It takes me days to pack for a vacation. I write lists. I categorize. Everything has its place. Each person has their own suitcase with clothes in neat rows and small items packed away in ziploc bags for easy access and visibility. Some of the things on my list to take were:
- Cell Phone Plugs
- Potty Seat
- Beach Towels
- Baby Food, Utensils, Bibs
- Flashlight (you never know when the power will go out LOL)
- Bag of Travel Toys (the dollar store is a great place to go for these)
- Light Jackets
- and much more…..
And if that weren’t a lot of work, I always like to leave my house immaculate, before going away, so that I can come home to a clean house and only worry about unpacking.
This summer we decided to go to the New Jersey shore for our vacation. It is close to home (only about 3 hours from where we live in NY). I did a lot of research looking for a place for us to stay. Most places within 2 miles of the beach ranged between $200 & $300 a night – more in the nicer places. This was extremely frustrating for me, because that is WAY out of our budget. We didn’t want this to be a couple thousand dollar trip. So I started to look at the cheaper motel type places and found an Econo Lodge right outside of Ocean City (about 3 miles from the beach). It was advertised for $99 a night. I jumped on it and reserved 4 nights during the week. The pictures looked nice on their website. They had decent looking rooms, swimming pool, and even offered a continental breakfast.
After driving most of the morning and stopping a few times for potty breaks, we finally got to the motel and got our room. I was trying to stay hopeful about the motel at least being halfway decent. We got into the room and the first thing I noticed was the dingy carpet that seemed only halfway vaccumed. I then went to inspect the sheets, which I always do because I am totally anal when it comes to that. After all, I usually bring my own bedding wherever I go (comforter & pillows and such). I don’t bring sheets, but this time I wish I had. I pulled back the comforter on the bed (you know those thin ones that have that rough material on the back) and the first thing I saw were SEVERAL hairs stairing back at me. They looked like dog or cat hair. I stripped the bed of everything but the fitted sheet, which was pretty clean thank God and I tried to accept the fact that we were getting what we paid for.
I really wanted to go and complain to the motel management, but I decide to let it go and just enjoy the time. The kids were sooooo excited about the motel room. They wanted to just stay there and hang out all day, it was pretty funny. I think it is because they get to sleep on their special blow up beds.
So, all in all we really did have a nice vacation. We spent time on the beach, at the pool (which was the best part about the motel because they had a kiddie pool), on the boardwalk, and just driving around exploring the area. We even took a ride all the way down to to Cape May (the tip of New Jersey). There were times that it was overwhelming, how could it not be with 2 preschoolers and one infant. But we made it work. We got to have a few nights away and then ended up at my mom’s house who also lives in NJ, but farther north. We also had a great time with her doing some fun day trips.
Here are some pictures of our 2009 NJ shore vacation:
Here are the kids enjoying the kiddie pool at the motel. It was only 1 foot deep, so even the baby was able to scoot around it in his tube.
Here we are at the Wildwood boardwalk.
Their FIRST ice cream cone. This is a picture BEFORE the dripping sticky mess happened. LOL
Here we are at the motel winding down at night. The kids watched a movie on the portable DVD player while my husband was out night fishing off one of the piers. That was our nightly routine.
This was taken at Cape May point. Check out the lighthouse in the background.
I had to capture this one. My son was burying his sister in the sand. A second after I took this, he shoveled sand right in her face and she was screaming. LOL
Here we are at the Cape May zoo. It was such a nice zoo and they don’t charge admission – it is donations only. Loved that!
This was another daily routine – eating dinner at Shoprite. They had a little bistro inside the supermarket with hot foods. All of us ate for around $18. They had chicken, lasagna, pork, soups, a little bit of everything. And everyday they had a new array of food. I thought this was a much better idea than going out for fast food. And since we were on a tight budget – it was perfect!
Like I said, we ended up at my moms for the last half of our vacation. Here were are at a park.
And I just had to take this picture of all the stuff we had to pack into our car from my mom’s house. I told you I am neurotic about packing! I felt like I was moving out! But it all fit in our minivan!
Oh, and by the way, did I mention that our car broke down? Yup, 2 days before leaving to go home to NY, the fan broke that cools the radiator and we had to pay $535 to get it fixed. Boy did that hurt us pretty bad. But we are just thanking God that it broke down close to my moms house and not on the highway somewhere. The next difficult thing we had to face was Cliff being very sick the last half of the vacation. We think he has lyme disease. He was so weak and suffering terrible migrain headaches. It was really bad. Thank God he has a Dr. appointment today to try to figure out what is wrong.
So, there ya have it…. our family summer vacation. I hope you enjoyed. Does anyone else have any fun summer vacation plans? I would love to hear all about it!
Lovely pictures – thank you for sharing! You have such adorable kids!
When we were in California in April we stayed at motels and were generally happy with the level of cleanliness. It was in a more upscale hotel in London that my son actually got bit by bed bugs… I had to play with special deals at hotels.com, cancelling what I had for better ones for a few weeks. Finally landed an awesome deal in San Diego, with a pretty good motel, great location, clean and with everything we needed (fridge, microwave, etc) for $54 a night for the four of us. Stayed there for nine nights. The best motel was the one right near the Sequoia and Kings National Park. It was under $70 a night and absolutely lovely in design, cleanliness, staff friendliness and included a big hearty breakfast.
.-= israelimom´s last blog ..A Weapon of Mass Fornication =-.
Christine Smith says
We booked an overnight stay at a 5 star hotel in Monterey, with a great discount rate because the room was available that day. In the evening, my 7 year old daughter asks “Mommy, are they having their honeymoon next door?” We told her no, they were probably tickling each other 😉
My 11 year old covered her ears and then had a full blown autism/OCD rage, she was processing what was happening next door. While the hotel was fabulous- on the beach, mandatory valet parking, great service- the guests were less attractive.
