Living in Omaha means we’re just hours away from so many great places. Sure, you can always fly, given that our airport is so easy to get around. But, we also have the luxury of being within driving distance of the Rocky Mountains, Lake of the Ozarks, Okoboji, the Black Hills, shopping in Kansas City, or Minnesota and it’s thousands of lakes – just to name a few. The possibilities are endless. My parents took my brother and me on a vacation every summer – something I have always been thankful for, – but something I also now have even more of an appreciation for as a parent.
Vacationing when you’re a parent is amazing in that you get to see your children experience new things, but it’s also a lot of work.
Pre-kids getaways meant looking in advance for all the places with activities and adventures. But, this time, since Dan and I were taking our twin 1 year olds on our getaway-we wanted not only something close, but something low key. Grandma and Grandpa made our planning and research easy: they were going to Clear Lake, Iowa and wanted us to tag along-DONE! Clear Lake was the perfect low key getaway-its a little under a 4 hour drive, there is plenty to see in the downtown shops, lots of little eateries, a cookie shop with warm cookies everyday, parks for children to play in, a state park, and new scenery. The weather wasn’t ideal so we didn’t get to experience the lake itself other than a scenic drive around it while the girls napped; I cant wait until the girls are bigger and we can go back, rent a pontoon, and relax on the lake all day in the middle of the summer!
As much as I loved our getaway I have to say, I understand why parents often say they need a vacation after a vacation. For starters, it felt like it took me a week to pack for the girls and me–and we were only going to be gone 3 nights! Packing for kids means packing the whole house. That also means laundry and unpacking all those same things upon your return home. I was dreading having the girls in the car for a lengthy period of time, but they surprised me- they were great car travelers (as long as we took a break so they could move and had plenty of snacks).
Being somewhere new, and sharing a room with 2 babies in pack n plays means nobody sleeps well.
Just look at how peaceful Savannah is sleeping here (NOTE: she’s in OUR king size bed). . . .on top of needing to recover from lack of sleep after vacation, I also had to break a bad habit that the girls developed in only 3 days of taking naps with us in bed (although I have to admit I didn’t hate this in the moment-they barely sit still these days let alone snuggle).
All in all, it was great to get away and see a new place; for a first-time mom I’m proud of how much I was actually able to relax (it helped that we had extra hands and help in Grandparents). And as much as I felt like I needed a vacation after vacation, I’m also reminded how wonderful it was to have had a new experience as a family. But I think I’ll wait another year for the next one-maybe this annual summer vacation trip thing isn’t just a convenience due to the big kids being out of school, but rather a thought out plan by veteran parents knowing once a year is plenty of “vacation”.