Planning back-to-back vacations was a bold move on my part. Especially since we went from a tropical luxury resort to a snowy mountain cabin. I like a challenge, and the packing/shopping/preparation for the extremes definitely gave me a run for my money. But no matter what, they both provided me with really great memories — and material.
Lesson #1: When you have a very small window to get everything on your to-do list done so you can actually enjoy some play time with the kids, you can’t help but pat yourself on the back when you actually finish early for once. (Yay!) That is until you realize that — in your rush — you left your credit card at Target. (Boo!) And, when you finally make it back there to pick it up, the manager has her own to-do list which apparently doesn’t include rushing to get to you and your three kids playing chase in Guest Services.
Lesson #2: In your drunk-with-happiness state (mid-way through Lesson #1, that is), you think smiling at grumpy parents at the indoor play space is the least you can do to help spread the joy. But when you realize that the reason this dad is grumpy is because you and your 4- and 1-year-old are running circles around his baby in an area clearly marked “Crawlers Only”, you put your tail between your legs (and your kids under your arms) and, well, crawl away.
Lesson #3: I’m a trend setter. Little’s preschool teacher has now started emailing all the parents so people don’t forget very important moments. You know, like Valentine’s Day.
Lesson #4: If you don’t have bruises and scabs all over your legs, you’re not a proper 6-year-old boy.
Lesson #5: You know the men’s idea of vacation is different when, within 15 minutes of arriving you hear, “If only we had a wrench…”
Lesson #6: Vacation breathes new life into kids as well. Little would now like to be referred to as “Black Skittle” (who is, as you might imagine, a bad guy). Suddenly “Big” and “Pink” feel a little, well, unimaginative.
Lesson #7: It’s a good idea to go into the forest and mountains in the winter. Because, as Black Skittle pointed out, that’s when all the bears are hibernating.
Lesson #8: Flying downhill in an inner tube, examining snowflakes that look like pieces of art, and spending time in a place that feels like it’s a world away are just a few things I should really do more often.
Lesson #9: I’m pretty sure it’s no coincidence that co-sleeping and Starbucks became all the rage around the same time. (If only we had a wrench… But we didn’t. Which meant the crib stayed in the loft that opened up to the living room (?), and Pink stayed in our bed. Well, when she wasn’t falling off of it. Yeah, that happened.)
Lesson #10: When you’re feeling car sick, having your toddler yell, “Whoa!” and giggle her way through the windy road makes it a bit more tolerable. (Doritos do the rest.)
Here’s to making new memories and enjoying the beauty in the little things. Like snowflakes. And Skittles. And cribs.