Weekend in SLO

Dave and I have always been big travelers, at least during our time together, and I think we figured we'd continue the jet-setting once we had a baby. Singular. Well, throw two at the same time in the mix and our game plan sort of changed. We actually had several successful trips during their first year of life, including long flights to Cincinnati and Florida. But once the guys started moving around a lot more, we decided that we'd be sticking close to home for now. It just seemed like it would be more work than it was worth and nothing like our vacations of the past.

Fast-forward to this summer, when I hear about all the fun and exciting summer plans of just about everyone I know. Weekend trips to Carmel, vacations to Hawaii, etc., etc. I started asking Dave if maybe we're chickening out, and we should attempt to do more with them. We made several decisions. First, the only way to get a true vacation like the old days was to go without kids. Okay, trip to Hawaii booked (we leave 2 weeks from today!!). Second, let's only fly if necessary. Our next flying trip is to Florida at Christmas and we're so looking forward to it. They'll be 20 months old and they already have a slight obsession with Baby Einstein shows so I'm hoping we'll be okay. But in the meantime, let's have some local adventures.

Our first attempt (in a long time) was a weekend visiting our friends in the Central coast, in San Luis Obispo. It's a 4-hour drive and our plan was to go to swim lessons as normal on Friday morning, let them run around a bit after, have lunch, and be in the car by noon (hoping they'd fall asleep for their regular 2-3 hour nap). Everything went pretty according to plan, we were leaving the city by 12:15, they were asleep shortly after and we hit no major traffic. They slept an hour and a half in the car. Not bad, but definitely not the norm. I sat up front for the first half of the trip, driving actually, while Dave took care of some work. When they were starting to get antsy, we stopped off in King City to let them out at a playground for a bit, change diapers and have a little snack. Thirty minutes later, we were on our way again.

Overall, they did really well. We read lots of books, fought over the new LeapFrog laptop that Dave got and only resorted to a show for the last 30 minutes or so. Lessons learned - they sleep better when I'm in the front seat, but behave better when awake when I'm in the back seat with them. Their carseats are right next to each other too, which probably doesn't help, but it makes it a lot easier for a third person to sit back there.

This was our second long trip in the new car seats; the first was right when they turned a year. After hearing horror stories, I was glad that they showed no signs of motion sickness. Their car seats are rear-facing and we plan to keep them that way for as long as they'll tolerate it.

After checking into our beautiful vacation home up in the hills overlooking Edna Valley, we headed over to Chip and Julie's place for pizza. It was so fun to see them and for all the kids to hang out. We didn't get over to their place until almost 6 and made it until 7:30pm before we had to get them back home for the rest of their bedtime routine. Dave and I wrapped up the night with a soak in the hot tub under the starry sky.

Dinner at Chip and Julie's

We checked out the grounds of our rental first thing Saturday morning including a walk through the citrus grove (delicious grapefruit!) and checking out the llamas and goats just over the fence. The boys loved all the space to explore.


Next we headed to the farm; they had SO much fun. They got to feed all the animals, roam around the dusty grounds; they were in heaven!

Then it was off to a beachside playground before lunch on the patio with a view of the water. The weather was perfect!

Jefferson and George at the park

After a rough naptime, we played outside more before Chip and Julie, their kids, Kara, and most importantly, the babysitter, came over.

We went through the normal dinner and bedtime routine with the boys, put them to bed, then got ready for an adults-only dinner out in downtown SLO. The food was great and it was so nice to get out just the adults.

On Sunday after breakfast, we packed up and explored a bit more outside. They loved playing by the hot tub.

Then we left our rental and went back to the playground to let the boys burn off some energy before the drive back. We left about 10am, so decided to drive up to Paso Robles to have lunch and then hope they would fall asleep for most of the remainder of the drive. William did great with a 2-hour nap, George only slept for an hour, but was totally happy having the laptop to himself (I only got it out once William was asleep). We made it back in great time and didn't hit much traffic at all. Even better, we still had Sunday afternoon (and Jessica showing up to watch the boys!) so we could get ready for the week. The Niners were playing Sunday night football but unfortunately that was a disappointing loss after a huge lead the first half.

George's favorite part of the weekend: a microwave his height to open and close!

What we packed:
1 duffel bag for Dave and I
2 Lotus travel cribs (these are the best!)
1 small duffel bag for the boys' clothes, diapers, etc.
1 bag of snacks/food from home
1 small bag with an icepack and some refrigerated food
1 bag of books and a few toys
1 bag of towels and swim suits from swim class on Friday am
Diaper bag
2 ergos

It worked out so well to bring a few things from home that I figured they'd eat and then pick up a few basics at the store. I knew we'd be eating most meals out but I was hoping that having some familiar items would mean they'd end up having decent meals.

Food from home:
1 can of black beans
1 carton of tofu, grilled up
1 cup of frozen peas and carrots
1 package of pomegranate seeds
1 box of steel-cut microwavable oatmeal
6 whole wheat slider minis
6 string cheese
1 jar almond butter
chia seeds
Various snacks  - freeze-dried fruit, granola, puffs, pouches (brought a lot more than we ended up using)
A few leftovers from home for lunch/dinner the first day - edamamae, grapes, blueberries

Picked up at the store:
Quart of whole milk
1 pint of raspberries
1 dozen eggs
2 small Fage Greek yogurts
Quart of Odwalla smoothie
Cottage cheese

Breakfast was the same each day: A banana, oatmeal with pomagrante seeds, rapsberries, chia seeds and a dollop of Greek yogurt, plus scrambled eggs and some smoothie. They did pretty well with this and loved sitting at the big table. We only brought their travel silverware, not their bowls, etc., and they did fine with the ones at the house.

Breakfast at the adults' table
Even after a big breakfast, they're usually hungry an hour or so later, so I did almond butter on whole wheat slider minis, before offering any other snack foods.

We ate out lunch each day and got them chicken fingers for the first time on Saturday. They did okay with them but had eaten so much by the time the food got there. They still had room for fries and loved to dip them in ketchup (for the first time!).

Dinner (and often lunch too) consisted of grilled tofu, peas and carrots, black beans and cottage cheese with pomegranate seeds. Friday night they also liked the pizza the adults were having and Saturday night they may have had a little leftover chicken. I wouldn't say they ate great, but a healthy mix. I'd definitely bring the same foods on our next weekend trip and also pick up just the basics at the store. We were able to finish everything that we got so it was the perfect amount.

Overall, it was a great trip and I'm so glad we did it. It built our confidence to attempt more. The trip to St. Helena next month requires a much shorter drive, plus the house is totally set up for kids, so we'll need to bring even less stuff and have more to do right there in the backyard. We can't wait!

Our boys are definitely used to a schedule and we were happy they managed so well, especially staying up late on Friday night after the short naps that afternoon. In general, the routine is so key to how our lives function on a daily basis, but I realize that that means they're probably not going to be too flexible when we want to change it up. I think this was a good balance and while they didn't nap great in the car or at the house, we were still able to have a really fun weekend.

View from the yard

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