Day trips with a Toddler: 3 words of Advice

When deciding this week’s #bebetter52 challenge, we knew it would be a more ambitious undertaking than normal challenges. It would require our members to go outside of their comfort zone and explore different locations within a day trip. That is why we timed it around the long Fourth of July weekend.

My natural instinct is to plan trips, normally overnight ones. The idea of a “staycation” seemed appealing, but I often feel overwhelmed by the work I need to do when home, such as the stacks of dirty laundry. But this long Fourth of July weekend, I embraced being home and decided to be in “vacation-mode” for the whole four days my husband was off work.

So what were our “staycations”?  Simply, 6 day-trips to the beach.

Saturday-

We enjoyed Huntington Beach in the morning while dada surfed. Then we returned home for mama and baby naps. (I honestly try to nap every day when Coops naps.) Then we ended our day with a sunset beach picnic at Big Corona Beach with friends.

Sunday-

We returned to Huntington Beach for a bike ride and some beach time while dada surfed before we headed back home for a nap and then church. Then we hosted a backyard BBQ at our house with twelve of our friends and their babies. We filled up splash pad pools for our kiddos to play in, and they had a blast.

Monday-

A long afternoon was spent at El Moro Beach in Newport Beach with friends.

Tuesday-

In the early morning we rode our bikes down to Huntington Beach to see the Fourth of July parade. We returned home completely exhausted, but we somehow rallied, getting back into the car to head back to the Back Bay in Newport Beach to watch the firework show in the evening.

The last four days of busy day trips to new locations outside our neighborhood made me realize a couple things:

1.     Day trips can happen before scheduled naptime if you start early enough. We managed to get a nap in everyday back at the house.  Cooper naps around 11:30 a.m., but on the Fourth of July she didn’t go down until 1:30 p.m. It was essential for both Coops and me (being 25 weeks pregnant) to get in those naps. I was utterly tired from carrying her and chasing her around on the sand for four sunny days. It was a good tired though, the type of tired I remember after being in the pool all day during the summer.

2.    They do not have to be expensive.  It was powerful to learn we didn’t have to book an expensive trip to create memories. The moments, while simple, were some of the best times we have had as a family of three. Maybe it was great fun because it was so simple--just the beach, bikes, swimming, sun and quality time.

3.    Quality Time is my love language. For some reason, this weekend filled me with an abundance of love for my husband and baby girl. It also gave me a chance to envision what life will be like adding a baby boy to our family in October. I feel grateful my husband and I enjoy hanging out. And not only that, we love being parents together to our little daughter, Coops.

With that being said, I hope everyone had a chance to take a fun day-trip over the fourth. If not, I encourage you to create some memories this weekend with family and/or friends. Remember, it doesn’t have to be an all day event or be expensive. Just find a new location to check out and go on a adventure. Good luck.