Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vacations and Small Children

When I was very small, my parents started taking our family vacations at a time share resort on a large lake in eastern Washington. My children call this place "Lake Cheland".

My parents would watch the boaters and relax while my sister and brother and I fed the ducks (before it wasn't allowed) in front of the "unit". This is the kind of vacation where you spend a week leisurely going back and forth between the sandy beach and the outdoor pool, with a walk or two into "town" for Dixie cups.

My outdoor-loving Mom and Dad also took us hiking, camping and even to ski resorts as we grew old enough to put on our own gloves and goggles. I have always felt especially privileged in the family vacation department of my childhood but by far my favorite place to go has always been that time share resort in eastern Washington.

I try to think of really good reasons why I like it best of all.

Is it because my dad now has a ski boat and willingly spends every sunburning minute of his morning and afternoon teaching a cousin or a child of mine to enjoy boating life to the fullest?

Daniel and Grandad drive the boat

Or maybe because of all the family members that gather there each summer- so many that when we eat together at dinner, our chairs and tables spill out of our unit onto the grassy hillside above the beach?

Sometimes I really think I like going to Lake Cheland best of all for my vacations because of the nostalgia; because I get to dig with my children in the same sand and watch the sun set over the same mountains I saw when I was a toddler, as an insecure teenager and now as a happy wife and mommy.

Those are such nice, happy reasons!

The Montgomerys go grass kayaking.
Yes they do!

But the real reason I like to take vacations at this particular time share resort is because it is EASY.

Every time we go, we stay in the same place. We know where the kids are going to put their sleeping bags. We know that our pack'n'play fits in the bathroom and we know that if we happen to have a baby, the baby will sleep in the bathroom, in the pack'n'play. We know that the kitchen has a blender and a coffee maker but no waffle iron. We've been so many times with our kids that we know exactly what we will need to bring for them. I LOVE this about it.

Sometimes I ask myself if I wouldn't rather go somewhere new and different. Maybe I should be more adventurous. But my version of Life with Small Children doesn't leave much room for adventure. I've had some adventures with them and they usually require more wipes than I have on hand.

And while I am a bit of a stickinthemud with regards to family vacations, there are a few worthy events that have required me to travel in a manner that I wouldn't normally choose for myself.

Josiah and Grammy on the airplane

My sister, Heather, studied in San Francisco for a few years and when it came time for her to graduate, my parents and I flew down together to help her celebrate. Since Josiah was nursing and still in kind of a delicate stage of doing so, he came along.

Now, I know lots of people do fly with their babies. They have the check-the-carseat-suitcases-pack'n'play routine down pat. But when I travel with my little family, I go to the time share resort for a few days or maaaaaaaybe camping. For one night. I don't do other types of vacations because, to put it simply, they stress me out.

Having my parents along with me made me feel much more comfortable about the whole thing and really, Josiah was a happy little traveler. I don't think he made a peep anywhere we went.

Grammy and Grandad with Josiah in our hotel

I think he did question the wisdom of the engineers and architects who designed the Neiman Marcus bathrooms without changing tables. Frankly, so did I.

Changing diapers in Neiman Marcus

We had a great time congratulating Auntie Heather on becoming Doctor Auntie Heather! And later in the summer, we got to spend our yearly Lake Cheland week with her, playing at the beach and making up new vacation-appropriate drinks.

Viva la Wapatini!

Maybe when my kids can pack their own suitcases we'll go to Disneyland!

What's your favorite vacation spot? (Mom, I already know that Lake Cheland is your favorite, too!)



Cutzi said...

Just wanted to say that I loved this, love how you write and love what you share with us. Love "Lake Cheland."

Why can't you guys live closer? ;-)

amy said...

I think time shares are the way to go when the kids are young. That is until you outgrow the limits (ours is 8 per 2 bedroom unit so we are close).

One of the major reasons to vacation is so that mom can have a break. Everyone can have a change of pace so that home is exciting again. If the effort is too much then it defeats the purpose. All that to say, I totally get wanting to go to the same place each year.

Loved hearing about your Lake Cheland. Maybe some day we can vacation together!

Sue and Michael said...

I loved your description of vacations and kids! You know I love Lake Chelan, too. It makes it even more fun when your whole family enjoys it, too. Reading your blog shows me how much you love being a mother. You are a GREAT mother!!!
Love, Grammy

Carla Burlando said...

Ha, I love the what you said about wipes! Its true with small kids some vacations are more work than leisure. The Lake Resort sounds awesome.