January 23, 2007

An Honor Just To Be Nominated

I rarely talk about work, but...

Yesterday, I went to a very large meeting attended by most of the people with whom I work. In front of these people - 300 or so - I was presented an award. Not just any award but the most prestigious award my company hands out...and they don't hand it out often. I didn't know beforehand so I'm sure I had that deer in the headlights look you see on people when their meth labs get raided by swat teams in the middle of the night. But I was surprised, honored and more than a little validated (you recall my post last week in which I discussed the fact that I constantly worry about getting canned, right?). It was, quite honestly, humbling.

Of course, if I didn't have a bit of Woody Allen-like anxiety over the whole thing, something wouldn't be right. You see, in addition to recognition and a nice pat on the back for a job well done, this award comes with a trip. One pretty much wherever I want so long as it's in North America. Great, right? Except that I hate to fly and I'm the dad of an eighteen month old who I am loathe to be away from for longer than your average work day (and even that's a stretch). So, while we're in the early stages of noodling this one through, I have to ask you two questions.

1. If you'd won an trip pretty much anywhere you wanted to go for three to five days, would you take your 18 to 24 month old child?

2. Let's say you said yes to the first question - where would you go? Let's say you said no. Same question.

Color me curious. Tell me what you think.

Posted by Chris at January 23, 2007 7:17 AM
Comments

Savannah, GA whether you wanted to take Mia or not. It has a beautiful historic district plenty of places to walk with or without the stroller, plenty of parks to play in. If you have a car with you, you can also go to the beach, climb a lighthouse, etc. I am going there for my honeymoon and I have been there several times. It is AWESOME!!!

Posted by: goodsnake at January 23, 2007 7:30 AM

Congrats on the award! And you said anywhere in North America, right? If you can hang on to the tickets for a little while (like until the summer) I'd suggest Vancouver. I've never been there, but I've always wanted to go and I hear it's fabulous fun. And I'd suggest going without the kiddo - it's just a couple of days and I doubt she'd remember anyway, plus she has grandparents who I'm sure would love to have her around for a few days.

Posted by: Jessie at January 23, 2007 7:35 AM

I love both my boys as much as you do Mia. You and Beth work very hard to maintain a great life. I think you deserve a trip away together, alone, for the first time in a long time.

Mia will not remember the trip, she may hate to fly, and you will have to worry about a lot of things. Portable crib, car seat, etc. It may be more hectic than it is worth and deviate from the purpose to take a break from everyday routine and relax a bit without having any expectations.

I would go to San Diego or Estes Park in CO.

Good Luck! CONGRATULATIONS!

Posted by: Steff at January 23, 2007 7:49 AM

Totally with Steff on this one! I have three boys but because my husband and I have always taken trips on our own (not just family vacations) we have kept our romantic life alive and well.

If you have grandparents close by who will stay with Mia then take Beth and have an awesome time!

I would go to a beach - Aruba or Dominican Republic.

Posted by: Debbie at January 23, 2007 7:55 AM

Congratulations!

I would take her. Somewhere--anywhere--with an ocean and a beach. Responsibility, yes, but so much fun for a little one.

If I wasn't taking her, for some reason or another, Alaska. Just because it's where I've always wanted to visit. And I suspect Yukon hikes aren't much fun for babies.

Posted by: Alissa at January 23, 2007 7:56 AM

Congrats on the award.

I would take the kid and go to Either Disney (sure she won't remember But you will) or to NY city. (again she won't remember but you will). There is enough to do for both the kids and adults in either.

If you decided not to take her and it was just you and your wife I would recomend either Vegas or NY city. There is enough to do in ether city over a few days that you would have a good time. Also without spending too much money becasue there are tons of "free Cheap" places to go in either city.

I would also suggest New Orleans.

Posted by: William at January 23, 2007 7:58 AM

With or without Mia, "up-north" Michigan in the summertime cannot be beat!! SO MUCH to do, SO MUCH to see, and the awsomest pictures you will ever take!!!

Posted by: Dawn at January 23, 2007 8:00 AM

Congratulations.

I'd definitely take my kid with me.

As for the destination, it would depend when you were taking the trip. If you're going soon (i.e. winter) then maybe somewhere like Florida (Disneyworld) would be good. Alternately, you could go somewhere a bit different like Montreal, which admittedly is miserable in the winter with all the snow, but come spring is a really good place to visit.

I say pick somewhere the three of you have never been, but that has some good attractions for Mia to keep her entertained.

Posted by: Jeff at January 23, 2007 8:04 AM

I have a "loaf of bread" that stays where I put him - and we take him everywhere we go, so I think I understand your dilemma. I would visit somewhere where even the hotel rooms are entertaining (in case of baby-emergency) and where you'll enjoy showing new and interesting things to Mia. Which completely depends on what you would consider new and interesting!

(I guess that also answers the question of whether I think you should take Mia, huh?)

Congratulations on your award:)

Posted by: Heather at January 23, 2007 8:12 AM

Hey Chris,

Bring Mia :-) especially since it's 3-5 days. Dont' worry bout a car seat...that certainly won't help in an airplane (for most airlines, she can ride for free since she's young enough and can sit in a lap). You can rent car seats and stuff from rental companies. Since I'm a warm weather gal, I'd say take your family someplace warm...like sunny FL. It's been in the 70s and 80s here all January (I LOVE IT!). There are plenty of touristy things to do in Orlando, and the beach is beautiful and oh so close. Besides, I think she can get into all the Disney theme parks for free since she's under 2...so you & Beth can have a fun family time with her at Epcot (stroller rental is so easy at Disney).

