Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Traditions: And Traveling with Another Family July 12, 2017

Patrick and I have been talking about the merits of going someplace new vs someplace you’ve been. We have come up with a good sense of reasons to do both. I think I may have blogged about that before. However, now we can add the tradition of going different places with the same people. The family we went to Madison, VA with is a family we’ve rented a place with three summers in a row now. This summer, it really felt like we got into the groove. The last few times we tried to plan the food and activities but we ended up with way too much food and too difficult activities.

This year, we had difficult activities (see the hiking event), but they were perfect. We also simplified our standards for food. It was still good, but it was easier to prepare and get on the table for four adults and seven hungry kids. We put the kids to bed and the adults sat around a campfire talking and laughing. The kids were up for breakfast, but we had made that one smooth too with granola, yogurt, and fruit for a highly customizable breakfast experience. We’d also done bagels, but that didn’t get food on the table as fast.

One night, we did fireworks and sparklers with the kids. I think it’s the first one they remember. Harlan liked the fireworks until it started banging!


Tips for traveling with another family:

  1. If one person is in charge of multiple kids, that person needs to lay down the expectations for behavior.
  2. Food should be simple but not just chips and dip.
  3. Kids have to go to bed so the adults get to feel like they had some down time.
  4. Quiet reading time is great. Better if an adult sits with the quiet readers and reads too. (That was me! I loved it!)
  5. Nappers should not skip naps.
  6. A morning activity is best. Evening activities should be low key.
  7. Good games: Outburst Jr, Apples to Apples Jr, and a deck of cards. Outdoors: Cornhole, a wifflebat, or a playground ball.
  8. Whoever is in the kitchen should be cleaning.
  9. Give the other family some privacy if a child is melting down.
  10. Relax. Everybody wants to have fun.

We are already planning for next year! (Not overplanning, just planning to go again!)