Small Talk

The end

April 28th, 2010

I ended up coming down with a mild cold on Friday, which was the same day Olivia bonked her head. We got home from the ER early Saturday morning, and we were tired. We decided to stay in at Karen's in the morning while everyone else went to Griffith Observatory. Which, by the way, they really liked.

At Karen's

At Karen's

I, however, am glad I did the disciplined thing. We were both sick and tired, and I ended up giving us both a nap in the afternoon, before Val and family returned and we headed home on an evening flight.

I had a very nice time. I would do it again. Val and I both breathed a sigh of relief that it all went well; it was our first time traveling together, and you never know how you'll mesh in different settings.

Luckily, it was free of emotional drama, though we were surprised and amused to see that the two youngest ones, Olivia and Carson, got so comfortable with each other, midway thought the trip they started fight. All the time. Pushing, shoving, taking, grabbing, name calling- everything but biting (thank goodness.)

Olivia and Carson

Olivia and Carson

It's nice to go as a group; you share resources and discounts. You split the costs. You share the chores. You help mind each other's children.

What I also learned was how completely different it is to travel with a gaggle of children. There just isn't time to talk to each other. Days are spent making sure nobody is getting run over by cars, or stolen at crowded parks.


Aunty Diane and Carson

In fact, there was one day when a miscommunication led to some panicky moments of what we thought was a lost child. Now that was not fun. I was constantly counting heads to make sure we had everyone, and I'm sure the other adults were too.

Autopia licenses

Autopia licenses

Because we kept such long hours, by nightfall, I'd be too tired to call home. Olivia and I would leave the park at around 8 or 9, and after eating dinner at Denny's next door, then showers and toothbrushing, it'd be 10 or 11 by the time I was ready to think about calling anyone.

Actually, I got her ready first and then put her in bed, on speakerphone with the grandparents or her dad. I'd warn them that I wasn't there to assist the conversation, so if there was a silence on Olivia's part, just work around it. Then I'd continue my own bedtime routine.


When I finally would call Claus, we'd talk for about three minutes. I started the habit of texting or e mailing Claus during the day to share updates or fun moments (photos included) so that I wouldn't actually have to speak to him. My dad isn't as tech savvy, so I would just call home and let my worry-wart mother know we were safely in bed before hanging up.

Put differently: one night, Claus and I started a phone call in which he told me he was spraying some cabinets for termites. Then I had to hang up because it was time for Val and me to walk down and get our laundry. On the way down, Val asked what's new. I relayed the termite information.

"You should tent the house," she advised.

When I called Claus back some 15 minutes later, I told him what Val said, with a revelation: "By the way, that's been our only scrap of adult conversation on this whole trip."


In Captain Eo

That's not much of an exaggeration. Most of the times that words came out of my mouth, it was to issue commands at short people, or to communicate with military-efficiency about our daily agenda. There just isn't the energy to sit around and converse.

It's actually easier to watch Olivia at home, because here, aside from having some sitter help, she will take naps, in which I can have one blessed hour of peace and quiet.


At Reagan Museum

Previous trips for me have been about relaxation or exploration. Relaxing, it absolutely wasn't. Exploratory, it kind of was, for Olivia and I were able to discover new common ground with our relatives, and explore a deeper connection with family members we love.

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9 Responses to “The end”

  1. zzzzzz:

    Would you travel with another family or other families again?

    Our family has done it a couple of times, and would definitely do it again if we had the chance. In both cases, we did some travel on our own before/after spending most of the trip with other families.

    Neither experience was relaxing, but our family doesn't usually travel to relax. If we want to get away from home to relax, we'll take a staycation.

  2. arkimoto:

    I am so sad to see your trip blog come to an end. We are presently getting ready to make our LA/SF trip (with kids ages 8 and 6) soon and I've gotten so many ideas from reading your entries. You have been so helpful! I keep telling my husband, "Diane Ako says ..."

    I had no idea about the Reagan Presidential Library and thanks to you, it is now on our itinerary. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Diane Ako:

    zzzzzz, I would do it again. I think we're compatible with my cousin's family, which is really a nice thing to realize. The kids are close, the moms are close. The dad are friendly with each other but basically they're just there to drive - LOL. I agree that traveling as two family units is probably easier, now that I've had the experience of being embedded with Val's family. Just gives a person more options if you can break away or come together as you like. Having said that, I didn't want to drive alone with Olivia - not as far as Big Bear, and not around LA. SO this was fine with me.

    arkimoto, I'm so glad you found it helpful! That's great! I'm sure Husband is tired of hearing what Diane Ako says - LOL! In that case, also tell him Diane Ako says we should go shopping at the outlet mall! Just kidding.

    I'm preparing for another, unexpected trip soon - this one, the reverse of the LA trip. Valerie and her daughter will be embedding with us for a quick vacation. So, there will be more trip blogs!!

  4. m:

    thanks for sharing your trip with us....very informative.

  5. robert:

    As you pointed out these trips are exhausting and gratifying at the same time. I call it a controlled chaos. I really can relate to how you pointed out that there is a constant sense of being on guard to protect them when you are out a about with the kids. These memories will be recalled for a lifetime and the chance for the kids to really get to spend time with their cousin(s) are important.

  6. Rodney Lee:

    I love that picture of you smiling while holding a struggling Carson. LOL

  7. Diane Ako:

    Rodney, I KNOW! It's one of my favorites. He was mad because he thought we swapped children so I was his new mommy. "You get to be an only child!" I coaxed. "That's a bad deal!" he yelled back. So funny!

    Hi robert, I had thought about orbs before but at this point I think it's my lens. But ancestors are welcome too! 🙂

  8. Bre:

    Hi Diane. When you went to the Reagan Library did you take the 101 to the 23 or the 118? If you took the 101 and 23 you were in my neck of the woods! Glad you had a good time in CA. I have traveled to Hawaii many times with my family (2 sisters, their husbands, my mom and a total of 6 kids). We always have a great time and have traveled together enough to know the ropes - always have separate rooms and cars!

  9. arkimoto:

    Yes, separate rooms and cars worked well for us on our trip too!
    We used walkie talkies to be able to converse between cars as we drove to our various locations. Passengers, of course, were the ones talking on the walkie talkies.

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