Onward and upward!

Thank you for being part of our journey these 3 years! We've so appreciated all your kind words and visits. Onward and upward with our journey!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trip Trap Memory Tracks

Dear My Toy Garden friends!
The doors were heavy...so heavy for a little guy to push. He was determined though to open the door by himself. He'd huff and he'd puff and with the subtle hand of a parent to help, that door led to a hallway with another door. Two more hallways and two more doors and a brisk breeze announced our arrival into the alley. Alleys are secret places...shortcuts past delivery bays, dumpsters and back doors with labels long since faded away. He trip trapped his tiny steps along the alley with us when, there it was....at first, a faint rumbling. He froze in place, arched his back and looked up. In a blink, the rumble became an explosion of rattling that raced right above his head. A real live train so close by! THE highlight of our trip to Chicago for our little Nicholas.
Sure, it's easier to just stay home. An object at rest wants to remain at rest is very true. Have you ever had the experience though of a Friday night party you're invited too... You want to go but you just got home from work or it's been a long day home with the kids. You just want your jammies, a cup of tea and an early bedtime for the kids? You get ready though and head off. Once you get there, you laugh and laugh and so enjoy yourself, you are so glad you went. Has that happened to you? I think traveling, especially with kids, is like that. It's work to plan and pack and actually go. Once there, though, it's soooo worthwhile! Why?
1) A break in routine refreshes the soul and gives you renewed energy for the next challenges. This is why at My Toy Garden we provide toys for adults on down. Adults as much as children need a 10-minute "vacation" from their day to recharge. Play is an essential healthy part of a balanced life.
2) Show your children the world. Where do people live? Where do they work? How do they move about? Where do they go to school? What do they do for fun? We forget unless we venture out a bit that there is a wide multitude of answers to those questions. On our trip to Chicago last weekend, our oldest loved seeing all the apartment buildings with so many people snuggled so close to one another. The concept that many people did not own a car was fun to talk with her about and show her the many ways to get around the city. We walked, rode a bus, rode the train and saw taxis and had such fun!
3) Make family memories. Trips like this are worth it for the memories they create. What are some of your best child hood memories? Do some revolve around trips you took?
Trips like our weekend to Chicago last weekend can be done for a reasonable amount. Here's how we saved money! 
1) I use www.airbnb.com whenever I travel. It's a great website to finding condos, homes etc that are way better than a hotel and usually much less expensive. Our Chicago condo was $145/night with a separate bedroom for my husband and I, laundry, full kitchen (eating in saves a ton), a hot tub and a rooftop observation deck. 

2) I also recommend Spot Hero for great parking deals. We paid $16 for a $25 overnight spot for each of the 2 nights we were there. Super easy to use and great customer service! 

3) Scout out discounts to area attractions. The Shedd Aquarium had 3 daily rates posted at the ticket window. Thanks to my research ahead of time, I knew of another option not posted that saved us $16. Make that one free night of parking!
I invite you to make plans now for a weekend getaway to one of the many nearby places to explore! This blog called Midwest Family Travel may give you some ideas for inspiration!
For those of you with special needs children, I know travel is much more difficult for you. Routines are all the more important for this group of children making travel more challenging. I found this list of Top Travel Destinations for Kids with Special Needs and I loved that they have thought of many ways to help provide much needed respite for all. They also publish this list of ways to make travel easier. Amazing things are possible! We watched a movie while in Chicago that I know will be in my heart for years to come. It's called Darius Goes West and it's a documentary about a 15-year-old boy with MD who, with the help of 11 of his friends, travels out West and back from Athens, GA. It's an incredible story of persistence, commitment, love of life and a desire to make a difference. May we all have a bit of Darius in us! Now where is your next adventure to?!
Toylady Janet

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