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Summer “Vacation” with Kids

Family Vacation

We made it back from our family trip, which is very different from a vacation, and I’m pleased to report we returned home with all of our luggage and all of our children. Which is a pretty amazing feat. 

We’d been gone for two days when my wonderful wife reminded me that it has been five years since I took a vacation that consisted of something more than just an extended weekend. “Certainly that can’t be right” was my response. I tried to prove her wrong, but after about day five of the trip, I realized that she was right, because I would most definitely remember spending five straight days with the kids.

All day with three kids is hard, hard work. It’s hard. Really hard. Did I mention it’s hard? Things started easy enough. There were only 20 of us on the flight to Portland so we had almost the entire plane to ourselves so my youngest could talk and scream, mostly scream, all she wanted and we only had to apologize to 20 people instead of the usual 130. Getting what seemed like 12 bags of luggage, one of which contained nothing but dolls for the youngest one, from the terminal to the rental car agency was more work than getting The Boy to eat a creamy chicken dinner.

My wife had to then watch the three kids and mountains of luggage while I did the rental car dance where a certain agency tried to tell me that Ford Escort was considered “similar” to a Ford Escape. In their defense, both vehicles were Fords and they both had four wheels. We walked to the rental car agency next door and after some masterful negotiations we found a sweet deal on a car that allowed us to fit the luggage (all of it) in the car while only having to leave one child on the roof. Unfortunately for us, the rental car agency had a surprise for us when we returned the car and rental car agencies are now one spot above America’s Next Top Model in my list of Top 10 things I really, really, really don’t like (I’m trying to teach my kids not to use the word “hate”).

Once in the rental car we were dealing with a screaming 20 month old who was all jacked up on the candy we bribed her with on the plane, a portable DVD player that, unfortunately for my kids, would not play High School Musical, Sponge Bob and Toy Story all at the same time. There was the occasional fight between Sweet Pea (my pet name for my oldest — I don’t know where it started and I freely admit it’s beyond cheesy and I don’t care) and The Boy, and the numerous

occasions the infamous “Are we there yet?” could be heard. We eventually made it to our destination two hours later, got the stroller out, cleaned up the kids, wiped the melted chocolate off the youngest’s windows, etc. Later, we made it to the hotel, checked in, changed the kids clothes, cleaned them off again. Somewhere along the way we fed them, escorted them to bathrooms, answered The Boy’s 3,432 questions about University of Oregon athletics and even managed to take a couple dozen out-of-focus pictures.

Every day was like that.

We were always on the go, taking the kids from one site to the next and it was exhausting. And it wasn’t until about the fifth day that I realized my wife deals with this all day every day only instead of seeing the house where Chunk did the famous Truffle Shuffle in Goonies, she’s hauling the kids to exciting locations like Target, the instant care facility (during The Boy’s prime, we owned a frequent visitor card that entitled us to a free visit for every third visit), Gymboree (or whatever children’s clothing boutique is in fashion) or the dry cleaners. 

My wife is an active individual, she hates staying home all day and has to constantly be on the move, …(cont)

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