Friday, February 13, 2009

Road Trip!

I’ve got to be honest with you…our trip to Myrtle Beach last summer was, well, complicated. We took a little girl who was smack dab in the middle of the oh-soooo-terrible-twos out of her routine and gave her way too much freedom. We were pretty much ready to come home by day two of the trip. Seriously.

We did have moments on that trip that were fun, but the trip as a whole was taxing, at least for us parents. We made numerous rookie-parent mistakes and the challenge of having to figure out how to not tick off our two year old seemed to suck all of the fun out of many activities. Ironically, we were planned our next beach vacation as we drove home from that trip. Sick.

A few weeks ago, we finally got to take that beach vacation: Two weeks in sunny Naples, Florida. Aaah. Surprisingly this trip was a joy, start to finish. We never thought of coming home early. Not even once!

I must say that having the terrible twos behind us was the biggest help. Molly was pleasant, adaptable, excited and agreeable to just about everything. We also learned from our Myrtle Beach mistakes.

For example, when going to Myrtle Beach we left the house at 4 am. We figured that Molly would sleep a good portion of the way. Yea, right. She woke up at 4 am and didn’t sleep a wink in the car for 14 hours! We paid dearly for it the next day. That's when we almost packed up and came home.

For the trip to Naples, we had Molly skip her nap and put her in the car at bedtime. We drove through the night and much of the next day. Molly slept like a champ both a night and at nap time. And no nasty attitude the next day either. Score one for the parents!
When we went to Myrtle Beach we decided not to bring the Pack n’ Play. There were 2 beds in our room. Molly would be fine in a bed, right? I guess you don’t transition a sleep deprived child from a crib to a bed while on vacation. Bedtime was an “adventure” and there were frazzled nerves and sleepless moments (well, hours) for everyone.
We brought the Pack n’ Play to Naples. Naptime and bedtime were a dream, literally. Just popped her in and she slept like a log. It was also a good corral when she needed a time out, which wasn’t often.
When went to Myrtle Beach, we decided not to take the travel high chair. We were on vacation; we'd eat out most of the time. As it turned out we ate in a lot of the time. We spent most of our mealtimes trying to round up a child who thought eating on the fly was much more fun than the big girl chair.
We didn’t bring the travel high chair with us to Naples either. I knew we’d be eating some meals in, but I just accepted the fact that Molly would eat on the run, so to speak. And she didn’t disappoint. Having those expectations going in though, made mealtime more tolerable. She wandered around and I accepted it, and she eventually cleaned her plate. Everyone was happy.

In Myrtle Beach we had an over stimulated, underfed, sleep deprived toddler who was totally off of her daily routine. That could only mean one thing: meltdown. Yep, we had our share of those. In Naples, we had a well rested, well fed toddler that thrived on all of the stimulation of the trip. And we had no meltdowns. What a difference six months and some life lessons made.

Now on to the pictures; that’s what you really came here for, right? I have to warn you, we basically hung out at the beach and the pool, so lots of photos of those moments…kind of redundant, but cute, nonetheless.
So, here is our trip to:

This is something I NEVER see in the winter where I sky. Just seeing the sunshine and bly skies everyday made every minute of this trip worthwhile. And made me a lot less crabby than I have been in a long time.

Day 1: The Beach.

Molly gets reacclimated to the sand and surf.

Day 2: The Beach, again.

"So may shells, so little time. C'mon Mom, we'd better get shelling."

Molly's shelling strategy was more about quantity than quality. She collected bucketfuls.

Heading home with my haul.

Another thing Molly's never got tired of doing: wearing our flip flops. I don't think that she'll ever grow into these.

One of Molly's classic camera poses: the crossed leg, little lady pose.

Day 3: The Beach, yep, again.
Helping Daddy set up the beach umbrellas.
Random act of cuteness.

Day 4: The Everglades
Molly on the lookout for alligators.

"There's one over there, Daddy!"

This big guy was about 12-15 feet long. All of the alligators we saw were in the wild. We'd just pulled the car off of the road and looked over the guard rail. Voila, alligators. Surprisingly, Molly thought this was great.

Day 5 : The Pool

Actually, the pool was a daily outing. Here's our little fish getting ready to go.

No fear of the water with this kid.

We heard the infamous, "No, I do it!" statement from Molly fairly often when it came to swimming. She wanted no help from us. Her new tricks were a somersault and totally submerging herself so that she could touch the pool bottom. I don't know if I should be proud or frightened.

Day 7: The Beach
Mommy and Molly

A rare family shot, thanks to a passing beachcomber who volunteered to take our picture.

"The water is too cold. You fill up the watering can, Daddy."

"Yep, I have him wrapped around my little finger."

Day 9: J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island
I squatted down so that I could get in the shot with Molly. From that moment on, any time that I whipped out the camera, Molly squatted for the picture.

Another squat shot.
Daddy and Molly.

Day 11: Tigertail Beach, Marco Island
Hmmm, there's that squatting pose again.

And again. I'm not quite sure how to break this little habit. To quote Molly: "Oh, well."

Well, that's about it. We had a fantastic time.
Oh, by the way...we have our next beach vacation planned: The Outer Banks in early September. Anyone want to join us?


Michelle said...

oh pick me, pick me! I want to go to the out banks!!!

Michelle said...

I am so glad you FINALLY got to go!! I just love all of your beach pics. Molly looks so adorable in all of them!