Bring the Mia bean...or you won't even enjoy your vacation because you and Beth will be missing her like crazy.

Posted by: dolly at January 23, 2007 8:16 AM

Take her! And go to Florida. My favorite place to go is down in the Keys. Siesta Key Beach is beautiful with white sand.... you guys can build castles, play in the water, and collect little shells. Great photo opps! We can't wait to take our little guy. 3-5 days is perfect to put you in a good mood and refresh yourself.

Posted by: Jen at January 23, 2007 8:29 AM

Congrats!
I'd bring her; there'll be plenty of time to leave her home when she's older and understands what "we'll be back in a few days" means.
How about good ol' Southern Cali? Rent a car and you can visit the desert, mountains and beach all in one day (if you're just a little crazy), plus there are a bazillion amusement parks to choose from as well. You could even pop over for a night in Vegas (that place is an amusement park in and of itself these days).

Posted by: Jaycie at January 23, 2007 8:36 AM

I would leave her with her loving grandparents and enjoy the time with your lovely wife. It is good for the kiddos to spend quality time with their grandparents.

That said...I would go to either San Francisco or Key West. Two of my favorite cities for vastly different reasons.

If you do take Mia then I would opt for Key West because every kid loves the beach!

Posted by: daisy at January 23, 2007 8:37 AM

No-call me evil, but I belive parents need time alone.

Australia, or Tuscanny. (but I hate to fly, so that will never happen).

Posted by: jodi at January 23, 2007 8:41 AM

I hate to be such a one trick pony but I'd head to California.

I've done week-long babysitting stints a few times and it was always when the parents wanted a vacation sans kids. I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with that. It might be nice for you and Beth to have a little time alone, reconnect and all that Dr. Phil lovey-dovey stuff. On the other hand, she's such a cute kid, I can see how it would be hard to leave her behind. But don't force it. If you feel like you can't leave her, then don't. Nothing at all says you have to be ready to be apart from her right now.

Posted by: patricia at January 23, 2007 8:42 AM

I dont have any good suggestions for locations or opinion if you should take Mia along. I do want to say congratulations!

Posted by: linda at January 23, 2007 8:49 AM

that's easy. toronto.
:)

Posted by: ali at January 23, 2007 8:51 AM

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

1. Probably not. I hate to leave my dogs, but then it's okay when I finally do leave. Then again, they're dogs.

2. Vancouver BC hands down.

PS - I'm thinking of getting my own domain. What blog software do you use and what web hosting service? I'm totally in the dark about these things. Thanks.

Posted by: Heather at January 23, 2007 8:54 AM

J and I actually just took a 2-day vacation without our 18 month old. We went to a swank Phila hotel, approximatly 5 miles away from our child (but in a different state!).
On Sunday we were really anxious to get back to our baby. So 3-5 days MAYBE. As long as we're not more than 1/2 hour away, lol.

Do NOT feel guilty if your milage varies.

If I won, I would take my child to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, etc. because it has things all of us would like and much better restaurants than youd find in FL.

Posted by: That Girl at January 23, 2007 9:01 AM

Congratulations! I'm sure you deserve it.

I think you and Beth should try to get away for a bit without the bean in tow, but I haven't got a clue where you should go. I'm helpful like that.

Posted by: Fraulein N at January 23, 2007 9:02 AM

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I know what award you're talking about. :)

If I were you, I'd visit my cool friends in Chicago.

No?

Okay, then someplace where you'll enjoy it w/o taking the whole time to recover from jet lag. Grand Caymen maybe?

Posted by: Leah at January 23, 2007 9:12 AM

San Francisco of course.

I think that's why grandparents were invented; on the other hand if you're going to be miserable for 3 to 5 days, you might as well take her along.

Posted by: ann adams at January 23, 2007 9:16 AM

As the mother of a turning-ten-tomorrow year old daughter, I say, leave Mia with grandparents and go with Beth. All of the kid-oriented places people have suggested, like Disney, will be totally lost on Mia. What will be going through HER mind is "why in the world have my mom and dad taken me away from my stuff and my nicely ordered world?" Little ones don't appreciate having their routines disrupted and seeing the sights, having new experiences, etc. You and Beth, on the other hand, can have nice dinners out, sleep till noon, have lots of downtime together (whatever that means to you!), and enjoy spending a few days as a couple. My husband and I have done this many times over the years (even when our daughter was little!) and it's really valuable time together. Just my $0.02 (or 2 dollars...).

Posted by: Janie at January 23, 2007 9:19 AM

Fantastic - congrats!

I'd say "yes" and Maui. Seriously, Hawaii is so gorgeous and she'd have a great time (as well as you!)

Posted by: mingaling at January 23, 2007 9:19 AM

Congratulations!
For the trip, I say it's your call whether to make it a family or a couple trip. But I'd go to Alaska and then do one of those glacier cruises.

