Last week my little family got to enjoy our first ever "staycation". Don't get me wrong, I love a good vacation. But staycationing was a great option for us this year for a few reasons. One being we have a six month old, and we just weren't sure how well he would do traveling in the car seat for a long drive. The other (main) reason we opted not to go on a traditional vacation this summer was because at the end of last year when it was time to book summer vacations, there was a little bit of uncertainty with my husband's job. So it just didn't seem wise to pay a ton of money for a trip when we didn't know what the next few months would hold for us (thankfully it all turned out fine!). The idea of having a week of vacation time without having to pay a lot of money or travel a long distance seemed like a great idea for this season of life. So we cleared our schedules and Jonathan took Tuesday-Friday off of work, and we ended up having such a fun time!
All of our activities were in and around the Baton Rouge area. I'm thankful we live in a place that offers so many things to do. We started off pretty slow on Tuesday. I had to take Gibson in for his six month check up, so Jonathan took the older boys out on a boat ride (one of their most favorite things). How gorgeous is this view on the river?!
We spent the afternoon hanging out at home, watched a movie, and then went to dinner at a local restaurant - Mi Padre's. We didn't realize it was kids' night, so their meals were free! I need to get up to speed about when kids' nights are around town!
Wednesday was a bit more exciting. We woke up and headed to downtown Baton Rouge to explore. We walked along the levy to check out the river and barges. Then we made our way down to see the USS Kidd. I love that Baton Rouge has a real battleship right in the middle of the city! I remember touring it as a kid, so I was excited to show it to the boys. We didn't do the tour of the boat this time since it felt difficult to try to navigate a battleship with a baby. But the boys still loved getting to see it!
The Louisiana Art and Science Museum (LASM) is right next to the USS Kidd, so we headed there next. This was another one of my favorite places to visit when I was younger! The boys had a blast playing in the discovery and learning centers. We even got to see a dinosaur skull.
LASM also has a real mummy, but they weren't quite as impressed with that as I was hoping. Maybe one day. We headed back home in the afternoon for lunch and rest. Porter didn't quite make it to the house before passing out. Sometimes I forget he's only three years old, sweet boy.
After naps we headed to the mall (their request) to eat Chickfila and ride the carousel. We walked around a little while, and were reminded why we usually avoid the mall, ha! But the boys had a lot of fun looking in the stores and riding the escalator. Little kids are so easy to impress!
Thursday was an awesome day! We started the day off by heading to Houma because Jonathan's sister and her husband were finalizing the adoption of their four kids! It was so special to be there to celebrate with them.
From there we headed to New Orleans to visit the Louisiana Children's Museum. We made a pitstop at McDonalds for a potty break and to feed Gibson. The boys loved the play place and begged to just stay there and play! They also loved eating their first ever Happy Meal (yes, for real...#meanmom).
The Louisiana Children's Museum is somewhere I've been wanting to go for a while, but hadn't made the trip yet. But we will for sure be going back because it was so much fun! This may have been my favorite place we visited just because there was so much to do. They loved getting to pretend play at all the different stations. And of course the bubbles were a huge hit!
Sweet Porter was worn out once again! We got home in the late afternoon, and then dropped all three boys off at my sister's house for the night so Jonathan and I could go on a date! We went to dinner at BRQ (fun fact: Jonathan built the wood sign that is hanging over the door!) and then went to Movie Tavern to see Baby Driver. It was such a fun movie! I'm so glad we were able to take a night for just the two of us. We had great (uninterrupted!) conversation. And going to the movies has always been one of our favorite things to do (going to a movie was what we did on our first date).
Friday we picked the boys up from my sisters and got some donuts from Fleur de Lis Donuts for breakfast. We then headed over to Area 51 (or "the jump place" as they like to call it). They ask to go jump at least once a week, and that rarely actually happens. Because three kids by myself at the trampoline park is just TOO much. They were so excited that I actually got to jump with them since Jonathan was with us, too, and he got to hang out with Gibson.
I was so proud of Evan. He had so much fun and was being so brave! It wasn't that long ago I was having to force him to go down a slide. And now he is swinging on the trapeze and doing flips off the highest jumping point.
After our time was up at Area 51, we headed over to Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center (with a stop for Icees on the way, of course). This is another place I've never taken them so it was fun to explore it together. Inside they have rats, frogs, turtles, snakes, and even a baby alligator. They loved it, and I pretended to not be totally freaked out by the snakes (ew!). Then we headed for a half mile walk along the trail through the swamp area. We didn't see any crazy wildlife (one snake, huge grasshoppers, spiders, skinks, and a butterfly), but it was really pretty! It's crazy that this sits right in the middle of Baton Rouge!
We spent the rest of Friday hanging at home, playing, and watching the Lego Movie on repeat. We spent most of the day Saturday at home too. It was nice to have a day at home with the whole family. And since we had been going going going all week, no one was stir crazy, and the boys were still getting along. Jonathan took the boys out to Lowes (another favorite activity of theirs) and to eat pizza at "the pizza store" (aka Rotolos) while I stayed home for Gibson to get a good nap. Speaking of Gibson, he was a ROCKSTAR all week long. I don't think he really fussed one time. He went with the flow, had fun playing in his carseat, ate on a good and easy schedule, napped in the stroller and on our drives. I couldn't have asked for him to be any easier. Thank the good Lord for that sweet baby!
So if any of you Baton Rouge area mamas are wanting a vacation without the travel, I hope you found some good ideas in this post! I'm sure there are similar things to do in whatever area you live in if you just start doing a little research. Little kids are generally easy to please. It's all about your attitude going into it! Even though we were at home all week, we didn't worry about any around-the-house chores or projects. We let our focus be totally on having fun and relaxing with the kids. It was such a sweet time and I know I will remember all the fun memories we made. And there was no misery of long car rides and being totally out of our normal routine. Because that just isn't necessarily fun with small kids, let's be honest (I hope that doesn't make me a mean or not-fun mom to say that). I totally recommend giving a staycation a try if you don't want the stress or expense of a week of travel! I think all in all we spent around $300 for the week - including going on a date! Not too shabby.
Do you go on family vacations every year? Or have you tried a staycation before? Let me know your thoughts and tips. It's never too soon to start thinking about and saving for next summer!