She Says… Taking Advantage of the Time

Prior to having a baby, when I thought about my maternity leave it was like a big black hole in my previously overbooked calendar. I knew it would be immediately filled with baby things once Owen arrived, and I had no idea how much of anything else would fit in. So I didn’t plan anything. And for the past 7 weeks (ohmygoodness it’s been 7 weeks — where did the time go?!), it’s been about 99% taking care of the baby and 1% anything else. That’s not entirely true (we’ve seen lots of friends/family and taken a road trip and hiked with the dog, etc.), but my brain has been allocated that way. Slowly but surely, I’m beginning to feel the ratio shifting. I’m planning more things in advance (weddings! dinners! get togethers with friends!), and thinking more about how I can best take advantage of this amazing time off I have from work.

Yesterday I had an epiphany: I want to take a vacation.

And then my brain went into overdrive thinking of all the reasons that would be more difficult with a little one.

Am I crazy? Part of me feels like for the first time in a long time I could take a vacay without worrying about counting days off of work and having work projects pile up while I’m gone. And frankly, we haven’t taken a vacation in a very long time. While we were trying to conceive, it never crossed my mind, and I was always tracking cycle days and needed to be available to be monitored by the reproductive specialist we were seeing. And then once we got pregnant, I didn’t feel great in the 1st trimester, and then was mentally scrimping pennies and working so much I barely even thought of it. But now? Now my days are like one long “weekend” (you know, except for the fact that I’m a stay-at-home-mom…). And I dream of uninterrupted time with Benjamin and Owen somewhere lovely and relaxing — aka not my living room, where I’ve spent the last 7 weeks.

Traveling to this dream location is trickier with a baby, for sure. Benjamin’s not great on long car trips (although I kind of like them, especially in our rockin’ minivan!). And taking Owen on a long flight scares the bejeezus out of me (all those germs! what if he cries the whole way? what if our flight is delayed and we’re sitting with an infant in an airport for days?).

Also, the fact that it is fall is slightly problematic. We live in New England and go to New Hampshire often for weekends, so any driving destination is going to be chilly, and not all that different from where we already spend our time. Europe and other countries are probably out just because of the added logistical complications (customs, passports, travel time, etc.), so we’re looking at the best places to visit in the U.S. in the fall.

Thoughts so far:

  • Napa? A wine country vacay sounds pretty perfect right now, since I can finally drink the nectar of the Gods again πŸ™‚Β  And frankly, we won’t be able to take a wine country vacation once Owen gets older, since that doesn’t sound very fun for a three year old. Great wine and fabulous food are a recipe for my favorite trip, but what’s Napa like in the fall?
  • Portland, Oregon / Vancouver? This may seem sort of random, but Benjamin has a job he may be working on in Portland, so we could coordinate work and pleasure very conveniently. I’m picturing hikes in crisp fall weather with Owen in the Baby Bjorn and strolling the streets of these adorable cities with pumpkin spice lattes in hand. Sounds great, no?
  • As far South as we can get in an attempt to have some sort of beach/warm weather vacay? How warm is it in Florida in the fall? Do sand and infants mix? When is hurricane season?

Have you taken a vacation with a wee one? Where did you go? Did you think it was worthwhile/relaxing/all it was cracked up to be? Suggestions on incredible places to visit in the fall?

Sidenote: Something REALLY exciting happened yesterday. Benjamin, Owen and I were recognized by a reader in the mall! I was just about to begin nursing when Hillary came up and said hi. It was the first time anyone recognized us from the blog alone, and it was in such a random spot!

Hi, Hillary! It was so great to meet you. You made my day. I couldn’t stop smiling all night πŸ™‚

If anyone else out there sees us out in the real world, say hi!


29 responses to “She Says… Taking Advantage of the Time

  1. I think a vacation sounds great for you guys, the best way I can help is the South. It is currently still hot as all get out in FL right now (and I live in North Florida) The highs are still in the 90s, we get an occasional high 80 degree day, but as far as you should be concerned, it’s still summer down here and will be for another month.

    Infants and sand are questionable, but since he can not yet run around in the sand and get it in every nook and crany, you will have a lot more control over his exposure. Many parents with infants set up huge blankets or even playpens on the beach under an unbrella, that way everyone gets teh beach feel, but much less of the beach negatives (i.e sand and excess sun). Have fun whatever you all decide, I think it sounds like a great idea!

  2. Charlottesville in the fall is just perfect πŸ™‚

  3. ditto Stephanie on Florida! I live in Jacksonville, which is by the water (cooler) and prob about 45 min south of GA. So about as north Florida as I can get. Yesterday afternoon during the Jags game the heat index was 100 degrees.

    Shoot me.

    I cry inside every time I read someone’s story of fall-like temperatures and pumpkin spice lattes.

  4. could you please delete the duplicate comment from above (not SoundEats) please? so sorry! that’s a private blog I did not realize I was signed into, yikes!

  5. Florida is still hot right now, but will cool down in October. How cute would Owen be with Micky Mouse? Hurricane season ends in November, but take it from a seasoned vet – hurricanes aren’t as scary as they seem. πŸ˜‰

    Truthfully I would go more towards a cute town in the south like Savannah, Charlottesville, or even Pigeon Forge. OR Portland sounds good too!