Posted by: Traci at January 23, 2007 9:22 AM

congratulations!

as for the trip - I would go to California, because I really, really want to see it and have never been. But that's just me. I'd also want to go to NYC because my guy has never been and it's one of my favourite places in the whole world.

As for the question of whether to take the bean or no...I can't answer that. I can see pros to having time alone with Beth, and I can see pros to taking her with you. I think it's a matter of what will distract from the vacation more - lugging around all of the stuff you need when you travel with a baby, or missing her like crazy when you leave her behind...

Posted by: suze at January 23, 2007 9:26 AM

Having been there, literally, and congrats on your award, I'd take my lovely bride and Mia would be spending five wonderfully spoiled rotten days at Grandma's. Then, I'd be taking a little Lorazepem, and hopping the red-eye to the beach. Any beach will do--but preferrably one that is warm right now and not in high tourist season. There, I'd catch up on my reading, play in the sand, and pull out some fingerpaints to play with my companion. Go for it Chris. You really don't get a lot of chances like this, and Mia will be very happy building memories with the grandparents...

Posted by: Lori at January 23, 2007 9:33 AM

If you come to Toronto, I'll drive the 2 hours to Ali's and we all can go for dinner. Shweet!

Posted by: Karen Rani at January 23, 2007 9:36 AM

If you guys decide to take Mia, it won't really be that hard. We had some great vacations with toddlers in San Diego, there were many places we could go as a family.

I would pick some place that you guys have always wanted to go for sightseeing, but wouldn't be your first choice if you were actually paying. (South Dakota, Wyoming, or Montana would be my choices) The theory being that you will actually visit the first choices eventually. Bring a stroller and take in what you can, but don't try to over do it.

Posted by: anna at January 23, 2007 9:36 AM

I've always wondered about the deep south ...?

(and where do you go to watch people getting raided in their meth labs in the middle of the night? cuz that sounds interesting, too)

Posted by: s@bd at January 23, 2007 9:42 AM

I can't help but agree with the people who think Miss Mia is a little young and would have a better and calmer time with her grandparents. I think trips are exhausting for little guys, and I agree with whoever said she'd be confused as to where her ordered little world went to. But that's just me, you'll do what's right for you guys.

If you want to go somewhere while it's still winter, I might recommend Arizona or something. Pretty down there. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful. Chicago can be fun to visit. So many options! It's hard to say.

And, of course, congratulations! We're all so proud of you!

Posted by: kara at January 23, 2007 9:53 AM

knowing you and Beth as I do over the internet, I would say you should take a Mia vacation. I could see the three of you in a cabin in the woods where your entertainment was watching Mia explore and learn. Or the beach... 'cause who doesn't enjoy a beach vacation! My favorite "close" beach spot is Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) Mexico. Four-hour drive from Phoenix, warm water (from the spring on, that is), calm, cheap, and crowdless.

Posted by: Lisa at January 23, 2007 9:54 AM

You bet your ass I'd go! Whether or not I'd take the kid would depend on the purpose of the trip.

Personally I'd go to Colorado and go snowboarding. If she hasn't mastered pizza / french fries, I wouldn't take her to Colorado just yet. ;)

Posted by: Adam at January 23, 2007 10:04 AM

Congrats on the award!! :) Now you can say you're the award-winning Rude Cactus. hee ... :)

Well, I have to say that I don't have an 18 month old child (or a child of any age, for that matter), but San Francisco/the Bay Area is probably my most favorite place (not that I have much to compare it to, but there you go). Or, if you do take Mia, there's always San Diego & the San Diego Zoo. :D [That makes it sound like SF and SD are close to each other, but really they're not] Understanding that you're not big on the flying thing, though, a 5-ish hour flight probably isn't big on you're "let's do it!"-o-meter. so I don't know. lol :)

Posted by: Manda at January 23, 2007 10:16 AM

Wow -- congratulations on receiving the award, Chris!

To answer your questions:

1. I don't have an 18-24 month-old child (or any child, for that matter), so I really can't say. Besides, you're going to do whatever feels right for you and Beth, so why would I try to impose my will on you anyway? :-)

2. I like the idea of going somewhere warm and beachy, especially since Mia has expressed her disdain for even a smattering of snowflakes (on the not-so-off-chance she ends up on this trip with you), and I would just make sure that it's a place that is nice to sightsee in, too, in case you get a sunburn on the first day or it's too overcast to sit on the beach.

3. Take the trip sooner rather than later, i.e., within the next 2-3 miserable weather months, if possible. Next thing you know, it'll be spring, then summer, right where you are, and a beachy getaway will be the last thing on your agenda until next November.

Posted by: shelley at January 23, 2007 10:17 AM

Congrats, Chris. That's a huge honor, and I'm certain your hard work and constant desire for knowledge were the direct cause.

The vacation thing is hard. We've flown with an 11-month-old toddler, and most recently with a 3-year-old and 8-month-old. The most stressful part of both trips was having them untethered. Buying a seat for her (or having your company do it) and using her normal car seat is such a stress-reliever, I can't even convey. Of course every kid is different, but once mine were walking they didn't want to sit in my lap for more than 5 seconds.

1) Without Mia? Vancouver or Seattle (or both, they're close). I'd want something romantic but have plenty to see and do.

2) With Mia, I'd probably do San Diego. It's warm, plenty to do, easy to navigate in a rental car, and relaxing.

