Two Kids. One Vacation. It Happens.

Just four springs ago, Justin and I sipped frozen margaritas and lazily soaked up the Caribbean during our honeymoon in St. Maarten.  Almost daily, we watched two parents with two toddlers fluster their way through vacation.

“Let’s never bring our kids on vacations like this,” we promised each other.
“How un-relaxing,” we cooed as one boy whined through each day at the pool.
His mother pressed lips and brisk moves. At the time, life with kids seemed more like work than a vacation.  

Fast forward to Fourth of July 2012. The Caribbean never visited since, despite vows to jet set yearly. Two kids under three. A modified travel plan that includes historical and natural wonder destinations. And a July holiday annual family vacation to my Dad's cabin in northern Michigan.

Lately, life with two kids is flowing easier. Justin and I have found our groove. And Jack has found independence and fun in being “big.” Odd as it sounds, we’re much more relaxed with two little ones to tote around. I know, strange.

As our five-day vacay to the cabin approached, I vowed the trip would go just as smoothly as life has been. Carefree. Fun. And memory-filled.

And, it sure was.

We let go of the schedule. Took naps. Let the sun warm our skin. Made sand ramps for trucks. Shopped local. Ate fresh fish. Fed the birds. Stayed up late. Roasted marshmallows. Ate whenever. Watched Justin blow off fireworks. And, actually relaxed.

The trick to keeping everyone’s cool on vacation? Keep your cool. Don’t set expectations high. Never let a mishap ruin the fun (because there will be with two unpredictable littles). And, literally go with the flow.

My Dad's cabin on Lake Huron

Brother love.

Ella and her favorite snack.

My water shoes. Rocks galore.
Jack and Nonnie S. making a Fourth of July cheesecake.

They didn't catch anything. But, still a cute site to see.

"Daddy, can I hold it?"
Mom can four-wheel too.
Best buds. Jack and Papa feeding the gulls.

Ella was napping. 

Here are some other tips to staying sane on vacation:

- Designate which parent is on which kid at all times.

- Let each other enjoy alone time (I went shopping one morning, Justin went four-wheeling one afternoon).

- Pack light, only the necessities. Let the kids enjoy the sights. There’s no need for the bouncer. There are plenty of new sights to look at.

- Travel with company (we brought grandparents. Great entertainment).

- Drink early. You’re still parenting, but on vacation. Just don’t get drunk.

- Give yourself an extra hour to do anything. Maybe two.

- Plan out activities for rain or shine in advance. But, don’t plan too many and don’t worry if you don’t cover it all.

- Don’t dress up.

- Don’t bring a book.

- Only plan sightseeing that’s age-appropriate (we biked Mackinac Island with Jack, left Ella at the cabin for quality Nonnie and Papa time).

- Take turns with your significant other (I sunbathed while Justin swam with the kids).

- Most of all, leave the schedule at home. It is the kids’ vacation too!


Cassie {two-in-diapers.blogspot.com} said...

Don't you think that when you become a parent, you realize that you HAVE to find a way to do things with your kids or you'll just never leave home? Good for you for being brave enough! Looks like a great time and thanks for the tips! I found you via the Mom Bloggers Club and am your newest follower! When you get a sec, I'd love a follow back at http://www.two-in-diapers.blogspot.com! :)

Leah B said...

Totally agree! Thanks for the follow! Looking forward to your following you as well, great photos!!

Monica said...

Your father's cabin looks amazing! It's so refreshing to read about how you all embraced a fluid rhythm and had an awesome vacation. Lovely photos and adorable children by the way! Now following you via MBC...would love for you to follow back if you have a chance. All, the best..Monica

Leah B said...

Thanks Monica! Hoping trip two goes just as smooth. Love your munchkins by the way! Followed back :)

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