Taking a vacation with a newborn.

Is it wierd that maternity leave feels like vacation?

I am kind of feeling guilty that people are bringing us meals and generally caring for us.  Except then we have 3 or 4 nights in a row where no one brings us a meal and the house turns to crap and the kitchen is vomiting up messes everywhere...So if you are one of the meal bringers or baby holders thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

But also, we are doing this maternity leave thing up!

Sean's schedule has been cut back the past couple of weeks which has bee glorious. So last week we even packed up and headed out of town.  I wanted to share first: the rational for taking a newborn and a toddler on a trip and second: some pointers on how we made it happen as cheaply as we could.

But first, here are some pictures from our adventure. They aren't well ordered...but here they are!

Yakima Valley on a cloudy day

Diaper change time!

I had this view a lot--new kid nursing and my feet on the dash.  Of course we aren't driving!

Picnic, wine, and nursing a baby at one of the 2 wineries we enjoyed!

Barefooted and enjoying some yogurt!

He's kissing her.  Not eating her.

Seriously a buy a bottle of wine and they'll let you picnic forever!

We did a lot of exploring playground!  Take note of the grocery bags on the front!

The secret of this picture is that the toddler is pretending to sleep.

Another nursing stop.  Starbucks in WallaWalla.   Based on Miriam's disposition this was the end of the stop!

A beer tasting in Waitsburg, WA.
Laht Neppur brewing Co.- kind of a machine shed with good beer!

One challenge of our Vacay, and introing a new baby is that our toddler has been un-potty training herself!

Seriously. Beautiful.

The Palouse

Awed by the goats at the Fromagarie (or cheese making place)

We kept ending up in places with gravel rather than concrete. I started wondering if we should have a gravel box rather than a sandbox!?

Seriously there are parts of Washington that have nothing but fences, cows and 1 road.

Snake River waterfall.  BEAUTIFUL.  

Nursing a baby in the middle of nowhere!

Exploring the Kittitas Co. Farmers market in Ellensburg!

Another nursing spot! Waiting for a table the one time we ate out!

Our Rational

  • Our toddler sleeps pretty well everywhere.
  • Our newborn is going to sleep lousy everywhere.
  • So we figured we might as well vacation while we aren't relying on our environs.
  • We hate screaming baby in the car- but we also feel like getting through some of it made Junia a child who could sleep well in the car.  I am also a very comfortable public breastfeeder!
  • We had always wanted to go to Walla Walla and the Palouse region of Washington.  But having so much time off meant that we could do it with whatever schedule our kids allowed.  That meant that we left with the mentality of "if it takes us 4 or 6 hours to drive what is normally 2 hours that's fine."  How often do we have time that has cushion on the end?  It seemed like a good time to try!
  • It's warmer on the other side of the mountians. Usually by 10 degrees or so.  That meant sunny with temps in the 70's (which delightfully is what we came home to!)
Our tips

Where to stay?
  • We are not campers. We are not couch  surfers and we don't know anyone on the other side of the cascades...so this means hotels.
  • It wasn't ideal but we stayed in a different town every night so that meant a different hotel.  With a mix of priceline- a sweet spot in Yakima that is a very clean hotel room (with fridge, good cable, internet and continental breakfast) for $35 a night.  It used to be called Cedars.  Hmmm what is it now?  We only paid full price for 1 hotel room and that one was a Super 8 for $65 in WallaWalla.  Everything near WallaWalla was booked as there was a hot air balloon festival going on.
What to eat?
  • Our standard menu was peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, cut up veggies with hummus, and pita chips.  All of these things - and ingredients- are great if in the car for the morning or if not totally fresh.  Some of them don't require ANY refridgeration but each hotel room we stayed in had a fridge.
  • For dinner we did things like: rotisserie chicken with baquette and cole slaw. . . or my favorite rotisserie chicken, pita and ceasar salad- you know the kind that comes in a bag!
  • One night we got Asparagus Tamales from a local place and supplemented with our own sides!
  • Another lunch we got local WallaWalla Sausages and shared the "lunch special"
  • Reading about a place can get you far on finding cheap but interesting food- like the Tamales, a Yakima special, or the Sausages made with WallaWalla onions!
  • Little by little we have figured out how to experience a food culture of a place without necessarily "going out"

Other stuff:

  • The backpack!!!!
    • So I packed a backpack that was our carry all.  It had picnic supplies like: sliverware, plates, a change of clothes for each child, wipes, wine opener, cups, sunscreen, 2 bottles of water.  There was some other stuff that I thought we would need I just can't remember it.
    • This backpack though was the grab and go pack.  It meant that we knew where we could get whatever we needed.  Totally essential.  In fact, I packed one yesterday for our mother's day picnic (that's right we did mother's day yesterday!)
  • As long as we took the time to nurse Miriam things went really well. We learned quickly to leave a lot of time for her.
  • So we also packed a whole bag of games. Balls, bubbles, bats, and generally just fun stuff. Though, to be honest most of the time when I was sitting in the car nursing Miriam, the toddler just wanted to play, "driver." so she would sit next to me and "drive"
  • Slow. Go slow. Don't overplan.
  • Count on lousy naps and evening meltdowns.
Finally, I'm not sure why I pretend to give "advice" in this post.  Really, it is mostly just sharing how we did it and feeling really good about it!


  1. Congratulations, this vacation looks awesome. I hope Mike and I do some of this stuff this summer, too.

    Speaking of gravel boxes, did you see this: http://www.younghouselove.com/2012/04/the-sandbox-chronicles-part-3-the-remix/

    See you soon!!


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