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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Green Lake Getaway: Organizing a Family Adventure

I think one of the best things about Summer is the amazing weather we get here in BC. We pay our dues for 8- 9 months of the year so we can have a few months from June to September to get our yearly dose of vitamin C. We're so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world, and the Summer is the perfect time to get out and explore the great outdoors.

That is, until you have a Summer baby! ;) Ari's a June baby, and I remember being grateful that my pregnancy would hopefully be finished before the weather got too toasty. I can't see that being 9 months preggo in 30 degree weather would be too enjoyable. The only downside to this as a first time parent is the inevitable fear of venturing out with a new born (not to mention the healing that you have to go through, which can affect your mobility). As a consequence, I enjoyed a lot of Summer from indoors- at least for the first few weeks.

When Ari hit 3 weeks I was chomping at the bit to get out of the house. Fresh air and sunshine! We ended up staying pretty close to home, just visiting family & friends, but it helped keep me from going stir crazy. By the time August hit, I was grateful to have the chance to get out and enjoy the sun, but couldn't fight the wanderlust any longer. A family friend has a cabin at Green Lake, and when we were invited for a getaway, we took the opportunity to get away.

If I could sum up my advice, for those of you with limited reading time, here it is in a nutshell: make lists, plan/ organize in advance, double check you haven't forgotten anything (leave reminder(s) somewhere you will see), plan more time to load/ organize vehicle, and finally, plan your travel time around your new family life, not that of the dinks you were! (PS plan ahead for meals- are you going to make your own food, buy on the go, or some combo of the two?)

Now, this was our first attempt going away with the lil lady. Packing up ourselves is enough work, now throw in all the baby gear: the playpen, chair, stroller, clothes, and heaps of diapers. Oh, and don't forget the baby. Safe to say there was a lot of planning involved- and lists. I swear I keep Post Its in business!

My advice to any new parent attempting their adventure is to plan ahead and give yourself lots of time. If there are items that you know you'll be in trouble if you forget (ie diapers!) write a list and stick it somewhere that you'll look at a lot and/ or before you leave. One of my favourite places is the inside of the front door, so I literally can't leave my house without the reminder hitting me between the eyes. And believe me, this has come in handy on more than a few occasions!

Once you're packed and you've checked and re- checked that you have everything, the time comes to load everything into the vehicle. Ha! Let real life Tetris begin! I definitely find that having a car seat and stroller to contend with makes how you pack and organize a little more strategic. Suddenly you've lost a big chunk of room to make way for some very important equipment. I've had to take all the contents  of my vehicle out and awkwardly squish them back in after a grocery shop at Costco! But I digress...

The other thing to consider is eating on the go. We all know the little one(s) will need to be fed- and if you're on somewhat of a feeding schedule, you'll know how far you'll likely make it without a pit stop- but what about Mom & Dad??? Packing a cooler full of goodies and having it within reach of the front seats will save you from having to pull over when your tummy gets grumbly. It can also save you money (no drive throughs!), time (no drive throughs!!), and calories (no drive throughs!!!). Is it obvious that I'm kinda cheap and would rather make my own food for the sake of health and budget?

Don't get me wrong, I did splurge a little and cave in at Costco- the M&M trail mix is deadly! We'd chomped through half of it by the time we got to Green lake! I also stocked up on chips & Annie's Mac n Cheese (yum!). I probably blew half my monthly grocery budget to stock up for the trip, but I figure, hey, you're supposed to cut loose when you go away!

I hope you get the opportunity to get away with your new family unit, and when you do, I hope it's enjoyable, if not a little hectic! ;) Enjoy the valuable time away & your time as a family without the craziness of everyday life- even if the craziness just takes a new form! ;)