Last week, we went on our second HomeExchange.com family trip. Our first was our Christmas Home Exchange trip to Paris last year. We decided to do something local and exchanged with a Washington D.C. family with a beautifully renovated 4-bedroom row house in Capitol Hill.
It was a last minute decision — we discussed the trip with our home exchange family only the week prior. But, we still instituted our Home Exchange tips and tricks.
Although the trip was local, it was an amazing experience and made us even bigger fans of Home Exchange. The house was perfect: it had a front and backyard, 4 bedrooms (which means the girls had their own rooms) and a TV room / playroom that opened up into the backyard. The playroom had all the books and toys our girls could ever want. They loved waking up in the morning and having time to play with all of the toys – which gave me and Michael some precious few minutes to sleep in a little bit.
View from the kitchen into the sunken TV Room and Playroom.
Great things about Home Exchange? Since we exchanged with a family who had kids around the same age as our girls, we didn’t have to bring a lot of the “stuff” like toys, books and our stroller. I had texted our Home Exchange family an hour before we left to ask if they had a stroller that we can borrow instead of bringing our Maclaren. And she texted right back that we were welcome to use theirs! Score!
And when they were in NYC, they didn’t bring long-sleeve shirts for their kids, so they borrowed from our girls’ closet. We also let them borrow our scooters so that they could get around, NYC-Style.
The most memorable part of our Home Exchange? In the home owners’ garage, we found a girls bike without training wheels. We encouraged O to try out the bike so she can learn how to balance (yes, she doesn’t know how to ride a bike yet – remember, we live in New York City!) Their backyard was on a very small incline which helped her get momentum. As O kept on trying to balance on the bike…it…all…just…clicked. And O literally learned how to ride a bike on our Home Exchange trip! That never would have happened if we stayed in a hotel!
O Riding for the First Time!
Every late afternoon, the girls always cried, “When are we going to go home?!” and they didn’t mean, home in NYC. The girls meant our Home Exchange home because they wanted to go back and play with the toys and ride the bikes!
And by the end of the weekend? O was saying, “I can’t wait to go back home [to NYC] so I can ride my bike!” So, because of our Home Exchange in Washington D.C., we can do this on the West Side Highway:
And when we came home? Besides the bedding and towels that we had to launder (standard for a Home Exchange), our apartment was actually cleaner than when we left it. Truly a memorable experience and we can’t wait to do another Home Exchange!
Read my post on family-friendly things we did in Washington D.C!