We did it. We really did it. And James and I are still alive and functioning. Well, I think I'm still functioning. At least on a level that makes sure the kids are fed and dressed and, well, maybe just fed. We went on our second family vacation (as a family of four) that spanned 9 days and 5 states. I feel like I just mastered something my inner self told me I couldn't (or shouldn't). I feel empowered, like I could take on anything ---as soon as I catch up on some sleep! It was A LOT of work, and hot, and sleepless, and did I mention hot? But it was totally worth every ounce of effort it took. We had SO MUCH FUN. I wouldn't trade any of it (well, maybe the heat) for anything. London and Noble did fantastic. I mean they were seriously good. So good I kept finding myself offering to get them stuff (which is why London came home not only with a princess outfit, but coordinating accessories to go with it). I was really worked up about flying with a 16 month old, but Noble did really well. (Can you sense my awe, unbelief, and extreme gratitude)?
So here are a few pictures (as in I completely filled up 2 GB of memory 'capturing priceless moments') of our journey from Oklahoma City to Orlando and back. I thought I would break it up into three posts so as not to overwhelm, because I know how much people enjoy seeing each and every one of other people's vacation photos.
You were warned.
Noble was in awe of the airplanes. He just couldn't seem to get enough of them.
"They look so small in the sky..."
A 1st born generation photo (James' mom, grandfather, James, and London).
James' grandparents graciously invited us to stay with them at what I referred to as their 'beach cottage bungalow' aka 'heaven on earth' for four days. It was really hard sleeping in, having every meal cooked for us and napping away every afternoon (intermingled of course with back breaking excursions to the beach and hammock swinging).
Have I mentioned how much I am loving this 'almost four' phase. I think I'm going to really like four.
Noble was seriously one big smile the entire time we were in Dauphin Island. He was in his element. Sweet, sweet boy..
And here is the beach. My children were in bliss. As you can see, London was not easily wrangled for a picture, which is why I appear to be diving to get in the shot with her. Does that child ever stop moving?
Building sand castles with dad.
London and Noble discovered a hermit crab. Fun fact: did you know that they can only be out of the water for 30 minutes?
A fun outing to the Estuarium, a fun little nature center filled with all kinds of water lovin' wildlife.
London was able to hold a sand crab; I can't believe how mature my baby's become! (Of course I think she chatted with the kind educator about Disney princesses for about 5 minutes. "Yeah, yeah, the crab's nice, did I tell you I'm going to see Ariel?")
while captain Noble steers the ship.
"What in the world could be in there?"
"Maybe if I reach in a little farther..."
Of course I had to take the obligatory beach portrait pictures. Now, for exceptional beach pictures, you want to take them either really earlier (not going to happen) or later in the evening; neither of which worked out. So here are beach pictures shot in the middle of the day (the sweating, squinting an harsh shadows really add to the ambiance of the photo).
Yeah, I'm pretty sure some of that got in her eyes...
My best 'together shot'.
Me: "London, pretend you're showing Him something interesting in your hand."
Me: "Just pick up some sand and show it to your brother; it's really hot out here and if I'm not getting a shot of you both looking at me, I at least want one of you looking at the same uninteresting interesting thing".
My beach babies
...trying to escape from me yet again.
London kept asking James to take her out deeper; she too seems to be made for the water.
Surprisingly, Noble loved the sand. He liked it in his fingers, his toes, he didn't even seem to mind it in his swim trunks. Did I mention he also LOVED the water. He would run full speed into it, get knocked over by a 'wave' and I'd pull him up laughing and smiling; what strange children I have.
We got in some nice relaxing time on GGdad and Nana's huge wrap around front porch.
Snack time with Nana. (Isn't the table beautiful? James' grandfather made it!)
More chillin', this time with sweet frozen goodness...
...while sitting on a bike that GGdad and Nana bought especially for London to have for her visits. My children weren't indulged at all.
Noble got a turn too.
We were able to visit GGdad and Nana's church on Sunday and London and Noble went over and 'introduced' themselves to some friends. This was the best shot I could get, but they were standing side by side, without us, being so sweet and friendly. It was priceless. (You know it has to be a special moment if I'm willing to whip out my camera at church, not even my church, granted. I can hear James' grandparent's friends now, "Your grandson seemed very nice and his wife, the one taking pictures in the auditorium, she was...interesting."
After morning service we ate lunch out, before our trek back to New Orleans.
We had such a wonderful time at Dauphin Island; that is truly what a vacation should be: family, fun, and relaxation (with a little sun and water thrown in!) Next stop: Orlando!