Just got back from a great vacation with family in Pennsylvania! Vacation with small kiddos is absolutely not the same as vacation pre-babies, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. Here are some stories & tips from my trip …
- I was proud of myself for doing some excellent planning, especially regarding our overnight in Pittsburgh, where we visited my brother & sister-in-law. I picked a great kid’s activity for us, the Pittsburgh Zoo, and managed to find a hotel that met all our needs. (Does anyone else traveling with kids perceive pool and free breakfast as “needs”?) Finding a place for dinner, however, turned out to be too much for me. I was so glad that I finally asked for help, or rather, that my SIL Kim offered help. I told her what we wanted to find (close to our hotel, local/interesting, good beer, kids menu) and she found the PERFECT restaurant for us. (If you’e ever going to Pittsburgh, check out Burgatory. You won’t be sorry!)
- Being on vacation can tend to make me lazy – I’m often tempted to pass on opportunities that just sound like too much work. But you know what? Laziness + kids + vacation = unhappiness. Fortunately, I managed to get myself moving to go swimming with Maggie before leaving the hotel in the morning, and the more energetic people in my family (husband, brother) spurred me on to stay with the zoo plan instead of doing something more low-key before the second, six-hour leg of our road trip. Both of these activities were endangered by laziness, but fortunately laziness did not win!
- Another obstacle to vacation fun can be fear. I have a deep and abiding fear of sleep deprivation, so one night when Pete & I had the chance to go out after the girls’ bedtime, I almost decided to stay home. We’d be out late, I wouldn’t get enough sleep, and THEN what would happen?! Fortunately I swallowed my fear and we went out to an extremely fun microbrewery where we had a great conversation over delicious beers. It actually may have been my favorite outing of the whole vacation, and I almost missed it because I wanted to go to bed early!
- And by the way, my fear of sleep deprivation stemmed partly from the fact that the girls woke us up at 5:30 for several days in a row. It was a bummer, but we did best when we rolled with it and just started our days early. Being up early actually allowed us to fit some running into vacation without disrupting the rest of the day.
- Sometimes on vacation things get kind of slow, and when there’s not much going on besides the ever-present tasks of taking the toddler potty, changing the baby’s diaper, feeding them both, and managing naptimes … it definitely doesn’t feel like vacation. The best remedy I found for this was simply to go outside. Sipping iced tea on my mom’s back porch, or having coffee while watching the sun come up over the fields at my sister’s farm … even though I still had my “little interruptions” around, fresh air & beauty made things more vacation-like.
- And sometimes on vacation, things just don’t go how you’d like them to go. I was excited to schedule a trip to the Crayola Factory on our way to my sister’s house; I’d been wanting to go to it my whole life but had never gone. I was so thrilled to take my little three-year-old artist there! Well, praise God, she had a good time, but it turned out to be exactly the wrong kind of place for me. I’m pretty sensitive to noise, and we were surrounded by dozens of screaming children the entire time we were there. This was a good time to just laugh and move on.
- Last but not least … we’re home now and suffering through vacation re-entry. I’ll spare you the details, but things have been hard enough to make me wonder why we ever go on vacation at all! That’s when it’s a good idea to upload some photos, tell some stories, and remember it really was worth it.