florida

FL Trip: Best Airport Idea Ever

Seriously.

“It’s no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase ‘As pretty as an airport’ appear.” —Douglas Adams

FL Trip: Disney World

We didn’t tell the kids about our day trip to Disney World until the night before we went. Sophie was excited in a I’m-not-quite-sure-what-you’re-talking-about-but-I-like-Disney-movies-castles-princesses-and-Kings-Island-so-it-sounds-fun way.

We rode the carousel,

and waited a very long time in a very hot line so Sophie could meet Rapunzel. (She told Rapunzel she’s growing her hair just as long.)

There was nap time.

And 3-D glasses time.

And lots of rain. Lots and lots of rain. $56 spent on ponchos worth of rain.

So we took lots of breaks inside restaurants,

and riding indoor rides, such as It’s a Small World (which James loved—he kept screaming “Look, Daddy, look!” the entire time).

All the kids loved the castle. And still, anytime Owen sees a building that’s the least bit fancy now, he yells, “castle!”.

We had one meltdown, while waiting for dinner. It involved me taking both boys out of the restaurant and then standing their helplessly while they flung themselves on the ground, crying (it didn’t last long). So I thought we were done. But while leaving the park, I noticed a perfect spot, empty on the otherwise crowded main street, perfect for watching the evening parade. I debated. I knew the kids would love it, but I also worried I was asking for another meltdown. But then I thought about the fact that we were at Disney and that I don’t know if we’ll ever be at Disney again. So I bought light-up toys. And Mickey Mouse-shaped Goldfish crackers. And little cars for Owen to play with on the street. We stayed.

They loved it. All of it. Despite the heat, long lines and rain. (Thank you, Grandma and Paw Paw, for a most wonderful trip.)

“Laughter is America’s most important export.” —Walt Disney

FL Trip: Date Night

We had dinner at Don CeSar and then took a long walk on the beach.

The rain gave way to a beautiful sunset, a beautiful night.

The next night we went out after the kids went to bed, to Mahuffer, the most fantastic dive bar I’ve ever seen.

There, we met up with an old friend from high school, Tom, and his girlfriend. It was so nice to catch up.

And thank you, Grandma, Paw Paw and Aunt Fran—it was so nice to have some kid-free time, too.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.” —e.e. cummings

FL Trip: Fort De Soto Park

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.” —Robert Henri

FL Trip: Around the House

Grandma’s homemade strawberry cake

the pool

full moon on the dock

brothers

Sophie

Owen, Sophie, James

more fun on the dock

Aunt Fran cooking dinner

more fun in the pool

dessert!

pillow fight with Uncle Jim

Owen, asleep in the pool (we were, of course, with him at all times)

Uncle Jim and Andy

Max and Uncle Chris

Aunt Lynn

Uncle Jim and Jared

rain

“A beach house isn’t just real estate. It’s a state of mind.” —Douglas Adams

FL Trip: The Importance of the Placement of Pack-n-Plays

Kudos to the person who came up with the idea of renting baby equipment to vacationing families. We rented two pack-n-plays and a big bin of toys from Visiting Baby and it was worth every penny. In fact, we saved money not having to check two pack-n-plays and the new-to-the-kids bin of toys was most welcome on rainy days.

All of our kids were in one bedroom. Sophie was in a twin bed; Owen and James slept in their own pack-n-plays. The first time I put the boys down for a nap they giggled—for an hour. I thought it was the novelty of vacation, of having flown on a plane, of a new place, of a new sleep environment.

No.

Turns out I left their airplane backpacks within reaching distance. They not only reached them, but they dumped the contents into their pack-n-plays, passed items back and forth and then, after a good hour of this, finally fell asleep on top of everything, covered in stickers, having eaten snacks and dumped out flash cards.

“Yawns are not the only infectious things out there besides germs. Giggles can spread from person to person. So can blushing.” —Vera Nazarian

FL Trip: First Day At the Beach

Sophie insisted on being held when near the water.

Owen wanted nothing to do with the beach, and instead was content sitting on the beach blanket Nini made, eating Goldfish crackers and drinking water.

Sophie and Paw Paw

Andy and James

Aunt Fran

Andy and James

Sophie, loving the playground

more playground fun

Aunt Fran, Jill and Marty

James

“The waves of the sea
Help me get back to me.” —Jill Davis

Three Kids Under 4 On a Plane

Early June Andy’s parents gifted us a wonderful vacation with them in St. Petersburg, Fla. The trip included five plane tickets, which I was both very grateful for (it’s a long drive) and terrified of (the boys have never flown). Confession: Worst case, though, I thought whatever happened would make a good blog post.

Fortunately, unfortunately, I have nothing super exciting to post here.

I prepared. Sophie has a backpack. I bought the boys backpacks. And filled them with things they don’t normally get—fruit strips, fruit snacks, Teddy Grahams, cheese crackers, these fantastic activity books, diapers for the boys, an extra pair of panties for Sophie, wipes for everyone, sunglasses for everyone, flash cards and empty Thermos drink containers.

Now you would think such excess would have kept them occupied for a flight to Paris. But after putting all the stickers all over themselves …

and eating all their treats much too quickly …

and going through the flash cards 10 times …

we resorted to letting them turn the overhead lights on and off, on and off. Thankfully, the flight was packed with kids (as it was going from Cincinnati to Tampa in the summer) and everyone seemed to agree that a flickering overhead light was better than a crying child.

It went well. Really well. Andy’s parents flew with us on the way out, helping us when needed. Owen kept saying “airplane” over and over. Sophie was beside herself with the idea of fruit snacks in the morning.

Grateful.

“Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” —Al Gore