Disney World – with the kiddos

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve written a post and I’ve really been itching to write about our first trip to Disney World with the kiddos! I wrote a really long one but decided I may just have to write about the highlights because it was looooooooong!

But before that, I just wanted to thank everyone who has followed me on my blogging journey. It’s been hard coming up with content because I get caught up with what I think people may want to hear instead of focusing on writing about what I feel like writing about. So this year, my goal is just to write. Without thinking about what may be a “hit” or what may start to “trend.”

I started blogging because I wanted to share my adventures as a mom, but also to share my adventures as an individual. If it happens to put a smile on someone’s face, then all the better! So here’s to 2019!! Looking forward to writing more about things that give me joy! Thanks again for the follow!!

Disney World

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This past Christmas, my family and I went to Florida for our annual Christmas family reunion. Since this is the first time our little ones have been to Florida, A and I decided to suck it up and go to Disney World! What an adventure for sure! Here are some of the highlights that happened during out trip there!

JK it wasn’t that bad… haha

Animal Kingdom

Can I just say that Disney World is a machine?! The way everything works from the trams that take you to the parks and back to the parking lots, to the staff that notices the small things and make sure that you feel special. No wonder people call it “the happiest place on earth!”

OK! So yes, Animal Kingdom. This is where A and I went “solo” with our little family. Everyone else went to Universal and we took E and baby bro (let’s call him J from now on) here because we know they love animals. We were not disappointed!

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They loved the shows especially The Lion King and Finding Nemo. I mean who knew a 2 year old can sit still in awe for a whole 35 minutes? J enjoyed the shows so much he kept yelling “more” after each show we went to.

Lion King

Guys, legit, go here. E and J were staring open-mouthed the whole entire time. It’s basically songs from the movie with lots of tumbling and jumping and dancing! Here is J… who even taught him how to clap like that?!?

Pandora

We didn’t do the Flight of the Avatar – couldn’t get a fast pass to it and then the line was like 4 hours long! But we were able to go on the Navi’i River ride. Reviews showed that adults didn’t really like it, but the kids loved it so much! A boat ride in a cave with lots of glowing lights? Yes please!

We also indulged in the Night Blossom Drink! One of my good friends recommended I try it, so I did and I heart it. The kids loved it too. Limeade, apple, and pear flavors with popping passion fruit flavored bubbles? Yasssss! It also makes for a great insta pic… just saying.. if you’re into that…

Finding Nemo

It’s the whole movie in 35 minutes. Loved it. E got a little scared of the shark scene… but J was all about everything. I can’t believe this boy sat through the whole thing. Ok Disney, I see you.

My Thoughts on Animal Kingdom

It’s definitely a lot harder to get around with kiddos. Yes, bring them strollers. It’s super helpful. Also, note to self, E and J both have major FOMOs and don’t want to miss out on anything. So yes, J will forego his nap… but also know he will break down as soon as you get home… it was a rough night.

Magic Kingdom

I love this place! I LOVE THIS PLACE! If E and J weren’t with me, I would still love this place. Here is where E got her fill of princesses while also being treated like a princess. She was one happy kid. J didn’t nap his usual 1-3 pm but fell asleep during dinner and then woke up hangry… yayyyyy! This was also the day that 15 of our family members joined our family of 4 to enjoy the park together!

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Ok Disney… I see you and your awesome lights!!

The Rides

We rode a few rides – Buzz Light Year, Winnie the Pooh, the Carousel, Peter Pan’s flight, and of course It’s a Small World (my mom’s fave). The fast pass saved us from waiting too long in a few of the lines. This is when 19 of us would go through the fast pass lanes to enjoy the rides together. I loved it! It reminded me of when I was little and our whole family would wait in line together. This is when the cousins would either bond or get into fights depending on the mood. Luckily, there was no fighting this time around.

