It's been about 3 weeks since our beach vacation, but it doesn't seem that long.
The ride down was awful. We left the day before we could check-in to the beach house. We intended to drive half-way and get a room for the night. It should take about six hours. We weren't sure how a 5 week old and an almost 2 year old would do with the long ride. On our way, there is a long tunnel that goes under a mountain, right at the West Virginia/Virginia border. A semi-truck caught on fire in the tunnel. We heard about this in the afternoon and were still hours away, so we thought it would be clear by the time we got there. Wrong. We tried to go around it, but made a wrong turn and ended up right in heavy traffic since they closed off both lanes from the tunnel. We spent the next few hours trying to turn around. Meanwhile, I was freaking out because Oliver had drank all the milk I pumped and we were almost out of water for formula. It was about 10 pm now and I started calling hotels to see if they had rooms available. I could only find one and it was very expensive, but we booked it. Around midnight, we checked into our room. It had taken us 11 hours to travel 6 hours. My parents and sister left Ohio 5 hours after us and were now only an hour away. They wanted to stop for the night too, but could not find any rooms. I'm sure everyone caught in the heavy tunnel traffic was stopping for the night too. We told them to crash in our room. We had one king size bed. Penelope did not want to go to sleep, but around 2 am, she settled down. My mom, sister, Penelope and I shared a bed. Oliver slept in his car seat and my dad and Josh slept on the floor. We woke up way too early, made a stop at the Waffle House and were back on the road. The rest of the way was basically smooth sailing. My parents ending up taking a different route, so we were spilt up the whole day. They somehow ended up pulling into the house literally 5 seconds before we did. (We would have beat them if we didn't drive past it at first.)
We spend the rest of the week at the beach. It was tricky with Penelope's nap. We would only go for an hour or two in the morning, then take her back for lunch and a nap and usually hang around the house until dinner and head back in the evening to play at the beach. Penelope was most happy digging in the sand and didn't find much interest in the water. I think it scared her a little. My sister and Josh spent their time catching waves on boogey boards. My dad walked the surf, looking for shells. My mom played in the sand with Penelope and I sat under the umbrella holding Oliver. I only got IN the water once. Then I realized how much sand you get covered with and I only got wet up to my knees after. The sand really is ridiculous. You try to brush it off best you can, then take an outdoor shower to rinse off, then once you get inside, have to take an actual shower and there is still sand everywhere. One of our challenges was giving the kids a bath at night. We didn't bring a baby tub for Oliver and our room had a giant whirlpool tub. We ended up having one parent take a bath with both kids, then handing Oliver off to the dry parent. It was not fun.
One thing that was unexpectedly fun though, was all four of us sharing a room. In the mornings, all of us would lay in bed and cuddle. When Penelope took her nap in the afternoon, I would lay in bed and nurse Oliver and we would end up falling asleep. One day, towards the end of our vacation, all of us were so tired and I felt like we slept most of the day. I kept waking up and feeling guilty, like I should do something productive, or like I was ruining my sleeping schedule, but when I saw Oliver, Penelope and Josh still sleeping, I decided I had nothing more important to do. That day, Oliver and I got up around 10 or 11 am and we all slept from 1-4pm. It was great.
Josh and I both celebrated birthdays. On mine, we went to the aquarium and on his, we went out at night with my sister. It was the first time I left Oliver. But both of the kids went to sleep shortly after we left. We went out to dinner then to the boardwalk to a couple bars. It was a Wednesday night and at one bar, we were the only people there. I had a one drink limit and blew that at the first bar, so I was kind of bored the rest of the night and itching to get back to my babies. It was still fun though.
On the way home, we stopped at Charlotte, NC to see the NASCAR Hendrick's Museum. At this point, I was already in a bad mood because Penelope had already peed though her "hippie" diapers twice and Oliver had pooped up his back. At the short time we were there, we changed three diapers. After, we made a WalMart stop to buy some Huggies. In the parking lot, Oliver spit up all over himself. I was digging though suit cases for more clothes. We were just dying to get home, so decided to drive all the way home that night. I sat in the back seat between the two of them for most of the way to Ohio. Oliver went though about 4 outfits that day. We were so tired when we got home. We put the already sleeping Penelope to bed and waited up for my parents and sister, who were an hour behind us. So Josh and I put in a movie while I fed Oliver. It was about 1 am. Josh said, "I bet you didn't think we would watch a movie tonight after traveling all day." Umm, no! After everyone got home, we exchanged travel stories and talked about traffic and weather. It was really surprising that everyone did not hit the sheets right away.
It was a great vacation, but I will think twice before I decide to take both little kids on an 11 hour road trip again ;)