We Survived: Our First Family Trip

2 Aug

This past weekend we packed up the kid an half our belongings and headed to the Santa Cruz mountains for a family wedding. This was not our first family trip technically, since we did drive to SF when Isobel was a few months old and met up with my Flickr buddy affectionately known around the net as Webchicken. I felt all hardcore and proud of myself for leaving the house for a day with the baby even though Chicken and David and nine month old baby B flew across the country with whatever gear they could fit in their suitcases. And contrary to what I thought back then, traveling with a nine month old is much more complicated than traveling with a small infant, who is content to lay in someone’s arms, look around occasionally, and sleep often. I truly appreciated Chicken’s heroic family trip after Isobel came to be nine months. All she wanted to do was walk around, find some new way to hurt or maim herself, and if she was in her car seat for an extended period of time, scream. Aside from one disastrous day tip, we did no traveling of any sort for a period of her development. It was just not worth it.

It was really a test of our intestinal fortitude to attempt this trip. Santa Cruz is farther away than SF and counting traffic usually takes at least three hours by car. But Anthony and I are the stupid sort, and we had been looking forward to my cousin’s wedding and all the family we’d get a chance to see there. One of my cousins was coming from Germany! Plus, staying a few days in Santa Cruz meant I could cross something off my life list: taking Isobel to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. Monterrey is even further away than Santa Cruz and four hours in a car (both! ways!) with a toddler was just not something I could handle. Driving to Monterrey from Santa Cruz, however, was much more feasible.

We went, we drove, we brought our toddler. I have lots to say about this trip but for now I also have multiple loads of laundry that need attention, some dishes to wash, and a sleeping baby to watch over. Traveling with a toddler is definitely doable and the only bad parts about the trip were totally not baby-related. Isobel has come to a comfortable truce with riding in the car and it turns out all that worry about traveling with a toddler was worth seeing this:

All in all, it was wonderful to see family, we had an adventure in the redwoods, and adventure at the sea shore, visited the aquarium, ate sushi, visited thrift stores, and learned valuable lessons about baby-proofing a hotel room. I can’t wait to tell you about it.

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24 Responses to “We Survived: Our First Family Trip”

  1. TheRedQueen August 2, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    Awesome! Glad to hear it!

    Also not sure which route you are taking but Monterrey is only 2-2.5 hours (depending on traffic) away if you take the 152! And it is pretty straight forward to get there that way. Just in case you are ever interested in taking a repeat trip there, you know like maybe when K is bigger? lol.

    • LittleBig August 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

      LOL you’re not counting on my ability to get lost, love. We’ll totally do a play date trip. You navigate. 😛

    • LittleBig August 2, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

      Also I swear on a holy walrus, I’ve never gotten there in under three hours, even without getting lost.

  2. purplequark August 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    It’s always so much fun to read your posts! I’ll keep trying to be be at least as 10% as good as you.

    • LittleBig August 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

      Jose, thank you thank you thank you for your encouragement. You keep me going.

  3. Bonnie August 3, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    I don’t think Veronica travels well… and they had bad traffic last Friday because of the long weekend, took 8 hours to get to the cottage! I’m so glad I already live up north. For me, it’s just an hour to the cottage and there’s never traffic

    • LittleBig August 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

      Eight hours is a challenge for anyone, never mind a toddler! God, that’s got to be rough.

  4. Angela August 3, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Sweet pic, that last one. I ❤ the jellyfish dreamcatcher.

    • LittleBig August 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

      It definitely amused her for like five minutes. Money well spent!

  5. Kelly August 3, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    Ha! I live in France, but travel back to the States to see my family once every 18 months or so. I have three kids, and have flown with each of them at a few months old, the dreaded 18 month old stage and also a bit later (the youngest is 2.5). We also fly to London quite often. The longest trip we ever took was 32 hours door to door.. try that! (seriously, I don’t recommend it!)

    • LittleBig August 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

      I bow down to your travel prowess. Have any tips to share on traveling with children? I’m all ears.

      • Kelly August 3, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

        You have to plan for every eventual emergency and then go with the flow when the one emergency you didn’t plan for happens. Like the time I got my period at the very start of a trip back to the States, and because it started at the moment we were beginning to land, I couldn’t get to the toilets for about an hour…bled through my traveling pants. Of course I had packed extra shirts for all of us, and an extra change of clothes in case the *baby* had an accident, but me? Not so much.

        It’s cases like that, or times when the weather is drastically hotter or colder than anticipated, that you just say, ‘Breath, breath.’ And then have a beer!

  6. pink_collar August 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I hereby grant thee an award! http://pinkcollarharlot.blogspot.com/2010/08/versatile-blogger-award.html

    • LittleBig August 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

      I’m blushing all over. Thank you!

  7. sarah b. August 4, 2010 at 2:03 am #

    Aww, I’m glad it went well!

  8. asiajane August 6, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    OMG, I love that photo of Isobel sleeping. Why can’t I ever get that comfortable in the car?

    • LittleBig August 7, 2010 at 9:07 am #

      I know, right?! It’s a talent.

  9. Chicken August 12, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    I can’t wait to hear more and see more about your trip! I miss the days when I had time to Flickr like an animal. Now I catch up every two weeks or so!

    We just got back from an 8 hour car trip (with most of my family!) to the Smoky Mountains. B did very well in the car and on hikes and day trips. The sling is helpful for us, as is trying to keep naptime intact (not always possible, but always good).

    We got to visit the Ripley’s aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN, while there and it was awesome! Of course, I forgot my fancy cam and got only iPhone shots. Fuck!

    • LittleBig August 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

      I miss it so much! Now I play catch-up when I can, which is usually once a month.

      I have to tell you: you were my inspiration and role model for this trip! As I was packing and planning I kept thinking, “WWWCD?” (What Would Webchicken Do?). Knowing you did it and flew across the country really made me feel like I had a fighting chance.

      Did Beni just love the aquarium or what? It was like Isobel died and went to heaven.

      • wostprof August 16, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

        I love WWWCD! though please note that when we traveled to Portland this spring, I completely forgot to check the weather there and assumed it would be sunny and warm as it had been at home. Good thing we had B´s sweatshirt that was a size too small.

        B did love the aquarium. And I loved pointing out to my mother that those were not ¨little legs¨ under the shark but his two penises! Ha.

        We would love to hit the Monterrey aquarium someday, too!

      • LittleBig August 17, 2010 at 8:27 am #

        Anthony purposely didn’t pack a sweater for himself because he assumed we’d be going thrifting right away. I normally look over all his packing choices and add anything I feel he missed, but I was sick so I skipped it. Of course we didn’t have a chance to go thrifting till our last day in town and Anthony regretted his decision. Central California Coast is ALWAYS cold (at times) regardless of the season.

        So your post totally made me research shark penises because I didn’t know that and found it interesting. You are a fount of penis knowledge!

        If you’re ever in the Monterey area let us know, and we can visit together.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. We Survived: Our First Family Trip « Little Big : Baby Trip - August 3, 2010

    […] Continue reading here: We Survived: Our First Family Trip « Little Big […]

  2. This Must Be Underwater Love… « Little Big - September 27, 2010

    […] the aquarium is far away, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to take Isobel this year. Fortunately, we were near Monterey for my cousin’s wedding so we were able to stop by right before I had to return to […]

  3. Have Toddler, Will Travel « Little Big - December 8, 2010

    […] we did it! We survived. It was our first overnight trip with Isobel and we survived. I felt like we should have driven […]

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