On Saturday morning, our little family headed out towards Florida and a week's vacation at the beach! We have been looking forward to our trip for weeks! Katie Anne kept saying, "I going to the beach! I going on bay-cation! I going to build sandcastles!" It took a ton of work on poor Mommy's part (whew- list making, washing, packing, grocery shopping, washing, packing, errand running, washing, packing, last minute ziploc-bagging toiletries, more packing... all week long!), but we were pretty much packed up by Katie Anne's bedtime on Friday.
Katie Anne greatly mourned the loss of Abby and Ginger on Friday afternoon because we aren't taking them on vacation this year. She cried and cried and cried after they left with VJ, and she quietly whispered night-night to them as we were tucking her in - pitiful! They didn't want to come, though. Trust me - they hate the sand, bark at every little unfamiliar condo noise, and they have a much better time being pampered and spoiled at Doc and VJ's house! VJ is going to check on the other little animals (Chloe and Cosmo) during the week, so Katie Anne and I just had to clean out their cages, fill their bowls and water bottles, and give them lots of yummy cilantro and carrot treats on Friday night.
On Saturday morning, Saunders loaded up the car while I got Katie Anne up and at 'em, and we were ready to roll at about 8:00 am. We decided to break the trip (which was supposed to be about 6 hours and 30 minutes, but wound up being almost 8 hours of actual car time with all the traffic included) into three sections... a pre-breakfast section, a pre-lunch section, and a post-lunch section - which hopefully would include a KA naptime as well. We were armed with several "toddler trip tools and tricks", including: the DVD player with all KA's old favorite movies and four new library DVD rentals, a big jug of half apple juice/half water, Baby Amanda and her diaper bag full of goodies, and eight little "surprise bags" that I had packed. I picked out a bunch of small toys from the Dollar General, including little mermaids, squeezy frogs, Winnie the Pooh plastic figurines, and more. I divided those into eight ziploc bags, and included a different little snack (some Goldfish, marshmellows, fruit snacks, rice cakes, cereal, etc) and a different board book (some of her favorites from home and five new ones from the library) for entertainment. I highly recommend this strategy... Katie Anne did AMAZINGLY well on the trip. There were really no complaints from her from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm!!!
Also - BIG Mommy BRAG coming up right here - Katie Anne stayed dry for the whole trip! I put her in an overnight Pull-Up before we left because I wasn't sure she could do it... and I figured she'd sleep and have an accident during the afternoon. However, she arrived in Florida wearing the same Pull-Up she'd put on at home, perfect and pristine! She went to the potty during the three stops we made, and she told us once more at about 3:30 pm that she had to go, so we pulled over and let her go in her potty, which we'd brought with us. What a great potty-trainee! We are SO proud of our big girl!
We drove first to The OK Cafe in Atlanta for breakfast, which put us about an hour into our drive. We had a delicious breakfast... Cheese toast for KA, French toast for Saunders, and a cheese omelet and grits for me.
Then, it was back on the road for more driving. We made it to Montgomery, Alabama where we stopped at Chic-fil-A at Katie Anne's request for lunch. It wasn't such a great stop... too many rude big kids in the small indoor playground, even though there was a clearly posted sign stating "3 and Under Only". Katie Anne cried and cried when they wouldn't let her crawl through the tunnels or down through the slide, and I had to climb up in the tunnels to get her out. I went all "teacher" (as Saunders says) on the kids, and Saunders complained to the manager, and we left. So, no pictures.
Then, it was the post-lunch portion of the trip. Katie Anne slept for about an hour, and then she just vegged out and watched a 45-minute "Dora Saves the Mermaids" in a total almost-asleep stupor. So, we got a lot of driving done during that time. We stopped for a quick potty break about three hours after lunch. (Saunders made fun of me because I've lost my famed "teacher bladder", but I've gotten used to going to the restroom so often with a potty-training toddler that I can't drive forever without stopping anymore!) We got caught in a lot of traffic crossing from Alabama into Florida, and that was really annoying... so close, and yet so far away!
Finally, we arrived at our condo in Sea Crest Beach. It is SO nice! There's a pretty, bright big kitchen/living room/dining room combination, three and a half baths, three balconies, and four bedrooms - one for my parents, us, Greg and Jillian, and Katie Anne... and it has a big girl bed in it! We've been building this up and talking about it for about a week, and she was really excited. When we walked in, she first checked out the view of the pool (she's such a fish), then she ran from room to room to find her big girl bed! Luckily, the polka dot bed she wanted was the one we intended for her to use... and she couldn't wait to lay down in it! Here she is, at approximately 5:00 pm, all ready for bed and tucked in!
(The picture doesn't show the inflatable bed bolster that I ordered from One Step Ahead for side rail purposes, which we put on the bed before she really went to sleep.) So far, sleeping in it has been excellent... we brought a Pack 'N Play from the McWhorters, but we haven't needed it. She slept in the big girl bed last night without a peep, and just took a two and a half hour nap in it this afternoon. So, that means we're ready for the big girl room makeover when we get home! Potty training, big girl beds... what a growing-up summer!
Lots more vacation pictures to come!