L.A. Adventures – Day 2

I had to wake up early to take hubs to his conference. Left the kids with Nana so I was on my own for navigating back to the hotel. Thank goodness I’d done the drive three times by that point! 😆

We had a relaxing breakfast at the hotel and then finally made our way to the Santa Monica Pier. We had over 4 hours till our checkout time at the hotel. Which would normally be plenty of time right?! Not with LA traffic. It took us 2 hours to go 15 miles!!! Miserable. So we got to the Pier and had one hour to ride a ride per kid, grab some Carmel corn and race back to the car. And we were still late for our check out time. But it was worth it. Just wish we’d had more time at the Pier. Like to maybe walk the whole thing, even. L

< img src=”https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/img_4882.jpg” height=”3024″ class=”wp-image-102″ width=”3024″><<<<<<<< ted a selfie 😉 R chose Nana to ride the roller coaster with her. Nana regretted that decision afterwards. And R proudly told me how she banged her head it was so rough! (Look for Nana’s pink shirt)

Linc chose the airplane ride, then got freaked out by the dragon boat ride that kept charging at them. 😆 Poor kid.

After packing up, we found a playground near the convention center and hung out for an hour while hubs finished up.

We loved the adult exercise equipment!

A quick dinner of In and Out by the airport and now we’re enjoying the lounge before starting our 14 Hour flight to Brisbane. Just keep telling ourselves it’s less than our 15 Hour flight last time. Thank goodness our kids are such seasoned travelers.

I think we’re all just ready to leave the LA smog and traffic behind and hit the pools and beaches!

L.A. Adventures – Day 1

Oh LA I am not your biggest fan. There’s terrible smog, poverty, overwhelming population, hideous traffic, and everything seems way too spread out. But hey we were only here for two days so maybe I haven’t given it enough time! 😉

Husband was here for a conference before we head to Australia for two weeks. So I was the driver for my kids and my mom, who’s with us for the adventure. We arrived on Friday morning and drove straight downtown to drop the hubs off. Then it was up to Nana to navigate me to the hotel. 😬

After about 30 mins R was starting to feel carsick and I desperately needed a bathroom, so I finally find a gas station. We race in and it’s basically a garage with a pay booth attached but still I ask, do you have a bathroom?! The guy looks at us and says, well we’re not supposed to let anyone use it since we got robbed. But, you two look ok! Yes me and my six year old daughter, you gotta watch for us undercover criminals.

We the spent the morning at the pool before heading out for lunch. It was five minutes from the hotel and L of course fell asleep on the way.

At least lunch was good! We then decided to head to the Pacific Aquarium. Took us forever to get there, we finally get into the parking garage and it’s backed up to the first level! We start circling up each level behind everyone else. Miserable! After it takes us 15 minutes to go one level and not seeing a single open space we decided to bail on the Aquarium. Back towards the hotel to find a park, now both kiddos get a nap.

Yay for playgrounds while on vacation! Exercise for all.

Back to the hotel to relax and plug the kids in for a bit before we venture out into traffic again to get hubs. Two hours later, we finally get there 😡

All ideas of a nice dinner are out the window and all we want is to get back to the hotel and find the quickest dinner we can. #chickfilaforthewin

At least we all passed out by 9!

Packing for Australia – Party of Four

So thankfully my husband loves a good flight deal. Which is how we find ourselves traveling to Australia twice in one year. #lucky #blessed Yes I totally acknowledge that.

But this time we’re taking a small flight on Tiger Air from Brisbane to Cairns. Thus providing the only restriction to our luggage. It would cost us $25 per bag per flight if we checked our bags. That’s at least $100! You can do a lot with $100 when you’re on vacation. Therefore, I’m now restricted to two suitcases less than 21x15x9 and less than 15 pounds per person.

This is how it’s going so far.

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Three slim packing cubes

This includes one packing cube for each kids and all of our swim necessities. My Chaco sandals, a pair of my flip flops and my sons Chacos. So far our scale hits 16 pounds! Not awesome. Why are Chacos so heavy?!

So far the second suitcase only has my clothes in a loose compression sack. I have too much stuff for a packing cube. And the kids sun hats. We still need my husbands sandals, his clothes and the bathroom bag.

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So you can see we’re a work in progress but if you want to pack for a family of four in less than 30 pounds, I’m here to say it can be done!

How to not brag about travel… Not a how to post.

So your friends want to make plans but you realize you’ll be gone a trip.  They want to know where and you answer, (insert exotic location, for the 3rd or 4th trip this year). How do we convey our excitement for this trip and love of travel without coming of elitist or smug? Or is this concern all in my head. Yes, we are very lucky/blessed/fortunate to travel as much as we do, but we make it a priority in our lives. Rearranging schedules, looking for the best deals, using coupons when we’re at home, all small things to make travel a priority.

But how do you have all that come across when someone’s asking, didn’t you go to Australia once already this year?! Or is it even necessary for me to worry about their reaction. If it’s a close friend and they want to know they can ask me. Or if they’re not that close of a friend should I let the worry go? This is obviously still a work in progress for me.

How do you say ‘Help!’ in Italian?

These are the types of stories that I want to remember from our family travels. The hilarious and not so glamorous side of traveling with kids.

We were traveling last Christmas/New Year through Europe with my father in law. We had just gotten off the train in Milan and we were trying to find our hotel. I had L in the carrier on my back but I needed to use the bathroom so I headed for the nearest McDonalds. Feeling like a savvy traveler I peaked at a receipt on a table, got the code for the bathroom door and let myself in. Why do they even bother with these precautions?!

The bathroom stalls were the fully enclosed kind, about 3 Ft by 4 Ft maybe, with a floor to ceiling door. I managed to get myself with my 35 pound, 3 year old strapped to my back and a roller suitcase wedged into the stall and locked the door. It wasn’t until I tried to leave this coffin like room that I realized the door wouldn’t unlock. We were stuck!! I tried everything for a few moments, trying not to panic and scare the kiddo. But finally I realized, I would need some help. No idea how to say help in Italian I just started saying, Hello? Of course, there was no one else in the bathroom. So I started shouting, HELLO! HELP! HELP! After what felt like forever, finally a woman comes in and starts talking to me in Italian. I have no idea what she’s saying but I’m able to get across the fact I’m stuck. So she leaves, brings in several more people, someone finally speaks very broken English and we try to figure out how to open the door. They’re working on it from their side. I’m occasionally trying the knob to no avail. At this point, I’m envisioning how they’re going to get food to us from the little crack at the bottom of the door. I’m chatting with L, trying to keep him calm, singing songs, whatever it takes to make this seem like no big deal. Meanwhile, I’m sweating like a pig, stressing out, and silently freaking out!

After about 20 minutes they finally say, try the knob, and the door opens right up. Alleluia!! Cue the singing angels, we’re free! There are about 5 people on the other side of our stall, all looking at me like I’m an idiot that didn’t know how to turn a door knob. Then someone spots L on my back and starts saying, Bambino! Bambino! They didn’t know I had him with me. So they must have thought I was some nutter, talking to myself, who couldn’t work a door knob.

I walk out of the restaurant, past everyone staring at me because they’d heard all the commotion and stumble out into the street, nearly in tears from relief. There on the corner stands my husband, R, and father in law, asking what took us so long. I on the other hand was flabbergasted, they think I needed half an hour in the bathroom and didn’t check on me! Turns out, hubby did come into the restaurant, but since he couldn’t come into the ladies room, didn’t realize anything was amiss. Some calvary huh?!

 

Typical family photo of us. Kids on backs, long arm selfie from hubs.