Winter Getaway 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

In a bit of a last minute call, T & I decided to make one final trip to Florida this winter before our newest family member decides to arrive. We cut things pretty close and traveled when I had about 7-8 weeks left to go in this pregnancy, and while we all had a great time, I would definitely recommend going a bit sooner in the second trimester if you are expecting! With both C & G, we took an actual 'babymoon' trip without kiddos along, but the logistics of figuring out what to do with the boys this time of year while C has school three days a week and we had work schedules to plan around just didn't work out, so we opted for a family getaway to make some memories and enjoy our final time together as a family of four. 

After a whirlwind weekend filled with Winter Games activities and lots of family time, we hit the road for vacation a day before our flight to take some of the stress away from day-of-travel with littles. If there is one thing we have learned when traveling with little people, the closer we can get to the airport before actually NEEDING to be there, the better! On the way there, we stopped to fill up with gas and pick up a snack, and I unknowingly locked the boys in the car while both T & I were NOT in the vehicle. #MOMFAIL. C had no idea how to unlock the door, and seeing as it was only 13 degrees outside, we ended up calling the police to come help us out. Thankfully, they arrived very quickly, and the entire ordeal only added about 10 extra minutes to our trip. I felt horrible about the entire thing, and ended up getting the boys 'fancy' gas station apple juice and snacks, and then 15 minutes later, we stopped again at McDonalds for a cheeseburger and fries. It was late by the time we got to our hotel, maybe an hour or so past bedtime... and it was almost 10pm by the time the boys finally settled down enough to sleep. While there is something precious about watching the two of them and their excitement at sleeping in the same room and in a HOTEL room at that, it is super frustrating when you know that every minute the clock keeps ticking before their eyes shut will mean greater potential for meltdowns on travel day!

When departure day arrived, we opted to do a park'n'fly rather than drive and park at the airport. It was SO NICE to all be able to walk into the ticketing area TOGETHER and not have to keep track of all of our 20 bags (OK, that's an exaggeration, but not by much!) and both boys all by myself while T went to park the car. Our flight went smoothly, G only climbed between T & I's laps approximately 800 times, and C kept himself entertained with watching a movie on the iPad, playing his magnet game, and driving his new motorcycles on every surface within reach. Overall, outside of a mini meltdown from G who was convinced Gpa T was sitting a few rows in front of us, the boys did a great job on the flight. The stewardess was so impressed she asked if we travel a lot, and another couple commented that the boys were very well behaved and must be seasoned travelers. Ha!

After our drive down to Anna Maria from Tampa, we went straight to The Waterfront, one of our island favorites, for a late lunch. Soooo good. I had a grilled grouper sandwich, C enjoyed truffled gouda mac & cheese, G ate nearly his weight in ketchup (a current fascination is dipping everything), and T had a delicious crab cake sandwich. After lunch, we popped over to Two Scoops for a kiddie dish of ice cream, where C insisted on coconut ice cream, before heading to the beach house to get settled in.

The afternoon was pretty chilly & windy, but we did sneak out to the beach with Gpa K & Gma M to watch sunset and let the boys play in the sand a little before calling it a night. C had so much fun throwing around the football and running races with papa T, while G was fascinated with the sand and kept walking around to different spots to feel it and throw some up in the air. Too cute. After sunset, everyone was tired out, and after a quick meal at the house we were all ready to call it a night.

The first full day of our trip to Florida was a success! We started the morning with a trip to The Donut Experiment, where after some consideration, C decided he'd like a donut with strawberry frosting dipped in coconut. I'm not sure where he developed his recent love for coconut, but that's the ice cream flavor he chose at Two Scoops, and when his first donut was gone, he asked for a few bites of a second coconut donut rather than his typical choice of rainbow sprinkles, the flavor he chose for G. Afterwards, the boys were in a bit of a donut coma, and both crawled on the couch at the store and laid down to take a break! Probably one of the funnier moments of our trip!

After donuts, we walked around some of the shops on Pine Avenue before heading to Coquina Beach to play at the park. The boys had a blast playing on the pirate ship themed playground, and went down the slides for the better part of an hour. Our fearless little G was the first to insist on going on the giant tube slide, something C would not probably have done until he saw his little brother do it without batting an eye, but they both absolutely loved it.

Later, Gma J & Gpa T arrived, and the boys were so excited to see them. After a quick walk down to the beach to watch sunset, everyone hit up Poppo's Taqueria for an quick easy dinner, and the boys enjoyed eating their quesadilla and chips (or as many beans as could be shoveled hmm G...) on the outside deck with Gma & Gpa before calling it a night.