.-= Christine Smith´s last blog ..The Roaring Lion (Day 4.2) =-.
Screwed Up Texan says
$99 is still a lot for a hotel room, whether or not it was close to the beach. There should have been clean sheets and clean blankets. The room should have been spotless if you were paying that much.
On the other hand, the motel room my husband got for us and the kids about two-and-a-half years ago was the pits–however we should have known that when the sticker price was just a cheap $29 a night in San Jon, New Mexico. It was the worst motel stay I have ever endured. Definitely a price I couldn’t appreciate.
The sheets were obviously not washed. I couldnt tell what color the carpet was supposed to be. The shower was a neat 24 inches by 24 inches. I kid you not. The kids got approximately two hours of sleep while I lay on the top blanket feeling the creepy crawlies and imagining bed bugs crawling on me. Maybe I wasn’t imagining anything.
We left at 1:30 in the morning. We drove for about an hour and pulled off on the side of the road and slept for three hours–me, my husband, and our three young boys. Never again.
.-= Screwed Up Texan´s last blog ..Omen of Perpetual Heat =-.
Dont you just hate it like you said after leaving a clean home to a down grade accommodation, mind you I am surprise that you were able to find hair with those colour bedspreads. The children are growing up so fast and most important very cute, love them to bits, not sure who Jaden looks like yet but he has grown so much. Take care and love to all.
THAT Painter Lady says
Wow… I can’t believe you can get all that “stuff” in your van. You should be a professional “car packer” LOL.
The ice cream cones look great… I’ll bet that perfection was soon a huge mess.
Thanks for sharing your amazing pictures…
.-= THAT Painter Lady´s last blog ..The Difference Between Home Staging and Home Decorating =-.
Thanks for sharing your vacay with us. Looks like you all had a good time despite the hair. You are brave for going on vacation with the little ones. I’m sure you will cherish the memories. I think I still would have complained to the management. Even though it was a bargain, I’m sure that didn’t advertise animal hairs in their sheets. LOL!
.-= joaofalltrades´s last blog ..I Fear the Deer =-.
Oh wow what a vacation! I am so happy that you got away with the family.
Yes Dawn hair on the sheets yuk for sure. About two years ago our family went to dorney park & wanted to get a cheaper motel & guess what -the rug/the smell/the atmosphere
yes dear you get what you paid for!
The Kids look so happy – when Joshua & Leeah were in the sand I was thinking to myself oh boy if he gets that in her face. Then I read what you wrote that it happened. Love the light house pic! Sorry to hear about Cliff feeling sick. Well missy I am so happy that you got away, you were missed & I am glad that you are back safe & sound. Can’t wait to see you at mommy & me.
Not sure it is always what you pay for, really depends on the staff. I travel a lot for work, so i usually stay a Marriot or Hilton. On one of my trips i some how dropped something behind the bed. When I looked down between the back of the headboard amd the wall I notice there used condoms & wrappers. needless to say I did not retrieve my item.
What made it worse is when I mentioned this to the front desk, they did not bat an eye.
sorry that you had some mishaps, but it looks like family vacay was a success judging from the pictures. I don’t trust hotels/motels. Even the expensive ones get caught with unsanitary rooms (Dateline expose on some of NYC’s posher accommodations), they just hide it better. I once got eaten alive by bed bugs in a motel and developed a skin rash that needed medical attention. From then on, I always take a can of Lysol to spray down the bed and bathroom. Call me anal!
.-= Teresha´s last blog ..We are 9 Years Married Today! =-.
the kids are grown up. they are so cute hope my my bro feels better.xxxxx rasheda
Lorie Shewbridge says
I’m glad your stay turned out fun anyway… even with (OMG YUK) hair on the sheets!!! I would have complained, I don’t know how you held it in… The kids look like they had a blast, how come no pictures of the AFTER on the ice cream cones? I would have loved to have seen those — I’m sure you needed about half a dozen baby wipes each to clean them up after that?? HaHa
So sorry about the car… that’s gotta hurt after you did so well with your budget on the vacation, glad you weren’t stranded on the highway with all 3 kids, though, someone was watching over you.
Hope the hubby is feeling better, please let us know how he is, and make sure you get some rest and don’t over-do it yourself and get sick.
Have a good weekend..
.-= Lorie Shewbridge´s last blog ..Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit | Review and Giveaway =-.
What a great trip in most ways, sorry Cliff is sick, gosh I hope he is better by now!! You girl pack way more than me, I am horrible about packing and end up forgetting things! LOL
Such lovely photos too!! Had fun reading up on your vacation!! Looks like you all had a good time!
.-= Brandy´s last blog ..Embracing Friendship and Community =-.
Mark and Lonnie says
Thanks for sharing your pictures with us. It is great to be able to get away as a family. Looking back on the vacation trips that our family took, these were the greatest bonding times and the memories are priceless. Kevin and Christina were able to take a weeks vacation this year in the Thousand Islands and they really found a great spot for a great price. You may want to check it out. Have a great day!
Mark and Lonnie
Paula Chamoun says
You guys look great!!!. The kids are all grown up aleady!! Hope all is well.
Night Owl Mama says
Holy WOW thats some stuff!! love the vaca pictures the kids look like they were having a blast your family photo is too cut u have a beautiful family u look fantastic
.-= Night Owl Mama´s last blog ..Guess What? GIVEAWAY TIME! =-.
Frantic Holly says
Sounds like a great vacation minus the bumps.
.-= Frantic Holly´s last blog ..Baby Dipper =-.
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