Visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers!)

The girls and I went on our annual trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival today – and at least one of us had a blast! (It was me, I may have been the only one to have fun. Typical.)

Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!

This is our third spring in Washington, and my third time going to see the tulips. The first time I went was for my 30th birthday, and I went with five girlfriends (and my very pregnant belly). Last year I dragged Tim and the girls along with me on a beautiful sunny day. This year I went with a friend and her two kids. It was cold and windy and a completely different experience than my last two years!

So I have some tips for you.

Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!

Tips for visiting the tulip fields with toddlers:

Go to Roozengaarde or Tulip Town in Mount Vernon

Chances are that if you live in the Seattle area and have done any minimal amount of research about tulip fields, you have seen these two names come up. Last year we went to Roozengaarde and this year we went to Tulip Town. I prefer Roozengaarde in nice weather because there’s a really nice garden near the parking lot where you can take beautiful pictures of your toddlers without needing to walk through the fields. However, there is quite a bit of walking you’ll need to do. Tulip Town is nice because the fields are closer to the parking lot and there is an indoor display of tulips, which is nice on a cold/rainy day.

Don’t go on a weekend

I almost want to advise not going on a Friday, either. When I went on a Saturday two years ago we waited in tons of traffic for an extra hour (or more!) just to park and go see the tulips. Last year we went on a Friday in nicer weather and there was traffic but nothing memorable. This year, again on a Friday, we left Seattle early and cruised right into the parking lot of the tulip fields without ever needing to stop and wait for other cars.

Consider going on a bad weather day

The last two years when I visited the fields in the sunshine the crowds were bad and so was the glare in my pictures! The fields photograph better on cloudy days, and there will be much fewer people around you if there’s a little rain or wind in the forecast. I will caution that this year I heard a lot of “I’m cold! I want to go home!” from my toddlers, but honestly we go to the fields because I love them, not because they do! If it was sunny they would have been whining about something else.

Bring appropriate clothing and lots of it

Even if it’s sunny, bring rain boots and rain jackets because there will probably be mud if there was rain in the last few days – and since this is spring in the PNW, there will have been rain!  Also, bring a change of clothing – for everyone! Last year, like the naive and hopelessly optimistic parent I am, I dressed the girls in cute outfits, hoping to get one good picture of them in the tulips. Well, of course, Clara lasted about 10 minutes in her adorable dress before she wiped out in a mud puddle. Did we have a change of clothes for her? Nope! So this year I brought extra shoes and outfits for everyone, and we were able to get into clean outfits before going out to lunch.

Don’t bring a stroller

Trust me on this one, if you bring a stroller it is going to get stuck in the mud immediately! If you have a baby, put them in a carrier. If you have toddlers, try to bribe them to keep walking.

Keep your expectations low

Let’s be honest, seeing flowers is not the most fun activity for most kids. However, I personally love going to see the colors and to try to take some pictures and to get out and do something outside of the city with my family. If you go into it with the expectation that you may be the only person who enjoys the experience, you’ll probably leave feeling more satisfied that the outing was a success!

Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)! Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!

I fully intend to keep dragging my kids to the tulip festival every year. I think it’s such a fun way to spend a day! This year it was extra-fun because my friend and I drove up to Mount Vernon together and had some quality talk time in the car to talk while the kids entertained each other. Win! We also went out for lunch at Calico Cupboard in La Conner, which is a long wait, but has great food and atmosphere for kids. Because we were feeling extra generous, we even let our little ones play on a small playground near the main street of La Conner, which they would probably agree was the best part of their day!

Tips for visiting the tulip fields in Washington (with toddlers)!

(See, the pretty pictures are worth the glaring toddlers and the amount of laundry I now need to do!)

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What I Learned in March

It’s never too late to talk about what we learned in March, right?! Right. I feel like I need to write it all down to prove to myself that I’m evolving as a human – slowly but surely. Without further ado…

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Things I Learned in March

Traveling/adventure is always worth it (to me).

