Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's Good To Be Back

The Wuertley family has arrived back to good ole Indiana, and I must say it's good to be back. The vacation was really such a nice break, and it was the perfect length - not so long that we were bored while we were there, but not so short that we dreaded coming back. I'm happy to report that we did not forget to pack any major item (I don't count Q-tips as major,) and just as importantly, all items made it back home. I hope to post later in the week about some observations during our vacation, but for tonight, in David Letterman style, I am posting Deb Wuertley's Top Ten Ways You Can Tell You Are Vacationing With Young Children (at least the two Wuertley young children.)

1. The most welcomed sign on the interstate on the way home is "MCDONALDS GIANT INDOOR PLAYPLACE NEXT EXIT." I've never been so excited to eat at a McDonalds. On the trip down (we went to Daytona Beach, Florida, by the way - 16 hour trip not counting stops) we tried to stop at a playplace for a much needed break out of the car, but the McDonalds at that exit did not deliver. We even drove a half mile the opposite direction to the Burger King, hoping they had a playplace, but we were out of luck. I actually had a pang of disappointment in my stomach...over McDonalds. It's hard enough to keep a three year old still in a restaurant when you've just driven 5 minutes to get there - much harder when you've driven 4 straight hours. So on the way home, when the trip seems twice as long, I actually did a little victory dance when we saw the sign, and our Plan A of going to Bob Evans for a decent meal was suddenly replaced with a quarter pounder and cheese and 20 minutes of adult conversation.

2. Seating arrangments at every restaurant are a major ordeal. "I'm sitting by Daddy." "No, it's my turn to sit by Daddy. You sat by him at Pizza Hut." The best places to eat are ones with the really long booths - that way Jason can sit in the middle, the two girls on either side, and I get a whole side to myself.

3. Sleeping arrangements at the hotels on the way down and back are a major ordeal. "I'm sleeping with Daddy." No, it's my turn, you slept with Daddy on the way down." Notice a trend in who is in all of the arguments. It can be very lonely being the mother in this family. Thankfully, the condo we stayed at in Florida was a two-bedroom, so I got to sleep with Daddy during the week. We could put Anna and Elizabeth in the same bed in the hotels on the way down and back, but out of courtesy to Elizabeth, Jason and I took turns sleeping with Anna. She likes to talk to herself and play around en route to sleep, and Elizabeth takes her sleep very seriously. Anna is also a bed hog and does not like covers, so it can be pretty miserable being cold on the edge of the bed.

4. During the road trip, your family starts singing all of the preschool cd songs in four part harmony. "Stone soup, we're making stone soup. And it will be delicious, nutritious..." This is even funnier when our family sings, because none of us can on key. But hey, it's fun all the same. Of course, it's really bad when Jason and I continue to sing the songs even after the kids have drifted off to sleep.

5. When preparing for a trip to a theme park, you stategically plan your toddler's wardrobe so she can make the height requirement for the rides. This actually worked for us when we went to Kings Island two weekends ago. The height requirement for many of the mid-range rides was 40 inches, and without shoes, Anna is somewhere around 38 or 38 1/2 inches. So for that trip, we borrowed cousin Elisha's thick soled boots, and her height with these boots increased her to right at 40 inches. We slid by at Kings Island after much scrutiny on the first ride (the Monster) earning Anna a 40 inch blue wristband and a passport to a day full of fun. However, since we originally weren't planning on a trip to Disney World for this vacation, I didn't even think about height requirements. Since the weather was pretty cool in Florida for this time of year, the beach wasn't an option for a few days, so to break up the time at the condo, we headed to Magic Kingdom for a day, with Anna just wearing her regular shoes. Apparently, these shoes did not have thick soles, and she missed the height cutoff by millimeters. Too bad for her, these Disney workers are sticklers. We tried to coach her to stand on her tip toes, but she didn't get it, and it's probably good that she didn't let us corrupt her.

6. Swimming is a huge part of the trip. I'll touch a little more on this in my next post, but of all activities we do on trips, whether it's Florida or another destination, all the kids want to do is swim. They have both gotten to the stage where they aren't as concerned about us getting in the pool, which is great for Jason and me because we are both pretty much weenies when it comes to being cold in a pool. This trip was nice because the place we stayed was not very crowded with school aged kids, so the kids almost always had the pool to themselves.

7. Going to the bathroom in public is a huge ordeal. When it's just me out on the town, if I need to use the facilities, I excuse myself, do what I need to do, and return to the table in a few minutes time. When traveling with the kids, it takes a plan, especially in a crowded place. Elizabeth can at least now go in her own stall and take care of her own business, but in a crowded restroom, it's almost easier (and maybe more polite) to all go in one. So here's the drill - Elizabeth first, because she usually has to go the worst, so we layer the seat with two pieces of toilet paper (does toilet paper really seal us from the germs? I can't do the squat over, though, my leg muscles just can't hold up.) and she does her thing, we flush, get two more pieces of paper, I do my thing, then it's to Anna. By now I figure Elizabeth's toilet paper and behind and mine have washed away all germs, so we go without paper for Anna. The problem with Anna and the bathroom is she has a bladder of steel, and anyone who has watched her or knows her well knows I am not exaggerating. The girl can wake up in the morning with a dry pullup and then go until after lunch without going. It's amazing. So coaxing her to go is no easy fete. However, if sleep in the car is in the near future, it's paramount that she goes so we don't have a wet car seat. Well, enough about that topic...

8. If there is an arcade game/crane game/gumball machine/rubber ball machine/candy machine in sight, they will want to play. The problem with this is, our family has kind of gotten hooked on the crane game, so we indulge almost every time. What is the problem, you say, if we enjoy this? First, it's a money drain most of the time, second, we have won enough where our house is being overrun by cheap arcade toys (none of which the kids can live or sleep without) and third, when we don't win (which is more often than not) Anna looks at us like we are complete failures. She doesn't get that it's not an automatic win.

9. When you get home from the week long, intense family time vacation, you really just need a little vacation from the kids. And I mean this so lovingly toward them - I think they are great. But after unpacking and winding down from the trip, the last thing we want to do is play dolls or Sorry or whatever else we've just spent the last week doing. But they, so used to having our undivided attention now for a whole week, just cannot easily make the transistion back to reality (where we ignore them most of the time....just kidding, of course :).)

10. You realize how great your family really is and how important it is to get away from the day to day craziness and just enjoy each other's company.

I'm going to end this post with the quote of the week from our vacation:

On Monday morning, our family needed to go to the local grocery store to pick up some things for meals for the week. My dad belongs to a vacation club and so generously let us use his "points" to have a condo complete with kitchen, so it order to save money, we ate several meals in. Elizabeth was not excited about going to the store and was dragging her feet getting ready, so I jokingly said to her, "Well, Daddy and I will go to the store and you can stay here and watch Anna." Jason and I proceeded to walk out the door, not shutting it completely but enough to let them think we were leaving. Jason and I put our ears up to the door to listen. I braced myself for the two of them to bolt out the door, running to us and begging us not to leave, but instead I heard this from my three year old to her big sister who was now in charge. "So, what do you want to do first, Elizabeth?"


Blogger Keetha said...

Trips with children!!!!! Oh the memories - - - - my oldest two made up their own language that only they could understand.

October 29, 2006 9:10 PM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

Deb, laughing, laughing, laughing! Especially when I read the ones that had to do with sleeping or riding or being with daddy. It's nice that you got to sleep with daddy part of the time. :)

Glad you're back. Let's get our families together so the kids can play and we can ignore them together...(only kidding)

October 29, 2006 9:50 PM  

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