Springtime in Seattle
The boys and I got to fly to Seattle back in April to visit Michael, and it was an amazing time together! We were all so happy to see him, but it was also our first big trip as a family. And honestly I was over the moon to get to be traveling with the boys, and showing him a different part of the country (which in many ways feels like a different part of the world).
I feel like there is so much that could be shared here, but I'm going to go with what I think might be helpful for others who are looking to spend time in Seattle, or really any city that isn't their own.
How it worked: air travel outnumbered by kids - and stuff!
The biggest hurdle of getting the boys and I to Seattle was transporting all of our stuff from our house in Chicago to the pick up curb at the Seattle airport. We chose to take both carseats, the double stroller, and 2 sleeping bags, along with all of our normal stuff. Until dealing with the logistics of all of this stuff, I didn't realize how many legs of travel are required to even get ON the airplane!
Instead of taking an uber to the airport, we were able to have a friend drive us who could help me get everyone and every thing to the curb check counter at Midway. Once we pulled up, he unloaded the trunk and kept the boys while I took the carseats out of the car and folded them up. I used the stroller to get the carseats to the counter and the boys walked with their activity backpacks - meanwhile my friend was able to manage all of the bags! Once we had checked in all of the luggage and carseats, the boys rode through the security line in the stroller.
Airplane activities included coloring, books, cars, trains, naps, and eventually a movie. On the way home we enjoyed building blocks candy!
|Phineas absolutely read the safety pamphlet for a solid 30 minutes during takeoff.|
The plan for getting picked up in Seattle was that Michael would park his car and meet us at baggage claim. But there was literally NO PARKING available at the airport!! (C'mon SeaTac). So after I pulled all of our bags off of the carousel, and found the carseats at the oversized counter, I left it all in a pile to rent a luggage cart (I know - never leave baggage unattended! I was never far from it.) But guess what, I couldn't even fit all of our stuff onto the cart!! So I slowly shuffled us out of the door by switching off pushing the stroller about 5 feet while carrying the carseat, then taking a few steps back to push the cart of stuff to catch up with us. Hilarious to imagine it now. We eventually got out to the curb where Michael had pulled up, and thankfully everything fit in the trunk.
Our flight home went a little more smoothly, my friend was able to meet us at baggage claim and take out a run of bags before helping me out with the rest of it. In managing all of this stuff, I knew that we could do it, but it would just take TIME and patience. We scheduled accordingly, and I (kind of amazingly) never rushed myself through the process.
Get used to spending time in public spaces
I do believe that living in a city has prepared us well to be visitors in other cites - we're used to existing in public spaces and looking out for free, kid-friendly zones to spend our time! Some of the places we spent time were the Seattle Public Library (it's stunning!), at least 4 playgrounds, along with a skate park and public library in Kent near the apartment. Other activities included Pike's Place Market, Gasworks Park, ferry to Bainbridge Island, and the Fremont Troll. Of all of those activities, the ferry ride was the only not-free activity!
Another thing I try to do in Chicago, which we did on this trip, is keep a soccer ball in the basket of the stroller or the trunk of the car. This way, if the kids are needing some sort of energy outlet, you don't even need to find a playground! Just some grass - or even pavement - will give everyone a chance to work out some energy.
In classic city boys fashion, we skipped going up in the space needle in favor of adding a new type of transportation to their repertoire - the monorail! (And we will definitely be going up in the needle on our next trip.)
Check in on your less verbal kids
I am always hesitant to let Phin take Bear anywhere with him, because while he was originally $5 from Target, a replacement Bear can only be purchased on Ebay for about $50! (So if you ever see one at a garage sale or something, help a sister out!) However, it became clear on this trip that Bear was an integral part of Phin's experience. And now I love that he is in our family pictures just about as much as each of my children are, haha. Both boys conquered the trip like troopers. We had enough days of our normal schedule amidst our marathon days to bring enough familiarity to their lives. However, I tried to make a point to check in with Phin at various points, just because he's not as verbal as Atticus, and I realized that if he was ever feeling tired or sad or over it in any way, we wouldn't know until there was a meltdown over something probably unrelated.
Thankfully, our family was able to stay in an apartment instead of a hotel, so we were able to make meals, play, and do a lot of normal-feeling things there (including an Easter egg hunt!). It was a 1 bedroom, but staying there reminded me how much I love small living. It felt so familiar and cozy and us. We lived in a 1br until Atticus was 15 months, so navigating sleeping arrangements, play space and storage space wasn't a problem for us.
|We each shared a few naps with Atticus on the trip. He's an expert cuddler, and loooooves to sleep with us. We usually don't co-sleep, so co-napping was a special part of this trip (and a space saver for everyone else). :)|
I'm grateful for this space to dump a few pics, mention a few of our favorite spots, and share how this trip worked out for us!