It became apparent right away that Matt and I had different interests. In fact, I think my DH travels differently than most men. Most military men, at least. You see, he's read WWII history books by the dozens (as I have), he's studied world history. He's certainly very passionate about it. However, the lure of the mountains and outdoors has a much bigger pull than any battlefield, museum, or historical marker, in general. It's a little mind boggling to me. However, I'm respecting it more and more. Recently, we've been to Spain and Italy. Hiking or fishing or anything to do with being in the wilderness was not on our "to do" list. He's felt a little jipped. Though, he's kept quiet about it, for the most part. He's certainly earned brownie points, in my book, for being dragged around to places that interest me alone.
DH has wanted to climb or spend time outdoors alone since he got back from Iraq over a year ago. While he did spend a little time in Denali National Park with his brother last summer, and a little time fishing, it just wasn't enough. Knowing he's been itching to get outside, I came up with a plan in my head and shared it with him yesterday.
Since we're going to be staying in a place that can provide all-day childcare for our girls, we booked three days of "school" as Olivia likes to call it. When I proposed to Matt that he take one of those days to go off by himself while I did a tour, he gently asked if he could have two days, instead of one. At first, I was taken back. Then, I realized that he more than deserves it. Finally, a vacation where he could enjoy some alone time doing the things he loves! I was more than willing to oblige!
Knowing there was another tour that interest me, I got on the phone early this morning and booked the girls for another day at "school." That enabled me to book another tour while Matt had his second day to himself. While on the phone with the childcare center, I asked if they had babysitters available. Sure enough, they do!! Matt had also hinted that he would love to have dinner without the kids one night.
Now, you're thinking, "What horrible parents! Going on vacation and dumping their kids in childcare!"
Well, we love traveling with our kids. However, we've kinda had our fill. During the last trip, we had a kid with a fever and diarrhea. During the trip before, it was a bit rainy and cool. The girls were grumpy and tired the whole time. Lila was still at the two-nap stage and Olivia still could not function without her afternoon nap. We rushed through everything, feeling like we barely saw anything. I can't even count how many lunch and dinners were ruined by crying, screaming, overtired and misbehaved toddlers. We'll look back later on with fond memories. Right now, it's a little too soon to do that.
Of course, we do have time with the kids built in to our trip plan. We're taking them to the "princess castle" pictured above (not my picture, obviously), a wilderness refuge and hiking into a gorge. There will also be plenty of time at restaurants, parks and the swimming pool. Besides, they'll have so much more fun playing with kids their own age for a good part of the week than they would be dragged around to, say, beer halls or a concentration camp. You also may be thinking, "What the heck is this going to cost them to put kids in childcare?" It'll cost a heck of a lot less than taking a babysitter with us or asking a grandparent or two to come and help out. It will also be our last trip for about a year (aside from a trip home this summer, courtesy the U.S. Military).
Here's what Matt and I are looking forward to:
- Matt: Canyoning
- Matt: Hiking and/or River Rafting
- Natalie: Reading a book, undisturbed, as the tour bus takes me to two destinations.
- Natalie: Having "mommy relaxation time" during a spa treatment or two.
- Dinner out, alone with my DH (On vacation with kids? This will be a first) and then walking around town hand in hand, without the kids. Jeez, it'll be like a second honeymoon!
- Two whole days out without the kids to tour around together at our own pace. No rushing to take a toddler pee, no changing diapers, no rushing through lunch because two said toddlers are falling apart from exhaustion. No changing our plan because the kids are too tired to go any further.
- Enjoying a dip in the hot tub together, without the kids trying to get in to join us.
Of course, we know that all this is subject to change if someone gets sick. I'm trying to not think too much about that, however! Though, in the back of my mind, I'm not allowing myself to get too excited. After all, we are traveling with toddlers. You have to be open to change-of-plans! For right now, our plan is looking pretty good!