Epic Journey, Completed

August 16, 2018

I have so many thoughts about our trip, but also so much jet lag and work lag and really, every kind of lag there is to think about.

Re-entry has not been pretty.

But I will save some of that for a later post, and look back on some brighter moments this morning!

Top Takeaway Lessons from Our First Trip as a Family of Five:

1) Even if you pack light, babies still require a lot of ($&@#.  Thank goodness Josh did most of the wrangling.  Here’s what we brought, luggage-wise:

– One big suitcase with ALL of our clothes
– One shoe bag
– One toiletry bag
– Backpacks for each kid
– Diaper backpack (also had other on-the-go essentials like sunscreen + bug spray and was stuffed to the gills)
– “Other stuff” (cords, book which I didn’t get to even crack open, planner which did come in handy) bag for me
– “Other stuff backpack for Josh

from Whistler – we now all have Roots Canada gear!


Now, that looks pretty reasonable, right?  Even great?  4 bags (3 of them fairly small) + 4 backpacks?

– Travel crib
– 2 carseats
– 1 baby car seat (with base + stroller attachment)

It is clear that once the car seat years are over traveling will be muuuuuch easier.  But we’ve got a while.

2) Me time / couples time will be scarce unless you plan it in.  And we didn’t.  And I missed it.  Next time.

3) It’s great to stay with friends who have kids!!  Don’t get me wrong – we had a wonderful time staying with friends both with and without kids on the trip.  But it’s so much more comfortable to let your kids run around an already kid-proofed house equipped with all kinds of baby essentials (high chair = important at G’s age).

G meeting her BFF A!
(My college roommate with her 1st, just 2 days older than G!!)

4) I still love room service.  A lazy family hotel breakfast is one of my favorite things.  I can’t explain why, I just love it!

5) Restaurants with play areas are amazing.  We went to two, a pizza place in Seattle (Frelard) and a brewery/pub in Portland (Hopworks).  Please, someone bring this concept to MIA!

Frelard pizza in Seattle

6) Humidity is important.  We had temps as high as 99 in Portland and it still felt better than your average ~90 day here.  Who knew? (I know this has nothing to do with traveling + kids, but whatever.)

wasn’t actually that bad!

7) Jet lag is real.  Like, really real.  Especially when you add a superlate bedtime to a 3 hour time difference in that direction (ie 10 pm bedtime in Seattle = 1 am bedtime here).  We are all really struggling here.  Especially G.  I know it’s temporary.  But I NEED her to get back to bedtime readiness before 9 pm.  And school starts next week!  Thank goodness we left at least this week as a gap.

Random pic of the Seattle Google office, which we toured!
(I am oddly obsessed with Silicon Valley-style corporate life)

8) Seeing good friends is always worth it.  We saw so many dear friends on this trip – my college friends, Josh’s college friend, and K + Dr S from med school/residency fellowship (looooongtime readers of this blog may remember them!).  I would have liked more one-on-one time (sans kids interrupting) with all of them.  Josh and I had debated bringing our nanny and in the end decided not to, to keep things more family-focused.  We did hire a babysitter for our last night out but I hadn’t brought a pump or bottles so we ended up taking G with us to dinner.  Thankfully she did this the ENTIRE time after falling asleep on the way there:

9) Car seat for baby on the plane = worth it.  Our biggest expenses on this trip were our flights + rental car, since we stayed with friends in both Portland and Whistler (so lucky to have friends in such lovely places, and we hope to pay it forward somehow!).

I’m really glad we went.  I am a #*$&@ mess right now.  But we made a lot of special memories and had some really nice family time.  I’m also looking forward to an adults-only trip in the future (including next year with my college girlfriends, and a weekend getaway or two with just Josh once G weans).

10) Heroes of the trip:
– Baby puffs.  (Useful for distraction during plane rides!)
– Ergo baby carrier.  YESSS.  We actually didn’t use the stroller base to carry G at all!  This was much handier.  I found I could wear it for ~8 hrs before having back pain.

– Those rental carts you find in airports
– Being outside.  Helped everyone’s mood!

Massive play space in Seattle

LOVE this pic

Pancakes in Portland
@ Mamnoon Street in Seattle – top 2 meals of the trip!
(the other one was our double date night (w G) Ataula in Portland – just wow!)
List of other noteworthy places we went not mentioned above:
– PDX Farmer’s Market
– Peak 2 Peak gondola in Whistler (GORGEOUS)
– Pop Culture Museum in Seattle
– Salt & Straw ice cream in Portland (OMG!!!)
– Powell’s Books in Portland
– Stoller Vineyard outside of Portland (with my college BFFS!)

Would I go back to PNW?
YES.  Amazing destination, nice people, fantastic weather, such a great mix of nature/urban destinations, AMAZING food.  In all honesty I’d like to move there immediately but you know, family and jobs and all that . . .


  • Reply TAS March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I’m glad you survived the travel portions of the journey! And I loved reading a bit about my hometown through your experience. It’s funny that wherever we are we (I) can become ungrateful about the annoying transactional parts of life and forget the wonderful things. Case in point: you mentioned PDX farmers market as a highlight. To me, that has become a crowded annoyance to manage and negotiate around parking when I come to campus to catch up on a weekend. I need a mindset shift! Thanks for reminding me that this is a pretty great place to live and work!

  • Reply CBC March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    A looks like she is a teenager in the pictures with G! :’o Where does the time go.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm


      1st grade this year. It does go fast!

  • Reply Cbs March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the trip. Thanks for the travel inspiration. My parents are in the SF Bay Area and in-laws are in British Columbia so we’ve been thinking of spending a few days with my in-laws and then meeting up with my parents. I’ve been to Portland but didn’t look at it through the lens of kids (I was 24) but it looks like a kid friendly destination.

  • Reply Omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Jet lag is much easier to deal with with small children when you fly the other way. Glad you had fun and hope you”re recovering!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 9:00 pm

      I am very much looking forward to going the other way someday! I am not sure I will be as happy to fly with a 12-30 month G though (compared to 8 months) so it may be a couple of years 🙂

  • Reply Melanie March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Regarding flying with car seats, we recently discovered the “Bubblebum” from some friends — basically an inflatable backless booster seat. I wouldn”t use it as a primary car seat (our 4.5 year old recently graduated from a convertible to a booster seat with back), but it was okay for travel and is really small. We found that it works fine on fabric seats but slides a bit with leather/vinyl, at least for our kid. Anyway, your comfort level may vary 🙂 but it”s an option. Glad you had a good trip!

  • Reply Danielle March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed the area! I’m just a bit west of Seattle and I seriously love the PNW. Most of my family is still in the Eastern Time Zone and the three hour difference hits you when traveling more than I expected!

  • Reply Linda M March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    1st time commenter. I live an hour and a half south of Portland. I’m so glad you enjoyed our part of the country. I love it here!

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