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Let's Talk Babies!

Family Travel

I can already feel the shadows growing in my memory. The moments and memories that I brought back from one of the most amazing experiences in my life are less crisp. As each day passes they are slowly, but surely, beginning to fade.

Moments and memories like this one.

And this one.

And this one.

I’m lucky, because as time does what it always does and the memories from our time in Australia begin to fade, I’ll have the posts I wrote about our adventures and the hundreds of pictures I took, to look back and regain some of the vividness of my memories. These moments and the many others we had will never be gone completely, I’ll always be able to look at a picture or read a post and bring them back.

I want Maya to remember her trip too. She may not remember much, she may only remember a single moment or a feeling. But I want her to have something to hold onto in her mind. The things she got to experience are things that some people dream their whole lives about but never get to do. I want her to have something to spark her own tiny memories, so I’ve decided to make a book for her. I’m working on getting all the posts I wrote about our adventures, along with some of the pictures, bound into a book for her. I hope that as she gets older and she only has some distant memory of being in a land far, far away when she was very young, that she’ll be able to look at the book, read the stories, see the pictures and for just a moment remember how incredible the spring of her 4th year of life truly was.

The other day the lovely Princess Jenn mentioned in her comment on one of my posts that she couldn’t decide if I was crazy, adventurous or brave for my undertaking of this trip to Australia.  Some days I feel adventurous. I have yet to feel brave.  Most days I definitely feel crazy.

In just 5 days all of the planning, all of the waiting will come to fruition and we will board a plan to begin our journey to the great Down Under.  The question is Am I Ready?

The short answer is mostly.  I’m about two thirds packed and most of the major things on our To-Do list are done.  So, I guess I could say I’m pretty much ready. However, as each day goes by I feel more and more anxious and less and less “ready”.  This trip feels like a big undertaking.  There isn’t anything in particular that I’m worried about. I think the flight will be okay. I’m not worried about Maya not being able to handle it, I think she’ll do great.  I really can’t put my finger on what it is that I’m so anxious about, I think maybe it is just all the unknowns.

But, no matter what it is that has my stomach doing somersaults there is no going back now. In 5 days, whether I’m ready or not, we will board that plane.

So, what do you think, am I adventurous, brave or just plain crazy?  My vote is probably a little of all three.

Our departure for Australia is looming in the not to distant future. Although, we don’t have an exact date yet we know we will be leaving sometime this month.  Yesterday I started trying to get organized and started a packing list.  I made one of things that need to go in my suitcase and carry on bag and one for Maya’s suitcase and carry on bag.  The list is long and yet I feel like I’m still not thinking about everything we will need.

Last week I talked about my fear of flying on such a long flight with a 3 year old and got some great suggestions on things to pack in a carry on for Maya.  I feel like our carry on situation is all figured out.  We just need to determine which toys and books will make the cut and be included in the carry on.  Maya will have her own carry on so that will help lighten the load in my bag and free up some space so I can bring a few things to occupy myself.

As I was making my list yesterday I tried to think of our routines.  Things like getting ready in the morning, getting ready for bed, etc.  But, I had to think about what those routines are like when it is warm outside.  It is hard to remember all the things we use in warm weather when it is freezing outside.  As I worked on the list and watched it get longer and longer I realized how hard it is to pack and prepare for a 3 month journey.

3 months is a long time to be away from home.  How do you really prepare for all the things you might need?  I think I’m just going to need to get the bags packed and go from there.  I don’t want to bring too much because my 32 weeks pregnant self, traveling alone with Maya, will not want to have to lug around too much stuff at the airport.  But, at the same time I don’t want to pack too light and discover that we need to buy a ton of stuff when we get there.  I’m stressing myself out just writing about it!

Luckily, we are traveling to a warm climate at a time when we are not using any of our warm weather clothing, so, I’ll be able to pack ahead of time and have plenty of time to check and recheck my trusty list.

Do you keep your kids on a routine while you are away on vacation or do you just go with the flow?

My daughter is a routine loving of kid.  She thrives and is at her best when she eats at her normal times, gets a good nap at her regular time and goes to bed around her regular time.  This goes for when we are home or when we are away.  As a result I do my best to keep her on some sort of familiar routine when we are on vacation.  I can’t keep things exactly the same as at home but I can certainly do my best to establish a routine that works for her.

With Maya it becomes very obvious, very fast when she hasn’t gotten enough sleep, has had enough fun and just needs to chill out.  When I see the melt downs starting, when I see her emotional side start to make an appearance I know she needs some rest.  Being on vacation can sometimes mean a lot of go, go, go and forgetting to eat and sleep at regular times.  Even I get crabby when I’m hungry or haven’t had enough sleep so it isn’t any surprise that my kiddo does too.

To help keep things in some sort of balance when we are away from home I try to:

  • Stick with a decent bedtime for Maya. The thing that throw her off the most is not getting enough sleep so enough though it may mean we have to miss out on a few things I try to stay firm on a bedtime that is reasonable for a 2 year old.
  • Make sure she gets a nap every day, or at least most days.  2 year olds need their sleep and Maya just gets really crabby, irrational and over tired if she doesn’t get a nap most days.  Again, it may mean missing out on a fun activity, but what fun would it really be if it only resulted in mega tantrums.  Naps are important and I try my best to keep them in the schedule.
  • Eat our meals are pretty regular times.  Maya, like me, gets crabby if she doesn’t eat so I make sure that while we are on vacation breakfast, lunch and dinner all happen are pretty regular times.
  • Listen to the cues from Maya.  If she is getting extra crabby, extra emotional, or just plain out of air I make sure that she gets down for a nap or for bed early that day to help her regroup, or I make sure our schedule for that day is a quiet one.

It isn’t always easy to keep some sort of routine going but I try my best because I know that is what is going to make our vacation for the most fun for Maya, and as a result us.  No one wants to be super crabby and tired while on vacation, that’s not fun.

So, what about you?  Do you have go with the flow kids or routine lovers?  How do you handle them when your on a family vacation?

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will hop in the car and hit the road for our annual summer trek up to the great white north.  Every year we spend two weeks up in Ontario, where both Lorne and I are from, to visit our families and partake in a little R & R.  Aside from the ridiculously long car ride to get up there and the ridiculously long car ride to get home, it is always a very fun and relaxing trip.

Last year we decided to forego the ever unpopular road trip aspect of the trip and we flew up instead.  Maya was still under 2 at the time so could fly free and we managed to get tickets for a steal.  This year we are back to road tripping it.  It should be interesting, to say the least, to be stuck in a car for 12+ hours with a 2 and a half year old who is potty trained.  I foresee a lot of  pit stops along the way.  All I can say is thank goodness for portable dvd players and my daughter’s love for reading and coloring, they are likely to be our lifesavers tomorrow.

I’m really looking forward to seeing my family, watching Maya play with her uncles and her cousins and just chillin’ for the next couple of weeks.