We're back, and we had a great time! I have all kinds of Things To Say(tm) about our trip, so rather than have one ginormous monster post, I'm going to break this into managable chunks. Besides, I'm going to have to sort through the 421 photos on our vacation picture CD to find the best ones to post/buy, so that's going to take some time!
As my loyal, devoted, and sexy readers know, I was most nervous about the drive. I am happy to report that it went CONSIDERABLY better than I thought it would. For the drive down, Steve and I decided to channel my dad by waking up at 3:00 in the morning and leaving then, hoping Jack would sleep through a big portion of the trip. He didn't go back to sleep right away, so Steve and I were very quiet until he finally gave up and snoozed until 7:00 or so. We made one stop on the way, at the World's Slowest McDonald's, for breakfast and for me to change Jack's diaper on the really gross sink, slightly less gross than the gross changing table. Lovely. I doused both of us in Purell when we were done, so hopefully we'll survive it. The McDonald's had a playland, but it was closed. Jack actually pressed his little face against the glass and looked at it for a while, but he was content to just roam around the restaurant. I drove for the rest of the trip, and Steve sat in the back with Jack and entertained him with the Elmo puppet. The subject on that episode of Elmo's World was Elmo's trip to Disney World, and how his Mommy and Daddy had bought vouchers instead of hard tickets. (Trust me- it was funny.) Thus Elmo entertained all three of us, and Jack was happy, cheerful, and reasonable the whole way to the beach. Nice work, Jack.
The drive home went well also. Steve and Jack napped for part of the way while I drove. We learned our lesson from the gross and sad McDonald's, and our pit stop was at a beautiful roadside Starbucks. The bathroom was immaculate, plus we all got drinks and pastries. Jack danced around to the Springstein music, and we all felt contented and refreshed. I sat with him the rest of the way home. We read books (and Jack can now say the word book, which is cool) for part of the way. Then Roary entertained Jack for quite a while. I actually was able to have Roary play with Jack (tickling him, playing peekaboo, etc) while I read comics- how great is that? I swear to Yoda, that tiger more than earned his keep on this vacation. Is it weird to have the urge to buy a present for a stuffed tiger?
So, ten miles away from our front door, Jack decided that he was restless and had had enough of being in the car. I thought food might distract him, so I gave him a SnackTrap full of goldfish crackers. Jack ate maybe three goldfish, fed me several, and contented himself with crumbling the rest of them into a lovely orange dust, coating his car seat, the floor, and the seat next to him. Guess what I did to stop that? If you guessed "Not a damned thing," you'd be right. It cost 75 cents at the gas station to vacuum out the car, and our sanity is absolutely worth 75 cents.
The really amazing thing was that at no point did we go for the Nuclear Option of turning on the Elmo DVD in the car. I am still very glad that we had it, though, as it came into play several times on our trip. Jack was actually willing to sit still and let me put sunscreen on him without running around the room screaming as if he'd been stabbed if I busted out the Elmo. It was also a good way to get him to relax and have some quiet time before bed. It's not exactly reasonable for me to ask Devin, Caitlin, and Elizabeth to pipe down and be quiet for half an hour so Jack could wind down, so the two of us would disappear into our room, learn about wild animals or whatever Elmo had on his mind that day, and Jack would go to sleep.
More recaps later, I promise.