Monday, June 9, 2014


So it's officially summer break for us in the school system. The end of the school year builds into this huge crescendo that peaks with state testing and zooms downhill with fun activities like outside-torture-day field day and awards day. Add into the mix intricate planning of summer school and you get one stressed out woman.  But this week wraps up all the work things (until summer school in July) and now it's time to relax, enjoy this summer before the kids start Kindergarten. Except I can't.

We are about to embark on our first full-on family vacation next week.  We are leaving this weekend for a full week's vacay in Orange Beach, Alabama. When we first planned this trip, all I pictured was white sandy beaches, the sound of the surf, the cool night breeze.  But as it looms over my head, getting closer and closer, I'm feeling more and more stress.  Kids require a LOT of crap for vacation. Beach toys, tons of sun block, extra towels, snacks and drinks, toys to entertain them when it rains. And that's not even including the stuff you need to entertain them on a 10+ hour trip. Car snacks and movies and batteries and crap to keep them quiet (which is doubtful anyway). Oh holy packing.

Now all I am envisioning is hauling a ton of junk to and from the beach every day--wait a minute, every HOUR. I'm envisioning whining because it's hot or there's a bug or someone has to go potty or 'I wanna go to the pool, but wait I want to go inside, but now let's go to the beach' get the idea. More work than vacation.

I have a theory that this kind of negative anticipation comes when you have kids a little later in life. I feel like moms my age who have young kids share that same sharp skeptical cynicism that I have about things like this. It's because we are like old dogs--old hound dogs.  We've had a good long taste of life without kids--we've had many vacations unfettered by pulling rickety wagons of dirty children and beach necessities or long whiny mini-van rides listening to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat.  And we have a hard time deviating from that picture, from that routine.  We know exactly how good it can be, and while we are incredibly GRATEFUL to have children and we delight in every single 'first', including the first time seeing the beach, there's a part of us that can't help but think of the days of lying on the beach TRULY relaxing.

So with a lot of anxiety and a lot of good humor, we're prepping this week for the trip.  We've talked to the kids about what to expect, and the condo we're staying at has bunk beds in the kiddie bedroom and multiple pools with a variety of fun water features, so they're pretty psyched.  Except for that elevator.  He's a tad nervous. We shall see.

More to come from the beach....wish us luck! If you have any "traveling-with-young-children" tips, I'm all ears!  Please share....

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