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vacation

Another Christmas vacation is coming to a close. Lorne went back to work yesterday and Maya heads back to school on Monday. I’m always amazed how quickly the holiday season comes and goes. It feels like we spend so much time preparing for it and it is gone in a blink of an eye. But, at least we made the most of it. This year, since we weren’t busy with traveling for the holidays, we made it our goal was to do something fun every day of our vacation, make it a funcation. And boy did we have fun. We did so much. The days flew by in a blur of smiles, laughter, and fun.

We kicked off our funcation with a trip to the Seattle’s Children’s Museum. The girls had a ton of fun exploring all the different activity centers. Maya’s favorite seemed to be the dress up and stage area (no surprise there!) and Anna loved the under 3 area since everything was just her size (well almost). They both had fun “shopping” in the pretend grocery store.

After spending most of the day in the Children’s Museum we headed outside to check out the fountain in Seattle Center. Maya and Lorne tempted fate by standing awfully close to the water, luckily no one got wet (that time anyway). Anna and I had fun watching and laughing at them every time they almost got wet.

Day 2 was spent in the mountains sledding. The nice thing about living where we do is that we get the best of both worlds in the winter. Our temperatures of fairly mild and we don’t have to deal with the white stuff on a day to day basis, but if we get a hankering for a little fun in the snow we just have to take a short drive into the mountains and there is tons of it. Anna wasn’t too sure about the whole sledding thing at first, but after a few trips down the hill she was having a blast and asking for more. Spent a couple of hours sledding and playing in the snow. It was great fun.

 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day offered their own fun. The girls had a great Christmas and got spoiled as always.

After spending a couple days indoors busy with Christmas stuff we decided to head out for a hike on Boxing Day. We checked out the cute little hike close to us that is perfect for kids. They have story boards set up along the trail and you read a bit of the story at each board. The story is about a little field mouse who takes a trip into the forest and what he encounters along the way. It was adorable and Maya had a lot of fun.

Thanks to an awesome joint gift from the girls’ Aunt Kathleen we spent the next day at the Seattle Aquarium (family membership!!). It was packed but we still had a great time. We can’t wait to go back.

 

Our fun the next day took us back outdoors. We did another nice little hike around a lake at a state park not to far from us. Maya wasn’t as into the hike this time and spent a good deal of it whining, but, we stopped periodically for her to create little performances that we filmed and that seemed to make it a bit more fun for her. Anna slept through most of the hike.

Germs found their way into our home the next day, it was bound to happen given all the time we spent around small children, so the rest of our funcation was pretty low key. We had a quiet little New Year’s Eve celebration complete with appetizers for dinner and sparkling cider all around. New Year’s Day we took a nice drive around the city to check out the mountain views since it was a clear, sunny day.

I’d say our mission of making this a fun filled Christmas vacation was accomplished. Everyone had a great time and we got to check out several new spots in this still new to us city of Seattle. Maya has lots of fun stories to share with her friends when she heads back to school on Monday.

We are hitting the road.  I know, you’re thinking to yourself, didn’t they just “hit the road” a few weeks ago, didn’t they just get back from vacation.  Why yes, yes we did.  However, we are heading out again.  My brother-in-law and his fiance are getting married this weekend, and Lorne is in the wedding party.  So, needless to say, that requires us to head back up to Ontario.
Of course, like with most of our vacations, it also means we will be spending a great deal of time in a car.  4 days to be exact (to say I’m not looking forward to that part of it is a complete understatement).  The idea of sitting in a car for 4 days out of 7 isn’t exactly my idea of a good time, but I know it’ll be worth it to spend time with Lorne’s family as we help his brother and wife to be celebrate their marriage.
The bags are packed, our dress up clothes, including Maya’s “beautiful new dress”, are ready to go.  The only thing left to do is wake up first thing this morning and head on out on the open road.

We are hitting the road…again.  I know, you’re thinking to yourself, didn’t they just “hit the road” a few weeks ago, didn’t they just get back from vacation.  Why yes, yes we did.  However, we are heading out again.  My brother-in-law and his fiance are getting married this weekend, and Lorne is in the wedding.  So, needless to say, that requires us to head back up to Ontario.

Of course, like with most of our vacations, it also means we will be spending a great deal of time in a car.  4 days to be exact (to say I’m not looking forward to that part of it is a complete understatement).  The idea of sitting in a car for 4 days out of 7 isn’t exactly my idea of a good time, but I know it’ll be worth it to help the happy couple celebrate their marriage.  Plus, I love an excuse to put on my fancy clothes and see my husband in a suit.  And, since I don’t get to do it all that often, I’ll settle for driving long distances for the opportunity.

The bags are packed, our dress up clothes are pressed and ready to go, and movies and coloring books have been procured for the entertainment of the little one.  The only thing left to do is wake up bright and early and head on out on the open road.

Every summer we take a 2 weeks and head up to Ontario for a little rest and relaxation with our families.  We spend a week hanging out with my family and then a week with Lorne’s family.  We’ve been doing it this way for so many years I’ve lost count.  Though the drive is long and we have to live out of suitcases for 2 weeks straight, it is worth it.  Spending that time with our families means a lot since we don’t get to see them all that often, what with living over 800 miles away from them and all.

This year was especially nice.  It was the first vacation we’ve taken all year.  Since we were so busy selling our condo and buying a new house we didn’t get a chance to take our little mini vacation in the spring like we have in recent years, so to say Lorne was desperate for a few days off that didn’t involve moving boxes or signing away our lives on mortgage paperwork is an understatement. It was nice to get away, to spend time with family and just relax.

We had all kinds of fun adventures on our little trip.  Maya had a great time with her Nana, her aunts and uncles, her cousins, her Gramma and Poppa, and a bunch of extended family too.

We played at the park with cousins.

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We went to a little zoo near my home town that I didn’t even know existed until last year and fed some animals.

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We went swimming in water that was barely warm enough on a day that was way too cold, just because.

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We helped my brother-in-law and his wife celebrate their marriage by playing a little dress up and dancing far into the night.

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We played in the sand, put our toes in the water, and ate our weight in ice cream.

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It was an awesome summer vacation and a great way to cap off the summer.

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.