Tag Archives: travel

The Kid-free Road Trip

English: 071606 041

English: 071606 041 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feet were stomping, lips were pouting and arms were crossed. All the signs of a tantrum looming.

“Moommmy … Daaaaaddddy… You can’t just leave us! No, no, nooooooo….. I’m not gonna be friends with you anymore if you go. Who’s gonna take care of us? What about dinner? There’s lots of fun stuff for kids to do where you’re going… Please…..pretty please….”

A discussion ensued about the lovely neighbor girl who would babysit. And other details about meals and logistics.

And also about how hard it is taking care of a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old after working all day. Enjoyable, but tiring.

Sometimes grown-ups just need a break and a change of scenery. With just grown-ups.

Finally, I had to agree. I uncrossed my arms and although I couldn’t smile, I stopped pouting.

My parents do deserve a vacation. They watch my kids two days per week when I head into my quiet office until my husband is done with his day. They are also okay with being on call for weekend overnights. Of course, this is all on top of their own paying jobs.

So, I hope they’re enjoying their road trip NY Adirondacks, just the two of them. Happy Anniversary Motorgrandma and Motorkrappa (maybe I’ll explain that one someday.)  We miss you.

I also hope my husband’s parents don’t get any silly ideas.

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Motormommy, Princess, and Buster Go To Florida Without Bunny or Daddy: Part 1, Getting There

Long time no write, huh? Motor Mommy has been busy with Florida trips, blizzards, and getting a new gig. More about that stuff later, but first I still haven’t told you about our trip to Florida! Here’s the story in three parts.

Part 1:

It’s freaking cold here this winter. So, when my husband’s parents offered to host us at their snowbird getaway in Delray Beach, Florida, I accepted the offer.

I was really just an escort for the real guests – Buster and the Big Sister, Princess. Palm trees and flip thoughts were in my head as I booked the trip.

Shortly thereafter, the thought occurred to me that I’d be traveling alone with two very young children. But I did it, and I survived. So did the kids. Even my in-laws are still okay.

I learned one important thing. When traveling alone with very young children, pack only the items you absolutely need in what you’ll be hauling through the airport. Then take out half of them and leave them home. Another option would be to rent a third arm.

Here’s the highlights of the trip:
On Monday, our departure day:

4:45 am: Princess couldn’t wait to see Mimi, Poppy, palm trees, octopuses and mangoes. I’m not sure what Florida brochure she looks at.

5:25 am: During the drive to the airport Princess kept asking if we’d made it to Florida yet. So I explained the airplane process including how we’d sit down, buckle in and then we would go up in the air. She asked me which button on her seat would make it go up in the air. (It was almost a deal breaker when she found out the whole plane would be in the air.)

6:00 am: Bags are checked, I am loaded like a camel, Princess has her tiger backpack on and we all kiss Daddy goodbye just outside the get for security. Princess tells him she can’t wait to get to Florida and will call him soon and see him Friday. Due to the small nature of my children, we go right through the special lane bypassing the line for security.

6:02: THE DADDY CRISIS: Passports are checked and we are waiting to load our belongings and everything onto the conveyor belt for the X-ray. Princess begins bawling inconsolably. “I want Daddy. Daddeeeeeeeeee come baaaaaaack!!!!” This continues through the conveyor belt, metal detector, and retrieval of all items. Tears are streaming down her face and she keeps saying, “but I want Daaaaaddddeeeeeee!!!! I am sure some folks were using their phones to make sure there wasn’t an Amber Alert for Princess.

6:07: After I put my shoes back on and pick Buster off the floor after I’d used both hands to reassamble the stroller where I then deposited him, I am able to pick Princess up and discuss the situation. “We’ve discussed for weeks how Daddy isn’t coming but we’ll see Mimi and Poppy soon and there will be palm trees and pools.” Her response? “Daddy, come back! Sob sob sob!” A less than rational conversation ensued over the next few minutes at a rather high volume for the other travelers to enjoy.

6:10: Motormommy Lightbulb! I ask Princess, “Do you want a cookie? She pauses then whispers, “I think I do.” I hand her a breakfast cookie and she tentatively takes a few bites. Then she shouts, “lets go to Florida!!!” CRISIS RESOLVED.

Princess, World Traveller, Post-Cookie

Princess, World Traveller, Post-Cookie

6:15 am: I take a sick joy in observing the other passengers faces as we approached the gate before boarding. They glance nervously at my brood and me, trying to read the seat number on my boarding pass from hundreds of yards away. “No! Not a baby!” I delighted in this so much that I sat in between four gates while waiting for the flight home, terrifying four times as many travelers.

6:35 am: We board the plane and after some serious squirming, Buster settles in and falls asleep.

8:15 am: Princess enjoys her flight and two trips to the potty.

8:20 am: After the second potty trip, someone comes up and asks us if we’re Mike Greenberg’s wife and kids. I admit I am and ask who she is. She says she’s his “friend” from college, Tanya. I realize she is “the” Tanya, one of hubby’s prior serious relationships. I’m delighted to realize she is pretty and nice, further proof that I was selected from an impressive field.

9:07 am: THE BUNNY CRISIS I notice that Bunny, Princess’s best stuffed friend, is not on the plane. She’s never spent a night without him since he arrived at Easter, 2010. Swallowing a scream, the morning’s events flash in front of me and I wonder if he’s gone forever in an airport bathroom. A deep breath and I am only slightly calmed by the realization that he never made it out of the car. In my mind, I come up with several plans to handle the crisis. Hijack the plane and return to Hartford? $30 on overnight shipping? Try to buy a replacement? After careful consideration and a cost/benefit analysis, I resolve to carefully ignore this crisis and enlist hubby’s help in crafting a backstory should this prove impossible.

