After debating for weeks (months, actually) the risks versus merits of going on a Florida vacation with Ryan's family while 34 weeks pregnant, I am SOOOOOO glad that I opted to go for it. The midwife at my last check-up gave me the green light and I've really been feeling pretty good, so there was no reason not to try. And while I didn't really expect that going into labor while there (or heaven forbid, while on the plane!) was very likely, if it happened, I knew it wouldn't be the end of the world. Florida has good health care...it's not like we were traveling out of the country (which, incidentally, would have been completely out of the question). I guess my real reservations had more to do with the general discomfort I expected to feel — like swelling on the airplane as a result of the change in air pressure, or just the fatigue and frustration of chasing after a very active 2 1/2-year-old in an unfamiliar house with no toys or safety precautions.
Fortunately, the swelling on the plane was not an issue at all. And even more fortunately, I have an amazing husband who agreed to bear the majority of the parenting responsibilities while we were there, allowing me to truly put my feet up and relax. And, much to my surprise, he really followed through with that promise! He's the best!!! And it was a super relaxing and fun week away.
Owen did really well traveling. We drove to Chicago on Friday afternoon (he slept most of that drive) and spent the night in a hotel. Then we flew out of Midway on Saturday morning (he, again, slept most of that flight). Breaking it up like that was nice. We did the whole trip in one day on the way back and it was not quite as smooth, although still better than it could have been!
I decided not to even bring my point-and-shoot camera and took all our photos on the iPhone instead. So, some of the photos below are less than stellar quality (not that they would have been any better using the other camera). And I'm slightly obsessed with how easy Instagram makes photo editing for this completely unschooled photographer/editor, so you'll see a lot of that below. Anyway, here we go...
My sleeping beauties aboard the airplane.
The beach house we stayed in was amazing. It was actually two homes, duplex style, and there was plenty of room for all 16 of us (Ryan's parents, siblings and spouses, and nieces and nephews). In case you're interested, here's the link to the rental house. And here's a few quick shots of our digs for the week.
And when I refer to it as a "beach house," I truly mean it. It had private access to one of the most beautiful (and surprisingly uncrowded) beaches I've ever been on. This was the view from ankle deep in the gulf, looking back at our house.
Sunsets from the second-story deck were outstanding! Even Owen could appreciate the awesomeness of the sun sinking into the ocean, correctly referring to its shape when it was half-way down as a "semi-circle." (Thanks, Team Umizoomi!)
Owen LOVED playing in the sand! This was a big shift in how he reacted to sand on our Disney cruise trip last year (he hated it then!) I was relieved to see him dig and dig to his heart's content. It warmed my heart, actually. My very favorite part of the whole trip, in fact, was going out to the beach in the morning (typically before anyone else was out there), parking our butts in some chairs, and letting him loose with a few buckets and a shovel. He was in little boy heaven and I was in mommy paradise just watching him. I could seriously do that every morning for the rest of my life...
We also had lots of fun in the pool/hot tub at the house...
...and the private little mini-beach that was the back yard.
Owen had a lot of fun playing with (and just following around) his cousins. As the youngest of the bunch, he could come across as a little annoying to them, I'm sure, but they all got along just great during the week.
How cute is that little Addy tush???
Another favorite activity of mine was going for short walks along the beach with Owen at sunset. I swear that he grew up a little bit during this trip. I enjoyed watching him spend time really investigating things (as opposed to his typical behavior of jumping manically from one thing to another at warp speed.) Here his is checking out a sea shell that had washed up on shore.
Some other stuff worth noting: Owen did remarkably well with potty training...better than expected, in fact. Backing up just a bit, he finally started pooping on the potty pretty regularly only a few days before we left (halleluiah!!) He successfully stayed dry/clean in underwear the entire trip, with the exception of our travel days in the car and plane when we put him in a pull-up just to be safe. He even went pee on the airplane toilet, which I think is kind of a big deal (those things are crazy scary!)
And everyone managed to remain basically healthy on the trip (except for my poor SIL, Janan who was a little under the weather on-and-off for the first few days). However, on our last day there, Ryan had a slight accident in the pool and knocked out one of his front teeth (and chipped the other one). After I spazzed out for a good 20 minutes, I learned that the "tooth" that was knocked completely out was actually just a veneer, so he was not in any pain and it was easily repaired by his own dentist when we returned home. But this little gem of a photo op (with cutie pie Addy again) was too good to pass up in the meantime.
A great big thank you goes out to my in-laws for providing such an amazing trip (that I almost passed up!) for the whole family. You guys are awesome! These memories will certainly last a lifetime!!!