Tuesday, April 12, 2011

8 Lessons from Vacation

So here's what I learned from our vacation, little jewels I thought I'd pass on to you. And some pics we took on the beach our last night thrown in for decoration.

1. Both mosquito bites and sunburn are possible even in April. And it hurts to scratch sunburned mosquito bites.

2. Do some research beore you go about where you're going and at least have a general idea of your options, and what you'd like to do. Now, I am a planner by nature, but for some reason (probably because I didn't really believe that this vacation was going to happen), I had only a vague idea about what there was to do in Charleston. This led to more time than necessary spent researching while we were actually there, wasting precious vacation time. And may have induced a few squabbles.

3. When vacationing for more than a couple of days, only stay at places with in-room (in-condo) laundry facilities. It was awesome to come home with only 1 load of dirty laundry (between us all), instead of what noramlly would have been 6-7. The laundry seems to be one of the reasons I dread the end of trip so much. This made it so much less painful, and easier the day after, for sure.

4. Bring more toys than you think you will need for your 5yo. You think "oh we're going on vacation and we'll be too busy to need toys", but you forget that he gets up at the crack of dawn and will need something to entertain him. Otherwise he will come in and wake you up excessively early after you've been up every 2 hours with the baby. Yes, every morning.

5. Clean the house top to bottom before you leave for vacation. That way when you get home there are clean sheets on the beds, no stinky trash, the laundry is all put away, and all you have to do after your almost-12-hour-but-was-supposed-to-be-just-9-hour-car-ride is come in and sit down, grateful to be home.

6. Have reasonable expectations - about what you can do, about kids' behavior, about how long it will take to get places, and about how long it is reasonable to expect kids (or yourself!) to be in the car without breaks. Everyone is out of their routine, and probably not as well rested as normal (though, if you're me, you've not been well-rested in months, so it probably doesn't make much of a difference). This can lead to meltdowns, not sleeping as well (further perpetutating the cycle), etc...

7. Know your limits. For instance, my limit of car driving in one day is about 8 hours. After that I lose all sembalance of patience. The kid's limit is longer, if he has movies to watch. Baby E's limit is pretty short, about 4 hours.  Hubby's is pretty long, providing we don't get lost. If we're lost, it's about 3 minutes.

8. Lastly, take vacations more often. When your 5yo doesn't know what a vacation is, because the last one he went on was when he was 8 months old, you know there's a problem. Once every 4-5 years simply isn't adequate. Time for your family to experience new places and things is important. Time to just be, with nothing more pressing to do than be together, is paramountly important. Make it a priority.

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