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Meeting the Princesses

There was a portion of the day where my mom, A, E and J broke off from the whole family, so E could finally meet the princesses. People… let me tell you! If your kid wants to meet a certain princess, make sure you stand in the correct line! Because we waited for an hour to meet Rapunzel, only to find out we were in the Esmeralda and Jasmine line!! Thankfully E didn’t know any better and thought we were just gonna get in another line again after meeting Esmeralda and Jasmine.

Little did she know that her mother had to pretty much beg the fast-pass people for the Rapunzel line. I think it helped that E was all decked out in her Rapunzel outfit – hair and all, that they kindly let us through the fast pass lane (especially since no one was there). E was speechless as Rapunzel tried to talk to her, but her smile said it all – her dream had come true. My heart melted when I saw that.

Enchanting Stories With Belle

Ok guys, I had to single this one out. There wasn’t a long wait for this one and honestly, I thought it was going to be a total dud… but guys, if you ever have a chance to take your kiddos here… do so. They get the kids involved and they get an up close and personal time with Belle!

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I loved it because E and J volunteered to be in the little story… this momma was so proud that J didn’t cry because the whole trip, he only wanted to be with me. So I was so proud to see him up there. I really think it’s because E was up there and he saw that she was having fun so he’s like “ok me too.” And my personal favorite, A, got picked to be a knight. The last person that would volunteer for anything that would make him be in the spotlight… but he did it for the kiddos and I loved it so much I had to write separately about it.

That Dole Whip

Ummm, O (my friend) is the best. She recommended this and I wonder why of all the years I’ve been to Disney when I was younger, I have never had it before. Guys, get it. It’s legit. It’s basically soft serve pineapple ice cream. And if you think it’s too tarty, get it mixed with vanilla ice cream and you’re good to go. Legit. Get it!

My Final Thoughts on Magic Kingdom

I can’t even. What can I say? I love this place. The shows were great! Beware of Mickey’s Philharmonic though – it could scare a 2 year old because of the loud cymbal sounds. Speaking from experience of course. Lol.. but otherwise, the shows were great and over the top and awesome. I loved them all.

Yes, it’s a lot harder with the kiddos. But I can tell that they really enjoyed it and if you can take them being whiny and cranky from lack of sleep/tiredness, then I really think you ought to try it.

Finally…

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Ok, that was longer than I thought it would be… but trust, it was way longer. LOL.

When I was a kid, I totally enjoyed all these rides and shows and stuff. But truly, I only remember snippets of it. As a mom, I don’t even remember what happened in any of the rides or the shows… what I do remember are E and J’s faces – their smiles, their awe, and their cheering. I guess that’s what my mom remembers when she took us when we were younger. I think that because of the way her face lit up every time E and J were awed of something. And I know that because of the way I felt when I saw their faces light up.

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So yes, A and I were exhausted… but we both agreed that the best part of that trip, was watching E and J. We also agreed that we would have to go again without the kids so we can enjoy it for ourselves… hahaha.. just keepin’ it real yo! Disney is not just for kids ok??

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!!

 

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Winter Lights Festival – Exploring Maryland Series

Hi guys! Time for exploring Maryland Series again! Ok, so this may be a little late but better late than never. Are you guys looking for stuff to do with the kiddos that’s festive? Do you live in the Gaithersburg/Rockville/Germantown area? Even if you don’t, and you’re nearby those cities, you should go and check out the Winter Lights Festival in Gaithersburg!

Gift-giving Guide (Guest Blogger)

Well hello there everyone! I haven’t published anything in a while because I’ve been focusing a lot on my health lately – mental and physical. And that takes up so much time that blogging has been in the background lately. But fear not! I have a guest blogger who wants to remain anonymous save for her first name – Linda. And she’s one of the best gift givers I’ve known. So here it is folks! A gift-giving guide for the upcoming holidays!
Disclaimer, I am NOT affiliated nor am I sponsored by any products mentioned here. These are simply suggestions of my awesome gift-giving friend.

Here we go!

