Approximately number 13 on my bucket list would be to stay in a hotel that completely overlooks Central Park without any obstructions. Well… CHECK!
Yes, it was excessive. Just a little. But dang, it was worth it!
The Dietrich boys painted the town red! Our weekend started with a trip to The American Museum of Natural History which itself could have taken up an entire day if my boys were that patient. When researching fun things to do with the kiddos in NYC, I saw that there was a limited time exhibit dedicated solely to the T-Rex! Bingo! From the moment we started the walk through, Bennett was engrossed by every little detail surrounding the ideals of this no longer existent predator. There were sculptures of how scientists believe it was created, what it looked like as it transformed into the beast we know it as today, there were interactive tools that kids could enjoy to learn more, there was even a 3D video-like imagery that took up an entire wall (think maybe 2 times as big as a movie theater screen) of a T-Rex and baby stomping around the woods, breathing heavily, grunting, and staring at you directly like it was there in real life… yep! That’s what we saw! It was so life-like, Remy flipped the ‘F’ out! He was so scared! Poor guy, it kinda ruined him for the rest of the museum.
We moved on to the entire dinosaur wing, which is the largest dinosaur collection in the world (by the way), where Bennett had to see the Stegosaurus which is his current favorite dinosaur. We also got to see the newest member to the museum, the Titanosaur, which was discovered in Patagonia, and the cast of this dinosaur is 122 feet long! It’s only been there since 2016, go check it out next time you are in New York!
On Saturday we spent majority of the day in Central Park. The boys loved climbing all the big rocks and staring out at the skyline. We rode the Carousel, which they absolutely hated. We then moved on to the small, but fun (!!) Central Park Zoo. Our favorite thing to see was the penguins. They were SO interactive! They loved coming up to the glass window and diving right in front of everyone, they really put on a great show for us!
To top off the trip we had a late lunch at Serendipity 3 where we indulged on the frozen hot chocolate (the best!), then moved on to Dylan’s Candy Bar where Bennett got a cotton candy bigger than him!
We had such a great time and did more than I thought we would! There’s just something about doing all the kid things in NYC that is just SO.MUCH.FUN. Seeing and experiencing everything new to them is what makes patenting the best! I don’t know… now that I have my sons, I feel like I have such limited time to share with them. I want to show them the world! We are not promised tomorrow, take the trips now! Who cares if they are wearing the latest designer outfits and who cares if they miss so-and-so’s 3rd birthday? Make the sacrifice, plan the trip, and go. There’s nothing more educational than traveling. I promise. Someone once asked me, “Why do you travel so much? Do you not like being home?” It really took me aback a little bit and made me judge that person slightly (if I’m being honest)… my response was probably something like…. “uhhhh… because we love it… and it’s awesome!!” but really, I felt happy in that moment with this person, because it’s not every day you get to try to influence someone to travel more :)
Anyway, that’s my daily rant for now! WE LOVE NYC! Gotta go pick up my little rugrats from escuela!
P.S. Guess who’s turning 4 years old on Wednesday?!?!?!?
How on earth have you put up with me for eight whole years? I don’t know what I did so good in life to deserve you, but dang… I’m so lucky. You are so patient and kind to me (except when checking the credit card statements ;) LOL!) and you are always ready for any adventure I throw your way, like renting scooters in Bermuda where we had to ride on the opposite side of the road and where I eventually ate pavement and almost got run over. Yes, that happened.
You are so wonderful and I’m so proud to be your other half… everyone in the world can see that you are, without a doubt, the better half!
Thank you for taking me to Bermuda! We stayed at the lovely Rosewood which was the most gorgeous setting, set up cliff-like looking down at the most stunningly beautiful blue water. We trekked around in a golf cart to the pools and beach where we enjoyed all the different food and drinks at our leisure. Friday night we had the most lovely dinner at the Chef’s table in the kitchen of the main dining room at the resort. The wine pairings were perfection and the food was impeccable. On Saturday, I had the bright idea to rent scooters, which was actually very nice (until the mishap). We got to pop in at all the different “secret” beaches and enjoyed some local flair with music and dancing.
It was a great weekend away together! Looking forward to all the years to come!
I love you.
** PS sorry if I scared anyone with the bikini pic!! #MomBod**
Entertaining a toddler with never ending demands and an attention span the size of a peanut can be extremely daunting, this is especially so, when said toddler has to be confined to 18″ wide seat for what some might feel like hours on end, even if it’s only an hour long flight. So, wether it really is an hour long flight, or 15 hours, here are some ideas for entertaining small children on the airplane.
