Friday, July 1, 2011

A Few Things I Have Learned From My Vacation This Year

DH and I agree, this is the best trip to Block Island we have ever taken. We have had great weather and I did enough advance planning with the food that every day has been enjoyable.

Here are just a few things I have learned while on this vacation. They are food related or parenting related, or neither.

1-If you have kids, it is worth it to rent a house.

Actually, we learned that three years ago when we first started renting this house. The kids have a tough enough time falling asleep in a different place, throw them into one big hotel room and all of a sudden Mom and Dad have to go to sleep at the same time as the kids. Boo. Renting a small two bedroom house means that we can stay up and enjoy our evening while the kidlets sleep. Plus, the house offers some private down time when the sun is hot. We can go in and play with toys we brought or read books or watch movies.

Now MY favorite thing about renting a house has got to be the yard. Not having a yard of our very own, running in circles in the grass or playing in a baby pool is a great joy for our kids. DH and I can crack a beer while the kids entertain themselves. Nice. But YOUR favorite thing about my renting a house is not getting stuck in a hotel room next to my crazy Things. They go nuts a couple times a day, usually as we are trying to leave the house for an outing. And we are the loudest family you will ever meet. So renting a private house is also a way to sure that others have a great vaca too.

2-Better to plan ahead and bring "approved" junk food rather than wait and get stuck buying whatever you can find.

We have eliminated junk foods, and so last year we didn't pack any treats. In fact I just didn't pack enough food period. So when we were hungry we reached for foods that we weren't buying at home, bagels and fishy crackers and muffins. Our options on the island are limited and there are virtually no organics. I was literally sick from overeating wheat. This year I thought ahead. Instead of buying whatever crossed our path, I packed "better junk food".

I stocked up on organic tater tots and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and Applegate Farms' Turkey Bologna and Kettle Chips. And even juice boxes!!!! Everyone feels like they are getting super spoiled while I know that there are no bad preservatives, food dyes or excess refined sugar. Plus much of the junk I bought was organic, So I know it is non-GMO. I don't want my kids to be completely devoid of treats. I just wish they would get more excited about kale and kefier smoothies. But until that day comes, it won't hurt to plan ahead and fill up on better treats.

You should have seen how excited the Things were when they saw juice boxes in my shopping cart. They were like Christmas excited. I feel good knowing that we still are having pastured meat and eggs as a focus. DH and I are having lots of fresh veggies (still modeling the behavior, no payoff in sight...). So a little junk might be just what these kiddos need.

3-I am pretty sure that turkey bologna still has triptaphanes in it.

Thing 2 decided that he would eschew all other lunch foods for the turkey bologna. He then proceeded to take a three hour nap. I could get used to this. Perhaps I need to figure out how to MAKE turkey bologna. Maybe...

4-I am pretty sure that these shorts were never intended for me.

Yet somehow they ended up in my bag. I am fairly certain that these shorts were meant for some precocious 12 year-old Lolita and not some 32 year-old mother of 2. The woman behind the counter looked at me like she truly hoped I was buying them as a gift for some neice somewhere. But I made sure I slipped in a 'Can I return these if I need a different size?' I am sure that she was horrified. Though DH was pretty psyched. I might not be wearing these into town, but I think they'll get some use. Haha! Gross.

5-There are many things about our modern lifestyle that are unecessary, but clothes dryers aren't one of them.

I don't remember what fabric softener it was that advertised its product as having the scent of line dried clothes. There are few places on earth where the air smells better than Block Island. The scent here at the end of June is a mix of roses, honeysuckle and sea salt. Yet all the clothes I have line dried here are stiff and wrinkely. I hate line drying clothes. Dryers are awesome.

6-If you rent a house across the street from a cemetary, prepare for questions from your almost four year old.

Our down time in Block Island has been spent having some very frank conversations about growing up, getting sick and dying. Thanks to my exemplary parenting skills, Thing 1 is now totally convinced that a) one goes to a cemetary to be buried when one gets sick and b) one can leave a cemetary once one gets better and c) it is possible for time to move backwards and, my favorite, d) staying a little boy forever is a viable life option. It doesn't matter that I told Thing 1 all about hospitals, where you actually go when you are sick and you can come home when you get better. Or that I also told him about Peter Pan, who lived on Neverland way before Jake and his baby pirates. Thing 1 just doesn't care. He believes what he believes. God bless him.

7-You can't just decide one day to stop using sunblock. You must also, that same day, buy your kids hats and start wearing beach coverups, etc.

DH and I have had some disagreements over the sunblock thing. He thinks I am crazy and any increase in melanoma cancer rates in the last 30 years is completely attributable to better medical care and early detection. I just want to get the kids to not get a sunburn. We settled on using sunblock on their faces, ears and heads. And we bought Thing 2 a hat and DH is resisting the urge to take it off him when he fusses. We have also, without verbally discussing it, kept shirts on the kids most of the time while they are at the beach or in the back yard during hot hot hours. I admit it, it took a few days to get the hang of. We are very toasty from those first couple days. We have always run around half naked relying on sunblock. We have had to really change our behavior to avoid both sunblock and sunburns. I have turned to DH's wonderfully light snap front shirts. They make great beach coverups. DH is just really crispy. But even he has (silently) agreed to not wear sunblock. I think we have the hang of this now. But it has taken a little bit of trial and error. After all, parks and barbeues are one thing, week long vacations are another. We aren't used to the sun out here in the middle of the ocean, so we are working on this one day at a time.

8-Brothers need vacation time.

The same can of course be said of sisters and any sibling gender combo. But for me and my personal experience, my boys have solidifed their best-friendship on this trip. To see Thing 1 coaching Thing 2 on how to perform Slip and Slide tricks while Thing 2 blathers on in his unitelligible baby language has been awesome. I catch them having conversations together where they think no one is listening. I see them holding hands when I haven't asked them to. I see them building their relationship. It is beautiful.

9-There is a kid's channel called Qubo. And on said channel there is a show called The Magic School Bus.

We are Nick Jr parents. I love the shows, the lessons and the no commercials. Here, Qubo is the only kid's channel available. And there are tons of commercials for things like debt reduction and Life Style Lifts. Thing 1 is kind of confused. I am not sure he knows where the show ends and the commercials begin.

Forgive any copyright infringement, but this Magic School Bus show is kinda cute and kinda kooky. I mean look at the lady in the picture!! She is wearing pickle earrings. It stars Lilly Tomlin and it highlights kid science topics. Well last night the Magic School Bus episode was all about microbes. And what was the example? PICKLES!! The class actually shrunk themselves and swam in the pickle jar while long chains of lactobacillius bacteria preserved a cucumber. I was actually kind proud. The show was talking about fermented foods as an example of microbiotic activity, as opposed to just some produce drowned in vinegar. I was thrilled. And Thing 1 watched eagerly. I might not be a huge Qubo fan, but they got
me with a show centered around fermented foods. Ha!

10-I really love beer.

No explanation needed. I just really love good beer. I know all the caveats about beer and health and weight. But....I am on vaca and is just really good.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July! May you be blesses with a beautiful vacation (or several) this summer!



  1. If you like the lessons on the Magic School Bus you should borrow the books from the library. It's a really great series (as the show is based on those books). :)

  2. Great post. Just posted on what I learned from my own vacation so also very synchronistic! My dh and I had one of our early and very special getaways on Block Island. We haven't been there in 20 years but I'd love to visit and to take the kids!