Road trip to Kimberley with baby: The good and the bad!

So we had a great time skiing Kimberley but how did we actually get there and back you ask… well here is the deal… going there I am fairly sure I aged more years than I care to admit… coming back… not bad! Usually H is great in the car, happily looking around or napping. Here are a few of the things I did right and wrong… and how I made the way back better than the way out there!

We had a very full car heading out to Kimberley… 3 adults, baby H, ski equipment, games, food, and H’s sleigh (I just had to bring it). Our Vehicle features a middle folding section, which we stuck our ski’s through… first mistake! The way we had them set up H could just see a bit of me… now usually she is fine in a vehicle but I think the fact she could kind of see me, but not very well, made her rather annoyed. We still stuck our skis through on the way back but made she had a clear view of the person seated beside her… much better!

Timing… we managed to be on the road during regular nap time… minimizing time when H would have wished to wiggle! When H did get a bit wiggly (on the return trip) I made sure to have one of two toys for her to chew on and play with. She has a tiny little Elmo that she loves to watch “fly” around!

My snack game was also lacking heading out there… what was I thinking! Little Miss H loves her snacks and drinking from her sippy cup and yet heading out there I didn’t make these items easily accessible! I made sure that on the way back we had plenty of easily accessible snacks and a full drinking cup!

Again a lesson I have learned before and I am sure will re learn many time… the baby is the boss. As much as you can try and push things… when baby needs to eat, be changed, or just get out… unless you want to drive with a screeching banshee behind you… you will do what baby wants!

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Road trip Tetris anyone?

Weekend Ski Trip to Kimberley

 

I love skiing! Unfortunately I haven’t been skiing in ages… obviously certain life events have been preventing me from shredding up the slopes * cough * baby * cough *! So when we finally got ourselves and a few friends organized for a ski weekend in Kimberley BC I was so exited!

Accommodation:

We absolutely loved the condo we found to rent. We were so close to the hill, so it was easy for N and I to switch for baby duty and come back for a snack or lunch! The rooms were nice and spacious for everyone. We had a private hot tub for our out of shape legs! It was well stocked with kitchen essentials for meals. Most importantly for me was that it was so clean (especially for a crawling little one!). The only really “baby proofing” we did was to lay a stool in front of the fire place… fortunately with a bunch of people around little H was never without an adult playmate making sure she didn’t get into to much mischief.

The hill:

I wasn’t sure what to expect heading out to Kimberley as I had never skied there before and at home we had experienced very little snow… I was pleasantly surprised! The hill seemed so family friendly! Lots of nice green and blue runs, but also some black runs for my legs, once they remembered what they were doing! Considering it was spring break I was shocked by how completely empty it was. We had beautiful spring weather and I loved that there were no rocks anywhere, just a bit of slightly slushy snow… which I could totally deal with! I can completely see us taking H when she starts to figure out how to “shred the gnar”.

Adult extracurricular:

Being that there were a few of us we managed some fun once H was asleep. There was one evening that we may have gotten a bit carried away playing “cards against humanity”… a hilarious but VERY inappropriate game (probably not great for playing with strangers). A few adult cocktails may have also been consumed! Somehow we still all managed to get up bright and early for another day of skiing the next morning!

The town of Kimberley:

Kimberley itself is a small town very close to the ski hill. Its main feature is the pedestrian street, which includes the worlds largest cuckoo clock (I’m not kidding). I’m not sure exactly why, but Kimberley has a very strong German flair… I’m talking beer halls, schnitzel, and Happy Hans (a yodeling mustachioed man in leather shorts!). I find it slightly unfortunate that Kimberley has been trying to rebrand themselves and getting rid of many of the really kitschy Bavarian stuff that I remember as a kid (we would stop by sometimes in the summer), but with a keen eye you can still find some of it!

I really hope that we can make this a regular trip as it was such a good one!

 

Vancouver: Part 2 Activities

As I talked about last week there were a few obstacles that made this trip a little bumpier than would have been ideal! Here are a few of the things that H and I managed to do, and things that I would suggest for anyone visiting Van with a little one. I personally believe that Vancouver is super kid friendly so if you are heading there with an older munchkin do a little research and you will be spoiled with options of things to do!

