Monday, June 4, 2018

Family Vacation: Part Two

As much as we love spending time with our family and getting to be at home with everyone, we try to make sure we also prioritize time for just us. Time away from the stress of his job to reconnect and relax. So... after saying goodbye to our family at the lake we drove on down to Kiawah Island! T.J. and I had been once before together a couple years back and we immediately fell in love and decided it would become our family's beach spot. We were so excited to experience it again, this time with Tommy!

Of course no road trip is complete without a pit stop at Cracker Barrel. You could have told Tommy this was where we were vacationing and he would have been happy to sit there, eat biscuits and people watch for an entire week.
We stopped and picked up some groceries for the week before checking in to our home for the rest of the week. Once unpacked, we had a little time before Tommy's bedtime so we headed straight to the beach! Seeing the ocean for the first time on any vacation always feels like a great big exhale and sets me into a blissful state of mind. Watching Tommy see the ocean, feel the sand in between his chubby little toes and letting the waves wash over his feet was pure magic.
He crashed as soon as we got back to our villa and then T.J. went and picked up dinner for the two of us, grilled grouper, shrimp, rice and veggies,  to enjoy out on our patio together. It was the perfect start to the second half of our vacation.
The forecast for the week had a rain cloud depicted every day but we happily woke up to sunshine. Since we weren't sure what the rest of the day would look like, after breakfast we quickly headed over to check out the pool.  We enjoyed having the place to ourselves for a little morning swim before Tommy's first nap, perks of waking up early on vacation.
After naptime we did what every first-time parent does and brought way too much stuff with us to the beach. After putting on swimsuits and lathering on sunscreen and changing a poopy diaper the second we unfolded our beach blanket, we spent about 30 minutes on the beach before we decided Tommy had eaten enough sand for one morning.
We headed back to the pool for lunch and a pina colada. Then we checked out all the fun fountains and slides at the kids pool and Tommy splashed around and stared at all the other tiny humans wanting to do what they were doing.
I am looking forward to taking Tommy to the splash pad and pools at home this summer because oh boy does he nap well after a bit of swimming! After his nap we got dressed and headed to the famous Ocean Course clubhouse for dinner at the Ryder Cup Bar & Grill. Driving there we passed home after beautiful home and daydreamed about which one we'd pick if we won the lottery. Dinner was delicious and we enjoyed the beautiful ocean view while Tommy charmed all the golfers and our waitress (as per usual). 
The next morning we took a walk on the beach and then later in the day we drove over to Sullivan's Island to meet up with one of his med school buddies/groomsmen for lunch. We grabbed burgers at Poe's Tavern (mine had pimento cheese of course) and enjoyed catching up.
 On our way home we stopped to wander around the little shopping center on Kiawah before heading to the pool again and then we all crashed early that night.
We continued our little vacation schedule and were back on the beach in the morning again where we lingered a little longer in the surf this time. Then after nap time we were joined by one of my college roommates who lives in Charleston! She is my first college friend to meet Tommy and I am so thankful we got to spend time together and catch up, and of course play in the pool and enjoy a pina colada together.
We did dinner al fresco on our patio again that night and T.J. and I both continued working our way through our beach reads. Friday was our last day before flying home and unfortunately we finally got some of that rain that had been predicted all week. We got pockets of sun here and there during the day so we took a couple walks and visited the nature center and then had one more dinner out and ended our last night on the island with ice cream from the Sanctuary hotel.

I wont talk too much about our flight home I'd like to be able to fly with Tommy again someday. Let's just say he didn't sleep or stop moving the. entire. day and we were all so happy to be done traveling by the time we got home. Despite that, I am already looking forward to years and years of sweet memories made with my boys at the beach!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

South Carolina Family Vacation: Part One

Two weeks ago I woke up Tommy at 4am changed his diaper and loaded his curious and confused little self into the car and headed to the airport. Once I was parked I got my suitcase and the stroller out of the car and then put Tommy in the baby carrier. Then I zipped up the car seat in the travel bag, stacked it on top of the stroller and pushed that with one hand, pulled my suitcase with the other, with a diaper bag on my back and Tommy on my front. I wish I had a picture of this crazy train but, as you may have guessed, T.J. was not with me to document, and if he had been with me I wouldn't have been carting everything we needed for a two vacation by myself.
This was Tommy's third flight but our first without T.J. and it actually went really well. He passed out, finally, the second the plane took off and even though he only slept for about hour, he spent the rest of the flight happily sitting in my lap trying to win over our seat neighbors and grabbing at the flight attendant's skirt every time she walked by. We flew direct to Atlanta where my parents (aka Nana and Pawpaw) picked us up and then we drove from there to their home for the first half of our vacation.