Ready, set, go! Take it away, Linda!
So over the years, friends have told me that I’m a “good” gift giver. That’s a great compliment! But to be honest, ever since I became a mom, my gift-giving skills have taken a huge dive. I have less time, shopping with an infant/toddler is so incredibly hard, and I hardly remember anything these days!

Tips

Here, I’ll provide some tips and offer some gift suggestions.
The key thing to remember when shopping is that you’re shopping for the recipient, not for yourself. Even though it’s super easy to buy multiples of whatever you need or want, or to go to your favorite store, resist! You’re simply crossing an item off your to-do list, which hey, I totally understand! I’m guilty, too. But if you’re looking to perfect the art of gift-giving during the upcoming holidays, read on.
The second thing to remember is to pay attention (!!) whenever you hang out or chat with the person. Readily recounting conversations has helped me the most when I need to shop for someone. Did your friend gush about a new brand or product she tried? Remember it! Did she mention that she has a new job and needs to look for more professional clothing? There ya go! Remembering these kinds of comments and conversations will help you narrow down which store you need to visit. You can even jot down notes in your smartphone as they occur throughout the year.

Word of Caution

And a word of caution about gift cards. Only buy them if: 1) you know the person shops here or eats there, and 2) this store or restaurant is physically located near the person’s home or workplace. You can’t always rely on online redemption, unless it’s an online-only store like Amazon. Getting someone to try something new through a gift certificate is risky, unless you know for a fact that this person loves to try new things and check out different places. We tend to be creatures of habit, and a gift card won’t change that.
Also, people tend to be either really easy or really hard to shop for… if a person is difficult, just accept that fact and make the most out of it. For the difficult ones, or people you don’t know very well, consider questions like:
  • What kind of things do they buy for themselves and where? Look at the person. How do they dress? Do they wear makeup or cologne?
  • What’s something they like to eat or could cook with, if he or she cooks? Edible gifts (ex. baked goods, high quality olive oil, local honey, expensive coffee beans) are easier for the receiver to use or re-gift (let’s be honest!) compared to clothes and accessories.
  • Could you just donate to a charity in his/her name?

Gifts for the ladies or fellas

I think that by your mid- to late-twenties, most women and men have a staple of brands and products they use regularly. Your best bet is to stick with these brands or products. It might not be the most creative, but your gift is more likely to be appreciated and used. I love me some Madewell. You could give me the exact same style of sweater from the Gap, but if it says Madewell, my heart skips an extra beat. I don’t know why, it just does.
If the person has hobbies, that’s super easy to mine for ideas. But if they don’t have hobbies, think about when they were younger, or where they got married or honeymooned… nostalgic gifts can be powerful. Or think about what they studied in college, a hopeful, naive time in life where you were more likely to pursue your actual interests. Perhaps there’s a gift that meshes with that area or skill set. What would make this person smile? That’s the response you want when they see your gift.
If you have a great idea but it’s out of your price range, consider asking another friend or relative if they want to chip in for a group gift. If you’re close enough, I’m sure these other people will love that they don’t need to go through the trouble of finding and purchasing a gift.

Gifts for children

When buying gifts for babies and children, don’t forget about the parents (would they disapprove?), and whether they live in a small apartment or large house. Bulky gifts are really hard to store or clean. Consider items that a parent already needs to buy… you would do mom & dad a favor by gifting something they already need, like food items (a simple box of their favorite cereal!) or gear their child may need in the upcoming year (sports equipment, shoes in the next size, etc.). It’s super hard to resist the “cute” factor in a toy or outfit, but think how practical is that gift? A family pass to a local zoo or children’s museum may be better use of your money, and bonus points if you offer to take the children to the zoo/museum yourself!

Help! I need a gift, stat.

Gift-guides abound this time of year. But these can be hard to tailor for you specific recipient. If all the above fails, and you just need an idea, any idea, here’s a short list:

That’s it!

