After nearly 900 miles of travel in the car, a week at my parents’ home in Vermont, and one night in a hotel room, I wanted to come back to reflect on a few things we learned while traveling with A. First and foremost, A was a rockstar when it came to travel. She had a few rough spots (after about six hours on our initial trip to Vermont), and about twenty minutes before the end of our four hour drive to Freeport to meet Jason on Saturday, but all and all, she rode pretty comfortably. Thank you Graco Snugride 30!
A few things that I think helped were the toys. She had her Jellycat, whom she has had since she was two months old and a few jingle bugs. What surprised me was that she wanted her old, familiar toys, not the new things that I’d picked up for the trip. On the way to Vermont, we fed her at her usual intervals, and that helped until she just grew sick of the car after her second nap would have normally ended. Going to Freeport, we were so close that we pushed it a bit to just get there in one nap since I knew it would have been way too hard to get her back into the car seat (she began to straighten her back and resist the car seat a lot more after that first long drive).
The greatest joy of the trip was that it came at exactly the time we needed to get her out of the swing and into her crib, and as long as she was in her sleep sack and rubbing her eyes, she slept like a little champ in her Pack & Play at my mom’s. When we got home yesterday, she went down not only for a crib nap but also bed for the night without a hiccup, and I think that had a lot to do with the consistency we had to develop in Vermont because there wasn’t a swing and we were, largely, going cold turkey. Today, I plan to disassemble her swing and store it for future use.
A, hanging out with her Go-go before bed.
A few thoughts on successful hotel travel with tiny people:
- If your vacation or trip involves a lot of car travel, try to stay within walking distance of shops/restaurants/beaches. We were lucky to secure a room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport, and A was so happy to just stroll around after a long ride in her car seat. It’s settled within two blocks of the flagship LL Bean store and has a lovely park within 200 yards for crawling and lazing about in the shade.
In the LL Bean fish tank with her dad
- The close hotel room meant that after lunch and a bit of shopping, A was able to go back to the room with me and my mom and take a much needed nap before we met Jason and some friends for dinner. This absolutely saved us.
- Call ahead for early check in. I called the hotel and talked to a lovely young woman at about 8 a.m., so they knew we might be early. She said she couldn’t promise us anything before 3 p.m., but when we arrived at 12:30, she had our room ready and the Pack & Play pre-installed.
- Hotel P&P’s are okay, but not always the cleanest. We brought our own sheets, but they didn’t fit. A also sucked on an interior tag that I hadn’t noticed (yuck!). Next time, I’ll check first and make sure all tags are tucked safely away! At the end of the day, the hotel P&P was fine for one night, but I would probably bring my own for an extended hotel stay.
- Relax! I spent so much time worrying about how A would do. She was great! Sweet, gentle, generally awesome. Babies are a lot more flexible than we give them credit for.
Hanging out with the LL Bean boot
This wraps up my short series on traveling with A. If you have any questions or other tips, please feel free to comment!
We’ve been with my family in Vermont for about five days, basking in the quiet of my parents’ lovely home with its wide open screen porch and glorious kitchen. It’s been years since I’ve taken this much of a vacation, and even though it’s hard to be away from Jason, I’m happy to have a few more days of quiet left before we head home and pick up our normal everyday lives. These last few days have, however, helped me come up with a list of summer vacation resolutions for the seven weeks A and I will still have left when we get home!
- Exercise More – I’ve lost the baby weight, but I want to keep toning up so I can keep up with my little crawler as she starts running. I ordered T25 two days ago, and I’m committing to the first two rounds of it as soon as we get home. I’ll update you with how that goes.
- Worry Less – I spent so much time stressing about how A was going to eat and sleep on vacation. Realization: she’s so much more resilient than I give her credit for.
- Live in the Moment – The best part about A is that she’s constantly focused on the now. And that’s how I want to live our summers together – focused on what we’re doing, now how we could be doing it better or what we should be doing next week.
- Have Fun! We have a few things lined up for the rest of the summer, some super-fun and some super-tedious, but I want to make sure that regardless of what the day’s plan is, we work something joyful into it.
- Read more! – I read to A all the time, but I want to be sure that I’m getting some summer reading in, too, because once work picks up again, my reading time becomes much more focused on my curriculum and less on what I’d like to be enjoying.
- Eat Healthier – Our garden peas are almost ready, so when we get home, we’re focusing on more garden fresh, organic fruits and veggies.
What are you resolving for these next few weeks?
A Resolves to Spend More Time Poolside
So we survived the eight hour drive. Getting up at three was hard, but we were in the car by four a.m. and A slept for the first six hours, with a brief interlude for milk and snuggles while we grabbed coffee. The hard part came after the second nap, when she woke up, needed a bit more milk and then twenty minutes later had an epic meltdown when we couldn’t just pop her out of the car seat. I swapped to the back seat until we got to Errol NH, and then we all took a half hour rest at the LL Cote Sports Center. She was a little fussy after that, but we were thankfully able to clock the last hour or so of driving with Mama keeping her busy in the back seat.
