Saturday, March 14, 2009

Holiday in snippets and snapshots

Day One

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!

Day two

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.

Day three

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:

Day Four

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.

Day Five

And kayaking we go...

Day Six

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.

Day Seven

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...

Day Eight

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!


  1. Those two belly hits were wonderful! He's for real!

  2. Welcome home, you three! What a divine holiday you had. Oh, it sounds so relaxing, despite the sore foot (I hope that is better soon, Alex. . . .).

    And don't worry, Alex, you will be prepared. You will have that shower (we can talk about it asap!) and you'll have all sorts of other support. But remember what I said. You actually don't NEED a lot of stuff, and even the stuff you do need you don't need right away. So you will be fine. ;-)

    If your baby is like Sage, in fact, he'll not even USE his room with the lovely decor, his crib, or his bassinet.

    Hugs to you both,

  3. Alex,

    I love the play-by-play! Despite your foot woes, it sounds as though you had a really amazing time in Florida. Thank you for sharing!

    - Kristina

  4. oh how stunning, you both look radiant, dahlinks! I am so glad you had a good rest up, except for that no-one's-fault hike. I am so excited about poppet. You can get stuff quickly enough honey pie, don't fret. Also, it's more exciting to leave it a bit because it's something to take your mind off the discomfort as poppet grows and gravity and heat does your head in (i'm hoping that it won't be unpleasant for you, though, of course!).

    oh dear, i no longer know how to type.

    i love you x

  5. what a blissful holiday (except for the foot bit...) i'm so glad that you two got this time away.

    try not to worry too much about getting things organised for poppet. all you need is a cosy place for him to sleep (moses basket) and some muslin swaddling cloths (newborns love to be swaddled)... plus the obvious nappies and sleep suits. If you want me to go into more detail about what i've found useful, please email me and i'll be very happy to share :)

    hugs & kisses! i'm so excited for you!

  6. i just realised that it will not be cold for you in july so you won't even need sleep suits! (being in the southern hemisphere i always think of july being cold...) and believe it or not i still haven't bought a stroller for blossom and she is now 3 months old - i'm still using the car seat/car seat carrier combination (which i highly recommend!) ps. none of mine used a crib until they were 6 months old...

  7. Thanks, everyone! We did have such a lovely time. And, I will say that it's HARD to be home with all that work waiting. Unfortunately, too, I've had a horrible resurgence of first trimester type sickness. I have been sick and nauseous the entire time, but it had at least waned. I'm not sure if it was the traveling and fatigue but it's much worse this past few days. I hope it abates soon. It's really quite unpleasant.

    Thanks, too, for your reassurances about all the stuff. It is a bit overwhelming, especially when I don't know for sure what we'll be doing about diapers and sleeping arrangements. There are things that I would LOVE to do, things that I would IDEALLY like to do, and then I worry about my capacity to do some of those things.

    And of course the internal judgments start immediately.. oy. I just have to keep in mind Winnicott's 'good enough mother' thesis.. you just have to be good enough, not perfect :)

    I have lots of posts brewing where I could do with your advice... but off to work, I go.

    xo A

  8. Hi Alex!

    You have helped me so much by reminding me of the "good enough mother" idea. So, yes, keep it for yourself, too!

    Would you like me to put you in touch with the Mindful Maine Mamas group? It's really a wonderful community, and there are women on the board who use all different kinds of diaper scenarios. Most do use cloth of some kind, with some using a diaper service (like we did) and more just using their own cloth dipes. In fact the owner of the diaper service is a member of the board. They're all quite helpful! But they wouldn't judge you if you indicated you might go with disposables, either. (And didn't Pam Morgan use some totally biodegradable kind of dispo? Might be worth asking her--maybe you already have.)

    Anyway, we'll talk! In the meantime, good luck with they tummy (so sorry!) and the workload.


  9. Thanks so much, Jen. We've chatted in email since this post, but thanks for all of this, too. I emailed the diaper service, so we'll see if they have services to our neck of the sticks. I was looking at gdiapers and also some bamboo diapers which I could wash at home. We don't have a drier (because of the environmental impact) and I guess that if we DO wash our own diapers then we'd need one, especially given our winters.

    I did email Pam, too!

    Well, at least we found a stroller. Watch this space for a long diaper post!!