Monday, May 23, 2011

Quinn’s Weekend Adventures: First Vacation

[Scroll to the bottom to see more photos of Q’s first trip to Lake Tahoe.]

When you’re pregnant, everyone loves to tell you how much your life is about to change. They can’t wait for you to join their We-Have-Kids-So-We-Never-Have-Any-Fun Club. With a knowing smirk, they advise you to enjoy your freedom while you can, as if parenthood is a prison sentence without the possibility of parole.

Well, to all those well-intentioned members of the WHKSWNHAF Club, you were right in some ways. Life changes drastically, as does your definition of fun, but fun can still be had if you’re willing to put in the effort (says the naïve first-time parent of one small, still immobile, child). Take vacationing, for example. The three of us went on a little practice vacation this weekend to Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe, and I count it as a success. With a lot of extra planning, and a whole lot of extra luggage, Quinn’s first vacation was a lot of fun.

We were a little nervous about taking a road trip with a 10-week-old baby. As newbie parents, we had no idea how much time to add on to the usual four-hour drive. Turns out, not much at all. I bottle fed Quinn while we drove, and we only had to stop once to change him. Luckily, Q loves his car seat and usually sleeps as long as the car is moving.

As we ascended into the Sierras, we worried about the pressure in his ears. So I sat next to him and let him suck on my (clean) pinky finger as we made the gradual climb. (Q won’t take a pacifier.) We were prepared for a long drive with a screaming baby, but it ended up being a relatively short drive with a content baby. Whew.

We rented a studio suite that had a small kitchen so we could put his milk in the fridge, and we mostly cooked for ourselves instead of taking Q into restaurants for every meal. We brought his white noise machine to help drown out the strange sounds of a new place, and we were able to recreate his at-home bedtime process pretty well.

View from cable car
On our first day, we rode the cable car up to High Camp, which went about a mile up the mountain. Once again, we worried that the changes in air pressure would make Quinn uncomfortable and his screams would echo throughout the cable car, pissing off about 50 people. But he slept in his Bjorn close to Daddy the whole ride. The guy standing next to us made a couple snarky comments about how upset he would be if the baby started crying. Is it wrong that I almost hoped Quinn did start crying just because the jerk deserved it? Anyway…

The highlight of the weekend for me was Friday afternoon when I snowboarded for the first (and last) time this season. I pounded drank my first Red Bull in over ten months (oh, sweet nectar), and then I hit the slopes while the Hubs stayed in the village with Baby Q. It was a gorgeous day for spring snowboarding. I thought I would be a bit rusty, but I picked right up where I left off last season. It was exhilarating, and I felt like the old, pre-baby me again for a little while.

Q in his tuk
Oh, sorry. That was more of a Mommy Adventure than a Quinn Adventure. His adventure was hanging out in the village with Daddy while I got my snow legs back, and they did great together. He looked adorable in the little tuk that our friend knitted for him. It even has a little “Q” on it.

The weather was gorgeous all weekend. We dressed Quinn up for the snow and made sure to keep him shaded and sufficiently lathered in sunscreen. We went for a walk on the trail through the meadow on Sunday and had lunch in the village. 

I can’t wait until next year when Q can play in the snow a little bit. And I really can’t wait until he’s old enough for us to start teaching him to snowboard. If anyone finds a little shirt that says “future snowboarder,” let me know!
On our walk through the meadow

We called this our practice vacation because we’re flying to Michigan next month to introduce Quinn to my family, and we’re taking Quinn to Kauai in October with Matt’s parents. Now we (sort of) know what to expect with a baby away from home overnight and how to deal with the air pressure changes on the plane. Not to say Q won’t scream his head off, but we still learned a lot during our Tahoe weekend. Our upcoming trips now seem a little less daunting.

And now, here are some more photos.
Outdoor pool in High Camp, which actually got really
crowded in the afternoon! Only in California...
The walking trail through the meadow. I wish cameras
could capture scents. If they could, you would
know the trail smelled like Christmas

Squaw is huge!

Great day for spring snowboarding