A day in the life: Traveling to the beach with a 9 month old

as told by Brittany Williams

Brittany and her husband Matt both grew up by the ocean and it’s become a big part of who they are. They live in Santa Barbara with their 9 month old daughter Olive and share with us what their day at the beach looks like now that they have a baby on board.

"The beach is the only escape that truly feels like home. The vastness of the endless blue water and effortless beauty of the sun melting into the sky never tires. Even further than the aesthetics, we simply enjoy the beach lifestyle. When our daughter Olive was born this year we could only hope she would soon discover why the beach is our regular hangout.

As self-professed travel addicts, we believe traveling is one of the best things we can do with our daughter. Going to a new location provides an incredible opportunity to rest our day-to-day routine, lose sight of the physical things that define us, and leave behind our roles and responsibilities. Taking time away from our reality makes us connect as a family and connect to the world around us.

Olive has been on a couple flights and road trips with us to visit family, and traveling with a 9-month-old, well, I get tired just thinking about it! Airports and jet lag are not exactly compatible with a baby's sleep schedule. For now, we are enthusiasts for the vacations less cool but easier going relative - the staycation! Fortunately, we love where we live and there is plenty to explore in Santa Barbara while we plan our first “big” family trip. It's fun introducing Olive to our favorite spots that make our hometown feel like a permanent vacation.

Olive woke us up early with full enthusiasm for the day ahead. Before I could get out of bed her big eyes peeked over the crib and met mine. Through my tired, half-closed eyes I saw a big smile followed by a tiny infectious laugh. Babies have such a cheeky way of getting the day started before we’re quite ready to get it started. It was one of those beautiful gloomy mornings when you’re not quite sure if the sun will make an appearance behind the fog.

After breakfast, we packed the car with all the beach essentials. Before having Olive our beach essentials consisted of just a few, well, essentials. As most parents know, leaving the house with a baby is no easy feat. Now we go through our usual “do we have everything we need for Olive” conversation that goes something like bottles, food, blanket, diapers, wipes, change of clothes, tent, umbrella, toys, sun hat, baby bathing suit and sunglasses (literally the two cutest things, ever) and so on. Let's just say our beach bag is a bit heavier and we could use an extra set of arms! Having a baby automatically makes leaving the house take four times longer, and that’s not including all the breaks for playing and cuddles. Ironically lucky for us, by the time we were finally packed up and ready to head out the sun made its way through the clouds, beaming like a perfect summer day in October.

We piled ourselves and stuff into the car and headed to one of our favorite spots. Olive adores being outside and is so observant of everything around her. We knew just the place to take her. On our drive, she was unusually quiet and once parked we realized she was fast asleep in her car seat. We did what we often do and went for a drive until she woke up. We ended up at a familiar stretch of coastline and decided we’d stay a while.

We walked down a path covered in greenery and flowers. Olive knows no strangers and was sure to make new friends along the way. She waved and smiled at just about everyone who passed by.

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent is getting to see the world through my child’s eyes. Having a baby makes every recycled experience new and exciting. This beach could be somewhere new, but it isn't. This is our home, where we met, started a family, and choose to live our life. No matter how many times we go to the beach the novelty never seems to diminish. It’s always beautiful and there is always something new to discover. The sun never sets quite the same and the changing tide brings a new setting. Our beach days no longer consist of relaxing, laying out, or leisurely reading a book. It’s now mostly playing with miniature shovels and making sure Olive doesn’t eat sand. Still, “life’s a beach” couldn’t ring any more true to our family. We continue going to the beach as often as possible, enjoying the salty air, sandy kisses, and ending the night with dinner under the stars on our patio. All while knowing we can sit with our new memories and enjoy the kind of calm, always fulfilling vacation we wanted all along. "