And that’s it you guys! Hope you guys enjoyed this gift-giving guide by my good friend. Thank you Linda for taking time to blog for me! Thanks everyone for reading and have a great rest of the day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

3 Days in San Jose-Bay Area with a Kid

A vacation with kid(s) is not a vacation at all… sort of. Let me preface this by saying we went into this trip knowing that our almost 5 year old girl was coming to this trip. Baby bro stayed with A’s parents because he isn’t quite ready for the travel life yet.  We decided to hit up the San Jose-Bay Area for this particular “vacation.”

Knowing that E was going, A made plans to make sure that all our activities are kid friendly. He wanted to travel further away from the Bay Area but considering we were only there 3 full days, it was better to just stay around the area.

Here’s how we traveled with a toddler and what we did while we were in the Bay Area.

5 Hour Plane Ride

Flying with a toddler is no easy feat. Even though E usually does what she is told, it’s hard to keep toddlers seated for 5-6 hours straight. Even I don’t like to sit for that long.

So we brought toys, snacks and of course the ever magical iPad. At this point of parenting, I choose sanity over shame.

She did pretty well! She went to the bathroom like a bajillion times (ok, just twice) but she was happy playing with her toys and eating her snacks. E even refused the iPad after 15 minutes because girl couldn’t stay seated for so long.

Thankfully she was small enough and careful enough not to touch the seat infront of her. Yes there were two meanies who kept looking back at us but dude, Southwest’s new chairs are so thin now that even me putting my drink in the seat back pocket caused the lady infront of me to give me the stink eye. Like chill out lady, it was one time. I really think she already had the preconception that it was going to be a bad flight because there was a kid behind her. E did not cry, did not talk out loud, and touched the chair infront of her twice when she was getting out of her chair to go to the bathroom. Get a grip people! Sorry you were so perfect as a child. We all bow down to your greatness. *end rant*

Anyway,  after the flight a couple of ladies sitting across from us and behind looked at E and said “what a great little flyer you are!”  I’m petty, so of course I responded a little louder than usual – “oh thank you so much! She tried her very best!” I’m sure I got an eye roll or two from the people in front of us but oh well. Again, after becoming a mom, I have no shame and no chill when it comes to my kids. Don’t mess with mama bear. I won’t do anything bad, but I will be petty. LOL

Getting Used to A Different Time Zone

Ok so the west coast is 3 hours earlier than where I’m from. So naturally I knew that E would have a hard time with the time change. I did let her stay up past her bedtime but she still woke up at 4am the first day we were there.

Don’t stress too much. I slept earlier than my usual time so I could make sure that if she woke up early, I could play with her until A woke up. The man can sleep forever if not woken!

Toys helped here, as well as the iPad, since she can watch a show (usually Team Umizumi – a math show – yes, she’s a nerd) while I get ready for the day.

Another advice I have is to just try to go with the flow. Either you stress about getting home “on time” for their real bedtime at home, or see if he or she can handle it and play it by ear. We chose the latter. She had no problem staying up because girl has major FOMO and would stay awake forever if she could. She then would wake up at 6 am the next day and then 5 am and then 5:30am the last day. Not too bad!

San Francisco/Muir Woods

Brenda’s

The first day there, A, E, and I went to get brunch at Brenda’s in San Francisco. What a lovely place! We came for brunch (so way before the lunch rush) on a Thursday, so we were able to get seated right away. As you enter the place they have a huge blackboard on the right side where people can write their names down when waiting for a table.

The hostess was very nice and politely let us know that everyone has to be present for our party to get seated.

Their signature dish is their beignets – we got the plain, the apple pie flavor, the nutella flavor and one savory one which had crawfish in it. I’d go for the sweet ones over the savory one, but the crawfish wasn’t bad. We also really loved their shrimp and grits. I chose to get an omellette which is nothing to write home about but you know, not bad. We usually don’t get our kids their own stuff and just share with them but hey, it’s vacation for E too, so we got her chicken and biscuits. The chicken was crispy and the biscuit flaky. She approved! The fries were good as well.