The PJ’s and taggy blanket were huge hits, as were the books and toys, though she really preferred her JellyCat to pretty much everything else. So far the Honest Co. diapers are doing great, but we haven’t had the opportunity to see if they make it through one of her blowouts (fingers crossed). We used her Ergo and Chewbeads on a trip to Burlington, and there isn’t anything on our list that I would say hasn’t been completely useful!
A’s first experience with bubbles!
Jason has already gone home, leaving A and I with a full week to spend with my mom and stepdad. We’re lapping up the summer luxury – Mom is an awesome cook and the Vermont house has a gorgeous screened in porch and lovely backyard kiddie pool. We’ve gone to Burlington (while Jason was still here), had a date night at the lovely Derby Village Inn, enjoyed maple soft serve and generally just loved the time away from home and our responsibilities there.
And though I was so so worried that being away from home and her swing would mean a huge change in her napping schedule, she’s transitioned seamlessly to napping in her Pack & Play, so here’s hoping we’ve jumped that hurdle for both vacation and regular nap time at home!
I hope you and your family had a great weekend! We certainly did!
Well, most of the bags are packed, and A is snoozing happily through her morning nap, and Mama is hoping that all of the preparations that Jason and I have put in place will make for a smooth vacation for Mama, Daddy and baby. What is allowing us to travel so light (if two suitcases, a bag of diapers and a diaper bag is light…) are a few preparations we took on the Vermont side of things. When we initially scheduled the visit, we planned to bring along our Pack & Play, A’s high chair (the top section that snaps off the base), and a second car seat base for my mom’s car, not to mention her stroller. But after several long chats with my mom, we decided to take another tactic. She emailed the girls she works with (she’s a teacher), inquiring about baby loans, and she got a great response.
My theory was that any Mama with babies past infant stage, might still have basements full of baby supplies (I know we will between A’s infanthood and #2’s (hopeful!) arrival in two years. She was able to score a borrowed Pack & Play and the same AMAZING Graco Blossom High Chair that we use at home. This was, of course, after I’d sent her a Fischer Price mini chair, but extra seating for tiny people is always worth having! And after visiting a great second hand shop in Newport, she was able to score a Graco activity center and a baby pool, which will give A all sorts of options for play while Mama and Daddy head out on a much needed date night. But what I’m most excited about? A good friend of hers gave her a great, used jogging stroller, so we can leave our much-loved but ENORMOUS stroller at home.
Our final packing list looks a little like this:
- Clothes for the Whole Family – Too Much to Think About
- Four Packs of Honest Disposable Diapers (probably too many but we’ve never disposabled before and I don’t want to run out and have to buy more, when I already have them at home!)
- Three Packs of Wipes
- Baby Backpack – Toys & Books for the Car (see earlier post)
- Mini Cooler of Healthy Snacks & Frozen Milk (for said date night) & Two Bottles
- Books – Because maybe Mama will get some time to read while Grammy is playing with A!
- Laptop & Other Electronic Junk (Cell phones, etc.)
- One Very Excited Baby!
While I miss the days of traveling with an overnight bag and the dog (she’ll be staying with her Maine Grandmother), I can’t wait to introduce A to her Vermont family!
Yesterday, A spent the morning trying on dresses to meet her Great Pa in! (Again, we are bringing too much clothing.)
The only question I have left is what am I forgetting?
I’ve been struggling a lot lately with balancing life and work because even on summer vacation (from teaching), my time is still so divided. Jason and I are in the process of dismantling his father’s house and preparing it for first a yard sale and then the realtor, which has devoured our weekends when he’s not on call. On top of that, we’re trying to use this as an opportunity to pare back on things in our own home – scouring out closets for what can be donated, sold or sent to the dump (as a last resort). As a result, my first week of real “summer vacation” has been spent hanging out with A until nap time, during which I sprint to get as much done as possible. We have a July 4 yard sale deadline, and I keep promising myself (perhaps foolishly) that after that things will start to calm down.
In the meantime, I’ve been going back and forth between how I should be spending my writing time – novel writing or blogging. Is this the best space to be writing in? I feel myself shifting more and more towards blogging about farm to table and the task of feeding a tiny human, but part of me doesn’t want to let go of the chickens and occasional garden notes. After a shaky start (time, again), our garden is fully planted, and the peppers and tomatoes are slowly being coaxed up out of the ground by the warm June sunshine. Our day-old chicks are now almost three week old chicks, and the laying flock is soldiering on under a less than ideal rooster (he’s a little rough and won’t bring them in at night).
What are your thoughts, dear readers? What would you like to find here when you next return?