Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Holden Beach, the Last Part!
This blog is a lot like the ongoing to-do list that I have in my head. It doesn't quite matter when I get things completed, as much as the satisfaction of doing it, well, eventually... For example, I'm almost done with our honeymoon scrapbook. I have started Jackson's first year digital scrapbook and occasionally I look at a quilt that I started in high school. I think about this stuff in between cooking and cleaning up dinner or late at night when I can't sleep.
So, more than a month later, I am finishing up the Holden Beach vacation trilogy. It's at least one more thing I can cross of my list of neurotically-charged tasks.
Gregory had booked us a hotel in Roanoke, VA to break up the drive home. We had stopped in Charlottesville, VA for the return trip in March and we enjoyed seeing a new city and giving our kids the opportunity to stay in a hotel. Or, as Ayla calls them, "swim-hotels". It's also nice to just have some time as a little family unit and decompress before jumping right back into our work schedules.
We said goodbye to family at the beach house and hopped in the car for a 6-hour drive. Both of our kids were so sun-kissed and energized by the vacation that they blissfully slept and made it an relatively easy trip. (Any trip with two toddlers has to be categorized as "relatively easy". )
The hard thing about traveling with kids is that you have to worry about getting where you want to go, eating, drinking, going to the bathroom and keeping them happy the whole time. Sitting still is not on Ayla & Jackson's list of priorities. Once we arrived in Roanoke at our swim-hotel, it was getting close to dinner time, but yet, we had to give these two crazies a chance to run around.
A little dip in the pool, and we were ready to find a place to eat. We consulted the GPS and the little advertising pamphlets in the hotel lobby and tried our best to pick a place that appeared kid-friendly. The plan was to avoid all of the chain restaurants we have at home and try a new steakhouse. We put the address in the GPS and navigated our way through the nearby shopping plaza. And as we pulled up... it was closed with glaring out of business signs! It was so pathetic I had to laugh. It was off to Red Robin.
Our meal was good, we managed to keep all breakable items out of reach and keep all good foods within reach. One pet peeve: having lame, boring people stare at us while we eat. So Jackson is waving at every person that near our table, especially people working in the kitchen. And Ayla announces a few bites into her chicken skewer that "I have to go poo-poo!" Gregory and I are both trying to have an alcoholic beverage and the contents of the sugar caddy are on the floor. But we were seated in one of those long rows of individual tables with one side being a continuous bench... and we always have to be put a little too close to people not interested in talking with each other, but with staring at us. Not a judgemental staring, but we are just fortunate enough to be the focus of their attention for the 1/2 hour because the tv's are too far away.
After some surprisingly good kids meals, we headed back to the hotel. The pack-n-play was set up in the bathroom (Jackson should be getting used to this right now!) and we tried to get Ayla to fall asleep while we watched some television. We're not like most parents who pass out alongside our kids at 9 pm... it's just too hard for 2 night owls to handle. But Ayla wasn't having it. She wanted to chill with mama and dada on the couch. It is our vacation, after all.
The next morning, we took another swim and I inadvertently stole breakfast from the restaurant. I just kept strolling in and out of the a la carte area grabbing a yogurt here and a danish there. I thought breakfast was included in the room! Oh well. I know for a fact that most of that food just ends up in the garbage, so I was just saving them the trouble.
The second part of our drive always includes the back, winding hills of Virginia. They're beautiful, uncrowded, picturesque... and they make Ayla throw up every time. We always get duped, thinking we've made it and give her the bottle she's been begging for and then all of sudden, we hear the dreaded cough, cry and "I don't feel good" before vomits starts flying. I had a bag ready to go, but Ayla can't manage the projectile and it sailed right over my open bag. On her fuzzy, on the carseat, on her clothes, on Jackson too! It makes me very happy that I'm not sitting in the backseat. The good point is that she is a tough girl and recovers quickly.
But, it's our only route to get home without ending up on the other side of Pennsylvania and we get to stop for beautiful photo ops.
We made the rest of the trip without incident and knew that the arrival at our beautiful home was what we all needed. (Refer to the Refrigerator Zen post). We enjoyed yet another relaxing week at Holden Beach, but it was time to jump back into our crazy lives.