We are finally back in Atlanta after 10 days in Canada! […]
We are finally back in Atlanta after 10 days in Canada! And what a whirlwind trip that was. For the first three days, we stayed with my cousin and his family in a suburb just outside of Toronto proper. They have a 3-year-old little boy, so it was really great to see our kids play so well together. The beauty about having both nuclear and extended families who had kids around the same time I did is that they, as parents, get it. They get everything—the schedules, routines, baby-proofing, toys, naps, tantrums, etc. They understand. Not to mention the fact that their home was equipped with all we needed (an extra pack-n-play, an extra stroller, toys galore), which made traveling with our two kids much easier! I was dreading traveling with a million other things but thankfully, all we needed to bring were their car seats. While we stayed with them, we got to explore a Canadian beach (Lake Ontario!) and venture out into the city. But we also had downtime and stayed in or went to their neighborhood playground to relax.
After spending a few days with them, we wanted to see what Toronto had to offer so we booked a cute AirBnB apartment in the heart of Little Italy. It was on the second floor of a building that had an ice cream shop on the first floor! The kids were thrilled, and our host was so accommodating to our needs. Jesse and I had traveled to New York and Tokyo with Anaïs, so being in a bustling city environment with children didn’t really intimidate us. However, now that we have two kids, it’s a total game changer. (Also, to all of the parents who live in walk-up apartments with children, hats off to you for being able to lug everything up and down on a daily basis.) Maneuvering through subway stations, streetcar platforms and bus stops with kids requires so much patience, and Jesse and I got a glimpse into that life while in Toronto. The thing is, it’s completely doable. It’s definitely more challenging, but it’s something that millions of people do all the time!
Both Anaïs and Akira looked like they were enjoying it, too. Anaïs has always been fascinated with travel, and I feel like Akira’s got some wanderlust in him, too. He was thrilled whenever we went on the streetcar. He waved to passersby and made friends with all of our servers. We dined al fresco and wandered the streets from Little Italy to Chinatown. We admired architecture in the financial district and people watched in the hipster neighborhoods. We ate as much as we could in as many places as we could—and still squeezed in Akira’s naps and playground time for Anaïs. We took a ferry to Toronto Islands, which was a gem of a place—especially for families! Toronto is a real city with tons of activities for all ages. We were in awe of how well the city takes care of its people.
At the end of our week in Toronto, we headed out to Niagara-On-The-Lake, a quaint town very close to Niagara Falls. My aunt and uncle live there and were hosting my family reunion. Their town has a historic district and wineries everywhere. My sister, her husband and their two daughters were meeting us there along with more aunts and uncles, my brother and his girlfriend, and even more extended family members—some of whom I was meeting for the first time.
The reunion was awesome! We had a traditional Filipino smorgasbord to feast on. We regaled family reunions of the past, and we had a lot of laughs and even more memories being made. We topped off our trip with a visit to Niagara Falls because how could we miss that? Jesse took Anaïs on the Hornblower Niagara Cruise, which was an adventure in and of itself! They got up close and personal to the falls while Akira and I admired the views from a patio at a restaurant. That night we all met with my family for a dinner cruise along the Niagara River, and I got to catch up with cousins I hadn’t seen in awhile. Akira and Anaïs enjoyed the ship with their cousins. It was awesome to have so many generations of family members all come together at one time.
Akira had some difficult days, as was to be expected, but he also had some pretty stellar days. And something we noticed while we were abroad was that Akira actually slept 10 to 11 hours each night. He was so stimulated during the day that by the time night fell, he was out. He managed to have a tiny, low-grade fever while we were there because his teeth were cutting. He now has seven teeth with an eighth on the way!
For the most part, the trip was pretty seamless. Not gonna lie, there were some pretty trying days, especially when it came to managing a schedule with an 11-month-old. But something I had to remind myself of is that although Akira does best on a schedule, he is also adaptable. He rolls with the punches when he has to and generally stays pretty happy. It was a good feeling to know that at the end of the day, our kids were really well-behaved and seemed to enjoy this trip more than we could have hoped for. So, where to next? I feel like this won’t be the last time we travel with our kiddos in tow.