I wanted to do a recap of our vacation so when I eventually get around to scrapping this 400 years from now, I'll have a written record of all the things I forgot.
The week we left was hectic. The week prior, I had really started to get some severe back and sciatic pains. That same week (the 1st week of April), Nick's work asked him to be in Seattle. He was concerned about leaving me alone with basically no help while my back was being odd, so he told them no. I had a baby check up on the 2nd and chiropractic care was recommended, so I started going there that same week. She helped a LOT but still, my sciatic is killing me. Later in the week, around the 4th or 5th, they asked him to be in Seattle the following week. Having already told them no once, we were apprehensive about saying no again... Nick did remind them that he was on vacation starting the 12th and would only be able to come up Monday - Wednesday. Which he did.
Juggling prepping for our trip with being a single parent + trying to have a life and make my chiropractic appointments was difficult but we made it. Thankfully my dad was able to help out so I could keep my appointment and not have to try to drag Ben along with me.
Thursday: We got up bright and SUPER early (we were up at 4:00ish) to get ready and do our last minute packing before we headed out the door. Poor Ben was not interested in being up that early (can you blame him?) and was kind of a pill most of the morning. We didn't leave ourselves near enough time to get to the airport, struggle with all our crap in, get breakfast, etc. We ended up getting to our gate just as they were doing the family boarding, which meant no time to find milk for the flight OR use the potty before we went...
Ben did wonderfully on the plane, though. We had some words over leaving the seat belt on and keeping the tray table up, but mostly he was great. He used the airplane toilet several times and never asked for milk (and thankfully not - Southwest doesn't carry milk on board, so even if he had wanted some, I wouldn't have been able to give him any).
We had about a 2 hour lay over in Denver, which was perfect. Ben was, at this point, incredibly over tired. He wanted to push the little travel suitcase I bought for the trip but kept steering it in to people... he had a complete and total meltdown when we took it away, complete with failing limbs and top-of-the-lungs screeching. Thankfully he settled down after a few minutes of pure joy (insert sarcastic font here) and he and Nick went off exploring. BTW, the concourse we were on in Denver does not have a Starbucks, which I think should be against the law. We had an early lunch of Einstein Bagels (yummm), some running around and general hanging out. The flight from Denver to Tampa was mostly smooth - Ben napped for about an hour (boo) and then watched Cars the rest of the time or looked out the window.
Not one potty accident on either plane trip. HOORAY! We had put a diaper on him after we got on in Denver, knowing he would nap and fearing a release of his bladder mid nap. When we got to Tampa and were outside waiting for our shuttle to the car rental place, Ben announced he had to pee. I told him he had on a diaper and could go ahead and go in his pants. A few minutes later, he burst into tears that he had to pee, so I rushed him to the toilet where he was much happier. What a great kid! No accidents on the plane at all AND he knew he had to pee and didn't want to go in his pants.
We got our car and then headed out to Nick's parents house. Ben walked right in like he'd been there a million times and gave his nana a huge hug and cuddle, just like he'd seen her last week. He loved their house, they have a great back yard with a small fish pond and plenty of room to ride around on Shea's old power wheels. Ben LOVED riding the "buggy" (as he called it). Nick's brother, Rob, came over in the evening with his kids Shea and Ruby and they all played for several hours.
Friday: This day started off playing musical banks. Good times. Nick set up a savings account through a credit union when he worked at EDS a few years ago. Mostly we use it to pay for Ben's Tumble Time, but the last few months we've been watching it grow with intentions of spending it in Florida. Because I'm not on the account and Nick had last minute travel for work to Seattle, we weren't able to withdraw our spending money before we left. Nick found a reciprocating branch near his parents house online, so we headed out Friday morning to get that money. We get there and.... the bank has closed. Moved to a new loaction. Sooooo, we drove to the new location, Nick gets out & goes in... and comes right back out. They're no longer a reciprocating branch. Ugh. So off we went to search out a 3rd location - thankfully this one was open, in the spot we went to the first time AND they were still a reciprocating branch. hooray! This adventure took over an hour, which wasted pretty much the whole morning. After Ben's nap, we went over to Rob and Tara's house for a BBQ and kiddo play.
Saturday: Saturday we didn't do a whole lot during the morning. After Ben's nap, we headed out to the Postcard Inn where Nick's parents had booked us a room for Saturday & Sunday nights - a vacation within a vacation. :) We played at the beach and in the pool and then tried to go to dinner. Unfortunately, by the time the adults were able to eat, my son was finished. I ended up taking him back to our room even before my drink came. We had a bath and watched Cars and listened to the extremely loud wedding right outside our door (awesome). Ben finally fell asleep around 10:30 or 11:00 and I nodded off not too long after. Being that Saturday was Rob's birthday, Nick was out having a fantastic time and stumbled back some time after 3:00.