9:55 am: The flight lands. The seatbelt light goes off. I immediately send the following text to my husband: “You have bunny. Please take pics of him sledding, tea party, etc. ASAP. call your parents and tell them not to mention him or your uncle.” Hubby’s mother’s brother is Bernard. His nickname is Bernie, which was shortened to Bunny some time ago. For the duration of our Florida trip, he is Bernard.

10:05 am:Princess runs into Mimi’s arms, screaming “Happy Birthday!!!!” (It is actually her birthday. Still, all I hear is, “Bunny Who?!!!!!” BUNNY CRISIS DELAYED). We wait for our one suitcase in the baggage claim, and joke about how silly it is that I brought such a huge suitcase for so few items. Mimi tells Princess that we’re heading to Mimi and Poppy’s house. Princesslooks confused, so Mimi explains that it isn’t their regular house, it’s their “Florida House.”

From that moment forward, possibly to eternity, Mimi and Poppy’s two bedroom snowbird apartment rental becomes “The Florida House.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous. There is a screened porch overlooking a pond sans alligators (as far as anyone will admit), beautiful furnishings, spacious dining and bedrooms; but the “Florida House” Princess describes to people is slightly exaggerated. The four-bedroom home on a bunch of acres that they actually own in Connecticut will never compare to the “Florida House,” in Princess’s eyes.

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Roughin’ It

Roughin' It

Reflections on the 2012 Family Vacation

With the birth of our second child in May and without the money I used to earn, my husband and I decided that this year’s summer vacation wouldn’t involve an airplane or tropical island.  We’d take the RV to a campground about an hour from our home, Strawberry Park, and hang out for a week.  This was our fourth camping trip of the year, but the other trips were typical weekend trips- nothing extended like this.  In the weeks leading up to the trip, a lot of friends I saw made comments about me “being a real trooper,” “toughing it out,” and “roughing it,” while camping with the new baby.

While we were on vacation, I got to thinking about those comments while I was sitting in the hot tub.  “These are the sacrifices I make, being a stay-at-home mom,” I thought to myself.  I considered a trip to the sauna, deciding instead to refresh myself with a dip in one of the campground’s four pools before returning to the hot tub to pity myself some more.

“No fancy restaurants this trip,” I mused.  Gosh those are fun with a toddler and an infant.  Instead, I ate things like filet mignon my husband cooked to perfection and worked around the infant’s feeding schedule.  My picky toddler ate all her usual favorites, right when she was hungry, even if husband and I weren’t ready to eat yet.  We didn’t get to experience that hunger/exhaustion-induced toddler tantrum that waiting for a table brings.  And how boring for us- we knew she would like her food.

I watched the bubbles float lazily around the perfect-temperature water in the hot tub and asked myself, “Where’s the intrigue?”  All of the vacation mysteries were missing this trip, not just whether or not the Princess would eat her food.  Questions like “Will there be a place to change the baby?,” “Where will I wash out the baby’s bottles?,” “Will the beds be comfortable?,” “Who last slept in this bed and what did they do here?,” are already answered: “Yes, in the camper” “Yes, in my own sink,” “Yes, because you slept on it last week,” “It was me, and not much.”  Blah.

Oh, and thinking of the sleeping situation, it occurred to me that I didn’t even get to share a hotel room with the kids.  There would be no trying to quietly watch TV without the kids waking up.  No finding out what mediocre snacks the hotel vending machine might have. Instead, my husband and I sat outside by a lovely fire and had wine and made s’mores or munched on a platter of cheese, smoked meat and crackers.  Sure, the kids were just a few feet away and we could watch and listen to them on our monitor, but it’s not the same thing as being in the room.  Even when we went to bed we’d be in our own room in the back of the RV.  “Guess tonight’s going to be another evening of guilt-free, grown-up conversation,” I surmised as I got up to take another dip in the adults-only pool.

Refreshed but still forlorn, I slid back into the hot tub and thought about the day’s activities so far.  Minute by minute, there had been activities for my 2.5 year old.  Arts and Crafts, Story Time, a jumping pillow, pony rides and then in the down time there were 3 kids pools including a wading pool.  Princess was exhausted.  I would be disappointed again tonight, “She’s going to ask me to put her to bed early again tonight.  I just know it,” I thought.  No family movie.  Princess and Buster both were getting worn out by all this fresh air.  What parent wants their kid to go to bed early?

Now wallowing in self-despair, I came to a conclusion, “as long as I’m not working, this is what my vacations will be like.”  Ughhh.  What’s a girl to do?  I’m trying to do the right thing for my kids, so this is the way things will have to be.

Growing tired of the hot tub, I headed back to the campsite.  There, the children were still napping but my husband was waiting for me with a fresh Manhattan.

If you’d like to be as miserable as us on your next vacation or next weekend, be sure to check out Strawberry Park  for a great campground with lots to do in lots of clean facilities.  Oh, and if you just don’t want to cook, they do have their own grill with burgers, fries, etc.  Even better, they do deliver to your site!  If you’re new to camping, you can try renting a camper.  Plus, they’re not the only campground around that defies “roughin’ it.”  Check out the Connecticut Campground Owners Association website for listings.  
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