Thursday, August 16, 2018

Epic Journey, Completed

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!

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

- 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 . . .


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Epic Journey

I didn’t end up bringing my laptop on this trip, because we were trying to keep luggage reasonable (kind of impossible with car seats and a travel crib, but we did our best!).  But I wanted to check in and say hi and that so far I’m so glad we made this epic journey.  I was super anxious before we left, yet once we got going, it really wasn’t thaaaaat bad.  

We left MIA at 445 am and arrived in Whistler BC 2 days ago at 130 am EST, so 21 hours of traveling.  But kids were mostly well behaved (even G) and we made it.

(Note: very very glad we sprang for a plane seat for G- since we spent 8 hrs in the air on 2 flights.)

I’ll mostly just update on instagram (@the_shubox) but I’ll try to check in here too from time to time!

A few pix ...
















We are staying with Josh’s friends from college who have an amazing home here and it has been a lot of fun- our kids loooove theirs (Cameron is obsessed with  their 9 year old in particular) so it’s kind of like a long play date which works really well — no one has any expectations of a civilized dinner :)

The mountains are insanely beautiful, the weather is crisp and gorgeous (or at least it feels that way compared to home!) and when G is older we will have to return for skiing ...

PS: I love Canada and Canadians so much.  Seriously people are so incredibly nice here!  We will be back.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

entering August and feeling okay

It's August.

(!)

G will turn 8 months in 11 days.  We will go on our first real family vacation since June of last year -- our first as a family of 5!  Annabel will enter 1st grade.  Cameron will start his last year of preschool (pre-K).  And I will really try to forgive myself for having a tough year.


I posted the photo / caption above on Instagram yesterday (I'm @the_shubox) and it felt somewhat cathartic.  I am not doing it all.  I am doing what I can, and I am continually prioritizing and making choices.  This is something that everyone does all the time, but it has a unique set of challenges in my current baby-centric season.

I have several aspects of life on hold because of Genevieve, and I have concluded:

a) it's temporary (oh so temporary!  Did I mention that it's August already!?  Didn't we just start 2018?!)

b) it's worth it, because it's what I want

c) it's okay to do what I want, even if it doesn't fit some cultural narrative or even make rational sense.

I am doing plenty (going to work, parenting 3 children, nursing G, exercising sometimes, reading sometimes, seeing friends sometimes, etc), and the things that are not happening as much right now -- honestly, they can wait. I'm going to skip October's conference (I'll have two work conferences to enjoy in 2019!).  I'm going to forgive myself for not putting as much energy into side endeavors (mostly writing goals) for now.  I'm going to go to bed early more often, and I'm going to try to take one night/week entirely off from Big Kid Bedtime (thank you Josh).  I'm not going to worry about whether or not I am 'progressing' in my workouts (hello, Upholder tightening) -- if I'm doing something active most days, that is great.

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming months, and I will miss the experiences if I'm too focused on looking down at what I'm not doing.

Happy August.  Here's to a full month.