We did it. We made it. We survived our first Lacey family vacation.
We recently took a trip to the West coast. We started in San Francisco, made our way up to Northern California, then over to Oregon to visit family, and finally, back down the coast to fly out of San Fran. This wasn’t technically our first family vacation in the sense that we have in fact gone out of town overnight as a unit before. However, this was our first extended, multicity, flying, driving, trolley-riding adventure as a three-pack. Here are a few things I learned:
- Double-check that the teenager has actually downloaded her show onto the iPad before you leave town because airport Wi-Fi is unreliable and not being able to watch said show makes her grumpy.
- Finding an open restaurant in Union Square after 10 p.m. is harder than you might think, but thankfully, there is a Sephora just around the corner.
- A teenage girl will literally change her outfit in the backseat between every stop because apparently wearing the same clothes in multiple Instagram posts is unacceptable.
- 1,100 miles in a rental car is a lot of miles, but if you give your car a name, it makes things way more fun.
- Roadside cherries and apricots in California are the best.
- Airbnb’s are far superior to hotels (they have washing machines).
- When your kid informs you she doesn’t feel well inside the airport, find a trash can ASAP. Otherwise, she might try to throw-up into your favorite hat.
- You know you have done vacation right if by the last day, you are vacationed out and ready to head home.
All jokes aside, our first family vacation was a complete success. We were able to put our phones away and really just enjoy each other’s company for the first time in a while. It also doesn’t hurt that we are fortunate enough to have family who live in some exceptionally beautiful locations we can visit any time we want.
I will tell you this. If you ever find yourself in Northern California, make a point to visit Jedediah Smith State Park. It is home to some of the world’s largest redwood trees and, equally important, is where the Ewoks lived in Return of the Jedi. Jeb took me there for the first time a few years ago, and I remember just being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the redwoods. It was almost like wandering through a different world. This time, I got to watch Karara as she experienced them for the first time. For a newbie parent who missed a lot of “firsts,” that was pretty amazing to see.
At the end of the day, this trip was about two things: spending time with family and having new experiences. We succeeded in both. I can’t say that I came back with any exceptional fashion advice except to pack layers. We went from high 40s to mid-80s in a day, so being prepared for anything is key.
Oh, and carry a small purse as apparently a larger one will become the dumping ground for all the things no one else wants to carry.