Monday, August 10, 2009

Good-Bye from Destin, FL

Well, this is “good-bye” from Destin. We have had an awesome trip. I will even say that this was my favorite vacation ever. We had enough time, wonderful weather, we were all is great health and the four of us got some much needed “QT” away from the rest of the world.

There are a couple of things that I would like to share with you again in the name of making travel easier. The first thing is the “Dirty Diaper Bags.” My friend Kellie got these for me when I had my first girl and then with my second I went in search of them myself. I found them at the Dollar Tree on Hanes Mall Blvd in Winston and they are GREAT! They are scented and really do eliminate the smell of a dirty diaper when you place the diaper in the bag and tie it up. A must-have for trips where diaper disposal can be challenging. The second and last piece of advice I have for you this trip is to buy a Phil and Ted’s portable bed. It is like a pack-n-play but better for trips. It folds up into a rectangle smaller then the pack-n-play and it weighs next to nothing so if you are flying or trying to put it into another piece of luggage this is entirely possible. It is also darker than the pack-n-play so kids tend to sleep better in it since there is less to look at on the outside. I bought ours at some boutique baby store and then kicked myself when I saw it on Go there and buy one if your child is 2 and ½ or younger. It is worth the money.
On a more personal note I wanted to share with you a philosophy that I acquired this trip. You know how when you are on vacation you push yourself to do all of those things that you never get to do at home. Like for example we are at the beach so naturally the draw would be to go to the beach and dig in the sand every day. What I learned is that a vacation with your family is just that, a vacation with your family. If you are spending time with them even if it is building “tall towers” with their blocks from home it is something you do not get to do all of the time so chill out and enjoy it! If you are tired and are enjoying what you are doing then there is no need to make yourself do something else just because “you don’t get to do that at home.” Time with your family is always time well spent. Even if you are doing the same things you could do at home. This helped me to relax.
Also, you might find yourself saying something like “we have a Chili’s at home why would we eat at one here?” Well, because you can and if you think about it you probably don’t ever go to the one at home either due to time constraints or due to schedules both of which you are free from since you are currently “vacating” from them. So, if you want to go to Chili’s at the beach then DO IT! Have fun. That is the whole point of taking time off. Remove your expectation of what vacation “should be” and just let it be.
Thank you for listening to me ramble during this trip. It has done me more good than you think. I hope all your family vacations are fabulous! See you back in NC.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More from Destin, FL

Today has been great! No more minor accidents and since we all got a good night’s sleep we were all bright eyed this morning. Tyler did make a batch or margaritas (his “from scratch” kind are insanely good if you want the recipe let me know) but we went to bed instead of drinking them. Wow, did I just say that? To bed instead of drinking on vacation? And you know I am actually only surprised that I am surprised because that was the “grown-up” and “sensible” thing to do but would have never happened in my 20’s. I digress. A fully rested hubs got up this morning and got to work on the site so that I could bring you the “Features” that you see now. And then we all got dressed and hit the beach for some fun in the sand and sun. It was a gorgeous day and between the walking, swimming and digging we are all spent! Yes, the girls are napping as we speak.

When we were out today I noticed some things that I wanted to mention. We did take drinks and snacks to the beach but this did NOT, again I said, did NOT include ANY alcohol! We are really different from the way we were.
More importantly I wanted to share with you some things that we did that worked well in case you could benefit.
1. I have some friends who take wagons to the beach to haul their stuff onto the sand. We took our Mountain Buggy stroller (that we love) and piled the stuff on it that we wanted to haul and that worked better because of the “all terrain” tires. Not to mention you could also put a kid in it if need be.
2. You should make sure that your kids have hats and/or sunglasses which is something I did not know the importance of but my ophthalmologist friend enlightened me on this. I hope to have her write for the site monthly.
3. And I LOVE spray sunscreen. It is awesome for those reapplications when the kids are in and out of the water so much. My girls were out in the sun all morning and were not at all red when we got in!
4. Their flotation devices are the best. See what Andira has on? Everywhere I go mothers ask me where I got them because the kids are so comfortable in the water with that stuff on. I bought theirs at Costco and T.J.Maxx and since both places can be hit or miss I found out they are made by Swimways.
5. One more thing I wanted to mention about traveling with kids. A dear friend of mine, Gwen who you will meet later as well, gave me a fold-up, portable toilet seat! It is awesome. I have never seen another one like it but I found a site where you can find what you need.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Days 1-2 of Atlanta/Destin, FL trip

Whew! Kids are asleep finally! It is Sunday 8/2 (day 2 of our vacation) and this is the first nap the girls have had since Friday afternoon! Now, we do need to take into consideration any cat napping they did in the car since we have driven a total of 10 hours to get here, and they did dose in and out a little but then there is always hubbie to keep happy while he is so valiantly driving us all to our next destination. So this is the only time I have had just me and my computer (and you). I had not planned on chronicling my entire vacation but since I find myself in search or therapy and since writing and talking to other mothers about what a crappy mom I think I am at the time always seems to faithfully lead me back to solace, here I am. Won’t you take a seat and listen?