I recommend coming here when you visit SF. It’s great!

Muir Woods

After that, we decided to hit up Muir Woods. This park is famous for having a lot of tall Redwood Trees. True story: I told my mom we were going to the Redwood Forests and first thing she says back is “Is that where Robin Hood lives?” Gotta love her! She funny!

This is definitely kid friendly to a point. There are trails that are paved well and is good for parents with strollers. You can also choose different trails that would either go 1/3, 1/2, or a full way around the forest.

We enjoyed walking together and E seemed to like nature more than we thought she would. She walked the whole loop! Be aware that the bathrooms are near the “base camp” so if you have a toddler that you know pees a lot, you may want to put on a diaper on him/her. E didn’t need it this time but you never know!

South Bay Area

Kunjip Restaurant

There are some Korean Restaurants in the San Jose area. Kunjip was recommended to us by a friend who used to live near here. It mostly has soups and 4 meat dishes. We decided to get the soups because we had a pretty heavy brunch.

I’m not sure how I feel about it to be honest. I got the kalbi tang which is a beef rib stew. The difference with this soup and other kalbi tangs that I’ve tasted is the jujube infused broth. I don’t think I like the jujube taste, but if you’re into that, this may be a winner for you. They definitely give a lot of meat and you will be full if you eat it with rice.

We also got the Sulung Tang which is an ox bone soup with white noodles. Typically, you add salt/seasoning to it because the broth doesn’t have a strong taste. So I did that, and it tasted fine after adding the salt. But I definitely still hungry after eating this. So you may want to order something else with this.

Overall it was ok. It’s not my favorite, but the soups aren’t bad and it looks like from other reviews that the meat dishes are also good.

Creamistry

We couldn’t be on vacation and not go to dessert places. Other than the bajillion bubble tea places in the Bay Area, I wanted to try some fancy schmancy ice cream place. So when I saw that this place used liquid nitrogen to make their ice cream, I had to bring E so she could see it.

Overall, the experience was cool. As for the ice cream, I would recommend going for the flavors that are more plain because we got the fruity pebbles, the cheesecake with cheesecake pieces and the taro with mochi. You can choose to have your toppings mixed in or just on top. Both the fruity pebbles and the cheesecake ice creams were pretty overbearing – we had the toppings mixed in. The taro was the tamest flavor and it was pretty good – we had the mochi (which also has a mild flavor) just on top of the ice cream.

The Source

The next day, we started our day by going to “The Source” to get some vegan, organic acai bowl. We so fancy, I know ;-). This place is pretty cool. There’s only 3 little tables inside, and one huge table outside. The fourth wall facing the street is a huge garage type of deal which opens up, opening the front of the store fully.  The decor gives off a cafe type of deal.

The acai bowl is delicious! Lots of fillings and you’ll definitely get full with just one order. The juices are kind of expensive so maybe skip that if you can. We didn’t get their coffee but it looks pretty legit so get at your own risk =).

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Since we did travel with E, A found the nearest zoo he could find from where we were staying.  It’s a zoo and amusement park for kids.  I mean what more can you want? Bear in mind that I did say “for kids.”

The zoo isn’t big at all. The largest cats they had was a jaguar I believe and there are not larger animals. You will see capybaras which are totally awesome rodents. Lemurs and other small mammals, tortoise, vultures, and other birds. They do have a petting zoo with overly aggressive goats and really timid sheep.

Another cool thing they had was when E got to meet their resident tarantula and hedgehog. There was a learning session and they told us all about these pretty cool creatures.

After that, E was all about the carousels and the rides. These are included in the price so your kids can ride these rides as many times as they want. That’s a plus for me because if carousel ride admissions these days are esssspensive!

Din Tai Fung

It’s not a vacation unless A gets to satisfy his food cravings. This restaurant has a Michelin Star and is located inside the San Jose Mall. They are famous for their dumplings. So of course, we had to make a trip there.