  1. Granville Island: Walking around with H in the stroller there are so many things to look at, smell, and taste! Granville Island is a classic destination for EVERYONE! The Kids market… the regular market… seriously awesome wandering potential!
  • Depending on where you are you can take a little water taxi to get to Granville Island or take it around the harbor!
  • The market has some fun little food places, but the real winner is “GoFish” it is a tiny little walk along the sea wall but well worth it for some awesome fish tacos! It is also a bit of a picnic dining area so kids can run free and have a generally great time!
  • If you are here in the summer… the water park is SWEEET… from what I remember 🙂
  1. Walk along “Spanish Banks”: There are SOOO many places to go for walks along the ocean. We decided to go for a little walk along Spanish Banks before dinner one night. The great thing about walking along the water is that it is so easy! I wore H in her carrier, but a stroller would have worked fine… as long as you don’t want to venture out onto the beach.
  • Another great area to walk is Coal Harbor, which includes great places to run about and picnic… also the BEST gelato can be found on the corner of Burrard St. and Cordova St. (Bella Gelateria)… seriously your welcome!
  1. Stanley Park: The options here are immense! If it had been nicer I would have loved to rent a bike with a baby seat and gone around the park! Even a stroller around/through the park was very much missed this trip!
  • When my brother was little a trip to Vancouver was never complete without a visit to the miniature train for a ride.
  • I have spotted a water play area in the past that looked fun for the summer!
  • There is also an aquarium!
  1. Lighthouse Park: Grandpa (my dad), H and myself managed to find a few minutes break in the rain to drive over to Lighthouse park and go for a mini hike. I remember visiting as a kid so it was fun to check it out again! Also it was fun seeing it from a different angle, as we checked it out across the water when we were walking along Spanish Banks. I would strongly suggest this or something similar for nature lovers and those that want to check out what the West coast rainforest is really like!

Another couple activities that I missed but I think are great with a baby or older kids would be:

I really didn’t take many photos… but here are three from our little adventure out to lighthouse park:

Baby Packing List: Vancouver

I have mentioned this before and I am sure I will mention it again and again but it never ceases to amaze me how much stuff one tiny human being can have! Packing for a short week in Vancouver I realized that I would have basically needed the same amount of stuff for a shorter or longer holiday! I think I actually had more stuff than Hawaii (Click here for that packing list).

Sleep:

  • Pack and play: my dad actually brought this as he drove and they have an extra one at their house!
  • Sleep sack
  • Noise machine: I am sure this is one of the only reasons she slept sometimes!
  • Elmo and Bunny
  • Goodnight Moon: because we read this every night before bed! (one of our must have board books)

Eating:

I knew I could get anything I wanted there (and I did), but I brought a couple things just so I didn’t have to go anywhere if I didn’t feel like it for the first day

  • food pouch (just from the grocery store)
  • baby cereal
  • spoon (I just find H prefers a plastic one)
  • sippy cup
  • food mesh thing: I put chopped up strawberries in it, sometimes frozen bits of fruit for teething. We have a couple different kind, but I seem to use this one the most!
  • Phil and Ted’s Lobster Chair: I borrowed this from a friend thinking… yah maybe I’ll use it… two days after getting home I have one of my own… it was awesome!

Entertainment:

  • her favorite toys including (but not limited to) her chewy banana, rattle ball, a wooden car, and a little piano things.

Other:

  • car seat
  • adorable outfits including her pjs, hat and little Adidas shoes
  • umbrella stroller (and rain cover)
  • carrier
  • baby toiletries
  • diaper bag
  • diapers/wipes: similar to the food I knew I could get things there but I just brought them as they don’t weight much and then I didn’t have to run out and get anything else

Things I brought that I really didn’t need to:

  • pea pod tent: I threw this in at the last minute just in case I needed to try eliminate light to help her sleep… If I didn’t have access to a play pen this could have been a good option
  • so many toys… Why I brought so many toys I don’t know… above are really the only things I should have brought with me!
  • Way to many Pj’s… seriously they can wear them two nights in a row, if there isn’t any compromised diapers!
  • An entire box of baby crackers… did I seriously think she would eat an entire box of these things? And then to bring them home I couldn’t empty the box or they would all break… silly me!

Vancouver: Part 1 Obstacles

This post will focus on some of the obstacles we had on this little trip… how we overcame them, or just gave into them. I really think what I experienced and learned can be applied to many different situations away and at home!

Let me start by saying that I love Vancouver! Not only is it a beautiful city, I also consider it another home. I have been very lucky growing up to have an uncle whose home my family would often completely take over. I have spent many Christmas’, Easters, summer holidays and basically any slightly plausible reason for visiting Vancouver there, so I know it fairly well (at least my little corner of it)! I decided to head to Vancouver on my own with little H, for a week, to visit my Uncle, brother and dad because I know the place so well and I have other plans for my husbands holidays!

