Backpack to Buggy

Travel with the kids, not for the kids.

Backpack to Buggy random header image

Family visits at Christmas: UPDATE – Illness, Playtime, Restaurants & Snacks and Packing

January 5th, 2009 · No Comments · Destinations, Tips & Tricks

Ok, my series was cut off quickly huh? Planning intentions were thrown out the window when Mirielle got sick the week before we left. I am thankful the worst of her cold was the week before rather than during, but I was left with  little time to work on the Christmas trip. In fact, I was going by the seat of my pants most of the time (or more actually on the screen of my new iPhone which I am glad I bought.)

This is what parenting, and traveling with kids is all about.

A very sick Mirielle with Santa.

A very sick Mirielle with Santa.


While I  hoped to map out toddler-friendly stops along our drive, it didn’t happen. Thankfully, rest stops are busy during the holidays and lots of people is entertaining to a two year old. We extended our usual stops so Mirielle could walk around while holding a hand.

During our trip, we planned to meet up with other parents for a playgroup where parents could catch up.  As I am “cold wus,” I  wanted an indoor location. With all the museums in Washington, DC there was not a children’s museum (opening 2012) nor little kid play areas in the child-friendly museums. My backup was finding an interesting yet quiet room in the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, but we ended up in the playroom of my friend’s house which worked out fine.

In looking for playgroup locations, I discovered the Chesapeake Children’s Museum near our hotel in Annapolis. This ended up being a wonderful stop when we had a couple of hours to kill.  Look for more details soon.

Playing at the Chesapeake Children's Museum.

Playing at the Chesapeake Children's Museum.

I did zero research on what to do in Manhattan with a two year old and a cold-wus mom, but figured I could fall back on the MOMA or Met. It turned out OK, as the excitement of the city – people, lights, horses and escalators are plenty for a toddler.

Restaurants & Snacks

The snack front was successful.  A visit to our farmer’s market, cleaning out our snack stashes and grabbing shelf stable milk from our earthquake kit, prevented hunger without the canceled trip to Trader Joe’s.  Our snack bag included – the rest of the clementines & bananas from our fruit bowl, almonds, sun dried tomatoes, peanut butter crackers (quickly became breadcrumbs), crackers, milk boxes and two bolanis.  We picked up fresh milk, juice boxes, more bananas, apples (a fruit California has not figured out) and yogurt on the road.

Clemintines make a great ball as well as snack.

Clemintines make a great ball as well as snack.

I picked one dinner location for our post-playgroup, but I relied on other people for everything else.  The playgroup dinner location ended up being a big win.  We went to Lebanese Taverna near the National Zoo in Washington, DC.  I picked it because it was near a metro and the zoo, and Lebanese food is kid friendly.  Bonuses we discovered were validated parking, a great wine list, delicious food, and understanding staff and clientele as our three kids plus one infant made their presence known.


Ha!!  I suck at packing.  The planner in me loves it, but the rest of me hates it.  I am a chronic over-packer and spend the last hour before leaving running ragged.  My official, public New Year’s resolution is to try and pack less!!  I have done it before as a solo traveler, and now I have to try for two (or three or four depending on how much my husband forgets and if our dog joins us.)

With that caveat, a couple of things worked well.  I intended to pack a small bag I could pull out for the first few nights when we were staying with family.  I brought the small duffel and it ended up as a carry-on for Mirielle stuff.  The one-bag concept finally worked on our third night.  I also brought a bag with our gifts to give.  Many suggest mailing gifts ahead, but gifts given were  replaced with gifts received and it came home as full as it left.

Things I should have left home – gloves & boots for Mirielle (she won’t wear them at home, why do I think she will wear them in freezing temperatures?), half of Mirielle’s clothes (she has learned to get mom and dad’s clothes dirty rather than her own), extra toiletries that I bring on the naïve notion I will be able to have a mini spa in our hotel room (HA!), and peanut butter crackers in the plastic bag (can you say instant crumbs?)

Things I was glad I brought – the travel potty (travel constipation in toddlers is not kind), my iPhone (real time source of information, traffic and navigation), a magazine (Mirielle slept on the plane this time – it was a first), my winter shoes, hat, scarf & gloves (it was COLD), and a new ballet book plus SF Nutcracker DVD (feeding your child’s latest obsession while traveling has advantages.)

I will keep you posted on my packing progress throughout the year.

Related posts:
Family visits at Christmas: planning travel with a toddler
Family visits at Christmas: planning travel with a toddler – Hotels
Family visits at Christmas: planning travel with a toddler – Parking with Perks

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Tags: ·····

No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.