Although we waited quite a while, a nice tip is that you can “reserve” via yelp and if you get there within 15 min of your yelp reservation, the wait supposedly isn’t as long.

You can see the cooks making the dumplings right at the front. And when you enter, it’s probably the cleanest Chinese Restaurant that I’ve ever been to. The servers are so nice and the place is just very welcoming.

We got a lot of food! Cucumber Salad, 3 orders of soup dumplings (pork, and crab & pork combo), sauteed bokchoy, this peanut noodle dish (I forgot the name of the dish), beef noodle soup, shrimp fried rice, and spicy shrimp wontons.  Ummm yes please.

The difference between this place and other Chinese restaurants is that even after stuffing our faces, we didn’t feel that feeling of heaviness or being overly full. I noticed that these dishes were not as greasy as other Chinese foods and that their ingredients are really fresh. This is something I’d definitely be visiting again when we go back to San Jose.

Sunnyvale Farmers Market

Parking was a nightmare but this Farmers Market is massive compared to anywhere near where I live. Tons of places come and show off their awesome businesses. I fully support this and would totally visit here whenever I can.

San Francisco

PPQ Dungeness Island

Back to San Francisco, we hit up PPQ. We’ve heard such great things about this place and this is the one restaurant I was really excited to try. Seafood is my weakness. I totally wish that crabs were part of my daily meals.

Dungeness crabs are massive! If I were to compare it to how much meat I would get from a #1 male blue crab, I would say it could be about 3-4 times as much meat. We ordered the roasted garlic dungeness crab, the house garlic noodles, and crab meat fried rice.

All three entrees were delicious. The house garlic noodles were very flavorful and the crab meat fried rice definitely did not skimp on the cram meat. The dungeness crabs were also good. However, this east coast, Maryland girl is still all about the blue crabs. The meat of the dungeness crab is not quite as tender as the blue crab but it was still quite delicious. You have to at least give this place a go =).

San Tung Chinese Restaurant

I know… it looks like all we did was eat… but when your husband has an endless appetite, this is what happens. This place is famous for their chicken. We came on a Monday at around 5:45pm and there was already a 1 hour wait.

Even when our names finally got called, the place was packed. It’s almost like a big hole in wall type of place. It’s not clean by any means, but you can tell that people that go here don’t care about that kind of stuff because they know the chicken is that good.

We ordered the chicken and some good ol’ jajangmyun – noodles with black bean sauce. I mean, the thing is I wasn’t blown away by the chicken. It’s good. It’s not a 1 hour wait type of good. But I can tell you that the ja jang myun was bomb. Like legit one of the best that I’ve tasted. Still not a 1 hour wait type of good, but definitely worth a visit.

Bubble Tea

The Bay area is full of bubble tea places. So I went ahead and tried three different ones for each of the 3 full days we had there. Here are the ones I tried.

Teaspoon

Probably my favorite out of the three that we went to. The boba here is lightly sweetened and had the best texture out of the ones we went to. They also had interesting flavors. The ones we got were very refreshing. We got the Creamy Jasmine and House Milk Tea – both with the “less sweet” version.  You can definitely taste the tea in it but it wasn’t overpowering and didn’t have the bitterness taste to it.

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Urban Ritual

We didn’t know where to go in the city so we yelped and this little gem came up in our searches. We all thought it looked interesting so we went ahead and tried it. It wasn’t bad. You can also choose the sweetness level and when I thought mine was too bitter, I was able to bring it back to the baristas and they were able to increase the sweetness level of the drink. The boba was ok.

 

Happy Lemon

Back in San Jose, this one is known for the cap cream on top of the drink. Unfortunately, our was mixed right into our drink so I can’t completely say that I tasted the difference between this and regular milk teas that I’ve bought. The drinks weren’t bad though and the boba was also consistent in its texture.

