We're pretty excited for our holiday! We haven't been on one for close to a decade. Trips to the UK don't count :) The boys are at their doggy spa, my car is having a tune up, and poor Dafty is at home on her lonesome (though Linda will be keeping her company at times). We fly out of Portland and bump into three students on our flight to DC!!
We make our connection from DC to Florida, pick up the hire car (of course we're first talked into getting an upgrade), and, after getting a little lost, find our hotel/apartment. Rafi seemed to enjoy the flight... he was really moving about!! Once we've dropped our things off we head immediately to the main beach resort. En route I spy a dolphin as we drive over the causeway.... the palm trees are beautiful and the sun is shining brightly.
We feel so luck to be here...
Our first moments on the beach:
We lay on the beach... soaking up the rays, me trying to find any comfortable way to lie and read. This bump really is getting in the way!
We wake up to a lovely sunny day.... and decide to go on a hike. It looks beautiful, from what we can see online, and there are plenty of paths for walking and some paths for biking. It's really busy when we get there, but immediately can see why it's so popular. It's just beautiful.
The trail is very well marked... Here we are all cheery at the beginning of the hike:
And then we get lost... our plan is to find some gully which will take us to the main biking loop... and of course we don't find it and end up walking for more than 4 hours in the hot sweltering Floridian sun. The scenery is lovely, though, and we do see an armadillo (actually 4!):
Inevitably, perhaps, we miss the gully and have to walk two more hours... We manage very well not to blame one another!!! We're tired, hungry, hot and lost and this would usually be a recipe for a marital spat - and while it is HARD for me not to blame Rich for this mess (and vice versa!) we get back to the car without venting our frustration on one another. We're trying to practice for when poppet arrives :)
By the evening, though, my right foot is in agony and I can't walk. Boo. I expect to be better in the morning, though.
Alas, no better whatsoever. In fact my foot is worse, and so we decide to spend the day taking it very easy. We read, lie in the sun, and take dips in the pool. I do, unfortunately, own the most unflattering maternity swimming costume in the world. It's an all in one lap swimsuit; certainly it's not made for a vacation in Florida!
In the evening we sit on the hotel's little beach reading, watching the sun go down:
I have joined a few online pregnancy bulletin boards... there are a group of us on one who are all due on July 16th! Angie is one of those women.. she is just lovely and happens to live in St Petersburgh. She recommends that we visit Fort DeSoto park, which apparently has won lots of awards for its beauty.
We're not disappointed! it is gorgeous... and since my foot is still hurting it's another perfect day for lying on the beach and reading!
Rich - taking it easy....
On the way home we spy a place to rent kayaks in the park... we plan to do it tomorrow.
And kayaking we go...
The foot situation is posing a bit of an obstacle. We'd planned to go on many hikes and to play lots of tennis. I can't imagine that it'll be very easy to play a month from now. As it is I was wondering how my center of gravity would impact play! Oh well... Tonight we have plans to meet Angie and her husband, Dennis. They suggest the Vinoy Renaissance in St Petersburgh. We spend the morning at the pool - reading and napping and swimming. Perfect! We head to St. Pete early so that we can walk (well, hobble) along the marina before we meet them on the hotel's veranda. St Pete's is beautiful!
We don't hobble very far and decide to head to the Vinoy early and get a drink.... Well, this place is beautiful... very stylish and very out of our price range :) I discover that it's the only 5 star resort on the West coast of Florida, and, really, you can tell! We sit on the veranda and we're joined by a few of these fellas, who aren't in the least bit shy about foraging amongst the guests.
I mean to take a pic of Angie and I but completely forget! We have a lovely evening... and I hope Angie and I get to have some play dates. As it happens she'll be in Boston for maternity leave.
I'd really wanted to go on some sort of boat trip while we're here, and so we find a dolphin watching trip which leaves from St. Pete's, Rather than a big boat, we're on a yacht with 9 other people. There's a little girl on there, too; only 9 months. Rafi will be almost 9 months this time next year :) We do plan to come back with him next Spring break.
As soon as we board the boat we spy a dolphin!! IN fact, we see so many as we cruise out of the bay. I'm amazed at how close we are to them... pictures will likely say it better than I can.
What a wonderful day! En route home we pop to Clearwater, which is an exceedingly busy resort. We walk along the promenade, eating an ice cream, sort of glad we didn't hang out there too much. It boasts beautiful beaches but we're so grateful we happened upon the quieter more serene Fort DeSoto.
Our holiday is coming to an end...
We don't fly out until the evening but we have to check out by 11. We're sad to leave. Rich and I have both developed some sun rash on our arms (clearly our winter skin was shocked by the sight of sun) and we decide to stay out of the sun as much as possible. As it happens I'm also beginning to panic that I haven't done a thing to get ready for poppet's arrival. Angie had just ordered all of the furniture and most people online are really pretty organized with supplies, baby showers, registries, and more. ANd so that morning I begin to panic. I wake up at 3:30am and the poppet is doing acrobats, making it hard to get back to sleep. Between that and the rumination over 'nothing is done' I lie awake for the next couple of hours. Eventually I realize that Rich is awake too, and, for the first time, since poppet is moving, moving, moving, Rich tries to feel for some movement! I'll let him comment on that... but he feels a couple of blows :)
We'd decided to watch the sun rise and so go down to the beach to wait for it to come up. Alas, it's the only cloudy morning since we arrived and so there's not much to see. We return to our room to pack and Rich finds Baby Stories. now, I usually don't watch these shows, owing to the fact that we don't have TV, but I am glued to them now, as is Rich. I almost start to sob when the baby's born....
.... and then i panic more and more about having nothing done, so I start browsing online for strollers and cribs, etc. And, as one usually does on their holiday, we go to Baby's R Us near Clearwater. At least we pick out our stroller (pram/push chair for you Brit readers).
And then we're off home... We get into Portland very, very late. And, boy, is it cold!