How to Survive NYC With a Toddler: Part 1

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a great traveler. I love to travel, don’t get me wrong. One of our favorite things to do as a couple is dream of all the places we want to go. But when it comes down to it, I suck at traveling. It stresses me out. Leading up to it I’m excited. I research places to go, I pack way in advance, I get all the travel size everything. But then the day comes and I am a ball of stress. I worry about how we’re going to get from place to place. I worry about where we’re going to eat with multiple food restrictions. I worry about safety in such a big, unknown place. I worry about pissing people off on the airplane with a noisy toddler. I am not a go-with-the-flow kind of person. It helps me if I plan and feel prepared. Here are some tips I learned from this trip:

It’s All About the Gear

The first thing you need when you’re traveling to NYC with a baby or toddler or even an older child is a great stroller that is easy to fold down. We found our stroller second hand (which is, in my opinion, the best way to get strollers) and it is amazing. It’s not as skinny or as fancy as some of the others we saw people using in NYC but it served our purposes and it weighs next to nothing. It also has storage on the bottom which is a MUST for diaper bags and what not.


Listen, I know people have different ideas about the “leash” for kids. I know I did. Until I thought about my incredibly high energy toddler dashing in between an insane amount of people because kid is FAST. I decided to try it and it was super helpful at the zoo. It kept him close but still allowed him to move.


What to Wear

I have never walked more in my life. IN. MY. LIFE! Luckily we walk a lot at home so I was able to keep up and didn’t feel like I was dying. But the right pair of shoes are necessary. I learned from people watching that in NYC, there are very few people who are wearing heels or cute sandals. Most people we wearing cute tennis shoes. I brought my Sanuk sandals and through four whole days of walking almost all day, my feet didn’t hurt once. They’re amazing. Honest.

Layering is your best friend. I brought a light sweater (long cardigan style) for me and a zip up sweatshirt for Wyatt and we were comfortable when it was a little chilly.

Keeping Baby Happy

SNACKS FOR DAYS! When you think you’ve packed enough snacks- you’re wrong. Throw some more in there. We lucked out in that our hotel was blocks away from a Whole Foods so we were able to restock. Snacks got us through a lot of waiting, a long subway ride, too much time in a stroller, the list goes on. SNACKS. I can’t say it enough.

A paci holder (does it have a better name?) is a MUST. If your toddler is anything like ours, we lose pacis like I lose hair ties. They vanish! I think they live with the missing socks. We got this super cute one from a friend when we were pregnant. It’s monogrammed with his initials but really ANY paci holder will do. But it is necessary.


Lightweight blanket. I packed my Turkish towel that was given to me by a friend and is my best travel buddy. It’s super lightweight and great for warm weather. The mornings there were chilly so I was able to cover Wyatt with it and then also use it to shield him from the sun when he fell asleep.


For the Airport

Cover for your carseat and stroller. Per a tip from some friends on Facebook, I ordered a cover for our carseat and stroller and am so glad I did. Those things get thrown around. These covers kept our gear clean and in good shape. You can find them in the carseat aisle at Target too but they are cheaper on Amazon.

A great carrier. You can wear baby through security which is very helpful. We have the Tula and it is very comfortable. I wore him at the end of our trip to the Bronx Zoo so he could take a nap and he slept in it for the entire trip back to Manhattan on the subway and I wasn’t in pain. They are pricy, but worth it. Shout out to my sister who got us ours!


Stay tuned soon for a post about everything we did that was child friendly and the things we did that, well, weren’t.


Hello from Washington!


Hey everyone! I made it to Washington state and I am ALIVE! Boy oh boy did we have a long trip. Most of you know that I am a photographer on the side and I took a LOT of pictures on our cross country road trip. However, my iMac is in storage somewhere so I’ll be posting cell phone pictures throughout this post.

The day before I left, I had dinner and drinks with my best friends and we all cried our little hearts out. I did NOT want to leave. Michael would tell you that I pretty much did nothing as far as helping with the move, because I was in denial. It was so hard and still is.


The drive felt like forever. And ever. And ever.

When we left Fort Drum, we headed to Niagara Falls. Michael and I had already been but we wanted to take the girls onto the Maid of the Mist. Savanna was NOT having it but Madison enjoyed it. Michael GoPro-ed the whole thing so I’m excited to see his video when he is done. We all looked pretty fly in the blue rain ponchos they gave us. Savanna was just terrified going onto the boat and pretty much wanted to hold on tight like the ship was sinking. I’m over here like “Calm down, Rose.” She didn’t understand.


