Ok, I screwed up. I was trying to post a comment on the Mother of All Trip’s blog and ended up entering the “Mondays are For Dreaming” blog round up instead. Oh well, it gives me a chance to show off my cute kid pictures from this weekend.
I am dreaming of the perfect camping trip. Somewhere far away and wooded. It should include a lake for canoeing and fishing, flush toilets and showers, a campsite and trails that allow dogs, lots of trails to explore, and plenty of boulders to climb on.
On this perfect trip I would cook healthy gourmet meals and the whole family would eat them cheerfully. The kids would entertain themselves effortlessly with twigs and dirt. Someone would watch the other kids so I could go on stress free jaunts with each one individually. Perhaps I would be able to squeeze in a solo sunrise hike. I would have remembered everything including socks for each member of the family and tent poles! Oh, and every kid would eagerly pose for pictures with a perfect smile.
OK, that’s my dream camping experience. Now on to what happened this weekend:
Here’s what we ate:
Destiny's Healthy Dinner-S'mores Followed by Pizza
Destiny's Other Dinner Courtesy of a Mom Who Brought Healthy Food
Here’s where we slept:
One Small Tent for Five People
(I forgot the tent poles so four of us squeezed into one small 3 man tent. Daddy slept under the stars.)
Here’s how much my son liked posing for pictures:
Justin's Grumpy Face
Seriously, we enjoyed our Mataguay adventure, and I look forward to sharing it’s beauty with you in a future Photo Friday Post.
Jared's Favorite Painting @ Canon Art Gallery, Carlsbad California
Lately I have had several library adventures with and without preschoolers. At first, this may not seem like an unlikely subject for family travel. Usually travelers with children don’t head to the library when the reach their destination, but perhaps they should.
I became one of the most voracious readers the world has ever seen because a kind librarian in Hawaii. When my family spent a summer sabbatical in Hawaii the year after I finished second grade, she took the time to find interesting books at my reading level. I don’t rember too much about snorkeling or sandy beaches from my Hawaiian getaway. What I do remember are cracking coconuts with my Dad and the books about Blaze the valiant horse and his young owner that I read on my own summer.
Here in Carlsbad we are blessed with two great libraries. Year round they offer puppet shows and story times. The Dove Library also houses a small art gallery. In the summer there are fun special events including an overnight campout in the library , magic shows, and a visit from lots of crazy critters. Now that the kids are old enough to enjoy it all, I plan to spend the summer playing tourist in my own town and attending some of these events.
Last week I made three very different library visits. One day , I was able to sneak away to the library by myself. I took the opportunity to pop into the art gallery and take some photos . Later that week, I joined my two preschoolers for a preschool fieldtrip which included a guided tour of the Cole library located just east of downtown Carlsbad. Yesterday in a moment of foolishness, I attempted to take Destiny age 5 and Jared age 4 to the Cannon Art Gallery at the Dove Library.
Considering we arrived with 20 kids, the preschool library fieldtrip was somewhat successful. We arrived early, but the Cole library has a beautiful grassy area that invites running around as well as picnic benches and a little garden. Here are some fun photos of Destiny and Jared getting their energy out before settling down for the tour.
The tour was a bit challenging with that many kids, but they did surprisingly well. One of the highlights was the Carlsbad History Room . The librarian shared a letter written by Santa at the turn of the century. Seems at that time he delivered presents by motor car…hmm.
Cole Librarian Reads a Vintage Letter from Santa, Carlsbad California
Emboldened by the success of the Library fieldtrip, I decided to stop by the Cannon Art Gallery with Destiny and Jared later in the week. I have always been a big fan of Chicana Artist Carmen Lomas Garza. The kids have her children’s book Family Pictures . I knew that my preschoolers would enjoy the bright colors of Cardinal Points:Puntos Cardinales, the exhibit of Mexican and Chicano art on display at the Dove Library until May 8th. Well they did enjoy it…way too much! They loved the paintings so much that they wanted to touch them, much to my chagrin and that of the gallery employee who shadowed us throughout our visit. They were so enthralled by each work of art that they rushed from painting to painting. With one child I might have made it work. With two wiggly preschoolers, I gave up after a short visit. I have read that other travel bloggers prep their kids by role playing art gallery at home. We may give that a try before our next museum outing.
