Thursday, May 7, 2015

Things I Am Pondering Before Our Mini-Vacation

Okay, so I love to travel -- especially a good old-fashioned American road trip with the windows down, radio blasting, everyone counting license plates; the whole nine yards.

When I graduated from college I had this plan to drive out to Wyoming and back, by myself, just because I could, and because I wanted to cross off more states in my "Quest to See All 50 states" venture (I've been stuck at 37 for years now). Dan once planned a vacation out west a la The Amazing Race in which I had no idea where we were going and would open clue envelopes at each stop (Albuquerque-Denver-Reno-Yosemite-San Francisco was the end result).

So, yes! Travel! So exhilarating!

Then there's travel with kids.

We are venturing on a mini-vacation in a few days, the first we've officially taken as a family since starting our business almost two years ago now.

We will attempt the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., Busch Gardens in Virginia, and probably not much else, if I am realistic. And I'm trying to be realistic. We have a 15-month-old, after all, who now flails herself around in a tantrummy fashion whenever we wish to buckle her into her car seat and/or stroller. I'm determined to roll with the punches. I'm planning to approach this with humor and pray for a large dose of grace. So as I thank God that at least we now have vehicle that actually fits a family of five and isn't missing parts and pieces, I'm also pondering:

-  How to survive the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop in New Jersey. I am not lying: I just Googled this, and came across someone who calls it "A wretched hive of scum and villainy." Hyperbole? Weeeelll...I will just be happy if none of us get run over as we dodge past the parking lot chaos.

- Will Ethan fall for my feeble attempt to keep him occupied in the car when I christen him official "Trip Navigator" and give him a road atlas to track where we're going, or will he see through the ruse, throw the thing on the floor before we get to Hartford, and ask how much longer?

- Will we find anything, any attraction at all during our trip, that actually engages all three children? Ethan's not a big fan of zoos. Chloe can't go on most of the amusement park rides. Anna's not going to want to do anything too kiddy-ish. Wait, I've got something. Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut, they will all enjoy. Of course, we could have just driven 10 minutes to Windsor Locks for that.

- Will my children show a shred of gratitude without us having to launch into a "When I was your age..." script? We've tried to keep our destination a surprise, but I'm starting to think it's a bad idea, because I think they're expecting something Disney-seque. I keep hearing, "Are we going to Hawaii? California?" I can't say we're jet-setters and we certainly haven't had a ton of money to blow the past few years, but in their short lives the kids have gone to the Smoky Mountains...Baltimore, New York City and Boston...the White Mountains...Acadia National Park...three indoor water parks. Must I get all parental and remind them that I didn't make it to Disney until I was 18, and didn't climb onto an airplane until I was 21? That, woozy with morning sickness, I chose to galavant around Manhattan with them a few years ago? Yup, I'm going to end up saying it: ("You don't know how good you've got it!").

- Speaking of that, I am wondering if leaving on a Friday afternoon when you have to, no matter what, find a way to get around New York City, is a wise idea.

- Also: What, pray tell, is a "salt water pool?" And why would our hotel have one? What's wrong with a regular pool?

-  Can four people and a baby get a reasonable amount of sleep in one small hotel room? This question is now going to send me into nervous hysterics.

- Can I stop procrastinating about packing (i.e. writing this blog post) and get moving?

Yes. Yes I can.

Stay tuned.


Deenie said...

Just breathe. I hope you all have a wonderful time.

Linda Gould said...

Have you considered going to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History?
It's free (toughest part if finding parking) and Joe's kids loved going when they were in the 7 to 11 year age range. There was a children's discovery room where they could touch things and ask questions. I just checked the website and see the dinosaur exhibit is closed for renovation but there is a live butterfly exhibit on the 2nd floor. Email, or better, feel free to call me if you want my take on doing DC with kids. I was tour guide for my brother and his family in 2010 (my most recent trip). We were there for 4 days and had a blast!