This past weekend, our little family escaped from Edmonton and went down to Calgary for a few days. I know, pretty exciting. Haha! It was actually great getting out of the city, visiting with family and friends, and going to Banff.
The really fun part was the day trip to Banff. The last time we had been there was when I was pregnant. Things were a bit different with a baby in tow. We planned our day so that we left Calgary around the time that E would have been ready for a nap. It took her a little while to fall asleep, but she eventually did, and was full of smiles when we reached our destination.
Our first stop was Johnston Canyon. For those of you who haven’t been there, in the winter it is a short hike through a magical icy canyon with a frozen waterfall at the end. Some water is flowing which is pretty neat to see behind sheets of ice.
E was securely strapped into the baby carrier on my husband’s back and we started on the hike. Because of the time of year it was a bit slippery, but we were careful and the only one who fell was me…twice…ouch! E had a great time smiling at the people passing by. For the most part, the people we met on the trail were friendly and encouraging, thinking it was great that we were exposing our baby to the great outdoors. There was one group, though, that clearly disapproved! The eye rolls and looks of utter disgust at our daring to bring a baby on the hike was a little much. But we were took our time and made it safely both there and back.
Once we were back to the parking lot we were ready for some lunch. We spread out our waterproof blanket on a dry spot of the parking lot and with the sun shining on us, we enjoyed a bite to eat. People would walk by us and E would wave and smile at them. She’s a very happy and friendly baby, if you haven’t figured that out yet!
After lunch we drove to Cave and Basin, the location of a hot springs just outside of the town site. This time E was strapped onto my back. It wasn’t nearly as slippery and I think the carrier works a little better on someone who isn’t quite as tall. I think she had a bit more visibility. She would giggle whenever I would lean over so that she could see over the edge of the railings. The air was fragrant from the smell of sulfur and water from the hot springs trickled down a hill where we were able to see little fish swimming around, a fun site to see when there was snow not too far away!
Once in the town site, E was put into a sling so she was sitting on my hip and we did a bit of window shopping. So many people commented on how cute she was! Supper was at The Old Spaghetti Factory and then we drove back to Calgary. E had been up longer than usual since her first nap and she was asleep within minutes of being strapped into the car seat.
It was a lovely day! And as I look back on the day there are a few things that I think helped things go smoothly.
1. We have an awesome baby carrier. It is a Boba Carrier. The features I love about it: it’s soft so there are no hard pieces to worry about, it’s easy to get on and off (although it works best if there are two people getting the baby in it!), and it is able to be used as a front carrier and a back carrier, fitting a newborn without any extra pieces.
2. We planned our driving to coincide with E’s sleeping schedule. I think most babies would fall asleep with the sound of the highway, but this way we knew for sure that she would fall asleep. It was so much less stressful for me knowing that I wouldn’t have to worry about a crying and/or bored baby in the back seat.
3. That waterproof blanket I mentioned above was great because it allowed E to crawl and move around, burning off some energy. We were getting lots of exercise carrying her around, but her, not so much! I bought the blanket at Bed, Bath, and Beyond a few years ago and it has proved to be a great purchase!
4. Not planning too much for one day. Sure, it would have been nice to have been able to see a bit more of the mountains, but we knew that with a baby along things would be different.
5. Prepared meals for E. I’m a bit of a planner and so I had meals for the entire weekend in ziplock bags ready to be heated up for E to eat. At first I wasn’t sure if this was going to work or not since, after sitting in the cold car for most of the day, the food was chilly and E wasn’t eating very much because it was cold. Our waiter finally told us that they had a microwave and could heat it up for us. Next time I’ll have to remember to just ask instead of waiting and stressing out that my baby isn’t eating!
It is tempting sometimes to avoid going places and doing things now that we have a baby, but this trip helped me realize that with some planning things will probably work out. It is a fun thing to do as a family and we hope to do a lot more this summer!
How about you? Any suggestions for taking kids on trips? What tips and tricks have you discovered that have helped make things easier for you?