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Archive for August, 2012

Beach Getaway Aug 07

Growing up, my husband’s family spent nearly every Memorial Day weekend on Anna Maria Island. It’s one of those childhood memories (like traveling in general is for me) that you really want to share with your kids. While this wasn’t DD1’s first trip (that was way back in July ’09 when she was just 6 months old), it was DD2’s and the first time we’d been there in years. While we don’t need an excuse to go to the beach for the weekend, we did use our nephew’s 18th birthday and his entering the Air Force as good reasons to make the trip July 5-8.

The hotel we stay at isn’t particularly special, but it has great air conditioning, sliding glass doors that open from the first floor rooms straight out towards the beach, and a pool. The rooms are clean, altho the furniture and kitchenette could really use an update, and, since we got a 1 bedroom layout this time rather than the traditional studio, the kids were able to nap while we continued the party in the main room.

The big reason I like to return to this hotel (other than it’s familiar, which helps plan for the kids) is the view.

Yep, we need to spend more time there. 😉

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Camping Trip #2 Aug 02

After purchasing our popup, I wasted no time in planning our first two trips – Fort Wilderness in May and Fort DeSoto June 15-17.

I’ve already talked briefly about our trip in May, so let’s talk about one of my favorite camping places so far!

I’m no stranger to Fort DeSoto, my parents took my brother and I there when we were young, but this was the first trip for my husband and our daughters (aged 3 years 5 months and just shy of 8 months). As usual, part of the planning for this trip included studying the campground map to find the “perfect” site and I found it. Seriously. If you’re taking kids under 10 or want to travel with a pet, reserve site 121, 123, or 125. They back right up to a playground and are a stone’s throw from the restrooms. I will be stalking these sites when I plan our next trip there. And there WILL be another!

Just like with our first trip, I helped my husband back into our site, then kept the kids occupied while he set up the popup and awning. Once they were up, I took the bedding and “needed NOW” bag inside, made the beds, and set up the TV so the girls could watch DVDs. I distributed the clothing and food to their homes for this trip and then walked off the back of our site and onto the playground with the girls.


The views from the back corner of our campsite

I can’t tell you how excited I was to have that playground RIGHT THERE, and my oldest daughter felt the same. While she was technically too young for most of the equipment, that didn’t stop her from finding ways to play with the big kids.

Saturday morning we made the short drive to the beach and almost all the parking lots had playgrounds and restrooms between them and the beach. I chose to park near the store in case we needed things and because it was the shortest walk. Since it’s practically impossible to roll a stroller onto the beach the short walk was the deciding factor.

DD1 touched the sand and promptly threw a tantrum. At the moment, she has a fear of the water and it took several minutes to convince her that she didn’t have to go near it if she didn’t want to. DD2 had her suit left behind at the campsite, so she crawled all over the sand in her onesie, spilling Daddy’s Diet Coke and trying to squash his pyramid sand castle. To distract her, I took her into the Gulf of Mexico and we practiced her swim skills. Since the beach is in a lagoon, the water was as still as a pool and she did awesome! It’s amazing the skills they can learn at such a young age.

We did have a scare that afternoon when DD2 fell off the bunk end in the camper, but other than a bruise, she was fine.

We cooked on the outdoor grill twice this trip, hamburgers and marinated chicken, and I made pancakes Sunday morning, which has become a kind of tradition on the last morning of vacation.

Take down of the popup seemed to take longer, but that might just be because I was chasing both girls around the playground while trying to avoid the sun. (DD2 and I got minor sunburns at the beach. 🙁 )

The worst part about this trip was the 2 hour drive. Apparently DD2 can only occupy herself for an hour and a half, and since she still eats roughly every 3 hours during the day, we couldn’t quite make it there or home without me sliding into the backseat to give her a bottle or help to occupy her. The middle seat between the car seats is NOT a comfortable place to ride.

The best part (other than the awesome location) was a better packing organization system. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and bought Real Simple Cedar Insert Storage Bags. I bought the 2 pack of large and made one for linens to be used now, and the other I had extra sets of linens that now live in the popup. I also bought the 3 pack of medium and used one for me, one for my husband, and one for the girls for clothing and toiletries. These are the perfect size for a 3 or 4 day trip, and I always overpack. I also purchased a laundry bag that is only for camping trips. These purchases really helped to minimize the clutter. We’re still working on a good food storage solution, which will help us reduce the clutter even more, and when DD2 is done with formula and DD1 is potty trained, there won’t be a huge bag of diapers, wipes, and formula to deal with either.

**Disclaimer: Fort Wilderness, Fort DeSoto, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Real Simple have no idea who I am and I was not compensated by them in any way for mentioning them in this post. These are places and things that we paid to use and wanted to share with others.**

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