Books, Puzzles, and (some) Electronics
So… I tend to over pack in all aspects of the term. I recently got the boys new carry-ons to hold all of their traveling fun and they are the perfect size for someone like me (and my boys) who wants to bring ALL the things! First things first, books. Both of my boys, like most children, LOVE books. I try to pack at least 8-10 of our favorite books, small/ lightweight ones for the plane, and the others get checked with the luggage. Books are the easiest entertainment in my opinion. My boys read the whole library of books I bring, repeated amounts of times, on every trip we go on together. Sooooo books are a no brainer, and I’m sure you all knew that.
Small puzzles are such a great airplane activity. We like these Melissa and Doug ones and I just recently got this Djeco AnimaBasic for Remy because they help with his sorting skills in addition to his fine motor skills. Speaking of fine motor skills, this Melissa and Doug Lace & Trace is sooooo good for killing time, but the little ones might need more of your attention because they will need a bit of help, but my kids “need” my attention 100% of the time, so nothing new here…
As for electronics, we do have iPads for the boys, and we do use them often on flights, but I prefer that to be a last resort option (more about that later). The electronic I like to whip out first would be this LeapFrog My Own Leaptop. It has different levels of skills for toddlers which is nice because what Remy is learning in school is certainly not what Bennett is learning. It’s nice that you can change the program to something a little more advanced for the older kiddos.
Play-doh & Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Ok, if you have kids on a plane and you do not bring Play-Doh, I don’t know how you do life. In fact, I don’t want to know, because there is no better place to bust out play-doh than on a plane (I NEVER DO PLAY-DOH IN MY HOUSE). I keep this sacred activity special by only allowing it on the plane. Now, they play with Play-Doh at school almost every.single.day… they certainly are not deprived of it. I just prefer the nasty crusty mess to be somewhere else. K, thanks!
P.S. bring ALL the accessories- not just the Doh. Again, part of my over packing problem.
We also tend to over indulge in small airplanes, trains, and monster trucks, but who doesn’t?
I feel like this is another “duh” product that everyone knows about and uses, but in case you haven’t seen these things before, or maybe you haven’t thought to bring them on the plane, do it! This most recent flight, Bennett was more interested in the Play-Doh than the window clings, but let me tell you, when we had downtime at the resort, those boys proudly displayed almost every single window cling we brought on the windows in our room. The best part, they can be used again and again. I found these to be the most economical.
More random small stuff...
The fox sweatband is Bennett’s headphones that he just started allowing me to put on him. They are soft on his ears so if he happens to lean his head against the window or lay in our lap they are not all bulk and in the way. He can easily sleep with this on his head.
I always find a lot of small travel activities in the dollar section at Target. The little Dinosaur book, card games, stickers, etc… all from that (soul sucking) section that you cannot avoid when you first walk in to the mega store.
Have y’all played with Kinetic Sand?!? Ummmm… can we all agree it’s so much better than Play-Doh?!? I always grab a couple packs of it when I see it to throw in for extra fun on the plane. To me it is not nearly as messy.
I also bring a pencil bag (the shark one pictured above) full of those special markers that only mark on special paper. Such magical little things!
Now this Skodzy set was initially introduced to me by Bennett’s speech therapist who has really been such a blessing to our family. For those who may or may not know, Bennett was a late talker and struggled behaviorally (think frustrated because he couldn’t express what he wanted, when he wanted) for a while before starting the therapy. He started right when he turned 3 years old and not even a year later, he is a totally different child. He talks with ease (almost too much now) and is so much happier in life now that he can communicate. I highly recommend this for anyone who thinks their kid needs a little push with speech. Anyway, this activity is great for helping your kids learn their prepositions such as over, under, beside, and on top of. You can say something like, can you put the green peg on top of the red peg, and they will do as you ask. You can make it more complex with numbers and color coordination. My son loves this “game”.
Thoughts about the iPad
So, here are my thoughts on the iPad… I am ALL ABOUT the iPad. My problem is, the iPad is a special treat while traveling, so my kids are not the best navigators on the iPad which causes a lot of melt downs at the absolute worst times on the airplane. Which sucks, this is a double edged sword for me. I don’t want them playing on an iPad at home. When my kids have access to YouTube Kids on the iPad- its like a crazy vortex that takes over their ability to be human beings and they instantly become zombies. Then, when you are on an airplane and you cannot stream YouTube Kids- they are psycho!!! It’s seriously the worst. Now, Bennett is getting better at navigating around and finding matching games that can entertain him an entire 2 hour flight (crazy!!), but with Remy, he is unreasonable and I dread the moment he loses it while playing on the iPad which happens within minutes of getting his little hands on it. I know I will grow to like to iPad… Remy just needs to mature a little bit before I do. For now, it’s my last resort.
