Thursday, February 21st, 2013
I always thought when you have kids, spontaneity goes out the window. In the beginning it kinda does. But during these early years–before real school gets in the way–I’m finding myself more spontaneous than during my pre-kid/marathon/climbing Kilimanjaro years. Take, for example, last week. We went to Hawaii. On a whim. No sh-t.
Phil got an unexpected window in his schedule last Friday–a whole, glorious week off between scripts. We looked at each other like, “Should we go for it?” I got online and began calling places to stay. With kids, we wanted a house. And I only wanted the Big Island. It doesn’t rain there. Yes, I was picky and determined. Not an easy combo.
Every booking agent laughed.
“This short of notice? Villas book out 6 months in advance.”
After multiple calls I was about to concede defeat. Then a woman named Anne returned my call.
“I have a house that no one has rented before. The owners weren’t planning on renting it this week, but they are game.”
Then Phil and I took it a step further. We called his parents–Rev and Bev (Rev is a retired Episcopalian priest). They live in Wisconsin. We asked them to come too. It’s a place they’ve always wanted to see. And of course they always want to see the grandkids. They are almost 80-years old. Rev’s back is bad. It’s a 12-hour flight. And though retired, they still have plenty of things on their calendar. Meals-On-Wheels, Tuesday Club, Ash Wednesday, you know the drill.
Phil’s mom, at first, said No Way. His dad said Yes Way. Then apparently Rev said to Bev, “You just aren’t spontaneous.” Well that’s all it took. Spontaneity might not be her thing but stubborn is. And she isn’t about to let Rev “be right.” She called us back. They were down. Woo hoo!
I called in a sitter and worked for 4 hours on securing a place, renting a car, and booking flights. Travel, planning, and cleaning are my forte. I should have been a cleaning lady-travel agent.
I began doing all the last-minute things you do before you go. Find someone to feed the cat. Throw in laundry. Put paper on hold. Pack. Pack more. Arrange for Cynthia Roelle to write some blog posts. (Thank you, Cindy!)
48-hours later we were on our way to 6 perfect days. We had a house with a pool and the beach in the distance.
This was last week. Now we are back and I’ve realized a few things:
- When you book last-minute, you have no time to anticipate. Therefore, when your vacation is over, your letdown isn’t as great. I’m not writing this from a pit of post-vacation depression. Just a little blue. But also totally rejuvenated.
- You become super-efficient in getting ready. And you accept that some things just have to be left undone.
- It’s hit or miss, but sometimes you can get deals. Flights weren’t bad, we used miles for some, and since the villa wasn’t going to rent out anyway, we got it for slightly less.
- You have no time to worry about the what-ifs. “What if Emmett gets a cold?”, “What if Fia won’t sleep?”, “What if my father-in-law snores so loud it keeps us all up?”
- And if you have it, throw money at the problem. Case in point:
I found a company over there that rents everything for kids. It is an amazing idea. For the week, I got two cribs with bumpers and blankets (taken to house and assembled before we arrived, taken apart when we left), a big tub of toys picked out specifically for Em and Fi, a highchair, beach toys, and a play yard. All for less than $300. I think that’s pretty good, considering.
Needless to say, we had an amazing time. We played in the pool every day…
We went to the beach a handful of times…
We saw whales. And waterfalls. Big and small.
We bought fresh fish from a local market and grilled. We watched Emmett walk…
…and Fia swim (yes, after I declared her swim lessons awash, she suddenly started to “get it.” And enjoy them. So we’re sticking with it for now). I sat outside one morning and read my book. It was heaven.
Now we are back and I feel refreshed and rested. I’m so glad we seized the moment. We did the same with our Death Valley adventure in December. So is it possible that kids make you more spontaneous? That they help you to live in the moment, embrace what’s present? I guess if you let them and let yourself. This was a big way to do it, but there are small, everyday ways, too:
Fia wants to take a different route to school so we can go past “the little blue car.” Okay, let’s do it…
We get stir-crazy, but it’s late in the day. We decide last-minute to run to the zoo. Even if we only have time to see the reptiles…
Stuff like this. Of course, if you have a husband who never knows when he can take vacation, you’re kinda forced to live impulsively on a larger scale. I am rarely bored.
I also really give Rev and Bev credit. It seems the older you are, the more stuck in your ways you become. They even took a red-eye home, landed, and went to church, then drove 3 hours home from Chicago. But I know it was worth every minute…
I feel like this way of living must keep me young. I also realize there is a difference in being flexible versus spontaneous. As parents we have to be flexible. You have plans but your kid gets sick. You cancel. But what if spontaneous could be attained by choice rather than necessity. It’s something to think about….
Consistency is good (especially with sleep/sleep training), but throwing it all to the wind isn’t a bad thing either. It also keeps my spirit free and adventurous. I can tell it rubs off on my tots, too. For me, parenthood–and even life is general–is all about finding that balance. I definitely think we did last week.
Until next time…Mahalo.
P.S. As a side note: I’d love to hear how spontaneous you are with your kids. Please share!
