Traveling. There is a myriad of things that can happen when traveling. It’s how you deal with those things – good, or bad – that can change the outcome of a vacation.
Eight months after we had our son, Jackson, we planned a vacation to Napa Valley, Calif. My sister and her husband live there, and it seemed like it would be an easy place to go for our first vacation with Jackson.
Side note: I mentioned the vacation to my cousin who has two daughters, and she laughed when I used the word “vacation.” She informed me that all outings with kids are “trips,” and trips without kids are “vacations.” She was right.
Traveling with children really opens your eyes to the millions of things that can go wrong when traveling. It’s hard enough for adults to transport themselves from one place to another. When you add a child to the mix (or multiple children – God bless those with more than one child), everything is more complicated and time-consuming.
For the Napa trip, I made the “first-time parent” mistake of not packing extra clothing for Jackson for the plane trip. He peed out of his diaper before we even made it through security at Denver International Airport. We fervently searched the airport for a shop that sold children’s clothing and ended up at a kiosk that sold $20 onesies with the Colorado “C” emblazoned on the front. The smallest size they had was 12 months, so it was quite large for him. Oh, well. At least he wasn’t naked.
We pre-purchased items from Amazon and had them sent to my sister’s house. Baby food, a travel chair, diapers, toys, snacks, etc. I thought I was on the right track! My sister, Christina, has many friends with children, so we were able to borrow a crib and a highchair, so those things were covered. We purchased a travel case for the car seat, so we were able to check that right from the start. We gate-checked the stroller and were on our way.
Jackson would not sit still during the flight. He’s always been a very active child, but I underestimated how he would act on a plane. I figured he’d sleep the whole time. Nope. Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy. The. Whole. Way. There. But! He didn’t cry, and he didn’t whine. That was a major win.
We arrived in Sacramento, Calif., grabbed our bags and the car seat and shuttled to the car rental center. By this time, it was Jackson’s bedtime, and all of us were exhausted. We waited in line while I fed the baby a zillion different snacks and tried to keep him occupied. He was absolutely delightful. It felt like we hit the jackpot!
But after we received our keys to the rental car, things started to decline. It was raining, and the stroller fell backward into a puddle when we removed Jackson from it. The diaper bag was soaked, Jackson was soaked and we were soaked. It was dark, and we were driving in a city that we had never driven in before. The drive from the Sacramento airport to Napa Valley is usually about an hour, but in the rain, it took us almost two hours. Oh, I forgot to mention that our flight was delayed by four hours leaving Denver, so that already put us very behind schedule as it was.
By the time we made it to my sister’s house, it was like a rat race trying to get Jackson’s crib and baby monitor set up and get him unpacked so that we could put him to bed. He slept in our room at the foot of our bed, so we hung out in the living room and quietly enjoyed wine and some snacks before we went to bed. Jackson slept for 13 hours that night, and I think we slept for about six.
The rest of the trip was a breeze, and we quickly found our groove. We’ve traveled to many places with Jackson since then. The most recent is now as I’m sitting in our rented condo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The Ups & Downs of
I didn’t sleep for about two weeks leading up to this trip. We had been planning it for so long, but there’s only so much you can do ahead of time. I would wake up at all hours of the night with lists in my head. We planned a two-week vacation to this beautiful land. We searched hundreds of rentals to find the perfect spot to call home for two weeks. And we found it!
We’re about 12 minutes south of downtown Puerto Vallarta in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo on the beach. We have a pool, a full kitchen, washer and dryer and an expansive balcony that overlooks the ocean and the Bay of Banderas. It’s beautiful, and we never want to leave.
But unfortunately, that’s not possible, and by the time you’re reading this, we will likely be home.
We’ve never been away from home this long, so it was quite stressful trying to pack and plan for a two-week trip (not a vacation because, you know, the whole kid thing). We set up airport transportation that would allow us to stop at Walmart so that we could pick up some American-friendly food for the first couple days – Tostitos tortilla chips, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, produce, beer, etc.
Instead, our driver took us to a local grocery store because it was on the right side of the street, and Walmart was on the left and would “be a pain” to get in and out of. OK. The local grocery store had absolutely nothing familiar to us besides Corona, but we made the best of it and got the items we thought would tide us over until we could Uber back to Walmart. The driver dropped us off at our condo, and the front desk security guard got us checked in.
We made it! The condo was clean and spacious and even better than the pictures depicted. Our home-away-from-home was perfect. The sunset that first night was gorgeous, and I slept hard that night for the first time in weeks.
