parenting milestones: a vacation recap

Well, we did it. We survived a 5 day weekend trip with a 4 year old and a 9 month old in a single hotel room, all alone without the (AWESOME!) grandparents along to help out. Despite a few meltdowns here and there, it went really, really well. And I think everybody had a blast.

It was Maggie’s (and Audrey’s) first time staying in a hotel. They were into it.

Her first hotel room stay. Pretending she's Sleeping Beauty.

Getting really steady on her feet. HALP!

We spent lots of time catching Maggie at the bottom of the waterslides. She could totally stand up in the water and it only came to her knees at the deepest part, but she’s a cautious one, that kid.

so much to do.

She had fun, though, and that’s all the matters.


It was also the first time we spent multiple meals in a row at restaurants with Audrey. Maggie was always a very easy restaurant baby. Audrey is… a little more of a challenge. She’s not BAD in restaurants, just NOISY. She screeches and howls while she eats. It’s hilarious at home, but when we’re out… it’s a little stressful. But we managed to keep her moderately quiet and nobody kicked us out. She also ate about 35 pounds of mac and cheese and now munches on french fries whole.

Maggie decided to put on some chapstick and get all fancy in the car while we found a dinner place one night.

Someone was playing with her chapstick while we were driving around looking for a place to eat.

All of us girls took naps on Friday afternoon.

Too much waterpark.

We became those obnoxious people who put their babies in a bikini. BECAUSE SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS. OMG.

splishy splashy!

I even had some time to relax and read while the baby napped and Dan and Maggie played at the arcade.

While Dan and Maggie play at the arcade

Arcade time.

Maggie and I also played at the arcade. Due to either a technical malfunction or my awesome skeeball skills, I won 250-something tickets for Maggie.

Mommy won these for her!

We made a music video.

On Sunday, we headed to a nearby amusement park. Much fun and people-watching and ice cream was had by all.

Her eyes, man. Seriously.

Gettin' her merry-go-round on

ice cream break!

the tea cups

go horsey go!


wacky mirrors

There was a minor incident at the gift shop when Maggie wasn’t allowed to get a pink stuffed animal she SO. DESPERATELY. WANTED. As you can see, it was quite the scene. For like THIRTY MINUTES. We ignored it for the most part and stuffed her with french fries and then all was well. Until later when she saw another little girl carrying the exact thing she wanted. Then there was pouting. Which we also ignored. FOUR YEAR OLDS, GAH.


We stood in line for a lifetime for the train and it was a pretty boring ride, but when you have a kid like this, you do what you can to make her happy.

waiting for the train

waiting for the train

And SHE loved the ride, so whatever.

Before we headed home, we stopped at the beach for a few hours. Audrey ate 27,392 fistfuls of sand and we built a sandcastle.

first taste of sand

sand face

our sandcastle

We got home yesterday afternoon. Even though we had a great time, I think everyone was glad to be home. Especially Audrey after being cooped up a lot of the time in the (largely non-baby-proofed) hotel room. Now she can crawl around and chew on toys and grin like mad when Daddy walks in.

her daddy walked in.


  1. K

    June 28, 2011 7:40 am

    I crap you not, pictures of Audrey and her fattie arms of love and her happy smiles MAKE MY DAY. She is just too precious for words. Really.

    Also? Can you please frame that picture of Maggie looking like Edward Munch’s “The Scream” and then Dan’s smirking thumbs down? BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME.

    • Jen

      June 28, 2011 9:41 am

      THAT’S WHAT I SAID!! I called it The Scream :) LOL If that picture doesn’t sum up vacationing with small children, I don’t know what does. ha

  2. Kelly

    June 28, 2011 8:43 am

    That looks like such an awesome vacation. You are such a sweet family! (And I adore that picture of Maggie’s tantrum. AWESOME)

  3. Kris

    June 28, 2011 9:36 am

    Looks like an awesome vacation!

    And that picture of Maggie screaming, if you don’t bring it out when she gets married, I will be seriously disappointed in you!

  4. Dave (Scrumpy Daddy)

    June 28, 2011 4:42 pm

    I love it! Looks like it was awesome. I think I’ll have to bug you for more details when the time is right…we may head up that way for a vacation next year. (We hit the Outer Banks this year – check out our Flickr stream…we’ve been so swamped and/or tired that we haven’t managed to get a blog post out in two months. Gah!)

    You have seriously cute kids. I love every picture where their eyes just demand your attention, and “The Scream” – ah yes, life (and vacations) with four year olds… :-)

  5. Michelle

    June 28, 2011 7:52 pm

    I don’t know which picture I love the most … although the pouting one comes to mine because that is just so kids.

    You give me hope for a family vacation. We haven’t attempted one yet because it makes me very stressed just thinking about it. We are thinking about a long weekend to a city nearby with a zoo and a children’s museum. I told the husband we have to start with baby steps.

    • Jen

      June 28, 2011 8:54 pm

      I think as long as you go into it KNOWING it’s not going to be relaxing, you’re good ;) I hesitated even calling it a ‘vacation’ because, let’s be honest- it’s anything BUT a vacation for mom and dad! LOL But it was still lots of fun and definitely worth it!

  6. Jane

    June 28, 2011 8:19 pm

    You give me hope that we too could attempt a vacation. but still need a bit more convincing.. oh, and since you are usually behind the camera have to say that even though Maggie is sitting in front of you, you are looking skinny. Nice job! :)

    • Jen

      June 28, 2011 8:55 pm

      Strategically Placed Preschooler?? ;) haha, not really, but I do appreciate her blocking my belly! Thanks for the compliment! I still have about 10lbs I’d like to lose but I am STUCK. Probably because I keep eating ice cream. CRAP.

  7. Claire

    June 28, 2011 8:32 pm

    Looks like a great vacation. My favorite picture is Dan’s thumbs down when Maggie is freaking out. Hilarious.

    Your girls are so adorable.

  8. Becca

    June 29, 2011 9:29 am

    Um, Audrey is the cutest thing ever. Yup.

  9. red pen mama

    June 30, 2011 7:06 am


    I dread going to “the beach” (sorry, I grew up in Erie & that’s how I think of it). Sand everywhere, including the baby’s belly. Well, maybe it’ll rain on Sunday.

    Great pictures. “Vacationing” with kids is… an adventure, though seldom relaxing. Good for you for getting out there & enjoying it.

    And it’s a two-piece on a baby. Look at that belly! NOM.

  10. red pen mama

    June 30, 2011 7:08 am

    Also, my favorite thing about “the scream” picture is how distressed AUDREY looks. It’s either, “Please give her what she wants so she’ll be quiet” or “Man, these guys mean business. I gotta work up a different routine.”

  11. bessie.viola

    June 30, 2011 10:13 am

    DITTO to framing “The Scream” picture with the Daddy thumbs-down… that made me really and truly laugh out loud!

  12. Stefanie

    July 6, 2011 1:04 pm

    Cute pictures! It looks like you had a great time!

  13. Walking Tours Rome

    July 21, 2011 2:17 pm

    This looks like an awesome vacation to me – have you finished the Suzanne Collins books yet? I read the entire trilogy in about a week – I was hooked instantly!


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