Sunday, July 13, 2014

Observations From Vacationing With 3 Kids

Having a traveling mantra is a good idea. Ours began two years ago before Button was born: "Vacation begins when you get in the car." We reminded ourselves out loud when Casen was yelling at Liam for chewing on their toy dragons. We kept reminding ourselves when Liam used his punch toy on his brother or sister. We kept muttering it under our breaths when we were doctoring chigger bites on the boys' ankles and a nasty, diaper-leaked-on car seat. Reminded us that road trips are part of the vacation memories.

I miss good Mexican food I grew up eating. I had some while I was down south. I wish I could have it flown to me.
The best breakfast taco you'll ever have.
I also miss DQ. I had incredibly too much ice cream on my vacation, but it was totally worth it.

If someone could possibly get hurt, it'll happen. It's inevitable. The guys got severe chigger bites on the first bathroom stop. C fell at the second stop and skinned up his legs and forehead (nothing like applying alcohol on a wound of a high-strung kid in a rest stop bathroom). Thankfully, the hurts eased up as the trip went along.
Notice how jam-packed the car is. It's the first day.
Don't label your kid (ignore my prior observation). They don't always fit them! That's something that Josh and I have tried since the kids were born. It's actually proven to be quite difficult, but their personalities, likes, and dislikes are changing and developing. We just forget that sometimes. This trip reminded me that my kids aren't always cautious, hyper, or ______ (fill in the blank). Neither boys have loved swimming yet. With limited access to swimming pools and a minimum number of swim lessons, they aren't what I would call little fishes. But I was surprised this trip. C became a little fish. He loved going way out into the ocean and playing in the big waves and body boarding to shore. He didn't even freak out when he would go under a big wave. He would just pop back up, take a breath, and get his bearings. He swam hours with his cousin on our last day in south Texas. L surprised me too. He didn't like going out far from shore but he would dump water on his head (he called it being "brave") and play in the smaller waves by the shoreline.

The little fishes: Jaida and Casen
Flexibility is key and know your (and the kids') limits. We didn't know how H would travel. She did pretty well, but she had her limits. We had to stop every couple hours usually for her to get out and stretch and crawl/walk. She never slept more than an hour and a half at at time in the car. The boys never slept (except L did for about 15 minutes) which is how they always are on road trips. Therefore, we all needed a lot of car breaks. We also worked in an extra day so there was one full day between all our driving days.

We carry gloves and ball now at all times.
We found this great spot in some small town in Texas at the high school.
Another great spot in small town Texas: a Catholic church yard.

This is what happened if Button needed a morning nap, but we were still trying to get out of the hotel room.
It's totally worth it to budget in a car detail after your return. Drinks were spilled. Baby had a blow out that somehow ended up on her seat AND the car seat. Crackers were crumbled. Wet towels and swim suits left in the car. Beach sand everywhere. Needless to say, the car was RANK when we pulled into our house. Now it's so clean after the detailing, no one is ever allowed to ride in it again.

It's also totally worth it to revisit places you did as a kid and see it through your kids' eyes this time around. I might be sappy, but I teared up throughout the week seeing the joy on my kids' faces. It reminded me of the joy I felt as a child and made me thankful that we were able to take a vacation. I'll never forget sitting on the beach with L Child and Button on my lap singing songs about the ocean. It was a heart-warming moment.
Sea lions and seals!
Spent their money on eels of course!
I call this the "Happy-Elevator-I'm-Going-Swimming" dance.
Do you remember being this happy about swimming in a hotel pool?

The boys helped to dig up Ghost Shrimps.
Button loved the carousel!

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