The last time we were in South Carolina, Tommy was just 4 months old and all our family was just so thrilled to be able to cuddle and hold him in their laps, and sit with him asleep in their arms on the porch.  Hah! That was not to be recreated on this visit. Tommy does not sit still, he does not fall asleep in your arms while you sway gently back and forth. He is a mover and a groover, a climber, crawler, and tumbler and I was just so excited to have many eager hands to chase after his little booty and give my arms a break.

He promptly fell asleep in his new, temporary, bedroom and I was so thrilled that he carried on with his usual excellent sleep routine right away. And that remained the case for our entire vacation even though he slept in three different unfamiliar locations over the course of two weeks.

On our first morning there, we walked down to the dock in our pjs and looked for fish and enjoyed some early morning sunshine before my in-laws arrived for breakfast. They hung out and played with Tommy before he went down for his first nap. Later that afternoon we were joined by more family for dinner: my aunt, uncle and cousin who live in South Carolina and my mema who conveniently was in town from New Jersey. My dad grilled and Tommy hammed it up for his expanded fan club.

My mema stayed the night so she could get extra time with her great grandson and it was nice to have a little bit of a quieter day to get more settled into our east coast routine. That day Tommy also got to test out his new life jacket and dip his toes in the lake for the first time! He LOVED it and would have taken off swimming if we'd let him. He is such a water baby and I am so looking forward to future lake visits with him running and jumping off the dock, tubing and learning to water ski on the boat.
The next couple of days it was just my parents and I in the house with Tommy which was such a rare treat. We also took Tommy out on the boat and bribed him with handfuls of Puffs so that he would tolerate the life jacket during our cruise.
The rest of the time we finished a puzzle, drank lots of iced coffee, tried to fish off the dock, and watched home videos. You know what's crazy? Watching a video of your mom's thirtieth birthday when you yourself are about to turn thirty. I shared this surreal moment with my mom to which she replied, try being the mother of someone turning thirty...
On Thursday, we had big plans! My mom and I dropped Tommy off at my in-laws so he could have some one on one time with his other grandparents and then she and I met my sister downtown to go wedding dress shopping!  Confession time. This was honestly the first time I've really left Tommy.... T.J. and I have gone of a couple dates without him but always after he was in bed. But even though I knew this was going to be hard (for me, not him) there was no way I was missing out on dress shopping with my sister! She got engaged over Easter weekend and we've only been dreaming about this day since forever! And, y'all! She found THE dress and I am so grateful the timing worked out for me to be there with her.
She took the next day off work so she could spend the day out at the lake with us and so we could have a sleepover and talk all things wedding.  My dad also picked up my other grandma from Tennessee for the weekend. Friday evening after dinner, Tommy and I loaded up all our gear and headed over to my in-laws lake house to sleep so that we would be there when T.J. got in early the next morning! Tommy was so excited to see his daddy after a whole week apart and so was I! We spent the next two nights at their lake house, took another boat ride, grilled steaks and ate on the porch, and enjoyed some beautiful lake sunsets.
Sunday was my first Mother's Day, and my mom hosted a delicious brunch for all the family in town and it was a beautiful day on the lake.  I can't believe how fast this year has gone. Last Mother's Day I was super pregnant and still trying to imagine what my son would look like, what his little personality would be like, how becoming his mom would make me feel. And oh my goodness, being his mom is my greatest joy and privilege.
It was hard to say goodbye to everyone at the end of our visit, it always is. But this time was a made a tad bit easier since our vacation wasn't quite done yet. T.J., Tommy and I loaded up our stuff once more and headed a little further south for a week together at the beach, just the three of us!