Monday, May 26, 2008

Playa Pics (aka, longest post ever...)

Warning: there's gonna be a lot of photos here. I guess I'm not the best editor. Well, that, and I tend to view this blog not only as a way to keep in touch with far flung friends and family, but also kind of like our running family photo album. I know there are at least a couple of people out there (hi, Aunt Sara!) who are interested in these. And for everyone else who's thinking, "Haven't you heard of Ofoto?", well, sorry.

We headed to Sanibel, Florida earlier this month for our first ever vacation-with-baby, including our first ever flight-with-baby. Our story follows, including a few unsolicited tips for any of our soon to be first time traveling parent friends.

The flight to Florida was seamlessly smooth, but more on that later. We headed out for a walk on the beach as soon as possible. Georgia's first encounter with dipping a toe in the ocean = tears. Georgia's first encounter with dipping a toe in the pool = tears.

Here she is, sitting on the sidelines after said first pool encounter. Wouldn't even leave Dad's arms. We were worried that this was shaping up to be a very LONG week. Thank God she quickly changed her mind and got on board with the program. And by "program" I mean alternating between eating, sleeping, and lounging at the pool and beach all week long.

15 minutes later, perhaps after seeing some other kids in the pool, she decided it wasn't so bad.

Getting braver....

Not bad for using the timer. I think this is the only group shot we have.

Checking out the sand. She seemed to really like it and curiously didn't attempt eating any until near the end of our trip.

Of course, Sanibel is known for its shelling, so here she is with her first find.

Like my hat?

Can I just say, it is a LOT of pressure to be in charge of someone else's sunscreen when it's consistently 85 degrees and sunny. Between SPF 50, a UV protective swimsuit, a hat, an umbrella, and a float with a roof, we did our best to protect her precious virgin skin. I felt like if she had so much as a sunkissed glow I was sure to be reported to DCFS. Our routine: sunscreen, swimsuit, go out, return to condo for food and sun break, go out, return to condo for nap, repeat. (Mind you, "go out" = about 20-30 minutes, tops, in the shade when possible.)

Please, no full body swimsuit photos, Dad.

The sea was angry that day.....

Seriously, the surf in Sanibel can be laughably calm depending on the weather conditions. As you can see, the depth also increases extremely gradually, so you can walk really far out into the ocean.

Hi, Dad! (Georgia really has become a world-class waver.)

We stayed in a condo and were able to eat in for most of our meals, which was nice. However, I announced to Joe that we were going out to dinner, which made him very nervous. To me, dinner out made perfect sense. Georgia would be old enough to handle sitting in a high chair, had proven herself not to be a monster, and to top it off, we kept her on Central time the entire trip, which meant we could eat at 7:00 Florida time with her sleep clock telling her it was only six - brilliant! Joe's counterarguments: (1) um, I'm not so sure about this, what if she freaks?, (2) I'm going to pretend I don't know the two of you if she freaks, (3) she's never really had dinner in a restaurant before, (4) oh, and also, children really shouldn't eat out until they're about 12 years old.

So, off we went to the restaurant.

Here's everyone dressed for dinner. Thank you Pitski Tidmarsh for the beautiful dress!

What's good here, Dad?

Um, where's our waitress?

Overall, I would say that our two dinners out were a smashing success. That said, we were completely taken off guard by the fact that Georgia's appetite increasing triplefold happened to coincide with her first dinner in a restaurant (and has pretty much continued ever since). We headed out with only a small container of pureed green beans and were quickly scrambling for anything suitable in sight to feed her. Thank God I happened to have ordered the sweet potato as my side! She ate her body weight in sweet potato. Also, Georgia seems to think that if anyone else is still eating, she should be eating, too. This makes it a little tricky to eat together as a family. Notice the look of panic on her face as she realizes this may be the last bite of potato.

Moving on...

Nice idea, but can we please get out of this mangrove now?

Wonder what we were talking about?

Good times at the beach.

