Where does all the time go?
I love this little girl so very much.
We are Jenna & Mark, a designer and a pastry chef living in Brooklyn and parents of two little girls. We are also owners of Whimsy & Spice, a Brooklyn confectionery. Sweet Fine Day is a visual journal of 2 self employed entrepreneurs juggling family life in New York City.
Where does all the time go?
I love this little girl so very much.
I think we may have found a new family tradition.
The weather didn’t exactly cooperate so we didn’t spend as much time out on the beach at La Push like we thought we would (including roasting marshmallows over bonfires at night on the beach which we were really looking forward to), but we had a great time just the same. There’s something about staying in a cabin by the ocean with lots of family that makes it the quintessential family vacation. Most times the days center around meals. You cook, eat, drink and clean and in a few hours you do it all over again for the next meal.
On our way over to the coast from Olympia, we stopped to get seafood at a place near Aberdeen. We had an empty cooler packed with ice and we were looking forward to getting crab and clams for dinner, and then halibut and scallops for ceviche another night, but we were told that there were no crabs that day. Kind of funny when the whole trip at one point seemed to center around this crab cookout. With some last minute brainstorming, Mark decided to make a seafood chowder. We ate it with corn and lots of pre-dinner appetizers like some smoked salmon that a family member caught and smoked just 3 days before, and some really good olives, brie, home-canned pickled beans and home-brewed beer.
There isn’t any cell signal or wifi out at the coast. And you know what? I didn’t miss it. Sure, we’d all whip out our phones the minute we drove through town (Forks – you know, twilight and vampires and stuff), but the rest of the time we played board games and talked.
A huge storm passed our way our last night in La Push. It was windy and cold and raining sideways. We probably spent all of about 2 hours total on the beach the whole time we were there. We didn’t see any sunsets, we didn’t have a cookout and we didn’t roast marshmallows over bonfires, but it was probably the most memorable part of our entire vacation. Within the first 30 minutes of being settled in our cabin, we all simultaneously agreed that this should be a new family tradition.
One of the great things about our annual Pacific Northwest trips are the mini trips that we often plan within our vacations. Since we come out here every year to visit and stay with family, we like to revisit places that we haven’t been to in 20 years and we get to share some of these places with our girls. This year we decided to drive to the Washington coast. A road trip! Driving our cousin’s big van with family, the trunk filled with suitcases and food, we set out for a 5 day adventure.
Ruby Beach was our first stop on our way to our final destination. We ate brie and pear sandwiches and explored the beach while we had a break from the misty rain. It would be our only dry day on the coast. More photos to come…
A little break from the city at a cousin’s house. With horses. And miniature horses. And perhaps the first dog to win Miss C’s affection.
Have you ever noticed when on vacation that the first few days feel like you’ve been away from home for an eternity? Then somewhere after the midway point, time speeds up and you feel like holding on to the last few days because it’s suddenly going too fast. We kept saying yesterday that we couldn’t believe we were on a plane just 24 hours before because we felt like we’ve been in Seattle already for a week. So far in the first 2 days we’ve eaten a lot of seafood, drank a lot of coffee, walked for miles and hugged a lot of family.
I guess there has been more humid than usual summer weather this year because we felt some moisture in the air that we normally don’t feel on the day we arrived. Still, we pulled on hoodies as soon the shady areas outnumbered the sunny spots on the sidewalks. Usually we come to Seattle with our days planned, but this year we’re just floating. As long as the girls can spend as much time with their aunt and grandma as possible, they are happy. Mia is making breakfast for us every morning and washing the dishes after every meal. Hmmm….wonder why she doesn’t do this at home.
There are some memories that get left behind in childhood and some that stay imprinted in our minds. Not sure why some stay or go, but it’s been interesting to see how some of these childhood memories inform some of our decisions as parents.
