Emily: Mommy, where are we going next?
Emily: No, Mommy! Let's go one more place!
It's not her fault.
As we say around here, she came by it honestly.
Both her mommy and her daddy love to go, and we've been beating the winter blues by taking advantage of all kinds of going.
Ever since we broke through those fearful early days, we have been on the go.
People often ask how the kids do with all of the going.
The truth is, it isn't always easy or pretty or quiet or relaxing.
(However, it is, usually, cheaper, since we take advantage of all of the "free until 3" discounts).
And it's always memorable.
Here are some places we've gone this winter along with some toddler travel tips we've learned along the way.
In early December we decided to once again try Disney on Ice. Last year's trip wasn't necessarily bad, but at 18 months, they weren't terribly interested in the show after about 5 minutes.
Our seats were perfect--not too close but still close enough to really enjoy the detail. Choice of seats is an important consideration. As we learned at Sesame Street Live in June, you can be too close, which can be just as bad as being too far away.
Notice how Emily is sitting all by herself in her seat? She should be. We had to pay for that seat. I will say, however, that this cost is totally worth it. They don't want to be held the whole time, and you don't want to hold them the whole time. Yet, I have a hard time paying full price. I've had people ask where I find deals. Travelzoo frequently offers ticket discounts, and I've found some good deals there, including discount tickets to Disney on Ice.
It's good that we save on tickets because we are more lenient when it comes to sweet treats when we're at a show.
Back during the Crazy, we took advantage of an unseasonably warm day to go to a local park.
Nothing shows you how much your babies have grown like seeing them play on toys in new and different ways. They enjoyed the see-saw for the first time.
Riding the train is always a favorite part of visiting the park, especially when the ride includes Cousin Kaelyn and Papa.
This past year we bought season passes to Busch Gardens. Given the number of times we went and the discounts season ticket holders receive, we certainly got our money's worth and then some. While roller coaster and water rides are out of season, Busch Gardens offers a winter version of its park called Christmas Town.
After learning that season ticket holders get 1/2 off tickets to Christmas Town, we decided to take advantage of the offer with a spur of the moment trip to Williamsburg. Since it's off-season, the hotel was insanely cheap, too. With an indoor heated pool, the Babies would have been just as content if we had skipped the park and just played in the pool all day. But then they wouldn't have had the chance to wear their cute new hats, scarves, and mittens.
Or enjoy their very own mug of hot chocolate...
One of our best outings this winter was also our most unexpected. My cousin called and offered us free, last minute tickets to the NC Symphony's Kids Young People's Concert.
With the recommended age being 4 and up, we were a little apprehensive about how they would handle a symphony performance. There was only one way to find out...
From playing new instruments to making our own instruments, the pre-show activities were a big hit.
Once we made it to our seats, a new challenge presented itself--box seats! This picture isn't very good, but it gives you a good idea of how high we were--without glass or wire or chains--to hold curious toddlers from hanging over the side.
This was one instance where sitting in mommy and daddy's lap was preferable!
With babies secured, our attention could now turn to the show. As long as the music played, it was as if they were in a trance. They swayed and hummed. It was a beautiful thing to hear Drew say he heard "birds."
Sure, they got a little fidgety, which, in turn, made me nervous. But, on the whole, they were awesome, and we're already making plans to attend the next performance in March.
We love hibachi grills, and while we have taken the Babies several times before, our last trip showed us just how big our Babies are getting. Sure, Drew still freaks out when the fire flames, but look at how they are handling the soup. (And, look at how Marty looks like someone stole his soup).
It's been a rough winter for hockey fans. With the NHL still arguing over money, rabid fans like my husband were glad to see the AHL affiliate team come to town.
I decided to let this outing be a boys-only event, so Drew and Marty grabbed their jerseys and headed to the arena. Scratch that. Marty grabbed his jersey. Turns out, Drew had grown just a little bit since last season. In yet another sign that my babies are now Babies, Drew got a new jersey. Check out the size. It also appears Drew was the good luck charm since shortly after this picture was taken, we learned the lock-out was finally over.
Tonight, I sit and I rest.
I get tired all over again when I look back and recall the spilled drinks, the meltdowns, the chases, the "I wanna do it myself" moments...
But I also smile.
My heart is full, and with a little rest and some more coffee, I'll be ready to go again.
They get it honestly...