We enjoyed a nearly two-week vacation to Florida for the holidays.
Since Tim and I have been married, we’ve been taking turns and spending every other Christmas with each other’s families. Last year we went to Illinois to visit my side of the family. This year it was the Florida family’s turn. Adelaide was only four months old last Christmas, so knowing she would be a lot more fun to watch this year, and knowing that she is the first grandchild on both sides, Tim’s parents graciously invited my parents and my sister to come to Tallahassee and spend Christmas with us this year.
My parents were already considering driving to Philly to see us after we got back from our Florida trip, so they decided to take Tim’s parents up on their generous offer. Florida, even north Florida, is warmer than Philly this time of year.
We decided to drive to Florida so we could bring our dog and save the cost of boarding him for two weeks. We traded the cost of airfare for the cost of gas and a night’s hotel stay there and back. We stayed at a dog-friendly Ramada at the “half-way point” in Florence, South Carolina. I was nervous about driving 1,000 miles with a 16-month-old and a dog. I bought several small new toys for Adelaide and planned to slowly introduce them in the car — a magnetic doodle board, an Elmo sticker book, other stickers and notebooks, new books from the library. These were helpful, but food was perhaps the best distraction. Instead of sitting in the passenger seat, Tim and I took turns sitting next to Adelaide in the back. Since she’s still rear-facing, it worked out well that we could see each other and play together. Hugo spread out on the bench seat in the far back.
When it was Tim’s turn to drive, I was constantly trying to keep Adelaide entertained. I fed her peas and then raisins. We looked at her sticker book. We played with the See-n-Say. We ate blueberries and crackers. She didn’t sleep as much as I would have liked, but she could have done much worse. The last hour or so of driving each day was a bit rough, but the smart phone and YouTube videos of Elmo helped keep her calm in those crunch moments. I was tired of being in the car too, so I understood where she was coming from.
I think Adelaide did better when Tim was next to her. It seemed that once we switched places and it was my turn to drive, Adelaide would always fall asleep. It seemed unfair. I wanted her to nap on my watch so I could nap too. I began to think that I was trying too hard to keep her stimulated and entertained. I knew she was tired. Maybe if I would just ignore her a bit and lean back and shut my eyes, she would sleep. It didn’t really work for me. When I was sitting next to her, Adelaide wanted my attention. She wanted to nurse, or for me to hold her. It wasn’t an awful drive — I mean, it could have been worse — but I wouldn’t want to do it again any time soon.
Unfortunately, we did have to make the drive back home 12 days later. On day 2 of our return drive we hit a lot of traffic, so the trip took a lot longer than we expected. On the positive front, Adelaide slept from Washington D.C. to home (about 4 hours). I was driving (of course), and although I thought I might pee myself, we decided to press through with no stops because we really just wanted her to sleep and for us to get home as fast as possible.
Here’s a photo montage of our return trip: