Well, even though it lasted almost 2 weeks, our vacation has come and gone, and as expected, it flew by!

You can rest assured than an over-abundance of pictures will be posted over the next couple of weeks, but for today, here are a few tidbits from the past week in no particular order…

  • Vacation with a baby isn’t really vacation. It’s more of an exchange of one kind of work for another. This isn’t a bad thing, and I’m certainly not complaining, but just to be real, those visions of hours on a beach, sleeping and reading and swimming and sleeping and reading and swimming… not real. We made it out to the beach twice in 10 days, and each time was for about 2 hours. Sand in the diapers and salt in the eyes and too much wind made it really complicated to get a little sunburn and swallow a little salt water. But Josiah was a real trooper and we still had fun. I hope I always remember the look on his face as an unexpected wave broke drenched him and his momma: he had a huge smile!
  • The Statons were awesome hosts. Those who have had small children understand that they significantly influence your schedule. In Josiah’s case, he’s up by about 7:30, nap at around 10:00, another nap around 3:00, and in bed by 8:30’ish. When he’s awake, he needs a lot of attention — both because he wants it, and because he’ll probably try to crawl up something expensive and dangerous if you take your eyes off of him for long. As parents, we’re totally used to this, and we love watching him grow. But if you’re not used to it, Josiah’s schedule can feel constricting, and leave you frustrated at how everything has to happen in windows of time. But Adrienne and Drew were serious troopers. They never complained or ever seemed annoyed at how much work it probably was to restructure their whole world for a week just so we could hang out with them. Their over-the-top cooperation was a huge reason we were able to have a good time in Florida. When we get to host someone or a family at our house, I hope we are as thoughtful and welcoming as the Statons were to us this past week!
  • Never go to the Georgia Aquarium on a holiday weekend. It was absolutely shoulder-to-shoulder the entire time, and the worst sunburn I got all week was waiting in line for 90 minutes just to get in the door. We also learned that if you get people in a big enough group, they throw common courtesy right out the window. People repeatedly cut us off because they didn’t want to get stuck behind ‘the people with the stroller‘. You should also bring your credit card if you go, because parking, 2 tickets, and a light lunch will run you about a hundred even, and that doesn’t even count all the shows and ‘premium attractions’ (like petting the whales) that you have to pay extra for. Still, we knew what we were signing up for, and I’m really proud of Stephanie and Josiah. They both had great attitudes the whole time, and we were able to have a great experience. The whale shark and huge ray were 2 of my favorites. The jellyfish were also amazing, although they didn’t have the glow-in-the-dark jellyfish we saw at the aquarium in Charleston. (seriously… God made glow-in-the-dark jellyfish)
  • If you’re a thrill-seeker, save the cash you’re saving up for sky-diving lessons…  just take a drive through Atlanta. Jeff Foxworthy is right: you don’t merge in Atlanta. You close your eyes, pray, and turn the wheel…
  • Stone Mountain is cool, but you have to bring the right expectations. In order to get a good spot, you need to get there 90 minutes early for a 30-minute laser show. The show itself isn’t all that impressive, but it’s fun to sit on a blanket and watch some lasers and fireworks with the family. Also important is the knowledge that you can bring your own food, and they seriously punish you if you don’t. We bought a couple sandwiches and some water and it would have been a lot less for dinner at Applebees. Again, come prepared…
  • Stephanie ran 6 miles.   ‘nough said…
  • One day, while I was running around and exploring, I came upon a lake with a large sign that said something like “Beware of alligators, snakes, scorpions, mosquitoes, and microbial diseases. No rescue possible.” It was pretty quiet, except I think I saw Chuck Norris sunbathing. I started to go say hi, but I heard he doesn’t do hi-fives, only roundhouse kicks to the face….
  • I got pretty bored driving the whole way, so I started criticizing all of the paying a lot of attention to the billboards. Some of them are pretty interesting. For example, I saw one that said something like, “Heterosexual? That’s OK. We don’t mind.” And then it gave a website for a church. I’m still not too sure what to do with that one. I also saw signs in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, all claiming to have the “World’s Largest Fireworks Store“. Isn’t it someone’s job to keep people at least somewhat honest when it comes to advertising?
  • Panama City Beach had the warmest sea water I have ever experienced. Some serious peeing in the water El Nino craziness going on or something…
  • Josiah was absolutely awesome. The whole time. He has to be the best baby ever. Plus he started crawling and cut two teeth while we were gone! Steph was also a super champ of a mom for sitting in the back and making an 1800-mile trip bearable for an 8-month-old.
  • The wii is seriously addictive. I’m pretty sure we can never own one of those, or Josiah will need therapy for lack of attention we’ll never do anything else…
  • Starbucks is cheaper in South Carolina. Seriously. I bought a grande ice coffee with milk and it was exactly 2 dollars with tax. It’s just about 2.50 in Durham. Who knew?

Hmmm… I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I’ve got for now.

What’s the best family vacation you’ve ever been on (as a kid or a parent)?