We capped last week’s semi-vacation by splitting the family into two camps. My husband took our 9-year-old to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M game (my husband is an alum). I took the three little ones to Cape May, New Jersey, for the weekend. I also took along our new nanny, figuring it would be a baptism by fire of getting to know us.
The weekend went better than expected in many ways, considering that there was a tropical storm that closed the beaches on Saturday and meant that swimming was prohibited on Sunday. Friday we quite nice. I did about an hour of work in the morning and then we drove down, hitting relatively little traffic. We stopped at the Lobster House, which is one of my favorite places to eat. You sit outside, by the boats, and eat fresh seafood. Plus, nothing says vacation like beer at lunch.
Our accommodations (Antoinette’s) had a sign outside saying “Children Welcome.” This is always a good omen when you are traveling with three children under the age of 7. We had a 2-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, a living room, and 2 bathrooms. While we didn’t use any of the bikes (see the tropical storm issue) we made liberal use of their library of children’s books.
We made the best of our rainy/stormy Saturday, visiting the Naval Air Museum and seeing all the historic military planes. Unfortunately, the power went out in the middle of the visit, which took away somewhat from the experience. After we drove back to the apartment, I took my 4-year-old shopping, and then took the 6-year-old to the arcade. He and I played the Ghostbusters game together and the Jurassic Park game together. Getting to spend one-on-one time with the older kids was quite nice, and was one of the major upsides of having a second adult along for the trip. During nap time I ran along the boardwalk. It was kind of a wild run, with the tropical storm wind scouring sand against my skin. The waves were high and the sky gray and swirling. I ran back past a playground where we all went for a while before dinner at the Mad Batter (we traded off walking with the toddler outside). I took the toddler for a long walk as the sun set — ending the day with about 24,000 steps.
Sunday was actually quite nice. We went to the beach in the morning and played on the sand. The waves were still too high for going in, but they had risen high enough the day before that the wet sand went most of the way back on the beach. So we could build sandcastles pretty far away from the ocean itself. Then the big kids went off to play mini-golf while I took the toddler for another walk. I did some work, and went for a run, and we hit the playground again before I took the big kids to dinner at an Italian restaurant. They were not angels, but they were not bad. It was almost relaxing, especially when they were promised an arcade visit and ice cream if they let me sit and finish my wine.
I went for one last run Monday morning on the beach. Then we drove home. The weather was beautiful — just a hint of fall breezes. I spent some time organizing school supplies for the next day while my husband took the toddler to the hardware store to buy mums. This backpack-packing was a bit of a production as the 6-year-old’s markers and pencils were supposed to be labeled individually! I also had to figure out his student number so I could put money in his lunch account. But an hour later, this was all done, and I threw a football outside with the 6-year-old. We all went in the pool for a while. My husband grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, and then I took Uber downtown to meet two of my favorite bloggers for drinks. Good wine, good cheese, good conversation. It was a good end to what has been a very full summer.
In other news: I am writing a Fast Company post on whether expense policies are structured in a way that presumes your wife is home caring for your kids. See this essay from Dawn Bovasso on how she lobbied to get the extra sitting required for a special dinner covered (she’s a single mom). Other attendees were expensing car services and hotels, so why not the childcare that made it possible for her to be there? I am trying to find examples of any companies that allow for the expensing of kid-related costs. Please send me any leads: lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.