Off to Seattle on business next week, so you may not hear from me for a while, dear readers. Until then enjoy a few more beautiful works of art and be sure to check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday http://tinyurl.com/dxmpjowhen you have a chance.
The Carmen Lomas Garza Work That Inspired Our Visit
The Kids Loved the Whimsical Shapes and Colors of the Houses and Trees
As you enjoy your summer, make sure you make some time for your own library adventures.
I wrote this post after our first night in Las Vegas. Things improved somewhat over the week as we got used to our surroundings and tweaked the sleeping arrangements. This was on of several dark nights of the soul during our Vegas adventure. Don’t worry, more cheerful posts to follow.
Three kids, two doubles, two exhausted parents.What to do?Last night reminded me about why I love day trip adventures, but am not always fond of overnight ones.My kids DO NOT SLEEP away from home.Well, perhaps that is an exaggeration, but getting them to sleep is one of the most brutal things I confront as a parent and hotels make it even harder with the need to whisper and walk softly.Jared especially is at the elephant stage.Walking softly or whispering is almost impossible for him even with frequent reminders.
My kids are also very active sleepers.I woke up last night to find both boys sleeping diagonally on the same bed!We divvied up the kids.Ken took one bed and I took the other.Needless to say no one got too much sleep.Hopefully we’ll do better tonight.Usually about mid week the little ones settle down, only to start hyping up as it gets closer to the drive home.
Here’s my blog from the first day of our Las Vegas adventure. What is it with the Smith family and shoes?
Well, our little trip got off to a rocky start.As I have mentioned before, the Smith Family tends to be rather forgetful. This trip we have really outdone ourselves!This morning Ken is without razor, wallet, and cell phone clip.Yesterday evening when we got into town we needed to make an emergency run to the Vans outlet, since Justin appeared to be missing one shoe.(We think it might have fallen out in the Carls Jr. parking lot…long story.)
On the up side, we got a great pair of slip on Vans for about $20 … a steal.Justin also found the perfect skateboarder hat that should keep the sun off his face in style.The Target run for the belt, yielded the crucial revelation that Target has very cheap breakfast (Looks like it will be 2-3 dollars a kid.!)It had the breakfast sandwich that Justin craves, and French toast for those of us that are less inclined to eat eggs.
Thanks to an ever patient grandma who will be putting the wallet in the mail today, Ken should be whisker free and back on track by tomorrow morning!Are we the only crazy forgetful family out there?
Guest blogger Joanne Smith gives more great tips for family roadtrips, travel safety saving money, and dealing with family misadventures. I wish I had followed her paper map suggestion. The GPS on our new (to us) family adventuremobile was an absolute joke! Thanks Joanne, and let us know how your mystery trip goes!
Alright, we don’t have the money to travel this year. Still, since for once we’re all off for the same two weeks, some how we’re going to pull off the surprise of the year! Getting ready to travel long distances requires a detailed plan. Fail to plan and you’ll end up with some mighty good stories… if you survive the trip.
Our car is in desperate need of repair. With a transmission that is slipping and an engine that is finicky at best, the first stop is at the local mechanic for a tune up. But there is that money issue. We’ve found that, if you ask around ,some places offer a 90 days same as cash option on car work including tires. Within 90 days we’ll have that tax return money and a car that runs instead of one that I’ll have to tow into the dealer to fix. The other reason this car fixing business is so important is that we are traveling through some very wintery areas to get to our final location. I, for one, don’t want to get stuck in a snow bank along some lonely stretch of road with no cell service.