The next morning, T & I took the boys to Ginny & Jane's for a muffin and smoothie before meeting up with Gma J & Gpa T to head to The Ringling in Sarasota. It was a chilly morning, so a great opportunity to get off the island and explore a little. We had so much fun! T & I had visited previously, but never with the boys, so it was fun to explore through the eyes of little people. There is a great kids playground area, along with an awesome Circus Museum complete with a model of the trains, tents, animals, and everything else in between that a circus production would have looked like in its heyday. G picked up a new word while we were walking through the exhibit when he realized he needed to be picked up for his full viewing pleasure, and started lifting his hands and saying 'see' every time he needed a better vantage point. C had fun seeing the circus model, but ended up enjoying the interactive canon shooter and clown car most of all.

After the Circus Museum, we stopped at the Museum of Art, another section of the Ringling complex. Both boys were very tired by this point, so we didn't get to spend too much time here, but we enjoyed the time we had. Gma J commented on one of the Reuben's paintings (The Triumph of Divine Love) that depicts a woman surrounded by babies, that the artist was maybe a bit generous with the 'chubbiness' he gave to the babies. However, after seeing our little G strutting his stuff at bath time later, I don't think the artist was too far off the mark! It was fun to take the boys to an art museum, and especially fun to have Gma & Gpa along for the adventure. T & I have pretty strong feelings that art is a very important part of our culture, so we were glad to be able to share even this small sliver with our kiddos while they are young.

The following morning, we walked down the beach to the AMI Beach Cafe for breakfast. After ordering nearly half of the breakfast menu, I had a bit of regret thinking I ordered entirely too much, but it ended up being perfect. C loved his bagel with cream cheese, and G ate double his weight in breakfast food - seriously! He had 2 sausage patties, oatmeal, breakfast potatoes, and  2 1/2 pieces of toast!!!

After breakfast, both boys enjoyed playing on the beach...G with some borrowed sand toys, and C playing paddle ball with Gma J. C is a little sports fanatic, and any athletic activity he can try his hands at, he is happy! I've got to say, he picked up paddle ball pretty quickly, and we may have to invest in a set for our house this summer for outside playing! On our walk back to the house, G enjoyed wearing his new shades which earned him the nickname of 'Hollywood'.

After we got home from breakfast and the beach, the boys had a great time hanging out by the pool and splashing around in the water. They ended up getting so wet that we just threw life jackets on and let them go in with street clothes instead of swim trunks. C was in heaven playing with kick boards and about 12 various sized cups to dump and pour water into, while G was an absolute riot after he got his life jacket on and then went full steam ahead straight into the water. He didn't stop until his feet went out from under him, and he flopped into a back float. Of course, he thought this was about the most funny thing ever (it was!), and he got to giggling and kicking his legs when he fell onto his back splashing around, and had to repeat the move about 200x before we could get him convinced that it was time to get out and cleaned up. As much as he loved swimming, I think it is safe to say that he had equal if not more enjoyment from standing in the outdoor shower in the sunshine to warm up. He'd probably still be standing there now if we would have let him!

Later that evening, we tried out a new Italian restaurant on the island, Isola Bella. C ate nearly his entire kids meal of chicken, along with some fresh mozzarella and bruschetta for an appetizer and ice cream for dessert. He had so much fun sitting next to Gma J & Gpa K, and just loved having everyone out to eat together. I think big family meals are going to be a highlight of his childhood! G, meanwhile, was a bit harder to control, but he made new friends with a few of the tables close to us turning on his full flirt mode blowing kisses and pulling out his shy little smirk anytime someone caught him watching.

The following morning, we kicked the day off with a second trip to The Donut Experiment. We weren't originally planning to go, but C insisted on donuts, so...we caved. I think the boys each had two entire donuts to themselves! After breakfast, we packed up the car and headed south about half an hour for a visit to St. Armand's Circle, a favorite shopping & dining area that is so much fun to walk around. G fell asleep on the way, so when we arrived, C & I had some special mommy & me time where I let him choose the shops we should go in. We had fun exploring shoe stores, and gift shops before G woke up and we met up for lunch at Shore Diner, a delicious lunch spot if you're ever in the area!

This picture cracks me up! G was so excited about playing in the sand, that he decided to throw some up in the air. Obviously...instant regret! Those faces just say it all!

Later that day, we made it back out to the beach for sunset, and a little playtime in the sand. The weather was cool, but the boys didn't seem to mind! T & I snuck out for a late date night after getting the boys settled in for the evening, and enjoyed a couple hours of adult time (and delicious desserts from the hands-down best dessert bar around) at our favorite Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key. So soooo good!

On our last full day in Anna Maria, we had a great time on a boat ride on the ocean with Gpa T & Gma J. T spotted some dolphins, the boys got to see how the drawbridge goes up to let big boats go through, and they enjoyed sharing the captain seat with Gpa T. Later, it was back to the pool for some more splashing around, and then a quiet night before packing up to leave the following morning. We had such a fun trip, and are so thankful to have had family there to share it with. Can't wait until next time!

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Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you have any suggestions of recipes I should try, fun ideas to do with the kiddo, or a suggested adventure to add to our bucket list!

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