29 June 2008

Parent Hacks admin: Back from vacation

ParasailingWe just got in from almost two weeks of vacation in Northern California. There was hiking, a ropes course, parasailing, eating, visiting friends and family, exploring caverns, swimming, conversation, going to the playground, and a two-day drive from and to Portland. I discovered a few things while away:

  • My son, who's historically afraid of heights, thinks parasailing is AWESOME. (But there's nothing more awesome than watching your child conquer a fear.)
  • My kids are happiest on a beach. (Although the nudists at Baker Beach in San Francisco required some explanation.)
  • The road trip tips here are incredibly helpful when planning a long drive (thank you to all of you who've submitted them over the years).
  • There are amazing stops between Northern California and Portland -- on this trip, we visited the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, Lake Shasta Caverns in California, and the town of Corvallis, Oregon: home of Oregon State University, an adorable downtown, and Osborn Aquatic Center, which has the most amazing outdoor pool I've ever seen.
  • Maintaining our usual routine while on vacation (as much as we could) made a huge difference to our peace of mind. While the bedtimes were blown by several hours every night, every morning, the kids had to get themselves dressed, teeth brushed, and beds made (at their grandparents' house) before playtime.
  • For the most part we also maintained our usual limits on Gameboy and video time, with a slight exception during long car rides. Huge sanity saver. In the past, when we've relaxed those rules, we had to deal with constant questioning about "when is it game time?" or "can I play my Gameboy now? How about now?" (Possibly more torturous than "are we there yet?") My son would sit in front of a screen all day if he could, so having those limits firmly in place made our vacation more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Spending time offline is good for the soul. In case you haven't noticed, Parent Hacks has been rather quiet these last couple weeks. Usually, while on vacation, I hunt for Wifi and check in at night, but this time I stayed mostly offline. It was the most relaxing vacation in a long time. I love Parent Hacks (needless to say) so checking in has never felt like "work." But going online does take me away from the present moment with my family, and it veers close to reminding me of the day-to-day responsibilities waiting for me when we return. It's a no-brainer that "unplugging" is good for one's attention and calm, but I've never experienced it so directly.

It was a wonderful trip, and it's good to be home (both here in Portland and here at Parent Hacks). I hope you're all enjoying your summers, too.

Photo of Lake Tahoe parasailing by sglickman

Your comments

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Welcome back!

Welcome back. I'm glad that you had a chance to unplug. That sounds so nice...

What a GREAT vacation you've got!

What's stricken me most is your son can fight the fear of height... brave heart... I suffer from it myself from the early childhood, am dreaming of a plane trip or parasailing, but am in great doubts that I wouldn't faint:) so far I even can't go out to the roof of 5-storied building and get near its edge...

Well, Polina, it's a funny thing. My son is quite phobic, but when presented with an adventure with his beloved cousins, he put his fear aside. In fact, he said parasailing was very relaxing.

I wish you the best of luck. Phobias are so maddening, but you *can* overcome them.

That's fantastic - work hard at getting over that phobia!!

We did the opposite vacation growing up: lived in SoCal and drove up the coast to NorCal! Did you have any fire issues? I know Big Sur had some hot spots.

Annette: Is was incredibly smoky near the end of our time in N. CA. We're lucky we didn't have to breathe it for long -- my heart goes out to the folks dealing with fires right now.

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