Earlier this week we spent four nights in Santa Fe. It was the baby's first vacation and his first car ride of more than 30 minutes. It was also the first vacation Torsten and I taken in almost two years. And it was awesome. (Full photo set here.)
First of all, Callum was an amazing traveler. An absolute dream. It's about a six-hour drive from Denver to Santa Fe, and on the way down he hardly made a peep. He slept or stared quietly out the window the whole way. The whole time we were in Santa Fe he was totally relaxed and not fussy. He slept beautifully in his Pack N Play--he slept through the night every night we were there, and on the last morning he actually slept until 9:30. On the ride home he fussed for a few minutes and otherwise was entirely peaceful. He didn't nap on any specific schedule, and I think it helps that he doesn't have a strict schedule at home: he naps when he's tired, usually in his crib, sometimes in his swing. Because he sleeps so well at night, we have the luxury of not having to worry about when or how often he naps during the day. And that was our saving grace on this vacation. We had only one difficult hour on the whole vacation, and it was our own fault: he seemed tired so we tried to make him nap even though he didn't want to, and so he screamed. When we finally gave up and just took him outside, he was immediately fine again, and stayed that way for the rest of the trip.
I'm still just so amazed at how well it went. Our expectations were low and we were prepared for the worst--screaming during the entire drive, not sleeping at all, extreme fussiness preventing us from eating in restaurants or doing anything fun or relaxing--and it wasn't like that at all. In fact, it wasn't even all THAT different from a pre-baby vacation. It helped a lot that we didn't have any sort of schedule or plans. After we all had breakfast, we would go somewhere out of town where the landscape was lovely. After it got too hot, we'd return to the hotel to rest in our room. Once we had our energy back, we'd hang out in the hotel pool for awhile. Then when it cooled down for the evening, we'd walk into town and find somewhere to eat dinner. It was just lots of walking, lounging, swimming, and driving. It was fantastic.
I will say that Santa Fe is not the most stroller-friendly town I've ever been to--the sidewalks are incredibly uneven and often narrow--but the people are incredibly friendly. Luckily it doesn't bother us when strangers touch our baby--as long as they don't stick their fingers in his mouth, which nobody ever has--because he got incredible amounts of compliments and caresses from total strangers on the street. The most often-heard compliment was "look at those THIGHS!" which I must say, he definitely deserves.
The landscape in New Mexico is just stunning. We tried to go to Bandelier National Monument, but 99% of the park is closed due to 30,000 of its 70,000 acres being burned by the Las Conchas Fire, and what trails were open were not baby-friendly, so we just drove around the nearby Jemez Mountains instead, admired the landscape, and felt really sad about all the burned trees we saw.
We also wanted to go to Tent Rocks National Monument, but it was closed, again because of the fire, so instead we picked Plaza Blanca, and it did not disappoint.
The baby had a lot of firsts on this trip. First time sitting in a restaurant high chair. First time swimming in a pool. First hike. First trip to Trader Joe's (and first time riding in a shopping cart). And he seemed to enjoy all of it.
And we enjoyed it too. It was a real family trip, better than we possibly could have envisioned. I know he won't always be such an easy traveler, but I have to say that it was really amazing to get to go on a vacation with our baby. Just as we enjoy vacations for the chance to spend stress-free time with each other, it was wonderful to get to spend all this beautiful quality time with him. And the fabulous setting didn't hurt either. We will definitely be back to Santa Fe. Hopefully soon.
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