Anyway, about 3pm we finally made it to Alabama - and after a little scenic drive we found the house that we rented for the week. My first thought was "Oh, crap.". The house was great and clean and nice, but in no way baby proofed. I don't know what I expected but it certainly didn't include a huge furnace surrounded by a large tile block - perfect for slicing open a head - right in the middle of the living area.There was momentary panic about how we could re-arrange furniture and assemble our baby gates so that our kids could survive the vacation without stitches or plunging off the deck. We did finally get it somewhat proofed by the next morning after an early morning trip to Target - so I finally started to breathe again.
That Tuesday we headed out to explore downtown Fairhope, which is a precious little area with tons of restaurants, boutiques and antique shopping. We landed at Panini Pete's which was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (pretty much my favorite show on the Food Network). Besides the incredible heat of the restaurant (it is TINY inside), we all had a great lunch and little stroll around the area. By that time, the babies were in desperate need of a nap, so we headed back to the house for some relaxation.
One of the smartest things I did was to find a wonderful nanny on care.com. I knew that Matt and I would need some adult only time, and plus once the reunion started, the night activities were not exactly kid friendly. Anyway, our sweet sitter came on Tuesday evening and Matt & I headed out to an oyster bar for dinner & followed up with a drink at the lounge at the Grand. The nights in Alabama were perfect -- with the bay breeze, it actually almost got chilly & we took a lovely stroll on the large pier at the hotel and even tried our luck fishing with some cane polls (didn't catch a thing but it was fun to try).
I think I screamed something to Matt about getting the heck home, and we repacked our stuff (are you seeing a trend? Pack, unpack, repack, that was vacation) - and headed back to the house where the babies took a nice, LONG nap and mommy tried to recover from the "excitement". And here's the part where I am mom of the year - no pictures taken at the babies' 1st trip to the water. It was too difficult to have one person trying to make sure the babes weren't putting sand in their mouth or being washed away. Priorities.
Late Wednesday night, my mom and Steve arrived to 2 very tired parents. I was thrilled to see them and felt vacation may actually start at that point. Of course the first thing my mom did was take a trip out on our pier and it was only pure exhaustion that kept her from throwing her fishing pole in right then and there. Of course, by Thursday morning, we were fishing out at the dock after grabbing some bait. It was perfect and relaxing. And with little humility, I would like to mention that I caught the first, biggest and most fish (at least from our dock). Thank you very much. Thursday afternoon was spent relaxing and then my aunt & uncle came over to see the babies and the house - and all of the adults left for dinner with R&Q in our trusty nanny's hands. We had an amazing dinner at The Wash House, where I seriously had the best tuna ever. Again, we wrapped up the evening at the Grand where other family members were starting to arrive and got home WAY too late after having WAY too much fun.
Saturday morning was filled with a business/stockholders meeting for my mom & I and then Matt & Steve brought up the babies for the lunch. They were sooo good at the lunch and got lots of loving on from our extended family. I will say it's so nice to have extra hands around -- half of the time I would look around at these functions and be like "where's my kid"? Someone was always wanting to hold or cuddle with one of them. And I am totally fine with that - I hold them enough at home :)
Sunday morning was spent again in frantic mode to pack back up the car --- not only because we had to be out of the house by 10am, but also b/c we wanted to catch the babies on a naptime so we could have a little peace and quiet in the car at least part of the way. We made it out just in time, but the babies were so confused that I think they only napped for an hour or so and then I spent the next couple of hours playing endless games of peek-a-boo from the front seat until we could get to a place to have lunch. After lunch, we prayed again for a nap as we were attempting to make it home in one day (typically it would take 2 adults about 7 hours to get to PC, but with 2 babies - you're looking at more like 9 with all of the stops, diaper changes, bottles, and meals). Once the babies woke again from the world's shortest nap or so it seemed, I had pretty much had it. I was ready to just drive and we decided to let Matt take over peek-a-boo duty.
He outdid himself when he squeezed himself in the backseat to play with the babies and watch Megamind on the DVD players, while I concentrated on not killing us on the road with no view out of the back and on the world's worst stretch of highway on I-10. I can't tell you the relief when I saw the Houston skyline. We made it home in one piece, got the kids fed and bedded, and enjoyed some sushi since we were technically still on vacation. I will say that although I was skeptical about the whole driving back in one day thing, it was really nice to get back to our own beds, and I know the babies were relieved as well.
So, after all that wrap up (which is mostly for my memories and probably bored you to death), vacation was good. It was definitely an experience to travel that far with 2 one year olds - and not something I care to repeat anytime soon. I think if the babies were even 6 months older, it would have been a little more relaxing. As of now, they still typically take 2 naps a day, and with all of their meals and bottles (yes, we are coming off of these now), you really only have an hour or two max to go do anything. But we made some great memories, I had a great time with my husband as always, had some relax time with Mom and Steve, and ate and ate and ate. As mentioned above, I was terrible with the camera this vacation - too busy to think about it - but we did manage to squeeze in some shots before the end.
Just pretend that there is a picture of the babies happily splashing in the bay (for a moment) with their little speedo beach shoes, sunscreen plastered over their face, and their little precious bodysuit/swimsuits. And be glad there isn't a picture of the hysterical throwing up all over my trunk.
Here are a few shots:
|Playing in the baby pool in the yard in front of the bay|
|Loving the water|
|Quinn of course being busy and wanting to crawl out|
|There's water in my face, Mom!|
|Gigi bought this bow for Quinn and it just happened to match both of their outfits perfectly!|
|On the deck of our house|
|Happy Girl! She just loves her Gigi.|
|Waving Ryan & Gigi|
|Ryan was being his chill self.|
|There's a toothy grin of a one year old!|
|View from our house deck|
|Another one. It was beautiful - especially when the dolphins were jumping in the morning|
|1st bath in the sink. Bathrooms were all full.|
|First family reunion activity for babies|
|At the podium|
|Aunt Lace and Quinn|
|My handsome hubby|
|Mom & Steve|
|Uncle Rykert & Mom|
|Me and my uncle|
|Our favorite cousins to hang with! Kelly & Alan|