If I'm leaving for 3 or 3 1/2 days, I'd go with just Jen. 5 days and I'd take them. Otherwise the last two days I'd be homesick for the kids and not have as much fun. I'm odd like that. When they're older, that'll change, but the connection at this age is as strong for me as it is for them.

Posted by: Brad at January 23, 2007 10:20 AM

I would go to Alaska. It's beautiful, the people are awesome, and it's expensive. This is an all-inclusive trip, right? Just go in the summer and not the winter.

I think I'd take the kiddo. You can always leave her with the bears if she's bad.

Posted by: Jennifer Bennett at January 23, 2007 10:23 AM

Congratulations on your award!

I don't have kids, so I can't answer the first question with any authority. As for the second question...I'd go to Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Jackson Hole, Savannah, Fort Lauderdale, St. Paul and Los Angeles. And New Orleans. Probably Madison WI too. And Austin. Oh, and Portland. Anchorage.

I have a travel bug as you can plainly see.

Posted by: fw sunshine at January 23, 2007 10:33 AM

Vegas, baby! There are lots of friendly looking laides out on the sidewalks who look like they'd make great babysitters.

But seriously, if I were you, I'd take the 18- to 24-month old (or, in my case, two 18- to 24-month-olds). I'd spend the whole vacation missing her/them otherwise.

As for where, it all depends on what kind of vacation you want. I recognize two vacation classifications: relaxation and edification. For a relaxation vacation, seek out a beach. For an edification vacation, perhaps take in a city where you can learn about our great nation's history. Philadelphia or Boston, perhaps? Or D.C. -- perhaps Mia would enjoy the Air and Space museum.

Posted by: Kelly at January 23, 2007 10:38 AM

With no guilt whatsoever I would leave la kiddo at home. Grandparent time is very important time. Parent/Marriage/Margarita time equally so.

That being said, I'd head straight to New York City or San Francisco. Or possibly Laguna Nigel, CA - but it'd be hard not to go to NY in the Spring.

Uh, can I come, too?

Posted by: Pammer at January 23, 2007 10:38 AM

1) Sure, why not?
2)and why not Hawaii?

Posted by: ::c:: at January 23, 2007 10:57 AM

Being that its only 11 degrees here today..... Somewhere warm.. with beaches ..

I say take Mia. Enjoying your vacation with the ones you love..

Posted by: Molly at January 23, 2007 10:58 AM

1) Sure, why not?
2) Why not Hawaii?

Posted by: ::c:: at January 23, 2007 10:58 AM

oh , and CONGRATS on the award!

Posted by: Molly at January 23, 2007 10:59 AM

Congratulations! Go you!

1. Possibly. I also really enjoy taking trips with just my husband, though.

2. Somewhere in the same time zone, definitely. Jet lag + 18/24 mo. old = Seventh level of Hell (I know this from first-hand experience, unfortunately.)

2. ANYWHERE. Maybe somewhere warm, if you're going in the winter.

Posted by: candace at January 23, 2007 11:14 AM

Wow! Congratulations on the Award!! That is AWESOME!!!

As for the trip? Hmm. well, I have an almost 7 month old and I have been dreaming about taking a 3-5 day trip away when she is around a year old. I have no idea how I will feel then, but I'll tell you what, it would sure make me feel better if you and Beth went on a trip by yourselves first. lol

Im going to think about places you should go and get back to you.

Posted by: alfredsmom at January 23, 2007 11:23 AM

Congrats!

Disney World would be a good choice...there's plenty in Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom to keep Mia entertained that's little kid friendly, maybe even Epcot's World Showcase will make ya'll feel like you've briefly left the US, and the resorts are kid friendly (well the value end ones) or go to one of the nicer ones and you and Beth can briefly pretend you're at the beach. Oh, and the Christmas store at Downtown Disney, I assure you Mia will love :)

Posted by: christina at January 23, 2007 11:35 AM

I'm not a mom so I have no idea how hard it is to travel with kids... but I know how I feel when I leave my bulldogs at home... and I'm going to say it's probably a more intense feeling for your own flesh and blood, eh? (hehe) So, I say take her and go somewhere warm so you don't have to worry about coats, runny noses and getting sick, etc. Someone mentioned San Diego, but it's nippy here right now. Must go to Hawaii. :)

Posted by: Betty at January 23, 2007 11:37 AM

Congrats on the award!

I would definitely take Mia along for the trip and go somewhere warm with beaches. We just returned from a week long vacation in Hawaii with our 18-month-old and had a great time. The best part of the trip for me was watching my son play in the sand on the beach. He had a blast! However, I don't really suggest Hawaii unless you are up for a very long plane ride with Mia. Somewhere a little closer might be a better option if she's going along.

Posted by: dee at January 23, 2007 11:46 AM

First.... congratulations! You rock!

Second, I would take Mia somewhere beachy where you didn't have to fly too far. I am incredibly partial to Hilton Head, but any beach in North or South Carolina would be lovely. If you were going to not take the girl, I'd say Vegas! I don't even like to gamble, but it's such a spectacle, the weather is always good, and there is a ton of good food. Plus who can resist the occasional slot machine? But I think people who take their kids to Vegas are whacked. No matter how many M&Ms stores they put on the strip, Sin City is NOT for kids. Just my opinion. Good luck making your choice!

