first family vacation

we were invited to a wedding in california in april.  we really wanted to go to the wedding, but weren't sure what we would do with wesley.  he was going to be about 10 months old, and the idea of flying that far away, plus a 2 hour time change, just for the weekend seemed a little crazy.  (when we were planning this, we were assuming we'd be in st louis, so we ended up adding another hour to the time change, and a longer flight since we were actually in ohio in april).  the wedding was just south of san francisco, so we decided to extend our trip and fly out the week before.  we thought that breaking up the long flights would be good for wesley, plus that gave him some extra time to adjust to the time change.  we were also excited to take our first family vacation.

our flight left ohio at 10 am on a tuesday morning.  we purposely picked our flight times to try to work with wesley's sleep schedule.  we had a layover in denver, and then continued on to san jose.  we were lucky and neither flight was full, meaning we were able to take wesley's car seat on the plane, and he was able to have his own seat.  he did fantastic on the plane.  we brought a few toys, and some food to try to keep him entertained, but he really liked just looking around at all of the passengers, and playing with the seat tray.  he also napped well, which really helped.  i think that having the layover halfway through was perfect - it was quick, really just enough time for a diaper change and to grab some lunch, but wesley was also able to crawl around for a few mins while we waited to board the next plane.

we arrived in san jose at 1:30 local time, and picked up our rental car.  after seeing how much stuff we had, we were talked into upgrading to a small suv.  i'm glad we decided to get a slightly larger car.  we tried to pack light, but traveling with an infant is difficult!  we had his pack n play, stroller and car seat, plus all of our clothes and luggage.  we headed south towards monterey - we rented an apartment through airbnb for the first few days of our trip.  we arrived at the apartment late afternoon and were pleasantly surprised with how nice it was.  it was a one bedroom, with a large living room, bathroom, and a little kitchen nook.  it was ideal for our family because mike and i could put wesley's pack n play in the nook, and then we were able to hang out in the living room area without disturbing him.  after unpacking, our entire family was hungry, so we decided to grab the stroller and walk to monterey to sight-see and find dinner.


tuesday night we purposely kept busy until about 8pm california time, and then we headed back to the apt to put wesley to bed.  we had also tried to keep him up a little later each night in the few days leading up to the trip.  even though it was a 3 hour time chance, he really had no issues adjusting to the time.

on wednesday we were all up and ready to go pretty early, so we got in the car to find breakfast.  after a fantastic breakfast (with seafood!), it was back to the apt for a quick nap, before walking down to the monterey aquarium.  wesley had never been to an aquarium before.  the aquarium was one of the big reasons why we decided to visit monterey, so we were hoping he'd really like it.  he loved it - he kept watching the fish swim around, and laughed at the otters playing.  we were there for a large part of the day, and all had a a great time.





we left the aquarium later in the afternoon because wesley was starting to look pretty sleepy.  we thought he'd fall asleep in his stroller while walking around, so we decided to visit some of the little stores in monterey.  we ended up finding a winery that had a nice seating area overlooking the ocean.  after tasting a few wines, we purchased a bottle and found a quiet seat near the windows.  wesley finally fell asleep in his stroller, and mike and i enjoyed our wine with a few appetizers.  it was a relaxing way to end our afternoon.


since we weren't sure how wesley would do with dinner out that evening since he had such an exciting day and shorter naps, we ended up ordering in sushi later that night (yum!!).  

thursday morning, after enjoying coffee and pastries on our patio, we got in the car and headed south.  we stopped at point lobos state reserve, and spent the rest of the morning hiking along the trails.



i was glad we brought the baby ergo (carrier), as the trails would have been difficult with our stroller.  wesley seemed fine with hanging out in the carrier while we hiked around.  after a few hours, we got back in the car and started driving south again towards big sur. we stopped along the way for lunch at hotel that overlooked the coast, it was really pretty.


at this point, wesley had fallen asleep in the car, so mike and i took turns getting out to look at the scenery along the various look-out points on our way to big sur.  we drove around big sur for a little while, and then headed back north to carmel.

once we arrived in carmel, we walked around the various shops until we found a place that sounded good for dinner.  it was a really nice place and we were a little nervous about taking wesley to such a fancy resturant.  we shouldn't have worried, he quickly made friends with the couple at the table next to us, and was well behaved and happy the entire meal.  while in carmel, we walked down to the beach to give wesley his first experience with sand.  he hated it!  he didn't like it on his feet, and refused to be put down.



hopefully he will learn to love the beach because we like to vacation near water.  on the plus side, we actually ended up at a dog beach and since it was dusk, many families were there playing with their dogs.  even though he didn't like the sand, wesley really liked watching all of the dogs play in the water.

on friday morning we cleaned up our apartment and packed up our car.  we needed to be in palo alto that evening for the rehearsal dinner, but decided to take a long route to palo alto, doing 17 mile drive and stopping at pebble beach along the way.




we stopped again in carmel to grab lunch before heading on to palo alto.  wesley really did well at all of the restaurants that we ate at on our trip.  we were usually able to find something little on the menu for him to try, and we brought plenty of pouches and puffs for him to snack on.


once in palo alto, we met up with my family and we relaxed for a little bit in the afternoon before dressing for the rehearsal dinner.  dinner that evening ended up being really late, but wesley stayed happy even though it was hours past his normal bedtime (not even including the time change!).  he quickly charmed all of the guests.

on saturday morning we enjoyed a big breakfast with the family, and then let wesley nap for a little while before meeting up with everyone to head up to the wedding site.  it was up in the mountains, so we all took a van to the location.  the wedding venue was beautiful, and the food was fantastic.  even though it was a long afternoon and evening, we had so much fun with wesley and our family and i was so impressed with how happy he was the entire time.  we brought his car seat along, thinking he'd want to nap at some point in a quiet corner, but he didn't want to miss anything.  he did fall fast asleep as soon as we got in the van to head back to our hotel though.




i just love these photos of mike and wesley.  


after such a late night, everyone was glad to sleep in a little before we had one last family brunch.  our plane left at 2 on sunday afternoon, so we left the brunch a little early to get to the airport on time.  unfortunately, our luck ran out and the first flight to chicago (which was the longest of the entire trip) was fully booked,  wesley had to sit on my lap the entire time.  he did fine, but it was difficult for him to find a comfortable position to sleep in. the last flight from chicago to columbus wasn't full, so we were able to use his car seat again.  except by then he just wanted to be held, i think he was ready to go home.

we didn't get home until after midnight and then mike and i had to get up for work the next day.  it was a little rough for us, but wesley seemed to adjust quickly back to his normal schedule.  i think that he was so tired from the trip, that helped him sleep longer the next morning.

we had a great vacation and were beyond impressed with how well wesley did with everything!  hopefully he'll continue to be as adaptable and easy-going as he gets older...

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