I am living my best life when I’m doing something new or going on an adventure or traveling… unfortunately this is not always the easiest thing to do with toddlers, and sometimes it’s downright frustrating! However, it’s almost always worth it for me to go. While our trip to Florida wasn’t quite an ‘adventure’, it was definitely a trip, and while I questioned multiple times whether it would be worth the hassle – it definitely was!

what-i-learned-in-march

People in Florida like their coffee HOT.

I cannot explain this one, but we tried coffee from three different places in Ft Myers, and they all served our coffee SUPER hot. Even Starbucks! Now I generally like my lattes a little more lukewarm than hot anyways, but even Tim had to wait a few minutes to start sipping his drinks, and I had to wait what felt like FOREVER. Maybe I’m spoiled by the coffee in the PNW, but coffee in Florida definitely seemed off. Can anyone else verify this to be true?!

Grove Collaborative is one of my new favorite things.

I discovered this site and am thrilled. I’ve been transitioning to more natural household cleaners, but I don’t always love making a trip to specialty stores to find them. However, this site makes it really easy to find my favorite natural cleaning supplies, plus there are quite a few products on here that I haven’t thought of before. Yay! I love the extra gifts I got for signing up, too. Word of advice: if you’re going to order through them, buy the dishtowel. Tim’s already requested we get a few more from them, and I readily agreed because somehow, the one we received seems magical. We’d clearly been living life wrong before. (Use my referral link for a $10 discount)

I should have read ‘Come As You Are’ 10 years ago.

I feel like I’ve already recommended this book a bijillion times, so I’ll just say that I learned a lot of things, and I think it should be required reading for all women and maybe men!

What did you learn recently?!

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The girls are now sharing a room!

Well, it happened again. As Tim and I were lying in bed one morning, we saw Isabelle just walking around the hallway. Which shouldn’t happen, since she’s in a crib. Or at least she was supposed to be in a crib.

Some kids don’t ever try to climb out of their cribs, but mine seem to think it’s their sole mission to escape whatever confines they’re in. Isabelle first climbed out of her crib in late December, and we lowered the mattress all the way to the ground (with the crib around it) to buy ourselves some more time. (Well, first we tried to move her into a ‘big girl bed’ but that was DISASTER, so we went back to the crib.)

But, once we saw that she had managed to escape again, we knew it was time to do the big girl bed transfer 2.0.

Our experience transitioning our toddlers to a shared room!

I decided we should move Isabelle into Clara’s space, because I thought it might encourage Isabelle to stay in the room, since she wasn’t alone in there. And let me tell you, I was right!

The first time we tried the transition from crib to toddler bed – back in December – Isabelle would promptly get out, run to the door (which was locked from the outside) and bang and bang on it until we lost our minds and went to go get her. By that time she would have woken Clara up and the whole house would be in chaos. This time, however, we’re able to rock her until she’s really drowsy, and then transfer her into her bed, where she’ll stay. Miraculously!

Of course, it helps that at this point Isabelle has better sleep habits in general. But still! Success! Clara also loves having a sleepover buddy, although a few nights she has told us that Isabelle is too loud and she wants her out of the room. Oh well, kid.

I don’t have a sister so I never experienced room-sharing, but I think it’s going to be great for the girls. I’m not sure how long it will last, but hopefully they appreciate having a buddy with them. It’s also nice that we have an extra bedroom that is now a toddler ‘reading room’ for quiet time. And if the girls need to spread out one day, they can! Or if one of them is sick or having a tough time sleeping, we can move them into the other bedroom for a while. I’m all about keeping our options open and flexible…

I don’t have any tips about how to transition toddlers into sharing a room, because our experience wasn’t very difficult! Bedtime routines do look a little bit different. It seems to work better to put Clara into bed, and then rock Isabelle in a separate room until she can be quietly transferred. However, we have had Clara stay up later than Isabelle, and that works fine, too.

The most challenging part is that in the middle of the night if one of the girls starts yelling because they have to go potty or need water or any of the million things they come up with, we feel extra pressure to respond before they wake the other girl up.

The moral of the story is, if you’re thinking about having your kids share a room, go for it! There are not many experiences in parenting that I feel are easier than what I anticipated, but this was one of them.

Do your kids share a room? Did you share a room when you were little? Thoughts?!

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Traveling Across the Country With Toddlers (a survival story)

Well. We made it.