Obstacle 1: Illness

Unfortunately just as we were set to leave for our little visit all of H’s baby friends started getting sick… so I knew it was coming… it was only a matter of time! Sure enough as soon as we got to Van the coughing, sneezing and runny nose hit. This was H’s first time getting sick… so as you can imagine I was a bit worried! Fortunately I had my baby toiletry kit with me… I knew I would one day be glad I had the Nose Freda with me! That and the saline solution were very helpful in providing H a little bit of relief! If I were to be in an unfamiliar place I might want to very quickly have a look at where the nearest children’s hospital (or regular one) is… just for peace of mind (really it take 2 seconds with google!). She was never hospital sick… but the cold just had me wondering what I would have done had it been more serious. Her being sick also reminded me that she is kinda the boss… what I mean is that you need to manage expectations of what you are actually going to be able to accomplish with a baby (never mind a sick baby). Perhaps you will be able to do everything, but sometimes you wont do much… I think it’s important to be prepared for both outcomes!

Obstacle 2: Weather

Again… love Vancouver… but it can have some chilly weather! Coming from sun, and boarder line summer temperatures, to damp, wet and cold I was slightly under prepared. Adding to this a sick little girl, I had to adjust my expectations of what I could actually do! Hindsight I would have also packed a bit more of a variety of clothing… and maybe an extra blanket… but we made due! (packing list coming next week!)

Obstacle 3: Open concept

We stayed with my uncle, with the option to stay with my brother (a block away). They both live in the greatest (in my opinion) area of Vancouver… steps away from Granville Island! Staying with one of them was just a given… unfortunately I had somehow blocked from my mind the fact that they both live in the MOST open concept home on earth… seriously what’s wrong with a wall or two? My dad actually brought a tent in case we decided we were in a truly desperate situation and needed to set this up in the living room… not even kidding. Fortunately we didn’t get to that point. H ended up sleeping in a laundry room with a tarp covering the large skylight… it gave the room a lovely blue vibe!

Obstacle 4: People who don’t have babies

“So, wait, you can’t just leave the baby to go and have a coffee?!” direct quote from one of the family members I was visiting (I don’t want to name, names). Visiting and particularly staying with people who don’t have babies can be wonderful, but it also reminded me that they might not understand exactly what they are getting themselves into. My uncle and brother really were trying their very best, but you could tell they were also rather unsure as to what to actually do with little H… I was the same before her! I found it really important to be very clear about what was fine and what would just not work. A perfect example was my brother wanting me to come over for a late dinner… I can do that BUT our dad would have to stay with H. Even staying with someone who has their own baby can be challenging because, as I see time and time again with H’s little baby friends, each child has their own thing going on!

Despite these obstacles I still had a great visit and managed to actually do some things that I have never done before! Next week long with my packing list I will have part 2 which will be the activities I managed to do and some that I wish I had…  till then!

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Playing queen with a giant chess set in my Uncles apartment!
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Managed to go for a mini hike in Lighthouse Park!

Flying Solo With A Baby: Short

I believe there is a big difference between flying on a short flight and a long flight with a baby… so I want to be clear that this was my experience with a solo one hour flight. I still learned a lot on these flights that I will be using on my longer flights in the future! You can find my first big flight experience by clicking HERE!

Check in:

The first thing I did to ensure a successful flight was to arrive with enough time to not be stressed out about check in, security and finding my gate! I flew with Westjet and found flying out of Calgary they were absolutely wonderful, flying home they were fine, but nothing to write home about. I was meeting my dad, uncle and brother in Vancouver and fortunately my dad brought a few things from Grandma and Grandpas house so I didn’t have to being everything… I still ended up with a huge suitcase, a backpack, diaper bag, stroller and car seat that I had to deal with! I couldn’t believe how much stuff this little one required… but I realized that you need a certain amount of stuff no matter how long you are going. 1 week vs. two weeks doesn’t actually mean that much more! You get two free baby items with most airlines, that I fly with, and what I realized was that you don’t have to gate check them both, or you can… whatever you want to do! When there were two of us we gate checked the car seat and umbrella stroller. Because it was just me, I was able to check in the car seat with the giant suitcase! They provided a bag for it and tagged it all up… easy!

FYI: My packing list will be in the next post!

