Back from our Legoland & Amelia Island Trip!

July 16, 2019

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!

and she looks so thrilled about it!

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.

Happy moments/victories:

  • 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 🙂
Sky appears darker than it actually was, but the clouds were actually a huge plus because it was cool and allowed us to stay out much longer than your typically FL scorching beach day

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:

Ebbing & flowing with life 🙂

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!!


  • Reply Chelsea July 16, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Sounds like a good trip! Memorable if not exactly relaxing! We love Lego Land – it’s just so chill compared to Disney and the hotel is super fun.

    We are getting ready to drive to TN at the end of July to do a couple days in Smoky Mtns. National Park and then visit some of DH’s extended family in Nashville, which I think will also be best described as memorable but not relaxing. After a loooong drive to Tampa last weekend where I was wedged between the two big boys in the back seat of the van (we drove my parents and aunt as well) saying “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” we pulled the trigger and bought two Kindle Fires on Prime day, which will hopefully make the drive slightly less painful.

    Have you guys done Sanibel Island? It’s kind of by Ft. Meyers. I went as a kid but it seems like a really popular spot – kind of similar to Amelia Island just on the “bathtub side”.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 16, 2019 at 9:26 am

      We went to Sanibel when A was 2.5 and C was 9 months! I think I prefer Amelia though I agree they are similar. I think doing Amelia but staying at an Omni villa to get resort benefits but private cottage will be the best convo for us.

  • Reply Angie July 16, 2019 at 8:32 am

    We are lucky that we always get a suite or 2 adjoining rooms. My husband travels for work (only 8-12 days a month) and one perk is airline and hotel points! I also always bring detergent pods and get most of our laundry done before we head home. Such a lifesaver! Our boys are 3 and 6 and each trip gets easier and easier. But it does make the adult only trips, even if just one or 2 nights much more enjoyable!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 16, 2019 at 9:28 am

      Two adjoining rooms at the ritz would have been $$$$$! But agree suite can work. Better than one room anyway!!!

  • Reply Heather Johnson July 16, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Bringing home clean laundry is a vacation goal of mine, but I never thought of dropping off- great tip!!

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly July 16, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Hotel rooms with inconsistent sleepers are the WORST. I remember one awful night when my daughter was around 9 months. My husband was going to kayak a pretty hard whitewater river in the morning and wanted to be rested but kid would not sleep/stop crying. I ended up renting an extra room at midnight and crashing there. Ugh. So many terrible hotel stories. On the flip side, I have never had a bad experience at an AirnBnb/VRBO. Quieter, bedrooms and often laundry = kid travel heaven.

    Otherwise I really like your resolutions for future travel. I don’t mind hopping from place to place now that my kids are 4 and 7 but with younger kids I do think it’s more relaxing to park somewhere for a longer period. And trading off for 1×1 time – that’s definitely a must for everyone’s sanity (and something we’re still working on).

  • Reply Tamara July 17, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    This has nothing to do with this post (but the trip sounds nice although tough!). Anyway, I wanted to say I am a long time blog reader and podcast listener from day 1 and every time you talk/ write about quitting Instagram, I find myself nodding my head in agreement at everything you say (time suck, addicting, feel like I need to keep looking at it, hate that it takes my time but also like the “relief” from normal life, but then hate that I devote so much time to it). Anyway, after always thinking that I love it/ enjoy seeing people’s stories, but also would really like to delete it and reclaim my time, I finally went ahead and deleted it 2 weeks ago after realizing that seeing everyone’s beach/ pool/ fun pics was making me feel WORSE (and I’m not always a grinch, but I was being in that moment). It was hard the first 3 days, but I haven’t looked back since! I actually have to use Instagram for my work, so I have been redownloading it 2-3 times a week to make a post and I leave it on my phone for 2 hours to check comments and then I delete and it has been WONDERFUL. I wouldn’t have done this without the things you’ve said about it because honestly, I never really thought of it as a “problem” and thought it was something I enjoyed, but not having it has made me realize that I don’t think I ever enjoyed it… I just enjoyed the escape but once I deleted it, other things filled its place. So thank you. And thank you for the awesome podcast- it’s my favorite all week!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 18, 2019 at 5:39 am

      Wow- that makes me so happy!!!

  • Reply Donelle July 19, 2019 at 7:32 am

    I so agree with this stage being hard. We did a trip with my son (2 months younger than G) to Flagstaff and he hated staying still in the airplane and car, and refused to nap anywhere but the hotel. He also woke up every hour most nights (at home he’s a great sleeper), and didn’t do a time change at all so he was waking up at 4:30 local time. We did rent an airbnb but it was an older one which had its own challenges. It had a squeaking floor so we had to be careful when he napped not to wake him, the bathroom was also right next to his room. No dishwasher either so we felt like we were endlessly washing dishes (he has a peanut allergy so we aren’t risking him eating at most restaurants yet plus he’s toddler picky). Our last night was at a residence in in Phoenix with 2 bedrooms and that was a great setup. At the end of the trip, my husband and I agreed that we’d both really needs a break! So curious what age this gets better!

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