Jack's age also made for a great trip- he traveled very well because he still naps a lot and we only had to stop twice for him to eat, each way- which worked well with food and potty breaks for the rest of us. Our swagger wagon was packed out: Me (front seat driver), Chad (the real driver), Eli (my bro, who viewed the car ride as birth control) and then our three boys: Gabe, Max, and Jack. My parents and brother Sam, and my Dad's bro and all of his children all flew into Orlando and then drove over. And my dad's parents and sisters drove down together as well. It was a beach full of Noblitt's, that's for sure-- I'm sure that those who married into the family have some things to say about that :)
Anyway, it was Jack's first beach trip, of course! He was a delight. I went and bought a cheap bouncy seat while we were there and that is how he joined us down at the beach. I personally don't love sand all over me so I think I inflict that on my kids- assuming they don't want sand on them either! He also needs lots of naps, so he did spend a lot of time in the condo, but it was right on the beach with about 20 steps to the pool and then just crossing the sand to the ocean, so people could go in and out. Chad, my mom, my brother, and my grandpa all took turns sitting with my babe so I could enjoy the sun, sand, and surf, too. Of course I was the only one who could feed the baby man, so I at least made trips in and out every 3 hours. But again, a condo right ON the beach makes that NO problem- and it's a perfect time to refresh my drink and sunscreen too :)
Max went to the beach last year, but he wasn't really old enough to appreciate it. This time, it was love at first sight. Whether it was the pool or the ocean, he was happy. He took early morning walks with my parents, where he would chase birds, then he played hard all morning, napped 3 hours every afternoon and then was ready for dinner and the evening festivities. He also slept in my parents bed and on a pallet on the floor because he is way too big for a pack n' play :) We did celebrate his birthday, he was introduced to matchbox cars, and he discovered how fun it was to jump off the edge of the pool. He was fearless when it came to the waves and they were pretty calm until the last day, but even then, he loved being out there with Pop. Lucky for me, I had bought a really good life jacket before we left, so he could wear that in case he and his carrier went down in the waves- it put me at ease for sure, although my brother chastised me for being overprotective. But water is scary with little ones, and I'm a worrier by nature, which means that I will always choose to be safe over being sorry. (And when he's a Dad, he'll be nutty over certain things too, even if it's not water, so his time will eventually come and I will chastise him in return :) )
Gabe is a beach bum- but unfortunately he lives in the middle of GA. He could/ would be in the water all day if possible. He would go out in the morning, covered in 55+ sunscreen, and a swim shirt, and come in for lunch and a reapplication and go back out until he was drug in at the end of the day. He was pruney, his eyes/ cheeks would be red (from sun/ goggles) but he was not ready to be done. He was already super tan went we got to the beach, but came home about 6 shades darker and his hair about 4 shades lighter. He was so worn out from waking so early and playing so hard that we had to make him take a nap one day. He also found lots of treasures on the beach and in the water, and even sold them to a souvenir shop on the beach. What a little entrepreneur! Let me just say that if that boy ends up living beside the ocean one day, I will not be the least bit surprised!
Chad got to golf 2 times and he rented a surf board and taught himself and Gabe to surf- they were both naturals. While we were there, he daily tried to talk me into retiring there-- I'm afraid that if I don't agree, that we may have his and hers retirement homes- not because he doesn't love me, but just because of how much he does love the beach! And although it's really lame, I got to sleep and read 2 full books and enjoy some me time. I also got to watch the ocean and enjoy the sun and it was so great. While I'm in this toddler phase of life, there is nothing better than such downtime. And as crazy as it is, the little things like my mom helping with laundry and washing Jack's bottles, my parents heading out for a walk with Gabe and Max when they woke up, and having so many hands wanting to hold/burp/ feed a baby was such a huge help. Right now, that is what I call vacation- beach or no beach! (Although the beach is certainly a plus!) Chad and I both really enjoyed the downtime and time away from the hustle and bustle of life, work, raising our boys, and our other commitments. We all came home really refreshed.
When it was time to pack up and head home, no one was ready. Gabe slept in so he wouldn't have to leave, I drug my feet on packing (and we all know I like to pack WAY in advance) and Max cried to go back to "Pop's beach" for days. We are so grateful to my parents for this wonderful vacation- I don't think there is one thing any of us would change... except maybe making this a yearly tradition, hint hint..............