Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our Family Vacation: St. Augustine, FL

We lead and incredibly blessed life. Through David's job, we've visited the Pocono mountains, DC, Baltimore, and Las Vegas. Traveling alone, David has been to even more places including Hawaii, New Mexico, and others I can't remember! We've been temporarily relocated to live within an afternoon's drive of both our families. I can certainly never claim we haven't gotten to travel! However, in between getting married, moving 1000 miles (twice), giving birth to the greatest blessing of our lives and buying a home- we found ourselves craving some time to just be us.

Not sharing a special trip with work, friends or even beloved family members is something we haven't done since our honeymoon. So when our plans for the 3 day weekend fell through we decided to take a mini vacation.

St. Augustine is some place I've been wanting to share with David for a while. He's never been and my last visit was sometime in middle school. I knew he'd love all the castle-like structures and long history of the town. Plus, despite living in FL all his life he'd only ever seen the Atlantic in Maine!

Finding a hotel turned out to be trickier than I'd anticipated. The Daytona 500 was Sunday so places were booked and some refused to even accept our AAA discount! I finally found this room in our price range:

It was perfect. We were able to put Caleb to bed in his pack and play with a blanket blocking his view of us and stay up reading, playing games and talking in the living room area without disturbing him.

Although we reserved the weekend as "just for us" time. We did make one stop on the way up to see my Granny Doris and Grandpa Doc. Sadly, none of my biological grandparents lived to meet David or Caleb, but Granny and Grandpa have always been my 3rd set of grandparents and I was determined that we get to see them while in FL. Since we were passing right by, it seemed like the perfect time. They were of course, delighted with Caleb and I enjoyed getting to sit in their house, visit with them and drink Granny's tea which I felt so grown up getting to drink as a child.

Once we arrived in St. Augustine, things got interesting. We checked into the hotel and the headed back to the car to go find some dinner. This is when we discovered the car wouldn't start. No big deal, we'd get delivery and call AAA. While we were waiting for AAA to arrive, Caleb's bed time rolled around so I was giving him his final feeding of the day. With all the excitement, he hadn't eaten much and spent a looong time nursing to make up for it. Unfortunately, this led to a big spit up. David came over to clean off the bed and I reached for a fresh burp rag for Caleb's face.

We were both within 2 feet of him when out of the corner of my eye I saw him crawling toward something he wanted on the nightstand. In seconds that seemed like an eternity, I saw his hand land on thin air and his tiny body plummet to the ground. I was able to break his fall at the very end, but not before his head hit the nightstand shelf. A bruise was already forming, but fortunately no blood. I called the pediatrician in tears, who assured me I was not the first mom to have a 7-9 month old go careening off a high surface. They are fearless at this age. She felt the height of his fall was not bad enough to be concerned, but gave us things to watch for the next 6-12 hours, just in case. Thankfully, there were no complications and while he has a nice bruise, it didn't swell up at all. I've recovered too, though I'm almost positive I have more gray hair than I started the weekend with! After all that was over, AAA came, replaced the battery and the car was cured.

Here's a photo that shows off his bruised area:

So, despite that inauspicious beginning, the rest of the weekend proceeded to go wonderfully. I decided in my heart early on that I wanted this trip to be about making a few really special memories, not a bunch of rushed ones and I think we did a great job at making that happen. We started every morning by taking turns getting ready for the day while Caleb played and then letting him take his big 1.5 hour nap before ever leaving the hotel room. This means most days didn't start until 10, but it almost meant we left with a happy baby. David and I enjoyed having this time to relax and be together with no other agenda.

Since we were lugging an almost 8 month old and a rather heavy diaper bag/backpack we decided to get trolley tickets to get around the city. The tickets are good for 3 days and I highly recommend it. We were able to get from place to place pretty easily and it was a nice break.

On the trolley. Caleb is trying to look at the world upside down, a new favorite activity.

Our first stop was the fort (also known as the Castillo de San Marcos). Caleb stayed awake throughout this one and wasn't even fazed by the cannon firing!

The next stop was lunch, for Caleb and us. After eating, Caleb promptly fell asleep on his daddy's chest.

That afternoon we went to the Spanish Quarter Museum and toured a house from the early 1700's.

The next morning we toured the Old Jail. It was built in the late 1800's and prisoners lived in appalling conditions- no mattresses on the bunks, bugs in the food and monthly baths in shared bath water. With all that to look forward to, I'm surprised anyone ever committed a crime!

Lunch time again, this time we ate at Gyro House and had the best gyro's we'd ever eaten! The price was also wonderful so if you're ever in St. Augustine, look them up.

Our last stop in the historic district was Flagler College. I was awed by how beautiful everything was.

We ended the day at St. Augustine Beach. Caleb thought the ocean was the best thing he'd ever seen. He started wiggling and kicking with excitement as soon as he saw the water.

Afterward, he offered to drive us home, we told him he'd have to wait a few years.

It was a wonderful vacation with my two favorite people in the world.


littlemomtew said...

so glad you had a good time....

The Vogt Family said...

I loved reading about your vacation - you guys deserve it! And I am so glad both Caleb and your car are OK!