Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our vacation!

I know you all are sitting on the edge of your seats wondering about our vacation.  I know it's all you can think about.  I know.

Just kidding.  I'm sure the LAST thing you want to read about is our trip.  But since this blog isn't really all about you, I'm going to write about it anyway.  Because I want to remember it later.  So there.  But be warned, this is the blog equivalent of holding you hostage in our living room and making you watch slide shows of our family vacation.

We got to spend a week on North Captiva Island.  It's a tiny little island (just 5 miles long) on the gulf side of Florida, just north of Captiva and Sanibel Islands.
The "A" balloon is marking the island
Here's a close up of the island:
See that dark line at the south of the island?  That's where a hurricane in 1921 struck the island of Captiva, splitting it and creating North Captiva Island.  

The island is only accessible by ferry, private boat or small plane so we flew into Ft. Myers, took a shuttle service to the port at Pine Island (an hour drive) and then took a water taxi across the 3 mile stretch of ocean to the island.

Our day of travel went relatively well.  I bought her a few little toys as a surprise to play with on the flights along with some stickers and a coloring book.  I made an impulse purchase on my last Target run before the trip and bought an (over-priced) little car since she has been especially interested in cars lately and we don't have any.  It was by far the best $3.44 I've ever spent.  She played with that thing for about 45 minutes.
None of the pictures I snapped on the plane turned out - they were all shaky and blurry, but you get the idea.
So between her little toys and a few episodes of the Muppet Show, we survived.

We had a long layover in between our two flights so it was nice to let her run around a bit.  She got lots of awwwwww's from passers-by in the airport because she insisted on walking and pulling her little wheeled backpack along behind her.  I'll admit, it was super cute.  I can't believe I didn't take a picture.

Lila did great with the exception of a meltdown on the second leg of our flight - right around the time when she probably would have been snoozing had we been at home instead of several thousand feet in the air.  The shuttle service picked us up at the airport and she did sleep a bit in the car for which I was so grateful, but by the time we were getting on the boat, she was done.

I was in a minor panic that she was going to fall out of the boat and sink like a rock to the bottom of the deep dark ocean (I have my fair share of irrational anxiety-ridden moments as a mom), but mostly because she was so intrigued by the water and wanted to hang over the edge of the boat.  I consented to letting her stand up with Eric's hands tightly gripping her, but neither Lila nor I were entirely happy with the compromise.  (She would have rather had complete and utter freedom to dangle precariously over the side and I would have rather had her on my lap in a vice grip.)

Once our boat docked and our feet hit the island, all the stress of the day melted away.  There are no cars and no paved roads.  You get around by foot, bike or golf cart.  There are a few little shops, but no sane person would do the bulk of their shopping there because it easily costs five times what it would cost on the mainland.  We were staying with my parents in one of the rental homes that my aunt and uncle own so we compiled a grocery list with my parents and ordered groceries from a store on the mainland.  They pack everything on dry ice and make it boat-ready so it's a relatively convenient service.

We didn't waste any time and we went right to the beach.

And then we went back to the house and changed into our suits and this cuteness happened:
Ugh. Sorry it's all pixelated.  But look how cute!
We all had a well-earned night's sleep and let me tell you, I slept HARD.

I spent the next three days in District 12 and the Arena with Katniss Everdeen.  That's right.  I finally joined the proverbial party and read the Hunger Games.  I love a good series and they were such a quick read it felt like a little treat.  Then I spent the next three days telling Eric, "I need you to read these so I can TALK to someone about them!" He kept insisting that he wasn't as fast of a reader as I am and that he wouldn't be able to finish even the first one before we left so he didn't want to start it.  And that he already was in the middle of another book.  But I wore him down and guess who had his nose in the book for the next 24 hours?  This guy:
Somewhere in Florida, Lila found this cheesy smile.  I get a kick out of it.
 I had no idea how much I needed some true, deep introvert time.  I needed those three days of losing myself in a few books so that I could re-engage with my family.  As much as most people need a break from their jobs, I need a break from my job sometimes.  Which means I need a break from Lila.  (I kind of hate saying that.)  And having my parents and Eric there to care for her while I disappeared into the Games was amazing.  Amazing.

Anyway, once I resurfaced from my Hunger Games immersion, I picked up with what everyone else had been doing which was a glorious amount of nothing.

Lila spent her days collecting shells, swimming, complaining about sand getting on her feet, asking if she could go swimming, telling her Lambie about when she went swimming, playing with her car (the little one I got her for our plane ride), coloring, swimming some more, riding around on the golf cart, digging in the sand, oh and um, swimming.  That child loves to swim.  She even dreamed about swimming.  I'm not kidding, she woke up at 5:00AM one morning crying and when I went in there she whimpered, "My sim-suit!!!"  The next morning she told me, "I cry cuz I can't find my sim-suit."  The girl is having nightmares about not being able to find her swimsuit.  The little fishie:

collecting shells is serious business
There's that cheesy smile again.  And this is one of the few shots you'll ever see of me in a swimsuit so shield your eyes from the pasty white legs and focus more on the cute kid I'm holding.
trying to charm her way into being allowed to drive the golf cart.  sorry kid, you've got about 14 years.
By "swimming" I really mean "jumping"

We saw a ton of fun animals: dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, sharks (Lila got to pet a baby shark that our beach neighbor caught while fishing), ghost crabs, sting rays, tracker jackers (oh wait, that was in the Hunger Games), an alligator, and so many lizards.

We found this little guy on a golf cart excursion.  He hissed at Lila when she got too close.

The week was the perfect blend of activity and relaxation.  And Lila was the perfect age for it.  We were all in heaven and none of us wanted to leave.  Especially Lila.  This was her response after our last swim the morning we had to go home:
denial = an effective form of protest
The dolphins gave us a fun sendoff on our ferry ride back to the mainland.  They found our boat and played around in the wake for several minutes.  It was the closest we had seen them all week so it was a fun end to our trip.
Except that the actual end to our trip was a three-hour delay on our last flight which meant an unexpected 4+ hour layover in Orlando, running out of diapers (boo to expensive airport Huggies) and a VERY sleepy Baby Girl.  She fell asleep sitting up looking out the window when we finally got to board our plane at 9:00pm.  I was so grateful she slept almost the entire flight despite the cacophony of the many other children on the flight whose parents weren't so lucky as we were.  

All in all it was a really wonderful trip.  I'm so glad we went and Lila is still talking about "Uncle Mark's house."  In fact, we took her to the pool this weekend and as we were walking out of the house she said, "Okay!  Let's go get on our golf cart!"  If only, Lila.  If only.

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