I’ve written before about how we rarely traveled when I was a kid. From photos, it appears that my parents and I did a bit more traveling in my earliest years before my brother was born – I remember going to Niagara Falls; I’ve seen photos of us in Washington DC. But it seems that after my brother came along, the traveling became less frequent. I don’t know if it’s cultural and the influence of how my parents grew up themselves, but I’m pretty sure the whole notion of vacation didn’t exist under the circumstances of their upbringing back in Korea. I remember getting exasperated by their “why do you have to go there?” response every time I told them that I was going on a trip. They never understood why I wanted to leave NY when NY had everything. And visiting a destination twice? That was even harder for them to understand. But sometimes I also wonder if this was actually the norm back when I was a kid because I don’t remember any of my friends traveling either. Maybe it happened, but from my recollection I never heard of my friends taking trips to Florida or the Caribbean during Spring Break or going to Europe, or really anywhere. It could just be that I grew up in a working class neighborhood in Queens and people vacationed the way we did – occasional weekend motel trips to Montauk or the Poconos – or that vacation was an entirely different concept back in the 70s or 80s, but Spring Break and Summer vacations to us were playing in the back yard, playing with our toys, watching TV and yes, sitting around the house getting bored.
Those few trips to Montauk and the Poconos, however, are some of those memories that stuck around. They were never very long and they certainly weren’t fancy, but I remember that they were fun. We’d gather a few other families, sometimes cousins, aunts and uncles and sometimes family friends, and we’d rent a few motel rooms and all pile in for the weekend. I hadn’t been back to Montauk since one of those childhood trips so it had been a good 30 or so years since I’ve been out there. At one point a few years back, it seemed like everyone in our neighborhood was going out to Montauk. It had become suddenly hip and was on everyone’s radar. We decided over the weekend to take a spontaneous drive. It’s pretty far from the city, especially because of one lane traffic at the end of the island, but not a bad drive from where my parents are. We left early in the morning and stayed until the sun went down before our drive back. When we got to Montauk, nothing looked familiar to me – not the beaches or the town and at night, the whole place seemed to transform into a party (by the way, you want a sure fire way to make yourself feel instantly old? Realizing that all those teens and college aged kids spilling out of those house parties are much closer in age to your kids than you are should do it. I seem to be doing that a lot these days. I see a group of teenage girls and think, oh my god, this could be the girls soon. But I digress). It wasn’t until we got to the lighthouse at the end of the day that I felt a sense of familiarity. I remembered those rocks and I remember taking photos on that rocky beach.
Ironically, I was the first person in my family to take a trip outside of the states, overseas on a plane. It happened twice and both times I went without my family. The first was on a government sponsored trip to Korea when I was 10, the one and only time I had ever gone back since being born there and the second happened when I was 17 on a school chaperoned trip to London and Paris during Spring Break. Our high school conducted many of these trips to a few European cities every year. Twelve kids on a 9 day trip chaperoned by a nun and a biology teacher (I went to a Catholic high school). Pretty wild for this British music obsessed American teenager in the late 80s. I feel really grateful to my parents for sending me on those 2 trips and opening up my world. The first trip was hard because it really was a culture shock and I was away from my parents for 2 months at still a young age in essentially a foreign country (and that was the point of the government sponsored trip – to reacquaint Korean American kids with their home country. We were even on the news because this was the first program of its kind). The second trip was just pure fun – and yes, nuns know how to party, especially when they start drinking at dance clubs and uh, French Burlesque shows.
Because we’ve made travel a priority, I’m learning that fancy vacations don’t matter to the kids, just as I don’t think those childhood trips to Montauk would have been any more memorable had we stayed in fancier digs or ate dinner out at restaurants instead of cooking meals on a grill. Similarly, we’ve figured out how to travel fairly on the cheap no matter where we go (someday the girls might roll their eyes over stories of how their mom stuffed suitcases full of snacks to save money on food). I know we’re lucky in that we have family to visit in such nice places as Seattle every year – the girls look forward to that trip every summer more so than anything else. I also know that we’re lucky to have my parents’ house in the Long Island burbs to escape to on the weekends. It makes city living all the more bearable when you don’t feel so trapped in by concrete and crowds at all times. But despite what my parents have always told me when I was a kid, that there was no reason to leave NY, I think it’s important to show the girls that there is indeed life outside of NYC and that people live differently in different places. So we do what we can, and what we have is good.
I hope your summer is good too.