we recently had our first family vacation in, i’m embarrassed to say, two years. we were really good about traveling with the boys when they were infants. in fact, we had fabulous times in st. louis when they were 5 months old, d.c. at 8 months, and you all may remember the dreaded chicago trip at 11 months. our last trip was at 18 months to san fransisco for jordan’s half-brother’s bar mitzvah. it was a must-attend. and while we survived a heck of a lot better than our midwestern mishap, it was no picnic. we were up at 4:30am every morning. the boys refused to nap and were hard to put down in the evening. we had a good trip, but they were pretty darn crabby lots of the time.
now that they are easy-going, independent and communicative 3.5 year old kids, i figured we’d fare much better this trip. but i still had no idea what to expect. we returned to the scene of two years prior for jordan’s half-sister’s bat mitzvah turn. i really felt like a fish out of water planning for this trip. do we bring car seats? if yes, do we bring them on the plane? will the boys wear their backpacks with their travel gear neatly enclosed? will we need a stroller? will the time change have us all up at the crack of dawn again? will the boys take naps? what and how much do we really need to pack?!?
we woke at 5am for our flight out and it was pretty hilarious listening to the boys’ reactions to the dark. it hadn’t struck me how unfamiliar the night sky is to them, and there were endless exclamations of, “look at all the stars mom! look at the moon so bright! it’s a full moon! where will the sun come up? why?!” they were perfect travelers in the airport and plane, contentedly sitting in their own seats securely buckled, watching shows on our iphones or (god love jet blue) the t.v. screen, drawing and coloring, etc. there was no nap, but it really didn’t matter because they were so well-behaved. their endurance really amazed me that first day. we got into SF at 9am pacific time. spent the day hanging around papa and grandma vicki’s beautiful house in tiburon, playing with new toys, going to the park, horsing around with uncle parker and aunt paige. we tried to lay down with them around 2pm. still no nap. we had a lovely dinner out that night and they boys finally crashed out at 8:3pm…17 HOURS OF CONTINUOUSLY BEING AWAKE. I was exhausted and I really have no comprehension of how the boys were even functioning, let alone having a grand time!
our marathon of a first day proved to be a gift, as the boys woke up chipper at 7am the next morning. from then on, they were happily on pacific time. it was beautiful! our trip was cram packed with family, celebrations, and fantastic day trips to berkeley, the city and the beach. some highlights include:
- spending the day with their cousin isabel (who they ADORE!) at tilden park, riding the steam train through the redwoods and getting dizzy after two sequential turns on the hundred year old carousel
- experiencing the ocean for the VERY FIRST TIME (story below)
- being total museum nerds at the amazing academy of sciences. i was blown away that our 3 year olds could outlast us (we’re talking 3 hours without a stroller, peeps!). we pet urchins and starfish, were surrounded by butterflies in the amazon rainforest dome, but the highlight was still that darn t-rex.
- idolizing their fifteen year old uncle parker and his friends (the kids were so amazing with abel and oskar, played with them all day, let them join in on video games, etc. it was too adorable for words, so hopefully this picture captures some of the love affair going on)
- riding on a ferry and a cable car for the first time and walking around SF all day with crazy balloon swords
- beautifully sitting in the front row through a two-hour bat mitzvah service for their aunt paige (okay, so we let them play with our iphones for the last hour of it, but who would fault us?!)
- having their first sleep-over with isabel at their papa mickey’s house while all the grown-ups got to party
- experiencing the ocean for the second time, this time with a change of clothes!
in a trip where fantastic family memories were around every minute and corner, my most memorable experience will be oskar’s and abel’s first encounter with the ocean. we were early to meet my cousin holly at the academy and i thought we should seize our time by meandering through golden gate park and taking a walk on the beach. we got to the beach and it just looked perfect. 70s and a little overcast with the sun shining through cloud fissures. we all ditched our shoes quickly and started to make our way to the low tide. like this trip, i really had no idea how the boys would take this all in. they hightailed it to the water as if drawn by a forceful magnet, but once they got to the edge they stopped dead in their tracks. good – a healthy respect for the ocean never hurt anyone! i walked into the ankle deep tide and coaxed them a bit to come in. within a few seconds, abel ventured forth and waved his hands in the water, giggling with glee and bouncing back to jordan. oz is the type that if he see’s abel do something, he has to do it immediately. so in runs oz, but instead of getting his feet wet, or submerging his hands, he simply chooses to sit down in the water and crawl around. because naturally that’s what a three year old would do and why would i ever give my kids instructions on going into the ocean for the first time?! oz thought it was hilarious and proceeded to roll around in the tide, allowing a wave to totally submerge him at one point. with no change of clothes and a date in 20 minutes, we were pretty much screwed. so we stripped the ocean creature of his wet sandy clothes (which was almost as exciting to him as going in the water) and set off on our quest to find dry duds. after 30 minutes of asking and driving around the vietnamese neighborhood adjacent to the park, we finally found a kids store. jackpot! except their clothes ended at 24m, save for their pajamas which went up to 4T. this was just the icing on the cake for the oz-man. ending this escapade with getting to wear new pajamas for the rest of the day at the museum, it just didn’t get any better then that!
this vacation was all i could have ever wanted and more. on to plotting our next family getaway!