Phew! We’re back from our family vacation at the Chautauqua Institution so I thought I would share some photos of our trip! We had an amazing time, but it’s back to reality now (and back to blogging! Yay! It felt so weird to not blog for over a week, even though this blog is still so new!).
I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about this vacation. I am definitely the type of person who consciously or subconsciously (depending on the situation), prepares for the worst. In my mind, I had visions of Asher not sleeping in the Pack n Play, then having to have the four of us sleeping in various parts of the condo to accommodate. I was anxious about Brynn attending the Children’s School and feared she would totally balk at the idea of going. And, I thought going out to dinner was going to be a complete cluster.
Thankfully, none of that came true! Hooray! Truly, for our first family vacation (especially considering having 2 kids under the age of 4), everything was smooth sailing!
Asher slept great (even slept in! and was down to 1 nap per day for most of the trip!), Brynn loved school (yes, we sent our kid to “school” on vacation – it was really more like a morning camp every day and she absolutely loved it), and the few dinners we ventured out as a part of 10 (my parents, my sister, and her family included) were actually
mostly enjoyable! 😉
Both the kids loved spending time with their grandparents, aunt and uncle, and their big cousins. Between the 10 of us we had 2 condos, which were right across from each other (with a great pool just steps away!). My parents and my sister and her family were in one, and we were lucky enough to have the other. But seeing as Asher was in bed by 7:30 at the latest, and up at 5:30 at the earliest (on one not-so-great day), I think the sleeping arrangements worked out in the best interests of everyone(at least in my probably biased opinion!). 😉
Since this was only our first vacation away as a family of four, I am in no position whatsoever to offer tips or advice on traveling with small kids whatsoever, but I thought I would share a few things that worked well for us (and things that didn’t, since I’m keeping it real here, people).
- New toys! Which kid doesn’t love a new toy? 😉 We purchased some small little animal figures from Chautauqua’s infamous Bookstore shortly after arrival. It was small (so it wasn’t something huge to lug home), but it was new, interesting, and kept the kiddos entertained when we were at the condo.
- Breaking out the technology. I am not ashamed to admit that I will break out the iPad when needed. We went out as a family of 10 twice during our stay, to relatively nice restaurants. This required having kiddos that were not screaming during the 2 hour long dinners. We would try to keep the kids occupied with conversation and small toys at the beginning of dinner, but once the fussiness broke out, I broke out some games on the iPad. Kept them quiet so the adults could actually converse, and the rest of our fellow diners could enjoy their dinners as well. Win win win in my book.
- Keep bedtime routine the same. Or at least, as close to normal as possible. We brought sound machines from home, light up seahorses, favorite stuffed animals, and the most requested books to keep our bedtime routines as similar to our routines at home as possible. This really helped Asher, especially, I think.
- Eat in where possible. We knew eating out every night was not going to be possible with the kids, so we thankful we stay in condos where we can bring out own food, and make our own dinners. It really saved our sanity, I think.
- Enlist family! Jeff and I were able to go to dinner with my sister and brother-in-law one night thanks to my mom. We put Asher to bed (since he’s still a bit picky on who actually puts him down), but then had my mom to put Brynn down. It was so nice to go out for a night sans-kids! Definitely a perk of traveling with family! 😉
And one thing I would do differently – when packing the car, make sure good snacks are easily accessible! They were all out of reach and we didn’t really want to pull over to try and find them (it only takes about 90 minutes to get from our house to Chautauqua so we didn’t want to make any pit stops if possible).
The only thing that I could reach was a big bag of potato chips. Brynn was beyond thrilled, but then was pretty darn thirsty (and you guessed it, with no water within reach). Asher – not so much. This kid was not a fan of chips (whose child is this?!). He totally dumped a ton of chips all over his car seat which required scooping out tons of crushed chips later on (after they sat in the car for a couple days – oops!).
All in all, it was truly an AWESOME family trip. I am already excited for the next vacation we can take (hopefully back to Chautauqua in another two years!).
Oh, and did I mention that my dad arrange a wine tour with a limo? #winning 😉
And, the best part, we came back early on a Saturday, which meant we had the rest of the weekend to unpack, do laundry, and relax before we got back to reality this week.
We even got to see Mama Duck, the world’s largest rubber duck that came to Buffalo’s Canalside!
Also, be sure to check out my Instagram for more vacation and duck pics!
Double phew! That was a long one! Guess I had a lot more to say than I thought! 😉
And fear not (since I know you were worried), I have more posts coming! Especially about my new crusade dream to incorporate farmhouse style into our home (and still before and after pics to come on our beautifully painted dining room!). Until next time, folks!