Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wonderful Wednesdays: The Vacation Edition

Have you met Ginger? She does this thing called Wonderful Wednesdays every week, and I decided it's high time I joined her! I think it's so important to stop and think about the good in our lives, especially when we're bogged down with sick kids, long days at work, family problems, you name it.

So, what is wonderful in my world today? Well, lots of things. But, I'm still on a high from my mini vacation to Santa Barbara. Chris got some time off work so we decided to get away for a couple days.

We headed up to Santa Barbara to the Hotel Oceana.
It was a beautiful place with a little courtyard outside the rooms, complete with a fountain and a few tables where you could sit and look at the ocean. We're used to the hotels that are completely enclosed, so I thought it was a nice change of pace to have the grass and flowers outside our door, as opposed to the hallway of doors. Here's what we saw out our window.

And, it would have been nice. EXCEPT.

I've always suspected that when we check into hotels with the baby the staff usually place us by the elevator on purpose. Maybe so there's only one room of people for us to annoy, instead of one on either side? In this case, the hotel staff had arranged a sort of Kid Row. EVERYONE in our courtyard had small children. Totally makes sense. That way we don't annoy people on their honeymoon or the retired couple spending their hard-earned savings on a beach vacation. I'm totally on board with this, and it really takes the pressure off when Charlotte wakes up screaming at 5 A.M. They get it. They've been there. Or maybe they're right there with us.

But, just because we should all expect a little extra noise being in Kid Row, doesn't, in my mind, mean we should not try to have ANY respect for our neighbors. Apparently, there is a certain French family that begs to differ. They were perfectly friendly and sweet. They had a baby around Charlotte's age in addition to two older girls, and Charlotte loved running around with them in the grass. But, holy hell were they loud at night! I wasn't able to get Charlotte down before ten either night because the kids were running in and out of their room yelling (no, really, YELLING) to one another or their parents who were drinking wine in the courtyard.

The first night was miserable because I was so stressed about getting Charlotte to sleep so she'd be rested for the zoo the next day. And, I was getting so angry that this family was being loud and inconsiderate. Then, when we tried to put Charlotte down for a nap the next day, it was the same thing with a different family. I decided right then to accept that these were the circumstances and deal with them. So, we threw Charlotte into the car, drove her around for an hour so she could nap and went to the zoo when she woke up. This is basically the only way she napped for three days straight.

We had a great time showing her the animals. The weather was beautiful (nice and cool, just the way I like it), she got to ride the train, which is her new obsession, and she looked freakin' adorable in her ponytail and overalls. It was, shall I say, wonderful.

That night I decided if we couldn't beat the French (ha!), we'd join them. So, we took our wine out to the courtyard and let the baby run around with the kids. And now I want to learn French just so I can teach it to Charlotte. There is nothing cuter than little kids speaking French, except maybe little kids with British accents. They say everything so much prettier than us!

You know how babies are obsessed with other babies? So, Charlotte and the baby, whose name is Eleanor, basically just pointed at one another and announced that they were pointing at a baby. So, for Charlotte that meant saying "Bab? Bab?" over and over, while Eleanor repeated the much more eloquent "Le bébé? Le bébé?" to her much older sisters. They quickly lost patience with their baby sister's fascination with Charlotte and would brush her off with a "Oui, le bébé" and try to distract her attention.

Then all the girls started doing somersaults, and our "Good job!" sounded so inadequate next to the "Bravo!" of the French parents. I spent an inordinate amount of time on this trip daydreaming about having a superpower that enabled me to speak any language fluently at will. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Chris and I also spent some time wistfully declaring all the things we would be doing if we were travelling without a toddler. Midnight walks on the beach, dinner at a place without high chairs and changing tables, lunch at a pub before heading home without a cranky kid needing a nap.

But, you know, that will come later. One day we'll be able to ditch her with her grandparents for the weekend and do all the drinking and sleeping in we want. In the meantime, I had a wonderful trip with my two favorite people and wouldn't trade the aimless nap-inducing driving, bedsharing with a travel-weary toddler, zoo escapades, the constant pleas to see the train (Tain? Tain?), eating dinner at El Torito because it's the only kid-friendly place in sight, and spinning with Charlotte on the lawn, for any vacation in the world.

Well, mostly, anyway. I mean, you could probably tempt me with Hawaii if you really tried.


  1. She is such a cutie! I love that photo of her with the blue mouth!

    I'm glad you guys had fun--it's a very different thing vacationing with these little ones, but they're still pretty cool :-)

  2. Weird that so many in our blog circle were traveling around the same time.

    Charlotte is so gorgeous it takes my breath away. I mean it. Gorgeous in a way that is so full of character, as well (not generically pretty/cute).

    But dude, your whole family is, based on these pictures, awfully good looking! I hope you don't find it strange for me to say so, but you have a kind of regal beauty. You also look so tall. I'm envious (I'm quite shrimpy). But maybe it's just in comparison to teeny Charlotte!

  3. @Ginger- Haha. Thanks. I was so annoyed when Chris showed up with that blue monstrosity of an ice cream cone, but she really loved it.

    @Accidents-Wow, I certainly don't find it strange at all, but, rather, incredibly nice of you to say so! I've honestly never heard anything like that said of myself, and I'm flattered. :)

    I'm sort of tall, nothing like my six-foot, modelesque sister, but I always kind of hated it. I was always taller than boys (I'm actually taller than Chris), and I felt giant next to my petite friends. I've only recently started embracing it.

    I know what you mean about Charlotte. I really don't see how she turned out so pretty. We're alright, but I fail to see how we created this unnervingly pretty child. Weird.

    I hope you guys had a good trip. I hope to hear about it, as well as any updates on Henry. I love hearing about that freakin' genius child of yours!

  4. Dude, I am so jealous. I miss the beach. And come on -- why WOULDN'T you and Chris have made a beautiful baby? You two aren't exactly trolls!

    @Accidents -- Dude, you have no idea. Megan is ALL legs. There's a photo of her and I at Disney where she is "pulling" Excalibur out of a stone. It's ridiculous b/c her legs were as long as my entire body.