In the car consider carrying paper maps. Maps are a necessity. Mapquest, GoogleMap or use a GPS for your main route all you want, having a hard map at hand when there is road construction or an accident up ahead is crucial for that last minute detour. Have some snacks or better yet, prepare some sandwiches for a picnic lunch/dinner. This not only saves a bit of money while traveling, it’s also essential if you get stuck on the HWY. Remember that passes can be treacherous this time of the year and at any moment a Department of Transportation can close them leaving you stranded between exits. Don’t forget the water either. Water is the most essential thing to have in an emergency. And while you’re packing an emergency kit complete with a set of tools, gloves, chains and the water, add in some matches and a fire starter. My motto is: if you’re prepared you won’t need anything you packed. The state of MN has an excellent Winter Survival in Your Car guide. http://www.winterweather.state.mn.us/documents/WinterSurvivalInYourCar.pdf
Now the question is what to pack for the kids? If you read my first blog you know I recommend books on tape/CD as an alternative to the DVD player. But I will include a power source for my laptop and some DVD’s because you just never know what might happen.
Check the weather where you are headed. I know I’ve had family come to visit us and they’ve not been prepared for the snow and the cold we have here and conversely, I’m ready for snow, but often times snow coats are too heavy for just rain and a 20 degree shift in temperature, so while I’ll have my warm coat in the car I’ll also make sure we have some lighter weight rain gear. About a week before we leave I’ll begin making a pile of things I don’t want to forget and I’ll make a trek to the library as well.
What about the pets? Ideally they get to come with you, but it’s not always a possibility. The next option for us is having someone stay at the house with them or have a neighbor check on them daily. The last option is calling a kennel. If you have to kennel your animals make sure you call well in advance of leaving as kennels fill fast over the holidays. Although traveling with animals has its good points, more often than not, losing their routine and having to be in someone else’s home with them can cause problems, especially if where you are going has animals as well.
Even with a house sitter I will stop my mail. Put in your vacation hold about 3 days before you plan to leave. You can do this by filling out a form at the Post Office. If you forget, don’t worry, most Letter Carriers will accept a signed note left in your mail box on your way out of town. Unless you are only gone a few days, plan on retrieving your mail at the Post Office after you return. You can do something similar with the newspaper or offer to let the neighbor pick yours up to read while you’re away.
Even with a good plan, accidents happen. I’ll never forget the trip with my son when he was 3. Still in a car seat and not realizing that he was getting car sick, he asked for some chocolate milk thinking he was hungry. I happily gave it to him because I was driving and couldn’t see that his face was stark white. He no sooner emptied the container and it came right back up, all over and in the car seat. I pulled over immediately and took something out a suitcase for him to change into and something already in the dirty clothes to wipe up the mess with for the time being. When we arrived at the next stop, a cleanup was in order and then I used a blanket to line the seat where it was still wet.
My other favorite tragedy came on our next long trip when we stayed in a hotel on the way home. My son is always happy to try new things as long as he has a comfort with him. At nine the comfort is a book and his favorite pillow, at 4 he still carried around a stuffed bear named Taddy. Well Taddy never made it home the next day. I called where we stayed but no one found Taddy, so I found a replacement, not another Taddy, but a fuzzy blanket that has bright colored Taddy’s all over it. It’s a reminder of his old friend and one that thankfully now stays on the bed buried under his other blankets where none of his friends will find it.
Now that your prepared.It’s time to go. Enjoy your holiday vacations, family and friends.
I had to laugh, because in my last post I said if it was in my budget I would take a train adventure this weekend. Little did I know that eight hours later I would get my wish.
I drove down to the SD airport with my two youngest to pick up my husband. He was supposed to drop us off on his way to camp. Unfortunately his plane was delayed, and he was concerned that he wasn’t going to make it up in time to give my son his sleeping bag before they closed the gate! So he decided to drop us off at the Coaster Train Station and we could take the train back up. The schedule Ken was reading said that it would be very tight. He opened the van, I grabbed two kids, a diaper bag, and two booster seats and got on the train.
