Monday, July 21, 2014

Tips for Summer Vacation… w/ KIDS!

The Headlines:


Going on vacation with kids… is not always a vacation. 

10 Tips: how to make it easier.



Years ago, BP (my husband) had a boss from Boston come into town.  BP was living in Arizona at the time and the guy flew in and exclaimed, "how can anyone get anything done around here?  There's too much sunshine and too many palm trees!"  He was somewhat right.  Arizona does have this kind of "resort feel" wherever you go.  Including most homes.  So many are new and we all have pools!

So yes, I kind of always feel somewhat on vacation here - it's one reason I love it - but really leaving on vacation is even better!  Especially in July.  July in Arizona is hot.  Monsoon season starts.  It's stormy.  It's humid. It's the main month to get out.  Most everyone does at one point or another.   That's one of the reasons I quit my job - to be able to join the mass exodus!  It really is wonderful.  Yep, vacation is dreamy.  It looks just like this…


Then I woke up.  Right… when you have kids - vacation isn't like it used to be! It's very very different.  For Moms, it's more like a working vacation because you're never really off, right?  When my son was 5 months old we went across the country to spend a vacation with my sister in law and her kids at the beach.  It sucked.  It truly was so stinking difficult I wished we hadn't gone.  But we did.  And we went on other vacations the next couple of years… they gradually got better.  This year is the first year, he's 3, I can begin to see light at the end of the Summer vacation tunnel.  Here are a few ways that happened.

10 Summer Vacation - with kids - Tips 
  1. Invite one set of grandparents to come with you.  This tip is number one because it's the most important.  Key, really. 
  2. Leave strict bed time rules at home and sleep in.  This seems crazy for the scheduled parent (me) but when you leave your home all bets are off anyways.  Let them go with the flow more than usual.  Granted, this is the first year my son has let me "sleep in…" last year he was still waking me up at 5:30am.
  3. Indulge in treats.  Not all day three times a day but at least once a day - splurge!  It will really help put your kids in the mood.  You like that glass of wine, they love their ice cream!
  4. Invite the other set of grandparents to meet you after the first ones leave.  I am not joking.  This tip is just as important as #1.
  5. Give your kids a set amount of money they get to spend.  Peroid.  If they want 1 zillion things it's, "sorry, you have --- amount of money and then your bank is closed."
  6. This one may be corny but I saw it at an amusement park this weekend and loved it.  Wear the same shoes if you go some place busy for easy ID purposes.
    This family of 5 had Dad down to baby 2 year old girl in the same blue converse shoes.  It was ADORABLE.  All I could think as I took pictures of their feet was - "how sweet this cute family is, I wonder if their real home is as harmonic as their shoes!??"
  7. Have a plan but don't over schedule.  At home, we are so busy all the time.  Until "vacation..." Summer is filled with camps, dance, swim lessons, BBQ's, it's one thing after another.  Kids need to just play while on vacation.  I bought my kids these bug houses (pictured below by my daughter's leg and in my son's hands - look - it promotes total bliss ).  They're from the Dollar Tree (that store is AWESOME by the way) and they provided HOURS of entertainment.  Seriously, HOURS.     
  8. If you go to an amusement park of any kind, be careful over spending for your children on dumb trinkets they'll never use.  Instead look for one of these machines.
    It's one of those penny machines that flattens and defaces American money by putting a picture on it.  You give them a penny plus 50 cents.  Worth it, I promise.  See.
    My kids can be flipping out about wanting XYZ but turn them on to this money machine and all is forgotten.  Works every time.
  9. Find other kids.  Kids make friends easy.  They don't have to worry about grown up stuff.  Kids don't care about things that doesn't matter (like adults) they just want to have fun.  Playing is always more fun with new friends.  You can find them anywhere… the beach, the lake, next store to Grandma's house, the park.  They're there - just look for them.      
  10. Finally, if I haven't made myself clear on this - make sure you get the grandparents to take part in your Summer vacation.  It really works for everyone involved.  You get some time to rest, they get some time with your kids, kids get to con their grandparents into buying the ice cream.  Everyone is happy.  For a little while at least.

Now, let me be very clear: I am not saying this Summer vacation was without error.  Oh no.  There are still the fights of 2 siblings.  That will never change.  Until one day, they will slow down, perhaps stop entirely the year they decide they no longer want to speak to each other.  Then, ironically, I will probably miss the bickering.  Yes, I'm convinced the things that drive us nuts about the ones we love are what we'll miss most when they're gone.  The fighting will end and peaceful vacations will return.  But I bet I'll wish the chaos was back.  

I can see that blog post already...