Security:

So far in my flight experiences with a baby I have only had to wait with everyone else to go through security once, otherwise I have been put in an express line… so nice! I like to be nice and prepared for security so I don’t wear a belt, usually I wear Toms so I can slip them on and off easily(usually they let me keep them on), no extra jewelry… seriously make it is easy on yourself! With a baby you are allowed liquids, just be prepared for them to swab them. I had all my liquids (basically a food pouch and a Sippy cup with water) easy to access and ready to go! On my way out of Calgary apparently I set off some alarm with one of the food pouches I brought, so I ended up getting a very thorough search! Talking to the very nice security guy, he mentioned that often the food pouches do set off extra alarms (maybe because they have liquid, metal and plastic in them?). He did say if there are some less than 100 ml that they don’t need to swab them… if I find these I might pick some up, but on the way home I had the same brand of pouch and had zero issues!

Past security:

In Vancouver I discovered a family bathroom… wonderful! It was huge so I could roll the stroller in and have plenty of room. There was also a little bench where I could nurse baby H easily. In the airport I made sure I had a blanket with me, to put down on the ground so that she could roll around and play before we left (naturally she did end up on the airport carpet a bit, but what are you going to do?). I also always grab a bottle of water for the plane, which was great because there was no way I was going to be able to put a tray down with her!

On the plane:

It is so nice being able to get on the plane first and get all settled. I believe the airlines really prefer you do this as well, so they can go through all the safety stuff and make sure you are good to go! Also I should add, as we were boarding one of the lovely attendants helped me out by holding H while I folded up the stroller (there was almost a fight amounts the gate agents about who would help me! Haha). Being a short flight I made sure I was in an aisle so I could walk around if I wanted… I am a window girl usually! Being that it was such a short flight I changed H prior to boarding the plane. I put my diaper bag in the seat in front of me with easy access to toys (although I was correct in thinking she would be more interested in the people on the plane!). Also I made sure I had a little bag of baby puffs and crackers in the outside pocket of my diaper bag. H is happiest when eating, just like her mom. I have never had issues with her ears, but do make sure she is sucking on her pacifier for takeoff and landing. Going to Vancouver H was a bit excited so she spent most of it jumping on my lap, for an hour not a big deal! On the way back she slept for most of the flight… giving me a dead arm!

All in all it really was a very easy experience… being prepared and knowing it was only an hour flight… I had confidence I would be able to handle it! If you are travelling by yourself and have an issue just ask for help! People are HAPPY to help!

Happy travels!

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Dream Destination…

There are few places I wouldn’t love to visit, but obviously I have some places that have a particular soft spot in my heart. Some of them are a bit odd, some baby friendly, and some… not so much. My dream for as long as I can remember has been go to Antarctica (not so baby friendly!).

I think this odd obsession (lets just call a spade a spade) started when my great aunt and her husband visited. I was just amazed at the idea that you could go somewhere so remote! Do you know anyone who has been to Antarctica? Along with the remote location the thought of seeing so many icebergs sounded just beautiful… And then the other shoe dropped… PENGUINES!!! Count me in! I will never forget when the Calgary Zoo decided to host some penguins… I nearly lost my mind! In the winter they actually take some of the penguins on a walk. It is always fun to take baby H to the Zoo, but add a penguin walk and you know I am there! I have seen it a few times and I still turn into a giggling little girl everything I see them waddling along!

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For some years now I have been receiving Quark Expeditions travel brochures. These days there are many other companies that offer great sounding trips… but if I could pick any company Quark seem like the ones to go with! There are quite a few companies that offer a variety of options to get to Antarctica, including flying options, if you are interested in going. Some organizations are particularly family friendly! In my trip research it seems that the best age for kids to go along is 8 years old (this is also the earliest age often allowed)… so I have a bit of time to save! It is worth noting that children are not allowed to go on many excursions depending on the company you go with… so perhaps this will be a mommy and daddy trip?

It is not a cheap destination, and not exactly a quick trip but that hasn’t dampened my desire to go! The tours are very pricey, but when you see how small the tours are and think about the fact you are going to ANTARCTICA… it kinda makes sense. An additional challenge (beside the obvious weather, cost, travel, etc.) of these tours is that many of them start and end in Ushuaia, Argentina… not exactly a major hub!

Seeing photographs from Antarctica I am always surprised by the landscapes… seriously take a minute to search Google images “Antarctica”… it’s stunning! I can just imagine paddling along in a kayak, cold wind against my face, looking up at giant icebergs… I have definitely romanticized it in my mind, I know! I can’t imagine having photograph that I have taken of such an amazing place! Romanticizing it just a touch more… I can’t help but think about the explorer that first discovered it!

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Maybe you still think I’m a bit crazy… and that’s okay! It isn’t a trip for everyone, but hopefully one day I will telling you first hand how I managed to fulfill this life long dream, and it was every bit as amazing, and cold, as I thought it would be! On a side note my husbands dream destination… Bora Bora… I’d go there without complaint as well!