We started our first full day by swimming in the pool and the ocean and meeting the other people staying at our condo complex. We enjoyed the fireworks going off around the bay that night and woke up the next morning with a plan to go to Walmart. We took an Uber for the 35-minute drive and spent $100 on food, paper goods (the condo didn’t have paper towels, napkins, or Kleenex) and libations. We were shocked that a 12-pack of Corona was only $3.75! It’s crazy how far the American dollar goes in Mexico.
We watched the Scott Fish Bowl (SFB) Podathon all day long the following day, and it was awesome. To be able to be in this beautiful environment and still be able to enjoy the fantasy football community was a dream.
The next day (I promise I’m not going through the whole two weeks day-by-day – there is a point to all of this) we paid $1 for all of us to take the bus into town and ate breakfast at a place we had been that last time we were in Puerto Vallarta. Nate enjoyed the chilaquiles, Jackson had pancakes and I had Eggs Benedict. We walked through town and got back on the bus for the hot 20-minute ride back to our condo.
The bus driver missed our stop, and we had to walk along the beach for 15-minutes back to the condo. Thankfully we had a lay-of-the-land and knew that where he dropped us would allow for us to still get back to our place. The main road that goes in front of our condo doesn’t have sidewalks, and it is very treacherous and almost not walkable. You’ll occasionally see a native walking along the road, but it’s rare.
Later that day, Nate started complaining about stomach pain. It quickly became evident that he had been struck by food poisoning. He was laid up for about 36-hours while Jackson and I took advantage of the pool, ocean, beach and overall fun in the sun. Minus finding a crab in my hair, Jackson pooping on the floor, Nate’s sunburn from walking on the beach after the missed bus stop and Jackson discovering that he could open the window in his bedroom and pushing the screen out, this has been the perfect trip (there’s that word again).
There are always speedbumps with every trip, but at the end of the day, we’re blessed to be able to enjoy this earth and all the adventures and memories that come with travel.
But even once we get back, I know the adventures will continue – especially as football season creeps closer. We’re in the last handful of weeks before your fantasy draft selections get the chance to prove their worth. We’ve been soaking in the anticipation as we make our way through dynasty drafts, and that only grows as we enter into the next phase of the fantasy preseason.
Jen’s Friday Night Insights:
Somewhere on a Beach, Talking Redraft Fantasy Football
Redraft season is upon us! Redraft and dynasty fantasy football are two completely different beasts, with two completely different strategies.
If you’re like me, you’re probably in one-too-many leagues. For me, I’m in 16. So far. I feel like there will be another one or two that pop up as we get closer to the season. I’ve been drafting in dynasty leagues for the 2021 season since May. But there’s a reason for that. People get excited and someone suggests starting the draft, so we do. They’re usually slow drafts, meaning there’s an extended or no time limit on the clock, and you pick when you pick.
In redraft leagues, drafting generally starts in July and August, and the time clocks typically start at two minutes and go up in time length from there. You’re usually done drafting your team the same day, versus weeks to months later like in a dynasty startup draft.
Side note: Dynasty leagues keep all the same players as previous years but leave a few slots open to draft rookies. In the case of pure rookie drafts, it takes no time to draft your new players.
I had the pleasurable opportunity to participate in Scott Fish Bowl 11 (SFB11), the premiere fantasy football league ran by Scott Fish that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity, this year. Our draft started two days after we arrived in Puerto Vallarta and finished nine days later. I had to remove my “dynasty hat” for this draft because SFB11 is a redraft fantasy football league.
My initial instinct when drafting was to grab guys with good future potential. I had to constantly remind myself that I was only looking at guys who have potential for this season.
It was tough to do at first! For example, in a single-QB dynasty startup, Tom Brady (QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) will be around in the eighth to 10th rounds, whereas, he was flying off the shelf in SFB11 because he has potential this season in addition to it being a superflex league.
Conversely, other hotshots like Trevor Lawrence (QB, Jacksonville Jaguars) get snagged first and second round in superflex dynasty leagues but hang out a little later in redraft leagues.
The lesson to be learned here is that dynasty and redraft fantasy football formats are two completely different beasts and should be treated as such. Do your research, ask for help and most importantly, get your guy, no matter what everyone else is saying.
Being a part of SFB11 is an honor, and I hope I did my team justice. Only time will tell!
I’m here to join the conversation, drink in hand and watch the upcoming 2021 NFL season unfold. Cheers! If you choose to make any of my recipes, I’d love to see them! Please take a picture and tag me!
Drink Recipe for the Month:
- 2 oz vodka
- 1 oz Blue Curacao
- 3 oz lemonade
- Pour all ingredients into a glass over ice, stir and enjoy!
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.