Ken’s schedule was outdated, and we waited a bit for the train to go. The kids wanted to climb up to the very top, so we did. Next time I wouldn’t sit so close to the stairs. My little guys were very wiggly (it was almost 7pm) and I was worried that they would fall down the stairs. Closer to the middle would be a better way to go. Luckily the train was sparsely populated so two boisterous preschoolers didn’t create much of a disturbance. I was ill prepared since I did not plan to take this adventure. We didn’t have snacks or much to do. I managed to find some Post It notes that we had gotten for free at Pirate Day in Oceanside and we wrote on them with pens. I also brought out my cell phone locked so they could push all the buttons.
Destiny made up this tremendous game entitled, “I Wish”. Jared wishes inevitably involved icecream. Destiny wanted to ride the train alone or have a pony and a sheep. I mostly wished to be home in my bed…ordeal over.
We made it to the station, caught a taxi, and are finally home in our beds. The kids would file this under adventure. I would file it under misadventure.
Have a up to date train schedule.
Riding the Coaster from the downtown station to Carlsbad is really fun. However, it can seem very long if you do it with preschoolers. Old Town or Oceanside is about the max I’m willing to go in the future!
Make sure you always carry some kids sweatshirts in the car. Luckily it was a warm night. Because we were supposed to be making a climate controlled pick up, the little ones didn’t have jackets or sweaters.
A well stocked diaper bag or “emergency” pack is worth its weight in gold. I’ve gotten kind of lax as we reach the end of potty training, but some snacks, toys, and warmer clothes would have come in handy.
Yes there is a bathroom on the Coaster…its a little stinky and airplane like, but worth enduring.
Carry some cash…it allowed me to pay the $15 it cost to get home.
Keep your sense of humor…the central tenant of parenting.
The kids had a blast. Anything, I do later in the weekend will be anti-climactic. Happy Trails,
After looking at the comments responding to the “Don’t Forget Your Shoes” post and talking with a friend over the weekend, I realized that most of us have probably had a camera mishap that has put a kink in our family adventures.
For my friend Inga, her adventure started with a fun visit to the local Japanese Tea Garden. She has a new baby and a preschooler, so any outing is sure to be an adventure. Still, the garden was a favorite, and Daddy was along…what could go wrong? Well… Inga was nursing, her husband was videotaping her cute preschooler when suddenly said preschooler made a run for the water with still camera in hand. He threw it into the nearest Koi pond and before Dad had time to fish out the camera , took off running in the opposite direction.
I was not terrible surprised to hear Inga’s tale of woe. That sort of thing happens to our family all the time. We are on our third still camera in nine years. Camera number one was crushed when my husband Ken and our son Justin crashed a sled into a tree. Camera number two was dropped in the middle of our Christmas festivities last year.
What have I learned from my misfortune? What words of wisdom did I pass on to Inga? Buy a cheaper camera! Our latest camera, the Nikon Coolpix, cost about $100 on sale at Best Buy. It takes pictures that are as good as or better than our first super premium Olympus camera. It is not as small as the pricey Pentax that served as camera number two, but it still fits easily in my pocket or purse. The best part is, when this camera inevitably gets smooshed, drowned, or dropped by my preschoolers I won’t be furious about having to replace it. The photos taken with the Nikon have been used in $100 worth of newspaper articles and family calendars. My conclusion after a long history of camera misadventures…keep it small, keep it cheap, enough said!
If you are planning to visit the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California, this book contains all the information you need to make the most of your family adventure. The book also includes information about other area attractions, local restaurants and hotels.
Bridget Smith, mom of three, loves to blog about everyday adventures. Her mission is to change the world; one kid, one destination, one effortless trip, one overworked mom, one frazzled dad... one day at a time! Come and join her.