Posted by: donna at January 23, 2007 11:53 AM

Congrats on the award!

I would take the trip without Mia. I think it's important for parents to have some alone time and its good for the kids too. It seems like you have willing and able grandparents nearby that would take wonderful care of Mia. We've left the kids with grandparents when they were babies and it was great for the babes and grand parents. And for the hubs and myself. We missed them terribly but its nice to be able to spend some quality time alone. And Mia is so young, she isnt going to appreciate the trip or remember it.

I would recommend New Orleans.(I'm not biased, really)...its such a beautiful city and there is so much to do! Its slowly recovering and desperately needs tourism!!! Great restaurants, music, culture, so many photo opportunities. Its Mardi Gras season, you may be able to catch a parade or go during French Quarter Festival! Free music throughout the French Quarter!

Posted by: Lisa at January 23, 2007 12:12 PM

My vote...take Mia Bean along. Congratulations on your award and recognition. I believe you do what you do best because you (1) know what you're doing (2)proficient enough to get recognized (3)strive to do well for your family (4)actually like it.

Bring the family to a great place where you can all be inspired, entertained and build memories together. Don't forget to take lots of photos. My favorite choice would be Montreal, Quebec in the Springtime. It provides a taste of Europe and you don't have that 6 hour flight across the Pond.

Enjoy, my friend! My best to Beth and Mia Bean.

Tootles,
Anni :-)

Posted by: Anni at January 23, 2007 12:15 PM

Congratulations!

That is a tough one.....I would probably take her, go somewhere that she would enjoy. Personally, I would go to Hawaii...but, that would be quite a long flight for you. :)

Posted by: Nanette at January 23, 2007 12:16 PM

Congrats! That's great.

Take her and go to San Francisco--baby's first trip to the Castro!

Of course, that would be a very long plane ride, so perhaps someplace closer, like Quebec.

Posted by: samantha at January 23, 2007 12:45 PM

Congratulations!

I think the big factor in whether or not you take Mia is how you guys will deal with not seeing her for 3-5 days. Obviously she'll be fine & dandy with the grandparents, but if it's going to distract you guys from having a good trip then I'd say just take her with you. You can always do a more local weekend or overnight away from her when she's a bit older if you're not comfortable leaving her alone at this age.

Oh and for where to go - I 2nd (3rd, 4th!) the votes for San Diego if it's a trip you have to use within the next couple of months. If you can wait until summer, I'd say Alaska or Nova Scotia or Montreal. Or there's always Disney. Mia probably won't be as into it now as she will be in a few years, but she'll have fun.

Posted by: erin at January 23, 2007 12:59 PM

I don't know where I would go. Maybe California, since I've never really been, and I'm really into warm right now. I'd leave my kids behind, as long as I was comfortable with the person who would be caring for them. In fact, we took our first trip away from Jamie at about 14 months, I think. She stayed at our house, and my dad came and stayed with her. She did great, partly because she was comfortable with my dad, and everything he did was fun and exciting, but also because she stayed in her comfort zone.

Congrats on the award. Now take your wife somehwere romantic and celebrate!

Posted by: Becky at January 23, 2007 1:00 PM

1. yes
2. disney, she won't remember it, but at least she'll be having fun. i'd go to the one in california because i haven't been to the west coast in 12 years, but since you hate flying, i guess the florida one is good.

Posted by: denise at January 23, 2007 1:03 PM

Yosemite National Park in California. You could take in lively San Francisco, too. Oh, and heck- I GUESS I'd let you come visit me, since you'd be here and all. But ONLY if you bring Mia.

Oh yeah- and Congratulations! I have no doubt that you deserve it.

Posted by: heels at January 23, 2007 1:30 PM

Christ man, I can't sift through 57 posts. My two cents is that we took our first son, then 18 months old, to Hawaii and had a much bigger blast than I would have thought possible.

On that same note though, how often do just you and your wife have time together? Nobody would fault you for taking a trip together sans rugrat.

Posted by: whit at January 23, 2007 1:30 PM

Congratulations! I would probably take my kid with me if it was for 3-5 days because of the whole "Can't bear to be away from him!" thing. Since you hate to fly, what about a trip to Charleston or Savannah? Or Myrtle Beach? Mid to late June is great for Myrtle Beach because they're all geared up for the summer but there aren't any crowds yet. Plus you can get all excited about seeing Pedro at "South of the Border" on the way down, only to be disappointed at how seedy the place actually is. Always a bonus.

Posted by: Jenn at January 23, 2007 1:41 PM

Congratulations on your award!

As a person without kids, I can't really say whether to take Mia or not. If you decide to take her, San Diego would be ideal!
If you decide not to take her, one of my favorite places is Lake Tahoe. The closest airport is Reno so if you wanted some gambling/drinking time you could stay in Reno overnight and then go up to the Lake. It is gorgeous and romantic in winter or in summer!

As an ex-travel agent and pilot's wife, I can offer you this tip. When you choose your destination (or while you're deciding), go to the library or online and get the FROMMERS guide or FODORS guide for that city. These guides are extremely accurate and very honest! They will warn you of tourist traps and give really great suggestions of itineraries. They are going to give you the low-down on everything in that city. They have really great maps also. I just went to NYC for the first time and I had my book with me and we constantly referenced those maps!

