First, Carson was a champ the entire vacation. Miles was a very good baby and so is Carson. I just had a feeling though that Carson would prove to be a little more easy going on vacation and I was right. He didn't require long naps perfectly on schedule and would allow us to push his feeding times a little needed.
We took our time on the drive down and made stops to feed and change Carson whenever needed.
Miles was perfect the entire drive both ways. He had unlimited electronic time so that didn't hurt. He was a needy car rider when he was younger, so this is very nice now.
Carson slept a lot. He loves this giraffe.
We stopped about 2/3 of the way down and stayed in Montgomery, AL. We had enough hotel points to stay for free, so it was a no brainer.
The hotel had a basketball court and a pool. This was one of Miles' favorite parts of vacation.
We woke up and got on the road. We only had about 3 hours left. The condo told us to call as we were getting into town to see if early check in was available. They were almost finished cleaning the condo when we arrived, so we made a quick stop at the grocery to pick up a few items for the week. We needed breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks.
Here's where the deep thoughts begin. We are pretty structured people at home. We don't go out to eat much. We generally stick to a budget. Miles goes to bed by 9pm every night. We just don't 'go with the flow' often. Even vacations in the past have been somewhat structured in that we would spend the day at the ocean/pool, get dressed up (in coordinating outfits that were purchased specifically for vacation), go to dinner, go shopping at the outlets on many nights, and then come back to the condo in time for bed. This vacation was spent doing things that we typically don't do and just going with the flow. The first thing that we don't normally do is ride in these type of buggies at the grocery store. Miles asks all the time but he's really too big. It's a small thing, but it was fun for him.
I didn't have the time, energy, or money to purchase an extensive vacation wardrobe this year, so our packing pretty much consisted of throwing everything in 4 suitcases the night before. In the past, I would have started packing a couple weeks before. I have to say, it was freeing. One night, Miles and I swam until after 7pm.
That night, I wore no make up, Nike shorts and a t-shirt. We actually called in a to go order to two different restaurants, b/c we wanted different things, and it brought back to the condo to eat. We all ate and then let Miles stay up late to watch the Amazing Race finale. We also watched a lot of the Women's College softball World Series.
One thing that really got me to thinking on vacation was the fact that the weather was not good. It wasn't terrible, but it was overcast everyday. And, the ocean and pool water were freezing. Side note, I would not go until at least mid June in the future for this reason. The lack of sun was really bumming me out. I knew I needed to get over it b/c it made no difference to Miles. He was still loving vacation and had no idea the sun wasn't shining. We played a lot of cards in the morning and on the patio on the afternoon. We played Uno and Golf.
Filling the mornings can be a challenge when we are all early birds.
We chose our condo b/c it was on the first floor with access to the pool. We wanted to be able to change Carson's diapers easily and also have one of us sit on the patio during Carson's naps while the other swam with Miles. This set up could not have been more perfect. This picture was taken at 7am while Miles decided that he wanted to swim.
Our condo had highs and lows. The layout, space, proximity to parking, convenience to the beach, security, lack of crowds at the pool, and price, could not be beat. I can't say enough how perfect the patio and pool set up was.
There were two downsides. One was the fact that the condo was a little outdated. I can live with an 80's decor, a denim couch and brass fixtures, but the old carpet and musty smell in the bathroom is what I didn't like. I could probably even get over that, but the biggest issue were the beds. The king bed in the bedroom and the pull out couch were hands down the worst beds I have ever slept on at a hotel or condo. The pull out couch was quite possibly from the year I was born. The king bed had some issue where it sank into the frame when you sat on it or got into bed at night. It was so bad that Darrin ended up sleeping on the dreaded pull out with Miles, while I slept in the middle of the king bed to avoid the caving on the sides. I ended up taking an Ambien every night and just passing out. I completed a nice survey for the company to let them know how I felt about the beds. It didn't seem to affect Carson. He slept in his pack and play most of the time.
The only other slight con would be that the pool was just average. It was fine, but nothing fancy.
It was clean and there was hardly anyone ever there, so that was good. I would imagine that a kid friendlier pool might be a different scene.
Carson liked the pool, but not as much as Miles did at the same age. I think a lot it was due to how cold it was. He was a trooper and pushed through the chill to enjoy some moments. This pictures make him look like he enjoyed it a little more than he did, but he did have a little fun at times.
The beach was a different story. We tried to come prepared. We brought this little pool and put some water in for him to play with. He wasn't amused.
Carson took his first swim in the ocean.
And he tried to eat a lot of sand.
We did manage to take some obligatory beach pics.
My favorite picture from vacation.
Miles loved playing in the ocean and riding the waves.
Until he got stung by a jellyfish. He didn't feel it when it happened, but it started burning in the salt water and he got a little rash on his chest and legs.
The purple flag means there is a lot of marine life present, which in our case translates to jellyfish. On this particular day, there were not many people in the ocean. I imagine Miles will have to work through this fear if we go back to the beach next year.
We spent the majority of our time at the pool.
I didn't get in the water as much as I would have liked b/c it was so cold, but I did get in. I had to make myself for Miles' sake.
We played with this wave runner ball for hours. I highly recommend if you have a pool or are going to the beach. I don't know why, but it provides endless entertainment. Miles likes for us to throw it as he jumps off the side to try to catch it.
He wasn't a huge fan of this float. He liked to be held probably b/c we were warmer next to him.
On Wednesday night, I told Darrin that if it was just going to rain on Thursday that maybe we should wake up and head home. He said that Miles would be devastated, so I put it out of my mind and we talked about some ideas of what we could do. We are an arcade family, so that seemed like the perfect idea.
It didn't rain, but it was another day of overcast, so we spent a couple hours at Blast Arcade in BayTowne Wharf. It was so much fun. We all loved it.
While we were at the arcade, Darrin started talking about driving home that afternoon. This time, I talked him out of it for the same reason he told me, Miles would be crushed. So, we stayed and ended up playing cards on the patio all afternoon and then that was the night that Miles and I swam until 7pm. We called in to-go orders for the second night in a row. It might have been my favorite day of the entire vacation. I told Darrin that I am so glad that we convinced each other to do the right thing for Miles. He loved the whole vacation and fun memories were made on this particular day.
And now for some other random pictures. Miles decided he wanted to do a ropes course. This was completely out of character for him. I didn't think he would like it but Darrin encouraged me to let him try.
At this point, he looked at Darrin and said, "I think I made a bad decision." He finished the part he was on and made his exit. He said his knees were shaking b/c he was so scared. Momma knows best.
Buying this umbrella stroller from a consignment store for $6 dollar and taking it on our trip was a genius idea. We didn't have room for our big stroller. This was perfect for what we needed.
I've heard rave reviews about Another Broken Egg for a while now, so we tried it. My review is that it was fine. I'd pick Cracker Barrel any day.
I think Carson felt the same.
We ate at a place that had live music the first night. He sang mostly country music. We loved it. Carson was very entertained.
These two might dress alike, but Carson is Darrin's twin. We got so many comments on vacation about how Carson looks just like Darrin.
So, while it was very different than previous vacations, I think this is our new vacation norm. It was a true escape from our daily grind of work, school, daycare, baseball, yard work, cooking, cleaning, etc. We all loved every minute of being together, playing, relaxing, eating out, swimming, playing cards, and just doing things that we don't normally have time or take time to do.