I mean, we made it like 2 weeks ago. You could say that I’m a little behind on blogging and also that it’s taken me this long to process the chaos that was our trip.

If you follow my IG (stories) you may have seen that we took a short little trip over to Florida earlier this  month. Please note that we live in Seattle and Florida is pretty much the furthest place we could travel in the US. But, we wanted to see some family, so to Florida we went.

I think I booked the trip in a caffeinated haze in which I thought all things were possible, and then when I got out of that I started to panic.

The trip there was going to be a 4 hour flight to St Louis followed by a 2.5 hour flight to Ft Myers. The return flight was going to be a 2.5 hour flight to Baltimore and then a 6 hour flight to Seattle. And of course each trip had about a 3 hour layover. And we would have to leave early to get to the airport and deal with the logistics of checking bags and dropping off cars and… traveling with toddlers is overwhelming, to say the least.

These are the things I worried about:

  • What if one of the kids got sick on the plane? (Sidenote: this was a very real concern because Clara had been dealing with tummy issues for weeks up to the trip.)
  • What would we possibly do to entertain the kids on such a long trip?
  • How would the girls handle a 3 hour time zone change once we arrived?
  • Would we annoy every single passenger?
  • What if the girls just wanted to run around and the seat belt light was on and we were trapped in our seats?
  • What would they eat? Especially Clara who was on a really strict diet?
  • PACKING. How would we get all of the stuff to the airport/through the airport/to Florida?
  • What time would we need to leave the house to have plenty of time to get on our flight?

The day o’ travel eventually arrived and we were on our way to Florida. We woke up before 6am (after frantically packing until well after midnight) and headed to the airport. Luckily the girls were in fantastic moods because they knew they were going to visit their Grandpa, so it took way less time than usual to get them dressed, fed, and out the door.

Now, get ready to be shocked: The rest of the travel day was EASY. Well, I mean, “easy” is relative because we traveled across the country with two toddlers… but it went really, really well.

Taking A Long Plane Ride With Toddlers

The first flight was a peace of cake and we had great views of the mountains (which the girls didn’t care about, but I love!). Then the layover was great and Isabelle (somehow!) slept for 2 hours on the floor of the airport. The only slight big hiccup was that our next flight kept getting delayed, so we ultimately made the decision to switch flights and head to Tampa instead of Ft Myers. This meant we would land 2.5 hours earlier, but then need to drive over 2 hours to Naples, FL (our ultimate destination). My reasoning was that we needed to get the girls out of the St Louis airport and to Florida ASAP so they could go to sleep in a car as opposed to needing to stay awake on an airplane and through baggage claim, etc. Basically, I didn’t want to push their bedtime back because I thought they’d be basket cases. Our already long day was made about 4 hours longer by this whole problem. Bleh.

However, we switched flights and were on our way to Florida and that flight was great, too! It’s amazing how short a 2 hour flight feels after a 4 hour flight (which honestly felt pretty short, too).

Then we arrived in Florida (albeit, the wrong city) at 9:30pm and my dad picked us up to drive us all the way to Naples. The girls fell asleep in the car and we almost did, too. What a long day! We arrived at our final destination at 1:30am and if you’re  keeping track, that means we had a 15.5 hour travel day from house to house.

AND WE SURVIVED.

After this trip I was convinced we could do anything as a family o’ four. I was mentally planning trips, conquering the world, the usual.

But then (you knew there was going to be a ‘but’, right?), five days later, we had to return back to Seattle.

WHAT A COMPLETE S*** SHOW!

I mean, guys, it was the worst. The turbulence was so bad on the first flight that we couldn’t get out of our seats at all and the pilot kept coming on the announcements to tell us it was an ‘unusual’ flight and we should cross our fingers for better conditions. Do you want to ever be told to cross your fingers on a flight?! Me neither. I was just praying that neither of the girls would ask to go potty (and thankfully they didn’t).

Then we had a long layover at the Baltimore airport around naptime and the girls were a mess. At one point we were eating in a food court and Isabelle was screaming so loud (and long) about absolutely nothing, that someone came over to offer her tissues. And oh the glares I got from strangers… I was losing my mind. Then Isabelle somehow squeezed herself behind a case full of crystals, so she was wedged between the case and the wall, and she wouldn’t come out. She thought it was hilarious and I had visions of her knocking the entire thing over.

