Category Archives: vacation


I just returned home from a glorious vacation. I saw friends and family. I lounged underneath swaying palm trees and relished the awe of a post-rain shower rainbow. I drank a glass (or two) of cold white wine in the afternoon just because. I spent time at the tranquility pool (a.k.a. the adults only pool). I got a healthy dose of Vitamin D. I laughed with my kids until I cried. I ate bacon at the breakfast buffet. I read three books. Three.

No one wanted to come home, and that declaration was made hours before we settled into the windowless last row of the airplane in seats that didn’t recline and were next to the bathroom. (Thanks, Delta!) Those seats should come with a complimentary therapy session. We didn’t know if it was day or night. The man seated in 29A next to my husband had to switch seats with his tween daughter in 28D because he was having a panic attack and at least row 28 had a window with a view of the engine. (Thanks again, Delta!) The fresh air I breathed when I stepped onto the gateway at Newark International Airport gave me a second chance at life.

The sign of a good vacation is wanting it to last forever. That said, it was nice to come home to Charmin Ultra-Soft toilet paper and my own bed. After a night of sleep, however, the rose colored-glasses through which I saw our homecoming after a week away morphed into beer goggles.

Unpacking. How many marriages dissolve over whose job it is to put away the suitcases? Asking for a friend.

Laundry. What in the fresh hell? I’m on my third load and we’ve been home for 12 hours.

Laundry. I hate myself for being such a cliché.

Laundry. #icanteven

Food. Why am I in charge of feeding these people? Why?!

Children. If I didn’t step on a half dozen Cheerios and trip over at least two pairs of dirty socks every morning, I would wonder if I were dead.

Mail. Can it be held permanently?

At least the kids will go to school tomorrow. Ugh…

School lunches. How many weeks until summer vacation?

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My New Packing List

When the boys were little, I began packing weeks in advance of trips. Whether we were traveling for two days or a week and whether our mode of transportation was by airplane or car (and especially when it was by car), my packing lists were extensive. They weren’t lists as much as they were evidence logs of my insanity.

Besides the obvious six billion necessities one needs to travel with babies and toddlers, my packing lists used to include oddities like a kneeler for the bath tub, a safety gate, waterproof mattress covers, and a step stool. Without these essential items, travel with my young, persnickety children simply would’ve been a nightmare.

I once packed a cooler with eight quarts of blueberry Kefir for a trip to Captiva Island because I was afraid the local grocery store wouldn’t sell it, and I didn’t want to be on the same island as Riley if there was no Kefir to be had.

There was also a very real period of time when we traveled with a tent. To be clear, we never went camping. We also traveled with a lamp. You heard me right. Not a night-light (although we packed that, too), but an actual lamp. Dylan’s sleeping arrangements when we were away from home were a wee bit complicated. At least we were entertaining to the TSA officers who inspected our luggage.

Needless to say, a few years make a big difference. Now that the boys are older, my packing lists are much shorter and vastly different. I don’t have to prepare months in advance and my anxiety is way slightly more manageable.

In fact, we’re getting ready for a spring break getaway, and I’ve made a new packing list of the essentials without which our family would not survive:

  • 2 laptop computers
  • 2 smartphones
  • 2 iPads
  • 2 iPods
  • 2 Kindle Fires
  • 1 GoPro
  • 1 Fitbit
  • the hot spot thingy that gives us WiFi when there is none
  • chargers for all aforementioned items
  • the plug tower thingy for the above-mentioned chargers

technology2Now that trips finally feel like vacations (sort of), the whole family can relax, rejuvenate, and unplug. Ha!

I’m as addicted to screens as the rest of my brood, but I’m also desperate to read something besides my Facebook news feed, so I’m also bringing:

  • “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • “The Nest” by Cynthia Sweeney

My packing lists then and now speak volumes about the long and winding journey of raising kids, not to mention the fast pace of technology innovation. Case in point, another one of our indispensable travel items used to be a portable DVD player and DVD storage case. (That was so 2010).

The bulky and peculiar supplies of early motherhood are no longer a weight we have to carry – literally and figuratively – when we travel. God help us if the WiFi is too slow to stream YouTube videos, but at least we don’t need dry ice to transport Kefir.

The one travel item that will always cause me insomnia, anxiety, and heartache when I pack – no matter the age of my kids or the size of the cloud – is shoes. So many shoes, so little space.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever packed for a trip with your kids?


Filed under packing, technology, travel, vacation