Friday, April 20, 2012
Spring break was phenomenal for my family this year! Here are my kids at Watauga Lake. And to think I used to live in fear of traveling with babies and toddlers!
This fear surfaced five years ago when my second child was eight weeks old. My oldest was not yet nineteen months old. We decided to go with my in-laws to our regular vacation spot in Roan Mountain, Tennessee. This was our first trip there with our children. Before, the distance from town had been pleasant and the loft was a nice place to sleep.
We traveled a long distance, but the main culprit for our first family vacation to start poorly was my choice of food. I, a nursing mama, ate raw broccoli, not once but twice at the beginning of the week. I don't care what all I learn in every lactation class I take for work, where they continually say it doesn't matter what mom eats - my experience tells me that I must now always stay away from raw broccoli while nursing. My baby girl had the most awful gas all week. Not fun at all.
That loft where I'd always slept didn't work out so well for my toddler. She could hear the adults still awake and fought us every night about sleep. The heat also rose, and with us being newbies at the travel thing, we didn't bring the humidifier she regularly used. Her big blue eyes got all crusty before we left.
It was a challenge, and one I swore I wouldn't go through again. And then...
Still with only two kids, but one very nicely warming in the oven and nearly ready for her debut, we needed to take a family vacation. My husband had been asked to preach a trail sermon in view of a call at a new church. We were feeling God's leading, so even though I was about two weeks away from my due date, we had to take a little road trip. I just didn't tell my OB-GYN when she examined me the day before we left. I praised God I wasn't progressing toward labor.
This time, we only had to drive about three hours. Our new church was paying for the hotel, but my husband being frugal got us an "okay" hotel. We did have a continental breakfast and a clean pool.
We had a ball! Our family made many happy memories. Ok, my husband and I made those memories, and my oldest daughter (almost three at the time) thinks she remembers some of them. We played in the pool to our heart's content. Floating was so nice for my big belly. We went to the beach and listened to our 18-month-old tell the ocean, "No!" in an angry little voice as the water would touch her toes as we walked along the shore. We laughed that she thought she could tell the waves to stop! We enjoyed exploring new places we'd never been before.
My husband and I would put the children to bed at their regular naptime and bedtime, with the exception of the toddler just getting snippets of morning naps on our way somewhere. He and I napped one day, but then there'd be no way we could go to sleep at 8:00 with the kids. Instead, we put lawn chairs in front of the door and had a mini-date. One of us would walk next door to Sonic for drinks while the other stayed with the kids, then we'd visit and/or read books and magazines.
Things went very well with the church, and we were called to serve here. Now, when we drive by that hotel, it is our "Ebenezer" (read 1 Samuel 7). We'd had a period of difficulty, but this was the place where God restored us. That hotel is a visual reminder of God's help and faithfulness to our family.
We've had at least three really great family vacations since that trip, and my husband and I have learned some tricks for traveling with little folks. I hope to share those with you in the next few days, so stay tuned!