Emma: Almost Six Months
Things I Hate

A change of scenery. For example: OUR CAR

Now the big kids are sick. The big kids were JUST sick! Now EJ is going to catch their cooties all over again. BOO! I have already called preschool to let them know Jack and his river of snot will not be attending tomorrow. I have to give up a preschool morning AND I have to figure out how to entertain a moody four-year-old with a full-fledged Man Cold. 

Perhaps this is why I have vacation on the brain. 

Not that we are GOING ANYWHERE. Oh no. Ever since the Cheung Family Vacation imploded in all directions (no one wants to hear that story, trust me) and ever since I did some forensic accounting on the budget situation and instituted austerity measures, vacation is not an option. 

And not that we have TIME to go anywhere. I just updated my calendar today and HOLY GEE. Have I mentioned one sister is having a baby and one sister is getting married? Just the My-Side-Of-The-Family Events have blocked out my weekends until the end of July. And then there's the My-Side-Of-The-Family beach weekend (HEE! "BEACH WEEKEND"!) happening on the weekend directly following the wedding that I thought FOR SURE would get postponed or canceled but NO, it is ON. And! My sister and her future husband will be there! Either they are KA-RAZY or Future BIL really likes my family. We'll go with Option B. It's flattering.

So I've told you I have a brother and sister-in-law and three painfully adorable, impeccably dressed nephews in Colorado, right? They show up every once in a while just to make my kids look like urchins. At first my brother and SIL didn't have enough vacation time for both weekends, but because they really wanted the boys to go to The Big Red House (which is what the grandkids call the "beach" weekend), somehow my mom and dad decided they would keep the two older boys after the wedding, take them to The Big Red House, and DRIVE THEM BACK TO COLORADO. I KNOW, RIGHT? 

(Side note: my parents drive to Colorado about twice a year. For people who spent at least half their lives living overseas and flying home to the US every summer, they are incredibly airplane- and airport-averse.)

My mom tells me all of this over the phone and my only thought is that my SIL totally lucked out in the in-law department. Then I get an email from my mom saying, essentially, "We've decided you should come with us!" 


Giant road trip? With my PARENTS? And my NEPHEWS? AND ALL OF MY KIDS? It's true that we have the big van, Phillip MIGHT be able to get time off, we keep meaning to figure out how to visit my brother and SIL, and I can think of at least five other people I'd want to visit in the Greater Colorado-Ish Area, but there's no way this is a good idea, right? 

Oh, and now? My brother and SIL CAN stay for both the wedding and the beach weekend and my parents are STILL going to drive the older boys home. KA-RAZY! 

Would I let my kids go on a multi-day road trip without me? With their beloved grandparents? UHHHH... I mean, my first instinct is to say HELL YES but I would also have to work very hard at wrapping my brain around the idea. I get nervous when my parents drive them from my house to theirs! LET ALONE SEVERAL STATES AWAY. 

But that's not the issue. The issue is: do WE want to do this WITH them? I'm not sure. And everything's totally moot if Phillip can't get the time off. (He has this nagging little project at work that keeps getting pushed back, so all his business trips keep getting pushed back, and if his project goes live in July I'll just die of exhaustion right now.) But if he COULD... I could definitely see the potential for awesome. For one thing, my parents are, like, the most into-doing-stuff-with-kids people you've ever met. My mom is keeping a JOURNAL while they drive (they are driving there! Right now!) of things they might want to do with the boys on the summer drive. They have an excellent (if you are four) or maddening (if you are 32) driving system, wherein they stop for coffees and treats about every two hours. My mom LOVES getting up early with energetic preschoolers! My dad LOVES stomping around Historical Sites and pointing out dinosaur fossils and giving impromptu geology lessons! IT SOUNDS HALFWAY FUN!

But then I think about $4 gas and getting three kids to sleep in one hotel room. I think about packing and all the snacks and diapers and GEAR. And where to stay when we GET there. (Surely SIL does not want in-laws, plus us, plus three more kids in her house, even if there was room, which I do not think there IS.) 

But vacation? Even this sort of work-intensive vacation? Sounds awfully nice right now. A change of scenery. Perhaps some sunshine. Seeing family (even if we'll have just seen them the previous weekend!) Something DIFFERENT. I don't know. Sounds kinda nice. 



I think you should do it. It sounds like fun. A lot of work and trouble, of course, but in general, fun and worth it.


Yes! This sounds wonderful and hard, but mostly wonderful!

I have such AMAZING memories of vacationing with my cousins through all the summers! :)

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Don't think of it as a vacation. Think of it as a business trip (for you). You still have to work and it might be harder work than at home but at least you get a change of scene and there are fun people there to share it with you and maybe even help with entertaining the kids if you are lucky (in my experience, no one helps with the putting to bed and the gear--sorry). I figure that time away from home will not be an actual vacation for me for at least another 10 years. But I'm not going to let that mean that I never leave the greater Seattle met area. Oh no. The trip sounds like it could be great!


You are sooo lucky to have family that plan family vacations and are actually fun to vacation with! You should totally do it. Worst case scenario is that you will have some fabulous stories to tell repeatedly when you have grandchildren. As for three kids in a hotel room? Not that I've tried it, but I've heard the little Peapod tents are great. I'm sure you have some friends you could borrow two from (or convince the grandparents to buy them for you). Jack is old enough, he may even remember the trip when he gets older!


We did cross-country family car trips THREE times when I was a kid...picture three kids and a dog in a station wagon pulling a pop-up camper from NH to CA and back again...and as a kid i thought it was SUPER FUN! As an adult I am now wondering how on earth my parents pulled it off and how this is probably NEVER happening with my own children.


Cross country car trips was the only way my family did vacation when I was a kid.

My parents had this routine down when we were young (age 5 and under) where they would wake us super early (like 3 or 4am) load us into the car in our PJs and then DRIVE until we arrived at our destination 1000 miles later.

Once we got older (6-12years old) we had these amazing month-long camping trips Out West where we drove for a longish stretch, but then stopped to do sight-seeing. Our Jansport backpacks were covered with all the state/national park patches we collected from the ranger programs. My sibs and I just ate it up.

And now, between our annual winter-break trip to FL and driving up North to the family cabin in the summer, our girls are fairly accustomed to road trips (5-20 hours).

Of course we bring along tons of snacks and activity books and a DVD player and now Leapsters....and most importantly, we try to get a good chunk of driving done while the girls are sleeping.

Once they are older we'd love to start doing sight-seeing --- I want to check out caves and my husband wants to take them around old civil war battle fields....but we're going to wait 3 more years or so.

As far as getting everyone to sleep while sharing a hotel room - make sure the hotel has a pool and let them swim/splash/expend all their energy before bedtime.

Good Luck!

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