Making the Most of an Unexpected Summer (Close to Home)

One of the greatest parts of any journey is the unexpected discoveries along the way. We’ve had a lot of “unexpected” in our lives recently. We at WAYB have been doing our best to make the most of it, turning the unexpected into a brand new adventure. Here we chat with Sarah Diaz, WAYB’s Head of Sales Exploration, about how she’s been making the most of this far-from-typical summer with her family.

So how have you been managing to make the most of your summer?

We have been in front of screens more than ever before. So we’ve been trying to keep the balance and be mindful of that by coming up with other activities to keep us entertained as a family. With kids, it’s all about learning. So we’ve been doing fun projects like growing a garden in our backyard. We have been loving all the cucumbers, tomatoes, and raspberries. We even grew a watermelon! And we have been raising monarch butterflies. My son has been so amazed watching the caterpillars turn into a chrysalis and then a beautiful butterfly! We have done lots of crafting thanks to our monthly subscription to KiwiCo, which sends science and art activities that are perfect for your kid’s age. We’ve also been living for staycations! We live right next to a national park called Sleeping Bear Dunes, where we love to climb and hike massive sand dunes. We’re so grateful to have that close by. We’ve been trying to get outside as much as possible by going on hikes, teaching my oldest how to ride a bike, and hanging out by the lake (#lakelife). Our house has lake access, so we walk 5 mins from our house to the lake every day! We like to paddleboard and look for petoskey stones on the beach, which are prehistoric coral fossils found in the lake!  We’ve also been taking the opportunity to really reexamine what supporting local means: staying local and buying local. We have been visiting farmers markets and farm stands, getting takeout from local restaurants, and buying wine from local wineries vs. just buying at Costco.

 

We’ve all had to make some changes to our summer plans this year, what is an unexpected change that you’re grateful for or something you’ve been able to discover about yourself or your family because of it?

Really just being in the present moment and being able to spend more time with my family has been a blessing. Well mostly, there have been lots of work video calls where my 4 year old will want to join!

What was the biggest challenge you and your family faced this summer?

I had our second child inside of a pandemic, which was a completely new experience for me, but one that I know a lot of other moms are going through right now. It was a very different experience compared to my first: I went to all my appointments alone, family and friends were not allowed to be at the birth, and I had to wear a mask during the entire delivery. I am grateful that my husband was allowed to be in the room with me and of course we’re overjoyed we had a happy and healthy baby boy! The biggest challenge has been balancing working while managing two kids and trying to keep connected with friends and family all over the country. We FaceTime family and friends all the time to keep connected and have had a few Zoom birthday parties! 

What were the top three (or more!) things in your parental toolkit that have saved the day more than once over the summer?

Couch forts, legos, movies, and our local library for sure!

What’s been your toddler’s favorite activity this summer?

He’s been having a blast with all the beach time, hikes, parks, riding bikes, camping, swimming, visiting the library, and local blueberry and flower picking.

Are there any takeaways from the past several months that you’ll carry with you in future years?

I think the biggest lesson for me was the realization that slowing down is okay. What’s really important is to be present for your kids to make sure they’re doing okay. And as far as tips and tricks, I’ve found that the AllTrails app is incredible for finding adventures close to home.

You’ve had a new addition to your family this summer! In what ways has that been an unexpected adventure?

My son is only 8 weeks old, and he has truly been a dream baby. You never know how it’s going to go with a newborn, but it’s been so incredible watching my 4 year old son bonding with his brother already. It is truly the best gift ever. Honestly, life has not changed as much as I expected. We bring our baby everywhere we go, and we will continue to do so on our next family adventure. We can't wait to visit our family in Tahoe for Christmas. It will be the first time my mom and siblings have met our baby boy!

You can also check out Sarah’s Family Road Trip Survival Tips, which she shared with Half Pint Travel back in May here.

How have you and your family been making the most of an unexpected summer? Post a pic and tag @hellowayb to share!