I will catch you up to this point on Sunday and then hopefully be more regular in my writing and my photos. We left home (Advance, NC) on Friday afternoon around 5:30. Well, bad timing. I was driving so my smarty pants husband could get us all connected to the web (we bought a Sprint card that will give you wireless internet access to the web anywhere you get a cell signal; awesome huh?) so at least that was good. I usually don’t lose my cool over traffic and since he was messing with a computer he was pacified somewhat also. The kids did great on our almost 6 hour trip to Atlanta where we stopped for the night.

We got to the Marriot Marquis in Atlanta without trouble. Unfortunately, the kids did not seem to be as comfortable in our hotel room as they had been in the car which made for a long night of Inara kicking me, Andira, and her sister as we all played the all too familiar game of musical beds. It was probably around 2 am before my husband and I were able to get any rest. In spite of the turbulent night we were all so happy to be there that when we got up in the morning we were all smiles. Down to breakfast we headed on our way out to the Aquarium. I have to tell you that I have traveled pretty extensively and eaten at many different places but the breakfast buffet here was the best I have ever seen. Kids under 12 eat free and the package we bought included our breakfast and the Aquarium tickets so it was a good deal too. The girls got to try things they may not otherwise have tried and with the great selection of food they ate to my satisfaction. Tyler and I also ate to our heart’s content.

The hotel was really nice and only an 8 minute walk from the Georgia Aquarium so we decided to walk. I would recommend doing this but would advise that if you do then be sure and take strollers. We were glad we had them. The girls had so much fun that we were there for almost 3 hours! The Georgia Aquarium has earned its reputation for the best in the world! It was spectacular! Needless to say that we were all pretty tired after that so we got in the car and started the rest of the way to Destin.

We got here late last night and the kids were finally in bed at 11:00 pm central time. You might think that they slept in this morning because maybe your kids act more like normal people and when they go to bed late then they wake up late. If this is the case then #1 don’t tell me and #2 consider yourself very lucky because mine don’t. Never have and probably never will until the day comes that I want them to wake up because they have chores or something to do. So we were up early as usual.

This would be an appropriate time to refer you to the descriptions I have written for you about all of us. It is the post right under this one called “Meet My Family”. Read the one about Inara. Ok, done? So with that in mind I will describe for you what sent me close to the edge today. We are in a condo with tile floors. Well, tile equals slick. There are also couches in here with cushions that the girls feel they must toss down onto the tile floor despite repeated attempts by Tyler and I to keep them on the couches…you following me?...So Inara proceeds to step on the cushions and comes very close several times to slipping on the very hard tile floor. Now, I go to grab one of the cushions and I don’t know what happened first but I essentially grab the cushion out from under her hand and cause her to fall face first onto this tile floor.

Thank goodness that now I am feeling better since I have the chance to write about it but if you are a mother reading this I know you can imagine how horrible I felt. I immediately pick her up and am comforted by the fact that I did not see blood but…the corner of her front tooth is chipped. Yes, I, her mother, the one who is supposed to be protecting her, caused her to fall and chip her tooth. That is what caused me to decide to chronicle this trip. I needed therapy.

All I could think about once the initial shock and tears wore off was of all the other mothers out there, my friends, who would tell me how it is OK because “you would never believe what I did” or “what so and so did” and that would at least make me feel like less of a crappy mom. I still do feel like a crappy mom but am starting to feel better. On the bright side you can’t tell it is chipped because even though it is her front tooth, oh yes, did I mention that? Yes, it is my 19 month old daughter’s front tooth that I chipped. You can’t tell because the chip is so small (the photo is ppost accident). I think the bigger chip is in my heart for knowing I did that to her. BUT you cannot dwell on these things because that will only make it worse so here I am writing to you which is helping me tremendously and I am going to be happy because I have two beautiful girls, and amazing husband and more days of R&R with all of them.

And…they are still asleep…

Meet My Family

Me: Career driven borderline feminist turned soft. Now my favorite things are being a mother, baking, writing, and reading things that help me to be a better person.

Tyler: Strange combination of computer geek meets GQ model. He is probably one of the most anxious people you will ever meet but only about weird things that the rest of us don’t think about.

Andira: Princess. In every way the girl is a princess. She is organized, smart and very idealistic. Andira is also cautious and methodical and does not like chaos. Andira is usually very calm and well behaved as well.

Inara: Princess. She likes all of the same princess stuff her sister does and she is very smart but that is about all they have in common. Inara jumps without looking, climbs without discretion and she will let you have it before you can even understand why.