We returned Sunday night from our official Summer Trip 2019. I won’t call it a vacation because . . . yeah. It was fun at times and even from this vantage point my memory is softening some of the tougher moments!
If you’d like a more thorough recap and don’t mind the Stories format, you can check it out here. (While I still have strong thoughts about Instagram, I do love the format for capturing and sharing travel highlights!).
We kept things simple and did a triangular Florida road trip — 3.5 hrs to Legoland, then ~4 hrs northeast to Amelia Island, and ~5 hrs home. Pictured: 2016 Legoland vs 2019! One more traveler!
Actually I think the kids had a fantastic time on this vacation. The adults . . . well, there were nice moments. But man, traveling with a toddler is hard. Perhaps harder than I remembered. DEFINITELY much harder than traveling with an 8-month-old, so new parents — get those trips in NOW!
Josh and I spent a lot of time in process improvement mode, discussing how we’d do things differently on our next journey. We also decided on making winter break a STAYCATION this year. Yeah, that’s how we were feeling about the experience. (Though I actually think the STAYCATION will be fun.)
A short list of things we will do differently next time:
- I would strategically time the vacation. Agh, I came straight off of a call week onto our trip! Entering in a not-rested state = not ideal. This wasn’t on purpose (it had to do with when our nanny wanted time off) but I am going to try to AVOID at all costs in the future.
- I would make sure there were days PRE and POST trip to pack smarter & recover better (though POST has been okay, we did get back Sunday night and I had yesterday to do a bunch of house stuff). I’d also schedule a strategic postmortem date night out w/ Josh.
- I’m DONE with hotels for family trips. At least until G is out of the ‘cannot be left unattended’ stage. And until she sleeps more reliably (we had one night she was up from 1:30 am to 5 am. Thankfully that was an anomaly but OMGGGG it was torture). I want more space, an area that I can quasi-child-proof for play and MY OWN ROOM to sleep. Next time we are going villa or airbnb. We stayed at the Ritz in Amelia Island. It was gorgeous but also sort of torture and felt like a colossal waste with 3 kids in tow taking away from their carefully curated (and beautiful) serene atmosphere.
- Josh and I needed to plan better to tag team to fit in some workouts AND alone time (perhaps a massage each). We didn’t do this and both regretted it. I did get to read and lay around while G napped. To be fair to myself, I was really physically tired having just been sick & been on call, so maybe I just needed the lazing around time and rest more than I needed to exercise.
- I would engage the big kids more in trip planning. We did this to some extent, but I feel like they would be more invested in the experience if we did a little more. Even just creating a list of 3 activities they each want to do.
- We would spend more time in each location — or maybe just do one location. We are thinking about a week-long venture back to Amelia Island (no Legoland — we love Legoland, but I think it’s best experienced every 3 years or so to keep the novelty alive) next summer, maybe staying at a 2 bedroom villa that is part of the Omni. We do like the resort options for pool/restaurants but no more cramming into one hotel room.
- The big kids LOVED the beach. (G did too, but wasn’t really in the ocean). They spent hours boogie boarding with Josh. We do have beaches here of course, but the Amelia Island beaches were much less crowed and SUPER wide. We also lucked out and had a day that was cloudy and quite cool by FL standards (high 70s/low 80s) but without lightning/rain.
- Ice cream was had by all on two occasions. Ice cream on vacation is the best!
- NEW VACATION HACK: for under $15, we had more than half of our laundry WASHED AND FOLDED at a laundromat (this place, if you’re curious)! We just dropped off a big bag and picked everything up 24 hrs later. Totally doing this on future trips and next time with ALL of it, if possible. So nice to come home with clean folded laundry!
- Josh and I had some nice conversations in the car and played a LOT of 80s music on Spotify. So fun to be streaming DJ with unlimited options on the road! We threw in Baby Shark and Old McDonald when G got restless.
- Kids were generally good in the car thanks to . . . tablets. G even chilled out and watched Mickey for a couple hours on the way home.
- G napped really well and reliably every day, 2-3 hrs. And since I put her down, I got to spend dark quiet hours reading in the hotel room. Those were nice relaxing moments 🙂
I had yesterday off (and played SAHM for a day, which was not too hard b/c the big kids were at camp 9 – 4!). G and I hung out, I cooked, and we did a lot of the remaining laundry. Today I am off and our nanny returns, so it will be a big home admin catchup kind of day for me (plus: 2 podcast episodes being recorded. Yay!).
WORK –> Weds. I can’t say I’m entirely ready to go back and probably would have enjoyed the rest of the week off BUT I have TWO long-weekend trips coming up and wanted to save my vac days. I think the rest of this week may be a little tough, but am officially giving myself until the end of next week to get fully caught up. It will happen!
Finally — check out my July workout stat:
Strava now has this feature where it shows you how you are doing in the month with accumulating workouts. I guess that is June in the background compared with July?
I am back though as of yesterday. Because I’m usually so consistent in my workouts, the break was actually really refreshing in a way and I don’t feel like I lost thaaaaaat much fitness. Happy to be back in my routine!!