Friday, March 21, 2008

our week in paradise

This trip that Elizabeth, Henry and I took to visit my mom and Jim in Jensen Beach, Florida - really couldn't have been more perfect. Well, maybe it could have if Henry slept more than an hour at night. After the second night, I just pulled him in to bed with me as soon as he would wake up - and he'd remain next to me (and the boob) until the sun came up. His fragile sleep schedule went to pot and naps in the stroller (with a pacifier, nonetheless) became our new normal.

Now that we are home, he is having an extremely difficult time transitioning back in to sleeping alone in his big, cold, devoid-of-boob, crib.

But that minor point aside, it was a fantastic trip.

Hutchinson Island has been my mother and Jim's home-away-from home for four months out of the year, for the past four years. They rent an ocean front condo and the first night that we arrived, Elizabeth was afraid to go out on the balcony because it sounded like the beach was crashing right below her.

Which, it was.

Of course, I was afraid for her to go out on the balcony because her head could cleanly fit through the railings and the thought of my baby tumbling seven stories made (and makes) me wobbly. Thankfully, she is more safety conscious now then she was when we first visited mom and Jim (with all three of the kids) two years ago. Charlie and I were a bundle of nerves the whole time we visited and insisted that the sliding glass door to the patio be closed and locked at all times.

As great as this vacation was for me, it was equally as great - if not more so - for Elizabeth.

There was no competition for toys.

Everything was there for her to play with.

And my mother went absolutely crazy spoiling her with gifts and all things delicious.

Although Elizabeth asked for Charlie almost daily and said that she missed her daddy, never once did she ask for Carolyn or William. According to Charlie, Carolyn and William didn't ask for Elizabeth, either. I think that everyone was having so much fun on their independent vacations, that they were afraid if they asked for their sibling - they might actually show up - and that would dilute the undivided attention that they were receiving.

And that, would be no good at all.

Charlie had an awesome time visiting his family in northern California, as well. They celebrated his dad's 80th birthday - and Charlie said that it was one of those trips that was so full of special moments, like breakfast with just his dad and two brothers, that he had to keep reminding himself "Don't ever forget this time."

Unfortunately, Charlie didn't bring a camera along on his trip ... but of course, I did.

All told, I snapped off 394 pictures in seven days. The last picture that I took, before the battery died, was the photo of the children laying on the floor of the DFW airport. If the battery had lasted just a little longer ... or if I'd thought to bring a spare ... I can guarantee I probably would have snapped off at least a hundred more while we were stranded.

I've whittled down the photos to these. But I believe they sum up our adventure, quite well.


When we arrived at mom and Jim's, around 11:30 PM on Tuesday night, my mother presented Elizabeth with a princess dress and accessories. This probably should have waited until morning, because she was up until almost 3:00 AM prancing around the house and singing "Bippity, Boppity, Boo!!"

She ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in her royal costume. She played tennis, bocce, and watched the pelicans being fed, wearing it, too. In fact, the only time she took off the ensemble was when she would be swimming in the pool or playing in the ocean. Even then, it required serious negotiation for her to remove the gown, shoes, gloves and crown.

There were plenty of beach walks and long days spent jumping and running and chasing waves at the beach.

We also spent a lot of time playing at the pool - and everyday, I profusely thanked Alex and Kathleen for sending us the full coverage bathing suits for the children. The sun was so intense and even though I was extremely careful with sunscreen, Elizabeth still managed to get a slight burn on her arms. In my opinion, this style bathing suit is a must have for anyone with small children that will be spending an extended amount of time outdoors in broad daylight.

I'll be purchasing one for Henry before summer rolls around, because although all of our children have Charlie's blood type, they didn't get their dad's beautiful olive complexion and instead, seem to have inherited my crisps-like-bacon-in-the-sun pale white skin.

It also appears that they inherited my family's propensity to eat large quantities of ice cream.

But for every ice cream cone we ate, we spent at least two minutes playing on or with exercise equipment.

Never once, though, did we take the stairs.

We did, however, take beautiful walks along the beach and watch the sun rise.

We caught a magnificent sun set, every evening.

And we did things that some people might take exception to. Like - sitting in hot tubs in our underwear and getting baths in the kitchen sink.

This trip was great on so many levels. It was great because we got to spend a week in an absolute paradise, it was great because we got a break from the crazy daily routine that is our life, it was great because Elizabeth made a new friend.

But mostly it was great because it had been seven months since my mother last saw Henry...

... and moments like these don't last forever.


  1. Oh Jen, It looks wonderful. How delightful for Elizabeth to get ALL of everyones attention. And for you to have actual time with your family rather than being constantly kid wrangling.

  2. looks like it was a beautiful trip! Those pictures are great.

  3. My grandmother had a townhouse on Hutchinson Island. My sisters and I spent every free moment playing on that beach. Thanks for the pictures, they brought back memories. I'm glad you were able to have such a good time before the horrible mess getting home.
    Take care.

  4. Jen, those pictures were delightful and you look absolutely beautiful!!!!

    I am so so so so so so so so glad you took that vacation. You will never forget it. Now, you must begin planning your next adventure. This is my tip for survival.

    I only got home 3 days ago and was just online looking up reservations for our next trip. It's important to plan ahead. :0
    Gives you something to hang on to.

    You'll have that little whippersnapper back to sleeping in no time. You can do it!

  5. Just a quick note to say could you please tell your mother than I am packing my bags and will be there soon with several children, KISSES KTHX!

  6. What a wonderful trip you had! I love how Henry brings so much joy to everyone. What a blessing!

    And I second the other really do look beautiful!

  7. So awesome! I bought Shayna 2 of those suits a couple of weeks ago. Can't wait to try them out! Glad you're ALL home safe. Hopefully we'll get to see you guys soon!

  8. I was just about to post how beautiful that you look too. Also what a relaxing and fun trip.

  9. the picture of henry w/the ice cream cone . . . . leaves me speechless. that photo is so beautiful!! so glad you had the opportunity to escape for a week. my mom lives in miami and i truly wish i were there now as finals are over and the adrenaline is dropping fast. looks like michelle had fun in Hawaii too. . .

    -welcome home from your jealous delurker

  10. Great pictures - I can see why you guys had a great time!

  11. Looks like you all had a most excellent time. I'm so glad Elizabeth got all of that fun attention. And so glad for your Mom that she got to see Henry again, and so glad for you that you had such a nice trip (sans flight anxiety and airport stranding.)
    Welcome home!
    I'll need to look for one of those suits. My sons' suit has long sleeves and legs but it floats, too. Body Glove makes them. but he's growing out of it!

  12. Aw Geez! I'm so jealous! Marg

  13. You are SO beautiful! No wonder you make such darling children... I'm glad you had fun!

  14. Looks like a spectacular trip all around.
    What a treat for you to get to spend some quality time with Elizabeth!

  15. You look fabulous and so does the trip. I'm so glad you were able to go.