  6. Cupertino is lovely in the fall πŸ™‚

    We drove to Canada, and did Portland with our 3 mth old baby–it was awesome!
    Also we are leaving for Italy in a couple weeks. Travel with a little baby is easier than a toddler! And fun!

    I vote for Portland!

    Also, I’m from rainy Vancouver, B.C area. Now I live in California. I DON”T cry inside when I hear about high temps and spice lattes, I let a full belly chuckle and then go and crank the AC. πŸ™‚

  7. I just got home last night from traveling with the baby for her baptism and the thought of packing up for a vacation sounds so exhausting. You may be braver than I, but my idea of a great vacation would be for my husband to take time off work and for the 3 of us to do fun stuff around where we live. Whenever I travel with the baby, I am TIRED and need a vacation after we get home, lol. A fellow mom once told me: “You don’t have vacations with kids, you have trips”.

    In fact, we are doing a “staycation” next month and I can’t wait!

  8. I think a vacation is a GREAT idea! This is actually a much easier age to travel than it will be later this year, so I say take advantage of it. Especially while he’s still at an age that he can fall asleep in a carseat, can be nursed to calm down, and isn’t yet tied to a regular by-the-clock nap schedule.

    Have a blast! The pre-mobile age is a nice one to travel, and then it gets harder for a while. Sadly, that never stopped us – my kids have an alarming number of frequent flier miles, since all of our family is far away. It’s easier again now at age 3, but there was a rough patch in the middle there. πŸ™‚

  9. I vote for Portland Oregon! Such a fun fun fun town, and so walkable with the bjorn or other baby carrier!

  10. Have you guys been to Charleston, SC? It is SUCH a hidden gem and one of my very favorite cities! Great food and wine, shopping, historical sights, on the coast, romantic, fun, etc. I’m also hugely partial to anywhere in North Carolina. We just got back from a weekend in Durham/Chapel Hill and had a blast. Asheville, NC, is another great spot–strange but fun and much more fall-like as it’s in the mountains. Or (a little closer to home for you) what about the Chesapeake Bay area?

  11. I live in southwest Florida (in Sarasota) and it is definitely warm here until November. And even then, it might get down to the 40s at night. Maybe. We have only taken Eli to the beach once (ridiculous since it is like 10 minutes away) but he loved it (he is 3 months now). He loved the feel of the sand on his feet and he loved the water.

    I second Meghann on a cute town, though… we lived in Savannah for a while and highly recommend visiting there. The tours of the homes and stuff may not be great for a baby, but if you walk around and explore on your own it would be perfect. Everything in the historic district is walking distance, so you would never be far from your hotel (or bed & breakfast – a ton of great ones there!). It is hot as Hades in Savannah this time of year, but October is really nice.

  12. I know that as a baby, I never cried on planes. I know this because my parents [report that they] would give me half of a Benadryl and I would sleep through the whole flight. And I turned out OK. Mostly. Does anyone else do this?

  13. Andrea Arbuckle

    We took our daughter to Nashville (from KS) by non-stop flight when she was not quite 3 months. She did great on the flight, nursed taking off and landing, slept the rest of the time. We also took her to Vegas (non stop flight) when she was almost 7 months. Once again she did great! Highly recommend the non-stop flight if you can swing it. Children under two fly free on the lap which is an added bonus!

  14. I live in Charleston, SC and say that it’s cool enough here in October but not cold by any stretch. Here there’s a lot to do with a baby, and because it’s so comfortable outside, you can do pretty much everything that this town has to offer. (Historical sites, beach, markets, plantation tours, etc).

    I took my first son to Cancun, Mexico, when he was 9 months old. It was totally worthwhile. The first plane trip we ever took was without my husband and my baby was 4 months old. I would not let a plane ride with an infant scare you. Worst case scenario is that the baby cries the entire flight, but that’s not likely. And the good news is that eventually your baby will stop crying, and eventually you will arrive at your destination, and all will be right with the world. Definitely take the time to go somewhere now. It’s easier now than when he’s walking and mobile.

  15. Of course I vote Napa. πŸ™‚ We would love, love, love to have you come out here, though it would have to wait until November. JetBlue has a nonstop flight from Boston to San Jose, and their prices are usually low, so there’s another enticement!

    Several of my friends have taken plane trips and vacations when their babies were really small, and it always worked out great and relatively easy. Someone was saying to me that you get to have a completely relaxing trip, because you don’t feel compelled to go out and see every attraction since that isn’t realistic with a baby.