Clara was also screaming because I wouldn’t let her have anything from the airport food court, because of the really strict diet we had her on for her digestive problems. Of course I had packed snacks, but they just weren’t cutting it.

Finally, we got on the plane for the second flight and it was more of the same. Both girls screamed, although usually not at the same time. They didn’t want to do anything, they were overly tired, I didn’t have the right snacks, they ‘needed’ the toys the other one was playing with, they pulled each other’s hair… and then Tim went to the bathroom without them and you would have thought the world was ending. Isabelle laid down in the aisle and screamed until he came back to his seat. I tried moving her back into the seat (while holding Clara at the same time) but she kept wriggling out and getting back into the aisle. Other toddlers in the plane brought her snacks, but this did little to appease her. The next time Tim went to bathroom was to help Clara, and I insisted he take Isabelle, too.

Let me tell you, when he got back from that disaster he was not pleased at all and said there was no possible way to manage two toddlers in an airplane bathroom. I believe him, and I hope I never need to try it. But also, I wasn’t going to handle more toddler tantrums, no sir. Sometimes it’s hard to be the favorite parent.

There may have been more drama on that airplane ride, but I’ve blocked it from my memory. It was all dropped toys and snacks, fights, screaming… basically my typical day but all while trapped in three airplane seats.

Needless to say, I won’t be booking any more flights for this family o’ mine anytime soon. My nerves cannot handle it. I’m canceling all mental plans I had made after our first magical flight.

Ultimately, was it worth it? Of course. We loved seeing our family members! If it was an ‘actual’ vacation, however, would it have been worth it? HECK NO. I shall stick to the west coast as much as possible until the girls are out of this toddler phase.

This post is already way too long, so I’ll create a different one (at some point…) in which I give you some tips/tricks for a long plane ride with toddlers. Evidently my tips will only work for ONE trip though, if you need to get back home, God speed.

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Three Things (I’m OBSESSED with this week)

I was going to sit down and write a different blog post tonight, but I had to stop the regular programming to tell you about three things I’m REALLY into this week.

Three Favorite Things

  1. Come As You Are” (The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life)

    Ohhhhh this book. Read it. Immediately. I came across it while Tim and I were on a Saturday morning date a few days ago. After a delicious brunch we wandered into a nearby bookstore and this book was on display. Immediately I recognized the title as a book that had been recommended by friends, as well as a speaker who spoke at our local Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group. I now know why it was recommended to me so many times! I really can’t necessarily explain what this book is about, but I will say that I’m only halfway through it and have been talking about it nonstop with Tim (and with anyone else who will listen). I’m learning way more about sex than I thought I would, that’s for sure. And I find it super interesting. Just go and read the reviews on Amazon and I think you’ll be convinced you need to buy this book. I promise, even if your sex life is already mind-blowing, you’ll still get something out of this book.

  2. How I Built This

    I also recently discovered this (NPR) podcast. How did I not know about it before?! OK, I guess I did know about it before, because it’s been talked about by other bloggers and friends of mine, but I kind of dismissed the recommendations because I didn’t think it sounded interesting to listen to a bunch of entrepreneurs. Well, I was wrong. This podcast is really easy to listen to, it’s fascinating, and I’m always inspired by the stories! Plus, I love knowing how some of my favorite brands started out. This podcast has a lot of episodes, so I have hours upon hours of listening to do to catch up!

  3. March Madness

    Please tell me you’re watching March Madness this year, because it’s been actual madness. I watched so much basketball over the past few days, and I still managed to miss some amazing games. In case you missed it, for the first time ever a 16 seed managed to upset a number 1 seed… and not just any number 1 seed, the number one ranked team in the entire tournament/country! I can’t even remember all of the incredible moments and upsets that have happened, and we’re only at the Sweet 16… I’m already excited for the ‘One Shining Moment’ compilation – they’re going to need to play that song on a loop for some extra minutes to fit all of the awesomeness in there!

And that’s it from me!

What are you into this week?!

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