A Series of Unfortunate Events in Helsinki

Three toddlers looking at a plane on the tarmac

Checking out a plane after running off their energy in the airport.

Have you ever had a trip where everything went wrong? A year ago today, we were finishing up a trip to Finland with our toddlers that we affectionately call “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Although we’d moved to Moscow a few months earlier, it was our first trip abroad that we were entirely self reliant with the kids rather than having help coordinating pick up and housing. Thankfully, our JoJo and my brother went along for the ride and weren’t disappointed with the craziness that follows us and put our problem solving skills and patience to the test. We’re known for chaos and this trip wasn’t a disappointment.

Event 1 – Security in Moscow

We discovered that security in Moscow doesn’t agree with baby carriers. Not only that, but the security agent offered to help with the babies while I was patted down but promptly turned them loose while making Daddy and JoJo go to the back of the screening line. Since Mommy only runs in one direction at a time, I’m sure it was a very entertaining scene. Thankfully, no babies were harmed and we will be reminding everyone how amazing TSA is for a few months.

If security was that awful the flights going to be a breeze right!? Oh, how we hoped but that’s Event 2.

Event 2 – Flying to Helsinki

Twin one year olds in hotel room in Finland

Sadly, we didn’t get a single picture during our airport adventure. Ok thats a lie, I’m sure there are a lot of pictures but we didn’t take them. So I chose a picture from our second night. We didn’t go to Norway but we had to take a picture in our Frozen jammies.

We typically pride ourselves for being able to get through airports and flights well. On our 3 hour flight to Helsinki, the universe decided to laugh at that thought. Boarding a flight with three toddlers who are rattled, hungry, and tired is rarely a good experience but manageable. Unless you lose all but one pacifier and didn’t have enough time to get juice or milk.

We decided to try our strawberry squeeze packets as a substitute. This worked fantastically until Ellie started swinging what Mommy thought was an empty packet all around. This left Mommy, Grayson, their seats, their wall, and their ceiling with red splotches everywhere. It looked like a murder scene and we were even questioned about the contents of the packet so the flight attendants could radio ahead to the cleaning crew. We will never be packing those again. On the plus side our number one rule of travel holds true, the flight must land no matter how awful it gets.

You’d think that it couldn’t get worse than that but the days ahead, while much more enjoyable, had even more unfortunate events in store for us.

Day 1 – Hop On/Hop Off Adventure and Aquarium

These are two of our facebook posts for day 1 before it got eventful. The city of Helsinki is beautiful.

Event 3 – Walking Across Helsinki

Our broken stroller which thankfully Kinderwagon sent a replacement for as soon as we got home!

Instead of waiting on our bus at the aquarium we chose to walk back across Helsinki along the water. It was a beautiful walk. We saw some playgrounds that could rival American Ninja Warrior. Uncle Sam and JoJo had an exciting race around it. Everything was great after our misadventures the night before.

As we ended the day back where we started in Senate Square, we expected cranky children rather than a cranky stroller. Our travel stroller that we love so much gave out on us and a wheel sheered off. Did I mention that this is day 1 of a 4 day vacation with 3 toddlers!? Instead of panicking we knew we had our TwinGo and it would just make logistics a little more challenging for the rest of the trip. I’m sure we looked more than insane as we pushed the stroller back.

What could be worse than that? Event 4 is what is worse.

Day 2 – Boat to Tallin, Estonia

JoJo running in the snow to the indoor market across the street. Yeah, I’ve never met anyone that runs this pretty in a blizzard either, but Mommy made up for it looking like a crazy person running with two babies attached and trying to take the picture.

What to do without a stroller? Go to Estonia for the day! Not quite an event but our original boat was cancelled. We had to rebook on a different boat that took about an hour longer each direction. This meant a total of 5 hours on the boat so we booked a cabin which made it much easier with toddlers and didn’t cost much more.

Boat, Toddlers, Foreign countries.. what could possibly go wrong?

Event 4 – Eh… It’s just a little snow.

The only thing eventful on the trip to Estonia was a diaper malfunction for Ellie resulting in wearing her brothers snowsuit and looking like an astronaut. That’s pretty typical for us though!

So we were a little more than shocked to get off the ferry and walk into a blizzard. Yes, you read that right BLIZZARD. At least that’s what I call it when more than inch of snow is falling per hour. This combined with a wind-chill in single digits makes a very dreary day.

We decided to go with a Hop On Hop Off tour of the city. Mostly because the bus was the closest thing to the terminal. It was chilly and snow was still coming into the bus but we did get to see parts of the city. All of the kids got a great nap on the bus.

Event 5 – Back to Helsinki

Helsinki past 9pm in April

Riding on a boat in a blizzard/storm is rough. Thanks to the last minute tickets from our first choice being cancelled (Yeah, we’ll listen next time), we didn’t have a window on the trip back. This combined with the rough seas meant that it was eerie and queasy in our room on the way back. Unlike cruise boats we have been on in the past this boat seemingly had no stabilizers and you could feel the shocks in every direction.

We were pleasantly surprised to find giant snowflakes, snowy ground, and lots of light in Helsinki. Unlike Estonia, the temperature was higher and winds were milder so we could enjoy the snow on our walk home. The outdoor pictures were all taken between 9-10pm with no filters. Check out more here.

Emmy is the only toddler that would fall asleep on the boat. She amazes me with her flexibility.

Day 3 – Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Suomenlinna is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. This is a can’t miss for a trip to Helsinki.

Day 4 – Back to Moscow

A few more pictures –

Emmy on our boat ride home. Ironically, she’s our kid that developed a fear of turbulence.

Grayson looking at Helsinki as we left for Tallin.

Grayson was less than thrilled about his broken stroller.

Our cabin on our ride home before we realized that we were in for a very rough ride.

Headed to Helsinki with your baby or toddler? Worried about your flight, check out our posts about long haul flights here. While it talks about twins, all of these tips are great for any number of babies!