Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our Summer Vacation to Seattle & Vancouver BC

We’re baaaaack and we survived… Just barely. Let me start by saying that traveling internationally with a 2 ½ year old is not for the faint of hearts! It’s loads of fun but it also involves meltdowns, tons of toddler negotiations and non-stop running after a tiny person through airports and other heavily populated areas. The naps are few, the bedtimes are late and there is little to no routine to fall back on. So in a word, it’s exhausting. Our vacation took us from New Mexico to Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. We had some great days but it was also a crash course in the world of toddler travel, so there were obviously some loooong days too. Here’s the good, the bad and the funny.

To get the ball rolling, let’s start with some funny. These pictures were taken about 3 seconds apart. Gracie 2.5, gotta love her. ;)

The Bean did stellar on our flight out! She had her iPa.d, headphones and snacks, so she was good to go. All in all, I would have to say that she was a pretty excellent little traveler.

A good friend of ours lives in Seattle with her husband and kids and invited us to stay with them on our first day of vacay. Grace was so excited to get to play with rooms full of new toys and new kids! My sis gave us the BIGGEST surprise ever, making the 3 hour drive to Elena’s house to have a sleep over with us the day we arrived. We were so excited that she joined us that we all decided to stay up until 3:30am drinking wine… I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. It was so wonderful to feel good, to laugh and drink and forget about TTC for a while. It was the first time in a long time that I felt so carefree. And after BFN #6, Lord knows I needed that. 

We had the following day to play in Seattle so we started with brunch and then checked out the farm animals next door before heading to Pike Place Market. Because my awesome sis drove to Seattle to meet us, we all got to drive to Vancouver together instead of taking the shuttle. 3 hours later we arrived in Canada and got to check out Auntie Missy’s new casa for the first time. We made Auntie Missy watch Frozen and she loved it, commenting that Disn.ey movies are way better now than they were when we were little. Well, except for Little Mermaid. That’s still the BEST Disn.ey movie ever! We were both in agreement on that. ;)

Following 2 weeks of potty training and another 2 weeks of Grace being potty trained with no accidents, our gal has become accustom to taking her pants off the moment we get home for easier potty time access. Coming home to Auntie Missy’s house was no different. She immediately ditched her pants and was obsessed with the boots and heels by the front door spending the remainder of the evening trying each pair on and modeling for us.

Tyler (Auntie Missy’s dog) was Gracie’s obsession from the moment we arrived. The Bean was Tyler’s dog-walker, his entertainer and the person who probably annoyed him the most over our stay. She refused to leave him alone so when we could, we let her walk him around town. She got to walk him to auntie Missy’s office and all over the neighborhood everyday that we were there.

Our first full day in Vancouver was spent at Granville Island. G and I visited the island the first time we came out to Vancouver in 2010. We took Grace to the “Kid Zone” this time around and she was out of control excited. We all braved the huge maze/play gym together (yes, even G and I) climbing through tunnels, climbing ladders and jumping through balls and other obstacle type courses. Everything was adult sized as parents are encouraged to accompany their kiddos and it was surprisingly fun.  

My favorite day of the trip was the afternoon we spent at the Vancouver Aquarium! It was a super rainy day so it appeared that most people stayed home, which meant Grace had free reign of the place. Our gal is obsessed with fish, in large part due to The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo and with all the excitement she was physically incapable of staying in one place for more than 2 minutes. We basically just followed her from room to room for a few hours as she squealed with joy. Here are some of my favorite moments of the day.

Our days in Vancouver went by so fast and were pretty chill as in, we didn’t over plan because we knew our 2 ½ year old would pretty much dictate what we did each day. There was lots of eating at yummy restaurants, sampling BC wines, having delish sushi, taking in the sights and hanging out in Auntie Missy’s beautiful neighborhood. We spent a lot of time walking down these streets people watching. Such a beautiful place!

 Our last day in BC was a total bust. Grace was soooo over it at this point. She was done with her mamas telling her where to go and what to do. She was in desperate need of about 30 naps and yet wired and all over the place. We managed to make it to lunch at one of my sister’s favorite spots and Grace did great while eating. Following our meal things went downhill pretty quickly.

Pre-disaster, as happy as a clam with Mommy!

I look so tired. I totally was... lol.

While I was collecting the bill, G took Grace to the bathroom and about a minute later I heard Gracie cry out in the distance and knew without seeing where the cries were coming from that it was my kiddo. As G explained, while Grace was walking up the stairs to go inside from the patio, she turned to run down the steps, tripped over her feet and face planted on the concrete steps. This all happened in a split second and it was bad. She scraped the skin off her nose, had an instant goose egg on her forehead and was screaming her little heart out. She wasn’t bleeding and looked to be okay but we were all shaken up. This changed our plans for our last day from going to Science World, which would have just added to the exhaustion and over stimulation, to opting to spend a quit and relaxing afternoon at the beach. And considering Grace had a tough time at the beach, I’m so glad we didn’t go to Science World…

Crab Park in Vancouver was breathtaking. Grace jumped and climbed to her hearts content with Georgia and I hovering near. This kid of ours is accident prone and fearless and that is not a good combo. All we could think was that with her new scratched nose and bruised forehead from falling + her injury from a few weeks ago that was still present above her eye, someone was going to call child services on us for sure… In all seriousness though, she did not look good. Poor baby. :(

We stayed at the beach for a few hours, having a picnic while taking turns chasing our hyper kiddo, and it was fun while it lasted. We were more than ready to head home after our gal slipped in the dirt and scrapped both her elbows, TWICE! Yes, more injuries. I was so upset at this point and my sister was in total disbelief. She was like, “how is it possible that she hurt herself 3 times today?!” My response – she’s two and she’s a bruiser. We went straight home after that and stayed in for the night. The day ended with a long bath + early bedtime for our gal and some sushi for the mamas. Thankfully the day ended better than it began for Gracie, so that was nice.

We had to head out at the crack of dawn the following day to catch our Shuttle to Seattle. Georgia and I were beyond tired and a bit nervous of how Grace was going to do on our journey home. Thank the dear Lord she did amazing! She fell asleep about 30 minutes into our 3 hour bus ride, waking up at the tail end just in time to take in some beautiful Seattle views. The airport was a bit hectic, which was to be expected but then she did awesome on the plane ride home as well. She played with her Elsa sticker book and fell asleep about an hour into the flight waking up after we landed. Yes, that’s TWO naps for The Bean, which is just unheard of. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for giving these mamas a break.

And thank you to Auntie Missy for making Gracie’s first international trip so much fun! From filling your fridge with The Bean’s favorite snacks to showering her with gifts and planning special events for our little family, we’re so thankful for everything you did for us. Thank you for loving our girl so unconditionally and always being so great to Georgia and I. I’m blessed to have you as my little sister and can’t wait to visit you again in Vancouver in the years to come.  

Now to get started planning our next family vacation… When Grace turns 10. ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

32/52: Potty Trained!

We're back from vacation! We've actually been back for nearly 2 weeks but things are crazy around here and life hasn't left much time for blogging. The plan is to catch-up on Project 52 posts and then share vacation photos, so more updates coming soon! In the meantime, I thought I would officially share the wonderful news that as of last month, our gal is 100% potty trained!! It's like one day she was just ready. We used a sticker chart for a week and that was it. This picture was taken in August the afternoon she went #2 in the potty for the first time. It's something she faught for weeks so it was a BIG deal when she finally did and it was the only thing keeping her from wearing big girl underpants all day. We're still putting her in diapers at night and I'm sure that will be the case for a while.  

For those of you who have potty trained your kiddos, how long did you wait before ditching diapers at bedtime too?   

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