By the way, with more time on our hands and excellent weather, we were able to fit in some running on this vacation. We decided to rent a jogging stroller for the fun of it, as a test run for whether we'd ever want to buy one for home use. Let's just say, Joe got a really excellent workout when he headed out with the jogging stroller, feared Georgia might be getting a little too hot, and saw no alternative but to accelerate to get her back into the A.C. faster. Fortunately, Georgia showed no ill effects, but Joe required some extra beer and poolside recuperation time.

For those of you keeping score at home, we did manage to keep up with the cloth diapering while on vacation. (It felt like a very public display of cloth diapering to be changing Georgia in the women's restroom in O'Hare.) I would definitely do it again next time - cloth diapering on the road was not a big deal. Or perhaps we are just used to it. Below, Georgia is modeling her iPlay brand swim diaper. I'd highly recommend them, and honestly, even if you are a full time disposable user, I think you'd find cloth swim diapers easy-peasy, and perhaps cuter and cleaner, (not to mention re-usable and hence cheaper if your little one is a frequent swimmer).

Working on crawling - the carpet made for great practice. Georgia's got the hang of backwards but is still working on her forward gear.

This raft is as much fun on land as in the water!

Did I mention yet that the condo was baby heaven? Babies love mirrors. This place was full of them. You can kind of see this in the background of the photo above. An entire wall, floor to ceiling, of the living room was entirely mirrored. The backsplash in the kitchen was made of mirrors. I don't think it's a decorating scheme we'll be repeating at home, but Georgia loved it.

The pool's pretty big when you're this small.

Clearly, she warmed up to the "swimming" by the end of the week.

Finally, a word on the flights. Among other travel tips that I read before our trip, one was to dress your child extra cute, theory being that in the event you end up with a screamer, people will be nicer to you. Here is my attempt to dress Georgia "extra cute":

Fortunately, we didn't have to put that theory to test, which is a good thing, because in retrospect, I think it was a dumb one. Once you're on the plane you realize that no one can see the kid's clothes, and besides, they're all going to hate you regardless.

"Try not to look like you won the trip." That has always been Joe's mom's travel advice, and we could not have fallen more short of that goal. Not only did we go on frequent flier miles, but by some weird stroke of luck, it actually cost fewer miles to go first class than coach. I swear - I checked it about 17 times before booking it. "Sweet!" I thought. I had never flown anything but coach before. It honestly did not at all occur to me until we started boarding that it is not cool to bring a baby in first class. I think there is an unwritten rule - people do not bring babies into first class. For the most part, our fellow first class passengers' tactic was to pretend the baby did not exist. Do not make eye contact, and the baby will not actually be there -- that must've been their thought process. Well, pbbbbbbbblft to you, grumpy man who shot us a nasty look as we boarded, because Georgia was an angel the entire way, so you could've at least acknowledged it at the end if you were going to be so snooty about it at the beginning!

Georgia: sleeping in the Ergo baby carrier*, strapped to Mom underneath the (gasp!) airplane-issue blanket.
Kate: eating warm nuts (no joke!) out of an actual glass container. Please notice raised pinkie.

*The Ergo was great. Hands-free freedom in the airport, naps on the plane, walks on the beach - I say leave your stroller at home if you can at all afford to. (Same for the car seat - we rented one there and enjoyed not having to lug ours to Florida and back.)

Well, I think that's all she wrote. We can't wait for our next vacation and promise never to write a post this long again until then.


jessica said...

What a great family vacation! Love the pics. You all look gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

LOVE THE PICTURES!!!!!!!!! SO CUTE!!!! Thanks Kate :-)

Danni said...

I enjoyed every word and every picture. Everyone was at one time a baby so I wouldn't worry so much about others. People who get upset by babies and baby screams (which aren't so bad really) should get over it :-)

BTW, somehow I think that anyone who has given birth would find a 21 miler easy and pleasant in comparison.

Anonymous said...

When you get tired of being a lawyer, you can be a writer. Love the pics, and love the commentary. I'm one of those "far flung family" who really, really enjoy this as a blog so much more than Ofoto pics, which lack the flavor and the observations!
Aunt Margaret