Last weekend we grabbed the boys, packed the car and headed a few hours south to Monterey to visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium! This was my third time visiting — Adam and I went once before we were married and then I took Grayson there with my parents the Christmas before last. It’s such a special spot and I just KNEW Grayson would absolutely love it since he is so into anything “ocean” right now. He literally pretends to be a scuba diving by shimmying around on the floor with a pillow on his back for his “air tank”. It’s pretty amazing.
I had done plenty of research and booked the cutest little beach cottage via Airbnb in nearby Pacific Grove for us to stay at. You guys, I am the queen of researching places to stay. I love going through and reading every single review of every single property until I find the very best one. We stay in an Airbnb whenever we travel because it’s just so much easier with kids than all being stuck in a hotel room together with all the lights off at 7pm for bedtime.
Check out this adorable kitchen!
And here’s the living room, where we spent the majority of our time laying on the rug playing with the boys —
And “our” bedroom —
There was also a smaller bedroom (not pictured) where we set up Grayson’s inflatable toddler bed (I need to write a whole other post on this because it SAVED our life after he started climbing out of the pack n’ play last year and I thought our travel life was forever doomed).
We ended up setting up Luke in the little back laundry room because it perfectly fit his portable crib and was nice and dark. We were not expecting at all to have the room to ourselves, so this was definitely an added bonus and both kids slept awesome the whole time (win-win!). Writing this reminds me that I need to work on a “traveling with two” post for you guys soon because traveling with two little kids is a whole different ball game. 😉
We spent both mornings we were in town at the aquarium and both afternoons (post-naptime) at the beach that was just down the street. It was pretty cold (okay, it was freezing) but we didn’t care. We just bundled up!
We’ve found that, really, two hours is the max time right now that we can be out and about without some sort of meltdown. Both kids nap at 12:30pm so we spent both mornings at the aquarium before having an early lunch there and heading back to our cottage for nap/quiet time. And yes, Grayson still naps. On a good day, he still takes a solid 2.5 hour nap in the afternoon.
We brought along our brand new Daniel Glass water bottles and they went everywhere with us over the weekend. Am I the only nursing mom out there who sometimes forgets to drink enough water during the day?! Then I remember and it’s like 8pm and I’m dying of thirst…yeah, that sometimes happens and I’m trying to be better about it. I love the way glass water bottles look and feel, and these come in about a zillion fun colors to choose from. We have turquoise and mustard yellow. 🙂 Plus, a portion of the net profits go to giving back to charitable organizations dedicated to helping clean up the world’s oceans.
Daniel Glass is offering ELR readers a 10% discount on their glass water bottles. Just use the code EATLIVERUN10 at checkout. I really do love mine and highly recommend it (there’s nothing worse than a water bottle that oddly doesn’t fit in the cupholder of your car, right? This one fits perfect).
We really had the best time. After a month straight of unpacking in our new place, cold rain and kids getting (what felt like) constantly sick, it really was just the best to slow down and reconnect with each other as a family. I always tell friends that traveling with kids IS hard and it IS exhausting, but it’s worth it. You just have to lower your expectations, have an open mind and know you aren’t going to have a “relaxing vacation” (what does that even mean?). Just roll with it. The change of scenery is good for you and it’s good for your kids.
This post is sponsored by Daniel Glass. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.
AimeeMarch 10, 2017 at 7:28 am
I love staying at Airbnbs when traveling! So much better than staying in hotels.
Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)March 10, 2017 at 8:47 am
That AirBNB looks awesome! What a fun little weekend getaway.
Jennine QuiringMarch 10, 2017 at 10:00 am
Looks like a lot of fun. Just finished your book. Fun thing had to look up your blog to find out if you ended up with Rob or Adam! Left comment on your facebook page
jennaMarch 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm
Katie @ Live Half FullMarch 10, 2017 at 11:31 am
I would love to hear more about the blow up toddler bed and traveling with two!
Meaghan BidwellMarch 10, 2017 at 5:37 pm
Me too! I just searched on Amazon and there were a few. Would love to know which one you have.
ElizabethMarch 10, 2017 at 7:21 pm
SarahMarch 10, 2017 at 11:40 am
how do you get two kids those ages to nap at the same time? Im having our second in a month and am trying to figure out how to make it work.
jennaMarch 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm
They both have been on Moms on Call schedules forever — they have a “toddler and baby” schedule that gets them on the same nap schedule asap. It’s been our saving grace!
RaspberrymojitoMarch 10, 2017 at 12:46 pm
I’m curious, what kind of stroller(s?) do you have?
jennaMarch 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm
We have a Joovy x2 stroller. It’s okay!
Christina @ montessoriishmom.comMarch 13, 2017 at 3:19 am
Fun! I would love to hear more about that inflatable bed. We use a floor bed for our little guy and are trying to figure out what we’re going to do for travel this summer.
AlexandriaMarch 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm
We have an inflatable travel bed for our 3 year old too! Your pictures are taking me back – we used to live in Dublin, CA & visited the Monterrey Aquarium several times. I was just describing it to my son this morning as we are planning to visit the Baltimore Aquarium next month (we are East Coasters now). What a fun weekend?
JenniferMarch 14, 2017 at 4:54 am
Nice picture. How old are your son? Looks so cute.
Good luck with your new place.
KaceyMarch 16, 2017 at 11:16 am
I have a Daniel Glass water bottle too! 🙂 I think it’s so neat that they give away part of their profits to help keep the oceans clean!
HannahMarch 21, 2017 at 5:48 pm
This may sound odd, but I am an old reader. I decided to revisit your site to look at old posts, as I miss your recipes. Lo and behold, you’re back. I am excited! Happy for your sweet family of 4!
PatriciaNovember 29, 2017 at 8:10 am
Hi Jenna! I am from San Jose and I have similar aged children. Can you send me the link to the actual house that you rented off of Air BNB? It looks perfect for a vacation I am planning. The link you have posted does not take me to the actual rental.