Monday: we got up, had breakfast, checked out, piled the other Beesley family and kids into our minivan and headed to Busch Gardens! We had the most epic adventure to Busch Gardens ever. Midway across a very long causeway, Ben announced with distressing urgency that he had to poop. We all did our best to distract him as Nick sped up and raced his way across the water and flew off at the next exit. We ended up in a fairly industrial part of town without a whole lot in the way of bathroom stops. As Nick was flying into a grungy gas station, I was pulling the buckles off Ben for a quick departure from the car. Nick rushed Ben to the toilet, only to find the door was locked. He ran into the station to ask for the key, only to be told they don't have a commode in the restroom anymore. My poor child. We quickly got him back in the car, rebuckled and headed down the road in search of some where else. By the time we got to the hotel down the road, Ben wasn't able to wait anymore.... and went in his pants. Poor daddy. This, unfortunately, set off a chain of potty accidents for the next several days. It wasn't long from where we stopped for our emergency potty break to Busch Gardens, but on the way, Ben peed his pants. So that required underwear change #2 before we're even in the gates. He did fairly well for most of the park, we went on a train ride to see animals and be taunted with awesome roller coasters I wasn't allowed to ride (stupid baby). We looked at animals, ate candy, and then waited in line to ride a kiddy roller coaster... during which Ben pooped his pants again. At that point, I was out of underwear for him. We took the kids to lunch and headed to the kiddo section of the park where Ben and Shea climbed and jumped and explored, rode the carousel and Shea took Ben on a tiny water ride, which Ben loved. After that, we headed home. Ben fell asleep almost instantly (as did every one but Ruby, it turns out).
Tuesday: This was Nick's birthday. Happy 3-0, honey! :) We went down to John's Pass to catch a dolphin watching excursion. Ben wasn't that impressed and really would have preferred wandering the boat and perhaps falling over board. After Ben's nap, the rest of the Beesley crew headed over to Nick's parents house for dinner & cake. A fairly relaxed day.
Wednesday: This day we got up and headed to Sea World with Rob, Tara and the kids (they'd never been - I'd been to the one in San Diego). Ben started out a little crabby but eventually got over it. We watched the Shamu show, looked at an arctic exhibit (dang polar bear was asleep), viewed the shark encounter and took the kids over to the kiddie section where Ben and Ruby played in the splash pad while Rob took Shea off to play on the ropes and climb. After that we ate lunch and Ben fell asleep in the stroller. We went to watch the dolphin show, which Ben napped almost the entire way through. He woke up towards the end, during a loud round of applause (he actually woke up clapping, so very adorable) and then we headed home. We'd spent a good 5 or 6 hours at the park and still didn't see it all. On the way back, we faced a similar adventure to our story on the way to Busch Gardens. Ben announced with urgency he had to poop, so Nick got off at the next exit... which wasn't actually an exit. It was an on ramp to another highway, but this one had tolls at every exit - exits that really went no where. We finally pulled off at one, but like the story before, Ben had already gone in his pants. And then proceeded to say he had to pee about every 10 minutes. That easily added a good hour if not more to our trip home. He also peed his pants several of those times.
Thursday: was our last day there. Pretty low key, we went off in search of one of our favorite places to visit when we go to Florida: Orange Blossom Grove. Now, this used to be right by Nick's parents house. We were going to stop there before we even got to their house, but as we approached it, we discovered it was now a used car lot. I seriously felt like crying. We looked online and found they'd moved to another location, so Thursday we went there (p.s. it's now called Florida Citrus Country and if you're ever in the Clearwater/Tampa/St Pete area, you absolutely have to make the drive and get some of their orange juice and orange soft serve ice cream - you will not be sorry). Made the trip. :) After Ben's nap, we went back down to the beach for one of Nick's favorite places to eat, Caddy's On the Beach. We ate and the kids played in the surf and sand one last time (well, one last time for Ben) before we headed home to pack and prepare for our ride home.
Friday: after all our potty accidents since we'd been there, I was really nervous for our trip home. Thankfully, it went really well. We gave ourselves lots of time at the airport and were able to get Ben some breakfast (he didn't want to eat before we left nana and grandad's) and some coffee for us. I was able to read my new book (Nora Roberts new one - The Witness)... and actually I read the entire flight. Nick entertained Ben (who did not nap) until our stop in Denver. We didn't get off in Denver, just let some deplane and others board. Ben went potty, we got settled in and took off for Portland. Ben fell asleep almost instantly and napped the entire flight from Denver to Portland, right about 3ish hours. I continued to read and Nick napped. We had a shortish layover in Portland, but had time to get lunch, do our potty breaks and stretch our legs. A short 45 minute flight to Boise and we were finally HOME.
Overall, we had a truly fantastic trip. We packed a lot in our week there but we had a really great time doing all those things (well, okay, the panicked poop adventures weren't that great ha ha, but it's par for the course). We loved spending time with nana, grandad, Auntie, Uncle and Shea and Ruby. We loved the beach (loved, loved, loved the beach) and playing in nana's back yard. We liked the buggy and squirting the fish in the pond and having Ben wake up first thing, come to the "big bed" for cuddles and then tip toeing off to nana's room for cuddles with her while Nick and I caught a few more minutes of sleep. Ben loved riding "inna red van" and wanted to know where it went when we got home. He found a toy car of his yesterday that looks like our red rental van and he said "mama! red van! get it! go to beach on Wednesday!" - silly kid. :)