I have been nagging (ehhh I mean discussing) with Steve for the past....oh 5 years....that I want to go on vacation....to the beach.....out of the U.S. Since I have been getting nowhere I have knocked my demands down to a vacation on a beach. Jealousy rears its ugly head and it seems that these dreams of vacation always show up after someone I know takes a trip to California, Florida, Mexico, Jamaica....you name the place....it seems like someone we know is ALWAYS going someplace warm, sunny, and with a beach! Now, anyone who knows me, understands that poor Steve is really feeling the heat about this vacation matter HOWEVER in my defense we went on our honeymoon to Colorado 6 years ago with the intention of going to either the Caribbean or Hawaii within the next couple years. Since then, our vacations have consisted of two trips to St. Louis and a trip to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl.
Flash forward to last week. My birthday was last Friday and we decided that we would take Snyder and go to St. Louis to the zoo and Grant's Farm and spend the night in a hotel just to get out of town and have a little fun. Although I was excited about it, part of me was instead dreaming of that Beach Vacation that once again we SHOULD be taking!!! I started trying to find places to stay and wasn't having any luck finding a "Great Wolf Lodge" type hotel and then tried to find a "fun" place to take Snyder to eat dinner and didn't have any luck there either. By the time Steve came home from work that night I was in quite the funk. Enter more complaining about not going to the beach!
Later that week we found out that Steve's Grandma fell and broke her hip. We were planning on having a family dinner for my birthday on Friday night, but since his grandma would be having surgery that day, dinner would have to be postponed. Since we would have the whole weekend, we decided to change our plans and head to KC for the weekend. We booked a room at the Sleep Inn in Liberty (think MINI Great Wolf Lodge for younger kids) and also made a reservation at the T-Rex cafe. This little trip was beginning to look a little better but I reminded Steve several times in the car ride to KC that we were not going to the beach so it WAS NOT a vacation.
Steve was suppose to get home from work at 2:30....when he wasn't home at 3:45 I gave in and put Snyder down for a nap. We finally got on the road about 6. We would certainly be getting a late jump on things. We finally made it to the hotel and got settled in about 10. Snyder was a perfect angel in the car. The last few trips to Kansas had been a little rough. We'd been listening to lots of screaming in the carseat. The Mickey Mouse Club House on the DVD player may have had something to do with it :)
Saturday Morning we got up and went to the zoo. It was a hot sweaty morning but we sure had fun. Snyder LOVED the polar bears, the monkeys, and loved the goats at the petting zoo. He got to ride the train for the first time, as well as the carousel. He even brought home his very own Nakita, the polar bear.
After the zoo, we went back to the hotel and rested for a bit and then met some good friends for swimming at the pool. Their daughter, E, is almost two and I hope the kids will enjoy playing together as they get older. E wanted to make sure Snyder was watching as she went down the slide at the pool, and Snyder enjoyed watching every move E made. After swimming, we got changed and headed for T-Rex cafe. The kids LOVED it! I was a little worried that it would be too much for Snyder but he loved walking around looking at the giant dinosaurs. He also LOVED watching the fish in the aquarium.....which gave us the idea as to what to do the next day :) I loved being able to catch up with my good friend, Brandi, and getting to see our kids interact together.
On the way back to the hotel that night, we discussed what to do the next day. The plan had been to go to Deanna Rose Farmstead, but after being out in the sun all day, we decided that maybe we would rather do something inside. After seeing Snyder look at the fish, I mentioned going to the Sea Life Aquarium. The plan was to get up and head to the aquarium as soon as Snyder woke up.
Well....that little boy certainly is his parents son. That little stinker slept in until after nine. So, by the time we got up and around and got everything packed up, we didn't get to crown center until after 11. We decided we would go eat (we missed breakfast at the hotel because we slept so late) first and then head to Sea Life. I wanted to take Snyder to Fritz's. Since we had gotten there early it wasn't too crowed. He enjoyed looking around and watching all of the kids. Then the trains started coming! To say the kid loved watching the trains travel around the top of the restaurant would be an understatement. I'm pretty sure he would have sat and watched the trains deliever food all afternoon. By the time we left, he would actually start looking around for the trains as soon as he heard the whistle. He would follow them all around the restaurant with his eyes, kick his feet, and just get so excited. It was fun to watch :)
Watching the trains :)
After we left Fritz's we went to the Curious George exhibit. Most of it was geared for older kids but he did enjoy climbing on George....and it made for a good photo opt!
Then we went across the street to Sea Life. It was very cool to see all the different types of fish and was nice to do something inside where it was cool. There was a table where Snyder got to feel different sea creatures. There was a tunnel that you walked through that the fish swam all around you and a "bubble" that you could crawl inside. I had Steve take Snyder inside the bubble for one last picture and when Snyder looked through the "bubble" and saw mommy, he got SOOO excited!!! We also noticed Snyder getting very sleepy while we were there. Then we realized why.....dimly lit rooms, water rushing from the aquariums, and soft music playing....hmmm....sounds just like his room at nap time :) This was a great transition into our long car ride home. We had another great ride with a well behaved little boy :)
The whole weekend I was just so insanely happy. There was no stress of we have to get this, this, and this done. There was no worries about getting the house picked up and dinner cooked. We didn't worry about getting up or to bed at a certain time. We followed Snyder's cues and when he was tired we took breaks and let him sleep (and us) as late as he wanted. I had so much fun with my little family just being together. Even though we've had this little guy around for 7 months, we have been so busy moving, and moving again, and trying to sell our house that we have had very little time to just enjoy being together. It was just such a great weekend being together and exploring a city that we lived in for 7 years but had never explored in this year.
When I got home and started looking at pictures, I began thinking about our weekend. Every single picture we were all smiling ear to ear. Thats when it hit me. Our weekend may have not been spent at an all-inclusive resort or along white sandy beaches but it was spent together with the people I love enjoying each other. That's when I realized that it doesn't matter where or how long the vacation is.....that's not what it's all about. It's just about enjoying doing something together. That was something we hadn't gotten to do much over the last several months. And in all honestly, we probably aren't ready for a big week long beach vacation. A weekend trip to KC was just what we needed.
I can write all of this because:
1. I'm pretty sure Steve won't read this blog.
2. I KNOW that even if he does, he won't read this novel of a post.
So even though I probably will start asking.....who am I kidding....begging for a beach vacation again someday, for now I am content with just going someplace together with my boys to relax and spend time together every once in a while. It may not be the beach....but I'm okay with that :)