a for the reals vacation...

back in september, which actually feels like yesterday because my days and weeks and apparently months are flashing by my at the speed of light, i wrote this post about our pipe dream to travel to san francisco this summer to visit patrick and shelby and also to take a real family vacation...  and now we are in may, which feels like it is the day after i wrote the post in september, and in 2 1/2 weeks we will boarding a plane early in the morning and flying to san francisco for a whole week.

writing that just gave me anxiety, a stomach ache, and a desire to run to the bathroom for various reasons... i am a nervous traveler.

we decided that family vacations are important enough to sacrifice for, so when our tax return came we bought the plane tickets and planned on putting some money away for the rest of the trip expenses.  planned on being the operative words.  i didn't save as mush as i expected to, so we are now planning on taking the cheapest vacation ever to san francisco.  i already cancelled one rental car reservation and booked another when i saw the prices fell by more than 50% (i will check again a few days before our trip).  we will pack sack lunches, and eat out cheaply, and do free and cheap things around town.  we will probably take a couple days to do nothing, because really, matthew and i like to do nothing, and it's our vacation.

i need your tips on traveling with a child.  asher is coming with us, as a lap child (it's the only way we could afford to fly there).  he is busy, and kind of loud, and i am so nervous about flying with him.  i had big plans to buy a nook tablet and load it up with his favorite shows, books, and games, because i was sure it would entertain him for the entire 7 hours of traveling it takes to get to san francisco... but the money just wasn't there. (if anyone wants to gift us one, both i and God will look on you with love. just kidding. sort of.)  i really do not want to be "that mom" with a screaming child on the plane... but my fears of being "that mom" usually reach full potential, so i am assuming he will scream for 6 straight hours while traveling.  any advice?

any advice on where to go and what to do for cheap or free in the area... shout that out too.

i have been working/schooling 7 days a week for so long now, that i have never been more ready for a vacation.  being a fulltime worker, fulltime student, and fulltime wife and momma has really taken its toll on me and i am READY, except for of course that anxiety and stomach ache that keeps creeping up everytime i think about traveling to vacation.  lord help me.


  1. Any chance your Asher will fall asleep to the dull roar of the plane engine? If not, be sure to have some child-friendly snacks and a few favorite books. Also, I found giving my children a roll of scotch tape (seems crazy I know) a nice diversion (cheap, quiet and not really messy). Also can't recommend highly enough taking a few new (in the pkg) Happy Meal type toys (fast food places will let you buy them, without purchasing the meal, for about 99 cents -sometimes they'll even give them to you if you ask. Take them out at strategic moments. The unwrap and reveal alone are great distractions. Have a great time, focus on the destination and the much needed down-time and the travel will be a breeze.

  2. Janie G20:13

    How exciting! I second the whole snacks thing. Never underestimate the power of food. Plus, I traveled with my son when he was under one, and his ears popped on the landing, and he screamed for a while. So maybe some food or drink that would help his ears on take-off and landing. Hopefully he won't cry and it will go smoothly, but if it doesn't, don't stress about it. It happens and with kids, it's just something you can't always "fix". People understand that.
    Hope you have a good time! I'm sure you will. Traveling with kids is just more of an experience :) And whether it seems like a good or bad experience, in the long run it turns into a good memory.

  3. Anonymous10:04

    Do you know anyone with an iPod touch? you can load up a couple kids shows on it and watch it on there. it is a huge distraction for kids. Also, maybe a leapster?
    Can pick up a used one on Ebay for pretty cheap. that is our go to travel toy. With headphones. My kids LOVE them. I got them frame a lady on Ebay for $13 each and then bought the rechargeable battery and a couple games. $50 and it is the best thing ever!

  4. Anonymous19:02

    When our children were little we traveled by plane and I remember having some of their favorite books with us along with some toys I picked up at the thrift store that were new to them. We have bought a lot of books at Goodwill for our granddaughter. I just clean them when I get them home before she plays with them. And, little baggies of food to pull out would be a good idea for snacks. If he likes to use crayons, he could color some pictures on the food tray. Ask the flight attendants on your way in if they have anything for children. I know they used to keep magazines like Highlight on board for children. He might be entertained by just looking out the window and it is always a possibility that he will sleep part of the time. You will be in our prayers. jep

  5. Did Matthew tell you I said....cough medicine or dramamine? He wasn't keen on it :op

    Everythings going to be alright.

  6. Benadryl. Keep it close at hand. :)

  7. do you know anyone with a portable dvd player or laptop? he could watch movies on it for at least 2 hours of the time.

  8. Anonymous05:33

    Don't know where you're planning to stay in the Bay Area but you could probably do without a rental car (or just rent it for a couple days so you can do trips up or down the coast). Fun free stuff includes the Ferry Building Farmers Market & Golden Gate park. Ride the cable cars, walk across the GG bridge, wander in Chinatown...It's also fun to wander around the Berkeley campus and there's tons of good cheap eating there.

  9. Melinda,

    I second the benadryl advice, esp. since it was recommended to me by a doctor. And remember that some of us don't mind screaming children. I have flown near unhappy toddlers many times, and it just doesn't bug me. Maybe you'll have a friendly person who will make googly faces at Asher like I do. You never know.

    I agree with anonymous about transportation...BART and buses work well. And parking in SF is famously difficult.

    I met Donna in real life in front of that ferry bldg. It is a precious memory for me now.

    Have a great trip,
    Di from Donna's comment section


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