Sorry for the long post but when you book travel for 10 years.....! Let us know what you decide!

Posted by: snakeepoo at January 23, 2007 2:19 PM

Congrats on the award!

Posted by: Adi at January 23, 2007 2:46 PM

Congrats on the award! Not being a parent, I can't really say one way or the other on whether or not to take Mia. I do know that my parents would go on vacations by themselves for a week when I was younger, and I stayed with my grandparents and had a great time getting to know them better. I was a bit older then, age 3-8 or so, but my brother would have been 1-6 if that was the case. I think it's important for you and Beth to have some alone time, but 3-5 days may be a stretch.

As for where to go in North America, I'd recommend somewhere you've never been before - whether or not you take the Bean with you. I'm sure there are great things to do wherever. I'd hold off on Disneyland until Mia is older so she can appreciate and remember it more.

Posted by: Beth in StL at January 23, 2007 2:53 PM

Awesome! You rock.

If I were taking a kid with me, I'd go to a beach. If not taking the kid, I'd go to Boston and enjoy some delicious food.

Posted by: Liz at January 23, 2007 2:59 PM

Congratulations, Chris! It's funny, having never "met" you, but it's such an obvious thing to me that you're good at your job. You just seem to be like that...*I* don't even know what I'm trying to say, but you rule. :-)
So I love the idea of you guys going to Vancouver once it warms up a bit - because then I could totally come down and meet you :-D Between Vancouver and Seattle you'd have plenty to do - they're both gorgeous cities. As to bringing along the Bean - I don't know how well you guys would handle the time without her? But if you could manage it, some "couple" time would probably be really great! I think we know she'd be pretty happy with her grandparents, so it's what you and Beth want. Personally, I probably wouldn't take her, except if you DO do Vancouver/Seattle, and I met you but not MiaBean? I might cry. ;-)

Posted by: Heather at January 23, 2007 3:07 PM

Niagra Falls and now is the best time to travel with a little on. Two four-year olds are whoa such a work out to take to just the mall. It's worth the stroller and car seat bit because at least two year olds still take naps! Yeah for naps!

Posted by: BID at January 23, 2007 3:09 PM

How about driving somewhere that is kid friendly? Seasame Place or Hershey Park?

P.S. My apologies for being so slow on the password thing.

Posted by: Maria at January 23, 2007 3:30 PM

I absolutely would take an 18-24 month old child! The fact that I plan on taking a 24 month old on a plane to PA in March of course plays into that... Whether I'm terrified or not is a question you didn't ask.

That said, I would fly straight to California. To San Luis Obispo, to be more exact. I'm from the Central Coast, moved with my husband to North Dakota (Air Force) 3 years ago. I HATE IT. I miss my home. I miss my ocean. I miss my towns. I think that stretch of the coastline is the best place in the whole world. You should go there. You wouldn't regret it. :D

Posted by: Phoenix at January 23, 2007 3:36 PM

Ha! Here's what you need to balance that angst. Don't be afraid to drag it out. Well done!

I wouldn't take Mia at this age. Let her grandparents enjoy her company for a few days and you both enjoy some sleep. In the Pacific Northwest! Talk about a change of landscape. What's not to love about a couple of mountain ranges (with volcanoes, even), open water, Orca, a beautiful green landscape even in winter (though summer is absolutely spectacular, no shit), and the best coffee you'll ever have. We'd love to meet you. You'll miss your child like nobody's business, but that feeling will stick with you the next time she won't sleep for three nights in a row.

And if you take Mia with, find someplace that has a certified childcare service (some hotels will offer this) and spend some quality time enjoying yourselves, wooing each other again, without having to miss her too much.

And get some chill pills (like xanax) for flying. Take advantage of this opportunity! This isn't a dress rehearsal!

Posted by: bhd at January 23, 2007 3:46 PM

Hey Chris,

Congratulations on the award! I've been lurking for a while but feel compelled to throw in a couple cents to the debate.

My first instinct is to go somewhere you may not ever go on your own. For example, you will likely take Mia to Disney sometime. Don't waste this trip on that sort of thing.

Second, travelling with a kid is a pain - I just took my 8m old and 4yo and 11yo to Mexico. If I hadn't been meeting the rest of my family there, ie the grandparents, it really wouldn't have been a vacation at all.

Third, being from Canada, I encourage you to thing about Canada in the summer. Banff and Lake Louise in Alberta are astoundingly beautiful. Cavendish Beach in PEI is incredible. Vancouver or Victoria BC, also fantastic.

Posted by: Chrissie at January 23, 2007 4:14 PM

I would leave the kids with the grandparents.

I would go to wine country, Maui or San Francisco.

If I had to take my kids, I would go to Disney. Or Grandma's house.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at January 23, 2007 4:38 PM

How Exciting! Oh, and Congratulations! Hmm... so, not that I have entirely applicable opinions (i.e. no children), but... I agree with what others have said: Weigh out the weight of bringing extra (kid stuff) vs. missing her. I really don't know what I would do--it would depend on how I felt at the moment.
As for location: If I could choose ANYWHERE, I'd say Alaska, Hawaii, or NYC (depending on who was going with me and the time of year). I've been 2 of the 3 places and would LOVE to go again (not to mention, bringing my hubby, who's never been to any). If y'all really can't decide, I say draw it like a lottery (names out of a hat)! :)

Posted by: Celina at January 23, 2007 4:46 PM

you'd come visit me in Orlando and we'd watch Mia (once you got to know us, of course) so you and Beth could go to an awesome restaurant.