 

Closing Thoughts

This trip was great in that we got to visit our loved ones and we were able to go to lots of different restaurants and activities. The hardest parts were that E woke up early every morning and then getting her adjusted back to our regular time zone when we got back from the trip.

There wasn’t a day that where we were not tired because E is not the easiest to sleep in the same room with. Yes, traveling with a toddler is definitely not a real vacation. However, I did love having her with us and seeing how excited she was when we would try something new. It’s just a different kind of fun. And I love making these kinds of memories with her and with baby brother in the near future!

Thanks for reading the longest blog ever and have a great rest of the day!

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(All gifs are from giphy.com)

 

Traveling With E For the First Time

This one is a more personal blog post. When I started blogging in 2013, it was a way to let family and friends know about my life as a mom. I wanted to share all my adventures with E and then when baby bro was born, with him as well. I loved it because I felt like even if I don’t get to see some people in my life that often any more, they can still sort of catch a glimpse of what’s going on if they decide to read my blogs.

Then I took a break from blogging for a bit but when I decided to come back to it, I thought I should publicize it to also share these adventures with others who could be strangers but who could be going through the same things and we could laugh or commiserate together.

However, I had trouble personalizing my blogs without divulging too much information to protect the privacy of my children and to an extent, my husband. So here’s my first attempt at trying to be more me while also protecting my kids’ privacy.

A New Adventure

I’ve never gone on trips by myself with any of my kids. It’s always been a fear of mine that I would not be able to “control” them and they would run around and get themselves hurt, hurt others, or my worse nightmare, get taken away from me. I know, I always think of worst case scenarios. You don’t?

But E is now 4, about to turn 5, and I really wanted to go visit a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in such a long time. I felt bad leaving A with two kids, so I chose the lesser of two evils at the time. Terrible twos or 4 going on 16?, I chose the latter, thank you very much.

E can now entertain herself pretty much. Give her a coloring book, and she’s quiet for at least 30 minutes to an hour depending on how new the coloring book is. Toys entertain her still. And if ever in desperate situations, yes, the iPad will come out. Don’t judge me. I honestly really don’t care too much about screen time as long as they’re not on it all day, every day. I grew up on TV and I think I turned out ok… not that I needed to defend myself, but sometimes mama bear comes out and well, there you go… sorry… again I digress.

Packing for Our Trip

Ok, so I only decided to drive 4 hours away, and only stay the night. One small suitcase would suffice. I did manage to fill it up though.

I packed her two sets of pajamas – she doesn’t wet the bed anymore, but hey, new territory means new game plan. Packed extra clothes in case anything happens. Her teddy bear is a must if traveling over night. And lastly, her hair stuff because girl has got a lot of hair. (Yes, I did forget her toothbrush, but thankfully, my friend has three kids so her house is well stocked.. phew!)

For me, just a pair of jammies, and a change of clothes would suffice. That and all the chargers that I needed for my phone, my hot spot, and my iWatch. This was also in the middle  my 10 step korean skin care, so yes I brought all of it with me!

Our Trip to Jersey

We left around 9am because in my head, that means we would miss all the traffic. Wrong. For some reason there was crazy traffic in the Baltimore Tunnel… then when we finally reached Delaware, we were stuck.

E took it like a champ! “It’s ok mommy, I’ll just sleep.” She didn’t even want the iPad. She literally sat there and just looked out the window. I dreaded the moment that she would get bored and start crying because that is what I remember would happen when we were traveling as a family.

That moment never came. She was in and out of her sleepiness. When she did finally wake up, we were finally on the Jersey turnpike after 3.5 hours of driving in traffic! She was a little grumpy but grumpy in a way where she didn’t want to talk to me so I’d take that over whining grumpy.

I decided to stop for some food because I realized that maybe E was just hangry. Sure enough, we got to the stop and as soon as she smelled food, girl perked up like “hey, I’m about to get fed!” We opt for a burger and salad and she was as happy as can be because she didn’t have to share with baby bro or A! Ha!

