Tuesday, September 1, 2009
What we did on our summer vacation…
We flew to Florida with our 5 kids, effectively filling more than one full row of the aircraft and drawing comments from ticket agents, ground crew and flight attendants re: the size of our family.
In light of the fact that JetBlue doesn’t serve meals, Mom the Thrifty packed a healthy dinner for our family to eat on the plane. I was very proud of my fruit, cheese, crackers, and yogurt plates that I was planning to offer my darlings while winging our way south…who knew that yogurt was considered a liquid and therefore banned by the FAA? Say goodbye to the Activia, kids…it ended up in the trash at security. Oh, yeah, guess what? Hummus is also a liquid according to the FAA so the treat I packed for Mom and Dad went in the trash also. Live and learn.
We now know that ushering 5 kids through an airport is like herding cats. We also learned that ushering 5 tired, hungry and excited kids through a strange airport, baggage claim, and a wait at the car rental counter too close to the children’s bedtime is like transporting volatile substances on your person. In order to avoid spontaneous combustion, we made an emergency pit stop at Checkers for burgers, fries and milk shakes, then completed our day’s travels with another 30 minutes in the car to a repeated chorus of “Are we there yet?”.
We experienced the joys of attempting to explain to our new sons that our rental van wasn’t ours to keep…nor was the beach house we rented on the Gulf of Mexico.
We remembered that Florida is really, really hot in August…as in almost Africa hot. On the positive side, the Gulf water was a perfect 90 degrees, just the way I like it!
We introduced our new sons to our Florida family, just about frying their poor brains with the effort of figuring out who was related to whom. After a few days of family visits, dinners, an overnight to Orlando to meet some more cousins, and a family reunion picnic in the park with almost all of Craig’s relatives, the boys were a bit overwhelmed. Luckily, when overload set in, we could take the kids back to the beach and let them swim and play to relieve their tension headaches..
Aniyar discovered lizards and the fun that can be had chasing them. All 3 boys spent a lot of time in this pursuit, even caught a few…then Mom had to explain why we couldn’t bring the lizards home as pets.
The kids also loved discovering coquinas, the tiny colored shellfish that burrow in the sand at the water’s edge…and Mom had to explain why we couldn’t bring the coquinas home as pets.
We showed the kids the areas marked off on the beach where sea turtle nests were located…sigh…no, Aniyar, we can’t bring a baby turtle home as a pet.
We enjoyed the beautiful sea oats that have been planted on the beach to help with erosion…they’re protected and picking them can result in a very stiff fine…no, Aniyar, really, Mama doesn’t want you to pick them….nooooo!!
Kate enjoyed convincing her brothers to bury her in the sand so she looked like a mermaid complete with tail…and Aniyar and Max were more than happy to dump wet sand on their big sister.
Madiyar liked learning to body surf on a rare day when there were waves due to a tropical storm…and during the summer thunderstorms, the kids all liked doing arts and crafts and playing with games that our relatives provided. Tanya, Kate and I painted each other’s nails and pasted on tiny gems. The boys loved drawing and painting and Max especially liked the Lego set he got from Grandma’s store. The beach toys that cousin Matt provided were also a huge hit…but all the kids liked swimming with Matt just about better than anything.
Grandma Schoelles gets the award for the best way to keep 5 kids busy while grown-ups chat…she gave each of them a $5 gift certificate to The Coffee Mill, her store which obviously sells coffee but also stocks yummy candy and small toys. (Here's a pic of Craig's mom and sibs at the Mill.) On our last day in Florida, our brood spent a long time quietly perusing Grandma’s shelves and making their selections. Some chose candy, some gum, some trinkets…and they all had cookies and frozen treats from the coffee bar. Kate helped Grandma price some new stock and Tanya did some sweeping up of spilled coffee beans, too…I think the girls are angling for a summer job in the future!
We flew back to Massachusetts after a week of sun and fun and were reminded once more that one of the best things about going away is the coming home again…we ended our vacation with Chinese takeout and snuggles with our dogs.
(BTW, for those of you who are wondering how we’re doing, rest easy. Life is almost normal again here in Witch City. We’re gearing up for a new school year and looking forward to fall. Our kids are adjusting well now and family life is much less dramatic these days. Aniyar is still a challenge but his medications have made a huge difference in his ability to function positively and control his impulses. We are proof positive of better living through chemistry!)