Vacation Bests & Worsts

by Abby on August 22, 2011

Rafting with RileyI’m back! And I am happy to report that our vacation last week was actually…wait for it…FUN. Relaxing, even. No, really! You thought I was going to say “not that bad” or “only slightly preferable to getting a root canal,” didn’t you? I will admit that while in the past I’ve had trouble using the word “vacation” to describe family trips with 2 small boys, this time was different.

Yes, the toddler had his share of tantrums. (I know, we are SUCH unreasonable parents to not allow a 2yo to go kayaking solo.) And yes, the mornings started much too early for my taste. (One unfortunate day that meant 3:40am!!) And yes, there were some meltdowns caused by too much activity, too much ice cream, and too-late bedtimes. (And also an ugly scuffle over a Foosball game.) But overall, the negatives were far outweighed by the positives.

Fishing with DaddyThis is largely due to the fact that both my boys are now old enough to (mostly) sleep through the night, speak clearly, walk steadily, swim and/or keep their heads above water. This is HUGE. Because it means I’m not anxiously trying to decipher a tired cry from an overheated cry and I don’t spend half my vacation sitting in a parked car while somebody naps. I’m not the only person who can feed them anymore. And I don’t constantly fear for my children’s lives anytime we’re near water. Babies are cute and all, but they’re not the best beach or boating companions. Now both my boys are big enough to walk on a dock or even ride in a speedboat (wearing life jackets, of course). Amazing!

This trip marked our first official return to The Active Vacation. C. and I like to bike, hike, swim, row, run, and other stuff like that on vacation. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a nice umbrella drink at a swim-up bar or a lazy afternoon lying on the beach. But we’re more the do-something than do-nothing on vacation types. And when you’ve got a baby, that’s not easy. See “sitting in parked cars” above.

The Kayak KidsAt the lake, we made up for our previous sedentary vacations by going all out: kayaking, golf, fishing, running, and yoga. Campfires and go-karts, hot tubs and mini golf. It was awesome. So was hanging out with my extended family in a beautiful location. Every night at dinner, my 4yo niece liked to have everybody go around the table and say what the best and worst parts of their day were. Here are some of my bests and worsts:

The best part about the weather at the lake: low humidity and no mosquitoes!

The worst part about the weather at the lake: constant sunblock application. BTW, if anyone ever finds a sunscreen that’s TRULY tear-free, I’m all ears.

The best part about being near the water: easy access to fishing and boating.

The worst part about being near the water: daily tantrums by the 2yo who wanted to ride other people’s Jetskis, throw rocks in the lake 24/7, and go out in the raft “by myself!!”

Crazy KidsThe best part about vacationing with my extended family: Playmates for the kids took the pressure off mom & dad, extra adults meant we could trade off on childcare, cooking & cleaning. And Gram & Grandpa volunteered to read bedtime stories.

The worst part about vacationing with my extended family: Have you ever tried to find anything amidst 10 people’s stuff?! I spent an hour a day just searching for footwear alone.

READ O’ THE WEEK: Ever find a book that’s perfect for your present stage of life? Read it, loved it, passed it on to my mom, who also read it and loved it: The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs by Christina Hopkinson.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello August 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Now that’s a vacation, shared time and fun and active as you want and the boys actually able to take part or hang out with other kids. The pics are just great, love the one of you and the youngest in the raft, he loves to mug for the camera, huh!.

I remember the first real vacation we took with my daughter when she was about 2 1/2 and we went with the in-laws as well to Florida. We did all the Disney and other stuff and had a great time, my daughter seemed to do well the whole time as she had 4 adults watching after her and paying attention to her. Other than her tasting some stranger’s beer at Busch Gardens, a lovely time was had by all.


Abby August 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

He sure does love to mug, Lou! Having extra adults around is key. That way everyone gets to have a break from each other, kids and adults both.


Kim August 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I swear we go through a bottle of sunblock every two weeks living here in San Diego. I’m all ears for a tear-free one too. What an awesome vacation you had, and so well deserved after your car breaking down moment not so long ago 🙂 I’d love to take my girls on trips into nature more often. I used to spend hours entertaining myself with local water holes, but my girls don’t even know what one is.


Abby August 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

How did I not know you lived in San Diego? I’m so jealous of your beautiful weather! We’re having some now, but it never lasts…


Malia Jacobson August 22, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Very glad to hear that vacationing gets easier as the kiddos get older! Learning to swim is HUGE–I hope my 4yo gets there soon. Riley and my Mia would have lots to chat about. She gives me the business for not letting her cross the street “by myself!” Also for having the audacity to change her dipe or daring to suggest that pants should be worn with one leg per opening. Toddlers. 🙂


Abby August 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm

One leg per pant-leg? You’re such a narrow-minded mom. 😉


Angie August 23, 2011 at 5:26 am

I’ve been really wanting a lake vacation! I’m so glad you had a mostly great time, and I lived vicariously through this post.

Tear-free sunscreen– I swear by No-Ad lotion sunblock for Kids for the body and the Water babies wax stick for the face. I don’t use anything for my kids faces anymore. Coppertone Kids wax face stick is also okay. The main thing is the wax. Shawn and I use it now, too.


Abby August 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm

You’re right, the stick works. For some reason, I use it on the kids but not myself. Duh!


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