I’m terrible at taking a vacation. In fact, if not for my husband, I’m not sure I’d take one at all. Pre-Bart, my vacation consisted of going home to GA a couple of times a year and the chance travel opportunity, which has taken me to Ireland, Paris, Italy, Switzerland and London – oh, and a cross-country road trip with my sister and my friend, Joe, both of whom almost didn’t let me go because they thought I’d sing in the car the entire way. For the record, I did not.
Post-Bart travel has taken me to Peru, Greece, Turkey, New Zealand (both islands), and my job has thankfully taken me to India, Japan and Australia. Just typing that out I realize how much I miss traveling to foreign countries, no matter the reason. But I digress.
I know families do this in the summer (I thank them every time my drive to work is tolerable), but I have not been looking forward to the prospect of getting on a plane with 2 small children. So I told my lovely husband that if he wants a family vacation, we need to be able to drive there. So he booked this cute airbnb in Solano Beach (near San Diego about 2.5 hours away) with the plan to spend a week there and hit the San Diego zoo and some other fun things. BOOKED.
Then Zoe got into a public school we like through the completely unpredictable CA lottery system, which started guess when? The week we had booked. So we decided to go a little closer to home and booked another airbnb in Newport Beach, where we’re going next week for a long weekend. Not much of a “week of family time”, and so, we decided to also go to Palm Springs for the 4th of July weekend.
Our friends Joe & Mary have a place there which they were kind enough to loan us, and we set out for our first family adventure away from home. Our car was stuffed. We left at nap time and both kids slept on the 2 hour drive. We played in the pool, went to the grocery store to stock up and loosely planned the weekend. Sounds relaxing, right? Not so much.
Here are some things I learned in Palm Springs that weekend:
- Always call ahead to see if the Children’s Discovery Museum is open before you bribe your 4-year-old with it as a good behavior reward and get her very excited to go there. (We ended up going a different day, but still, that empty parking lot was NOT a clue to her that it was closed.)
- 108 degrees is very very very hot. Actually, I knew that one, but still. Whether your in a pool or not, that’s hot. Oh, and it’s hard to keep a hat on a small child in the pool if you’re there for a while, and at 108, they need a hat.
- Working around 2 kids’ nap times is way more work if you’re trying to plan vacation activities around it. Yes, we do things on the weekend, and nap is always a consideration, but I swear it constantly felt like it was nap time.
- Don’t waste a really nice restaurant on small kids for brunch. Though I VERY MUCH enjoyed it (Workshop Kitchen) and they DID bring us an avocado for Ella and Zoe enjoyed the bacon. But a concrete booth (including concrete tabletop) is not the best thing for a tiny child, no matter how pretty it is… ASIDE: I had a “HALF AVOCADO, baked with local goat cheese, drizzled with honey and chopped almonds”, and it was incredible.
- An 8-month-old will not make it through a movie. Ok, I knew this one, too, and Bart was kind enough to take her OUT of the movie so Zoe and I could finish watching Inside Out. Which leads me to the last thing…
- Keeping 2 kids who are 4 years apart in age equally engaged in age-appropriate activities is exhausting. So exhausting that Ella and I fell asleep (me on the floor) on the 4th of July right after dinner and slept right through the fireworks that Dad & Zoe went out to watch to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
On the way home (again, planned around nap time and both girls slept, woo hoo), Bart and I decided we needed a vacation from our vacation. And so, I’m hoping for a more relaxing family vacation coming up (at least it won’t be 108). Oh, and all in all, we had a really nice time, so yet again, my husband was right :)