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Airplane, beach, Big Island, crib, hawaii, pool, sand, spontaneous, sun, swimming, toddler toys, travel, travel tips, vacation, villa, Whales | Categories:
Cynthia's Guest Blog, Fearless Feisty Mama, Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
My nanny has to be off the rest of the week for personal reasons. Of course, when I first found out, I panicked. I know, I know, I can hear Cassandra in my head: Mom-Up like the rest of the world. Well, I am. Just not in the traditional sense. Two words:
In my previous travel-obsessed life, I would get antsy if I were home for more than a few weeks. Since moving to LA and having a house–oh, and a second baby–I have barely traveled beyond the perimeter of our neighborhood. To give you an example: Fia was on something like 18 flights the first year of her life. Emmett, so far, has only been on one (for his baptism). He doesn’t even have a passport yet. Gasp.
Cleo’s time off is actually perfect because I feel a bit antsy right now. I mean, with kids, the routine is so, well, routine, that I find myself getting a bit bored; wanting to shake things up. I decided the best way to do this was to flee–with babes in tow. That way I don’t have to watch the clock. Instead, we’ll all have an adventure. And room service. Time will fly whether it’s a disaster or not, simply because it’s a break from the daily grind.
I enlisted Courtney and Teddy to come along too. We’re heading to San Diego. We got a hotel right on the bay, so the kids can frolick in the sun and sand for a couple days. Our room goes right out to the shore, and since it’s the bay, there are no waves. I am convinced there won’t be much “work” involved. Because if any of you have taken your babies to the beach for just one day, you know how much labor it takes. Umbrellas, towels, chairs–all for a mere two hours. Then you break it all down to rush home for a nap. Or because your kid is hungry. Or you’re all overheated and cranky. Possibly all of the above. My beach experiences with two kids haven’t exactly been serene.
I know this all probably sounds whacked, because I’m sure lugging all the crap and three kids down to SD for a 2-day getaway will be exhausting too. But at least it will be 2 days worth, rather than 2 hours worth. So there is more payoff in the effort (at least that’s what I’m telling myself.). Plus, to stay home in a non-air conditioned house with a baby who won’t take long or regular naps just doesn’t sound as fun. (I’m sure Phil will appreciate the house to himself.)
So folks, I’m checking out the rest of the week. Wish me luck on my version of Mom-ing Up.
Picture at beach via Shutterstock
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Situations
Friday, September 14th, 2012
I complained a lot when we moved to LA last November that I was freezing. Everyone said “Just wait.” They were right. We’re baking now, so we decided to beach it. I wanted to sleep here since the bottom floor of our house doesn’t have a/c.
Earlier this week, Fia and I drove past her favorite thing: “the blue car.” We talk about this car like it’s our pet. We decided to sneak a few pictures. I have no idea who this car belongs to, but it’s always parked in the same spot. Afterwards, she kissed and hugged the car goodbye. Then we drove past it 3 more times that day, and the next, and even this morning.
Last night we had tickets to opening night of Book of Mormon. Happy to report that I actually went shopping in anticipation, so no last minute catastrophes. I only had one drink so I wouldn’t break an ankle. What an incredible production.
Double decker buses took us to the after party. Fun! And oh-what-a-scene. I think I was one of the only women there without fake boobs. Ya gotta love what breastfeeding does!
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Friday, July 27th, 2012
Doesn’t she look like a little orphan girl here? But from another century? I love her “looks” that she gets.
Kind of looks orphan-ish here too. But not from another century. This is at the beach.
Her hair is getting so long! Just a few months ago, I took this picture of her at school. With a turtle.
And this one when we moved from Brooklyn to LA:
Time goes way too fast. Sigh.
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Monday, September 26th, 2011
We'll Have The Beach! And Warm Weather!
So big news on our end: We’re moving to LA. In a few weeks. I’ve known for a while but just haven’t wanted to deal. It’s not that I’m not excited about it. The idea of a HOUSE, a YARD, even maybe a POOL makes me giddy (though nothing is yet in place, which is nerve-wracking). But leaving my beloved Brooklyn is going to be tough. We decided to make the move for several reasons, with Little Leroy (working title) solidifying the deal.
When I got pregnant and found out my due date was the end of January, we groaned. Good god, not another winter cooped up in a Brooklyn apartment with a newborn. Not to mention our pad is a landmine. It’s a loft with 28-foot ceilings, which means upstairs Fia could climb over the ledge and drop at least 20 feet. Even with all the baby-proofing, it’s just not set up for a toddler, much less two of them.
Phil is always flying back and forth to LA with his career as a screenwriter. It drives us both crazy. For example, here is our latest scenario: he flew to LA today, takes a redeye home on Friday, then next Monday he flies back, has a 10:00 a.m. meeting on Tuesday and comes home that night. It’s getting a tad absurd.
Our phone rings regularly at 10 pm, usually bringing some sort of drama. The 3-hour time change is a relaxation killer.
He works from home. In the open loft, we have completely blurred the boundaries between his working hours and playing hours. I walk in the door and Fia beelines to him, even if he’s on the phone (his office is in her eye line. Impossible to prevent). I dash after her as fast as I can, but once she sees him it’s all over. She is very attached to her Daddy and if he doesn’t come out and hold her/play with her, a crying fit ensues. Doesn’t make for a great business call. Then I get the glare. I in turn get pissy, and so it goes.
I actually think living in LA in a spacious house, with a separate office for him and a time zone that matches the industry he’s in is going to really simplify our lives. But here’s where I get sad… click here to continue reading.
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Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Situations, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read