Here with a slightly belated recap of our little trip to Florida to see Paul’s lovely Portuguese grandmother (Vovo) and some other relatives from that branch of the family…
Paul and I have made the trek to Florida together five times now, the last time with Margot when she was 9 months old, and this time we were flying with a preschooler and toddler, so we were prepared for a challenging trip. All in all, it went very well, especially when it came to Margot — she did a great job on the plane both there and back, and colored placidly and diligently for at least half the trip. Ruthie did pretty well on the way there, too, and they were both in good spirits while we waited for Daddy at the car rental desk before the hour and half drive from the airport to Vovo’s house in Venice.
Nana (Paul’s mom) was waiting for us at Vovo’s house, and the girls and Paul and I had a very nice week there with them. We went to the beach a couple of times, which was just a few minutes’ drive away, and both the girls loved the sand and especially the water.
Venice is on the Gulf Coast, so the waves are pretty small, but big enough to be exciting to a tiny kid. They were both in love with being in the water, and Ruthie was particularly hard to control about it, since she had all of Margot’s enthusiasm, half her height and balance, and absolutely no fear. This was more of an issue at Tia Manuela’s pool (Vovo’s sister, who lives three doors down from her). Ruthie wanted IN, and there was no shallow end, plus she shunned the floatie tube we tried to get her to use. All she wanted was to jump off the side and be caught again and again, and then be dragged around like she was swimming. It definitely took two adults to deal with them and it was exhausting, but they had so much fun.
(Walking down to Ti Ne’s pool — Ruthie refused to relinquish her tube for the walk there,
then totally abandoned it once we hit the water)
We also, to my slight embarrassment, took the girls to Disney World one day.
I never went to Disney as a kid, and totally understood why even then, and believe me, I get it even more now. Paul has been many times, as his mother is a devotee and goes as often as she can, even without any kids. I enjoyed it a lot more when Paul and I went a) in the the WINTER time and b) without kids. I would add that a good time to go is definitely NOT on a holiday weekend when there’s a special 24-hour party going on, and oh by the way, military families get in for half price. It was mobbed, and ridiculously hot.
Poor Ruthie just sat in the stroller and sweated most of the time, but Margot walked everywhere and was very stoic and both girls really enjoyed the (air-conditioned) rides and shows we managed to get into.
My favorite part of the trip was definitely all the childcare help that comes with staying over at someone’s house for several days. Nana and Vovo like nothing better than to feed and play with small children, which is totally cool with me, and Paul and I even got to go out a couple of times on our own. We saw the new Star Trek movie (two thumbs up!) and went on a lovely date night that included Mass at a very nice parish in Venice, a delicious dinner at a restaurant right on the Marina in Sarasota, and a walk around the Marina itself and later around St. Armand’s Circle, a high-end shopping district where we got some delicious sorbet for dessert.
Paul and I agreed we should’ve just stopped after this incredible (and very filling) appetizer of PEI mussels with chorizo and corn and tomatoes. That sauce was toe die for with bread!
I even ran into an old friend of Claire’s in a jewelry store, and stopped for a photo.
After four short days we had to head back. The flight home was less crowded, both in the airport and the plane itself, and Margot was just as good as on the way there. Ruthie was tougher to handle, but we survived, and I think did pretty well for flying with a 2-year-old. Most importantly the girls got to spend a lot of quality time with Vovo, and we wish we could do it more often!