Top 10 Things I Learned on my Trip Home

It’s been a while since I posted due to an all consuming work project.  But I haven’t forgotten my trip home to the Jersey Shore, which turned out to be more educational than expected.  I learned some interesting (and funny) lessons:

10. The WiFi in my mother’s house does not work upstairs… 
In the middle of a work crisis, I ended up needing to turn my vacation into a work-cation.  And when I had some critical meetings, I moved to a quiet bedroom upstairs to take my calls.  Right into a WiFi dead zone…forcing me to take the rest of my calls in the dining room.  Which leads me to my next lesson…

9.  No matter how many babysitters you have, the kids need to be out of the house when you are working in a commen room
I had two babysitters, my husband and my mom taking turns to entertain two kids and I still spent time trying to keep the kids away.  This of course, means work interruptions (and why oh why does it always happen in the middle of a call where I cannot mute myself! At least it created some much needed comic relief for my co-workers when my daughter started singing to get my attention.) My husband took my son to the park and on a drive while my mother took my daughter on a walk which helped.  But they both returned right when I was in the middle of an important conference call.  I tried locking myself in the house to buy myself a few more minutes but that did not help, they had a key.  More comic relief – grrr…

Baby sitters abound, but still tough to get work done...

Babysitters abound, but still tough to get work done…*

8. Kids adjust to time zones whether you want them to or not.  
We landed 2am Thursday morning.  By Friday my daughter was adjusted waking at 8am, her normal wake up.  By Saturday my son was adjusted waking up at 6 am, his normal wake up time.  So much for keeping them on West Coast time.

7.  Mosquitoes are vicious this year.
I don’t know if it’s the weather, after affects of Superstorm Sandy, or just that they were excited to find new blood – every time we stepped out, I covered the kids and myself in Off, but that did little good.  My son has welts on his legs, my daughter has bites on her face, and my work wardrobe was dresses for a few weeks so I could access my bitten up legs.  Benadryl Itch Stick was everyone’s best friend.

6.  A family of four has to rent a car, no matter how short a trip.
Even though my mother generously offered us her car whenever we wanted, she had to work as well and there were several occasions when we needed it in the middle of my mother’s work day.  After creating elaborate plans trying to figure out whose car we could use, and how to transfer the car seats (including asking my sister’s boyfriend, who I had not yet met, if we could install two car seats in his new car), my husband and I decided at last minute to do a name-your-own-price on Priceline.  $30 a day got us an intermediate car for the trip and a lot less stress for the weekend.

5.  Angry birds appeals to all age groups
I’ve tried to avoid the Angry Birds phenomena, mostly because I don’t have time to get sucked into another game.  But husband was immersed for a while and introduced it to my son and my father on this trip.  Soon my son couldn’t wait for Grandpa to come over and play Angry Birds with him.  He even used it as bonding on a play date with a good friend’s children.  My husband played the “fat piggie” as all the kids threw stuffed angry birds at him.  Yes, this actually happened…

Don't let that nice reading circle fool you, soon those quiet kids were throwing angry birds at my husband...

Don’t let that nice reading circle fool you, soon those quiet kids were throwing angry birds at my husband…*

4.  My kids love Jersey specialties just as much as mom and dad
Jersey pizza and bagels are better than any pizzas and bagels you get in California, in my humble opinion.  There is just no comparison. But seeing my kids appreciate the difference really put a smile on my face. My kids were just as excited for pizza and bagels as we were, and loved eating it on a regular basis.  Nothing better than their little tomato or cream cheese covered faces!

3.  My daughter is a Mike’s Subs fan!
Mike’s Subs, a 50 year old family sub shop in Keyport, sustained significant damage during Superstorm Sandy.  But they rebuilt and were open this summer for those of us who grab subs on the way to the beach.  We brought snacks and other food for the kids, so imagine my surprise when my daughter started asking for my sub.  She loved it, saying very clearly “More?” with her hand out.  Soon my husband and I were feeding her bits of our sandwich and she was happily chowing down.

2.  Cozy Coupes, Wagons, Tricycles and Big Wheels never go out of style
My mother has painstakingly saved the cozy coupe, wagon, tricycle, and big-wheel that I played with as a kid.  She even sent me a box of my baby clothes when she found out I was having a girl. I had always questioned why she kept these.  But seeing my daughter in the clothes that I used to wear was adorable (and confused the heck out of some of my friends on Facebook).  Seeing my kids have a blast playing with the outdoor toys everyday definitely makes me feel like she did the right thing saving them.  (And those of you who know me, know that I don’t normally concede that my mother was correct about saving old stuff!).

The sight of my daughter in my dress and the my children enjoying my old toys were precious moments that were a pleasant surprise.

The sight of my daughter in my dress and the my children enjoying my old toys were precious in a way I did not expect.*

and the #1 lesson…

The shared memories of our Jersey past can help my husband and I connect in a way date nights in San Francisco don’t.
We had a double date with a close childhood friend and her husband which was special in and of its self since we haven’t had adult time as a foursome since shortly after my wedding.  She picked a restaurant in Red Bank, and it happens to be next to the now bar (was a coffee shop) where my husband and I had our second date. We also took time while the kids napped and drove by the apartments where we lived and met.  We walked along the shore and reminisced about our early days of dating.  It was invigorating to relive those days and see how far we had come.   We have been together 11 years now.  Revisiting those days gave us a renewed connection that further strengthens our marriage. And that’s one of the best things any trip can give you.

Where it all began...

Where it all began…

Thank you to More Kids than Suitcases, who inspired me to attempt my first list and my first attempt at humor.

*Photos taken by Atma Photography

3 thoughts on “Top 10 Things I Learned on my Trip Home

  1. Our family seems to get a kick out of playing the car-swap game (it’s almost like part of the festivities??) so although I know what you mean, I don’t think I could get away with renting one for our trips home. 🙂

    I’m glad you managed to get your work done. Does not sound like ideal work arrangements at all! But at least she was singing, not screaming to get your attention. I do some work from home and it takes a lot to train the kids to let you work (and I still get a lot of interruptions, which is probably why I’ll be up til all hours sweating over deadlines this weekend, again).

    • It was painful. I almost never work from home (with them around) so they are not at all used to it. Cap it off with me being extremely stressed and it made for a hard situation. On the bright side I got to spend some quality time with family and friends and I now have two more vacation days at the end of the year than I expected.

  2. Pingback: What a Year! | Around the World with Kids

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