Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vacation, Baby!

One look at our calendar for the next few months, and there's not a whole lot about it that screams "vacation." There is something listed every single day, to the point that I have had to schedule playdates 6 weeks in advance, just to make sure we work them in before school begins. This is primarily owing to the amount of travel we undertake during the season. Something I wouldn't trade for anything, but something I have also learned is quite exhausting by the end.

True to form, we started the off-school-season with a bang by heading to Sarasota, FL for our family vacation. Just the five of us. (A phrase I'm still learning to say.) Having Tim to ourselves for a whole week is a treat in and of itself, and the grandparents' condo in a tropical location is the icing on the cake. Travel with an infant, though, isn't quite so sweet. Which we knew, and which I remember from doing this same trip with a four-month-old Danny.

We mixed it up with a fair amount of divide-and-conquer tactics as well as determined gatherings of the whole family. Clare, Danny and Tim went to the beach one day, the next I took them to the local YMCA's awesome aquatic park. Tim and the big kids ventured to Adventure Island one day, while Laura and I enjoyed a very peaceful day at home (with a jaunt to Target). The next day I took Clare and Danny on a boat tour of the bay area, complete with dolphin sightings and marine life encounters. We all managed to get to the Mote Aquarium; the pool for Laura's first swim; Big Olaf's for their deliciously creamy ice cream; and the beach.

In fact, we celebrated Laura's five-month birthday with her inaugural visit to the beach. It was a picture-perfect afternoon on what was ranked yet again as America's #1 beach: Siesta Key. The kids were in heaven, the water felt fabulous. Sadly, Laura did not cooperate, so we had to pack it in much earlier than the rest of us would have liked. I think Tim and I were both much more resentful of the baby than either Clare or Danny. Babies: so cute, so frustrating! Given that this was following her refusal to take a bottle, and four days' worth of refusing to nap in the afternoon (despite perfect napping in the morning), I suspect our irritation was more cumulative than anything else.

Since the beach was the most distinctive aspect of this trip - we can hit the pool every day here at home - we decided that was where we needed to spend the last day. This time, though, we took two cars (yahoo for Donna and Larry keeping a vehicle at the condo!). Laura and I arrived late and left early, and everyone was happier.

And so it appears it will go this summer. We'll find ways to do the things we love to do, but it's going to require more planning, more compromise, and more patience!

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