hate more than anything about living in a different city than my family is that he doesn't get to see his cousins much. Me and my cousins were all really close and I have a ton of great memories with them so I want that to be the case for Dax as well. He def. made up for lost time on this vacation though. I figured out exactly which room they were in (only a few doors down from us) and would run to their room, bang on their door, and yell "Yey yey" (chey chey) and "Nainer" (Zainer). He also super impressed me with his rough-housing skills. The way this boy plays you would think he has three older brothers at home. He was wrestling with the best of them! Pushing them down, pulling their clothes, jumping on their backs, trying to sit on their heads, smacking them with whatever weapon he could find.... it was impressive.  Since we've been back home he will randomly ask for "yey yey" and "nainer". We settle for looking at pictures of them for now.
So the one down side to cruises (with the exception to I think Disney cruises), is that children can not get in the pools in they still wear diapers. I understand completely (the pools aren't chlorinated, only salt water) but I was a little worried about how Dax would cool off. We had brought along a tiny blow up pool but I really didn't want to have to mess with it. Luckily there was this wonderful fountain by a pool in the back of the ship. Dax spent a lot of time playing there. He thought it was awesome... between it and the showers by the pool... he stayed nice and cool :)

Progreso was Dax's first time in the ocean and first time to play in the sand on the beach. He was very curious and ran straight to the water.... until he realized how cold it was. With it only being March the water was still pretty chilly so we didn't spend much time in it.  He also didn't like when the wet sand would stick to his feet. He sort of has texture issues (like his mommy) so foods and how some things feel freak him out. He liked the sand if he was dry and the sand was dry, so we stayed away from the ocean and played with the pretty white, dry sand on the beach.

Overall the vacation was wonderful.... tiring with a toddler... but wonderful. I have a ton of great pictures on facebook from the entire trip if you want to see more. Like I said earlier... it was very different than cruising with Daniel, but still a blast, just in a different way. Me and Daniel are already planning a seven day mommy and daddy only cruise for late next spring. I think we're addicted :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

this boy...

This boy steals my heart a little more each day.

I mean look at that face.... how could you not fall in love?!

And his dance moves.... crazy. He does some awesome interpretive dancing.... along with quite a bit of foot stomping, arm bending, head banging, and squatting. It's awesome.

"Outsiddde" is the most heard phrase in this house. He would live outside. Watching birds, talking back to them, playing with sticks. A boy after my own heart :)

He loves so strongly. Going through the list of who all he wants to see on our drive home ("Daddy, Puppy, Sadie".  Everyday). It's so refreshing. If we all loved like a child how awesome would this world be?!