C'mon, you know you wanna...

Shash

Posted by: Shash at January 23, 2007 5:03 PM

Congrats!

Leave Mia home with the grandparents. Plenty of time for traveling with her when she is older. She won't remember anything of anywhere you go right now anyway.

Santa Fe, NM is nice. Vegas rocks. Can't go wrong with a Florida beach.

If you like nature, try the Great Smokey mountains in E. TN.

Have fun!

Posted by: Anna at January 23, 2007 5:27 PM

Congratulations!

I would leave Mia with her loving grandparents. Then I'd go to Chicago, San Francisco, or Seattle. Never been to either of the S cities I mentioned, but Chicago is a great town. I love it.

Posted by: Alison at January 23, 2007 5:56 PM

I would come to Portland, Oregon!! If you haven't been there anyway. I also would love to visit the South, though. But, seriously, Hawaii is where I'd go because it's an expensive trip from where you live. Or Alaska.

And I'd take the baby, probably, unless you have a babysitter you trust real good.

Whatever happens, have fun and congratulations. I have a feeling you're not getting canned anytime soon!

Posted by: DeAnn at January 23, 2007 6:37 PM

Just glanced at the first comment... Savannah is lovely... I was married there... but they're currently redeveloping the touristy area downtown and it's a horrible mess. I was there in the fall and it was terrible... all of the good places to go were difficult to get to. So don't bring Miabean if you do that.

My votes?

With kid: Disney. It's a little cliche but so fun to experience through your child's eyes. Animal Kingdom (one of their four parks in Orlando) is pretty cool.

Without kid: San Francisco. Stay at the Dakota Hotel. It's cheap, in a great area, and on a street with three delicious Thai restaurants. You can take a trip to the redwoods across the bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts is lovely & romantic, and the wharf has seafood carts with some of the best freekin' clam chowder and crabs I've every tasted. Don't rent a car -- it's ridiculously expensive and the public transportation rocks downtown. You can probably catch a tour to the redwoods if need be.

Posted by: krystyn at January 23, 2007 6:45 PM

Congratulations!

I would leave her with family and take your wife some where romantic.
I am sure you will take other family vacations when she gets a little older and will remember it more.

Posted by: Jenn at January 23, 2007 6:49 PM

First off - a big, fat CONGRATULATIONS is in order! That? Is super awesome.

Second - even though I don't have a kid, I'm going to pretend I do. I would say yes, that I would take them with me, and I would go some place like San Francisco where you can just walk and look and go to parks.

Posted by: Emily at January 23, 2007 7:02 PM

Firstly, congratulations :)

Secondly, assuming the trip was five days, and I had a toddler older than what I currently have, yes I would take her along too. Regardless that I would have my heart set on Italy, in reality that would bore a baby to tears and screaming jags so I would be choosing somewhere like Disney in Florida. I have no doubt at all that it would do the same thing for me that Italy would, except on a much grander and much more fun scale because I would be seeing it through the eyes of my baby. :)

Posted by: erica at January 23, 2007 7:46 PM

OOie! Congrats Chris. That's awesome. It's always nice to get recognition for doing a good job. Enjoy the trip! (wherever you decide to go!) ...*

Posted by: Starlite at January 23, 2007 9:33 PM

Congrats ... nothing like a good old fashion surprise to give you a bit of cheering up ... now get back to work!

As to the vacation ... my personal pref would be to bring the kiddo with me ... time together as a family is the most important relaxing and recupurative thing in my mind. If you go to somewhere resort oriented, there will be a childcare option that you and Beth can use for a meal out if you want ... but other wise I would choose the option to stick together.

As to travel ... I agree, planes suck ... what about trains? You can definately see much more from a train window than a plane, and I would think its much easier to explore a train then a plane with a curious toddler.

Destination? Someplace like Disney is list on a toddler ... its just way too much stimulation, even for a ten year old (long story). I would pick someplace unstructured and relaxing - of what ever flavor interests you most. Just a nice relaxing different scene, with room service.

Posted by: airwick at January 23, 2007 9:54 PM

Congratulations! What a great honor and how cool that they kept it a surprise!

I say leave Mia with the g-parents (that's a super thrill for them, no doubt) and to get the most bang out of your free buck, fly to Alaska and take the cruise up the Alaskan coastline. Take the one that stops at all the ports and you get to hop off the boat and schmooze (drink) with the locals at the pub!

2nd choice of trips would be Aspen, CO. Why? Are you kidding me? Just to say you did. Fly into Denver and rent a car and drive though. It's beautiful. Make sure you stay at the Hotel Jerome (Hunter Thompson's old stomping ground), and yes, everything there IS ridiculously overpriced. But it's just a few days. You don't have to ski -- just absorb the place. It's all walking distance too. I suggest going towards the end of the ski season, so you can enjoy some snow but generally the weather is more agreeable for the drive.

Again, congratulations!

Posted by: coolchick at January 23, 2007 10:13 PM

Congratulations!