The New Carry-On!!
I’m obsessed. Great size, fits right under the seat in front of you on the plane. Some might not like it because it is quite large for small kids, but if your kids are like mine and enjoy having their own bag of tricks, this is a great option! It holds ALL the things! Seems that’s the theme of this post… ALL THE THINGS!
You can find it here.
I hope this post was somewhat helpful! Oh! And if all else fails, SNACKS!!! Bring ALL THE SNACKS!!
Oh, Belize… you were so good to us.
Going to Belize, I really had no idea what to expect. Everything that I heard about Belize was not the most flattering of reviews. People said the bugs are insane (which they are, but manageable), that Belize wasn’t the best idea for a family vacation (false), the infrastructure was terrible (yes, but… whatever). As soon as we arrived at the resort, White Sands Cove, (three flights and almost 5 hours of travel), I knew I would never want to leave. This place was pure paradise.
The backstory… so my good friend (you all know her- Laura- she takes all of my family photos) went to a charity event and won the trip at an auction. When she was telling me about it at church one Sunday a few months ago, I obnoxiously and overwhelmingly invited myself and my whole family to tag along with! Of course, she said yes, because… who wouldn’t want me and my two terrorist (JOKING!!) children to join them on their fabulous trip?!? All in all, I’m so glad we went with another family. The kids entertained each other and the adults got to hang out and sip the local cocktail favorites.
We spent a lot of our time hanging by the pool, beaching at the not-so-secret Secret Beach, eating so much good food, drinking all the drinks, and oh, yes (!!), we took a private catamaran trip for a whole day where my TWO YEAR OLD swam with sharks! No need to clean your glasses, or re-read that last line. You saw correctly. My baby, Remy James, swam with sharks in Belize. We did some snorkeling too. Did you spy the Spotted Eagle Rays and Green Moray Eel in the underwater pictures above???
We drove around town to see all the sights via golf cart which is the ideal transportation on the island. The roads are very rough, but not the worst I’ve ever seen. Everything was extremely casual. No need to dress up for any of the restaurants, even the nice ones on rooftops were shorts and flip flop appropriate. Speaking of restaurants, the food… my mouth is still watering over the wonderful Snapper they would prepare in the Belizean way, wrapped in foil with spices, peppers, and onions. Wowza! So yummy! Another thing, the first language of Belize is English. All of the signs and locals speak it perfectly, no language barrier whatsoever. This makes traveling there even more perfect!
Our whole family had the best time with our friends in this wonderful country! Hope you guys enjoy the pictures!
Our Bahamas trip was pretty epic if you ask me. I mean, what wasn’t to love about hanging with pigs on a beach, swimming with sharks, and feeding iguanas? Of course that was only one day out of our full week there because yes, we were there for a meeting. But I’m so glad I could mark this off my bucket list!
We stayed at the gorgeous, Rosewood Baha Mar, I took so many pictures of the resort because it was absolutely fabulous! Every space was designed impeccably. There were tons of restaurants on property to pick from, high end stores to shop at, and there was a casino! It was the perfect location for a work meeting.
The one day we had off, Husband & I took full advantage of and flew to the Exumas. We did a 8 hour tour which took us by boat to all the spots we thought we HAD to see- Iguana Cay, Pig Beach, and Compass Cay to swim/ pet nurse sharks. After all the adventures, we stopped at the yacht club and drank plenty of painkillers (a favorite cocktail of the locals) and ate plenty of conch fritters.
What a fabulous trip! Will definitely be back with the boys in a few years!
I cannot even begin to describe the feels I get when looking at this absolutely beautiful collection of images that my dear friend, Laura Gattis, captured of our family. Do you ever look at the moment within a picture and wish you could go back to the day, that minute, that exact second to relive it? That’s how this session was. It was supposed to rain… but it didn’t. Bennett was in the BEST mood of his life, and Remy didn’t mind wearing the cowboy boots I picked out, #MomWin!
Oh. My. Goodness. I will cherish these pictures forever and ever. I cannot wait to scatter these in fresh frames all over my home. You don’t realize how fast life is soaring by you until you look at pictures from a week, month, year ago… I want to cherish every single smidge of time I get with my boys. For every tantrum and what seems like torturous moments, there are seriously hundreds of incredibly heart flutteringly wonderful moments. I love this little family of mine more than comprehension, and nothing will ever change that. These pictures captured about two hours of our life together, and I’m so thankful to have them to stare at later when my kids are grown and no longer hang on me for love and attention. I will remember these small moments of time with fondness, thinking about their innocence and joy, and they will bring a smile to my face every time.
Worth the investment… 100%.