After filling up, we start back on our way and we still had 1.5 hours to go! I was in shock! But E was fed and she was happy. The last 15 minutes was the only time she kept asking “how far away are we” and “are we almost there?” questions. That, I could handle. We just turned on some Disney songs and belted out like there’s no tomorrow. Disney songs?? Yaassssss!

Being with Friends and Staying the Night

As soon as we got there, my friend and I had a happy reunion. E took some time to warm up but she loved the girls in no time! They were playing and laughing and I was so happy that I decided to make the trek to visit. There’s nothing like feeling at home at someone else’s home. That’s just how it is when you go to through PT school together. Friends for liiiiifffeee.

I was nervous about sleep time. But E was so busy with the girls that I don’t even think she had time to get nervous and worked up about sleeping. My friend did give her a light up pillow which helped tremendously. I was able to go have some alone time/mom talk with my friend when our girls fell asleep. That was well needed.

The next day, E and the girls played all morning until we decided to go home right after lunch. I figured it would be the perfect timing because then E would nap on the way home a little.

Our trip home

E fell asleep 15 minutes into our drive.  I was able to listen to some of my own music while she slept for about 1.5 hours. Yes N’SYNC, Britney, and Backstreet Boys, yasssss… go ahead, judge me.

When she woke up, I knew she would have to go pee, so I made it a point to keep on a lookout for an exit. I also needed some caffeine because driving could really suck the life out of you sometimes.

She was very excited when we stopped because she thought we were going to have a burger and salad again. I had to remind her that we already ate lunch and that we were just stopping to go to the bathroom and to get a drink.

We were at Starbucks so I got her a strawberry frappuccino without the syrup and without whip cream – essentially milk and strawberry puree. She felt sooooo special when she got that. I don’t think I’ve seen her smile wider. Ha!

The rest of the trip was uneventful. We sang some songs, ate some snacks, she watched a little bit of the iPad but got bored pretty fast, then she colored on her coloring book.

All in all, it was a pretty easy trip and I think I will take her on more trips like these because it was so easy! Did I just jinx myself? Maybe I won’t take her on so many trips?? hehe.

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What I Took From This Trip

This was the first time, E had me to herself for longer than a couple of hours after baby bro was born. She seemed content and loved telling me stories. Part of what I loved most about this trip is that I got to ask her some questions regarding home life.

I asked her about baby bro and how she feels about him and she told me straight up, “Mommy, I love [baby brother]. I will always love him even when he does bad things to me.” I can’t. So I ask her how she felt when baby bro hits her. She says she gets mad at him but that she still loved him.

I asked her about mommy and is she ok with me working. To which she answered, “Yes Mommy, you have to work so you can get money so we can have food. So go work.” Ha! I mean I did tell her that once, but I didn’t think she would keep remembering it. Oops… whatever, that’s real life man.

I asked her about A and how she used to be so mean to him because she would only go to mommy. She tells me she will be better and not be mean to A.

This trip was tiring. I never drove this long by myself before. I also didn’t sleep too well because E had to pee in the middle of the night and when I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s hard for me to sleep again.

BUT my heart was full. I was able to spend some time with my friend which is always a great time. And most importantly, I was able to have some one on one time with E. I could tell she appreciated it. She was so grateful and just kept asking me if I could take her on other trips as well.

I know I won’t have that all the time. I know she will grow out of the phase when she wants to hang out with me. So what I took out of this trip are the memories. Memories of E wanting to spend time with mommy, E wanting to talk to me about her toddler life, and E smiling the whole trip to and from Jersey (except when she was sleeping and when she just woke up from her naps).

There really are no words to describe how much I loved this trip. To me, this is a trip I will definitely always hold so dear to my heart. They are only so little for so long. I gripe all the time about how tired I am, but I know that this too shall pass. In the meantime, I think I’m ok being a bit tired in exchange for all the memories with my loved ones.

Thanks for reading and hope you have a great rest of the day!

(All gifs are from giphy.com)