Mini-Vacays: A Hellish Heaven

We recently made two short trips as a family of four.  These were our first attempts at travel together and we have questionable mental stability so we decided to plan these trips back to back.  Spending a total of 12 hours in transit and 5 nights sleeping in the same room in 2 different locations not only solidified our standing as looney tunes, it catapulted us into elite status as frequent parent travelers.

Taking mini-vacays can be an economical and quick way to renew your spirit, connect with your loved ones, and let loose for a few days.  The picture is less than perfect, however, when taking these trips with your preschooler and baby on board.  Our adventure was filled with a series of highs and lows, of victories and defeats, of successes and failures.  We enjoyed moments of pure joy and relaxation and nearly (or in my case, actually) cried during moments of intense challenge.  In short, it was a hellish heaven.

Heavenly: watching my seven month old son's reaction to touching sand for the first time
Hellish: attempting to clean said sand from a tiny butt crack while holding a writhing, crying baby under a shower

Heavenly: baring witness to a group of lifetime three year old friends building a sandcastle with their dads while gleeful shouts escaped their smiling faces
Hellish: smearing endless tubes of sunscreen on a screaming boy's body while explaining the necessity of skin protection in the unrelenting Texas sun, even on a cloudy day

Heavenly: seeing your closest friends feed your baby's willing mouth with giggles and coos from both sides of the spoon
Hellish: taking turns holding and comforting the baby ALL NIGHT LONG because his little body has travel constipation and he's so full of puree he's about to pop

Heavenly: spending a tiny bit of time together on the beach sans kiddos because you are such bad ass parents that you managed to get both boys sleeping soundly in the same room together during daylight
Hellish:  realizing that both of your boys are actually screaming their heads off together, disturbing all of the other naps happening in the house and the subsequent acceptance that you are not, after all, bad ass, but maybe just bad

Heavenly: managing to get both boys asleep in their car seats at the same time on a four hour drive so you and your spouse can relax and be off entertainment duty for just a second
Hellish: enduring a forty-five minute meltdown in freeway rush hour traffic when your baby has had enough of his entrapment and just wants the eff out of the damn car seat

Heavenly: checking into your room and seeing that you have enough space and a wall to separate you from your sleeping children so you and your man can have mini-vacay sexy time not in direct sight of a toilet finally
Hellish: realizing you had a witness to sexy time when, after the fact, you hear feet impatiently thumping the roll away bed on the other side of the wall

Heavenly: taking a leisurely stroll along a river while your boys see fuzzy ducklings paddling along and boats of tourists waving as they ride by
Hellish: realizing your leisurely stroll has taken way too long and now you're super late for dinner and your oldest reminds you of that by protesting loudly in the restaurant and upon being carried out by your spouse for some space, proceeds to slap him repeatedly on the face in front of a crowd of onlookers

Despite the obvious and numerous hardships involved in taking trips with littles, the good outweighs the bad.  After all, one must experience pain to appreciate pleasure.

And we are experts at appreciation.

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