To answer your questions,
1. No.
2. ANYWHERE as long as the answer to #1 was No (my wife and I are getting ready to go on our first overnight trip without any kids (it's been 4 1/2 years since we've done such a thing)).

Posted by: Chag at January 23, 2007 11:11 PM

A friend of mine won a similar trip in December. They took both of their kids, aged 5 and aged 20 months to Hawaii. They don't have regrets.
However, since you hate to fly, I wouldn't recommend Hawaii - it's a long flight...

Posted by: Jessica at January 24, 2007 12:27 AM

WOW!!! Congratulations!!!! I'm soooo not surprised. And, I'm so happy for you. :)

Go to Orlando. There's TONS for kids to do there (Disney...). It's still in the US, so you don't have to worry about medical (or dental...in our case...), and it's only a 2-hour flight -- very doable with Mia. DISNEY!!!!

Alternatively, you could always come to TO so Mia and the monkey can hang out already? ;)

Posted by: Haley-O at January 24, 2007 12:57 AM

You already know I'm a card-carrying member of the Mia fan club, but I'd leave your little beauty with Grandma and Grandpa...grab Beth...and fly cross-country. Spend the first three days in one of the greatest cities in the world--San Francisco. Then hop a quick flight to L.A...rent yourself a convertible and spend the last two days cruising around La-La Land...just 'cause everyone oughta do that in a convertible at least once. ;)

Posted by: Marilyn at January 24, 2007 6:31 AM

Congrats! If anywhere in North America, what about Montreal? Beth can satisfy her francophile tendencies, and you can eat like kings while listening to people speak romantic french. Can't say whether to bring Mia or not, but you'll figure it out. She'll only be lap-child eligible (aka free) for so long, though. And my son has loved all his plane rides. Have fun researching!

Posted by: Po at January 24, 2007 9:55 AM

Congrats on the award! It's wonderful to hear someone as awesome as you, getting such a nice award. =)

As for my answer... When I was a child, my parents took me everywhere with them. They wanted me to experience things. So I would say, take her. I would take her to Florida, or some place warm, since you said she wasn't too fond of snow.

Or, if you have a nice relative, you could always see if they would be willing to watch Mia, and you and Beth could go to a spa resort place to relax, I hear there's a nice one in the Williamsburg area.

Good luck on your decision. =)

Posted by: Secha at January 24, 2007 10:04 AM

Congrats on your award! Hard work does payoff!

I'm going to have to second the nomination for San Francisco. My husband and I had the best time there this past fall. It was seriously the best vacation we have ever taken! Although I'm not sure if this would be the best place for Mia :( Of course, there is always Boston which is very kid friendly :)

Posted by: Colleen at January 24, 2007 10:07 AM

Oh, my gosh! Congratu-freakin'-lations!!! How awesome is that? I'm so happy for you. :)

Posted by: Zandria at January 24, 2007 2:22 PM

Wow, congrats! I once won an award from one of our clients, and all I got was this dumb medal with cheerleader pompoms on it that hangs around a person's neck. Not that I haven't worn it each and every day for the last two years. But still.

About the trip. May I suggest fabulous sunny Kansas City? It's quite exciting.

Posted by: angela at January 24, 2007 4:43 PM

Congrats!

I wouldn't take my darling angel on a plane, even now that she's almost 4. My vote would be to leave her with grandparents and have a second honeymoon.

Where? Hmm... what about NYC? You two could hit the museums, maybe a show, have a fancy dinner? Plus, it's not that long a trip, for you, so you wouldn't waste too much of your three days in airports.

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at January 24, 2007 5:19 PM

Hey, congratulations! I think that's great and I'm sure it is very well deserved.

If I could go anywhere, it would probably be Vancouver or San Francisco. Although, if you do take Mia, you might want a shorter trip than that, but I love Vancouver and San Francisco.

Posted by: bad penguin at January 24, 2007 6:03 PM

Yay, you're going to Disneyland!!

Actually, If I were to take my 18 month old, I'd go somewhere like San Diego. Stay in a little beach bungalow, take longs walks down the beach collecting shells. And if you're brave enough...Legoland. I took my kids when they were really young, and they loved it. It's really little kid friendly. Not to mention Sea World. Can I come?

I have yet to take a vaction without my kids, so I have no advise. 10 years and no vacation alone. I've really got to loosen up those apron strings.

Posted by: nila at January 25, 2007 6:56 AM

Hooray and congrats!!

I would go to Vancouver, British Columbia. I would take Mia and Beth. And I would have a great time there.

Posted by: Isabel at January 25, 2007 11:55 AM

Go alone...just the adults to Key West....no, I have a BETTER spot in the keys that I discovered by boat this spring and it is very secluded, romantic,funky, a bit of old-style KW, and actually inexpensive. You know my email addy so PM me if you want the scoop.

Congrats!

Posted by: Geezitron at January 25, 2007 7:25 PM

I live in Vancouver (BC) and it is great, but come in the summer if you plan to visit. And tons of stuff to do with kids if that's your plan. But if you're looking for something really different, check out Quebec City. Seriously, the closest you can come to old Europe in North America. Just the most beautiful old city you've ever seen. French. Lovely scenery. Fantastic restaurants. A real experience.

Posted by: huberama at January 25, 2007 8:15 PM

Congrats!! Many places are even more wonderful when you take the people you love along!

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