Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
2 years, 1 month.
In a couple of days, we will be loading up the Honda and making the 3 hour journey to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama to spend the Christmas holiday with my side of the family.
There is definitely potential for this road trip to be stressful…for all of us. So I want to do my part to make this as easy as possible for our family.
I’ve compiled a “2012 Christmas Vacation Family Road Trip Checklist” for us to go by. Let’s take a look:
For the car: snacks, bottled water, toys, books, crayons and coloring book, clean-up wipes and/or Kleenex, sunglasses, travel blanket, small garbage bag, iPod/CD’s
Necessary electronics: cellphone and charger, camera and charger, laptop and charger, compact DVD player and DVDs
For the destination: the Christmas gifts and cards, food to contribute to the Christmas dinner, family tradition activities (like board games and playing cards)
Toiletries: diapers, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, contacts and contact solution, razor, unmentionables
Clothes: underwear, socks, t-shirts, casual and dress shoes, outdoor play clothes, indoor play clothes, church clothes, warm coat, light jacket, pajamas, hats
It seems that no matter how hard we try to prevent it, we always end up forgetting to pack something. I’m not saying this year will be the exception, but it’s worth a shot.
I designed the list with you in mind. In particular, I asked myself, “How can I do my best to keep Jack from being bored and/or hungry?”
We will pack some of your favorite toy trains, stuffed animals, plenty of Goldfish crackers in plastic baggies, a blanket for you to “make a house” with in the back seat, and even the Carbon Leaf CD which has several of the songs from the soundtrack to your favorite movie, Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey!
If you’re happy, then Mommy’s happy, and that means I’m happy.
Now, let’s start packing…
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
The term “family vacation” may simply exist as a hilarious oxymoron; especially when you have a toddler. While planning a road trip across Florida recently, my expectations were exactly where they needed to be: low. And as I expected, I therefore wasn’t disappointed.
Though it was very tough flying all the way to Sacramento with our son when he was only 8 months old, at least we had plenty of family awaiting us to help out. (My wife is the 9th of 10 kids.) But when you don’t have family to help soften the blow, an attempt at a vacation is simply that- an attempt.
Taking a vacation with a baby is like winning a free iPhone with a cracked screen. Or getting off work early due to inclement weather and then getting stuck in bad traffic. It’s like eating a trendy $4 cupcake but it being your least favorite flavor: Butterscotch.
Perhaps the best word for a vacation with a baby is “adventure,” which promotes the idea of excitement of the unknown and as well as the great possibility of setbacks. Here are 7 reasons a vacation with a baby is no vacation:
1. You can’t sleep in. Man, the thought of waking up lazily at 8:30 AM on my own, without a baby alarm clock is simply, unimaginable. Nice thought, though.
2. The irregular schedule throws off your baby’s sleeping patterns. We’ve been back for over a week now and our son still hasn’t quite adjusted back to not only Central Time, but also actually being able to sleep when he’s ready to.
3. You can’t ever mentally relax; even while you sleep. It’s more likely that your kid is going to wake up in the middle of the night. And while you’re awake, there is no pause button with your child.
4. You become stressed out about finding meals. When you have to synchronize your own hunger cues along with your child’s, while finding an appropriate restaurant to stop at, it’s not too surprising having driven yourself all the way across the Florida Keys without lunch. A sleeping baby in a car overrides the growling of two adults’ stomachs.
5. You and your spouse barely have time to talk to each other about anything other than the stress of the trip. When you do, it’s smarter just to fall asleep. So much for quality time.
6. Planning activities wears you out. You want to see all the cool tourist spots, but you also want to be able to relax. But you can’t relax anyway (as mentioned in #3) so it becomes easier just to distract yourself with the vacation activities themselves.
7. You become aware of the fun you’re missing out on as adults. So much for a simple date night at the bar of the hotel. It’s easier to settle for a bottle of Boone’s Farm from the gas station down the street, enjoyed in the splendor of two glass cups from your hotel’s bathroom counter.
But hey, this is what we know as normal now. I’ll sleep in when I’m dead.