  16. SF and Wine Country are both AWESOME in the fall – truly, it’s some of our best weather. How exciting would that be!

  17. Okay..Napa!! I sense a blogger meet up!!! πŸ™‚

  18. We just got back from vacation with our 3 1/2 month old daughter. We went to Bermuda, which I highly recommend!!!! The flight is 2 hours so it’s super easy. Yes you need a passport but that was very easy to get (and you could expedite it if need be). Our resort had cabanas on the pool so it was perfect for the 3 of us to hang out underneath. I was shocked by how relaxed we both were despite having an infant with us! The beaches are gorgeous. The resort offered babysitting so we were able to go out for dinners on our own and we also got a babysitter one afternoon so we could indulge in massages. It was really fantastic. If you’re interested in Bermuda email me:

  19. Kate – if you’re thinking of Nappa what about the finger lakes? Anthony & I love it there. It’s closer to home so you can drive. They’re smaller wineries so you actually talk to the vintners themselves. Plus the small size seems to make them more likely to have some unique experimental wines for you to try. Lots of sugary wine — but we love dry big reds and found plenty we liked and just skipped those with high residual sugar. Anthony & I think we might even like the finger lakes better than Sonoma & Russian River Valley. Anyway, if you’re thinking about it email me & I can send you some wineries we liked in Sonoma or the finger lakes. πŸ™‚

  20. I was so freaked with Zoe that I literally stayed on the couch with her for the 3 months of my leave. Poor kid. Now she’s 2 and refuses to stay in the house – no surprise there. But I feel the same way about flying: do the airlines ever clean the tray tables or buttons on the arm rest?? (((shudder)) so we chance it very rarely. Seem to come home with the croup every time though…. 😦 But a road trip could be a nice way to go. Stop when you want (read: need to) and just hang out. I suggest any place with wide open spaces and babysitters. I never considered Bermuda – but thanks Eve – sounds like a distinct possibility!!

  21. We’ve gone lots of places with our kids since they were little babies. We went to Italy last year when my younger son was just shy of 2 months old. Flying with little babies is very easy (flying with a 1-year-old, on the other hand, can be a nightmare). It’s tricky to schlep all the equipment, but the flying itself isn’t bad. If you find a cheap flight and can afford to get a seat for the baby, it’s a great bonus to be able to just put him in his infant seat and let him sleep. But it’s not bad to have to hold him the whole time, either! It’s great that you want to take advantage of this time – it goes by so quickly. Wherever you end up going, enjoy it!

  22. Travel!! We took Ava to the beach at 4 weeks and she enjoyed it. Some babies don’t though! You have to try it though! I vote for South!

  23. I vote for Portland/Vancouver … if you mean Vancouver, BC! I am from there and it is BEAUTIFUL in the Fall. There are so many lovely things to do, markets, mountains, shopping! I am traveling right now and will be so jealous if you go there!
    PS I love love love your blog!

  24. My vote, from the 3 options, would be to go south. I found flying to be relatively easy when Sam was around 3 months – he mostly nursed & slept, and when he was awake he was still small enough to handle on a narrow airplane seat. That being said – the major downside to plane rides, in my experience, is the diaper change. While most airlines do have fold-down changing tables in the bathroom, those spaces are tiny (like I need to point that out!) & if you have a stinky diaper … well, you can imagine how pleasant that can be – not just for you, but also the passengers around you (maybe this isn’t a concern for you, but for me there are enough bad smells on the plane that I was very aware of adding to them!). SO, my point here is: the shorter the flight, the better (and this also means more time enjoying the trip instead of the travel) & living on the east coast means many options for short(ish) flights to somewhere warm!

  25. Hey! It was so great to meet you too! I have been following your blog since you posted the video of your positive at-home test – one of the food/fitness bloggers I follow linked to it and I have really enjoyed reading your blog. An aunt of mine struggled with fertility issues too, for a long time, before adopting a young girl from China who is just such a blessing to our family!

    I am not a mother myself but I took care of my newborn cousin for the first few months of her life – I moved in and played amateur doula after her mommy had some post-birth complications so I know all too well what it is like to care for a newborn day and night. She just turned 2 this summer – it really is true that they grow and change so fast!

    Owen is precious! I can’t believe I ran into you and got to meet you two and the little man in real life πŸ™‚

  26. p.s. Benjamin – my friend Joey was in your short film for the Boston 48 hour Film Project (Gro2) – small world!

  27. we live in Napa, so I can vouch for near perfect weather now. we don’t have much fall color yet and the days are still warm. it’s been a slow, cool season so you can still catch the “crush”. lots of great new restaurants, and traveling with babies is much easier at this age than any other. you put some tiny clothes in a suitcase, grab your baby carrier and head out! good luck choosing a destination.

  28. Hey Kate! I certainly don’t have my own wee one experience, but 2 things. One, my parents took me to Puerto Rico when I was 2 months old and had the best time. Another friend of mine took her husband, baby and sister in law to Mexico when the baby was 5 months old or so.. Could be helpful to bring a built in babysitter so you and Benjamin can actually have some time for “vacation”!

  29. Hey Kate!

    Napa is perfect this time of year, and so is Portland. I also agree that Charleston has a lot to offer! Napa is a pretty sleepy little town — there is little else to do but drink wine, and have lovely food. Of course there are cute shops and little parks and stuff, but it’s definitely a “town.” Maybe that’s just what you’re looking for though! You’d be a bit far from the coast, which is a shame to miss. I’d recommend Portland out of those three. Soooo pretty, lots to see, and amazing hiking trails on all levels (you know, since you’re carrying an additional ten pounds).

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