We are home from our family vacation! This was my family's first vacation in over 12 years, so it was much anticipated. My parents generously took us and my sibs to Sarasota, FL for 5 days. Here are some highlights of the trip.
10. Seeing my parents get a little tipsy at the resort party or, "Spring Break for Baby Boomers" as my mom called it. My mom had some complaints about the resort (it was very nice but being remodeled) so the owner wisely kept her wine glass full. Really funny, and my parents are just so cute when they are tipsy!
9. The Nugget started a shell collection. He'd find a shell, proudly show it to everyone within a quarter mile about 3 times ("Ooo, look! A shell!"), declared he was "klecting it", then would violently pitch it as far as he could before starting the process again. I managed to save 4 shells for his klection.
8. Visiting Mote Marine Lab, which was probably more fun for me than for the rest of the family. I particularly enjoyed the manatees, since I have a soft spot for them since my stint at Columbus Zoo's Manatee Coast. The Nugget like swimming like a sea turtle and was very taken with the sharks. He followed them across the aquarium, saying, "Hiiii, sharks!" and laughing maniacally until he fell of the concrete ledge.
7. The Nugget discovered Connect Four. He spent the rainy afternoon carefully dropping each chip into a slot. He started making "L's" and sorting them by color. He'd say whatever he was doing as he dropped each chip. "Lllllllllllll. Reeedddddddd. Bwaaaaccccckkkk."
6. Hearing my brother and sister-in-law's name list for their baby and watching them get so excited to welcome their little one! Love all the names and can't wait to meet Baby Manny (due July 30). My brother and I did everything together when we were little. It will be especially fun to have him join me in the parent 'hood. Sorry for the bad pun.
5. Watching the Nugget at the beach. He constantly begged all of us to take turns playing in the water with him. He was totally content to just stand as the cold waves lapped at his legs, watching his toes sink deeper into the sand. He helped Uncle T dig a giant hole and slid down the mound of sand into the hole again and again. He chased gulls and terns, yelling, "Hiiii birdie," with wild cackles of glee. Do you notice a pattern emerging?
4. On Friday, it rained and stormed all day. We did the aquarium in the morning, then spent the afternoon desperately trying to keep the Nugget entertained with the limited toys and books we'd been able to fit in the luggage. It was evening, the first sunbreak of the rainy/stormy day, so I was desperate to seize the moment and let him romp on the beach. I told him to stay out of the ocean, so he could stay warm in his street clothes - polo shirt, hoodie, and shorts - but told him he could play in the small tidepools. I pictured him wading into his ankles, gently rippling the water with his fingers, perhaps sitting on the dry sand to scoop up some shells for his pail. Are you laughing yet? Here's what really happened:
a. Wild seal-trying-to-escape-the-jaws-of-death-like flailing and splashing in the tidepools,
b. Girls-gone-wild-style bucket-o-water dumping on his chest.
c. The classic Nugget bottom plopping maneuver...also in the tidepools.
I made Hubby swear to never let me take the Nugget to the beach in anything but a swimsuit, no matter the temperature, because let's face it, this is a child who is going to get wet.
3. Not so much a highlight, but a memorable moment for sure. On the walk home from the beach that night, he was so elated to be able to walk in anything he pleased, that he went out of his way to splash in every puddle. He was wearing his new water sandals, a gift from Grammy. In one puddle, some pine needles floated into his sandal (he has super sensitive feet), and he started howling. Grammy tried to calm him, explaining that there were some pine needles in his shoe, and we'd fix it. She gently pried off his wet sandals and took out the needles, but he refused to put them back on, turning into the typical toddler lump of goo on the sidewalk. The resort used shell fragments as gravel, so he couldn't walk barefoot without risking a cut. Like any mom, I hefted the soaking wet, sand-covered, snotty, crying, 40 pound toddler and walked the rest of the way back to our condo. It was probably only a couple hundred yards, but it felt like an eternity. The best part was the look on my brother's face as he caught a glimpse of his future in 2.5 years. It was the same look he had when he witnessed the Nugget smear sour cream all over my shirt later that week when he came in for a post-taco cuddle. Oh, and the Nugget woke up every morning telling us, "Nugget got some needles."
2. Big Olaf's ice cream. I'm glad there's not one at home, or I'd weigh about 500 pounds.
1. Watching the Nugget randomly come up to each of my family members to hold hands, ask for a hug, or show them a treasure. He is just so at ease with every single branch of his family tree, no matter how long it's been since he's seen them last. Such a delight to witness the love. Like at Christmas, he was able to correctly identify each person by name. It was especially cute to hear him say with surprise, "Look! It's Grammy and Grandpa!" when we pulled up to the condo. We had told him that they'd be there, but I guess seeing is believing. He'd also make the rounds every 10 minutes. He'd run up to whoever was nearby and say, "Hiiii!" Just in case they'd forgotten he was there. It didn't matter whether they'd just come in the door or if they'd been in the same room with him for 2+ hours. I am so in love with this kid.