When we left Niagara, we visited my OG BEST FRIEND (still is, don’t worry Jess), in Toledo, Ohio. We stayed the night there and I got a little tipsy with my girl! Our kids got to play together for the first time in forever. Enjoyed the Roadhouse that night with her and then Chick-fil-A the next day with our families. Catching up with her is my favorite. We literally could talk all night about everything. It just comes natural after being apart for so long. I’m counting the days until I get to see her again.


Day two was CHICAGO! We checked into our overpriced hotel and headed to the Navy Pier. On the way there, we stopped by a little beach and the girls got to play in the sand for a minute. Fun fact: I didn’t know that Chicago had a beach. Wanna know why? Because I didn’t know it was along one of the Great Lakes. Just me? Yep. Anyways, Savanna got to ride the carasoul on the pier and Madison attempted the ferris wheel. We ended up going back to the hotel and Madison and Michael went to the pool while I stayed with Savanna. After that, we headed back to the pier to watch fireworks and Madison made it ten minutes before passing out on me so I took her back to the hotel. The next day, we explored downtown Chicago and all of its little monuments. I learned that walking up hills will never get easier and Savanna totally agreed with me on that. We went to the “Shameless house” and got our pictures taken outside. The cast didn’t realize I’d be coming that day so they didn’t buy plane tickets. Rude. Just a tip: if anyone visits that house, do not bring children. The outside of it was not in the best area and you could just smell all of the drugs.


After we went to the house, we drove to Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. And seriously, everyone should plan a trip there before they get old and wrinkly. This was our favorite part of the trip. Our hotel was only $100 and it included passes to Kalahari (dry) and Noah’s Ark, which is America’s largest water park, and a ton of coupons to use at every single place there. WD is only like two miles total but it’s just so amazing. The things to do there are endless. We wanted to extend our trip by a day so badly but knew that we couldn’t. Our family cannot wait to go back!! We had never even heard of it until our movers came and told us to stop there.


The next day, after the waterpark, we drove to Sioux Falls and stayed the night before heading to the Badlands! It was filled with endless valleys, canyons, and more hills. It was a sight to see, that’s for sure! The girls were yelling at Michael every time he got near a cliff. It was so cute! After that, we drove to Mount Rushmore! Madison was on cloud 9! She lives her presidents. It was so much smaller than what I expected it to be. Michael and I were so excited that our girls got to see this and have pictures to look back on when they are older. We ended up staying the night near there before heading to the Devil’s Tower. We didn’t stay long because, well, there really wasn’t much to do other than look at it. After that, we headed to Little Bighorn where it was scorching hot. Scorching. Savanna and I witnessed an Indian prayer circle so that was kind of cool! After that, we headed to stay the night in Billings, Montana.


The next day was the worst. Absolutely terrible. Most of my closest friends know that I hate driving on mountains. It’s absolutely terrifying to me and I guess I just don’t see whyyyyyy they can’t make a road that goes around the mountains. Just saying. Anyways, Michael wanted to take a scenic route to Yellowstone, which was whatever, it would be a piece of cake. No extreme mountains, just a scenic route to look at farmlands and cows, right?


In his defense, he wasn’t expecting what was coming our way, at all. Beartooth Highway. Beartooth freaking Highway, I hope to never ever see you again. Talk about scary. One of the worst experiences of my life. We drove separate cars and I tend to drive faster than him, and because I thought this was gonna be some sort of flat land Highway, I ended up way ahead of him without a care in the world. We had a meeting spot so I wasn’t concerned. All cell phone reception was gone, barely any rails along the hills and turns of the steep mountains, no oxygen, and I could go on and on. A couple of anxiety attacks later, Madison and I were ready to just die. We were so over it. We finally reached a little town after the highway and we stopped into one of the gift shops and there was a shirt that said “I survived the Beartooth Highway” and I snatched it right up. It was that bad, so bad that I am proud that I did it. Cut to, miles ahead, we made it to Yellowstone and waited for Michael and Savanna to reach our meeting spot (30 minutes later). We explored a little bit of Yellowstone and got caught in walking-bison-on-the-roads traffic jams. There were so many people there that we didn’t get to see some of the things that Michael wanted to see but, it was what it was. I’m excited NOT to go back.


After that, we stayed in a small city in the western part of Montana before driving all the way to Fort Lewis, Washington! We have already been here 13 days and explored a little bit of Seattle and Olympia. We bought year long passes to the Hands On Children’s Museum, went to every mall around, parks, saw the very first Starbucks (insert little dance), etc.. We are still in a hotel but we do get to move into our house TOMORROW. Madison started school last Wednesday (cue the tears) and Savanna started today (even more TEARS). We are so eager to get out of this hotel and let our girls do cartwheels without getting a noise complaint (eye rolling over here).


Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to post much better pictures of our trip! I’ll be sure to update on our journey here, as well!