When my husband first started his Daddy blog I was thrilled at the potential that he would receive invitations to attend great community events, try kid targeted products, and expand his freelance network. I had hoped this would help supplement our income, make the blog more viable over time, and introduce our Bean to some wicked fun opportunities. Although my husband did get offers, he worried this limited his ability to say what he thought, write what he meant, and get all swear happy in his daddydom – and so he vetted invitations ruthlessly.
Fast forward two years, welcome Beanette, and find me sitting across from my husband when Edmonton International Airport invites Mommy Bloggers to come check out all of the exciting stuff that is going on at the airport – food, shopping, and services! I’m pretty sure Trent read the invitation out to me because he thought it was hilarious that he was referred to as a mommy blogger, but all I could see was a fun family outing. Say “yes!” Undad. we can all go, heck I will write a story too.
So, the week before last, when Beanette was a mere 2 weeks old, we packed the family up and headed to the airport for a morning adventure.
We decided to go on a shopping escapade, and thought we’d make gifts for our 5 nieces and nephews our goal. Trent and I are pretty terrible in our roles as aunt and uncle. Our nieces and nephews are all out in Ontario, we frequently forget birthdays, we often buy gifts that never get sent, and we’re terrible for phoning/writing. We do, however, adore the 5 amazing little humans living on the other side of the country. We think they are all spectacular, and we follow closely each and every photograph their Mom instagrams and facebooks to celebrate their daily accomplishments and awesomeness!
We didn’t hold out much hope that we’d be able to find 5 awesome gifts within the $100 budget we had allocated for ourselves. Come on it’s an airport, of course things would be grossly overpriced. We were, however, pleasantly surprised! Not only did we succeed with finding 5 gifts within budget, we also got one for their mom, and something for Beanette too.
Our first stop was Indigo Books.
Funny story, last time I was flying to Winnipeg on my own, I stopped at the Indego Books in EIA and bought Judy Blume’s “In the Unlikely Event” (Spoiler alert)… there were 3 damn air plane crashes in it. TWO happened on the way to Winnipeg, and one on my return trip. I’m afraid of flying. I fly a lot. This book was not a comforting distraction. So, I’m thinking of starting a Kickstarter for “This book contains content that involves planes falling out of the air” stickers to put on books sold at airports.
Any way, the staff at Indigo were kick ass, and they’ve got all of the fun novelty stuff you’d find at a full size Indigo book store. They also have a staff that is obviously dedicated to taking display art to a whole new level.
We picked up some super girly fun for our nieces, and a cool microscope for one of our inquisitive nephews. There was no convenience mark up on anything we purchased, and we imagined that this is an ideal stop for: ohm I wish I had remembered to bring a book; shoot, I didn’t get anything for the woman watching my dog; and OMG I kept trying to find the perfect non tacky souvenir for my spouse on my business trip and found nothing, but cannot come home without anything.
We headed for the Kid’s Works Central Hall, part of the main Hudson News location after security, next. Our Bean found a ton of things he thought he should be getting, and it took us awhile to decide on the perfect gift for our oldest nephew, because there were so many cool science and circus toys to decide between!
Next stop Sunglass Hat, AKA: Don’t Touch. No. Mommy, SAID NO!!! Nothing here under $100, but totally awesome if you’re like me and can never find your sunglasses in the middle of winter when tickets have been booked for a sunny destination.
We continued our “no, don’t touch adventure” to several specialty tech destinations including: iStore and Tech on the Go. At both my son was enticed by ridiculously cute headphones. If I needed something that he’d love to wear on an airplane and could be a special treat. I’d be all over these.
As a mom that was exhausted from saying NO to my toddler, I have to admit the Best Buy vending machine that sold just tech basics was very attractive to me at this point. I think I’d bee-line there, if I wanted to buy some last minute tech and had the toddler tagging along.
By this point in our adventure The Undad had taken off for TWO diaper changes, and I had nursed Beanette twice. I had forgotten a nursing cover, and I didn’t get a second glance from anyone, and there were lots of comfortable spots to stop. Also, my husband was thrilled because all of the men’s washrooms he was in included diaper change areas! Yes! Win for me! I hate (HATE) when I’m out with The Undad, and he offers to take diaper duty, and returns moments later because there isn’t an appropriate change area in the men’s washroom. Really, it’s 2016! Men change diapers too!
While The Undad was off on yet another diaper changing adventure (newborns are poop champions) Bean and I got to explore the Plaza Premium Lounge.
I didn’t know this was a thing. For $40 USD/person 11 and up you can access a private lounge for 3 hours – includes food and drink, wi-fi enabled internet work stations, televisions, newspapers, magazines AND power showers. Oh! And easily accessible washrooms. 2 and under are complimentary and children are only $28/USD. Seriously, this would be $100 well spent for our family. We always arrive way too early at the airport, and this would give us a one stop, fixed budget, destination for all of our pre-boarding needs! Plus, we’d feel like celebrities during our premium lounge experience. You can save 25% off at the Plaza Premium Lounge by signing up for EIA rewards (it’s free)!
We hit a ton more stores and kiosks, much of which were a blur by this point. There were super cute socks and pjs, Oilers’ merchandise, and fun jewelry.
I really really really wanted to stock up on Oilers’ stuff for our nephews, but The Undad let me know their dad would have none of that. That their dad has already brainwashed the kids into thinking there are other more worthy sports teams out there.
We scored a cute Canadiana t-shirt for our youngest nephew at Relay.
Finally, we still had a few dollars left in our original budget, so we picked up a treat for our awesome sister-in-law at Metalsmiths Sterling. The trinket we picked up from Metalsmiths ended up being on sale, so we headed back to the HBC Trading Post to pick up an unbelievably adorable sleep gown for our newest addition.
Around this time our Bean was starting to get rowdy. We were a couple of hours into our shopping adventure. He was hungry a bit bored. So we visited a play area, skipped and got us some Cookies by George . Want to treat your kiddos to some Cookies by George without the I want all of the Cookies trauma? Visit the Cookies by George website and order a George’s Pickup Box in advance, and it will be ready and waiting for you at the airport! No fuss! In addition to some cookie therapy, our 2 year old also got some good puppy cuddles in (a great way to end our EIA adventure) in with Morgan on of the EIA Pet Therapy dogs. Morgan even had his own trading card! Our Bean was super impressed!
The Undad and I have been super lucky to travel with our Bean many times over the last two years, and EIA just keeps getting better and better each time we are lucky enough to be heading off somewhere beyond the security gates. We never have to stand in a security line with our little ones, and EIA staff is always quick to give us a helping hand when our Bean is being less than cooperative. Not that the parent to child ratio in our house is 1:1, I’m glad that there are so many accommodating amenities available at the Edmonton International Airport to start family trips off on the right foot.