Not long ago I traveled up to Seattle for my younger sister’s baby shower. We spent just one night in the emerald city to the north and stayed in the Alexis, a boutique hotel blocks from Pike Place Market with gorgeous, spacious rooms and a fantastic restaurant downstairs. I wish I’d known a tad bit more about how to do the family travel thing right and plan a hotel stay with a baby.
Hotel stays used to excite me—a night away, new and luxurious toiletries, someone else to make my bed. But now? Not so much.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling a wee bit anxious bringing a baby to a hotel. Will the guests next door call the front desk if my little cries? Will the guests next door throw a raging party and prompt me to call the front desk?
You can take some of the uncertainty out of family travel—and even enjoy a hotel stay with a baby. Seriously.
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A few weeks ago, Spring Break released most of Oregon’s students—and, importantly, their teachers. After a rough stretch of classroom management right before the vacation, Eric was in desperate need of some time away from school.
Although we spent much of Spring Break doing things around the house and taking care of business-y tasks, we made a point of leaving town for a night. And boy, am I glad we did!
We hit the coast on a gorgeous day. We drove straight to Fort Stevens State Park at the tippy top of Oregon, west of Astoria. We’d never been there, and we adored the wide, enormous beach. I was disappointed at the number of cars on the beach (who does that in Oregon?) and the place was packed, but a short walk away from the parking area got us a clear stretch of ocean and sand.
Luckily the weather was warm because—predictably—Peeper just wanted to play in the waves. After a few frustrating and teary minutes of trying to keep her semi-dry, we gave up and let her play in the surf as much as she wanted. We were all happier for it. Read more
There’s no denying it: This child is a water baby—or, in the Ryan family lexicon, a water weasel.
Peeper loved swimming lessons from her very first trip to the YMCA. If she had her way, she’d spend hours in the bath, pouring water from a toy watering can and holding onto the sides of the tub to kick as hard as she can. It’s a constant battle to keep her dry at the Oregon coast. And she makes any unsuspecting water source—a sidewalk puddle, the dog’s dish—into an instant source of fun.
But her love of water at home has nothing on the passion she uncovered on vacation.
During our vacation in Mexico, Peeper spent almost every waking minute in the water. After breakfast, we headed to the pool or beach. Then bath and nap. After waking up, we returned to the pool or beach. Then bath and bedtime.
Rinse, wash, repeat. Read more
I just wrote about how I prefer to wear a bikini even though I’m pregnant. I think my growing belly is beautiful, and I don’t mind letting other beachgoers see.
Another pro to wearing a swimsuit while pregnant: You can eat a giant burrito and not worry about slipping into a tiny suit. You can be all, “Hey, that’s totally my baby bump!” and it’s true.
But as I’ve discovered, bikinis while pregnant are not all fun and games. The inside of my poor belly button, which has pretty much never seen the light of day, is a bit sunburned.
So along with putting vinegar on the tops of my feet (gah! I always miss that spot!), I’m using the sunburn-soothing home remedy on my belly button, too. Now I smell like Easter eggs from belly to toes.
Back in high school, I worked at my town’s country club in the pool snack bar. I spent two summers flipping burgers and mixing milk shakes for members’ kids (most of whom were wonderful, excluding one brat who ended an order with, “And make it snappy.” Wish I could’ve served him a slap upside the head alongside his fries.).
From the deep fryer-scented cubby of the snack bar, I had a great view of the pool deck. Even though at that time in my life I swore I’d never have kids (the thought of childbirth completely freaked me out), I admired the pregnant moms who lounged in the sun or chased after sunscreen-streaked little ones. I especially admired the mothers who bared their bumps in itsy bitsy bikinis.
For some reason, that image of beauty stuck with me. A big ol’ belly sticking out for the entire world to see says, I am confident. It says, I am growing a whole new life inside me, and I don’t mind who notices. It adds, I may have stretch marks and a new outie, but I don’t care.
So when I was pregnant with Peeper and outgrew my suits, I bought a new, bigger bikini. I loved wearing it in my prenatal water aerobics classes and to the river in the sweltering days before my July baby was born.
I’ve loved wearing it on vacation this last week, too. I’ve alternated with a more modest tankini suit, too, but whenever the little stripey number isn’t too sandy or wet, I pull that on to play at the beach or pool.