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Beccard's Christmas Vacation 2018

J and I have been talking about "family" vacations since before Lexi was even conceived, so you can imagine our excitement when we made the decision to take our very first Beccard Family Trip this year---overnight (more than one) in a hotel!  You may also imagine the picture perfect Family Vacation with a three and a four year-old...yeah.  That picture you're imagining is probably nothing like what we experienced!

Now that we've done this...I have learned three very important lessons:

1)  Look at a darn map when planning.
2)  Lower the sleep expectations.
3)  Do a tiny bit more research ahead of time.

The beginning of our Big Adventure!  The kids were super excited and so was I.  I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into...  Good thing they're cute... Ha!

The whole basis for our trip was to go to the Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Show.  Since we don't have anything quite like that in our area, I thought, perfect!  We can go on a little road trip, see how the kiddos do on a vacation, and see some awesome Christmas lights!  But we ended up in Cedar Rapids (for the Amana Colonies).  Because, apparently I thought they were right next to each other.  Nope.  Mount Pleasant is 73 miles (about an hour south) of Cedar Rapids.  I should always double-check my geography with a map.  Clearly.  So, what I thought would be an epic adventure full of fun, magical Christmas-y things turned into...something a bit different...

On the way to Cedar Rapids, we stopped at a Chick-Fil-A in Des Moines to break up the trip and help the kids blow off some steam.  It helped.  We also looked well rested; we had been on "vacay" for less than two hours...

I, for some reason, thought that the kids would be so happy to sleep in a hotel, in a big bed all to themselves...yeah...what was I thinking!?  They thought the bed was a trampoline; they stole all the pillows from both beds and threw them on the floor to jump onto...and bedtime was literally a nightmare!  (Think: two super excited, extremely wound up, in a new environment preschoolers who resembled something along the lines of turbo-charged kangaroos)  

They kept talking to each other at bedtime and then giggling incessantly (I have no idea what they were giggling about) and each time J or I would tell them to go to sleep, they'd stop talking for all of two seconds before breaking into a fit of giggles all over again.

It finally got to the point where J went and laid in bed with both kids to keep them separated (he slept in between them) and they did finally settle down.  Before long, though, I had a little boy come to the bed and sleep on top of my feet; much like my cat does at home.  And then, that's when the king-sized obstacle course began.  How does a little boy manage to roll all over a king-size bed and manage to punch, kick, head-butt his mom when you're literally on opposite sides of the bed?  (#thingsonlyatoddlercando).

All said and done, I learned that I need to lower my sleep expectations and demand that the hotel supplies me with a 12-Cup Coffee Maker in my room instead of those single serve ones.

Breakfast of Champions for my Little Man.  Double-Fisting a "wassel" and OJ.

This is how I got through Day 1 of no sleep.  I was asleep in the car after Day 2.

Now, even though the Christmas Light Show was now out of the question, we decided to make the best of it and enjoy the Christmas feel at the Amana Colonies.  I had (very briefly) read about the Villages being all decked out with lights and music and Santa Claus!  So, we packed up our kiddos in the Beccard Family SUV and headed down the highway to the Colonies.  

When we arrived, the main Village we stopped at (Amana) was nearly a ghost town.  Probably should have realized that the middle of the week would not be an ideal time to go Christmas sight-seeing (Santa only came on weekends---that makes sense), but with little sleep, I'm not sure my brain was firing on all cylinders quite right.

The Village did have a few adorable wooden cut-outs for the kids to get a cute photo op in and the shops were decorated festively.  But, my kids were the only ones in the entire place and I think J and I may have been the youngest couple there by about 25 years.  But, we still enjoyed running through some shops, looking at some fun items, buying the kids a toy, eating fudge, and partaking in the most delicious German food I've ever had.  

Family Selfie at the beginning of our exploring in front of the General Store at Amana.

While no Santa was present, the kids ran around these little wooden cutouts for pictures (and to burn off some extra energy).

All that exploring at Amana wore these kiddos out.  It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they didn't sleep well the night before.  Nope, nothing....
While the trip was absolutely nothing like what I had envisioned in my head, it was our trip and we made memories that will last us a lifetime!  And I have learned lessons that will last me the rest of the kids' childhoods.  I do think this will become a Beccard Christmas Tradition (road trips, not necessarily Cedar Rapids) and I do know the kids had a good time.  And that is all that matters.


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