Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I did on my vacation

This is our version of the 3rd grade essay assigned at the beginning of the school year describing to the teacher each moment of summer break. Only this is more of a picture essay, if you will. 

There were so many firsts on this vacation. The girls took their first flight. They did fabulously. Seriously, we were so proud of them for (mostly) behaving despite the confined space and the constant hurry up and wait that just happens when traveling through TSA security and airlines in general. Our advice to anyone who is thinking about flying with children who are young like ours:
  1. Bring lots of snacks. These were great for take off and landing when the pressure changes and their little ears hurt. It kept them swallowing to relive the pressure.
  2. Bring their favorite books and QUIET toys. People already cringe a little when a child boards the plane. Don't make it worse with battery powered beeping.
  3. Bring the carseat. These were a PAIN to lug around the airport, no doubt...but we had our carseats for driving around in Florida, carseats fly for free, and the girls were in a spot they knew and couldn't escape from while on the plane.
  4. Prep them beforehand about what is going to happen. We checked out books from the library about flying for the first time that were super helpful starting this conversation and making the whole experience "familiar" to them.
  5. Let them run around before boarding and during layovers. It might annoy some people, but it's better than a super antsy kid on the flight.
And then we arrived in Florida! Where things continued to bounce along pretty perfectly. Long story short, we got a free upgrade on the rental car! Super way to start the trip!

This was the view from our condo (on the one gray-weather day we had).

 The condo was huge. The same square footage as our house.

Another first for the girls: seeing the ocean! They absolutely loved the beach. The waves were a little intimidating, but they just held onto Mommy and Daddy and waded right in. The weather was about ten degrees above normal almost all week, so we tried to take advantage of the beach often.

Aunt B made them new terry cloth beach robes! Super cute even with these goofy faces.
At the beach, the girls were very much themselves. Meaning everyday, Miriam would behave like she had a checklist of important work in her mind. Collect shells. Get in water. Dig sand. Get in water. Chase seagulls. Get in water. Repeat.

And Vivian raced in every direction, giggling and playing. Her favorite: running into the water, running out of the water, throwing her body in the sand, running back into the water looking like a moving mud pie.

Of course, there was Disney one day to keep us busy. And we ate more than our fair share of the ice cream in the town. On the last day Miriam even got her own bowl of strawberry ice cream. She's getting so big! When we weren't at the beach, the girls loved to watch more TV than is ever allowed at home, to color, and to read with Mommy and Daddy. They were truly living the dream.

How about a window seat where you can watch the ocean on a stormy day and share a snack with Bunny? Yes, please.

We also got to hang out with Tim's best childhood friend and his family. They live in the town where we were staying. The girls were thrilled to play with little Eli again. They also want his hair. And Brian made us a very yummy grilled seafood supper. So good.

And suddenly, it was time to say, "Goodbye, Beach." We miss you!

And back to the airport. The Tampa airport is amazing and we will happily fly through it again because they have an indoor playground!!!

Ok, so there were some imperfections on this trip. Right before we got there, red tide was moving out. This is basically an algae that comes in on the currents and "eats" the oxygen in the water killing the fish. Fish wash up on the beach. Seagulls have many meals. Yucky. Makes it difficult to breath at the beach and caused some kind of reaction for Miriam. If you look at these pictures, you'll see her red, puffy eyes. Also, Vivian ran into the steel corner of an elevator at the condo and got an instant black eye. So you can see that in the pictures, too. What would vacation with children be if we didn't have a few mishaps??

But, Beach, we really do miss you.

And that's what we did on our vacation.

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